Posts Tagged F2F Block swap
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.
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?
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.
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.
Even though the patchwork block swap I’ve been participating in hasn’t quite finished yet – there’s one month to go – I have actually made all the blocks I need to and I’ve already started getting withdrawal symptoms. Kate and Sue who have run the F2F (Foot Square Freestyle) swap for the past two years, have decided they need a break from organising duties and as I am more of a participant than an organiser I didn’t offer to take it over so, sadly, when Claire receives her 24 blocks from 8 other quilters around the world by the end of February, that will be it.
I found that participating in the swap really motivated me to improve my work, try out some new techniques and get things finished on time
So, what to do next?
I searched around the web for other swaps but the few I managed to find had either already started or didn’t appeal.
Kate has started making a quilt – unusually it will be for herself – from a book both she and I have had for years.
We’ve both been in love with one particular quilt inside it – I even made the templates for it and one block back in the mists of time – but never got any further.
It’s rows of vintage hatboxes made to look as if they’ve been covered in wallpaper, as olden day people used to do, and each one set in the angle of a little cubby hole with a floor and two walls. So, lots of design decisions to be made.
Kate has been busy with it for a few months now – you can see her progress here – and I decided I would join in with her and we would aim to make three blocks per month and publish them on our blogs at the end of the month. This will be my motivation.
I am making a wall hanging for my bedroom rather than a quilt – there is an empty wall behind the bed and I thought this might go well there rather than a picture. I don’t want it to dominate the room or anything so I’m not making it too large, just four blocks wide x three blocks high. If I make three blocks per month, it should be ready to start putting together in May.
Each ‘cubby hole’ is constructed by joining two trapezoids, one reversed, plus an 8.5 inch square which is set in to the angle of the trapezoids. Eek! I was so pleased when I got it right first time and then realised my perfect seam would be covered up with the hatbox appliquéd on top – still, that’s patchwork for you. Here’s a ‘blank’ just so you know I can do it.
And here’s the block after the hatbox has been added.
I decided to use scraps for the backgrounds where possible and Liberty tana lawn for the hatboxes. I realised too late that, because the tana lawn is so fine, you have to be careful what you put underneath it. You can see the stripes of my ‘flooring’ vaguely show through but I thought it sort of looks like part of the design on the box so I’ve left it.
This one is a darker print so I got away with it here but, for the other blocks, I won’t use that particular striped fabric. I am not usually an ‘appliqué person’ but Kate has got me trying several techniques I’ve either never done before or previously said I’d never do such as foundation paper piecing so here’s one more to add to the list. I am using Bondaweb to attach the hatbox shapes and then using a turquoise thread and machine appliquéing on to the background.
This next one had to be re-done because I had used light coloured tana lawn for the hatbox and the ‘floor’ was showing through and making it look as if there was a shadow across the box. I had to peel it off – a tragic waste of both Liberty and Bondaweb -and use a darker design. You live and learn.
I’m enjoying making these hatboxes but my workroom is a mess – strewn with fabrics over every surface as I audition them for ‘wallpaper’, ‘flooring’ , the hatboxes themselves and the bands. Decisions, decisions……
I will finish by proudly announcing that I have managed to complete Dry January without a drop of alcohol passing my lips – apart from that used in cooking which doesn’t count because all the alcohol comes off as vapour (boo!) . I never usually touch Pastis – the favourite aperitif of the French – because wine is my poison and the aniseedy alcoholic tipple makes me go woozy very quickly which is a feat in itself. However, Ricard (the favoured brand of the French when imbibing their favourite aperitif) make a version called Pacific which has no alcohol, no sugar, no calories, no nuffink apart from quite a few E numbers but I haven’t looked them up to see whether they are dodgy ones. As with the real stuff, you dilute it with 5 parts water but, unlike the real stuff, it is already a cloudy colour.
This, and Bucklers non alcoholic beer (which is really Lager if you are British) , kept me on the straight and narrow when temptation threatened to overcome me. I don’t know whether you can get it (or Bucklers) outside of France but, if you can, and you are the designated driver or want an alcohol free evening for any other reason, I would recommend it.
Now, now, settle down.
This is what I mean
With the amount of independent designers creating patterns to be printed off as PDF files these days, those of you who use them for dressmaking, patchwork or other crafts will know what I mean by the all important inch square when printing patterns. There is no use briefly wafting a tape measure in the general direction of the square and saying ‘yes, that’s about right’ because a minute fraction of an inch bigger or smaller is a mistake that will multiply itself throughout the whole pattern and you will end up with something too big, too small and possibly unusable.
I don’t really hold myself completely to blame as I have never set any scaling on my printer but it seems to have taken control and robbed that inch of a teeny tiny morsel so that after two or three hours of painstaking cutting out, sewing on, joining up and congratulating myself on a beautiful bit of paper piecing, I placed my 12.5 inch square ruler on top of it and realised it was the wrong size.
So this block that I had been so proud of only minutes earlier…..
….. had to have a border put round it to bring it up to the requisite 12.5 inches as it is for the new round of F2F Block Swap which starts this month where all the blocks need to be the same size.
So, it’s still not perfect because those outer triangles have had their inner points a little truncated because of the sizing but I think I might still give it to the person I made it for either as a spare block for her eventual quilt or to make a cushion to match.
I know I’m a European and all (for now, anyway 😉 ) and should be speaking in metric tongue but, with patchwork, it really is easiest to keep it in inches. It seems to be the universal language of patchwork – except in France. (How is it in the rest of non-British Europe? – can anybody enlighten me? Do inches rule?). When I was cutting out fabric for another FPP block the other day at my friend’s house, she only had metric rulers and cutting mats. Quelle horreur! However, in a desperate attempt to get on with it, I converted the centimetres into inches and cut the pieces out accordingly. When I got them home and measured them against my imperial rulers, they were all wrong. I think I said ‘merde’ because it is one of the few French swear words I know which is not too rude. Although no French swear words are as bad as some of the ones I know in English (again, unless somebody can enlighten me 😉 ) So, in future, when I go to sew ‘chez Sandra’ I will be taking my own mat and ruler.
I am the first recipient of the blocks this time round and I have already made my three, two of which I have already shown you but here is a ‘little’ reminder
and this is the third one
This is called ‘Building Blocks’ – guess why. The darker ‘side of the block’ is actually navy blue but you get the idea. I just love those little dogs. The pale grey background, morphing into a slightly darker grey is not because the colour ran in the wash but is part of my haul of beautiful Gelato ombré fabrics. The colour starts dark(ish) at one selvedge edge, fades gradually into the middle and then starts getting darker again. I bought a half yard bundle and so have a lot of colours. It is actually very useful and you can see some more of it in the pale greens I used in the ‘failed’ block I showed earlier.
I’ve decided that the colours I’ve chosen for my blocks this time round are quite ‘masculine’ and realised I have never asked Mr. T. whether he would like a quilt to have in his weekday U.K. apartment as a reminder of home comforts – or perhaps he likes to get away from the fabric fest during the week. Anyway, he liked the idea so that is where my eventual quilt will end up – in the London flat frequented by my husband when he’s not here, shortly to be shared with Mlle. Tialys the elder who has just finished University and has landed a job in Shoreditch which, I am reliably informed, is dead trendy these days. At least I know she will be fed properly three evenings a week.
A bit early – Sandra isn’t due to receive her blocks until July – and in the full and certain knowledge that she will not see this blog – here is the block I re-did for her after I re-sized that inch.
I know the stripes go in different directions on alternate corners but it was deliberate to give the block a feeling of movement – like the blades of a windmill turning. (Yeah, right) However, that did make sense to me once I thought of it
as an excuse so I’ll stick with it.
This lovely pattern is by one of our talented F2F Block Swap members, Esther, in the Netherlands. She is so talented and I’m glad she’s participating again this time because she sent me such amazing work last year and it was what inspired me to try foundation paper piecing out for myself. Now, I’m hooked. She has lots of beautiful patterns available on Craftsy and you can download this one called ‘Out There’ for free on Craftsy here. (Esther – I hope I’ve made you proud 🙂 )
Have you ever had a disastrous experience with PDF patterns?
I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish Kate of Tall Tales from Chiconia – a blogging friend and one of the organisers of the F2F swap – a full and speedy recovery from the back surgery she underwent this morning (Australian time) and hope she gets back to a normal, pain-free life and continue with the things she loves to do as soon as possible.
As you will know, if you come here often, I have just finished putting together my quilt from the F2F Block Swap and I have inexpertly written out a label in permanent ink on fabric and attached it to one of the back corners to prove it.
So, that’s done then.
I was the first out of the hat to receive blocks for the next round so I decided that, before getting going on the next nine months of making three blocks for each participant, I’d better get my house in order. Well, the part of my house that is my sewing room anyway – the rest of it lies sadly neglected as usual although I do have to do a bit of ‘damp dusting’ this afternoon as my Mum’s coming to stay. Her eyesight isn’t what it used to be though so she won’t be able to see the rugs closely enough to know that one of my dogs is severely in moult at the moment.
Despite the fact that I’ve made any number of fabric storage boxes and bought shedloads of Ikea’s ‘fold this bit of floral card up into a box shape’ triple packs, I have come to the realisation that nothing really does the job like a bit of see-through plastic and a label. So, I bought some, promptly filled them, then had to go and buy some more.
These are most of them, but not all – there are two large ones labelled ‘Liberty Tana Lawns’ off camera A fabric that I rarely use for anything but one that I can’t resist when I see it, still less when I feel it and at least I can get it out every now and again, Golem -like, and indulge in some stroking. Still it all looks more ‘accessible’ now and is mostly divided into colours so when I’m reaching for the specific tones that people have asked for in their F2F blocks, I will know exactly where to find them.
In a slight digression – wouldn’t be my blog without at least one would it? I share my workroom with lots of vintage haberdashery items. I’m not always sure why but, when I see them, I can’t resist adding them to my collection (are you noticing a trend?). Anyway, you may or may not remember the fabric I bought that screamed ‘Hexagonal Sewing Box’ at me – well, I listened and it has come to pass.
See! I knew I’d need an old printers’ drawer some time. I actually have another one mounted on the wall downstairs with which I amuse myself by trying to find teeny tiny things to display in those teeny tiny compartments.
Anyway, back to the patchwork blocks. I have been practicing my paper piecing and behold my second attempt.
In case it turned out O.K. I made it in the colours I’ve chosen for my next quilt and I’m pretty happy with it. There’s something about designs like this one – where it looks as if the square is threaded through the star – that make me absurdly happy in a childlike kind of way. I can’t draw or paint but I love the fact I can achieve this effect in fabric. I know, I’m easily pleased but there are no grilled, salted almonds or alcohol involved so I count patchwork porn as one of my lesser vices.
In a sudden change of mood I have had some sadness lately. My lovely cat Beau, plucked from the refuge as a kitten with his sister Betty and bought home to live with us for the past nine years, has been missing for four weeks.
He is identified with a tattoo in his ear (which they do a lot in France) and is sterilised. His photograph and details are on Pet Alert on Facebook, the Chat Perdu webiste and all the bins, bottle banks and poster sites in the village. There is no sign of him.
He has always reminded me of the fish ‘Dory’ in Finding Nemo who had a short term memory of about 30 seconds. He would start eating, get distracted by something and wander off, only to forget he’d been fed in the first place and come back to ask for food. I’m hoping he’s just sort of forgotten where he lives and, any time now, he’ll remember and come back.
If you see him, let me know 😦
What’s that bundle of lovely turquoiseness?* I hear you ask.
*made up word
Can she possibly have finished putting together those 36 pieced patchwork blocks – 33 of which were sent to her from Australia, the States, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. as part of the F2F Block Swap? Yes, she has.
I had a little help in the last stages
although as I had to unpick quite a lot of the work I did that day, maybe I should work alone in future
As will be obvious to most, if not all of you, the design on the back of the quilt had to be reversed – a bit like when you’re printing out something you’re going to transfer on to something else so you have to flip it round. Well, I didn’t. So my cunning design on the back was all random and not how I wanted it to be so rows had to be unpicked and re-joined.
Never mind, it’s done now.
I used the Quilt As You Go Method which is ideal for this sort of quilt. Each 12.5 inch square block was layered together with batting and backing and quilted individually. The resulting ‘mini quilts’ were then joined together with sashing and regular readers will be pleased to know that I remembered to ‘butt up my backing’ this time so no squidgy empty bits in the middle. This is the best quilting I’ve ever done because it was so easy to get each 12.5 inch ‘quilt sandwich’ under the machine. That is a Superking sized bed so there would have been a lot of quilt to push around under an ordinary sewing machine.
A risky ‘flung on the grass’ photo shoot.
‘Risky’ because I have 3 dogs and 5 cats who are enthusiastic garden users.
Much less risky and probable, eventual home.
Thank you to all the participants in the block swap – as you can see, all your hard work has made for a lovely quilt which will be well used. Also, knowing there are other people waiting to see the results of their efforts is a really good
kick up the arse incentive for getting a quilt finished in a much quicker time than one is used to doing. No languishing in the WIP pile for this baby.
Not all twelve of us are joining up for the next F2F swap – some have other commitments – but we have a few newcomers and there will be nine for the next one so perhaps I’ll make just a double sized quilt or even a couple of lap quilts .
Speaking of which, I’ve been practising my Paper Piecing and, while still not perfect, I’m happy enough to show you the whole photo this time without censoring the bottom half and it just happens to be in the colours I’ve chosen for the next round which is just as well because it starts next month and my name was first out of the hat to receive blocks. Eek! Here we go again.
Bring it on!
Now, I really must do some housework. Well, after I’ve had a cup of coffee……
I used to ‘do’ upholstery. I have all the gear – a hide mallet, tack remover, a webbing stretcher, hammers, tacks, horsehair, etc. etc. but after a few years I went off the idea. I bought a chaise longue (interestingly, not called that in France unless you mean a garden recliner) from a junk shop and did it up but, nine years later, it had got a bit faded, saggy and generally in need of a facelift. I know the feeling. It was still comfortable – ask my dogs! – and the framework is very good as it was made before the days when most furniture is made to be chucked out after a few years, so I decided to pay somebody to re-do it for me. It took her about a week – it would have taken me much more.
I can’t get a brilliant photo because it is next to a French window and the light is shining on the metallic threads so it is not quite as ‘blingy’ as this but you get the idea. I got the fabric from Turkey and could have had red to go with the cushions on my sofa but decided to go a bit mad with the orange – although there are dark red bits on it which you can’t see for the duff lighting.
Anyway, to make up for being lazy with the upholstery, I decided to buy some more of the Turkish fabric – both in the orange and also some red mixtures – and make new cushion covers for the L-shaped sofa we have as the current ones are splitting at the seams and spewing feathers all over the place. Two completed ones above although not being displayed on their intended sofa because this one has better lighting. Mr. Tialys has insisted – despite my protestations and tears – that they should all have piping. I drew the line at zips though and they will all have envelope backs albeit generous ones. Two down sixteen to go.
Then I had a couple of dog collars to make and, while I had the webbing to hand, I fixed my neighbour’s sandals.
All of which is to explain why my F2F quilt is still not finished.
Kate who, along with Sue, organized twelve of us for this block swap, is keen to see another finished quilt so I am trying to steam ahead with it and thought I’d do a progress report and prove to her that I am on the case.
Thirty six blocks have been sandwiched and ready quilted (I’m using the ‘quilt as you go method’). This will be the second row but I have laid them out as a double row for ease of photography.
The backs of the blocks where you can see some of the quilting – machine only I’m afraid but I am trying out different methods such as free motion quilting on some of them as, at this stage, they are like mini quilts and easy to get under the machine.
I had enough of this blue marbled fabric to do the requisite amounts of backing blocks but didn’t chant the ‘think twice cut once’ mantra and so ended up two squares short. After a fruitless search for more of the same fabric – including an unanswered pleading email to the wholesale supplier (thanks for that Pascale & Beatrix) – I may have to ‘make do and mend’ by joining (as above) and quilting in a cunning manner to hide the join line. ***
Using the four backing fabrics, I made some improvised blocks for cornerstones.
This block, from Emmely, was a natural choice for one of the corner blocks of the quilt and lends itself to my favourite form of quilting – on the machine, in the ditch, easy!
and it also worked well with the back.
Some of the blocks were a little ‘scant’ when I came to join them and didn’t quite get taken into the seams of the sashing strips. I used this printed tape, attached with bondaweb and then sewn into the seam allowance at the top to hide the gap and prevent fraying. It’s not an ideal solution but I couldn’t lower the sashing strip any more otherwise I’d risk losing details from the adjoining blocks. Any other ideas gratefully received as I’m sure I’ll come across other anomalies when I join the remaining rows.
So, here’s one row sashed vertically and once horizontally just to prove that I am getting on with it.
I’m waiting for more piping cord to arrive in the post now and all of my neighbour’s other sandals are in good condition so no more excuses and, hopefully, the next images will be of the finished quilt.
Now I’ve put it in print I have to do it!
*** My friend Sandra returned from a week in Spain, had her fabric stash raided and, as I suspected she might, had a length of the turquoise marbled fabric hidden away in there which is now with me 😉
SPOILER!! The block row joining is not going as well as I had hoped – the seam ripper has been put into service and many many tiny stitches have had to be undone. This is mainly due to the fact that I was concerning myself more with attaching the sashing nicely and not with butting up the batting properly so ending up with empty sashing which is not a good look (or feel). Although, now that I’ve put it down in plain type, I think ‘butting up the batting’ ought to be a phrase brought into common usage.
This is Taz, one of my three dogs.
He is old(ish) – he’ll be 11 this year – but it’s not him learning new tricks, it’s me but I’m much older than 11 and not as good looking in close-up.
If you remember, I have been taking part in a patchwork block swap called F2F (organised by Kate and Sue) which involved twelve women from around the globe, making three patchwork blocks a month and sending them to one of the recipients in turn so that all twelve of us end up with 36 blocks, having made 3 for ourselves to turn into a quilt. ( You can read about it here if you are interested.) Well, I was leisurely putting my blocks together and joined up for the next swap which starts in June when my name got drawn out of the hat first so I will be the first person to receive blocks – probably in around 7 weeks time. So, that’s put a fire under me and I’m now desperately trying to get the first quilt finished before the new blocks arrive. I have learnt a lot from doing this swap and have started trying new things and challenging myself a bit so that the blocks I send to the other participants are not boringly safe or complete pants.
This time, there are only nine of us but that’s O.K. because we can either make a slightly smaller quilt or make more blocks for ourselves. I have persuaded my Wednesday sewing friend Sandra to join the swap this time which will be a challenge as English is not her first language, she doesn’t blog and is a bit scared of the computer. We usually find a project to sew together on Wednesdays and, lately, I’ve been running out of ideas. Here’s our latest project.
Who wouldn’t want an owl as a tea cosy? Cute aren’t they and will also be useful once I have stopped using mine as a mannequin head which is creeping out anyone who enters my sewing room.
The free pattern and tutorial is by Buzy Day here if you want to repel all visitors during sewing time as I try to do unless they are bearing a cup of tea.
Despite owl cuteness, I thought we might be better employed doing something more patchwork(y) now she’s got involved in the swap. So, for a project last Wednesday afternoon I decided to try paper piecing and
forced encouraged Sandra to join me. Lordy! What a revelation to the uninitiated. Not having a light box, we were holding printed patterns and teensy bits of paper up against her windows and trying to join things up backwards and in reverse. Lots of unpicking was done and I’m sure I saw her take a headache pill at the end of our session. I continued at home and although I’m chuffed to bits with my first try at a paper pieced block it is not fit for eyes other than my own and so I will show you the half that is only a bit terrible and not the half that went completely to pot.
I think I might actually grow to like paper piecing so I made a light box out of an Ikea box frame and one of those little LED lights that you can stick up somewhere and press for ‘on’. Basic, but it works and was free as I already had the two components lying around.
I’ve also been trying out free motion quilting on my blocks as I’m ‘quilting as you go’ with this quilt – two new tricks for me in one there – with varying degrees of success. FMQ is a lone pursuit and requires you to concentrate like hell while apparently needing to be chilled out at the same time. I think I’m relaxed then realise my shoulders are up around my ears with the tension. One YouTube tutorial I watched was by a very sensible lady who suggested you might like to have a glass of wine by your side to help you relax. A woman after my own heart but I’d be too scared to knock it over on to my fabric. Maybe it would be better to have one before – and then maybe another one after. I do need lots more practice but, to date, have been achieving some (very) free form designs which are just about acceptable although how anybody manages to do some of the more intricate FMQ designs I have no idea. The whole bottle of wine by your side perhaps?
I am far too easily distracted – I blame it on being a Gemini – although I’m not really a believer in astrology it’s just that I can’t think of a better excuse. For instance, once I had walked the dogs and fed the seemingly ever growing menagerie that lives in our house this morning, I had a whole day free and thought I’d get on with the quilting. However! I bought some fabric the other day I’m dying to turn into a sewing box and so I thought, ‘I’ll just get all the pieces cut out so they’ll be ready to put together in the future’ – a stage of the box making which is by no means quick – and ‘whoosh’ there went the rest of the morning. Now, at lunchtime, instead of eating, I realised I hadn’t posted anything for ages so here I am telling you about what I should be doing instead of doing it. Hey ho. There’s always this afternoon.
Fabric is Haberdashery Box by Makower
So, I’m learning FMQ, paper piecing and QAYG and, for my next trick I became a model for a day.
I am involved with a group that raises funds for our local dog and cat shelter and we decided to do something a little different. We get lots of second hand clothes donated and, to be honest, they don’t look that inviting when hung up or laid out in piles like a jumble sale. So, we decided that six of us would pick out something from the donations that suited us (or fitted us) and do a ‘fashion show’. We hired a hall with a stage, some steps and somebody lent us a runner to use as a ‘catwalk’. One of the organiser’s partners is a D.J. so we could walk down the catwalk to music and we had a ‘presenter’ who read out descriptions of the outfits we had written ourselves – mostly in humorous fashion and we had clothes by designers such as ‘Terry Err from London’ , ‘Walter Spanielle from Yorkshire’ and ‘Beau de Collie from Paris’. In other words, helped by a glass of champagne on arrival, everybody had a good laugh. We modelled five outfits each and they were on sale afterward for 5 euros each. All the remaining clothes were sold for whatever people chose to put in the donation box.
We made a whopping 1400 euros for the Shelter which I can’t help but consider in terms of how many castrations that will pay for 😉