Saturday 4 November 2023

New Theme

 Thank you everyone for all the fantastic ‘Circles and Squares’ quilts. I’m trying to post this from my phone so, if it turns out oddly, I will edit! 

The Random Generator Wheel has chosen Patterns in Nature’ for next time. 

So please post your next art quilts for 10.00am GMT on 1st February 2024. I can’t wait to see what everyone will come up with and, in the meantime, have a happy quarter :)

Wednesday 1 November 2023

A Little Bouquet

As usual, my thoughts and ideas for this theme challenge were all over the place, but I finally settled on using this image as inspiration. 

 This is a favorite coffee shop in my city. I enjoy it for the fun latte art (the coffee itself isn't my favorite) and the lovely little floral bouquets at each table. The floral bouquet is the inspiration for my quilt, but the coffee comes into play just a bit, too. 

I decided to challenge myself to see if I could make a little floral bouquet using all circles and squares. It was quite fun, although I had to think a bit on how to incorporate squares! Here's my finished bouquet. 

The blue fabric used for the table is actually an old chambray shirt my husband used to wear. My initial idea for this challenge was to use a larger piece of that shirt and add circles and squares to it. I started by adding coffee rings and was going to stitch around them, but then the rest of that idea just wouldn't settle in. However, I thought having a table with coffee rings was a fun idea (the actual tables at the coffee shop are pristine, in case you were wondering). 

Hopefully you can see those coffee rings in that photo. From there, I built the bouquet, using only circles and squares. The vase is two squares on point, set on top of a half-circle. The bouquet itself is a mix of circles and squares - I just let my imagination run. 

The pieces are all cut freehand. They were stitched to the quilt top using raw edge nachine applique, which got a bit wonky in plaees, but worked out okay enough for me. Rather than using batting for this piece, I used fusible fleece, which I fused to the background before I added the bouquet. Once the bouquet quilting was done, I added the backing to the quilt top and finished with some free motion quilting. It didn't occur to me to do circles and squares in the free motion quilting, so I just practiced a bit of my free hand, which still needs a lot of practice! 

The backing is a scrap piece of blue from my stash, and I had to add a striped binding to add a finishing little pop to the quilt. 

This was a fun challenge for me because I had never tried that free motion quilting around circles. It was a little bit of a challenge at first, but I may have to mess with it a bit more. I always learn some new technique with each challenge. 


Classic Car Dashboard

This theme threw me for a loop!  I just couldn't think of anyway to make "Circles and Squares" interesting.

Then I remembered that years ago, when my husband was part of a car club, we got to tour a private car collection.  I loved the arrangements of the dashboards and they were crammed with circles and squares, so that would make a perfect subject.

In creating for these challenges, I have three main objectives: come up with an image I like, try at least one technique that is new to me, and use some of the great supplies in my stash.

Beautiful design in a vintage car.

Out of all my dashboard photos, I thought this one had the best balance of circles and squares, and the partial circles were a twist that I would not have thought on my own.

I have no idea what kind of car it is from because I only took pictures of the dashboards! 

Classic Car Dashboard

All the fabrics I used were from my stash.  I had bought a fat quarter bundle of a SAQA collection for Andover Fabrics in 2017, and I used mainly three of those fabrics -- the dark one with orange blotches, the gold one with brown ripples, and the gold and blue one with the raindrop circles.  

As I thought about appliqueing the circle shapes, I didn't look forward to satin stitching all the edges.  Fortunately I remembered a book on my shelf that showed a landscape with lots of curves -- Dream Landscapes: Artful Quilts with Fast-Piece Applique, by Rose Hughes.  Her method is to use couching to cover all the raw edges, so that was the new-to-me technique for this piece, and I really liked it.  I used knitting ribbon, bias tape, and weaving yarns to outline the various gauges and dials. 

I also had an assortment metallic threads from WonderFil, that came in a box of supplies I got in an online auction, and I used them in straight, zigzag, and satin stitch.  I used a needle for metallics, set the tension very low, and used a stabilizer.  The threads did break now and then, but not too often.

Detail showing some of the metallic threads.

This is definitely one of my favorite pieces of my Endeavourers collection.  And there are other dashboard photos from that tour waiting to be turned into art quilts too. :)

Something Old, Something New

Today is the reveal for "Circles and Squares." I had only about a month to work on mine, and so I needed something I could do quickly. During the month of August, I was finishing up sewing together the blocks for my Vintage Linen quilt top. I'd made crazy quilt blocks using some of my grandmother's vintage dresser scarves as the center pentagon.

And so I had some of my grandmother's doilies and dresser scarves scattered around the room. I noticed this one. 

It was probably made to put at the top of a chair back, to protect the upholstery from the oil from someone's hair. I didn't think to take a picture until I'd already started taking it apart, but I think you can get the idea what it looked like when she made it.

My grandmother inspired me to learn to quilt. She was long gone by the time I learned, but she was the quilter I knew growing up. Her quilts were all hand-pieced and hand-quilted. She had a heart condition, and she was required to be lying down all but about 4 hours out of any given day. That meant she kept herself busy doing needlework, including embroidery and crochet. She could pick up the tiniest crochet hook and start pattern, no nothing. She just crocheted until she had created something lovely and delicate.

Well, okay, so I found those little circular pieces, but what could I do for squares? Then I remembered this fabric I'd picked up in our travels. I'd selected it for a certain purpose, but then ended up doing something completely different. (How many times have you done that?) And it seemed I could use the two things together somehow.

So, I cut apart an appropriate number of squares. (I liked those little messages on the selvage edge too.)

First, I laid out the blocks. They seemed a little boring until I added the brightly colored buttons, which also counted as circles.

And then I used a zigzag stitch to stitch the doilies to the you would for applique.

And then, I sewed all the blocks together.

And then, I added this pretty quilt block batik to three sides and the button jar panel to the fourth.

For quilting, I selected this variegated thread. It had all the right colors.

And then I quilted it with a simple dot-to-dot motif.

In the border, I quilted a sort of square stipple, and then I sewed on the buttons.

When the quilting was finished it looked like this.

I used another pretty pastel batik for the binding.

And then my quilt was finished!

I used this sewing-themed fabric on the back. My quilt was created by two quilters: my grandmother and me.

So, I hope you like my quilt. It isn't one of my more inspired creations, but I'm happy to have found another way to incorporate my grandmother's needlework into one of my projects.

 Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while…but our hearts forever. ~ Unknown

Moon Over Squircle


For this challenge, I used some silk scraps that I have collected over time but never done anything with.

I used the same collage technique as last time and I really enjoyed seeing the beautiful shapes that emerged from basically putting colour into a grid - although I decided, in the end, not to actually mark the grid and that allowed me to take a little poetic license with the moon! I have put more details over at Rainbow Hare.

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has made for this challenge :)

Circles and squares - oh this one was a challenge!

I was very excited when I saw this months theme of circles and squares, and prepared my brain for taking in all things round and curvy for inspiration.  Inspiration never struck and my sketchbook was looking very empty, until I sat myself down with the goal of just playing with shapes. 

I doodled and played with balance and scale, looked up cathedral window projects in pinterest, googled circles and squares which for some reason threw up lots of pastry buns, but nothing was making that lightbulb go off and I was starting to crave a cuppa and a chocolate croissant.

I remembered Leonardo daVinci's Vitruvian man, that shows the symmetry of the human body inside a circle, and started playing with circles inside squares and squares inside circles.  Eventually, I got something I was happy with and then I got stuck again.

I've noticed in these challenges that the greater challenge sometimes, when you have settled on an idea, is how to make it?  I thought  about needle turn applique or sew and turn inside out applique but eventually settled on raw edge applique using bondaweb.  

I realised, in the middle of making it, I should have used fabric mod podge as it doesnt fray and when you iron it, you can still move it, if you need to.  

The other thing I've learned with these challenges is my mind is often thinking of bed quilts when I'm brainstorming and sometimes the idea wants to a bigger piece.  I struggle with that; keeping it small so the project is manageable in the timeframe and fun to make, and not a burden that a bigger project would be.  This is what I think it could be made large: 

 But for this challenge I decied to make the one flower and chose the slanted stalk over the lollipop look of the straight one.  I thought it might look a bit contrived at such a jaunty angle but I think it works.  For some reason we all agreed on orange binding (feels a bit Irish Flag to me!).  I did suggest Fuchsia but Orange won out - probably the influece of Halloween colours being so prominent at this time of year.  

 So here you have it : a cirle and square inspired spring flower in the middle of Autumn!

Dare to be Square

 I had so many ideas for this quarter's challenge - Circles and Squares, that I had real difficulty narrowing the options down to just one project. In the end my inspiration was a quilt, that I came across on a random swipe through Pinterest, with fabric circles appliqued to a background quilted in squares.

I decided to up the ante for the theme by having a black and white gingham fabric for the background and using only dotty fabric for my appliqued circles.


The gingham background fabric was quilted rows in a grid pattern and all of the appliqued circle were shadow quilted in the round (or just appliqued for the smaller circles) except this one hence the name of this quilt :)

I love receiving, and fortunately, my family are happy to buy me as birthday and Christmas presents, perfume from a well-known perfumier, who tie up their lovely cream and black boxes and bags with black grosgrain ribbon. I have a nice, little store of this ribbon which I was able to use to bind this challenge quilt. It is only wide enough for a single width binding, which I have stitched down with a zig-zag stitch all round. 


One of my other intentions for this challenge was a Halloween themed noughts and crosses quilt for the grandsons, so when I changed my mind to make Dare to be Square instead nearly all of my dotty fabrics were from a Halloween layer cake. 


So, along with the cushion from last year's Challenge I had the ideal setting for our hall table for Halloween last night :)

Happy to have completed another Endeavourers Challenge and looking forward to seeing the always fabulous projects my fellow Endeavourers have produced this quarter. 

If you would like to see what else I have been sewing for Halloween head on over to Celtic Thistle Stitches for a quick peek :)

Squares and Circles

 I saw a show with interlocking ovals and circles and thought I'd try something like it. The circles are raw edge applique and did fancy stitching around the inside and outside of the larger circles. A few beads were added after finished the quilting. The colors seem to have muted with the photo - there is more red in the original piece.