Friday, 28 November 2014

Bright stars cot quilt

This week I have been making a cot quilt with bright stars on a white background. The weather has been so dull and dreary, no sun, lots of fog and cold, so cold. But in the sewing room the stars are bright on the design wall and the colours have made me smile. Here is the block....

Born under a wandering star block
It comes from this book which is my go to book for star blocks as Judy gives such clear instructions and the pieces always fit together. 

My copy is very battered now as it has been rained on during a leaky roof episode and has been used for years too. Here are all the blocks layered with the wadding and backing fabric, all ready for quilting...

I loved choosing the colours for the stars, all bright contrasts, but it would look lovely in paler colours too....

I have quilted it with swirls and squiggles, swirls in the star centres and squiggles in the larger white spaces. I use a basic Bernina sewing machine with dropped feed dogs, zero stitch length and a darning foot. Each star is stitched with a matching thread, which took quite a time with all the different thread colours to thread through the machine!

I am just showing you lots of stars as I love the colours. 

The white fabric areas are made up of several different fabrics to add interest to the pale spaces...

Here you can see the backing fabric which is white with pale lemon polka dots...

Here is the finished quilt. At the top and bottom of the quilt there are strips of the backing fabric which have been free machine quilted with stippling stitch. A name can be added at the bottom with letters bonded on over the quilting and stitched down. The edges are bound with the same fabric as the back to keep the rest of the quilt calm beside the bright stars.

Bright stars cot quilt by Green Star Quilts
Thanks for stopping to read my blog, writing it helps me to understand where all my time in the week goes. It also keeps me focused on finishing projects so I have something to talk about! I really enjoy reading other blogs too and 'meeting' people from all over the world. If you leave a comment or ask a question I will reply if you leave your e mail address,
Happy quilting this weekend,
Kind regards,

Sunday, 23 November 2014

A Farmyard quilt and sausages

Here in Lincoln we have just had the delight of the Lincolnshire sausage festival. Really Lincolnshire is becoming a gormet food county. Makers of sausages, cheese, jams, chutneys and other Lincolnshire delicacies came and set out their wares in open air stalls in the castle grounds. We are lucky to have a traditonal shaped castle, just like a child's drawing and it makes a fantastic backdrop to events in the castle square and Exchequer Gate which goes through to the cathedral. There was a great band who got everyone singing, it was a lovely sunny autumn day.

The castle square was filled with people sampling and buying all kinds of sausage and the smell of cooking was wonderful...can you see our medieval tourist board building with the timbered front?

The spires of Lincoln Cathedral

People seemed really happy, full of sausages, with the odd pint of local beer from Bateman's brewery .....

Some of the animals on the Protect Our Wildlife stall seemed very tame, soft and fluffy and very friendly....

Saints and Sinners sold their excellent jams and chutneys all dressed in pretty frilly hats...

Amid the fun, sunshine and good spirits, we remembered the families of all service people who were missed and thought of so very much during November, the gate to the memorial garden is right next to the castle entrance...

Door to the Airborne Memorial Garden

Plaque for the rememberance of RAF staff of the Parachute regiment

Back in the sewing room, this is what I have been making this week. Lots of farmyard animals with a simple border of autumn colours and a name on the bottom. I love the colours of this quilt and am really pleased with the way they all go together...

Farmyard cot quilt by Green Star Quilts
and just so you can see closer....

Scrap fabric binding
I saw Allison's blog at Cluck Cluck Sew about scrap fabric binding and tried it out. I was delighted with the result. It reminded me of my lovely mother-in-law, who had a tin of pieces of string which was labelled 'Pieces of String Too Short to be of Any Use'. It always made me smile and pieces of fabric for this method are just the same until they are turned into scrap binding!

I love the animals shown in the Luttrell Psalter commissioned by Goeffery Luttrell around 1320-1340. There is a depiction in the museum in Lincoln which inspired the design of this quilt.
Part of the Luttrell Psalter
Now we are having a wonderful autumn here and the colours of the leaves are amazing. Lovely russets, yellows and dark greens, on the trees still and on the ground too.

Some of you are in the USA and I bet your autumn colours are even better. Do you live in a farming area too? I was raised in a rural village in Hertfordshire with a dairy in the middle of the High Street. Cows were walked along twice a day and you could taste the difference in the milk when the herd was turned out to grass in the spring. Although I have been urban for many years, these days I find living in the countryside so good for my soul. It is great to go to London for exhibitions and grown up sophisticated things, but coming home on the train and seeing the fields stretching out lifts my heart. Our countryside seems so precious and I want my grandchildren to know where their food comes from. Am I being unrealistic and do you feel the same?

Are you inspired by autumn colours too? Hope you have a sunny week,

Kind regards,

Friday, 14 November 2014

Pearls, paints and a seaside quilt

It has been ages since I wrote a post for the blog, I have neglected you all in favour of travel, there is no other excuse. And also sometimes there is nothing to say that I think you would like to hear about either. But now I can tell you about this month's quilt and a little view of Amsterdam, which is, I think, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Canal in Amsterdam
 The canals run throughout the city and everywhere the light shines on the water and the autumn colours of the trees reflect back in russets, yellows and greens. Cyclists have priority everywhere and go at great speed. Tall houses line the canals, painted in soft pinks and blues which echo the pale tints of the sky. And there are such wonderful flower markets, even in October and packets of seeds which promise of beautful gardens for next year.
                                                 Seed packets in a market, Amsterdam

 I must confess I love the tiny rows of pottery Dutch houses, clogs and windmills too......

Pottery houses and tiny clogs, Amsterdam

But the best part of the trip was visiting the art gallerys, seeing my favourite paintings for real, especially The Girl, you can guess who I mean...I'm sure lots of you have seen her too....

The Girl with the Pearl earing
Now I can confess, I am a big fan, I love the book,the film, but the painting is amazing. Her eyes follow you around the room, she is just about to speak, to say what, who can guess? Every little touch of Vermeer's brush adds to the magic. And this is what artists in Amsterdam painted with, oil mixed with minerals and semi precious stones to get those wonderful colours.

Ground powders for mixing oil paints, Rebrandt's house Amsterdam

and the brushes with which they achieved such delicate textures.....

Rebrandt's brushes, Amsterdam
We walked for miles along the canal paths, looking in windows shamelessly and sometimes people looked back at us too....

I hope my friends and I will have many other holidays together until we are like this.... but still travelling!

elderly ladies in a shop window

Now I am back in the sewing room and today I have finished this quilt:

Ronnie's Seaside quilt by Green Star Quilts
I love the way the colours all blend together to make a soft, gentle quilt, the colours of a sky in Amsterdam. Here is the little train which runs on the pier at the seaside....

Little train on the pier
seagulls, tractor and trailer

The retro style fabric its in the middle of the big stars, with the promise of long days playing on the sandy beach,  the quilting in the middle suggests a sea shell....

I have also used it in the fill-in blocks....

And the last thing I want to share with you is this painting by Iaasc Israels, my second favourite memory from Amsterdam... 

Donkey Rides on the Beach by Issaac Israels
Just the thing to look at on a very wet winter day here in Lincoln. Some of you will have lots of snow now, so I hope this blog post makes you feel a little bit warmer for a few minutes,
Kind regards,