Saturday, 18 March 2017

Modern quilting ....

Last September I attended the inaugural meeting of the Oxfordshire Modern Quilt Guild.  Whilst it's not particularly local to me, it was a chance to meet and sew with other people who shared a love of modern quilting.  I had been thinking about setting up a group in the Midlands for a while so when I saw a post on IG I jumped at the chance.

Best in Show
Pieced and quilted by Katherine Jones
Chigwell, Tasmania, Australia
Tasmanian Modern Quilt Guild
Last Saturday we had our March meeting and of course the topic of QuiltCon came up.  I had dearly hoped to attend this year and we had even tentatively planned a family holiday around it but then the girls decided to go to school ..... oh well there's always next year and the year after that and the year after that .....

Group and Bee: 1st Place
Direction Optional

Pieced by Stephanie Ruyle, Leanne Chahley, Karen Foster, Hillary Goodwin, Marci Debetaz, MR Charbonneau, Felicity Ronaghan, Debbie Jeske, Anne Sullivan, Kari Vojtechovsky
Quilted by Christine Perrigo Denver, CO, United States
Denver Metro Modern Quilt Guild
I have really enjoyed reading some accounts of QuiltCon and thought I would share the links here for you if you care to read them.  Also please let me have your links if you have read a good account.

Kitty at Night Quilter

Jessica at Quilt Habit

Small Quilts: 2nd Place
Pieced and quilted by Paige Alexander

Easley, South Carolina, United States
Greenville Modern Quilt Guild
Whilst, of course, the event is all about the quilts the overriding feeling I get for the event is the people.  We are such a diverse group of people spread far and wide geographically so to be able to meet and mingle with so many like minded people must be amazing.  We have lots of Quilt Shows in the UK, see here for a list for this year, but nothing to rival QuiltCon in terms of the modern aspect.  Excitement is starting to build about Festival of Quilts in August, entry forms are out, workshop and lecture booking will soon open.  For the first time last year they had a Modern Category which was great.  I am hoping more people will enter this category this year and make it a permanent fixture. I wrote a review about FoQ last year which you can read here.

The other Quilt Show with a dedicated Modern Category is the British Quilt & Stitch Village.  I visited for the first time last and have decided to enter a modern quilt this year.  It is based on the block I designed for the Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop last year.

The top is done but has yet to get quilted - I am hoping to get this on the frame this weekend with a view to quilting it next week.  In other MQG news I am off on retreat!  At FoQ last year I met a lady who had pattern tested for me and she is involved with the Jersey MQG.  She invited me to their retreat and that is where I am headed next week.  I am very excited to be going and looking forward a wonderful few days of sewing and quilting amongst others.

The pictures in this post come from the MQG website where there is a full list of all the winners.  Of course, winning is not everything and quilt shows would not happen with people entering their quilts.  Jess, from Elven Garden Quilts, recently wrote on the subject, On quilts shows and ribbons, wihch is really worth a read.

Hope you all have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

2017FAL :: Meet the Host :: It's me!!

Back in November I was surprised and delighted to open an email from Rhonda inviting me to become one of the global host of the 2017 Finish-A-Long.  There are 13 of us in all and over the course of the year we'll be introducing ourselves.  Nicky from Mrs Sew and Sow started off in January followed by Jess from Elven Garden Quilts in February and now in March it's my turn.

Hello, my name is Abigail and I blog here at cut&alter.  I found the FAL late on in 2015 and couldn't believe how it motivated me to get things finished.  I have always been a list maker and the FAL is no exception.  My lists are somewhat larger then most people's, although I have certainly seen longer aswell!  I know that I will never get everything ticked off within the current Quarter but it does give me 1) accountability 2) a reason to tidy up and reorganise my studio each quarter to find those projects which have been languishing on shelves and at the bottom of boxes 3) it brings projects to the front of my mind and a lot of work goes on in my mind even before I get in the studio 4) if a project has been rolled over just one too many times I can then see that it's probably never going to get finished and I can pass it on (does that count as a finish?!!).  Last quarter I had a particularly low completion rate and this one is shaping up to be the same but I have a few finishes and some projects are considerably further on!  

A current quarter finish
I live in Stratford upon Avon  with my husband, who is from New Zealand, our two daughters and a black and white cat.  We have been back in the UK for just over 4 years and prior to that we lived in Otaki, New Zealand.  We have been called gypsies before now due to our constant moving, and usually not within the same area.  This is the longest time I have ever lived anywhere!  (Can you keep a secret?  Maybe, just maybe, my feet are itching again!)  Some of the other places I have lived are:  Nottingham, Leamington Spa, Sydney, Wellington, London, Waihi Beach, Cambridge, Tauranga, Rowington, Shirley, Waitarere Beach and Feilding.  The whole idea of living here (the UK) or there (NZ) was the inspiration for this quilt.  I was delighted when Should I Stay or Should I Go? was awarded Best Piecing in Show last November in Bristol!

Up until January this year I home educated the girls, which was brilliant.  I always felt honoured to have as much time with them as I did and whilst it certainly was tiring and had its moments we had a lot of fun along the way.  They have now started school, primary and secondary, and have settled in really well.  We have a new rhythm in our lives which, for me, is taking some getting used to.  I thought I would have all the time in the world, that I would have time to sew, quilt, go to the gym, make lovely healthy food ...... oh silly, silly me!!  You don't actually get much done in the six hours between 9am and 3pm do you?!!  One thing I have done is learn to do improv curves - I love them!!!!

I have been sewing since a child but, like a lot of women, I came back to sewing when my first child was born, although I had been making curtains for our houses every time we moved!  Little children's clothes are such a pleasure to make - fitting is not important, they don't use much material and they are quick (although when sleep deprived they sometimes didn't seem to be that quick).  I had made a puff patchwork quilt for my eldest soon after she was born and then made a simple square quilt from vintage Laura Ashley soft furnishing fabric from our various childhood houses.  These two quilts are well loved and well worn!

It wasn't until 2010 that I 'learnt' to quilt.  I took a 6 week night class in NZ and a passion was born.  I joined my local quilt club and I listened to the other ladies of my group talking about all their WIPs.  I was horrified!  I vowed that I would never have projects sitting on my shelf - I would start and finish one before embarking on another.  Oh how naive I was!  Needless to say I have lots of projects on the go all of differing ages.  Last year I finished my most long standing project - ANZAC Hearts, it was on my FAL2016 Quarter 2 list!  This was a Bee quilt and I love it - luckily as much now as when I started it in 2010!

Back in 2015 I made the decision to purchase a longarm quilting machine and I totally love it!!!  I bought a Handi Quilter Avante and it brings me a lot of joy.  With the girls at home I did not have the time I would have liked for learning and practising but I am getting there.  I have done a few customer quilts and hope to do more this coming year.  Before then I have a backlog of my own tops that are waiting to be done.  This was the first quilt I quilted on my machine ....

Wow - this has become a longer post than I thought.  When I first sat down to write this I did wonder what I would write!  So, here's a quick 10  9 other things about me to finish  (I got stuck on No 10!):

1.  I make quilts for Project Linus

2.  I am a member of the Oxfordshire Modern Quilt Guild

3.  I am left handed

4.  At 25 I spent a week in Coober Pedy, having read about it as child of 12 - it was awesome!

5.  I love salads

6.  I have only ever spent one night in hospital and that was with my daughter when she was 3 and had to have her tonsils out

7.  Both my children were born at home - one in NZ and one in UK

8.  I will go to QuiltCon ...... one day!

9.  I would love to go to Alaska

There you have it!  Remember there's just a couple of weeks left for you to get your Quarter 1 list project finished.  The link up opens on 26 March and will remain open until 01 April.  Be sure to link up because there are amazing prizes to won (and I should know because I have won twice before!!)  I look forward to seeing all the finished projects this quarter. x

I am also linking up to Lorna's Let's Bee Social today!