Posts Tagged patchwork blocks

Another ‘Quick’ Project – Yeah, Right.

Whenever I see phrases  like ‘quick project‘ , ‘make it in an hour‘, ‘I made a ball gown during the ad break in Eastenders‘ (o.k., I’ve never seen that last one) I should know not to touch it with a barge pole.

If I ever say, I’m just going upstairs to run up a quick bit of gear to take on holiday or to wear for a ‘do’, my sewing machine and overlocker  (but especially the overlocker) somehow hear me and, in the time it takes me to get up there, they have conspired together to make any quick project as long and frustrating as possible.

Take the summer cardigan pattern which I saw on Girl Charlee’s blog and decided to make with a piece of jersey, dotted with cute gold fawns, that I had bought from them a few weeks before.

 Firstly, I had only bought a metre and the pattern calls for just over that so it took me (and a friend) at least an hour to try to lay the pattern out economically – although if it had been a non directional pattern it would have been a lot easier.

Secondly and most importantly, my overlocker decided to thwart my plans and chew up the seams.

 I had to wait until I saw my friend again to use her overlocker and took mine with me to see if we could work out the problem.  Her husband tutted at how ‘sale’ (French for ‘dirty’) my overlocker was and wanted to know how long was it since I’d cleaned it.  I said ‘jamais’ (French for ‘never’).  He tutted some more and swept out of the room bearing my machine aloft and did things to it with little brushes and blowers and things and I trusted him because I’ve seen under the hood of his car and the engine looks like something you could eat your dinner off.

Anyway, despite his ministrations, it still didn’t work properly so I re-threaded it for what seemed like the zillionth time and, obviously deciding it had p***ed me off enough for one week as I had started muttering darkly about buying a new one, all was well.

Anyway, I made the cardigan for Mlle. T. the younger but she’s not keen on modelling so I asked Mlle. T. the elder – who’s not keen either but she is more bribeable biddable.

dsc_0001Next time, I would make the cuffs a little looser and alter the pattern slightly so that it is slightly wider at the bottom edge.

dsc_0006

…..and if anybody tells me the fawns on the cuffs are upside down I might get nasty.

I am determined to get my F2F blocks made into a quilt for Mr. Tialys’s London flat before  winter – although he has central heating there which we don’t have here so I don’t know why I worry.  Anyway, yesterday I took all the blocks and the squares of wadding and backing out into the garden and went crazy with the basting spray so they are now all ready to quilt.

Quilt As You Go Blocks

I think one of the cats has a more bristly tail than she should have as she may have got in the way of me and my spray at one point.  I’m sure it’ll brush out.

Cat in Antique Bowl

Here she is, giving me the stink eye, in the antique french confit pot that should be for sale in my shop but is not as she has adopted it as her own and, having raised her from a 3 week old scrap with cat formula milk and bottle, I find it hard to deny her anything at all.

I’m off to see if I can make a skirt – complete with zip – in under an hour.  (The word zip is a clue here to the likelihood of my succes).

 

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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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Final F2F Blocks Arrive and Virtual Quilt is Made

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.

Patchwork Block

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.

Patchwork Block

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.

Paper Pieced Patchwork Block

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.

Mock Up F2F Quilt

Mock Up F2F Quilt

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!!

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Lost Dog Found

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.

Avis'DogBlock

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.

My F2F blocks from Avis

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

Chelsea Dog Collar

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.

Scotty Dog Collar

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.

9 week old kittens

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.

Top of the Cat Tree

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?

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More Messing With Collages

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.

EmmelysBlocksforMeCollage

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.

 

Patchwork Collage Purples

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?

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Making Collages to Avoid Visual Overload – F2F Blocks

 

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.

 

Patchwork Block Collage

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.

Patchwork Block Collage

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.

Patchwork Block Collage

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.

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Blocks From the Netherlands – F2F Block Swap

I received two packages last week – one from the U.S.A. and the other from the Esther in the Netherlands.  I said her blocks deserved a post of their own and here’s why –

Foundation Pieced Block ipatchandquiltHow stunning is that?

Foundation Pieced Blocks ipatchandquilt

I can’t imagine me executing something this perfect – sorry ladies!

Foundation Piecing ipatchandquiltPossibly my favourite – though very difficult to choose.

Esther from ipatchandquilt not only made these beautiful foundation pieced blocks but she also designed the patterns.  You can see some of them on her blog here as well as some stunning quilting designs.

I am humbled by all this gorgeousness dropping through my letterbox. I have done some foundation piecing in the past – perhaps it’s time to give it another go.

After all, having told Kate, one of the organisers of the swap, that I was never, in a million years, going to bother cutting piddling little scant 2 inch squares and faff about with interfacing, look what I did.

Postage Stamp Block

I liked the block Kate sent me using this method so much that I decided to give it a try after all.  I used very thin fusible interfacing – as it was what I had to hand in a large enough square, and although it was a pain to mark up, it makes for a block that is not at all stiff.  I think, if I am to continue in the postage stamp style, I will mark up a grid on some muslin and use it as a template underneath the interfacing as suggested in the tutorial.  Also, I might try cutting a plastic template for the scant 2 inch square you need to cut the fabric.

I’m hooked – my matching is never this good using any other method 😉

and in case you’re missing the kittens

Three Tabby Kittens

I’ve got somebody coming round to see – and maybe reserve – them later on.  I might hide the biggest one – he’s so gorgeous and bound to be the first to go.  No, No! I must be strong.

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New Blocks from the U.S.A. – F2F Block Swap

I love the excitement of small parcels arriving from all over the world for the F2F block swap I’m participating in.

On Friday I received another package and, this time, it was from the States containing three blocks from Susan over at Desert Sky Quilting.

MyF2FBlocksfromSusan (3)

On Friday I received another package and, this time, it was from the States containing three blocks from Susan over at Desert Sky Quilting.  A dramatic touch with the very dark grey and blue fabric in this one with the central pinwheel.

MyF2FBlocks fromSusan

A touch of orange with the turquoise here.  Apparently the orange  colour was outside of Susan’s comfort zone and she included some lovely orange fabric for me to play with in the package.

MyF2FBlocksfromSusan (2)

I think this is my favourite one.

This package arrived, despite the fact that Susan had sent it before we realised the post (zip) code was wrong – as did Kate’s from Australia –  so I’m quietly confident they will all arrive eventually. Esther’s blocks also arrived on Friday, from the Netherlands,  but they are also worthy of their own post so they will be in my next one.

A kitten free zone on the blog today did I hear you say?

Well almost

DSC_0048

Yuki – still tiny but trying to build him up and am going to try goats milk when the shops open tomorrow.

Tiny Kittens

Getting some cuddles from the ‘big’ sister.

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

 

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F2F Block Swap Colour Perfection

Measure Twice Cut Once

The first ever block swap I’ve ever participated in, called F2F, is well underway and, as it is my turn this month, I have received my first package from Kate who is one of the organisers and also the farthest away – Australia!

I will receive 10 other packages – one from each of the other participants – which, together with three blocks I have made myself will give me 36 blocks in my chosen colours to join together to make a quilt.

I was going to wait until they all arrived until opening but, when Kate’s arrived on Thursday, I couldn’t possibly contain myself so I opened it.

I was chuffed to bits with the contents, three gorgeous blocks with some little extras thrown in like the little tin above which is a handy reminder and even goes with my colour scheme .

Kate's Blocks for Me F2F (3)

I am so impressed with the quality of Kate’s work.  Even the back is super neat.  I have taken photos of the backs too but I thought she might kill me if I published them for the eagle eyed to zoom in on  😉

Kate's Blocks for Me F2F (2)

It’s so exciting to receive such beautiful blocks and they make me want to up my game and be a bit more adventurous (and skilful!) with my own blocks.  I think I am good with colour but my points matching and general finishing tend to be a bit ‘under par’ so I apologise to everybody sending me their lovely work for the fact that the ones you receive from me will almost certainly not be as well executed as yours.

Kate's Blocks for Me F2F (1)

The above block is a postage stamp block and Kate has linked to a very good tutorial over on her blog.  I thought it looked a bit fiddly for my liking but now that I’ve seen how gorgeous it is I want to give it a try myself.  I know this one is a block she found hard to part with.

Kate's Blocks for Me F2F (4)

Some spare fabrics in my colours, a little zippy handmade purse and another cute one in the form of a postcard made opening this package a bit like Christmas.

The colours are perfect and I’ve hung the postage stamp block up next to one I’ve made just to show how well they go together.

Kate's Blocks for Me F2F (7)

Just to add even more ‘excitement’ and anticipation to the block swap, there has been a mix up with my post (zip) code and I am hoping that the French postal service will be clever enough to realise that – as they already have with the package from Kate – and deliver the other ten safely.  I’ll let everybody know once their blocks have arrived as I know those of you that sent them out before the 22nd will be concerned.

I love waiting for the postman!

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A Frogging Nightmare, Some Solace and a bit of F2F

If it sounds like I’m swearing in the title I’m not, although I certainly felt like it.  For those non-knitters amongst you, ‘frogging’ basically means undoing what you’ve spent hours doing because you got wrapped up in an episode of something on the T.V. and let your concentration slip.  As you can see below, that happened to me during a binge watching session of ‘Silk’ and I didn’t do a twist where I should have done.  As I have explained before, these big, bouncy, beautiful blankets are knit with six strands of wool so undoing it when you’ve made a mistake is a bit of a nightmare.  To my shame, I did consider leaving it as it was because it’s going to be my Mum’s Christmas pressie and I thought she won’t notice or, if she does, she won’t mind but, when it came to it, I just couldn’t do it – what sort of knitter (or daughter) would I be?

Frogging

This photograph shows where I had got to with my frogging before I decided to take a photograph, the error was much further down than that originally – 26 rows further down actually, if you must know.   I did this with one of my previous blankets and started frogging lots of rows at a time which resulted in the strands of wool getting so tangled up I had to cut them and rejoin the yarn which meant, instead of having tail ends to weave in only at the beginning and end of the blanket, I had some in the middle too.  I didn’t want that happening again so, after about 2 hours of carefully undoing one row at a time, I got into a system of having the strands going round the back of my neck and rewinding one ball at a time at the end of each row.    Nightmare!

Having got myself back on track my trusty 20mm circular needle – the conqueror of 3 and a half of these blankets so far – broke and I have lent my spare one to somebody who has only just completed the first 8 rows of her blanket and I haven’t got the heart to ask for it back.  I am about to continue with my needle held together with superglue, smooth duck tape and a prayer.

I made some of these to cheer myself up.

Banana & Choc Chip Muffins

They are Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate and Banana muffins and they are meant to be chocolate coloured but when I opened a tin of what I thought was luxury chocolate powder, it was a tin of chocolate chips which you add milk to in order to make posh hot chocolate.  Still, I added them anyway and it worked because how could luxury chocolate chips not work?

Anyway, all has not been a complete cock up.  I have mentioned before the F2F patchwork block swap I’m participating in.  I’m so excited as it’s my turn this month and, by the end of it, I should have received 11 packages from all over the world, each containing 3 blocks for me to join together with the 3 that I have made, to make a lovely big quilt.  Last month was Sue’s turn – she is one of the organisers and had requested black and white with a hot colour of our choice.  You could use more than one hot colour but once I’d settled on this hot pink I couldn’t get enough of it.  Also, I’m getting better at these Anvil blocks (a bit better anyway) so played it a bit safe, stuck with those and just alternated the colours.

F2FBlocksSeptember (1)

The black fabric is covered in tiny text which is a quote from George Eliot.

F2FBlocksSeptember (2)

I love this musical score print.

Anvil Block

A reminder for Sue that these blocks came from France – albeit nowhere near Paris!!

I don’t know why this one goes in the opposite direction to the others but I’m sure it won’t matter :/

Off to order another 20mm circular needle – just in case.

Have you ever had to undo something you’ve made which was such a pain it has lingered long in your memory?

 

 

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