Knitting and Stitching show 2021

I have been going to the Knitting and Stitching show for many years – always in Harrogate. But this year, now I live in the South of England, I went to Alexandra Palace in London, just seen in the photo, beyond the lily pond in the park.

This was my first visit to the place where the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) first sent out a signal. There is a blue plaque to mark this.

There is an extensive view out over London from the terrace around the building.

I met my friend Rose at the entrance; it was nice to enjoy the show in her company. Now, I will share some of the highlights for me of this year’s show.

First of all, we encountered this astonishing wall of trees:

The ‘Stitch a Tree’ project was part of a bigger project called ‘Thread Bearing Witness’, started in 2017 by Alice Kettle. Participants – who included refugees and others who are seeking asylum – were asked to stitch a tree. ‘The Refugee Resilience Collective inspired this project; they worked with children at a refugee camp to create ‘a forest of tree drawings’.

This extensive piece ‘[De]Constructed Cloth’, by Hannah Lamb, caught my eye. It explores the rise and fall of the West Yorkshire textile industry, using cyanotype printing.

I loved the wit of this piece ‘I do believe we are muted’ by Philippa Moggridge:

This beautiful embroidered chair was just one of the delights on Kate Wells stand.

This close-up of the stitching reveals the extensive stitching which has produced the rich result above.

On The Embroiderers’ Guild stand, this richly embroidered piece by Erin Ledsom ( a Hand Embroidery Degree graduate.

Once again, the detail of the stitching shows the astonishing variety of stitch techniques providing the texture in the piece.

The richness and variety of techniques in this embroidery ‘Spoon Fed Love’ by Maria Thomas about the task of feeding her family drew me in.

…And just look at the row of Maria’s jackets with their wide variety of embellishment. I just loved these.

Winners from this year’s Festival of Quilts were also in the show (so consider this a ‘follow-on’ to the FoQ post I wrote here).

This was such an attractive and cohesive group quilt, made by members of Bristol Quilters, to celebrate their 40th (ruby) anniversary.

This quilt, by Valerie Mullally, was The Quilters’ Guild Challenge winner. It was inspired by a trip to Skellig island, Ireland and a Cornwall cliff walk. I liked the combination of impressions and images in the quilt.

This quilt by Sandra Newton was made during lockdown, using (according to the maker) ‘old print samples and leftovers’. Sandra was in the year above me when I did my City & Guilds Patchwork and Quilting course taught by Barbara Weeks. She went on to do the Diploma course and I watch her output with interest. this quilt won the Contemporary Category.

Finally, here are some gems from the 2020 Self Portrait Gallery. this redwork portrait is by Catherine Hill.

This delicate and emotive piece is by Lesley Wood.

This charming piece was by Aran Illingworth.

And this quirky, modern embroidery was by Deborah Collum.

What a rich and enjoyable day!

Amanda Jane Textiles offers unique fabrics for sale here, quilt patterns here and classes here

Summer Bouquets – adding the quilting

This post is part of the 2021 Quiltalong.  The plan is to complete a double-bed quilt by the end of the year. The fabrics used here are from ‘Summer Bouquets’ collection, available from Spoonflower (here).

The starter post with all the fabric requirements is here. Cutting instructions are here. The first block is here. The second block is here. Making the columns is here. Adding the sashing is here. Adding the internal borders is here. Adding the outer borders is here. Layering up the quilt is here.

Quilting tips

When you read a quilt pattern, the next stage is often given as ‘quilt as desired’. But if you have never made a quilt before, here are a few pointers.

You need to know how far apart to do your lines of quilting. This will depend on what wadding you have used and you need to check what the manufacturer specifies. For example, the label on the wadding might say ‘quilt up to 10″ (25cm) apart’. That means that the wadding will not disintegrate inside the quilt if your quilting lines are 10″ (25cm). If there is no label, then a good ‘rule of thumb’ is to make sure that quilting lines are no further apart that the width of your hand.

You can choose to quilt ‘in the ditch’, which means stitching (through all the layers of the quilt) on top of the seams between the blocks or parts of blocks.

Another option is ‘shadow quilting’ when you sew a quarter inch (6mm) either further out from a block (or other shape on the quilt) or further in. This emphasizes and shows up the shapes in the patchwork.

Alternatively you can choose to mark out and quilt a completely different pattern over the surface of the quilt which then provides a pleasing additional design feature. This is what I decided to do with the ‘Summer Bouquets’ quilt. Here are the instructions, if you want to do the same as me:

Using a template for all-over quilting

1 Make a lozenge-shaped template out of cardboard 8″ (203mm) in width at the centre and 4″ (102mm)high at the centre:s

2 Mark out a series of lozenges horizontally, in rows, across the quilt (not including the berry border). Use a specialist fabric marker or water-soluble pen.

3 When it comes to doing the quilting, you should start at the centre of the quilt and work upwards to the top and downwards to the bottom.

4 Begin by stitching the lower curve of the first lozenge, then go straight on to quilting the upper curve of the second lozenge.

5 When you get to the end of the row, take the quilt out of the machine and stitch along the same row of lozenges again. This time stitch the upper curve of the first lozenge and the lower curve of the second lozenge.

6 When the main part of the quilt top is covered, finish off the ends of each quilting row by burying the threads in the wadding,

7 Now mark a series of vertical lozenges in the borders, using the same template.

8 Use a rounded line on the corner.

9 Quilt each border in turn, doing two passes as in steps 4 and 5.

10 Finish off these threads too.

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