Archive for category Patchwork and Quilting Projects – General

Playing With Hedgehogs

Firstly, please accept my apologies if I haven’t commented on your blogs for the past week or so but we drove down into Spain/Catalonia for a break while my daughters house/dog/cat sat and, as one daughter doesn’t live here permanently, we’ve also been having some family time and I’ve been keeping off the screen and sewing machine as much as possible.  Mlle. Tialys the Elder is here for another week but I just dropped in quickly with an update on the F2F third block swap organised by Kate.

During the 2016/2017 swap, I discovered the pattern for Elizabeth Hartman’s Fancy Forest quilt and made a couple of blocks featuring her foxes and also two hedgehogs because they were easily made into the correct size for the finished blocks (12 inches) that this block swap calls for simply by adding a border.   It was interesting matching the colours they had chosen for their quilts to the pieces of hedgehog and each one is unique – I can guarantee you won’t see any of these in the wild.

So, in 2016, Susan over in Texas got this one –

and Claire in France got this one

I couldn’t resist revisiting this pattern for this year’s swap and – bearing in mind the participants who have already received one and the fact that not everybody might like a hedgehog in their quilt (although I can’t imagine why not 😉 ) – I made this blue and white one for Sue over in Washington as one of her three blocks for July.

I’d never made one for myself so, not to be left out, I made one in the neutral colour palette I’d selected as my colour choice this time round.

Plus, a paper pieced favourite of mine called ‘Banded Star’ – a pattern you can find free on Craftsy here.

With the receipt of these brilliantly executed (though not brilliantly photographed) blocks from Moira …….

and these lovelies from Nanette………

I now have all my blocks here and ready to be assembled into one big beautiful quilt or, quite possibly, two smaller fabulous throws.  I chose a neutral palette so that I could display them in the living areas of the house more easily so two smaller ones would make sense.

As usual, with sampler quilts, I will probably QAYG (quilt as you go) and might even have a go at hand quilting this time so you probably won’t see the finished article any time soon but it’s time I tried to improve my quilting skills and this will be an ideal project to do so.  Expect minimalism!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Scrappy July

Two more scrappy blocks to show you this month.

I’ve decided to make them – or at least nine of them – using scraps left over from making the F2F blocks so, each month I’ll make three 12 inch blocks for that month’s participant and, with the scraps, make a block for my eventual scrappy quilt.  That’s the plan anyway.

Confused? Join the club.

I was ‘Miss June’ and chose neutrals for my F2F colour palette so this is the scrappy block I made after making my own three blocks (well, I’m still part way through the third one but you get my drift).

Sue, from Washington, is ‘Miss July’ and her colour choices were different shades of blue with white.  Some of these scraps don’t appear in the blocks I made for her – the butterflies wouldn’t have been right for instance – but it’s predominantly blue and white so will serve as a reminder of the blocks I made for her.

I have loads of yarn scraps left over from my Little River Blanket  – remnants ranging from 3g to 5g – and I’m wondering what to make with those.  Anybody got any experience using up such things?  I’d be grateful for any ideas.  As I’m making another of these blankets, I’ll have another 48 so the possibilities are endless – aren’t they?

If you want to make use of your own scraps – can be anything, fabric, yarn, paper, whatever – just contact Kate or Gun who organise ScrapHappy Day on the 15th of every month and, if you have something, Kate will link to your blog, if not, nobody will mind.

Here’s a link to Kate’s post this month where you will see a link to the other participants.

 

 

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More Calming Neutrals – Keeping It Real

blah

blah

blah

blah

blah

final blah

 

This was the draft for my next blog post.  I was looking at it and thought it would be fun to show you what passes for my thought process.  Lots of blah, blahs  is how my posts always start and, some might say, how they generally carry on.  So now you know.

I must just put in a bit of real blah though to say that all these gorgeous blocks – going towards my neutral palette F2F quilt – were received in the last few days from (in order of photos) Robin in Australia , Esther in the Netherlands and Kate, our esteemed leader, also in Australia.  Those last two were ‘spares’ sent by Esther and Kate in case I wasn’t happy with one of the other three they sent me.  As if! I don’t call them ‘spares’ I call them ‘bonuses’.

Normal blahing will be resumed as soon as possible.

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A Neutral Notion

You may remember – if not, I’m about to remind you – that I’m taking part in Kate’s Foot Square Freestyle block swap again this year.

This was one of my photos for colour inspiration and I apologise right now for causing the other participants problems with what, I suppose, is a fairly difficult colour palette to reproduce.  I’ve even had trouble finding the right pinks myself so I sympathise.

My reasoning was that a neutral quilt would go with all different colour schemes and would fit in wherever I want to put it.  Also, I have a few quilts for beds which I try to rotate and, this time, thought I might make a couple of smaller ones, or throws, to drape across a sofa back in an arty farty fashion.

Anyway, I was the first out of the hat to receive blocks from the other participants this year and three have been quick off the mark – probably to get my weird colours out of the way – and have sent me the three blocks each that we commit to every month for this swap.

Firstly I received these lovelies from Sue in Washington

Then these three beauties from Kathy in South Dakota

Then, from a little nearer home, this gorgeous group from Claire who is also in France

I try not to be too overawed by the excellence of everyone else’s piecing – it only makes me try harder with mine when I know the standard is this high and, although nobody is going to be the Quilt Police (at least I hope not) I don’t want to disappoint.  Thank goodness it won’t be me that will be quilting their blocks – not my strong point!

I think they’ve all done a great job in interpreting my neutral vision and I’ve already started to think about the sort of thing I want to use for sashing and backing.  I’m wondering about a darkish grey marbled with pink – if I can find such a beast.

I’ve only made one block for myself so far – I thought I’d wait until I see what everybody else makes first so I can go with the predominant flow at the end.  I’ve been making Miss July’s blocks instead but I can’t show you those as it would spoil the surprise.

If anybody knows where I can get marbly grey and dirty pink fabric, please advise 🙂

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Could This Be The Start Of Something Big?

Here are some of my cotton scraps.    I say ‘some’ because there are quite a few more.  I was industrious at some stage – can’t remember when – and cut some scraps into squares and strips so there’s a box of those somewhere and also a box totally dedicated to scraps of Liberty of London tana lawn which I get out and stroke now and again.

Anyway, I think it’s time something was done with all these bits of pretty floating around and, inspired by the beautiful quilt Kate has made entirely from scraps,  which is so lovely she’s entering it into her local Quilt Show, and by the fact Kate and Gun host a Scraphappy Day once a month, I thought I’d throw design and colour coordination to the wind and make a scrappy quilt myself.

I’ll be making them all with a 12 inch finished size and using the QAYG (quilt as you go) method to join them all up.

I know I’m already starting on the F2F Block Swap that Kate organises but those blocks will be more complex and I’ll be strictly sticking to the chosen colours of the other participants whereas these ones will be put together in a vaguely random fashion – let’s call it ‘organic’.

My first block was put together on a whim and, if I’d had my head on, I would perhaps have chopped those large pieces up a bit more but, hey, it’s an organic process, remember.

The next one’s better and even has some yellow in it which I don’t usually countenance but I must have used it in something in order to have the scraps.

They probably won’t end up next to each other but, as I only have two at the moment, there is no option.  I’ll think about sashing etc. further down the road.

If you want to see what can become of joining scraps together, you can see Kate’s beauty here – but don’t expect mine to be ‘show worthy’ necessarily.  Although I might be able to show you a much emptier scrap box by the end of it.

Here are the others who take part in ScrapHappy Day every month or every now and again.  If you fancy joining in – you can use any scraps you want to – fabric, yarn, paper, etc. – just contact Kate or Gun.

 

Kate Gun,TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn(me),  Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean, Jon
and Hayley

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Time To Get The Ironing Board Out

No! Don’t be ridiculous, I’m not going to make inroads into the basket of long-forgotten shirts and rashly chosen clothes made from inconvenient fabric that has the nerve to crease.  No – the Foot Square Freestyle Block Swap is back and I will be needing to press small pieces of delicious fabric on a regular basis.

Kate, over at Tall Tales from Chiconia has, once again, taken on the organisation of the third F2F worldwide block swap, bless her.  I can only think she must enjoy herding cats as, whenever I have been rash enough to take on the role of an organiser, that’s what it seems to be like.  Which is why I’m a team player rather than a team leader.

There are nine of us this year from all over the World and we will each make three blocks a month and send them to the person who has been drawn out of a hat to be the recipient that month.  We can all choose what colours we want but the design is up to the person making the blocks so all skill levels are catered for.  At the end of ‘our’ month, or shortly afterwards, we will have 27 blocks measuring 12 inches (finished size) – hence the ‘foot square’ of the title if you speak ‘imperial measurements’  – with which to make into a quilt.

If you have followed me for a while you will know that I have participated in both the previous swaps and, the first time, I ended up with all of these beauties-

and the second time with this one in more ‘manly’ colours as I wanted it for Mr. Tialys

I have missed the swap as I couldn’t find anything else like it when Kate took a year off from doing it last year and it was a very good exercise for improving patchwork skills, trying out some new ones (foundation paper piecing anyone?)  plus working with colours you might not normally use yourself.

As last time, my name was drawn out of the hat first so I will be ‘Miss June’ (which is appropriate as it’s my birthday month) and will be receiving three blocks from all the other participants some time later in the month or early in July.  Just wondering – why is it that my name never comes first out of the hat when there are big prizes to be won?

Anyway, these are some inspirations for my colour choices this time

Neutrals with shades of grey (although not as many as fifty) from pale to charcoal

some beige and cream

with vintage, faded rose pinks .

Why did my parents not provide me with such a bedroom when I was a child?   Would I have appreciated it if they did?  Probably not but I still feel slightly miffed.

So, I have made my first block just to get my hand in as I am severely out of practice and need to improve before I start sending out work to those who may or may not be more capable than me (but probably are).

A simple one to start but, even then, one of my points isn’t perfect.  The further down the line the participant is the better off they’ll be as I probably won’t be fully up to speed again for a couple of months.  Although, of course, I will be trying very hard.  There’s nothing like sending off your work to others who do the same sort of work to inspire improvement.

 

 

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The Eastern Jewels Finish – An End to the Ends

After all the octagons

and all the squares, the large triangles and the small triangles,

and the seemingly endless ends to be sewn in.

After going maverick and doing a slightly different border in different colours,

taking a deep breath, hand washing it and spinning it for a short time tied in a pillow case with a couple of bath sheets to prevent too much agitation, as recommended,

blocking it out to a 45 inch square on several yoga mats

it’s finished!

I started this in late October when I was in the U.K. looking after my Mum with my sisters.

Finished in April just before going back over to the U.K. to see my daughter in her new flat for the first time.

I’ve loved every minute of making this – well, apart from sewing in the ends that is but, if you do them as you go along it’s not so bad.

I would never have put all these colours together myself but it’s been so cleverly worked out that the overall effect is really stunning  and just goes to prove that going outside your comfort colour zone now and then can be a revelation.

So – we put the flags out – or the patchwork flag up – something I’ve been nagging reminding Mr. T. to help me with for some time now and, as you can see, it didn’t end up in the long, empty corridor as discussed in my earlier post but in the lovely old rickety wooden stairway leading up to the top floor.

Now, what’s next?

Actually, I won’t lie, I’ve already ordered another kit – a different one this time and it should be here by the time I get back from my U.K. trip so I’ll show you then but I am definitely going to make this one again in the future.

Well, I’ve got the pattern now, it would be silly not to.

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Spontaneous Sewing

At the moment, I am attempting to face my nemesis – the trousers (or pants if you are of the American persuasion) – and try to fit a pattern made for somebody with a bottom to somebody who hasn’t and that would be me.  I have  never been able to balance a wine glass on my generous behind like a Kardashian nor will I ever be described as ‘bootylicious’ but, back in the day, it wasn’t so fashionable to have a big bum so it never bothered me and these days nobody really cares about the size of my derrière apart from me and , even then, only enough to get a pair of trousers to fit it.

There are some sewing classes available locally which some of my friends attend regularly but I thought I’d go along for a couple to see if we could get my fitting problem sorted so I made a quick toile and took it along to the class where it was pinned and adjusted to the extent that I don’t think the pieces bear any relation to the original pattern any longer but do seem to fit me better now.  I will let you know how that turns out.

Anyway, last time I used one of the teacher’s spare machines but I thought I might take my own next time as I’m so used to it.

Here is my naked machine.

Sometimes, when I remember, I put the machine cover on to keep the dust off it.

You’ve seen the front of this before so here’s the reverse side – I had a garage in mind –  just for a change.

However, this is definitely a ‘stay at home’ cover as it’s big and bulky and there is no carry handle.

You know those times when you go into your workroom or workspace and have absolutely no idea what you’re going to do and then, suddenly, you do?  Well, that’s what happened here – time to make a ‘going out’ cover.

I basically followed a tutorial I found here and, although I debated making patchwork sides, I decided against it in the end and used some stash fabric I had lying about.  I lined the interior with plain green cotton, put wadding between the layers for a bit of protection and quilted the lot with a simple diagonal.

The tutorial includes a fairly ingenious way of making the slot in the top for the handle which took me quite a bit of time to work out (my poor brain) but, once I got my head round it, worked really well.  It involves some interfacing and a bit of tricksy turning and voila!  I can’t explain it any better than the original – can you tell? – so I won’t try.

I constructed the side pockets as per the tutorial.

I finished off the bottom edge in the same, ready made single fold binding I used for the pockets as I have a big roll of it in my stash.

I’m not sure I’ll put all the cables and foot pedal in the side pockets – too heavy and bulky – but they will be handy for rulers, scissors, rotary cutter, markers, etc.

So, I’m ready for my next session now .

I have another, ‘spare’ machine which sits under a plastic cover and, while it probably isn’t going anywhere, it would look prettier in my workroom for having a fabric cover so next time a bit of spontaneous sewing time comes round I know what I’ll do. Does that mean I won’t be able to call it ‘spontaneous’ though?

If only it were so easy to fit a pair of trousers.

 

I’ll leave you with some ladies who have my share of ‘jelly’.

 

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A Flag for Friday

Probably four or five years ago I started a project and, after an enthusiastic start, I put it to one side, got involved with other things and that was that.  It was, however, still peeking at me in an accusatory fashion from underneath other things on the shelves of my cutting table so, in an effort to finish what I started I pulled it all out again.

I hadn’t done much – just the ‘brown’ triangles.

The project is a Moda bake shop ‘recipe’ by Lynne Goldsworthy (available here for free) and I liked the slightly raggedy look of the finished flag and the colours she used but, at that time, I’d never done much (if any) foundation paper piecing.  Now I have so it was a bit of a shock to remember that this is not at all like that apart from the fact that paper is involved.   In this method you cut up the fabric into squares using pinking shears (or cutter) and lay them on sheets of newspaper making sure they are overlapped by at least 1/4 inch.  In fact, the easiest way is to use charm packs which already have pinked edges.

Like so.

Then, you stitch down the pieces an 1/8 inch away from each pinked edge – which is why I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue with this project at first because it just seemed wrong to me.  However, this method is what gives it the shabby look that I had liked initially.

Zoom in for close up of top stitching along pinked edges

You separate the colours into brown, red and cream and lay each colour on sheets of newspaper which you cut to a set size then sew them down with a small stitch so, in effect, you are making a new fabric which is sort of what you do in all patchwork but this is different in that the seams are showing on top.  It feels a bit weird.    It is also a bit of a pain because, unless you use a multitude of pins, it does try to shift around under the sewing machine.  Then you remove the newspaper and cut the new ‘fabric’ into triangles for the brown fabric and different sized bands for the red and cream.

With me so far?

At this stage I was still dubious but, once I started joining it together I became more enthusiastic and am actually quite chuffed with the resulting top.

Oops! Forgot to clear those bedside tables off this time.

**** If you are not interested in more of ‘the process’ scroll down to the next set of ***** lest you be unnecessarily bored to tears.

I did find certain problems with the instructions so I did a bit of research to find out if anybody else had the same issues but couldn’t find anything so maybe it’s just me.  However, in case it helps, this is what I found.

When I joined the first quadrant together I assumed the joining seams would be 1/4 inch which is usual in patchwork.  Unfortunately, I assumed wrongly and it came out too small – luckily I checked before I joined the other three.  It seems that everything is 1/8 inch but I couldn’t find that instruction anywhere.  The top stitched seams are 1/8 inch, yes, but as they are not ‘normal’ seams I didn’t think it would follow that the joining seams would also be that small.  The instructions have you press the ‘normal’ seams open but I didn’t bother as that is a difficult thing to do with such a small seam allowance so I pressed to one side – a maverick, that’s me.  Also, because I had to undo the seams of the first quadrant and mess with edges cut on the bias after removal from the foundation paper, it started to go out of shape so I had to be careful lining it up with the other quadrants.

The instructions have you cut ten 2 inch bands from the cream ‘fabric’ you have made but, as you can see from the photo above, you actually need twelve.  Luckily I had enough cream squares left to cobble together another couple of bands.   The instructions also tell you to use 1 inch bands for this stage but she actually means 2 inch ones as there only four 1 inch bands in the design used for the narrow strips of the flag and, anyway, it is obvious from the photo that they should be the wider strips.  The pattern is free but, even so, I’m surprised it doesn’t appear to have been corrected since it was published as I’m sure I can’t be the only one – or can I??

Anyway, enough of the technical stuff.

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Still with me?

This is actually supposed to be a wall hanging but I’m not sure Mr. T wants another one (yet) and I’m not so patriotic that I’m going to hang a Union Jack in a prominent position on the wall – even if it is a stylised, scruffy version.  So, I’m thinking I’ll use it as a throw over the back of a sofa or chair or bench or something.

The fabric I used is the same as the one in the original instructions and is a Moda fabric by French General and called ‘Falalalala’.  The text in the fabric range is taken from a French song of the same name which is sung to the same tune as ‘Deck the Halls’ but with different words so there’s a bit of entente cordiale going on here – as is fitting for a Brit living in France.  You can’t say I don’t give you useless information in my posts or even fodder for pub quizzes.  Of course, this range is hard to find now as I’d abandoned the project for so long but I wanted to back it with something pretty as it won’t be hidden on the wall but visible as the reverse side of a throw.  I found a couple of the designs still available in a shop in the U.K. – more in the U.S. of course but the shipping was silly talk – and I went for the cream one with poinsettias.  A rash choice for a house full of animals you might think but, hey, I’ve already got visible pinked edges in possible danger of fraying so I’m obviously throwing caution to the wind with this project.

Mr. Tialys will be arriving home from the U.K.  in a couple of hours with the cream fabric – and some of the plain greyish brown for the binding – I didn’t want the binding to be a feature as it’s supposed to be a flag after all – so I should be able to get it together this weekend.  I’m a little worried as the instructions say you need 2.5 yards of backing fabric and I worked out I’ll only need 1.6m – mixing my metrics with my imperials is never a good thing – so I might have to add a strip of some of the fabric I have left over, we’ll see but maths was never my strong point.  I will be quilting in the ditch only as I think there’s enough visible stitching going on already.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to show you the finished throw artfully draped over the back of a sofa and adorned with a cat or two (who will be chucked off straight after the photo is taken IG style)  early next week.

What do you think?  Have you ever had doubts about a project you started some time ago?  Did you abandon it or complete it and, if you completed it, were you glad or sorry that you bothered?

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Les Boîtes à Chapeau (for a change)

It’s the hat box quilt of course but it sounds so lovely in French and makes a change in my list of blog post titles.

So, it’s done!  Kate and I have been furiously fairly calmly making  hat boxes over the past year or so from a book we both happened to have – ‘Passionate Patchwork’ by Kaffe Fassett.  Kate is making a full size quilt while I decided to make a wall hanging – which is why I’ve finished first.  Well, that and she is hand quilting and I took the easy way out and used a machine.  I have lots of Liberty of London fabric and decided this would be a good way to showcase some of them.

‘Perfection is the enemy of progress’ I’ve heard it said and that is certainly the case as far as this project went because, had I decided to go back and fix some of the mistakes I spotted after the event, I would still be putting it together now and getting fed up with it.    Instead of that, it is assembled, hung up and, apart from one thing which will bug me forever because I thought about it beforehand and then forgot to do it, I’m quite pleased with it.  So, you can zoom in on it if you are the Quilt Police and have fun finding all the faults but I know they are there and I can live with them.

I wasn’t sure how to hang it – I’ve got no other wall hangings in the house – but knew I didn’t want any hanging mechanism to show.  I searched around a bit and found a tutorial based on the method used by a Museum of Quilts in the United States to hang the quilts they have on display – you can find the method here.

So now I’ve shown you the big picture, here are some of the quilt in action.

 

 

 

Astonishingly – you know what men are often like about such things – Mr. Tialys is quite approving of this and has even asked if perhaps we could have something in a discreet corner of the lounge (I did note the word ‘discreet’ by the way).

Now to go and put the books, tissues, glasses, alarm clocks, hand cream and all the other usual paraphernalia back on those bedside cabinets.  Get me and my staged photos  (otherwise known as ‘tidying up’).  I’ll be applying filters, drawing faces in my cappuccino froth and using my Instagram account next!!

 

 

 

 

 

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