Curtain Calls

Hey there, been a bit quiet on the blog this week, I know - but actually it hasn't been all that quiet here.  Getting no.3 off to university in London, did not seem to be a quiet affair at all.  Anyhow, having managed to negotiate driving in central London and setting up said son in Halls, it seems quiet now.  It's a strange thing having the last one on the launch pad and in many ways, I do feel it is a little of 'job done'...what's next? Time to get seriously creative I think. 

So on this point - although I haven't had much time to sew - I have had time to keep up with things in the quilting world and wanted to tell you about a couple of them.  If you aren't already a fan of 'The Quilt Show' online then you certainly should  be - it is eye candy for anyone interested in this stuff.  The current programme is one of the best yet - featuring Priscilla Knoble of    Totally inspiring, Priscilla was born and grew up in Tokyo to American missionary parents and speaks fluent japanese.  Returning to college in America, she made her home in the US and is currently working for Adobe.  All round high flier, she also founded a publishing company to enable her to bring Japanese quilting know-how to the english speaking audience and has translated many of the revered 'Yoko Saito's' books.   She demos lots of japanesy quilting things which are just fantastic and very inspiring.  One of the things talked about is a 'work board' for use with handwork and this was something that immediately resonated with me.  I don't like working on slippery table top and this is the solution.  A custom made board - soft cotton on one side and a nonslip surface on the other, so you can use either.  You can buy them ofcourse, but Ms Knoble suggests you have a go at making one yourself and I did just this.  

Here's what you need:

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One piece of hardboard cut to whatever size you want: spray glue: wadding: some plainish, darkish cotton fabric: and some non slip fabric like suedette or fake leather (which I bought cheaply in our local market).

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Cut your wadding to exactly the same size as your board and spray baste it making sure to smooth out any wrinkles.  Then cut your cotton fabric to about 1" bigger on all sides, press and starch it and spray baste that over the wadding, making sure there are no bubbles.  I had never used spray upholstery glue before - its excellent for this sort of thing.

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Then simpy cut your non slip backing to about 1 cm less than the size of the board and glue that on too, making sure all your cotton is firmly attached and tucked in.  Eh Voila!! A fantastic work board for all hand work - its going to be perfect for some winter embroidery and applique projects.

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This is just a small tip on the programme - it's loaded and the books look just amazing.
You can find them on the Willow Lane website, but watch the show - it's awesome!!!  You can also find a trailer on youtube.

Also if you are looking to hook up with all the latest fabric ranges and patterns - sign up for the newsletter at Hawthorne Threads at   I love their website and their choice of fabrics and their weekly newsletter will keep you appraised of loads of new fabric ranges that are now flooding the market.

So quilt gossip aside ... the only thing I have managed to get finished in the last ten days is my 'oh so frustrating diamond panel quilted door curtain.   All I can say is 'TA DA'!! and I can't scream it loud enough.

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This was not an easy make. 
It was a bit of a struggle to manhandle such a large thing, but somehow it did all come together well in the end and a few things really helped.  I used very lightweight linen on the top layer, excepting the patchwork panel and a reasonably lightweight lining too.  The thermal wadding layer, which I bought in Dunelm was actually dreamy to work with.  100% cotton, but a tighter weave than most wadding I use and not at all fluffy.  The other two layers stuck to it nicely and once smoothed out and pinned - it didn't budge at all in sewing.   I just chose to quilt in simple lines around the diamonds and then in long vertical lines down the linen measured at 6 inches apart, because that's with width of my ruler and it was easy to draw the lines on.  After stitching each line, I simply ironed the next section before sewing to be sure it was as smooth as possible.  I was pleased as well with the red top and tail on it, which kind of boxed in the flimsy linen and the patchwork.  I made a simple bias binding ribbon for the hem, which added some firmness to the edge which drifts along the carpet.

In the end, it turned out exactly like I had planned and is warm and cosy and should defeat the cold north wind, if it should come to call at our door this winter.  A bientot mes amis! Ruby x