confessions of a fabric obsessive

Monthly Archives: December 2011

WIPs on Wednesday

Back to normal after the excitement of a new baby, and the chaos that was me preparing to have my two children back from University for the holidays.

It’s Wednesday, so here are my WIPs! The quilt for my new niece is slightly further along than this:

but this is the most recent photo. It’s not perfect (some of the corners don’t meet) but it’s better than I’ve ever done before, so I’m happy. I still need to quilt and bind it, but I’m going to leave it like this for a week or two and focus on getting some smaller WIPs out of the way.

colour hexalong almost finished

This hexagon mini quilt is another thing that has been put on the back burner, mostly while I made up my mind what to do with it. I made it as part of a quiltalong (more here and here). It is now (probably) definitely going to be a wall hanging, I’ll let you know how I turned it from a pile of fabric into an object of quilting when it’s done.

This is now finished!

Here is my glamorous assistant (Betty) modelling it so you can see what it looks like now.


I don’t have a “before” photo, but if you imagine this poncho with a polo neck but without the deeper colour, that’s pretty much what it looked like.

Lovely, but it was slightly itchy around the neck. I’ve also grown a bit (a-hem, widthways) since my sister bought it for me .

 As well as changing the collar, I added a little bit to the length (it’s a long story, you can read it here). I’m impressed with myself that I was able to crochet and knit enough to upcycle this poncho, but it was hard work remembering how to do it, as I haven’t knitted or crocheted since when I was a teenager. You Tube has some wonderful videos that helped to remind me how to cast on and stuff. I’m so happy that I can start wearing it again.

I’m also finishing off making some presents for my family, I’ll let you see the results and where I found the tutorials next week (I will have seen my brother and sister and their families by then, I live about a hundred miles away from most of them, so I don’t see them on Xmas day, but go to my parent’s for a few days leading up to my Mum’s birthday just before New Year, and I see them all then).

Happy New Year

Claire Bear

More WIPs here

I took the process pledge

“I, Claire, pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them in the right words or be sure I’m being totally clear. I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there.”

You know I tend to blog about what I do and not just post photos of the finished thing? I want to do it more often so I thought I might as well take the pledge.

Have a good holiday everyone

Claire Bear

Modern Vs Traditional…

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. These two Chur...

Image via Wikipedia


If you go by reading quilting blogs (as I do, because I have very little real life contact with other quilters) you would think that there is a bit of a rivalry between Modern Quilters and Traditional Quilters.

The quilting (stitching joining the top, back and wadding/batting) is often the same (whether hand or machine-stitched), it’s actually the patchwork that is different between the two groups.

Modern Quilters like to use bright punchy colours, geometric designs with a plainer background (including white), just do an image search (see this post from a little while ago if you don’t know, or can’t remember, how to image search) for “typical modern quilts” and you’ll see what I mean.

Here are some of my favourite modern quilts (see more on my pinterest boards here) as ever, hover on the photos for info about them, click on them to see the original blogs/websites

See what I mean about bright colours including white?

Traditional quilters are a bit more of a mixed bag. You can see a lot more muted, earthy tones, a lot more use of patterned fabrics, more symmetrical quilt blocks. Although they have been made recently with modern fabrics, I see a more vintage look to them.

Here are some of my favourite traditional quilts, some of these are antique:

For a more in depth discussion of traditional/modern quilting I going to refer you to Piecemeal Quilts and to the Modern Quilt Guild‘s website.

By the way, in case you are wondering why so many quilting blogs out in blogland are written by US bloggers, quilting is part of the US national psyche. Back when the USA was a British colony, the Brits banned cotton imports from the Old World to the colonies in any ships other than UK registered ones. This meant that wool and linen had to be used for everything and were in short supply. Clothes would be worn until they fell apart, then cut down to make children’s clothes which were worn until they fell apart, and were then cut up and used to make or stuff a quilt.

Winters were cold, blankets were hard to get hold of and expensive to buy, and a quilt made from old clothes and stuffed with paper, leaves or bits of fabric too small to sew would be the difference between a family surviving the winter and not. Little wonder that quilts and quilting bees became popular. In case you never heard of a quilting bee, it’s when female neighbours would gather together and work on one quilt at a time during the warmer weather (like a barn raising but without the barn or the dancing) so that the quilts would be really for use when the temperature dropped.

Curiously enough, if you look at the history of African and African-American Quilting, a lot of the quilt tops produced by these ladies would qualify as modern quilt in their use of colour and pattern. I guess there’s nothing new after all.

These are some of my favourite African American quilts (when I saw some of these I realised that Modern Quilting might not be that modern after all):

If you look at my quilts, you would think (as I do) that I’m a modern quilt kinda gal. So, what do I want more than any other quilt, and I know I won’t ever be good enough to make one for myself?

A Double Wedding Ring quilt.

About as traditional a pattern as you can get. To me the double wedding ring pattern always has a traditional and vintage look to it (which I adore) no matter how bright and funky the colours.

An old one,

a new one,

a borrowed one (well I'd borrow it!),

a blue one.

Want,want, WANT!!

Claire Bear

Cover of "Surviving the Winter: The Evolu...English: Decorative Indian-style quilt textile...

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