Archive for category Patchwork and Quilting Projects – General

Touching Swiftly on a Hatbox

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?

 

 

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Friendship Braid Quilt Complete

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.

Funny lighting but it really shows the quilting up.

 

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 .

 

 

 

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A Bit of Tech Talk, A Quilting Capitulation, A Hatbox Hiatus and a Very Special Link

I have recently emerged from a 5 day internet blackout due to some twonk disconnecting our cable whilst connecting somebody else up.  It didn’t help that it happened the day before a public holiday which fell on a Thursday and, it being France, they like to take the Friday off as well so that they get a nice long weekend – a phenomenon I won’t comment on as I have to live here.   I would like to tell you that it was a refreshing change of pace for me and enabled me to catch up on projects and chores long forgotten but, in reality, it was a pain in the arse.  I had no fixed phone line on which to make international calls so couldn’t contact my Mum, husband or eldest daughter, no telly, no Spotify and, what was worse, no Google.  Mr. T had to cancel his flight home as he needed to have an internet connection on the Friday and I closed my Etsy shops in case anybody bought anything as I wouldn’t have known about it.  What about your mobile I hear you ask.  Well, I did eventually set up a hot spot to check my emails and so many came through – some with photos! – that I whizzed through my data allowance pretty quickly – well, I did stream a Netflix film through it too on Saturday night which might not have helped so now I am data-less until 22nd June.   However, it did make me think that I could pay to have a whopping amount of data and do away with the dreaded ‘livebox’ and reliance on the wobbly pole that holds all the cables over the road.  The only thing stopping me – I think, as I have to look into it a bit more – is the international calls which come free with our current tariff.  Does anybody exist with just their mobile/cell/portable – how is it for you?

Now, having bored you rigid with my decidedly non-tech tech-talk, on to the ‘quilting capitulation’ of the title .  Remember this quilt top that I had put together and even got as far as spray basting it with the batting and backing?

 I decided to machine quilt it by following the lines of the ‘braids’ across the width of the quilt.  I was soon disabused of this notion as the constant stopping and changing direction for the chevrons was making my layers shift  – which is actually a very good euphemism for how I was feeling.

So, I said ‘enough’ -or another couple of words that I won’t put into print – and decided to act on my previous deliberations and send it off to be professionally quilted.  I have never done this before but I thought I’d give it a try.  It has been done and, as we speak, being sent back to Mr. T.’s office in the U.K. and he will probably be able to bring it back with him next Thursday so I am waiting with excitement – and a little trepidation – to see how it has turned out.  I found the price for quilting very reasonable although, once the batting and backing materials were added on it gave me a jolt but then I would have had to have bought those in any case – it’s just seeing the cost all in one place.  Anyway, as soon as it has arrived and I have put the binding on I will let you know how it went.  I could have had the binding put on professionally too but I thought doing it myself would allow me to ‘reconnect’ with the quilt again which sounds really pretentious but you get my drift.

So, on to the ‘hatbox hiatus’.  It is the end of the month and Kate over at Tall Tales from Chiconia and I are still busy with our hatboxes.  Mine are all finished now as I only needed twelve for a wall hanging but Kate is making a full size quilt so is still constructing her boxes.  I now need to make decisions regarding sashing and backing.  Here are my blocks, just to remind you, and they are definitely not in their final layout due to the pesky but lovely deep gold and pink one which I’m finding hard to place but I’ll get there in the end.

The backing doesn’t really matter as you won’t see it – although I’ll know it’s there so I don’t want anything too nasty – but I’m not sure whether to use a plain colour for the sashing (which will only be about an inch/2.5cm wide) or something patterned.  These blocks are 12.5 inches square each so I don’t think I’ll put on a border as it might make too much of a statement on the bedroom wall and Mr. T. might complain.  Anyway, there it is at the end of May and, by the end of June, I should not only have made some decisions but acted on them too.

Speaking of Kate, I haven’t shown you better photos of my Walthamstow Market fabric haul yet but I will sneak this one in as it will be used to make a couple of blocks for the new quilt Kate will be assembling for auction in aid of Ovarian Cancer Australia.  You may know that the ribbon colour for Ovarian Cancer is teal blue and the quilts Kate makes primarily by her own efforts but also with donated blocks feature a lot of teal fabrics and the names she gives each quilt reflects her love of puns.  So far we’ve had ‘Time for Teal’ (which featured lots of teapots, cups and saucers) and  ‘Tealed with a Kiss’ (lots of crosses).  Anyway, the next one is called ‘Signed, Tealed, Delivered’ and will have a postcard, letter type theme.  So, look what I found.

I’m looking forward to paper piecing a few envelopes as I haven’t had much call to do FPP lately and I don’t want to get out of the habit as I was progressing nicely.

Remember I told you my daughter was going to Comic-Con London 2017 dressed as the above character  – who is called Link and is the main protagonist in a popular Nintendo game called ‘Legend of Zelda’.  (FYI Comic-Con is a multi genre fan convention mostly featuring comic books, science fiction, fantasy, art and design etc. and people often go in costume – the biggest one is in San Diego)

So here is my very ‘special Link’ .  She made her tunic and hat

her Dad make all the leather bits – straps, belt pouches, sword scabbard, arm protector thingy but not the boots which were from eBay.

and for any of my readers who are Doctor Who fans.

I wish now we’d done something about her ears when she was a baby 😉

 

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Twelve Liberty Hatboxes – or Maybe Only Eleven

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.

An interesting paisley design which forms hearts.

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?

 

 

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Call the (Quilt) Police There’s A Mad (Wo)Man Around

With apologies to the Pet Shop Boys for sort of ripping off their lyrics for my title, I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely long Easter/Spring break and doing whatever it is you like to do at such times.

Last time we had a chat I asked you for help in deciding on a border for the Friendship Braids quilt and then mostly ignored what everybody said anyway.  The Quilt Police will not be happy but I decided to dig out a vintage sheet I had actually bought a couple of years ago with the backing for this quilt in mind and use it for the border.

Tell me I was wrong.

I’m not normally a ‘green’ lover but I think it makes it look very fresh.

It is quite a low thread count I believe but, just to be sure, I washed it, made a sandwich with a square of quilting cotton, wadding and sheet and had a go on the machine.  I didn’t have any problems with tension or thread knotting or snapping or anything and I certainly won’t be doing any quilting this close together so I’m going to go ahead and if I’m arrested and given a long sentence it will just give me the opportunity to sew mini hexies together, learn to love cross stitch, do a degree in psychology and concentrate on trying to make an orange jumpsuit work with my complexion – although that would only be if I got arrested by the United States Quilt Police which is a possibility as I think they are the most rigorous.

As I’m in confession mode, I must offer as evidence to be taken into consideration M’lud that, even worse than it being a sheet, there might be a touch of ‘poly’ in with the cotton as there’s a vague chemical smell when I iron it.

With this in mind, I decided not to go the whole hog and use it for the backing as well.  As luck would have it, I had just dug a duvet cover out of the clean laundry basket that has been subjected to numerous treatments and washes in an attempt to remove some oil (I think it was some sort of body oil) that Mlle Tialys the elder had managed to spill on it some time ago.  There was a patch of oil that refused to come out and, if anything, appeared to increase in oiliness as time went by.  I cut out the patch, harvested the top Cath Kidston like floral fabric for future projects and pondered using the checkered side for the back as it is serendipitously the right colours and size.  (Woohoo, I got to use ‘serendipitously’ – and again!)

I did make another sandwich, it worked fine, it is now cut to size for assembly so it’s too late to tell me if you don’t think it’s a good idea and, anyway, you know I don’t always listen don’t you.  It is, at least, 100% cotton.

I rest my case.

I did have a vague idea about giving this to my Mum when I’d finished it but I think it might have too much green in it now for her liking.  She has a thing about green and, as with most of her superstitions, has passed them on to me.   Even though I don’t really count myself as a particularly superstitious person, I like to err on the side of caution.  I don’t put new shoes on the kitchen table, I don’t bring lilacs into the house, I don’t tell Friday’s dreams on a Saturday in case they come true, and other such tosh.  However, for years I believed the colour green to be unlucky until it turned out that her basis for believing that was that her own mother had once lost a purse while wearing a green coat.  Sometimes I worry.

So she will be getting my first ever crocheted blanket instead which, as far as I know, has no bad luck associated with it and will go very nicely on her sofa and across her knees if she gets a bit chilly

Flushed with success after harvesting 450g of gorgeous tasting brown mushrooms from the pot on the right and watching the new babies grow (you can just see them if you squint) – I spotted a pot for white mushrooms (or champignons de Paris as they are called here) and thought I’d give them a go too.  It’s quite amazing how much better they taste when plucked from their very own compost just before you cook them.  I’m a convert and our earth floor wine cellar – which never gets used to store wine as we drink it too quickly – may well be put into use as a mushroom growing room in the near future.

I found this little stool in the junk shop last week and, as with much vintage French furniture, it was covered in a very dark brown thick varnish. Yuk.  I forgot to take a ‘before’ photo but it was a flat, uninteresting, no grain showing, almost black, dark brown. Mr. T. had a go with the varnish remover and the sander and got it down to this.

I’m going to treat it with some woodworm killer – just in case – and, if all of the varnish has gone I want to use a white wax on it but, if not, I will probably use a chalk paint and then distress and wax it.

Off to baste a quilt before somebody stops me.

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Veg, Fungi and Quilting as I Digress, As Usual

I did some food shopping today for the weekend – it’s only Thursday but Mr. T. arrives home tonight and I count Friday as the weekend – mainly so I can have a glass of wine (or two) but also because it feels like the weekend to me.  Sometimes I come home with unusual things like this Romanesco – a cross between a cauliflower and broccoli which, so far, looks better than it tastes but I think that’s because I haven’t perfected my method of cooking it yet.  I love all those little mini fir trees in fluorescent green although last time I cooked it in the oven and overdid it a little so the mini trees looked as if they had been in a mini forest fire.

Today I discovered this mushroom shaped pot of mushrooms, if you see what I mean.  I couldn’t resist it because you are supposed to get three harvests out of this pot – obviously the first one is ready to pick.

But look at all these little baby ones ready to spring into life and become friends with eggs and bacon.

I try to have little adventures all the time, even when I’m doing the food shopping.  Don’t judge me.

The postlady surprised me yesterday morning and not only because she arrived before 2 o’clock in the afternoon.  She delivered a little package which had me racking my brains trying to think what I’d ordered from here in France – my online purchases are usually from further afield.  Then I spotted the sender’s address and realised it was from Claire  a fellow British expat.  She is very generous with the results of her many talents and often sends little unbirthday gifts out to friends – both real and blogging – which is such a sweet thing to do.  I might start to prefer ‘unbirthdays’ as you don’t have to get another year older when you have one.  This lovely little needlecase features a little egg in the centre and I’m embarassed to say I don’t know exactly how she’s done it.  It doesn’t look quite like cross stitch and it isn’t hardanger as I know you cut bits away with that – so I’m stumped.  Pardon my ignorance but I don’t do all that fiddly stuff on tiny squared fabric  – just admire those who do.

                                                                      Anyone would think I like cats

Inside, some stitch markers for both crochet and knitting and some pins – all in a lovely turquoise colour which goes beautifully with the crochet project bag I showed you last time.

A long time ago (Lordy, 2 years ago – I just checked), I started a quilt – you know the story – and now I’ve brought it back out into the light of day to finish it.  I have my Mum’s birthday in mind but I’m not 100% sure it isn’t too bright for her tastes.  I’ll finish it first and then make a decision about its eventual home.  The design is called ‘Friendship Braid’ and is made using a jelly roll from a book about using jelly rolls called something I can’t bring to mind at the moment.  The fabric I used was Gypsy Girl by Moda.

I have two questions for both quilters and non- quilters who wish to venture an opinion.

I need a six inch border around the outside.  I can’t use plain white (as they have in the book) because my quilting wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny.  I need something with at least some sort of design on it.  There is a white fabric in the braids with tiny green spots – do you think something like that would work?  What I decide on will depend on the answer to my second question.

Obviously I can’t ‘quilt as you go’ with this one – not at this stage anyway – what sort of simple (very simple!) machine quilting design would work do you think?

How do you feel about sending quilts out to be professionally quilted?  I’m pretty sure I’ve asked this question before but it’s one that vexes me.  I know it’s fairly common in the States to do so but I have recently seen a company in the U.K. who does it for quite a reasonable price and I’m interested to see how it would turn out. I am the first to admit that I’m a piecer not a quilter but is it cheating? (O.K., that might be three questions)   I would have it back afterward to put the binding on so I would feel as if I’d done the ‘finishing touch’ but I can’t quite decide what to do.  If I did something like vertical lines it would be fairly easy – apart from wrestling my smallish sewing machine into submission – but would that look O.K.  Help!

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Fusion

Regular readers may remember that I have started  to wave a crochet hook about in what I hope will be a productive fashion.  I’ve made a few practice squares, hearts and circles and am halfway up a multicoloured ‘v’ stitch blanket but I’m also juggling two knitting projects and, like most of us, I can’t remember how many patchwork/dressmaking/commissioned thingies and various other craft projects I have on the go.  When something catches my eye, however, I am very easily persuaded from my path and, when that something involves two of my favourite things – fabric and yarn – patchwork and crochet – that particular bull has to be taken by the horns and run with (or is that against the law now?)

So, in the manner of a fancy restaurant with a mélange of dishes gleaned from various parts of the world and calling it ‘fusion cuisine’, I am combining some double sided fabric squares with a border of crochet and making a fusion quilt – or, if I find it too difficult,  a fusion handkerchief.

Here is a photograph from Fanny Lu Designs showing a corner of her High Tea Fusion Quilt which is where I got the inspiration (and the instructions!)

fusionquiltcloseup

Detail of High Tea Fusion Quilt from Fanny Lu Designs – more photos and tutorial here

I went through a phase of buying charm packs (42 x 5 inch squares of coordinating fabrics for those not of the patchwork/quilting persuasion)  and then never really knowing what to do with them so, although Tiffany uses 6 inch squares in her tutorial, I had two matching Moda charm packs in my stash all dressed up with no place to go so I decided to adapt, save some money and make some room in my stash at the same time – it can always be replenished later after all.

Fabric for Fusion Quilt

I also found a pack of 12 x 50g balls of Rowan organic cotton yarn that I had pounced upon like a woman possessed when it was laid on the floor along with numerous other packs of bargain yarns for  knitters, crocheters and random passers by to rummage amongst  in some sort of woolly rugby scrum.  This was at some forgotten knitting/stitching show I attended at some forgotten time – I am more dignified these days 😉  Anyway, so much did I need that pack of 12 x 50g balls that I still have it, untouched, to this day.  I thought, as it’s a quite nice ‘tea-stained’ colour, it would make a vintage looking border for my vintage looking fabrics and result in a pretty, vintage looking blanket (or hanky).  Plus, as with the fabric charm squares, it would use up some stash and I would end up with a free quilt.   ‘Free’ is a relative term when you are somebody who stockpiles yarn and fabric as you probably know if you have been interested enough to read this far.

Test Sqaure for Fusion Quilt

Here is my first attempt.  I quite like the colour but the yarn is a double knit and the Fanny Lu design uses a fingering weight (4-ply?) baby wool so it looks a little ‘thick’ and not as delicate as I might have liked.  Also, that Rowan cotton is a mare for splitting and I didn’t fancy doing the whole blanket faffing about with split yarn, not at my novice stage.

So, I faced the fear and ordered a huge cone of ivory cotton 4-ply from eBay.  I had it delivered to Mr. T’s office in London.  When I spoke to him on the phone he asked me why I’d ordered a large spool of string.  The fear returned.

4 PLY YARN CONE

I had a go with another pair of squares and the ‘string’ and I think this looks a bit more like the original idea of a delicate blanket with a vintage look.

FUSION QUILT TEST SQUARE 2

I think the thicker yarn would also work – though not the splitty stuff unless you are a complete whizz with the hook and that stuff doesn’t bother you – but, obviously, it would give the finished blanket a different look.

Fusion Quilt Test Squares 1 & 2

Which do you prefer?

So, I’m going to make this a project I do with my sewing buddy on a Wednesday as we have ‘finished’ our Friendship Braid quilts we were making together.   I say ‘finished’ but only the tops are done though we will complete the rest of it as individuals.  Maybe.   By contrast, this blanket can be made in small pieces and we can crochet the borders while having a chat and complaining about things in France and in general – at least I think that’s what we’re doing, my French isn’t perfect.  My crochet skills aren’t perfect either – far from it – so I will probably get carried away from time to time moaning about French drivers (they don’t indicate – you’d think there was a tax on using the indicators or something), the lack of any decent restaurants round here (we’re in France for God’s sake!), the amount of dog poo on the pavements and anything else that takes us on the day and then I’ll have to undo what I’ve done and start again which, I must say, seems to be a lot easier with crochet than with knitting.  Just as well as it’s not easy, putting the world to rights.

Time will tell whether I end up with a blanket, a table mat or a handkerchief or just lots of fabric squares with crochet borders waiting, at the bottom of a basket in a corner of my workroom, to be joined together which of course is yet another possibility.

 

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Liberty Hatboxes

Even though the patchwork block swap I’ve been participating in hasn’t quite finished yet – there’s one month to go – I have actually made all the blocks I need to and I’ve already started getting withdrawal symptoms.  Kate and Sue who have run the F2F (Foot Square Freestyle) swap for the past two years, have decided they need a break from organising duties and as I am more of a participant than an organiser I didn’t offer to take it over so, sadly, when Claire receives her 24 blocks from 8 other quilters around the world by the end of February, that will be it.

I found that participating in the swap really motivated me to improve my work, try out some new techniques and get things finished on time

So, what to do next?

I searched around the web for other swaps but the few I managed to find  had either already started or didn’t appeal.

Kate has started making a quilt – unusually it will be for herself – from a book both she and I have had for years.

kaffe fasset passionate patchwork

We’ve both been in love with one particular quilt inside it – I even made the templates for it and one block back in the mists of time – but never got any further.

Hatbox Quilt

It’s rows of vintage hatboxes made to look as if they’ve been covered in wallpaper, as olden day people used to do, and each one set in the angle of a little cubby hole with a floor and two walls.  So, lots of design decisions to be made.

Kate has been busy with it for a few months now – you can see her progress here – and I decided I would join in with her and we would aim to make three blocks per month and publish them on our blogs at the end of the month.  This will be my motivation.

I am making a wall hanging for my bedroom rather than a quilt – there is an empty wall behind the bed and I thought this might go well there rather than a picture.  I don’t want it to dominate the room or anything so I’m not making it too large, just four blocks wide x three blocks high.  If I make three blocks per month, it should be ready to start putting together in May.

Each ‘cubby hole’ is constructed by joining two trapezoids, one reversed, plus an 8.5 inch square which is set in to the angle of the trapezoids.  Eek!  I was so pleased when I got it right first time and then realised my perfect seam would be covered up with the hatbox appliquéd on top – still, that’s patchwork for you.  Here’s a ‘blank’ just so you know I can do it.

Inset Seam

And here’s the block after the hatbox has been added.

libertyhatboxwallhangingno-2

I decided to use scraps for the backgrounds where possible and Liberty tana lawn for the hatboxes.  I realised too late that, because the tana lawn is so fine, you have to be careful what you put underneath it.  You can see the stripes of my ‘flooring’ vaguely show through but I thought it sort of looks like part of the design on the box so I’ve left it.

libertyhatboxwallhangingno-1

This one is a darker print so I got away with it here but, for the other blocks, I won’t use that particular striped fabric.  I am not usually an ‘appliqué person’ but Kate has got me trying several techniques I’ve either never done before or previously said I’d never do such as foundation paper piecing so here’s one more to add to the list.  I am using Bondaweb to attach the hatbox shapes and then using a turquoise thread and machine appliquéing on to the background.

This next one had to be re-done because I had used light coloured tana lawn for the hatbox and the ‘floor’ was showing through and making it look as if there was a shadow across the box.  I had to peel it off – a tragic waste of both Liberty and Bondaweb -and use a darker design. You live and learn.

libertyhatboxwallhangingno-3

I’m enjoying making these hatboxes but my workroom is a mess – strewn with fabrics over every surface as I audition them for ‘wallpaper’, ‘flooring’ , the hatboxes themselves and the bands.  Decisions, decisions……

I will finish by proudly announcing that I have managed to complete Dry January without a drop of alcohol passing my lips – apart from that used in cooking which doesn’t count because all the alcohol comes off as vapour (boo!) .  I never usually touch Pastis – the favourite aperitif of the French – because wine is my poison and the aniseedy alcoholic tipple makes me go woozy very quickly which is a feat in itself.  However, Ricard (the favoured brand of the French when imbibing their favourite aperitif) make a version called Pacific which has no alcohol, no sugar, no calories, no nuffink apart from quite a few E numbers but I haven’t looked them up to see whether they are dodgy ones.  As with the real stuff, you dilute it with 5 parts water but, unlike the real stuff, it is already a cloudy colour.

Non Alcoholic Pastis

This, and Bucklers non alcoholic beer (which is really Lager if you are British) , kept me on the straight and narrow when temptation threatened to overcome me.  I don’t know whether you can get it (or Bucklers)  outside of France but, if you can, and you are the designated driver or want an alcohol free evening for any other reason, I would recommend it.

 Salut!

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Signing Off

F2F Block Swap 2016 Finished Quilt Folded

Just a quick post to show you that I really did manage to finish my ‘man quilt’ in time to give it to Mr. Tialys for Christmas.  Thanks to Kate for organizing nine quilters for the F2F block swap again this year  meaning that,  apart from the blocks I made for myself , I also received 24 blocks from Australia, the States, Sweden, the Netherlands and France all diverse and gorgeous in my chosen colours.  This swap,  just as last year,  helped me to improve on my existing skills and develop some new ones –  foundation paper piecing is my new addiction.

Finished F2F Quilt Full Length

Thanks also to Kate for encouraging me to finish it by blogging about the Quilt As  You Go method which we were both using  to finish our quilts, mine for a Christmas gift and her own for another charity auction to raise money for Ovarian Cancer Awareness which you can see here.

Here’s the back in case he gets fed up with looking at the front where you can see more clearly  – though not too clearly I hope as my seaming wasn’t always spot on (or anywhere near) –  how the blocks are sandwiched together, quilted and then joined with strips.

F2F 2016 Finished Quilt Folded

This quilt will go and live in London to keep Mr. T. warm in his ‘commuter flat’.

Some lovely blocks were sent to me and, because the full length photo doesn’t do them justice, I folded the quilt in half and photographed them separately so you can see each block more clearly.  Unlike Kate I don’t live in Australia and the quilt was too long to hang on the washing line without draping on the frosty grass so I had to take the photos indoors on a larger bed than the quilt is intended for – although it is fairly large at about 65 inches wide x 78 inches long (1.6m x 1.9m).

Here’s the top half

F2F 2016 Finished Quilt top half

and the bottom half

F2F 2016 Finished Quilt Bottom Half

The new – and unintentional – member of the family was testing it out for comfort while I was attaching the binding and I think it passed.  (More about him at a later date!)

Sleeping Cat on Quilt

I just need to ‘sign off’ on the quilt by making and attaching a quilt label which I will do tomorrow and I will sign off on the blog now until just after Christmas when I will hopefully be able to share the contents of my Stitching Santa parcels with you. (Update – received the knitting one today – phew!)

I hope you all have a very enjoyable festive season with lots of good food and good company. Lynn x x 

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Struck Dumb

Scrawled Notes

I have been laid low by my first cold in years – which I could have coped with – but it turned into laryngitis.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had such a hideously painful throat in my life before but my memory’s got further and further back to go these days so I can’t swear to it.   OMG – the pain was excruciating.  So much so that I – who have a phobia of being anywhere near a hospital – nearly took myself off to A & E on Sunday morning as swallowing was so painful and as I was trying to cough at the same time I thought it would cut off my breathing.  As is clear, I am still here but have been silent since Saturday morning.  Mr. T. had always fantasized about such a thing but was soon disabused of the notion it might be ‘a good thing’ when I was unable to answer requests, questions, commands, etc. yelled from the other side of the house but could remain serenely silent and await the yeller – being Mr. T himself or Mlle. T. the younger – to actually approach me and speak in measured tones.  Then, the waiting game began whilst I scrawled my replies on a block of notes which finally became useful after years of perching on the edge of the desk.  It transpired that, over time, where my handwriting has been abandoned in favour of the keyboard, it is now almost illegible.  There followed scenes of what would have been hilarity if I’d been up to laughing, where husband and daughter tried to make sense of my scribble in a desperate attempt to communicate with me.  I think I might actually try it again one day when I’m only pretending so that I can sit back and enjoy the show.

Quilt as You Go Joining Progress

In an effort to take my mind off the throat that seemed to have taken over my whole body and made it all hurt – I decided to press on with joining my F2F Block Swap quilt together and, encouraged by Kate, who is also joining one up with the quilt as you go method, and the fact that I sort of realised I’d quite like to present this to the husband for Christmas, I started cutting up the strips.  I won’t bore you with the strips put on upside down, the not catching the binding in at the back first time round and all the other little mistakes I made in my Paracetemol/Ibuprofen Alternating state of mind but, suffice it to say, it didn’t go well at first.  However, here are the top and bottom corners of the quilt, laid side by side for ease of  ‘fit in photograph’ and now I have the right side to do which will consist of two sections of 3 blocks across x 3 blocks down.  Then, there will only be one long vertical strip to sew down between the left and right hand sides and I will have a 5 x 6 block sized, husband sleeping on his own in London (at least he better be!) sized quilt.  Kate was thinking that this method would avoid the necessity of doing long strips between each completed row and, so far, it seems to be a good idea.  Kate explains it much better here should you be interested in going down this path yourself.

A Handmade Bauble

Then this came in the post and I was very touched by it as Claire is always making little impromptu gifts for people and sending them out to them and it’s almost as if she knew I was in need of a bit of TLC. So germ infested hugs and kisses to you Claire for such a lovely thought  – your timing was perfect.

and finally……..

I love this ad from Poland which is really sweet and funny, encouraging for a post-Brexit Britain and so in the spirit of Christmas so, if you haven’t seen it yet, enjoy!

I’m off to drink more honey and lemon in hot water – I’m almost up to adding a tot of something stronger in it but I’ll wait until after 6.

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