Monday, 30 July 2012

Things that lift the spirit -

- and soothe the soul...

A Glasgow University study claims that quilting is'uniquely' good for us!
 Quilting, they say, provides benefits beyond those of physical
and outdoor pursuits. It stimulates creativity, lifts the spirit
brings people together, encourages friendships,
and as we plan, measure and stitch, exercises lesser-used bits of
the brain and brings order to our thoughts

I'm sure knitters would claim the same on all those fronts too -
but, hey - let's hear it for quilting!

Quilt-Expo-Couvertes, Saulnierville, Nova Scotia 2011 - wish I could see this year's efforts!

Saw this photo on Joan's Ouvrages d'une Acadienne blog.

Quilt-Expo-Couvertes 2012 starts today July 30th
 in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia
 - if you're in the area, do see it for me & take pictures!

July 30th - August 3rd

To read the Glasgow University report click here

Friday, 20 July 2012

Underground Railroad Sampler Quilt


This 'Underground Railroad Sampler' by Eleanor Burns
was my first shared quilting project - and it's been so much fun!

It's thought that slaves escaping from America's southern states
were guided to freedom by signs hidden in quilts they found
slung over fences or windowsills, seemingly to air. 
The patterns and colours were thought to hold directions and
 warnings to help fugitives reach the safety of Canada.
Quilts airing on a fence were a common sight, so neither the plantation
owner nor the overseer noticed anything suspicious

Some do question whether quilts were used in this way,
but what isn't in doubt is that a lot of people
risked their own lives to help others find freedom.


Finding the pattern was easy - group leader Jenny ordered it from the internet. Finding the fabric might be trickier....

Civil War fabrics are hard to find in the UK because tastes are different. 
We do order from the US on the internet - but tax and postage are a killer!
I'm not a fan of buying fabric I haven't seen and touched.

Buying from a single range produced by a manufacturer
you already know seems the best way forward, but,
having said that, I do love an element of unpredictability,
and would not want to go the 'range' route every time...

Anyone identify with this?

Looked for UK suppliers on the internet and found a couple who
 had odd bits, but we struck it lucky at Patchwork Chicks,
just twenty miles away in Barrowford.
Great to find that the girls are into the Civil War over there!

Charged with choosing the fabric, a few of us crossed
the Pennines into Lancashire.
Yardage worked out, money in hand, we walked purposefully
into the shop - and got totally sidetracked.
Too much to take in! Too many quilts, bags, wall-hangings...

Finished hyperventilating and got down to business.
Chose Moda's  Warm Memories range
 by Kansas Troubles

The group loved it too, thank goodness!
Such a responsibility parting with someone else's cash!

Fifteen patches of varying difficulty, fifteen volunteers keen to have a go

Group leader Jenny organised the distribution of patterns and
 fabric, and it was exciting to see some absolute
beginners and some who hadn't quilted for a while getting involved.

Fancied doing the Bear's Paw block
Loved the fabric choice, and it was so nice to make!

Folks, it was square - honest!
The camera does a fish-eye thing...

A number of people began searching the net for
supporting info and found some fun patterns - more on that later!
Books about the era were passed around, including one about
activist and former slave, Harriet Tubman.
 After escaping the slavery into which she was born, she rescued
 more than 70 slaves using the network of antislavery activists and
safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.

It's a fascinating story - check it out on

Harriet (born Araminta) is the Minty mentioned in the notice below

Friday, 13 July 2012

Virtual quilting - great fun!

I laughed when I visited Judy Butcher's Virtual Quilter blogspot
 and read that she uses her computer to design
 'way more quilts than I could make in several lifetimes'.

That makes two of us! Most of my designs will
never make it to the sewing machine -
but it's such fun playing on EQ6!

But here's one that just might get made...

Passing round photos of the tiled frieze in St Pancras station,
a friend said, 'I can see this as a quilt - but where do I start?'

St Pancras is a spectacular London landmark.
Opened in 1868, it was recently renovated & extended
 at a cost of £800 million
St Pancras Railway Station - the exterior
The Victorian tiled frieze and ironwork
Photo: Steve James

Look at this beautiful detail hidden in the rafters!
detail of part of the frieze
Photo: Steve James

Set to work redesigning some of the standard EQ6 blocks.
Wanted to get the feeling of these Minton tiles
not just a carbon copy.
Opted for batiks, simply because they glow.
Was right out of my comfort zone in terms of pattern and colour

Added a block border to recreate the feel of the bricks,
and here's the result.
Still needs a lot of work...

'It's awfully complicated,' said Jill, faintly,
'but I do like it!'

I like it too - and if it never gets made, that's OK -
I've had my fun!

Monday, 9 July 2012

When peace like a river attendeth my way, or sorrows like sea billows roll...

Am lost for words this week.
 We returned from holiday last Monday
to hear that a dear friend had lost her only son in very tragic circumstances.

What can one say? 
We're just praying that God wraps her
in his love and comfort

The Quilt by Susan Lordi
Willow Tree Figures