The 31st October is Reformation Day!

Today, 31st October 2017, is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther pinning his 95 ‘theses’ (topics for discussion) to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. The discussions led to radical changes in the theology and practices of the Christian church which had become distorted through Medieval times. What Martin Luther began is still very relevant today.

The Reformation represents a move to place God as he has revealed himself in Christ at the centre of the church’s life and thought.

Carl R. Trueman ‘Reformation Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

The discussions spread across Europe, helped by the advent of the printing press and the determination of many Reformers to translate the Bible from the Latin language, which the vast majority of people did not understand, into the spoken languages of the people.

Martin Luther, a scholarly monk, had massive struggles with sin and guilt and found the practices of the medieval church did not bring him peace with God. He spent hours in confession, always trying to better his thinking and behaviour in order to earn God’s favour.

As he studied the Bible he came to understand and to preach the Gospel truth that peace with God is found through Jesus. No amount of being ‘good’ and doing ‘good’ will put us right with God. His is the gold standard. The Old Testament is a history of God’s people trying to keep right with God, failing, and using a system of animal and  grain sacrifices to visualise their need for cleansing from sin and God’s forgiveness.

What the Reformers re-discovered was the heart of the Gospel. Our right relationship with God can not be earned by good works ‘for all have fallen short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). We need to turn instead to the once for all sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf (Hebrews 7:27). It is by God’s grace that we have salvation through Jesus. Nothing we do can gain us salvation:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8

To think that by being ‘good’ we’ll be saved is to disregard the cross and ignore the saving grace of God through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

On this Reformation Day I’d urge you to read a Gospel; Matthew, Mark, Luke or John and find out afresh who Jesus is. Put to one side any misgivings you may have about faulty Churches and hypocritical Christians, instead find out about Jesus.

Happy Reformation Day!

Allison

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Quilting progress

Stitch ripper meets puckers. Allison Reid, New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

Stitch ripper meets puckers 😦

I’ve been having trouble with fabric puckering and creasing whilst quilting my latest project. I concluded that stitching curved lines with the walking foot was at the root of my problems but other factors were playing their part too. I ended my recent post entitled ‘Quilting Troubles’ with a list of actions that might solve the problems.

I opted for the radical approach: carefully removed all the quilting stitches; removed the basting pins; starched and pressed quilt top and backing before putting the quilt sandwich back together again. I decided to go for some dense pinning – about two inches apart . A quick walk to HobbyCraft was required to purchase two new packs of curved pins. In the end I used about 470 pins on this quilt that measures around 46″ square (it makes a lovely metallic clinking sound when I move it across a table top!).

Pin basting. Allison Reid New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

Originally I chose to just run in-the-ditch stabilising stitches in the seams between the borders and the quilt centre. Second time around I’ve stitched several rows of in-the-ditch stabilising stitches in concentric squares starting with stitching around the centre four squares.

I was in two minds about whether or not to repeat the orange peel quilting design that had created the puckers. Whilst still pondering, I read Amanda Jean Nyberg’s post about her latest quilt on her blog site, Crazy Mom Quilts. I’d in no way compare myself to such a talented and prolific quilt designer-maker but I did take comfort from reading that she’d had issues quilting curved lines across her quilt. Amanda Jean had unpicked her first few lines of quilt stitches and then replaced her walking foot with a free motion foot before successfully completing the quilting. Humm! Time for me to stop dithering and try out free motion quilting the orange peel curves. Using a large circular table mat as my template I marked the curves using a chalk Chaco Marker.

Orange peel quilting - Allison Reid New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

There are some wobbly stitches on some of the curves and my stitches are not a consistent size but so far there are no puckers or signs of the fabric becoming distorted 🙂 Happy Dance!

Close up free motion orange peel quilting

I’ve made too many changes from first to second attempt to come to a scientific conclusion as to what the improvement is down to: starching the top and backing; doubling the number of basting pins; increasing the amount of stabilising stitching; using free motion stitching to quilt curves? I think all these have played a part in preventing the fabrics distorting under the machine needle thus reducing the occurrence of puckers and tucks. Thankfully not all quilts are this ‘high maintenance’ but it is worth making some changes and having a second go if the quilting is not successful first time around 🙂

Linking with Lorna for her 200th Let’s Bee Social.

And with Yvonne for Tips and Tutorials Tuesday. One contributor, Luna Lovequilts, has linked her method for basting a quilt…

Allison

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Quilting troubles

This weekend I’ve sandwiched two quilts. One, a gift, shall remain under wraps, the other is my latest version of the Purple Stitches Beginners Quilt which I’ve been making whilst demonstrating various quilt making techniques to my class.

Beginners Quilt (3) Allison Reid New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

I put together this little quilt, measuring approx 45″ square, using 5″ squares cut from a Moda 30’s Playtime layer cake. The border is Kona Snow and the backing is an extra wide fabric by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufman. I’ve used my last piece of Quilter’s Dream Poly batting in the middle of the sandwich.

Back of Beginners Quilt (3) Allison Reid New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

Back of quilt showing orange peel design

As I was pin basting the quilt I gave some thought to which quilting pattern(s) I could use. My final decision: to secure the layers by stitching in-the-ditch between the centre of the quilt and the borders before continuing to use the walking foot to create a large ‘orange peel’ pattern across the quilt centre. The in-the-ditch stitching went without a hitch (that’s a lot of ‘itches’!), my troubles began as I stitched out the gentle curves of the orange peel design. Fabric puckers at the intersections of stitching lines and baggy fabric as the orange peel lines finished against the border quilt stitching. *SIGH*

Fabric puckering against the border. Allison Reid New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

Fabric puckering against the border.

Fabric bulging as stitching lines cross. Allison Reid New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

Fabric bulging as stitching lines cross.

It was getting on for 9pm – time to stop and not the best part of the day for reasoned decision-making (not for me anyway). So, I left the quilt, got a good nights sleep and took a long hard look at it ‘in the cold light of day’. Hum! Continuing with the same type of stitching pattern would only exacerbate the puckering issues I felt sure.

Stitch ripper meets puckers. Allison Reid, New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

Stitch ripper meets puckers Double 😦

Sad to say, my conclusion is I should unpick the orange peel lines and begin again. Doh! Doh! Doh! Two years ago I had problems with puckering whilst using a walking foot – I posted ‘Quilting and the monster in me!’ and received some good advice which I’ve carried through all my projects since then.

So why has the puckering problem returned???? I think it has a lot to do with the action of turning a quilt under the machine’s pressure foot to achieve a curved line of stitching when the machine was designed to stitch lovely straight lines. I reckon the layers of the quilt get pushed across each other whilst under the foot (despite the presence of basting pins) and then the fabric relaxes back against the stitches once out from under the grip of the pressure foot and my fingers. I found a couple of useful pucker-avoiding demonstrations on You Tube: Aurora Sisneros shows how to aid the walking foot by pushing the top fabric towards the foot and Marguerita McManus gets to grip with saying ‘presser foot pressure’ and demonstrating how adjusting the presser foot pressure can significantly affect the efficiency of a walking foot.

Once all the stitches have been removed *SIGH* I will consider:

  1. Starching the top and backing as a way of preventing the fabric being distorted by me attempting to stitch curves (this would involve ‘un’basting and ‘re’basting 😦 );
  2. Being more diligent re. lifting the foot and re-positioning the quilt several times through each curve rather than relying on stitching slowly and turning (but probably twisting) the quilt sandwich;
  3. Using Aurora’s technique of actively pushing puckering fabric towards the presser foot;
  4. Doing 3. and sticking to straight line quilting.
  5. Free motion quilting the orange peel design (or a completely different design?).

If you have any other suggestions to avoid puckering when quilting with a walking foot please do add a comment to the end of this post. Much appreciated, thank you!

Linking with Kathy at Slow Sunday (un)Stitching. Kathy asks at the end of her linky post:

What are you hand stitching today? Are you having success or do you need a little help from your friends?

Well! Kathy….as it happens… 😉

Allison

 

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A walk around the rooftops of The Vyne

We are very fortunate in the UK to have organisations such as English Heritage and the National Trust caring for sites of historical interest and/or natural beauty. Fifteen minutes drive from our home is The Vyne a property run by the National Trust.

The Vyne house, Hampshire.

The Vyne. The adjoining Tudor Chapel is just to the left of the 17th Century house.

The Vyne was a palace built in the early 1500’s by Lord William Sandys. He was Lord Chamberlain to the King and his guests included King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. By the time Chaloner Chute bought the house in 1653 it was in a poor state of repair and much too large for his needs. Much of the Tudor house was demolished (leaving the Chapel and the Oak Gallery intact) and an extensive building programme was carried out to bring the house up to modern standards. A couple of centuries later the Victorian owner, William Wiggett Chute, carried out much needed repairs on the patchwork of roofs. More information about the history and architectural significance of The Vyne here.

In 2017, after several areas of The Vyne house were damaged by water leaking in through the roof, the National Trust took the brave decision to have the whole roof renovated. A huge network of scaffolding was erected around and over the entire building.

The Vyne undergoing roof repairs October 2017

Amazingly this was done in such a way that the public can take a lift (or 74 steps) up to walkways carefully constructed over the top of the house. Up on the walkways, under the protection of the plastic swathed scaffolding it is rather disorientating trying to remember that you standing above a three storey building.

The Vyne underwraps May 2017

We first took the trip to the roof top walk back in May and returned again just a few days ago. It is fascinating watching the carpenters, stonemasons and roofers using their skills to weatherproof such an historic building. I hope you’ll enjoy looking into these photos, seeing the centuries old beams, bricks and tiles that have been exposed and brought to eye-level.

Mason at work on the roof of The Vyne

As much as possible the renovations are conserving the original materials: lead taken from the roof has been melted and reformed into sheets, using similar methods to those of 500 years ago, and is being fitted back onto the roof; the slender brick chimneys that were leaning alarmingly have been dismantled and rebuilt brick by brick with the addition of metal rods fitted like skewers through the layers to keep them straight; even the centuries old wooden beams have been left in place wherever possible.

Working on the roof of The Vyne

Roof of the Chapel. The Vyne May 2017

In May the roof of the Tudor Chapel was left intact to allow bats to continue using the roof space as a nursery!

Chapel roof The Vyne October 2017

By October the bats had left the Chapel roof and restoration work began in earnest. Amazing to think those beams and bricks are 500 years old!

New roof tiles in place above the Tudor Oak Gallery of The Vyne

 

New tiles and bat tunnels at The Vyne October 2017
Tiles and bat tunnels ready to be fixed to a restored section of roof

Not all the materials could be saved: it was decided to replace all of the tiles (the replacements have been made in a similar way and of similar materials to the originals) and many crumbling coping stones have been removed and skillfully replaced by fresh ones in a more weather resistant stone. There are 21st Century innovations too: fire proof cladding and insulating materials; tunnels to encourage bats to return to their roosts; hatches to allow easier access to the roof for maintenance and a secure safety wire so in the future (when all the scaffolding has been removed) workmen on the roof can be harnessed and safe.

The work on the roof is scheduled to finish in January 2018.

Thank you for taking time to get to the end of this post. I hope you’ll forgive me an occasional post away from patchwork and quilting? 😀

And a reminder that I continue to update my Pinterest boards as a contribution to this great worldwide patchwork and quilting community – see my latest finds on the board Pins of the Week.

Allison

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A seasonal finish

We do have a basic routine in our household. Both husband and live-in son work Monday to Friday, leaving home around 8am and getting back for dinner around 6pm. But the routine is ‘subject to change’ and today is feeling particularly strange with both men out of the house at 7am and not due back to gone 9pm. The only item in today’s rectangle of the calendar is a grocery delivery. That means there’s a lot of time for sewing … 🙂

 

Just as well, because you will not be surprised to read that I have several projects on the go… I have to be a tease and not disclose the project on the design wall as it is a gift but other projects spread around the sewing room include two requiring binding, the litter of foundation paper piecing (practicing for the Chocolatier BOM workshop next Tuesday) and the flimsy patchwork top which is my working example for the Beginners Class (lesson 2 on Saturday) – sorry I don’t yet have a photo of this project.

What I’ve been itching to share is one of those ‘pop up’ projects that wasn’t really on the schedule but just kinda happened. I bought the fabrics when we were on holiday in July.

New Every Morning holiday purchases

My holiday purchases

A roll of twenty 2½” strips and a 2m length of background fabric. I stroked the fabrics while sat in the Derbyshire cottage and sketched out a quilt top design – aiming to use every inch of the strips.

 

 

 

New Every Morning 'Changing Seasons' PatternTwo weeks ago I took the design and the fabrics to the monthly sewing day at Brown Candover. I followed my scruffy sketch and put together most of the top in just one day 🙂 At home in the evening I realised I’d made a bit of a boo-boo: I’d cut the strips using the finished length of the pieces, failing to add the seam allowances! The quilt is slightly narrower than it would have been and I had to fiddle the spacing of the ‘dot-dash’ rows at the top and bottom of the quilt but otherwise no problems emerged from the not-so deliberate mistake. Whew!

Changing Seasons quilt by Allison Reid, New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

Once the quilt top was up on the design wall I started to doubt the colour combinations. Mainly worried that other people might not like it (my Mum’s reaction was a little muted!). I looked around for personal reassurance and found what I needed in our little garden.

 

Temperatures are dipping at night now and hours of daylight have dropped off noticeably but many flowering plants are hanging on. I found bright summer pinks glowing against yellowing leaves, deep shadows and rich golds. I’ve named my quilt ‘Changing Seasons’ to hi-light it’s colour palette which, I feel, reflects the move from Summer into Autumn.

Discovering those colours in my garden enabled me to fall properly in love with this quilt. I was struck by the feelings I was experiencing as I worked on it, coming to the conclusion I’m enjoying the whole process of putting it together and being able to relish the unusual colour combinations because I’ve stopped fearing what anyone else thinks of it! I spend a lot of my creative time designing and making things that I hope other people will like – purchase even. Don’t get me wrong, that’s great: I get to practice skills; and face fresh challenges. Conversely though, making things to please other people can restrict opportunities to try fresh techniques and lead to much self doubt and discouragement.

Determined ‘Changing Seasons’ would not become another unfinished project I’ve kept it ticking over – purchasing the backing fabric, cobbling together a piece of wadding and pinning the quilt sandwich. I pondered a while over the quilting, eventually deciding to go with the seasons theme. I marked a large semi-circle (drawing around a tea tray!) on each of the four sides of the quilt – four seasons. I echoed those semi-circles using a walking foot with line guide attached. The semi-circles radiate out and overlap the semi-circles from the adjacent side of the quilt – seasons merging.

View of back, Changing Seasons by Allison Reid, New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

I stopped echoing before the semicircles started to overlap in the centre of the quilt – to prevent winter overlapping summer or autumn overlapping spring (I was really getting into the theme by then and those overlaps just wouldn’t have been ‘right’!). Actually that’s as far as the theme stretched in my quilting. The remaining designs were far more influenced by the limitations of my skills than my creative juices! I filled the centre with concentric echos of the strange shape created by the advancing semi-circles and filled the four outer half-moon shapes with a free-motion quilting design that looks like ripples of water (I guess water, in all it’s guises, is common to the four seasons – in temperate climes at least?).

Changing Seasons quilt label by Allison Reid, New Every Morning Patchwork & QuiltingI’m endeavoring to be very organised re. labeling my quilts. I made the label for Changing Seasons before I put together the quilt sandwich, using a zigzag stitch to attach it to the backing fabric. I like to do this for two reasons: 1. the label becomes an integral part of the quilt; 2. attaching the label doesn’t become the ‘can I be bothered?’ stumbling block right on the finishing line. 😀

Linking with Myra for Finished or not Friday – she is sharing her latest quilt design. And linking with Beth – who has been quilting like crazy to get through feeling overwhelmed – for Main Crush Monday as I’m definitely crushing on this quilt!

Hope you are finding joy in your creativity 🙂

Allison

 

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