Mini Quilt Swap

December 16th, 2021

So, as I said in my last post I discovered during first lockdown in 2020 that I was a member of UK quilters united. They have a quilting related page, a social page, a destash page and they set up challenge groups from time to time. Each page has strong rules about what is allowed and what isn’t. At first I thought ‘quilt police’, but there are good reasons for them which became obvious as we all lived with this virus.

I applied to be part of the mini quilt swap challenge in 2020. This was a huge move for me. I had not been doing a lot of quilting and although I recognised one or two names, I didn’t know anyone. I was really nervous. The team who run these challenges split us into groups and each has a team leader from the organising team. For a while we friend each other and try to find out as much as possible from each others social media. Our team leaders then give us the name of the person we are to make for with the information about themselves they submitted on the application.

That’s where the serious stalking begins as you are able to concentrate on one person. In the challenge page team members ask questions about fabric, types of design, likes and dislikes. Styles of quilting. Anything that helps you choose what you are going to make. My first one was really nerve-racking and full of doubting. My second one was a bit better but I had one of the quieter members to make for which had challenges.

Top right picture was the first mini quilt I made. I had no idea who was making for me, all I knew was it wasn’t the person I was making for. The heilan coo was what I received. I was so chuffed. Gillian made me the most gorgeous bag as my gift which has been in continuous use since receiving. Apparently it was our picture by Steven Brown that swung her decision on the coo.

Top middle was what I made this year. I need to try a different style next year. Top left is what I received and Donna stalked me so well with a tartan fabric workbox for the motorhome as my gift.

There are quilters of all ability in this group. People whose names you will recognise as pattern designers and have been in quilting magazines. Lot’s of intermediate, like me, and many beginners. Have seen quite a few posts recently of people asking for help with their first quilt. It’s a friendly place which loves to share ideas and experience. If you fancy having a go, take a look. You don’t have to interact from the start. I didn’t. We are going to need a safe place in the coming weeks

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It’s not like I’ve been anywhere

December 16th, 2021

Here we are again. 14 months since my last post. What on earth have I been doing? Stayed at home, tried to fit in daily walks. Shopping locally or online. What can my excuse be for being so quiet for so long? I blame concentrating on staying safe, waiting for vaccine appointments, and Facebook.

The quilt above, I call my orphan block quilt. The stripy blocks were handed into my craft group from a crafters clearance. I tidied them as best as I could and used fabric from my stash to assemble the quilt top. It lay around after I had quilted each stripe as I wasn’t sure how to proceed. I took it downstairs the other day and decided to just keep the quilting simple. The piecing wasn’t accurate enough for fancy stuff. Finished it last night. It’ll keep someone cosy this winter.

As for Facebook. It wasn’t just the time browsing that was to blame. Last year I realised I was a member of UKQU (UK Quilters United) facebook group. I went browsing and ended up joining a mini quilt swap event. This group has been so supportive throughout the past nearly 2 years. Provided a smile when needed, allowed a rant when needed, and lots of advice about stitching. All in a safe, private space. I am going to retrieve some photos and tell you a bit more about this in the next blog piece. Which will be much sooner than 14 months!

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It’s been a while

October 8th, 2020

Well, it’s been too long a gap again between posts. I have been keeping busy though, honestly.

Once a little relaxation of the covid restrictions came in people were contacting me about making memory bears. I don’t know if the strict stay at home period allowed people time and space to sort through their loved ones clothing was what generated the enquiries. It is a privilege to be trusted with these items. Sometimes I take longer to start cutting some of the items as I need to be sure I am not going to waste them.

In the evenings I have completed a colourwork cardigan for a Christmas present, a crocheted cowl, and now I am moving in the direction of Christmas themed gifts.

Oh, I forgot. My embroidered coin purse was falling apart. I made myself another one and remembered why it had taken me so long to do so. You need three hands to keep the fabric in the frame while stitching into place.

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Stretching my abilities

September 10th, 2020

During the months of Covid 19 I have been blessed to be a member of UKQuiltersUnited. This was a group I joined years ago but did not participate in. You may have read in previous posts of things I did earlier in the Covid period.

Early July/late June someome started a blogerrati 2020. Hadn’t a clue what it was about but needed another challenge. We were challenged to design a 12 inch block in a flower design. The only definite was that the colour green be included. We were to write a blog on the making of the block on the UKQU site and submit pattern pieces that would be listed in the shop as free to purchase. It was hoped that members would try blocks and perhaps do enough to make a quilt or a throw, or just a cushion.

The first block I tried was an improv block. I had never heard of this. Reading through the instructions I saw it was an informal, random method of the strict foundation piecing. My flower did not turn out exactly as the the pattern suggested but apparently that’s what this method is all about. Thoroughly enjoyed it and would do it again.

I have now made inroads on a stained glass rose block.

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Hexie Therapy

September 1st, 2020

Last visit to London I got a packet of hexagon fabrics in Liberty. They lay in the sewing room for some years as I wasn’t really into hexies back then. Earlier this year I decided to use solid colours from my stash that picked out colours in the Liberty fabrics. This took a while as there were thirty fabrics. I discovered though how relaxing the repetitive hand sewing was.

With 30 flower blocks done the question was what next? A very vintage cotton sheet from Ian’s grannies was put into upcycle mode. Each ‘flower’ is being hand appliqued to a square of the cotton sheet. A perfect project to take away in the van. Was going to put a picture of them in the van but the picture was too big for this site ?

It has been put aside for now as I have a lot of bears to make. It’s not gon far and will be out again soon. Maybe for the next van trip ?

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Back on the road

August 17th, 2020

Just before lockdown I was asked to remove my bears from retail premises by Trading Standards. Rather than do battle with them again I was prepared to stop making bears. Another bear maker in the area was also contacted by them. Being younger, and there were two of them, they kept emailing TS to come to a solution. We both had bears in Crafted in Moray and they were determined to have us both back.

Solution

The solution turned out to be quite simple. Was so annoyed that TS couldn’t just point this out. They required the wording on the card label attached to the bears, to be stitched on as well. I keep things simple and unadorned. So ordered up these simple labels.

Charlie and Gillian at Crafted in Moray are happy bunnies again. They have both styles of bears back in their shop. I took these in a few days ago and one has gone to it’s forever home aready.

Motley crew
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Memories

August 2nd, 2020

When we have lost a loved one we often find an item of clothing, a blanket or soft furnishing can hold so many happy memories. This bear was a much loved coat. The coat was kept but it can be difficult to explain to people why you have a coat draped on the settee.

The coat was sent to me and I worked out which bits could be used to create the bear. I do allow you to choose size and style of bear. Mostly people opt for the traditional style bear. The bears have a jointed neck which allows the head to be turned and positioned. The arms and legs are also jointed so you can stand them, sit them, whatever you want.

The end result is a bear you can display openly. A pleasant reminder of all those memories. When needed you can pick it up and have a cuddle. No one is too old to cuddle a bear, are they?

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Bosie Quilts

July 10th, 2020

Once I finished doing the mini quilt swap I had all these ideas in my head for quilting. I started by doing a simple stripey quilt with fat quarters. I then made my own jelly rolls from stash fabrics and made two stripey quilts. All fabrics used were bright and floral. The pictures I took are too big to load up here. I decided to call them Bosie Quilts. Bosie is a Doric word for hug. I got the idea from a group in the borders who were making quilty hugs to gift to people. I gave these 3 lap quilts to the local community volunteers to gift to people needing a bit of a lift.

I was checking out the quilting groups destash page on facebook and saw a panel and co-ordinating fabrics for the Hungry Catterpillar. Instinct made me buy it, but what was I going to do with it? I remembered an original member of our local craft group, living in the village now, had a preschool child. Messaged her to see what her son thought of the hungry caterpillar. His favourite books at the moment. Well that was a home for that quilt. It was a bit of a hit as she sent photo of him sound asleep in bed cuddling it. Again picture I have of the quilt is too big for here.

Next I looked around for another pattern style. I liked the childs quilt, saved to many pinterest pages, of the elephant blowing hearts from it’s trunk. Was unable to find pattern. I turned to the UKQU facebook page to ask for help. Very quickly I got assistance to the pattern with the elephant blowing paisley pattern shapes from it’s trunk. I simply adapted it to use hearts. When I shared the quilt top after fusing and before stitching someone in the village commented they loved it with a big gif. As I quilted it I decided she should have it. I got to know her as she took a stall at our craft fairs a few years ago. She was in extreme sheilding for multiple medical conditions.

It has been fun. I have challenged myself. It has kept me busy and I have been able to give to others. To give something that I hope they will use and enjoy.

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Catching the Bug

July 9th, 2020

Well 2019 was taken from us by circumstances beyond our control. We decided to reschedule the big stuff in January for 2020. A few weeks later our plans were put on hold again due to Covid19.

We are lucky that we live in a coastal village with plenty space to walk. We also have a large garden, so plenty to occupy us there. What was going to replace the weekly craft group though. There were also no makes needed for the gift shops as they were non essential.

I had been a member of the UKQU group on facebook for some years. My activity was resticted to likes and the odd comment. A post about a mini quilt swap caught my eye. My patchwork and quilting was rusty but something about this appealed to me. I joined, and wondered what I had done. We were put in groups and encouraged to ‘stalk’ each other on social media to discover our likes and dislikes. It was a bit intense the first couple of weeks as we had no idea who we were to make for.

Then we were told who we were making for. The pressure of stalking was off but it was replaced by doubt about the choices we had made. Luckily each team had an experienced mamma. They checked over our ideas, gave advice and agreed the idea was good. The process kept us occupied. I chose to do the quilt at the top of the page. I had never done this before. My husband loved the design and I did another for us. Everyone worked at different rates depending on commitments. While we waited on the deadline everyone posted teaser pictures of what they were creating. I learned lots through the group about editing my photos.

Then we were given our recipients address. We still didn’t know who was sending to us. Everyone posted at different times. Some, like me had their local shop/postoffice fully open. Others were on reduced opening. Add to that the backlog in sorting centres and it was an anxious time. One quilt appeared to be missing after 2 weeks. As plans to make a substitute were happening, it turned up a few days later.

When mine arrived I was apprehensive about openning. What had my swappee made of me? On opening I was silent with a huge grin on my face. She got it so well. Loved everything about it. This experience renewed my faith in human beings. The small group I was in and the wider group of the swap were so friendly and supportive. I had previously come across the quilt police types who are intollerent to imperfections. This experience in the mini quilt swap has renewed my mojo for needlework. Thank you everyone involved.

The quilt I received. She is gorgeous
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Here’s to 2019

December 31st, 2018

Ha! So much for me posting more. To be honest though it has been a much busier year. I lost count of the mount of wee bear custom orders in different tartans I received in the run up to Christmas. Wonder what 2019 will bring?

Below are the North Bond Street and Regent Street windows in London with Knockie Bears as part of the display.

Wishing everyone a very good new year

 

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