Posts Tagged F2F Block swap

Liberty Hatboxes

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.

kaffe fasset passionate patchwork

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.

Hatbox Quilt

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.

Inset Seam

And here’s the block after the hatbox has been added.

libertyhatboxwallhangingno-2

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.

libertyhatboxwallhangingno-1

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.

libertyhatboxwallhangingno-3

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.

Non Alcoholic Pastis

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.

 Salut!

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When An Inch Makes All The Difference

Now, now, settle down.

This is what I mean

PDF file instructions

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…..

Foundation Paper Piecing

….. 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.

MyBlocksforSandra F2F2016 -17

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

Practising Paper Piecing

Paper Pieced Star for F2F 2016/2017

and this is the third one

Paper Pieced Block Esther Franzel

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.

'Out There' FPP Pattern Esther Franzel

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. 

 

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Some More Practice, A Bit of Tidying and Some Sadness

 

F2F Quilt Label

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.

Plastic Storage Bins

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.

Hexagonal Sewing Box - Haberdashery

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.

Paper Pieced Star for F2F 2016/2017

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.

Beau - chat perdu

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 😦

 

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Finished F2F Quilt – Bring On the Next One

Folded Quilt

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.

12inch block sampler quilt

I had a little help in the last stages

Sewing in the Sun

although as I had to unpick quite a lot of the work I did that day, maybe I should work alone in future

Cat with PatchworkAs 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.

Quilt As You Go Sampler Quilt Back View

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.

Sampler Quilt

‘Risky’ because I have 3 dogs and 5 cats who are enthusiastic garden users.

Much less risky and probable, eventual home.

Superking Size Sampler Quilt

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.

Practising Paper Piecing

Bring it on!

Now, I really must do some housework.  Well, after I’ve had a cup of coffee……

 

 

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Make Do and Mend

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.
Chaise Longue Turkish Fabric

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.

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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.

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.

QAYG Blocks

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.

backs of QAYG blocks

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.

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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.   ***

quilt cornerstones

Using the four backing fabrics, I made some improvised blocks for cornerstones.

F2F Patchwork Block

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!

back of quilted QAYG Block

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.

Repairing Scant Measurements

So, here’s one row sashed vertically and once horizontally just to prove that I am getting on with it.

MyF2FQuiltConstruction First Row

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.

 

 

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New Tricks

This is Taz, one of my three dogs.

DSC_0012

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.

OwlTeacosies

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.

Mannequin and Tea Cosy

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.

Half a Paper Pieced Block************************CENSORED*****************************

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.

Homemade Light Box

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.

Haberdashery Fabric by Makower

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.

Fund Raising Amateur Fashion Show

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 😉

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A Quilting We Will Go…….

 

TimeforTeal Block

Time For Teal

Having received all my blocks from the F2F block swap back at the end of October and having signed up to do it all over again later this year, I really want to get this quilt finished before starting the next swap.  I have made a start by laying out the blocks in rows as they will appear on the final quilt and then putting them into bundles of eight blocks not forgetting to label each bundle with the row number.

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 Some of the participants are making a  couple of smaller quilts with their 36 12.5 inch blocks but I have a Superking size bed so a huge quilt is needed in my case.   Apart from the quilt we made for Pat which we rushed to get finished in order for her to see it before succumbing to ovarian cancer,  Avis from Sew Tempting was the first to finish her quilt which is beautiful and has inspired me to get a move on.

These are the four backing fabrics I’m using which I chose to coordinate with the top.

backing fabric F2F quilt

Here is my complicated and technical ‘plan’ for which blocks will be backed with which colour.  I know you’ll be mightily impressed but I have to keep it simple otherwise I get a headache 😉

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 The four corners I’m not sure about yet  but I’ll think of something.

My hand quilting is not perfect by any means and I am very slow at it too and, with such a large quilt, I would be here forever if I attempted to do it all by hand.  My machine is not particularly adapted for quilting and I couldn’t bear the thought of forcing the huge quilt sandwich through it so I am using the quilt as you go method.  This way, I can make each block into a sandwich with the backing and a layer of wadding and quilt them individually.  I am going to use this tutorial which has been recommended to me by several of my quilting friends in blogland.

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This also means I can quilt each block according to the design on the front.  Much easier to handle – although I’m still not quilting them all (if any) by hand!

This is the turquoise batik I’m going to use for the sashing

turquoise sashing

and here’s one of the blocks I’ve made into a ‘sandwich’ so far  – it’s one of the lovely blocks that Kate, who jointly organised the F2F swap, sent me.

quilt as you go block

Apologies for the garish yellow background but the only decent light for photography that day was underneath the skylight in my workroom which is where my ironing board normally sits and that’s the cover!

Since we made the quilt for Pat which will be auctioned in aid of an ovarian cancer charity in the U.S., Kate decided to contact the equivalent organisation in Melbourne and offer to make a quilt – using teal and cream or tan to raise funds for them.  She asked her blog followers if anybody wanted to contribute a block or two so I made the one in the top photograph which I’m hoping she will be able to use in the centre of the quilt which she wants to resemble a large tablecloth laid out for tea.  I didn’t have any teal fabrics at that stage but did have some teal coloured thread so used it for the appliqué stitching and for the ‘tea pouring’ effect.  Then there will be a border of dresden plate blocks so I’m going to have a go at making one with the help of some pieces of teal fabric kindly sent to me by Ali over at Thimberlina who has also made a couple of blocks for the quilt.  Then, there will be an outer border of more freestyle blocks made using the same colours.  Kate is calling it ‘Time For Teal’  – she does love a pun.

When we moved into our house there was a huge, hand made ladder hanging up in the shed.  It was really too big and probably too dangerous to actually climb up so Mr. T recently treated it for woodworm, sanded it down, gave it a couple of coats of varnish and cut it in half.

I’m using one of the halves for a quilt ladder.

QuiltLadder

I am running out of room to drape, throw, fold and generally exhibit quilts around the house so it seemed like a good idea to store and display several of them at once.   It doesn’t normally stand in front of a door but there wasn’t enough natural light to take a photo of it in its usual position.  Luckily I am a very slow quilt maker but there is always the second half of the original ladder to fill.

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In Memory of Pat

As you know if you are a regular reader, a diverse group of patchworkers and quilters have been participating in a year long block swap since July 2015 and one of our number started out the swap knowing she had advanced ovarian cancer.  We pulled out all the stops to get her blocks done and then they were assembled and quilted for her as, by then, she was too weak to do so herself.  She received the quilt last week – a month after we started it – and was able to see and touch it for just two days before she died.  The quilt will eventually be auctioned online on behalf of Ovarian Cancer but we were all pleased that it reached her in time.

I don’t think any of the group knew Pat personally but, as most bloggers will know, when you interact with people online you do come to feel as if you are acquainted in some way and the making and exchanging of blocks added to that feeling.

Pat's Quilt Label

 

This is the quilt label that Kate, one of the organisers of the swap, made for Pat’s quilt and, if you want to read a fuller account, Kate has written a memorial page for Pat here

Source: A Page for Pat: In Memoriam

and here’s the finished quilt in Pat’s chosen colours of teal and tan – the colour of the ovarian cancer ribbon – hastily photographed by Sue after piecing and quilting before being sent express delivery.

Pat's quilt completed

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Honey, I Blew Up The Computer

Yes, I really did.  There was a flash and smoke and all sorts of drama.  It all started when the ‘on/off’ button just flashed orange and wouldn’t let me turn the computer on or off.  Mr. Tialys had just left for the U.K. for the week and 5 days of computer free living loomed large.  I Googled the problem.  I followed the advice on a forum.  I unplugged the computer, as advised, and wiggled a switch back and forth.  Then I plugged it back in again.  Cue the fireworks plus all the plugs in that room and my daughter’s bedroom next door being fused.  Oops.  Turns out I should have wiggled the switch back to the 220v setting before plugging it back in again instead of leaving it on 110v so that it got a surge of more voltage than it bargained for.  Oh well, it had been making a funny noise for a while anyway.

The next night the whole house was plunged into darkness when all the power went off.  I went down to the fuse box thingy and wiggled all the switches until I found a combination where the main fuse wouldn’t trip.  Well, I was in the middle of an episode of ‘Luther’ so I wasn’t giving up.  First thing in the morning I managed to get hold of an electrician.  He was here for three hours and fixed the fuse for the plugs – which was my fault – but couldn’t find a reason for all the power going off – which wasn’t my fault.  I had to force that confession out of him so that I could tell Mr. T. that I hadn’t sabotaged all the electricity in the house as well as the computer.  I await the bill.

From then on things continued in the same vein.

I broke a good wine glass and my favourite huge breakfast tea mug.

heron cross button teapot

On the bright side I have replaced it with one from the same company (Heron Cross Pottery) which is covered in buttons.  The picture of the teapot is entirely gratuitous but it is the same design and I am sorely tempted.   The mug hasn’t arrived yet because I had it sent to Mr. T. to bring over with him but, so far, he hasn’t been able to fit it in his cabin bag as it always seems to be full of laptops.  He has a laptop for work and he bought one to replace the blown up desktop but, having spent the best part of the weekend downloading software like Skype, my email server, BBC iPlayer, Spotify, etc. etc. my daughter plugged her headphones in and the port didn’t work.  So it had to go back.

On the personal injury front I was rummaging in a chest of drawers in my workroom when a wooden storage chest fell on my head.  Plus, I have been backwards and forwards to the dentist because I’m having a veneer fitted and the temporary one kept falling off.  It is an hour’s round trip away.

Still……

Things seem to have run their course now.  The new computer is up and running,  all my photos (thousands of them apparently!!) have been recovered from the hard drive, the bump on my forehead has faded to yellow and I now have my permanent veneer.  However, it might explain why I haven’t been blogging, commenting on blogs, unable to send emails, being in a foul mood, etc. etc.

Life – believe it or not – did go on without a computer.

The kittens went out into the world for the first time.

Kittens Exploring

They explored the flora

Mac & Flower

and the faunaKitten with Chickens

but still spend most of their time indoors.
MyF2FBlocksforEmmely (2)

I made green blocks for the F2F block swap which was the colour requested by Emmely and it was a revelation because I didn’t think I liked green.  Now I do.

backing fabric F2F quilt

I decided on these four batiks to back my F2F blocks and started making mini quilts out of the individual blocks in order to try the quilt as you go method for the first time.

Bottle Green Handbag Handmade

Mr. Tialys continues with his leather work and he made this bag.  All hand stitched by the way.  I said that it would need testing as this particular leather marks and will become distressed and we need to know how the appearance will change – hopefully for good – before he uses it to make another.  So, it goes everywhere with me and is flung with gay abandon – as all my bags are – onto shop counters, to teeter precariously on the back seat (or floor) of the car and over the back of restaurant chairs.  It is marking but, I think, in a good way.

I have also nearly finished the boyfriend cardigan I started – I think it was in November – just got to cast off the sleeves and then the dreaded sewing up.  I have to say, I know ‘boyfriend cardigan’ means it’s supposed to look big on you as if you had nicked it off your boyfriend (or husband) but the sleeves are going on forever.  Mr. T. is tall at 6’4″ but I think, by the time I’ve finished it will look more as if I’d borrowed it from this chap.

orangutan

I’ll let you know how I get on!

Have you ever tried to fix something and made things much worse?

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39 Comments

Pat’s Quilt – The One We Didn’t Really Want to Make Yet

Most of my regular readers will know I have been involved in a patchwork block swap with a group of twelve blogging friends from the States, U.K., France. Germany, the Netherlands and Australia. We were each allocated a month – mine was in October – and we receive three blocks in our previously chosen colours from each of the other participants, making 36 with which to eventually make a lovely quilt.

ovarian cancer ribbon

One of our number – Pat – had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer before the swap began but she felt it would give her something to aim for by participating and she was regularly contributing her blocks despite her health concerns. In the draw at the beginning of the swap, her name was picked for the last month of the twelve month period but, despite offers to swap with her for an earlier month, Pat felt it would give her a target so ‘Miss May’ she remained.

However, sadly, Pat has now stopped her treatment and is receiving palliative care.

The race was on to get the blocks for Pat’s quilt underway and sent to the U.S. for Sue, one of the organizers of the F2F swap, to put them all together and get them quilted by her son on his longarm quilting machine.  So, ‘Miss January’ was dropped like a hot brick (sorry Emmely!) and we all started instead on Pat’s blocks which she had requested in teal blue with tan or cream – teal being the colour of the Ovarian Cancer ribbon symbol.  I never realised I could piece a block so fast!

As these blocks are being made in far flung places and all have to make their way by post to the U.S., the actual, final quilt may take a little longer to come together so we all took photographs of the blocks we made and they were transformed into a ‘virtual quilt’ so that Pat can get an idea of what her quilt will look like when it’s ready.

pats-virtual-quilt

We all really hope that we will have been in time and Pat will be able to see and touch her real life quilt.

I lost an aunt to ovarian cancer and, although it is a hard one to diagnose in the early stages, there are symptoms to look out for and I, and all the other members of the F2F block swap, would really like to take this opportunity to urge you to familiarise yourself with the symptoms of ovarian cancer — symptoms which are so common and so ephemeral that many don’t consider them symptoms at all. For this reason, ovarian cancer is rarely diagnosed in its early stages, often leading to a poor prognosis. Here are the symptoms: Bloating. Pelvic or abdominal pain. Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly. Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency). Don’t panic as these are also common symptoms of less serious things but, if you have these symptoms – and they are unusual for you – many times in a single month, please visit your doctor or gynaecologist.   For more information, visit:

http://www.ovariancancer.org/about/symptoms-of-ovarian-cancer-detection/

or, in the U.K.

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/ovarian-cancer/

or, in French,

http://www.e-cancer.fr/Patients-et-proches/Les-cancers/Cancer-de-l-ovaire/Points-cles

 

 

 

 

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