Archive for category Patchwork and Quilting Projects – General

A Christmas Dilemma

Yesterday I went to a Christmas craft fair and had my first vin chaud (literally ‘hot wine’) of the year so now I’m starting to feel a bit festive and realised I haven’t posted for a while so here’s a quick catch up.

It’s difficult, when you make things yourself, to buy things at a craft fair.  It’s easy to think ‘well, I could make that’ and some people actually say it and, having done a couple of craft fairs myself, I can tell you that it’s one of the most annoying things to hear.  I want to say, ‘yes, but will you?’  ‘Do you have the equipment you need to make it and, if not, are you going to go out and buy it just to make one thing?’ ( whilst smiling politely and saying worse things under my breath).

Anyway, I managed to buy a couple of things that I won’t make myself even though I could.

Firstly, this lovely wreath made out of loads and loads of pieces of Christmassy fabric.

I don’t have much festive fabric in my stash and, if I did, I wouldn’t be cutting it up into hundreds of pieces.  Sometimes, there are people with more patience than you and, since I know the lady who makes these, I was glad to support her.

One hobby I started but didn’t finish is needle felting but I really would like to give it another go one day.  So, I couldn’t resist this little mouse, complete with appropriate French attire who will go on my tree as I always like to buy at least one new tree decoration each year.

I usually harvest some mistletoe from a small tree at the top of our garden but, this year, it doesn’t seem to have appeared so this seemed a good excuse for another felty festive purchase.

Last time I tried needle felting, I couldn’t even make a round bead properly so I’ll be on the lookout for a workshop or something next year and maybe, next Christmas, I’ll be able to say ‘I could make that’ – though not out loud of course.

Anyway, back to what I have made myself.  Having dislodged the cats from my Nature’s Walk crochet squares which were laid out on the dining room table for ease of joining, they are now all joined and the first two rows that set up the edge for the fancy border have been done.  I think I’ll do the rest on my lap when the cats are outside.

They have now found another work in progress to impede so I still have another two sides of my F2F quilt to bind.  Look at that face – would you have the courage to move her off?

At least that’s forced me to try to finish the new shirt I’m making for Mr. Tialys’s Christmas present.  Despite having made this same pattern recently, I’m having trouble with the sleeves.  Last time, I set them in and finished the inside seam on the overlocker/serger.  This time I wanted to do a felled seam as it looks more professional.  The sleeve cap is quite large on this shirt, compared to the armscye, so it’s quite difficult to set it in without puckers anyway, let alone trying to fell the seams too, so it’s causing me some problems and I keep finding other things to do to put off tackling it.

(edit:  nothing wrong with the pattern sizing at all – it was me, matching the wrong notches!!)

Speaking of Christmas gifts, I commented on Kate’s post today about gift giving- although I sort of went off topic – and would be interested to know your thoughts on something.  I love giving hand made gifts to friends and family it gives me a lot of pleasure (and hopefully them) and also gives me a good excuse to make more things.  None of my family live nearby and most don’t appreciate hand made items anyway – with the exception of my daughters who are already drowning in blankets and quilts – so it’s generally friends who end up with the results of my efforts.  However, some (non-crafting) friends I usually go for a pre-Christmas lunch with have a ‘no gifts’ policy and have asked me not to surprise them with anything this year.  I only ever give them hand made things – not shop bought – and I’ve explained before that I don’t expect, or even want, anything in return. I try to give them useful things too – crocheted cloths or cleansing pads, fabric baskets, make up bags, last year it was knitted cowls, as I know not everybody wants blankets or cushions or even quilts.  This year I was going to give them little fabric baskets filled with foodie things – home made lemon curd, chutney, quince spread and bombay nuts.  But now I’m not 😞  I sort of understand that they might feel they have to reciprocate but, in previous years, I’ve been very insistent that they don’t.  Now I feel sort of offended.

What do you think?  I’d be interested to hear if  you think I’m being over sensitive.

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The Return Of The Quilt

My superking sized quilt has arrived back in France having been on a journey to Yorkshire via Bournemouth for its appointment with a longarm quilting machine.

It measures something like 98 x 88 inches and, although I could have done it myself using the quilt as you go method as I have done with my previous sampler quilts, I really fancied an edge to edge design for this one and there was no way I was wrestling that bulk under my domestic machine.

The light isn’t very good at the moment – bad weather has descended – and the backing fabric is a richer cream than you can see here with a sort of feather pattern but you can see the quilting quite well.  The design is called ‘hearts on a string’ and I chose it because it’s nice and ‘flowy’ and I felt it wouldn’t overpower the sampler blocks or make the quilt too stiff.

 There are so many patterns to choose from and it was difficult to visualise but I’m really pleased with my choice.

Here it is, on the right side of the quilt, across one of the blocks.


That’s all I’m showing you at the moment because I need to decide on binding and then attach it so I’ll save the big reveal until after I’ve done that.

I’m unsure about the colour of binding to use as the back of the quilt is a deep cream colour, which also features in a lot of the blocks, but there is quite a lot of charcoal and other greys on the front, especially in the border.  I thought about dusky pink but, as the pink is mostly a highlight colour amongst the neutrals and greys, I think it might stand out a bit too much.  Ideally, I want to use stash fabric so I’ll have to have a rummage and see what I can come up with.

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47 Comments

Waiting for Hermes

The F2F3 quilt is on its penultimate stretch.

You may remember that I had decided to send this big girl off to a longarm quilter as I’ve made it to fit our ginormous bed and couldn’t face such a mammoth quilting task.  This will actually fit our bed with borders hanging down either side instead of being more of a bed topper and I will never (as much as I ever say never) make such a big quilt again – I wouldn’t be able to afford it for a start. This will be our ‘forever quilt’.  In future there will be throws and baby quilts only – probably.

Firstly, I had to rid the back of loose threads.

This took quite a while although 27 of the 30 12 inch blocks were made by the community of very competent quilters who contributed to this quilt by way of Kate’s Footsquare Freestyle block swap so nearly all of the loose threads were due to fraying rather than untidy ends.

Once I got the back looking neat and tidy, I folded it up ready for mailing to Yorkshire for its ‘longarm experience’.

I chose this fabric for the backing

It also came in grey and I was torn between the two but I thought the cream would give a more gentle effect for the bedroom.

I chose a wool batting, which I’ve never used before so I’ll be interested to see how that feels and I chose a simple quilting design as I didn’t want to overpower all the beautiful blocks and also wanted a nice drape.

I’ve just been told that the courier company in the U.K. (the Hermes of the title) is in possession of my quilt so I’m hoping it will arrive here in France by early next week, if not before.  I am more excited about it than a grown woman has a right to be when it’s not even Christmas.

I’ve asked that the quilt be trimmed ready for binding as I quite like attaching binding and it will serve to ‘re-connect’ me with the quilt, especially as I always hand sew the binding down to the back.  This ‘re-connection’ airy fairyness of mine might prove to be less attractive than it sounds as it’s a bloomin’ big quilt and I might wish to be ‘disconnected’ sooner than I fondly anticipate at the moment.

I think my quilt might be the first ‘finish’ to appear in the 2018/2019 gallery which is only right and proper because my name was drawn first to receive blocks from the other participants when the swap started in Summer 2018.

Then I’ll be able to get on with this next project. If you remember,  I bought two panels with all the circular designs on them and asked you for your ideas about a different border and cornerstones a couple of months ago as I’m not overly keen on the border fabric in the pattern.

I have all the appropriate fabrics already to make a lovely border.

I’ve cut out the circles within squares and attached sashing between them.

Now, however, I’m in more of a dilemma because I really like it as it is and don’t know whether to continue planning a border or just to quilt and bind this for a wall hanging.

What do you think?

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20 Comments

Near Enough

 For those of you who were helping me worry about trying to find more fabric to finish my quilt (see last post), I went in to the original shop today and although they didn’t have any of this left (as I’d bought it all last time)

they did have some of this

Just goes to show it often pays to shop local and what’s a shade or two amongst friends?

He couldn’t tell me the name of the maker – although I suspect he just couldn’t be bothered to look it up – apart from to say it was from the States.  So that narrowed it down a bit 🙄

Still, I couldn’t leave the shop with a mere half a metre of fabric so, with Christmas in mind, or that might just be an excuse if I’m honest, I came away with these two panels to make either cushions or, in the case of the sewing machine, to stretch it around a canvas and hang it on my sewing room wall if I can find any space, which I won’t be able to so a cushion it will probably be – or a bag.

You’ll be proud of me when I say I left a panel with a similar cat wearing a floppy hat and brandishing a paintbrush and artist’s palette behind.

I could always go back for it though.

 

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40 Comments

Not Yet Over the Border

If you remember – well, it was only a couple of posts ago – I was contemplating how best to finish off my F2F3 sampler quilt.

Our bed is a very large Superking size and I want the blocks to finish on top of the bed, not having to be tucked in top and bottom nor travelling down the sides, but that would mean the side borders will be wider than the top and bottom which I know is not usually the done thing.

Thanks for all your input and this is how it looks at the moment.

Far too long for the washing line, I had to take a risk by laying it out in the garden.  As I have two dogs, five cats, numerous insects (although not as pets), prickly weeds , sticky buds and fallen figs – at least fallen figs that haven’t already been snaffled by the dogs – I did fear for its safety but all appears well and there are no yukky stains on the underside.

As you can see I went for the 3 inch border all round and then a 12 inch border at the sides.  This will be enough to cover the mattress at both sides of the bed and the top comes to just over the pillows without losing sight of any of the blocks.

There is one problem though.  The bottom is a little bit shy of being long enough to just tuck round the end of the mattress and I’ve run out of the dark grey fabric.  I bought this fabric at my one and only local fabric store and he is trying to get rid of all his quilting fabric so, when he had a sale, I bought up all he had of this dark grey.  So, my question is – there’s always one isn’t there? (although that’s not the question in question) – does anybody recognise the fabric and the name or maker so I can search for just a bit more.  All I need is probably 4 inches across the bottom there.

Alternatively, does anybody have any in their stash and be willing to sell it to me or do an exchange?

I’m hoping somebody will recognise it, know the name/brand, or have some to swap or sell.

Fingers crossed.

 

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22 Comments

Adding to Subtract

Still on a (sometime) mission to complete the top of my superking sized quilt from the F2F3 block swap last year, I have at least and at last joined the blocks together with the marbled dark charcoal fabric.  I think the sashing highlights the soft neutrals nicely as well as, now that I look at it, complementing my bed frame.

As you can see, it doesn’t need to be much longer but I want it to come over the sides enough to cover that top mattress.

The bottom mattress is our old one but we haven’t mustered up the will to haul it down the stairway yet and down to the tip or even, as I think is the way it came in, drop it over the balcony.  I feel like the girl in the old story of the Princess and the Pea and, not being 6’4″ like Mr. Tialys, have to slide off the bed in the morning in a particular manner as my feet don’t actually reach the ground.

I’m thinking I’ll do a 3 inch border in the fabric that was second choice for the sashing which I’m auditioning below.

 My question is, do you think I could do the 3 inch border all the way round and then a further, wider (8inch??) border in something plainish on the two sides?  That way, I won’t have unnecessary extra fabric disappearing off the bed at top and bottom.   I know it won’t be symmetrical but does that matter?  Most modern quilts tend to be symmetrical but, when I did a bit of research online, it appears that older quilts were more often made to fit the space they would occupy which seems sensible.

I’m itching to get on with it  because, you know the story, I’ve seen another project I want to get started on. I feel that, by dangling that carrot, I’ll get on and finish the current one sooner rather than later which explains my title, sort of.

So this is the free pattern that caught my eye.  Love the colours, the birds, rabbits and foxes but not so keen on the picture borders and large cornerstones.

This is a free pattern by Lynne Goldsworthy offered on Plush Addict in order, I imagine, to sell the range of fabrics it uses which is Grove by Makower.

I had a cunning plan however.

If I were to buy a couple of the panels used for the centre, I could put some of my stash (above, neatly labelled) to good use.

Which explains my title again, sort of.

The colours are fairly similar.

I have enough of the circular designs panel fabric for cornerstones rather than make the larger ones in the original project and could use my stash rabbits, hares and birds to complete the sides.

What do you think?

I think it could work – I’m talking throw size here not double bed size or anything.

Now the question is, what would I do down those sides?

Most of the folded fabric pieces are fat quarters so I’ve got a fair amount.  I don’t want to do anything too ‘fiddly’ because I want to show off the fabrics   I could probably do a simple pieced back too.

Any ideas gratefully received.

I don’t ask much do I?

Even though, where most of you are concerned, I feel I already know the answer – have you ever used the excuse of buying in a new project in order to spur you on with a current one?

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When Forgetfulness – Or Laziness – Comes Back To Bite You

 

Six years ago, I made a quilt for Mlle Tialys’s 18th birthday as I had done for her (slightly) older sister.

I can’t remember the pattern I used but it used a jelly roll and was some sort of hidden stars design as you can see below.

Mlle. Tialys the Elder was presented with her quilt on her 18th birthday but had to give it straight back to me as I hadn’t finished it so the Younger fared better in that hers was quilted and bound.  It has since languished across a chair in her bedroom because it is a large double size and (from choice) she has a single bed.

Recently she decided she wanted to go and live in England and share Mr. Tialys’s commuter flat together with her sister who’s already there.  In the required ‘upgrade’ to a three-bedroom flat, a double bed was purchased for her and so I thought I’d send the quilt over for her to finally use on a bed as nature intended.

However, when I picked up the quilt to give it a wash before packing it up I realised that, either from wanting to get it finished in a rush or just sheer laziness, I had only done the absolute minimum of quilting.

All I’d done was quilted around each star.

Extreme minimalism which, I realised, just wouldn’t do now it was going to be actually used on a bed.

What was I thinking? Don’t ask – it was six years ago and any reasoning (or forgetting) that went on at the time is lost in the mists.

As the quilt was already bound I thought I’d have to take it all off but I did some research and found somebody else who had asked the question on a quilt forum and the news was surprisingly good.  Apparently, some quilters actually do this intentionally.  They do some minimal quilting, then bind it, which helps stablilise the quilt for further quilting.  Who knew? I didn’t but I might pretend I did if anyone asks.

Of course, that meant I had to wrestle the quilt under my domestic machine so, all I did was stitch in the ditch along the vertical and horizontal lines formed by the design which fortuitously happen to encase each star in a square.  It’s still far too scant really but it’s better than it was.

The third horizontal line in this photo is actually a fold crease in the fabric not an intentional quilted line – in case you were wondering 🙄

In my defence m’lud, I did hand quilt those stars which is probably why I went down the ‘minimalist’ road originally, supporting the verdict that it was probably laziness rather than forgetfulness which the prosecution had suspected all along.  The evidence is now on its way to England in the back of a car courtesy of some friends who are driving back after visiting their holiday home here for the Summer.

So it all turned out well (and very bright) in the end.

 

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FFFinally Started Assembling The F2F3 Quilt

If you’ve been following me for a while you will know I have now participated in three block swaps organised by Kate over at Tall Tales from Chiconia.  Each participant decides on the colours they want their quilt to be and is allocated a month.  The participant makes three 12.5 inch square blocks for herself (or himself although we haven’t had a male quilter join us yet) and the others all make three too, in the chosen colours but in whatever design they like, and send them off to the participant of the month.  F2F stands for Foot Square Freestyle (the blocks measure 12 inches when finished) and 2018/2019 was the third year we did it – hence F2F3.

Now you know!

Anyway, when the names were drawn from the hat, my name came out first so I received my blocks from the other eight participants by the end of June last year.  I have only just got round to dealing with them.

This time, I am determined to make a quilt big enough to properly fit a Superking size bed – in other words I want it to go down the sides of the bed and not just cover the top.  This means a very big quilt and I can tell you now that I will definitely not be quilting it myself.  It will go over to the U.K. and somebody with a lovely big machine, specially designed to deal with big quilts, will do it for me.  I’ll worry about getting it back over to France when the time comes.

You might remember – though why should you? – my colour scheme was sort of neutrals – greys, cream, beige and dusty pink.

Here is a provisional layout on the bed which doesn’t look that big here but, trust me, it is.  Each of those blocks measures 12.5 inches at the moment and they’re laid out 5 across x 6 down.

I

I’m going with that layout, more or less, although I’ve already swapped out the middle one on the bottom row as it was too similar in colour to the one above.  Sometimes you don’t see these things until you photograph it and look at it on a screen.

I had two potential sashing fabrics in mind and ‘auditioned’ them by laying some of the blocks on top.

This was one possibility


and this marbled charcoal grey was the other.

You can see which one I went with in this photo of the first row joined together with the vertical sashing strips.

I put a bit of a spurt on this afternoon and got the top two rows joined.  I’ve cheated and just laid the horizontal strips across to give you a bit of an idea how it will look.  I really like the way the charcoal grey is framing the blocks.

The reason for this sudden industry is because one of my favourite online UK fabric shops is having a free shipping weekend (including Europe) and they have some fabric in stock at the moment that I rather fancy for the border.  I haven’t got anything the right colour, in the right amount in my stash.  I know I could calculate how much fabric I will need for the border – although not without help – but I’d prefer to get the blocks joined up, decide whether I want a small border made from the rejected sashing fabric and then what sort of width would look right for the outer border.  If I want the free shipping I need to work it out by the end of this weekend.  It’s a first world problem I know.

Mr. Tialys’s shirt has had to take a back seat but I have done the plackets, the yoke and the collar stand and, because my mannequin is lady shaped, I had to go to the storeroom and put my antique male mannequin into use.  It’s in my Etsy shop so this will probably be the time somebody will decide to buy it but, for now, it is standing in for Mr. T – even though it’s a lot shorter than him, not quite as broad across the shoulders and considerably older.

The other reason for the sudden rush is that I want to start a new quilt and feel too guilty to start it while this one is languishing in a box and everybody’s hard work in making all those lovely blocks for me is hidden from view.

This will be the last big quilt I make now – I really don’t need any more and I can’t afford to send them off for quilting every time (although I’ve only done that once before) – so in future I’ll be making baby quilts, lap quilts and throws – sizes I can get under my domestic machine or *shudder* hand quilt.

So, that’s my weekend sorted, what will you be getting up to?

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32 Comments

Scrappy Sewing Machine for August

It’s the 15th of the month (again) and time to show what I’ve been making with scraps.

Remember those hundreds of 1.5 inch squares I had to join together

to make a pixelated sewing machine wall hanging?

Well, I’d like to have said I’ve finished it but it’s not quite there yet.

It’s all joined together and actually looks like a sewing machine now rather than a multicoloured cow as Mr. Tialys offered by way of criticism at an earlier stage of construction.

The back view shows the task in more detail

I decided to quilt it by playing around with free motion quilting as it’s only going on the wall in my workroom, a place heavily guarded against inspections by the quilt police.

I found the perfect multicoloured thread to do it with.

As usual, my quilting is by no means perfect, in fact, on this occasion it’s only just acceptable and I’m not even going to make that claim for the back which is why I’m not showing you a photo of that as it will only be going against the wall in any case.

I think it will look fine from a distance.

I had the binding on up until yesterday when I realised, as I was hand stitching the back down, that my mitred corners were not coming together properly and the binding fabric had started to fray so I unpicked it all.

Still, at least that means I will have something to show you on the next Scraphappy Day which is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric.  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 (first name on the list) if you want to join in.

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn(me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

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Scraphappy Day June 2019

Today, being the 15th of the month, is the day for showing off what you have done with your scraps.  You might remember this pattern I showed you at the end of last month’s Scraphappy post and it has driven me every bit as mad as you might imagine it would.

Having cut hundreds of 1.5 inch squares from scrap fabrics, I proceeded to lay them out in 5 x 5 blocks in the order shown in the pattern, like so.

Having joined the blocks up individually,  they must then be joined in rows which was much more interesting once the first row was completed and I could start adding coloured squares.  Here’s the first two rows joined together and hung out of the way.

I’m making this as a project for Wednesday afternoons when I sew along with a friend of mine and, for the first time when we’re doing a project together, neither of us has felt tempted to do any alone during the rest of the week.  I expect you might not be surprised to hear that.

I am not the most accurate piecer which is why I like to do foundation paper piecing as it enables me to achieve better results.   So, trying to join small squares together was never going to be a piece of cake for me.  I did try, originally, to place the squares on a grid made from fusible interfacing, fold along the lines and stitch then cut the seams open and iron out as I have done for individual ‘postage stamp’ blocks before but, although it made for  more accuracy, it made the fabric stiffer and, worse, took longer to do and I couldn’t face doing another twenty blocks.  So, I abandoned that method after the first row.

Almost worse than the piecing is the ironing.  Pressing all those tiny, close together seams open means burnt fingers and every time you press one seam, the ones only an inch away from it, risk getting ‘unpressed’ again.

I sometimes wonder why I decide on certain projects in the first place but what’s a (sewing) life without a bit of a challenge?

Now, I’ve done three rows and joined them up and can start to see the sewing machine shape emerge, I feel more encouraged.  Also, hung in my workroom window, there’s a nice stained glass effect going on.

Mr. Tialys says it looks like a  cow.  Ridiculous! Who ever saw a multi-coloured cow? Whereas there are plenty of multi-coloured sewing machines around of course 🙄

As it is the 15th of the month, and it’s June, it is also my birthday so I hope to be wining, dining, walking around admiring the scenery and generally enjoying a bit of a break over the border in Spain as you read this.

Just about here….

 

Begur

Hasta la vista, until next time.

 

If you like the idea of using your scraps (of anything, not just fabric) click on Kate or Gun(first two names in the list  below) and join us on the 15th of every month – or just those months you feel like joining in.  Here’s a list of both frequent and occasional Scraphappiers (?) if you want to see what everybody else is doing.

Kate,  Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn , Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJeanJohanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

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51 Comments