Archive for category Patchwork and Quilting Projects – General
Apparently, in the northern hemisphere, the days between the 3rd of July and 11th of August are known as the dog days which are considered to be the hottest days of summer.. In my lovely corner of England, nobody appears to have told the sun. I don’t mind because, in the end, I didn’t like it in Southern France when it got too hot to go out in comfortably. I have discovered that the temperate climate of England suits me and, when we get good weather, it’s such a treat that everybody makes the most of it and never takes it for granted.
Still, last weekend my very good friend Sarah, drove the three hours from London to see me in our new house. She arrived Thursday afternoon and we did a tour of the immediate surroundings so she could see the resting race horses, the rams and the Ladies in Waiting – the cows who are in the field opposite full-time at the moment waiting to calve. I was especially hoping for good weather on Friday so we could get out and about a little further afield. Luckily, Friday was a lovely day so we went to another beach just to ‘mill about’ and then we walked into the local market town of Bridport. 17,000 steps if you’re at all interested. She, being a triathlete, has a Fitbit thingy on her wrist so I know it to be true.
The beach we visited is West Bay – more stunning cliffs along the Jurassic Coast. This was the setting for ‘Broadchurch’ and also the place where Gabriel Oak’s errant sheepdog drove his entire flock of sheep to their deaths in the 2015 film version of ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ (very good by the way but no substitute for the book).
Close up, the texture and colour of the cliff face looks as if somebody has built a giant sandcastle.
Anyway, back to dogs – sort of. Do you remember this stitch and flip dog’s face I made yonks ago which, like the paper pieced gnome I showed you recently, I didn’t quite know what to do with afterwards? Well, I thought I’d use it as the central motif for another quilt for Project Linus UK but, this time, a slightly larger version measuring 36×42 inches which is the size requested for young children.
The block is rectangular – but in the wrong way for a quilt – so I searched my stash and made up the measurements as I went along, in order to utilise the fabric I had and get it to the right size.
I put a large spotted border around the outside and then remembered a dog print fabric I’d bought ages ago for face masks (Miss T. the Elder has one) so started to make a further border with that using a greater width top and bottom in order to get the rectangular shape going.
One of the lessons I learnt early on in patchwork was to measure through the middle of the piece and cut your border to that size rather than to the size of the sides. I forgot and ended up with a very wavy quilt top which became apparent when I put the first of the batik borders on. OOPS!. So, I had to take all the borders back off (apart from the spotted one) and was amazed at how much shorter I’d cut the doggy print fabric – what was I thinking? I got creative and made up the shortfall by inserting a small piece of batik on each side. I think it looks intentional 😉
Anyway, it turned out alright in the end. The red batik is actually all the same shade but the light wasn’t good in my workroom for the photo so it looks as if it’s lighter at the bottom but it’s not.
Just need to sandwich it together with the wadding and backing, then bind it and quilt it as simply as possible. I didn’t have enough of any suitable backing fabric in my stash and I had in mind some dog paw print fabric so I broke my ‘no more fabric until I’m 110‘ rule and ordered a bargain piece online.
I’ll show you it when it’s finished.
I just hope there’s a small child in need of a quilt out there who also loves dogs!!
Around 18 months ago I showed you this gnome that I had made using the foundation paper piecing method……just because.
It’s a twelve inch finished block that ended up in my Parts Department as I didn’t really know what to do with it after I made it. Ever get that feeling?
Anyway, the crafting group I joined a few weeks ago is committed to supporting Project Linus UK** and, although I can’t face piecing and quilting anything large at the moment, a small baby quilt measuring around 30 x 30 inches is eminently doable and will fit nicely under my machine for some rudimentary quilting (which is the only quilting I do).
So, the first step was to cut off those little black beads I’d used for his eyes, promptly lose them down the cracks in my floorboards, and replace them with my even more rudimentary embroidery.
Then, using my stash and scraps, I did a spotted border to reflect those spots on his top and red cornerstones to pick up the hat.
Also in my Parts Department, I had the remains of a batik charm pack and then cut the cornerstones from fabric left over from a quilt I made for my niece’s baby a couple of years ago.
I used a cream fabric with a slightly embossed design for the border and the same fabric I used for the cornerstones as a backing.
Then I marked the quilt top with a simple, diagonal cross hatch design ready for machine quilting.
I had a fat quarter of Provencal fabric in my stash which, with a few joins and a bit of luck, was just enough to make the binding.
To give credit where credit’s due, Miss Tialys the Younger joined a lot of the ¼ inch seams for me while I did the measuring and cutting and, because she’s learning, she probably took much more care than I do.
I hope the baby and his/her parents like this little quilt and it brightens up their days which might have had a traumatic start of one sort or another.
Next, I have a paper pieced dog’s face in the Parts Department which I might treat in a similar way to this but make it rectangular for a bassinet.
While Miss T. the Younger was in the swing of things we made some tote bags together so now she has her own hand made ‘bags for life’ to go shopping with and I have another two to add to my collection, We made them with box corners rather than the more simple shape as I find them much more useful for grocery shopping,
Again, I did all the measuring and cutting out but, hopefully, she’ll show an interest in doing that too eventually 🙄 Still, even if she doesn’t, it’s nice to spend time together doing something creative when she visits. Plus, yet more stash fabric gets used up in a useful way. Those first two fabrics are from Ikea I don’t know how many moons ago.
** from the Project Linus website:
“Project Linus UK is a volunteer organisation. We aim to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new home made patchwork quilts and knitted blankets, and give volunteers across the UK the opportunity to contribute to their local community.”
If only I had known what a traumatic/dramatic/stressful/upsetting/labour intensive/expensive/all round pain in the arse moving house (and country) with five cats and two dogs would be during a global pandemic and just before the end of the Brexit transition period, I would have written a running blog about it and bored the pants off you. Luckily (for you) it has been so ‘all of the above’ that I haven’t had the inclination, time or energy to write about it. One day, when the memories fade, I might try to relay some of it as a warning to anybody thinking about doing something similar but, for now, the cats were picked up two days ago and we will follow next week with the dogs so, instead, I will show you the last projects I’ve managed to complete amidst the general disarray that my life and sewing room have become.
Just before I packed up the last of my sewing/knitting/crocheting/needle felting supplies in the umpteenth box, I thought it would be easier to finish this small quilt up so I could pack it flat instead of rolled around a cardboard tube which I did last year some time after spray basting the layers together.
I quilted it on the machine in a simple diagonal cross stitch – my quilting is not a thing of beauty so the simpler the better.
I backed it with some fabric I had rather a lot of and the reason for that is lost in the mists of time.
Then I bound it with some spotty fabric I’d used in a quilt I’d made for my niece’s new baby last year.
I had some pieces of panel left over and used them to make a titchy matching cushion with a hare on one side
and a rabbit on the other
so I’m thinking that cushion might mean I could enter for this month’s Scraphappy Challenge too, thus killing two projects with one stone.
If you think that’s cheating, I have another entry. I found lots of things during my sewing room clear out and some fabrics I’d forgotten about were just crying out to be made into masks.
This has become my favourite mask pattern, very comfortable with full coverage of nose and mouth and, once I can crack the comfort of the ear loops, I should be on to a winner.
This was my favourite, modelled by my handsome young plaster head, yet to be packed.
When I sent her a photo, it also proved to be Mlle. Tialys the Elder’s favourite so off it went in an envelope to England. I am determined to make another for myself when I can find my supplies again.
Anyway, back to the small quilt which is destined to be artfully slung over the white wicker armchair – in the manner shown below -placed in whichever room it will fit into in the dolls’ house we are moving to.
A full view of the finish so that you can be mightily impressed at the empty cubes behind, usually stuffed full and, if I’m honest, soon to be so again.
Next time I post I will be proper English again. I’ll see you on the other side of the Channel. x
As I snuck in a bit of Scraphappy chat, and it’s the right day for it, I’ll share the following with you
Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn. Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.
Contact Kate or Gun (first names on the list) if you want to join in.
Kate (me!), Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire,
Jean, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette, Ann and Kym
A word to the wise. When you accumulate a lot of ‘stuff’ the day might come when you need to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ you can keep and I am here to tell you that getting rid of that ‘stuff’ is no easy task.
We are going to be moving from around 300 square metres into 150 square metres and, as I have a knack of expanding into the space available to me, something (or lots of things) will have to give.
Our furniture doesn’t owe us anything. We’ve had most of it for a long time and some of it was vintage/antique when we got it so that’s not so bad. It’s the ‘stuff’ that will be the problem. My ‘workroom’ is bigger than any of the bedrooms will be in the new house and Mr. T has an industrial sewing machine and rolls of leather as well as all the usual power tools, gardening equipment, etc. but at least he will have a large garage in which to disport himself.
Selling things is time consuming and annoying and giving things away is almost as time consuming and more annoying as there are more takers but the demands on your time are just the same. We only have one or two charity type shops and, soon, they will probably ban me. Mr. T and I take turns in our different cars so that they don’t realise it’s all coming from the same place. The déchetterie (rubbish dump) is complicated and everything has to be separated into categories – I leave those visits to Mr. T.
Anyway, more on that as things progress and, just to show that I am doing things other than trying to keep the house clean and tidy in case of viewings (few and far between in the current ‘situation’) and fretting about the sheer logistics of the whole thing, these are the blocks I did for Kate’s turn in the F2F block swap.
She asked for greys with pops of colour. I didn’t have much grey so, as it was for Kate, I ordered some special Indonesian batiks in dove grey and paper pieced all three blocks as paper piecing is a great way to put everything else out of your mind while you concentrate. Plus, I am much better at paper piecing than regular piecing for some strange reason.
So here are the three I made for Kate.
Are you worried about the amount of ‘stuff’ you have and what you – or whoever has to clear out your house should you unexpectedly drop dead – will do with it all? Or are you one of those enviable people who can keep a rein on their crafting supplies, crafting outcomes, pictures, clothes, shoes, bags, collections of ———–(insert whatever it is you might collect), etc. etc. I think I’m actually going to find the downsizing process quite liberating (she says hopefully) and, in future, will never acquire anything without thinking about how easy it will be to dispose of it in the future.
Some time ago, I dug out my wee hexies and started to think about what I would eventually do with them.
The fabric I’m using is a sort of 1940s nursery print with teeny, tiny, ditsy florals and spots and some mini scottie dogs. I had a design idea in mind which would emphasise the childlike element and bought some handwriting practise fabric from Spoonflower.
I started joining those wee hexies into wee flowers.
The perfect substitute for my usual evening telly watching activity of crochet because my house is now full to bursting with blankets of both fabric and yarn.
I started making some hexagons with the handwriting fabric.
But the original design idea has deserted me completely.
I think I had some thoughts about appliquéing the flowers onto background squares of the handwriting fabric but those thoughts are lost in the mists of time.
Something will come to me eventually.
Even though, due to the current worldwide situation, our international block swap – Footstyle Freestyle (F2F) – has had to adapt this time round, we are still determined to go ahead with it.
Instead of mailing out 3 blocks to the participant due to receive them that month, we are now making them, photographing them, putting them up in the gallery and waiting until we’re out the other side of this to post them. Better safe than sorry and the post is doing strange things at the moment so we don’t want to risk all that hard work getting lost.
It was my turn to receive blocks from the others this month but I’ll just have to wait to see them ‘in the flesh’. However, we each also make three blocks in our chosen colours for ourselves so there was nothing stopping me from making mine in the peacock colours that I’d chosen.
You’ve seen this churn dash one before but my eye kept catching on the ‘too different’ ombré effect on the left which made it hard to focus on the design properly so I took it out and replaced it with a piece of the same fabric that toned in a little better.
This is a foundation paper pieced block by Carol Doak called May Flower
Lastly, one I made up based on the spikes in a hedgehog block I sometimes make but without the hedgehog face.
I haven’t seen the blocks the others have made for me yet – and I’ll only be able to see photos of them anyway until things are back to ‘normal’ – but I think these colours will make for a pretty dramatic quilt eventually.
I haven’t really felt much like blogging lately but Kate’s post today has reminded me that, with social interaction being so limited or even non-existent at the moment, blogging seems more relevant than usual. So, I’ll keep on doing it.
Back in early 2015 I made this quilt featuring a handbag design.
Organised again by Kate over at Tall Tales From Chiconia, the latest Footsquare Freestyle (F2F) patchwork block exchange kicked off in February with ten participants from different countries and Tracy was the first drawn out of the hat to receive three blocks in her chosen colours from each of the other nine participants.
Tracy picked red, green and brown as her colours using photos of cranberries and a Christmas pudding to help us and, having checked with her that she is hoping to make a Christmas themed quilt, I foraged for those rare pieces of festive fabric that I have in deep stash.
I made this Churn Dash because I wanted to feature the lovely stag and deer image in the centre.
I love this foundation paper pieced banded star design and made quite a few for the participants in last year’s swap. Tracy didn’t join us last year so I decided to make her one as there should always be stars at Christmas.
Despite having a lot on this year, I decided to go ahead and join in the swap again as I think I should be able to manage three blocks a month and I like to keep my ‘patchwork hand’ in. I did say to Kate that I’d have to keep it simple this year but I couldn’t resist this pattern for little fir trees but, as it only makes a 6 inch square, I ended up having to make four of them to make a finished block of 12 inches which is, of course, why it’s called footsquare freestyle. So, in effect, I made six blocks for Tracy rather than three. 🙄
Also, I made lots of stupid mistakes while putting this one together, including the final join.
Still, I’ve moved on to Sue’s blocks now as she is the recipient in March and she has asked for shades of true blue and brown. I’ve made two and will start on the third today so I can get them off to the States sharpish.
I am next to receive blocks after Sue, I am ‘Miss April’ this year and I’ve gone for a dramatic colour palette reminiscent of peacock feathers.
Rather more dramatic than my neutral(ish) palette of last year which resulted in my lovely superking size quilt.
I’ve made one block for myself but will probably use April to get ahead with the blocks for the other participants in case I don’t have time later on in the year – I can always make my own ones up at the end.
My use of an ombré effect green fabric has made the shape of the Churn Dash a little more difficult to focus on but, if you squint your eyes a bit and/or look at it from a distance, you can still make it out and it shows the sort of colour scheme I have in mind.
I’ve been very distracted so far this year. I’ve been seriously studying 2D needle felting as I’ve joined a paid online course and want to do well because I’ve got plans to do portraits of both my dogs. I’ve put the 3D needle felted sculptures to one side at the moment although I’ve every intention of getting back to those once I’ve mastered the 2D stuff.
Before the course started I had a go at this snow hare. Room for improvement but doing this sort of got me hooked which is why I signed up for the dog portrait course.
I started practising noses and eyes.
I sent a photo of this one to Mr. TIalys when he was in the U.K. and he thought one of the dogs had done something on the carpet!!💩
I progressed slightly although they look weird as stand alone features don’t they?
Both my dogs are mostly black and, unfortunately, the wrong colour fibre was sent to me so I couldn’t really make a start. I did have lots of brown though so decided to follow the workshop for a Jack Russell even though I don’t have one, never have had one and don’t know anybody who has. All good practice though.
I’m counting this as a partial success as the ‘too big eye’ impacted on the rest of my markings and I made a complete mess of his chest hair but, as it was my first attempt, I’m trying to be kind to myself. I am quite proud of the nose though. Also, it does actually resemble a Jack Russell so it can’t be all bad.
So, I’m going to try to replicate this photo of Stan which was taken before he had any grey hairs but is a favourite of mine
I’ve made a start by transferring the image on to some linen and, now that my 50 shades of grey (and black) have arrived, I will try to immortalise dear Stan in felt. Of course, I didn’t think about ordering any red fibre for the bow tie did I! 🙄
My other main distraction – and reason for lack of blog posts – is the possible, well probable really, relocation back to the U.K. Nothing to do with Brexit I hasten to add. A difficult thing to achieve when our needs are many and varied including displacing multiple animals, a husband who needs commuting facilities, the need to be within a short drive of one of our daughters, the need (well, desire) for workshop space and a largish garden (very difficult to find in the South of the U.K. at a price that is achievable by people other than film stars and Lottery winners) . To say nothing of the time it takes to sell property here in comparison to the U.K. I am so sick of looking at houses on the internet and am dreading the whole thing.
On the brighter side, I’ve been doing some patchwork as the new round of F2F (foot square freestyle)has started which means, I will be making three blocks each month for the next ten months for me and the other nine participants in our chosen colours. The first up is Tracey of It’s a T-Sweets Day and she has chosen Christmas colours – red, green and Christmas pudding brown. I can’t show you the blocks I’ve made for Tracey as they are on their way to her now and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
Hopefully, see you next time I take a break from the felting, foundation paper piecing and freaking out about moving.
Long, long ago, in July 2018 I made three 12 inch (finished) blocks in neutral(ish) colours and received three blocks in my chosen colour palette from each of the other participants of the collaborative quilting swap organised by Kate known as F2F (which stands for Foot Square Freestyle) and this was the third one we’ve done.
Some time passed – well, let’s call it a year -and I decided that I wasn’t going to quilt it myself – not even as a ‘quilt as you go’ project as I have done before – because I wanted it to be enormous, big enough to fit my superking size bed and drape down the sides a bit too.
So I just (eventually) joined the blocks with ordinary sashing, added a couple of borders to get it to the right size and sent it off to Yorkshire for quilting by Fiona at Quilt Sandwich.
An indulgence but I’m never going to make a quilt as big as this again so it was a present to myself.
I was so pleased with the quilting pattern I chose – ‘Hearts On A String’- as it has some interest but isn’t too dense and doesn’t overwhelm the blocks. I also asked Fiona to supply the Henry Glass ‘Breezy’ extra wide fabric for the backing – she has a great choice of hard to find patterns in the extra width needed to back quilts without a join.
I asked Fiona to trim the quilt so that it was all neat and ready for me to attach the binding by machine and hand sew it down on the back which I did in stages between cats taking residence on the ‘quilt in progress’ and my own fading resilience in the face of so much binding.
I had some Liberty of London fabric left from my Hatbox Quilt which hangs above our bed and, luckily, there was enough to make the binding which was perfect because the neutral(ish) colours went very well with the rest of the quilt and was also available in my stash.
The finished quilt is too big to be held up by my 6’4″ husband or even to be photographed on the washing line so here it is, in situ, just in time for Christmas.
Now at least Kate can put one finished quilt in her F2F3 gallery which is only fitting as I was the first one drawn to receive blocks so should also be the first one to finish.
Now, bring on the next one!
My girls are arriving today for the Christmas break so this is how I’ll end my blogging year – with a triumphant finish.
I hope you all have a wonderful time this festive season and thank you for following my posts. I really value your input (I know I ask lots of questions) but, even if you don’t always comment, I sort of know you are out there and it’s great to think I am not just talking to myself which, I have to confess, seems to be happening more and more ‘in real life’.
So, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Bonnes Fêtes à tous.