confessions of a fabric obsessive

Category Archives: quilting

New quilt top (bad blogger)

Bad blogger for abandoning your blog!

You know sometimes when you just can’t get out of bed or off the sofa to do anything, and the list of things you need to do gets longer than the list of things you want to do, or even the list of things you can do? That’s been me the last few weeks. Gotta love that SAD!

Although better this winter than for many years due to eating properly for once (at least 5 fruit and veg a day and no alcohol)  and having a child- and responsibility-free lifestyle now, I guess SAD had to hit eventually (seasonal affective disorder, or depression brought on/worsened during the winter months, I have the milder version known as seasonal affective syndrome, but I’m going to refer to it as SAD because that’s the name that people recognise and you can google it).

Essential tasks only… paying utility bills, occasionally even cleaning  the place. Not much blogging, as you may have noticed…

Although… I did get fed up with not sewing the other day and made a quilt top, and then my sewing machine annoyed me so much (it’s having serious tension issues) that I stripped it down, removed a year’s worth of broken threads and replaced the light bulb that went months ago. Actually, that’s not bad going all things considered: a quilt top and a semi-serviced machine! Yay me!

My plan for a boy quilt (see I even planned) that I wanted to make out of old jeans:

Big squares of denim (some with the pockets attached) separated by white cotton sashing and backed with navy fleece (for softness). Photo as part of my Process Pledge.

Only two problems with this plan:.

1) trying to get the big squares of denim cut from old jeans,

2) not having nearly enough sashing.

A-ha! to plan B! (I’ll just archive this plan for another time when I can make sure that I measure and cut the denim properly and have enough sashing!)

Plan B = Random scrappy quilt using denim and fleece, cut to the same length but different widths (or same width but different lengths?).

Right now it looks like this:

(I would apologise for the less than great photography, but it’s raining right now, and I got wet taking this photo)

Not bad, huh? Looks better now, hanging up than it did on Friday night at never-mind o’clock. And yes, all of the jeans pockets along the bottom actually are pockets you could use them for whatever you want. No matter which way up the quilt is (almost,) you have a pocket the right way up.

I didn’t realise that all of the little-bits-of-fleece-with-sashing-round-them are all at the top.

Things I learnt making this quilt top (I’ll get around to backing and quilting it when someone says “oh I love it, can I buy it” but I’m still counting it as my “Monthly Make” for February)

  1. Small stitch length when piecing works really well.
  2. I can now reverse appliqué (fourth column from the left, top block)
  3. I can improv-piece weird-shape scraps ( 2nd column, 2nd block)
  4. I can piece stretchy fabrics (in this photo, if it doesn’t look like denim, it’s fleece and fleece is streeetchy) by using iron-on interfacing
  5. I need to check that the interfacing I’m using is iron-on before I start ironing, you can iron-on sew-in interfacing, but it doesn’t stay put for long (although it does still stabilise the quilt block)
  6. Sewing denim to something else is physically easier than sewing denim to denim, especially when it comes to joining rows.
  7. Quilt tops look different hanging on my washing line than they do spread out on my “design wall” (sofa).

Actually quite proud of this. Usually I’m really control-freaky about colour and layout, but I just went with the flow on this one, and it looks cool (still going to be all control-freaky on the rest of my quilts, just glad I can go random when I want to).

No idea when I’ll be posting next, I’ll try to make it something interesting.

Thanks for bearing with me,

Claire Bear

Other quilts I made: My Daughter’s Quilt, ZigZag Rainbow Quilt, Rainbow Stack of Coins Quilt

New Quiltalong – Craftsy Block of the Month

As I’ve almost completed my WIPs (apart from a huge bespoke quilt that I’ll tell you about in a few months’ time when I’ve got somewhere with it), so I’ve been looking around for a way of extending my quilting skills. I signed up for this Block of the Month course on Craftsy, mostly because it’s free. You get a video tutorial and a pdf with written instructions for 2 blocks every month.

I’ve decided to use fabric I already have in my stash to do it, so the whole year’s worth of blocks should be pretty cheap inexpensive to make into a quilt.

I’ve been wanting to use this Mono mini-bundle of fat quarters,

Mono fat quarter mini-bundle in Claire Bear Shop on Etsy, 100% cotton, £5 plus shipping.

click to see other items in my shop

that I stock in my  Claire Bear Shop  on Etsy, for ages. I have quite a bit of the pattern fabric and more grey and black in my stash, obviously.

Being me I couldn’t use grey on its own, so I decided to add some of the plain cotton in my stash. After two days of looking at a pile on my coffee table, I have settled on the fabrics below to add a restrained,  fruity splash of colour to my monochrome quilt.

I see pear, lime, lemon, apricot, pale peach and nectarine. I can't stop looking at this combination of colours, it's so pretty!

The proportions of colour in this quilt are going to be; mostly monochrome (white/grey/black) with a just flash of colour in most of the blocks but not all of them (aren’t I being restrained?) I’ll keep you posted throughout the year, so you can see how I get on (or not).

This will not end up being mostly colour with a bit of monochrome. Definitely not.

I can do this!! And yes, I will iron everything first. Promise.

Happy 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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