Posts Tagged F2F Block swap
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 😉
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.
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.
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 😉
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
or, in the U.K.
or, in French,
The last of my 36 blocks from the F2F block swap have arrived. With twelve participants in Australia, the United States and Europe, each sending three blocks off to one of the others every month, there’s a lot of room for mishaps concerning the various postal services. Due to a mix up with my postcode, two parcels went missing for a while. The weeks went by, then Avis in the U.K. got her parcel ‘returned to sender’ and re-directed it back to me but the package from Annett in Germany seemed to be a lost cause. Until it wasn’t! It too turned up with the postcode having been changed to the correct one – presumably by somebody in France – but then sent back to her instead of to me. A bit bizarre but a happy result anyway. Just look at the lovely blocks that could have been lost forever.
Annett managed to find some of the bird fabric that I had originally used for the inspiration for my colours. Due to my fabric fast, I wasn’t able to buy any myself but now I have some in two of the blocks she sent me.
It was the turquoise and flashes of pinky coral against the pale and dark greys that inspired me to make the colour choice for my eventual quilt.
This one is my favourite. I love the way Annett centred the two birds and the surrounding fabrics are just lovely. I believe this is called a pineapple block but correct me if I’m wrong. I thought this had been paper pieced but Annett has said she didn’t use that method. I must try some paper piecing this year although it does look fiddly and I don’t generally ‘do’ fiddly.
In the likely event that I will take forever and a day to actually piece the blocks and then quilt them, I have amused myself by making a collage of (nearly) all the blocks as if they were together in a quilt. I hope the other participants will forgive me if you notice one of your blocks missing but I only used the photos I was able to crop to a neat(ish) square. It doesn’t mean the missing block won’t be in the final quilt – I intend to use each and every one.
It will actually be longer than it is wide when I put it together and I haven’t decided what colour to do the sashing yet but what do you think? I really love the colours and the blocks are so gorgeous.
I am busy making my three blocks for Emmely who is ‘Miss January’ as far as receiving blocks is concerned and she has asked for green which I don’t normally use and, as I can’t buy any fabric at the moment, I’ve had to be very inventive with my scrap bag. This swap has really got me enthusiastic about patchwork again and I’ve been trying hard to be more accurate and adventurous. I’m not giving up making clothes entirely but I will be more fussy about what I make in the future. I have so many clothes and not many opportunities to wear a lot of them in rural France so I have to rein it in a bit. I think 2016 will see less dressmaking and more patchwork and knitting but that could change once I can buy fabric again!!
I think it’s because my Mum and Mlle. Tialys the Elder arrive on Saturday for the duration of the festivities but I have suddenly realised Christmas is almost upon us. It must be – I’ve even done some housework. The spare bedroom was in use as a kitten nursery for a few weeks recently so I really had to get in there with the hoover, the steam mop and the cleaning products to give it a good going over. Not that my Mum is one for running her finger through the dust but coming across a stray, forgotten kitten poo might be a bit much
Well, I’ve sort of kick started myself now and made a couple of extra gifts for Christmas. Apart from a few gifts for the Secret Santa organised over at Sewchet, and the blanket I have knitted for my Mum, I hadn’t really got going with the handmade gifts this year.
I have got addicted to making postage stamp patchwork blocks and have made several for the block swap I’m participating in. I have a sewing buddy and we meet up every week and I find it a little daunting to make things for other people who sew or knit because, obviously, they are more critical. However, she doesn’t do patchwork so I thought I’d make her a little cushion out of a postage stamp block as it’s something she probably wouldn’t make for herself.
As I’m on a Fabric Fast (2 and a half months in and counting) I had to use fabric I already had but I wanted to make it a little bit ‘themed’. When I go to her house for our weekly ‘sew-in’ (or sometimes we go crazy and have a ‘knit-in’ instead) she always makes a cake and, being half English, she loves tea. I find it funny that, unusually in France, she adds milk to her tea – even the infusions – so the other day we had violet tea with milk. Even I wouldn’t do that and I’m fully English.
So, I used some fabric which is all about tea, some with images of lovely cakes, some with sewing bits and pieces, some sent to me as part of the block swap and some that my friend had bought for me because she felt sorry for me not being able to buy any myself.
This is the back because I wanted her to see the ‘Afternoon Tea’ fabric in full. Plus, my only purchase from a visit to the Christmas Market in Toulouse the other day. There was a gorgeous stall selling all different teas and infusions. The one in the photograph contains rose, apples and carrots and looks and smells like pot pourri. I bet she adds milk to it though.
Mlle. Tialys the Younger was panicking because she couldn’t think of anything to get her Nan for Christmas. My Mum is always cold when she’s here although our log burner did get the living room up to 27 degrees last Christmas and she did finally concede to taking the blanket from around her. The rest of us were walking around in t-shirts. However, we don’t have central heating and she’s used to it back in the U.K. – that and the fact she’s 83 and entitled to feel the cold I suppose. Anyway, last time she was here she had a pain in her neck – and it wasn’t me that time – so I thought a useful thing to give her as a gift would be a neck and shoulder heat pad thingy.
I had this cotton canvas fabric leftover from a bag project and found a tutorial which was a little different from just a tube of fabric filled with rice or wheat. This one is divided into sections and you fill each section separately so the resulting neck warmer is nice and flexible and drapes well around the back of your neck and shoulders. I used rice and added some lavender essential oil so, it smells lovely too and that will intensify once it has been in the microwave for a minute or two.
Also, it folds up nicely and, tied with a bow, makes a neat looking stocking filler.
I’m going to see if I can make two or three more before I run out of time.
Once they arrive, I probably won’t have chance to blog much so, in case this is the last one before Christmas, have a very merry one!
By the way, you can find the tutorial I followed for the neck warmer here http://www.sewcanshe.com/blog/2014/12/16/diy-heating-pad-for-shoulders-and-neck
Don’t panic, I haven’t added yet another homeless waif to my brood – this one is made of fabric and is one of the gorgeous blocks that Avis at OhSewTempting sent me back in the mists of time – well October anyway – as part of the F2F block swap I’m participating in but, because of a mix up with the postcode, we thought they were lost for all time.
Thank goodness they weren’t because they are all gorgeous but the dog one especially .
Even though the post office had changed the postcode to the correct one on the envelope, they still sent it back to the U.K. instead of forwarding it on to the correct region of France. What were they thinking? Still, I’m just grateful they are here now.
The other three blocks are stunning too. I’m going to have the best quilt in the world and nobody will be able to tell me different;)
Speaking of dogs, which I sort of was, I have been so disorganised leading up to Christmas this year that there has been a run on the dog collars I make to raise funds for the dog and cat shelter and I have run out of webbing. No hope of new stock getting here in time for anybody ordering them as Christmas gifts, so unless people want red or brown collars, they can’t have one. What a muppet!! Still, it was my first Christmas making these and I hadn’t really thought of them as being more popular at this time of year.
So, my best seller has had to be taken off the ‘virtual’ shelves
Come on you blues!!
Who knew there’d be so many Chelsea fans in the States?
but you’re in luck if you love a Scottie.
For those of you worried that I spent loads of money on a cat tree which will sit sadly, bereft of any living thing, in a corner – worry no more.
The kittens have taken to it big time. Although they do like climbing up the centre of the Jade Tree plant in the conservatory too. Well, they like climbing up anything really – as kittens do. Also the ‘Ungrateful Baggage’ mentioned in an earlier post who was showing no interest, has managed to get herself into the very highest basket where the kittens can’t quite yet reach. She sits there with a regal and self satisfied air which is what cats do.
Another week and he’ll be up there.
(Note the thing that had feathers to start with denuded and hanging limply from the top level)
Have you suddenly come to the realisation that there are things you wanted to do for Christmas that aren’t going to happen now?
Thank you to those of you who suggested using Picasa 3 for making collages. I have been playing and messing about instead of doing the housework and folding the laundry but what’s new? I can see multiple possibilities for this game but, for now, I just wanted to concentrate some more of my F2F blocks into manageable chunks for your viewing pleasure.
These are my beautiful blocks from Emmely in the Netherlands who blogs at Infectious Stitches and managed to squeeze in making these blocks before submitting her thesis.
I think the ‘pretend’ layout with the bands between the blocks has worked well as it imitates sashing which is what I was thinking of doing with the quilt that I will eventually make from the block swap. Now I’m looking at it I definitely think it will look better with sashing as the blocks are very diverse (although all the same size in ‘real life’) and so beautiful individually it will help them stand out more.
These are the three blocks I made for Avis from Oh Sew Tempting who is the recipient of all our efforts in November. She asked for traditional blocks in bright blues and purples preferably using solids and batiks. Well, I know the postage stamp block might not count – there are unicorns for a start – but, having learnt how to make that block, I’m now a big fan and the colours in the scraps of unicorn fabric left over from a quilt I made my daughter some years ago just seemed too good not to use.
Again, these are all 12 inch sqaure blocks but I used artistic license in my collage making frenzy.
I don’t know whether Avis is planning on putting sashing in her quilt but there’s a little preview in case she needs help deciding 😉
Our temperatures here have changed overnight – it’s raining and windy and snow is forecast. The log burner has been lit for only the second time this year (the first time was when my Mum was visiting in October and she gets cold easily!) and I’m off to search for a woolly jumper to lounge about in. How’s the weather where you are?
Several packages arrived on the same day last week – more fabulosity from my F2F block swap partners. For those of you who are regular readers but not participants, I appreciate that you might not want to see numerous posts on this so I’ve done some collages of the blocks that arrived last week and hope you can still see the hard work that went into them and the beauteous results.
I used a programme called ‘Shape Collage’ for the first two but, after that, it stamps its watermark right across the middle of the image unless you pay to upgrade so I made the last one myself. Any corners, points or other details cut off are purely my doing in the editing process – they are actually all perfect. I do like the programme though so, if it’s not to expensive to upgrade, I might do so.
The first blocks are from Claire in the U.S. and I love the little orange birds and the unusual teal colour she’s used with the grey spotted fabric.
The second collage contains blocks from Sue at the Magpie’s Nest. Sue is the co-organiser of the F2F Block Swap along with Kate.
Sue must have been reading my blog and seen my dog habit as the block that is a little hidden has a central text that says ‘My Alarm Clock Wakes Me Up By Licking My Face’ which is definitely what would happen if my dogs were allowed upstairs in our bedroom.
These four are from Nanette. There are four because she called the one in the bottom right hand corner her ‘stuff up’ block as she thought the colours were wrong. Not at all! I love those geckos and that block will blend in fine with all the blocks I’ve received as a whole.
Nearly there now. I have a few more to photograph and a couple more to arrive – which have been held up due to having the wrong postcode on the envelopes due to an earlier administration error but I am holding on to my confidence in the postal services and have everything crossed they will arrive.