Archive for category Patchwork and Quilting Projects – General

The Last (French) Hurrah

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, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaire,
JeanJon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette, Ann and Kym

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Talking About ‘Stuff’ – A Moving Story With Some Welcome Diversions

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.

Hovering Hawks

Twin Star

Marley

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.

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It Must Have Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

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.

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Peacock Colours

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.

Before

After

This is a foundation paper pieced block by Carol Doak called May Flower

Spot the peacock in the centre

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.

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Adults Only Quilt

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.

This is a design from a book called More Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott  which aims to help you use the pre-cut fabric packs that look so tempting but you are not quite sure what to do with after buying.  Or is that just me?
It has spent most of its life up until recently folded over a bamboo ladder that I use to display quilts that aren’t in use.
I rarely hand quilt – I’m not good enough at it – but as this was a fairly small project I decided I would quilt in ‘big stitch’ fashion and just go round the handbag shapes.
It wasn’t until recently when I decided to use this quilt’s reverse side as a throw to protect my chaise longue from cat claws that I realised what I’d done.
Readers of a sensitive disposition, avert your eyes now.

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Christmas in February F2F5

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.

F2F4BlocksbymeforTracey (2)

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.

F2F4BlocksbymeforTracey (7)

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. 🙄

F2F4BlocksbymeforTracey

Also, I made lots of stupid mistakes while putting this one together, including the final join.

Oops!!

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.

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Distractions

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.

Ooh, a bit spooky. Also this eye is too big really but I carried on regardless.

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.

I just put it in the hoop for ‘show and tell’ purposes. It will actually go in my ‘Progress Portfolio’ so that when I get better I can look back and laugh at my early attempts – she said, hopefully.

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.

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54 Comments

The F2F3 Quilt Finally Makes Its Appearance In Time For Christmas

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.

Sashed blocks laid on a different quilt in case this photo confuses.

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.

❤x❤x❤

 

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ScrapHappy Christmas 2019

After last month’s rather cheeky (and violently coloured) scraphappy day entry –  the yarn I used for my anti-hunter, bright orange beanie could only very tenuously be called scrap – this time I’m back on good behaviour for this, the last scraphappy day of the year.

A selection of scraps were unearthed and I display the proof below (although some of these didn’t make the final cut.)

You might remember that, last year, I paper pieced a reindeer and made it into a Christmas table runner.

I bought another pattern from the same designer.

Now, I’ve made a scrappy gnome and don’t really know what to do with him.

Because a gnome isn’t just for Christmas is it?

Any ideas?  He’s 12 inches square.

 

 

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 (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, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

 

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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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