Archive for category Patchwork and Quilting Projects – General
After all the octagons
and all the squares, the large triangles and the small triangles,
and the seemingly endless ends to be sewn in.
After going maverick and doing a slightly different border in different colours,
taking a deep breath, hand washing it and spinning it for a short time tied in a pillow case with a couple of bath sheets to prevent too much agitation, as recommended,
blocking it out to a 45 inch square on several yoga mats
I started this in late October when I was in the U.K. looking after my Mum with my sisters.
Finished in April just before going back over to the U.K. to see my daughter in her new flat for the first time.
I’ve loved every minute of making this – well, apart from sewing in the ends that is but, if you do them as you go along it’s not so bad.
I would never have put all these colours together myself but it’s been so cleverly worked out that the overall effect is really stunning and just goes to prove that going outside your comfort colour zone now and then can be a revelation.
So – we put the flags out – or the patchwork flag up – something I’ve been
nagging reminding Mr. T. to help me with for some time now and, as you can see, it didn’t end up in the long, empty corridor as discussed in my earlier post but in the lovely old rickety wooden stairway leading up to the top floor.
Now, what’s next?
Actually, I won’t lie, I’ve already ordered another kit – a different one this time and it should be here by the time I get back from my U.K. trip so I’ll show you then but I am definitely going to make this one again in the future.
Well, I’ve got the pattern now, it would be silly not to.
At the moment, I am attempting to face my nemesis – the trousers (or pants if you are of the American persuasion) – and try to fit a pattern made for somebody with a bottom to somebody who hasn’t and that would be me. I have never been able to balance a wine glass on my generous behind like a Kardashian nor will I ever be described as ‘bootylicious’ but, back in the day, it wasn’t so fashionable to have a big bum so it never bothered me and these days nobody really cares about the size of my derrière apart from me and , even then, only enough to get a pair of trousers to fit it.
There are some sewing classes available locally which some of my friends attend regularly but I thought I’d go along for a couple to see if we could get my fitting problem sorted so I made a quick toile and took it along to the class where it was pinned and adjusted to the extent that I don’t think the pieces bear any relation to the original pattern any longer but do seem to fit me better now. I will let you know how that turns out.
Anyway, last time I used one of the teacher’s spare machines but I thought I might take my own next time as I’m so used to it.
Here is my naked machine.
You’ve seen the front of this before so here’s the reverse side – I had a garage in mind – just for a change.
However, this is definitely a ‘stay at home’ cover as it’s big and bulky and there is no carry handle.
You know those times when you go into your workroom or workspace and have absolutely no idea what you’re going to do and then, suddenly, you do? Well, that’s what happened here – time to make a ‘going out’ cover.
I basically followed a tutorial I found here and, although I debated making patchwork sides, I decided against it in the end and used some stash fabric I had lying about. I lined the interior with plain green cotton, put wadding between the layers for a bit of protection and quilted the lot with a simple diagonal.
The tutorial includes a fairly ingenious way of making the slot in the top for the handle which took me quite a bit of time to work out (my poor brain) but, once I got my head round it, worked really well. It involves some interfacing and a bit of tricksy turning and voila! I can’t explain it any better than the original – can you tell? – so I won’t try.
I constructed the side pockets as per the tutorial.
I finished off the bottom edge in the same, ready made single fold binding I used for the pockets as I have a big roll of it in my stash.
I’m not sure I’ll put all the cables and foot pedal in the side pockets – too heavy and bulky – but they will be handy for rulers, scissors, rotary cutter, markers, etc.
So, I’m ready for my next session now .
I have another, ‘spare’ machine which sits under a plastic cover and, while it probably isn’t going anywhere, it would look prettier in my workroom for having a fabric cover so next time a bit of spontaneous sewing time comes round I know what I’ll do. Does that mean I won’t be able to call it ‘spontaneous’ though?
If only it were so easy to fit a pair of trousers.
I’ll leave you with some ladies who have my share of ‘jelly’.
Probably four or five years ago I started a project and, after an enthusiastic start, I put it to one side, got involved with other things and that was that. It was, however, still peeking at me in an accusatory fashion from underneath other things on the shelves of my cutting table so, in an effort to finish what I started I pulled it all out again.
The project is a Moda bake shop ‘recipe’ by Lynne Goldsworthy (available here for free) and I liked the slightly raggedy look of the finished flag and the colours she used but, at that time, I’d never done much (if any) foundation paper piecing. Now I have so it was a bit of a shock to remember that this is not at all like that apart from the fact that paper is involved. In this method you cut up the fabric into squares using pinking shears (or cutter) and lay them on sheets of newspaper making sure they are overlapped by at least 1/4 inch. In fact, the easiest way is to use charm packs which already have pinked edges.
Then, you stitch down the pieces an 1/8 inch away from each pinked edge – which is why I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue with this project at first because it just seemed wrong to me. However, this method is what gives it the shabby look that I had liked initially.
You separate the colours into brown, red and cream and lay each colour on sheets of newspaper which you cut to a set size then sew them down with a small stitch so, in effect, you are making a new fabric which is sort of what you do in all patchwork but this is different in that the seams are showing on top. It feels a bit weird. It is also a bit of a pain because, unless you use a multitude of pins, it does try to shift around under the sewing machine. Then you remove the newspaper and cut the new ‘fabric’ into triangles for the brown fabric and different sized bands for the red and cream.
With me so far?
At this stage I was still dubious but, once I started joining it together I became more enthusiastic and am actually quite chuffed with the resulting top.
**** If you are not interested in more of ‘the process’ scroll down to the next set of ***** lest you be unnecessarily bored to tears.
I did find certain problems with the instructions so I did a bit of research to find out if anybody else had the same issues but couldn’t find anything so maybe it’s just me. However, in case it helps, this is what I found.
When I joined the first quadrant together I assumed the joining seams would be 1/4 inch which is usual in patchwork. Unfortunately, I assumed wrongly and it came out too small – luckily I checked before I joined the other three. It seems that everything is 1/8 inch but I couldn’t find that instruction anywhere. The top stitched seams are 1/8 inch, yes, but as they are not ‘normal’ seams I didn’t think it would follow that the joining seams would also be that small. The instructions have you press the ‘normal’ seams open but I didn’t bother as that is a difficult thing to do with such a small seam allowance so I pressed to one side – a maverick, that’s me. Also, because I had to undo the seams of the first quadrant and mess with edges cut on the bias after removal from the foundation paper, it started to go out of shape so I had to be careful lining it up with the other quadrants.
The instructions have you cut ten 2 inch bands from the cream ‘fabric’ you have made but, as you can see from the photo above, you actually need twelve. Luckily I had enough cream squares left to cobble together another couple of bands. The instructions also tell you to use 1 inch bands for this stage but she actually means 2 inch ones as there only four 1 inch bands in the design used for the narrow strips of the flag and, anyway, it is obvious from the photo that they should be the wider strips. The pattern is free but, even so, I’m surprised it doesn’t appear to have been corrected since it was published as I’m sure I can’t be the only one – or can I??
Anyway, enough of the technical stuff.
Still with me?
This is actually supposed to be a wall hanging but I’m not sure Mr. T wants another one (yet) and I’m not so patriotic that I’m going to hang a Union Jack in a prominent position on the wall – even if it is a stylised, scruffy version. So, I’m thinking I’ll use it as a throw over the back of a sofa or chair or bench or something.
The fabric I used is the same as the one in the original instructions and is a Moda fabric by French General and called ‘Falalalala’. The text in the fabric range is taken from a French song of the same name which is sung to the same tune as ‘Deck the Halls’ but with different words so there’s a bit of entente cordiale going on here – as is fitting for a Brit living in France. You can’t say I don’t give you useless information in my posts or even fodder for pub quizzes. Of course, this range is hard to find now as I’d abandoned the project for so long but I wanted to back it with something pretty as it won’t be hidden on the wall but visible as the reverse side of a throw. I found a couple of the designs still available in a shop in the U.K. – more in the U.S. of course but the shipping was silly talk – and I went for the cream one with poinsettias. A rash choice for a house full of animals you might think but, hey, I’ve already got visible pinked edges in possible danger of fraying so I’m obviously throwing caution to the wind with this project.
Mr. Tialys will be arriving home from the U.K. in a couple of hours with the cream fabric – and some of the plain greyish brown for the binding – I didn’t want the binding to be a feature as it’s supposed to be a flag after all – so I should be able to get it together this weekend. I’m a little worried as the instructions say you need 2.5 yards of backing fabric and I worked out I’ll only need 1.6m – mixing my metrics with my imperials is never a good thing – so I might have to add a strip of some of the fabric I have left over, we’ll see but maths was never my strong point. I will be quilting in the ditch only as I think there’s enough visible stitching going on already.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to show you the finished throw artfully draped over the back of a sofa and adorned with a cat or two (who will be chucked off straight after the photo is taken IG style) early next week.
What do you think? Have you ever had doubts about a project you started some time ago? Did you abandon it or complete it and, if you completed it, were you glad or sorry that you bothered?
It’s the hat box quilt of course but it sounds so lovely in French and makes a change in my list of blog post titles.
So, it’s done! Kate and I have been
furiously fairly calmly making hat boxes over the past year or so from a book we both happened to have – ‘Passionate Patchwork’ by Kaffe Fassett. Kate is making a full size quilt while I decided to make a wall hanging – which is why I’ve finished first. Well, that and she is hand quilting and I took the easy way out and used a machine. I have lots of Liberty of London fabric and decided this would be a good way to showcase some of them.
‘Perfection is the enemy of progress’ I’ve heard it said and that is certainly the case as far as this project went because, had I decided to go back and fix some of the mistakes I spotted after the event, I would still be putting it together now and getting fed up with it. Instead of that, it is assembled, hung up and, apart from one thing which will bug me forever because I thought about it beforehand and then forgot to do it, I’m quite pleased with it. So, you can zoom in on it if you are the Quilt Police and have fun finding all the faults but I know they are there and I can live with them.
I wasn’t sure how to hang it – I’ve got no other wall hangings in the house – but knew I didn’t want any hanging mechanism to show. I searched around a bit and found a tutorial based on the method used by a Museum of Quilts in the United States to hang the quilts they have on display – you can find the method here.
So now I’ve shown you the big picture, here are some of the quilt in action.
Astonishingly – you know what men are often like about such things – Mr. Tialys is quite approving of this and has even asked if perhaps we could have something in a discreet corner of the lounge (I did note the word ‘discreet’ by the way).
Now to go and put the books, tissues, glasses, alarm clocks, hand cream and all the other usual paraphernalia back on those bedside cabinets. Get me and my staged photos (otherwise known as ‘tidying up’). I’ll be applying filters, drawing faces in my cappuccino froth and using my Instagram account next!!
I can feel myself getting back into the swing of sewing and, to that end, have bought a couple of new dressmaking patterns and the fabric to go with them, I know, I know, I already have plenty of patterns and fabric but I needed to be newly inspired. That’s my excuse and I feel it’s a good one.
But first! I really need to get my hatbox quilt wall hanging off my WIP list and up on the wall so that I don’t feel guilty about starting a new project. ‘What?’ I hear you ask -‘ since when did she care about such things?’ Well, since recently and I don’t know how long it will last so I’m making the most of it.
A sneak preview for you – the clips will not be part of the finished project I promise you.
This should actually be finished today or tomorrow but Kate – with whom I am supposed to be ‘doing’ this hatbox project – likes to see progress reports and so I thought I’d make her happy. Kate is making a full size quilt and hand quilting the whole thing so is obviously not so far advanced but we started off by saying we would post our progress on the last day of each month. In the last quarter of 2017 this wasn’t possible for me so I’m a bit behind but, no matter, I thought I’d post the progress today and then the finished project on the 31st and all will be right with my World – especially as it will also be the end of Dry January 🙂
You may remember I have elicited your opinions on several occasions about whether a certain block would fit in with the rest of them or not, which layout of several options you preferred, etc. etc. All opinions duly considered and mostly ignored of course but that’s what makes it fun.
Well, when it came to adding the sashing in between the blocks I couldn’t be bothered to dig out my old posts and photos to see what had been decided so flung them down on the floor any which way and thought ‘Aha, that looks good, how wonderful a random flinging can be’. So I took a photo.
Then, I looked at the photo and immediately saw that I had placed some of the hatboxes higher on their backgrounds than others so things weren’t lining up. Disaster! If I ever make this quilt again that is just one of the many things I would look out for which I should have done the first time of course but you live and learn – though sometimes I think I just live. A couple of the other things I would do differently are to make the ‘wallpapers’ all the same and hand quilt them – I’ve no excuse as I made them as quilt- as -you -go blocks so it wouldn’t have been too difficult.
Still, moving on……
I was forced to put all the ‘lower’ boxes on the top row so that they would (more or less) line up with each other so, in the end, my layout was decided for me albeit not by you. Thank you for your help and opinions anyway.
You can see above that I put vertical strips of sashing on the blocks and joined each of the two sections of six blocks with two horizontal strips. This meant there was only one long (ish) vertical strip to grapple with down the centre.
My troubles then started as I wanted to put wider sashing – some might call them borders – around the edges. My sashing fabric is another Liberty tana lawn which has a sort of wood grain effect that I hope will reinforce the impression of shelving – an impression helped by having wider woodgrain top and sides I feel. I experimented several times with top, bottom and batting layers until I found a method that worked for me. I can’t tell you how much unpicking was indulged in and how many anglo saxon words were retrieved from my memory and bandied about the place. Luckily, I only had one helper and she doesn’t mind a bit of cursing just so long as it isn’t directed at her.
Here she is watching me hand stitch the back sashing down – I suppose she is giving me a bit of an ‘old fashioned’ look. Perhaps I’ll mind my Ps and Qs in future. I won’t go into the mechanics of quilt-as-you-go here because if you are not a quilter you will be bored to tears and, if you are, you probably already know about it. Basically, it avoids having to wrestle a large quilt (or medium sized wall hanging in this case) under a domestic sewing machine but it can also make hand quilting a more manageable and portable project.
So, here’s the back which I almost like as much as the front but the photo was taken before I attached a hanging sleeve or binding.
Mr. Tialys was sought out – he was in his ‘shed’ – to root through his wood stash and find something suitable for a hanger and I
made him asked whether he would kindly put the fitting up on the bedroom wall before disappearing to work in the U.K. for the week. He also retrieved some anglo saxon from his vocabulary (which definitely was directed at me) but did the deed and that means I will be able to take a nice photo or two and post the finished article on the 31st January, perhaps with a glass of wine to hand 😉
But first I have to hand stitch that binding down on the back – where’s my pain relieving crafting glove?
You may have noticed I’ve been a bit quieter than usual but that’s because I had a friend visiting for a week and then I went back to the U.K. with her to spend a long weekend with my Mum.
My friend and I go back more years than I care to remember but, despite keeping in contact with Christmas and Birthday cards we’ve only recently started to see eachother again so I was really pleased when she said she’d come over to France for a visit.
Here we are on holiday in Tenerife back in the day looking bronzed but blurry on the balcony of our hotel room.
I blame the cheap camera – or it might have been the cheap alcohol 😉
Another balcony, another country, another era.
I knew that the weekend spent with my Mum would be of the quiet variety as she is getting very tired lately and, once we’d been out in the morning for a bit of shopping or a brunch somewhere, she’d had enough of the outdoors for the day so I went prepared with fabric and pattern and used her sewing machine to make another couple of dogs for my eventual doggy garland while she had a snooze.
I’m going to make another three and figure out how to make a craft stall enhancing garland out of them but I’ve got until the end of November so something will come to me before then I’m sure.
Since I’ve been back and trying to catch up on emails, Etsy shop goings ons, reading blogs and dog and cat related problems, I haven’t got much done.
The Colette Negroni shirt I’m making for Mr. T. is still at the muslin stage – just needs the buttons and buttonholes and final hemming and then I can confirm what I’ve suspected for a while – it will be too small for him. I know it’s a muslin but I was hoping it would be a wearable one. We won’t know for sure until I finish it though will we!
I rush quilted a couple of my hatbox blocks which was easy because the machine quilting I’m doing couldn’t be plainer or simpler unlike the lovely hand quilting Kate’s doing on her version. Mine’s a wall hanging so nothing too fancy is called for – well, that’s my excuse anyway.
Here’s something I haven’t caught up on – the perennial ironing basket which I took from my laundry room up to my workroom as that seems to be the only place I brandish an iron these days. As you can see, my scheme didn’t work.
I did catch up with Mlle. Tialys the elder when I was in the U.K. as she came up to see me when I was at my Mum’s thereby killing two old birds with one stone. Oh to be young enough to dress up as a bloody (in the covered in blood sense) rabbit thingy and hug a dinosaur as she did last weekend.
The details of the whys and wherefores shouldn’t bother you – I certainly don’t like to delve too deep.
Off to look at the ironing basket again before doing something completely different.
In keeping with my pledge to add to my Liberty Hatbox wall hanging project at the end of each month I’m afraid I have failed miserably as I still can’t decide on the final block.
So, I made another one.
I won’t bore you rigid with the choices I face again but I’m still not sure and now I think I’ve made it worse by having three to choose from instead of two. Kate, on the other hand, is making great progress and has started hand quilting (yes hand quilting) her full size quilt and putting me to shame. See and admire here.
So that’s the hatbox pledge dealt with which would make for a very short post indeed .
Your hopes, however, are dashed!
Did I mention Liberty of London fabric? I think I told you they had a sale and I think I told you I indulged. I’m not sure I realised there were actual skyscrapers on this fabric when I ordered it but, now I know, I like it even more. The simple shell top on this New Look pattern that had come free with a magazine seemed just the thing….
and so it was.
I’ve decided I have a back problem in that nearly everything I make gapes a little at the back of the neck. I think I have narrow shoulders in comparison to my bust so, next time, I’m going to cut a wedge out of the centre top of the back bodice and see if that fixes it – a tip I found on By Hand, London. Unless anybody has any better ideas.
Also, I bought this astrology themed tana lawn in the Liberty sale to make a shirt for Mr. Tialys who had a hand in choosing the fabric.
I’ve never made a man’s shirt before but thought it was time I gave it a go as my wardrobe is full, one daughter makes her own clothes, the other doesn’t much care about clothes so that leaves the husband (or the pets and don’t think I might not go there!).
I chose the Negroni by Colette as it’s a nice, casual style but with some interesting features, it has good reviews and there is a very detailed sew along (from about six years ago!) on the Male Pattern Boldness blog so what could go wrong? Actually, so far, very little. I’m working on a muslin using fabric that was more expensive than the tana lawn due to the fact that there was 60% off in the Liberty sale but I always hope my muslins (when I actually bother to make one) will be wearable otherwise I get upset if all the work comes to nought – apart from ensuring you’re making the right size of course which is the main purpose of them after all.
Anyway – how’s this for a flat felled seam?
An inside view of course – the fabric is dark on the outside and I certainly wasn’t confident enough to use contrasting thread so you wouldn’t be able to make it out. This is the first time I’ve tackled a real flat felled seam, although I did mock ones on Tilly and the Buttons’ Rosa dress, and I’m pleased with the way this one turned out. I say ‘this one’ because the other one didn’t turn out quite as neat but I’m not going to show you that now am I?
Did somebody mention a sale by the way?
Fifty six 50g balls of cotton double knitting yarn in all the shades in the range and no, I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, thank you for asking.
Mr. Tialys is still creating awesome leather things in his ‘spare’ time which is strange because I didn’t think he had any of that or that’s what he tells me if I ask him to do anything in the house or garden 😉
This is a laptop bag he designed himself and is in the kind of leather that already looks as if it’s been ‘lived in’ which is the kind I like.
I decided to have a clear out in the cupboard in the conservatory and threw some stuff in a box ready to go to the charity shop.
I know I sometimes get fed up with having so many animals but I haven’t quite resorted to this yet.
What is it with cats and cardboard boxes anyway?
You might remember that I asked your advice several times about my Friendship Braid quilt – what colour to do the border when there were so many different colours in the centre, whether I could (or should) use a vintage sheet for the border and possibly the backing and whether or not to use a professional quilting service for the first time.
As usual, I canvassed opinion and then wilfully ignored most of it. I ended up going for a green and white gingham vintage sheet for the border whereas most of you suggested red and, having got your reassurance that I could probably use a sheet for the backing too, changed my mind and went for extra wide quilting cotton.
It was whilst searching for extra wide backing that I came across The Quilt Sandwich who have a wide range of backings in lots of different designs and at reasonable prices. I also found, coincidentally, that they have a longarm quilting machine and offer a quilting service.
It was meant to be.
Fiona operates from The Royal Bridlington Hotel in Yorkshire and was very helpful when I asked for her advice on the particular shade of green for the backing and also for which quilting design to go for on a top with an already busy design.
Once Fiona had received the quilt and could confirm that the shade of green matched those in the quilt I opted for a crosshatch patterned fabric and the quilting design I chose, again with Fiona’s guidance, is called ‘Twine’.
This is how it came back to me after quilting. I wanted to ‘reconnect’ with it again myself so, although Fiona offers a binding service, I just asked her to cut it for me ready for binding and did it myself.
I decided to heed the advice I ignored last time and introduced some red. It was supposed to be wider than this but I attached the double fold binding by machine, as I would have if I’d left some excess batting and backing – ie. with a 1/4 inch seam – and then realised I wouldn’t have had any filling in my binding. Of course, with a wide border like this I should have attached the binding at half an inch and then taken in the batting and backing as it had been trimmed. I’m so used to working with blocks lately that go right up to the edge that I’d forgotten.
So, I just folded the binding onto itself and then over to the back before handstitching it down which resulted in a skimpier binding than I’d intended but at least it wasn’t all floppy. It did compromise my previously
perfect acceptable mitred corners a bit but it doesn’t really show.
What do you think?
Here’s the back in all it’s professionally quilted glory.
It’s a strange size at 60 x 66 inches (172 x 187 cm) so a topper for a small double bed or a generous single bed size. The only single sized bed in the house is in the Bermuda Triangle otherwise known as Mlle. Tialys the Younger’s bedroom and, once it goes in there, I might never see it again.
So before it disappears from my life until at least the next re-decoration project I have flung it over a couple of surfaces so that I can at least look at the photos.
I thought long and hard about using a professional quilting service because I wondered whether it was ‘cheating’ on some sort of level. Realistically, my skills – such as they are – are definitely in piecing and although I will continue doing quilt as you go where the quilt design allows and perhaps the smaller (much smaller) quilting projects, Fiona has done such a good job and the price was so reasonable that I would certainly go back to her if and when I make another large quilt that doesn’t lend itself to QAYG. After all, I reasoned, if I had the space and the money for a longarm quilting machine and the patience to learn how to use one, or if I had a friend just down the road who had one, I would never ever quilt on a domestic machine again so what’s the difference? It’s also something I’ve wanted to try and I’m very pleased I did.
If you are in the U.K. – or in France with a commuting husband willing to drag quilt tops and then completed quilts back and forth with him – or you just want to see a really good range of extra wide backings, go and have a look at Fiona’s site here .
You may remember that I am making a wallhanging for behind the bed and am using a pattern from Kaffe Fassett’s book Passionate Patchwork which features hatboxes each in their own little cubby hole complete with ‘shelf lining’ and ‘wallpaper’.
I am making twelve 12.5 inch blocks for a 4 x 3 layout wallhanging and using Liberty of London tana lawn for the boxes and bands and scraps of what I hope are complimentary fabrics for the backgrounds.
Kate over at Tall Tales from Chiconia is making a full size quilt for herself from the same pattern and we pledged to make three a month. Kate has more to do than me (you can see her progress here) and these are (possibly) my final three.
This is probably my favourite one this month.
The ever popular Strawberry Thief design.
This gorgeous pink tangle of blooms was one of the fabrics I bought in a 50% off online sale that Liberty were having on their tana lawns – the band was from my box of Liberty scraps as all the bands have been.
Now I have all twelve or, as I hinted above, have I?
This is not necessarily the final layout and not a particularly sharp photo as I had all the blocks clinging to a flannel sheet hanging from some shelves and they kept falling off so I had to take it quickly but my dilemma is – do I keep the dark pink box with the strong gold/yellow background in this mix or not? I did wonder when I first made it. I really like it but I’m wondering if it’s too strongly coloured to blend properly with the others – although the purple one is strong too.
I am going to quilt them all separately using the quilt as you go method. The quilting will be simple as I can’t do complicated and then I’ll join them with sashing – another colour decision to make – and then tadaah! it will adorn our bedroom wall (if Mr. T. is in agreement – he’s always resisted ‘fabric art’ on the walls before 😉 )
So, do I ditch the one third from the left on the first row or do I keep it? What do you think?