Gallery of Rogues #4 – Lynne of LilysQuilts

My next interviewee is Lynne from LilysQuilts. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the FQ Retreat, and ‘collared’ her about getting her interview done. So, gap a cuppa & make yourself comfy….

Hi, I’m Lynne and I am a UK blogger who blogs at Lily’s Quilts and am also one of the five who run the online quilting magazine, Fat Quarterly.  And so Lizzie asked me to join her blogroll of guest posters talking about a mahusive monster quilt they made.  This is my Portrait Wall quilt.  So called because it is designed to look like a wall of portraits in a New York loft apartment.  OK so some of the portraits are of ladies and some of teacups but you get the idea.  It was made for a friend of my sister’s who has been more like family to my sister than just a plain old friend.  My sister lives in France so has none of her side of the family around to help with children, life, the universe and everything but Carla has been like family for her so it was a real pleasure to have a chance to make a quilt for her new apartment.
Carla asked me about six months ago if I would make a quilt for her and we agreed on Ruby Star Rising, which is to say I kind of nudged her in that direction and she happily liked the suggestion.
We decided to mix these up with some Kona solids: candy green, coral, ash, charcoal, amber and cyan.
The prints looked to me like they really needed showcasing so I decided to make each of them a picture on a sort of wall of portraits.  Each one was framed with a skinny strip of colour then a charcoal picture frae and hung on Kona coral wall paper.  I Quilted As You Go – sixteen 25″ square blocks to make a whopping 100″ square quilt.  Criss cross quilting on the pictures to give the impression of glass.  Straight line quilting on the charcoal frames and squiggly quilting on the coral wallpaper.
Although quilting each of the blocks was a lot of fun, joining those QAYG blocks was a hellish process.  I quilted them with the backing on and with 2-3″ spare backing all round but taking care to leave the 1-2″ edges of the blocks unquilted.  I then sewed the blocks together using 1/2″ seams and including the quilt top and wadding but not the backing.  I then trimmed, folded, pinned and then sewed the backing down to the back.  Finally I quilted the unquilted areas.  I broke needles, the quilt was unweildy, the pinning was a huge palaver and frankly, it felt like a nightmare that wouldn’t end.
Would I make a quilt this big again?  NO WAY.  Not if I have to quilt on a domestic machine anyway. It finished at 100″ square and was, for me, too big for a domestic machine to quilt, even though I have a machine with a larger quilting throat.  If asked to make something like this again, I would explain to the person commissioning the quilt that they would need to factor in the cost of long arm quilting it!  Having said all that, I am proud of the quilt, it gave me the chance to work with some fabrics I could not have afforded myself and Carla loves it – and that’s what it’s all about for me.
Hope you go over to Lynne’s blog an read all about her other quilty adventures.

Gallery of Rogues #3 – Cindy from Fluffy Sheep Quilting

My next interviewee is Cindy, aka Fluffy Sheep Quilting.  She was nominated by Hadley (aka FlyingBlindOnARocketCycle) as a possible participant in my mini series. Thanks to both Hadley for nominating, and Cindy for participating.  So grab a drink, pull up a chair and let’s see what Cindy has to tell us…..

Help!  Help!  I have a monster that has taken over my quilting space!

For those of you who I have not already met, I am Cindy.  It’s so nice to meet you!  I blog semi-regularly over at Fluffy Sheep Quilting and have just opened a shop also called Fluffy Sheep Quilting.  I started quilting less than three years ago and blogging over a year ago, but you would never know it.  They have become absolutely central to my life and happiness.   I tend to be drawn to modern quilts, because I love their bold colors and geometric patterns, but I could just as easily be entertained by a traditional quilt.

You’re not here to chat about modern vs traditional quilting, though.  You want to hear about my monster!  I call her Community Quilt and I absolutely love her through and through. 

I was struck by how fantastic the quilting community was when I just started quilting and blogging.  How great folks were at freely giving suggestions to new quilters, teaching new techniques and supporting one another.  So, I wanted to make a quilt that honored that spirit.  

I started requesting scrap donations back in spring of 2011 from quilters in blog land.  I wanted a physical way to link each and every one of us, so I decided on a scrappy Irish Chain-type pattern that would allow for each person in the community to donate fabric from projects they were currently working on and I could combine them into one piece.  And what do you know, but piles and piles of fabric started to arrive.

Oh, goodness!  Time to start piecing!  This pattern called for 1,330 little two inch squares of prints with 512 little background rectangles.  What!?!?  Anyway, I just started to dig in and piece.  It came together faster than I thought it would!

Until there were more blocks than I knew what to do with.  After some fiddling around, I found an arrangement that made me happy. 

Up to this point I was expecting a finished quilt of 82×82 inches.  I just had to add the borders and layer it.  Easy peasy.  But that’s where this project took it’s monstrous turn.  I miss calculated how many blocks I needed for the border.  Instead of making enough for one…I made enough for two!  After all of the time it took to cut the little tiny squares and piece them, you better believe I was going to use that double border!  Still, this enlarged the top by a further 7 inches a side!  Eeek!  I now have a top that measures 96×96 and is truly a monster.  What was I thinking?

And here the story takes a sad turn.  I love this quilt.  Love every little stinkin’ piece of it.  But the quilting is just killing me!  I am having trouble manipulating it under my machine.  Trouble finding a pattern that compliments the piecing.  Trouble in general.  And now she sits in a small pile in my quilting space.  

However, the spectacular Trudi of Quilting Prolifically has just offered to help me design a pattern that might suit and then to quilt it for me.  Thank goodness!

I love this quilt and I want to see it finished.  I just need help.  Would I make another monster?  Not on your life.  Still, I am entirely glad that I made this one so I can now appreciate massive bed-sized quilts when I see them.  (I agree with Cindy… Trying something just once can make us appreciate someone else’s hard work!)

Liz, thanks so much for letting me share my tale.  For your readers quilting a monster right now, I wish you the best of luck and much happiness with your creation!  I know you’re working incredibly hard on it and I am sure every bit of effort will pay off in the end.

It’s been a pleasure to have Cindy take part, as I enjoyed following her quilty adventures in Ireland. (Not exactly a country I would associate with quilting, boy am I wrong! I love the Irish Chain pattern. Maybe I will feature it in my next quilty history post.)

Gallery of Rogues #2

My second interview in this mini-series is with Helen.   Thank you Helen for being a willing interviewee.

Liz: So tell us a little about how you started quilting
Helen: I started quilting five or six years ago when I was first off work due to sickness (I have CFS/ME) and after a few months I’d got to the stage where I felt like doing something that I could pick up for a few minutes at a time and easily put down when I became too tired to continue.  I was having trouble concentrating when reading/watching telly, etc. but I wanted to have something to do that would be fairly simple but satisfying.  Up until then my only experiences of patchwork were my mam making some EPP hexagon pincushions for a school fayre (she spent hours making them and they were sold for a very small amount of money and she was so cheesed off she didn’t make any more!) and machine piecing a couple of simple cushion covers about ten years ago (using some plastic templates and a couple of FQs I’d bought from my LQS) and although I enjoyed the process I didn’t carry on.  (Had I looked on-line and found some quilting blogs I suspect it may have been a different story!)  Fast forward a few years and I realised that hand piecing could be the thing I was looking for – I’d always enjoyed embroidery and other hand sewing so I was fairly confident of my sewing skills and I realised that I could just do a few minutes and then put it down for a while without losing my place whereas knitting or crochet would need more concentration (and you can’t really stop knitting in the middle of a row, at least I can’t, without dropping stitches or losing my place in the pattern!).  I was soon hooked and it came a pleasant surprise to discover that on the days I wasn’t well enough to sew I could flick through a quilting book or magazine or even just play with the fabric or think about future projects whilst lying in bed/on the settee – perfect!  I don’t know how to describe my style, I’m not even sure I have one so I’ll leave it up to others to decide!  I do know that I tend to like small pieces/blocks and traditional patterns made with modern fabric and also enjoy improv/liberated piecing – I’ve no idea what sort of quilter that makes me!

Liz: What inspired you to make your lovely ‘monster? (I had asked if Helen had named her quilt)
Helen: I’m afraid it doesn’t have a name other than ‘Mam and Dad’s quilt, I don’t tend to name my quilts!  Mam and I were in the coffee shop opposite our LQS when she spotted something in the shop’s window and wanted to have a closer look.  It turned out to be a panel and Mam decided there and then that she wanted a bed quilt featuring the panel and she knew just the person to make it!  (In fact she loved it so much we were ‘forced’ to go inside and look for fabric!  When she learnt the owners were trading at a quilt show at the end of the week (and taking the panels with them) she got so worried they’d sell out that the owner took pity on her and promised that if the panels were selling really well she’d put a couple aside for a few days!)  Over the next week or so I spent quite some time designing a pattern that incorporated the panels (I decided to use two panels to make the design more balanced) and the Drunkard’s Path blocks and floating squares border that Mam had said she would like to be included – it was working out the sizes of blocks, etc. rather than the design elements that took the time, I kept finding that the pieced borders I’d designed would be three inches too long (or too short!) for the rest of the quilt!  After lots of scrumpled up paper and rubbing out I finally had a pattern that worked and after three months of (machine) piecing and six months of (hand) quilting it was finally finished!
Liz: As this mini-series is what I call ‘monster’ quilts, did you plan on making the quilt as big as it is or was it an accident (ie miscounting of blocks)?
Helen: The size was deliberate – I measured my parents’ bed several times to ensure that it would be big enough to cover their king-size quilt/duvet and also be long enough to cover the pillows.  The size became a bit of an issue when I was quilting – I would often get things caught up in the bottom of it and the only place I could keep it between quilting sessions was the settee – it ended up with a seat of its own!
I just love those panels. What a nice gift for your parents, Helen.
Liz: Do you have a favourite ‘monster’ that either you or someone else has made, and what makes it your favourite?
Helen: I don’t have permission for these photos and I’m not sure which quilt Lynne is planning to post about (it might be the one I mention) so I’ve included two.  Pick whichever you like, I love them both!  I’m also not sure of the sizes but I’ve always thought of them as big quilts!
I love Lynne‘s Penguin book quilt
There are many other big quilts that I love but these two kept leaping to mind whenever I thought about the question!
I agree with your choice, especially Hadley’s quilt.
Liz:  Now that you have made one, would you make another?
Helen: I already have…..
and I’m planning another one – I’ve started the cutting but haven’t managed any piecing yet, don’t hold your breath as it’ll probably be the end of the year before I get a finished top!
If you want to get to know more about Helen’s quilty life (and Archie!), just go to her blog and say ‘hi’.

A Gallery of Rogues

First of all I would like to all of you who have entered my blogaversary giveaway. I will be picking 2 winners next Monday, so keep tuned in!

Secondly, I have had the first of my interviews back. The subject of these interviews are those rogues (aka monsters) that we end up with, either by accident or by design. I have decided to call this series, A Gallery of Rogues.  To me (and this is a personal opinion!) a rogue/monster is a quilt that is 90 x 90 inches or larger, and with this mind I emailed a select group of friends asking they would be willing to take part, and thankfully they were 😀

My first interviewee is Sheila Donnachie, known to almost all of us as the bluepatch quilter. Thank you, Sheila, for a taking a few moments out of a busy schedule to answer a few questions…..

Liz : Please tell us a little about how you came to be a quilter and how you would describe your style.

Sheila: I have always sewn, but in 1997/8 my little “sewing bee” was introduced to a new member, and in time she introduced us to her quilts. We had never really come across anything like it before. I was hooked from the start and have been quilting ever since. My preferences back then were fairly traditional and “country” style fabrics from the likes of Thimbleberries etc. I have pretty much muddled along, sticking to this style and using what was available locally.
However, my quilting world was turned upside down when I started blogging. I feel as if I have just started again and feel like a newbie as I am exposed to all the wonderful new designers and modern quilts that are all over the blogs. I have enjoyed swaps and QALs and have dipped my toe into a bit of improv here and there. There really is no end to inspiration available and I am currently enjoying the Zakka Style sew a long – mostly small, quick projects that leave you feeling very satisfied in having finished something!!
I think you asked me to join in, following the “creation” of my Hexie quilt but it doesn’t qualify as a monster.
I do however have a monster that lives on our bed…..

Liz: What inspired you to make your ‘monster’?

Sheila: I started this with no great plan to make such a big quilt. The central portion of the quilt was featured in an Australian magazine I had and I loved the big, stupid looking teddies. I had never really used a lot of applique on quilts until this one and had fun using faux suede for the teddies’ bodies.

Liz: As this mini-series is about what I call ‘monster’ quilts, did you plan on making it as big as it is or was it an accident (ie miscounting of blocks)?
Sheila: At the time, in class, my ladies were following the Contrary Wife block pattern – and I sewed along with them, using up lots of my Thimbleberries fabric leftovers…………I stuck to a sort of brown/cream & blue colour theme.
The quilt was designated as one for our own bed and as we have a superking, it had to be big. It is big enough to sleep under comfortably at about 90″ square.
As an aside, I must say that I quilted this in three sections, my method of QAYG, and then joined them together. I would, and have made other biggies but would never tackle quilting in one whole piece – QAYG every time for me.
Liz: Do you have a favourite ‘monster’ that either you or someone else has made, and what makes it your favourite?
Sheila: At my recent Open Day there were some wonderful quilts – these next three were voted by visitors on the day as the favourites.
In first place was –
by Muriel
In 2nd place –
by Lorna
In 3rd place –
by Caryl
I love these quilts – Muriel and Caryl learned to quilt in my classes and I have loved watching them grow and stretch themselves. They both constantly challenge themselves.
Lorna joined my classes this year, she is a young quilter, who I have known since she was a little girl. She is a force of nature in all that she does and watching her make this quilt was an education for me. As an example, she took the pattern from her Jelly Roll book, but cut her own jelly roll!!
Thanks, Sheila, for being a willing interviewee, and I really love those teddies!!. Do visit her blog and say ‘hi’.
PS: all photos courtsey of Sheila (via flickr).