Posts Tagged patchwork
Do people sometimes ask you why you make your own clothes? Or why you knit your own jumpers/socks/blankets? Or why you make quilts or greetings cards or paint pictures. Does there always have to be a logical answer to questions about why we want to create certain things?
Mr. Tialys cannot see the point in buying perfectly good fabric and then cutting it up into smaller pieces and joining it up again – this is a very common ‘man’ question I believe. If I were smashing plates and making mosaics, I don’t believe he would ask the same thing. Although he might look askance come dinner time.
Another question he often asks is why I have so much fabric that I would have a job using it all up in my lifetime (no matter how long that might be) yet still, occasionally, well quite often actually, buy more. This, I don’t really have an answer to except that it makes me happy and keeps me out of the casinos, pubs, betting shops and places of ill-repute that I might otherwise frequent and spend my money in. Unlikely scenarios but you get my drift.
Sometimes I make things ‘just because’ – although I do usually have some sort of vague idea why I want to make something even if it’s to try out a new skill or method to see whether I want to continue down that road or never touch it again – needle felting anyone?
(This is not to denigrate the craft of needle felting in any way because there are some awesome needle felting artists out there – just my own lack of proficiency at it. Just saying..)
Anyway, I recently got the foundation paper piecing bug which, for anybody who doesn’t know what that is, involves laying small pieces of fabric on to the reverse side of a printed paper pattern, then flipping it over and sewing each, sometimes teeny piece, onto the piece adjoining it in the order stipulated by the pattern, until you have a completed patchwork block or image. Then you have to tear all that paper off which has hopefully been thoroughly perforated by your sewing machine needle and, voila, a finished work that should be very accurately pieced. You may well ask ‘why?’. Well, I like it because I sometimes find accuracy fairly hard to achieve using other piecing methods and this appears to be my best shot.
Here is how a piece looks from the reverse side with some of the papers removed.
So, inspired by a recent project by a blogging friend Avis of OhSewTempting, and because my Dr. Who loving daughter has just moved into her post-university flat and needs a few soft furnishings in her life, I decided to make a paper pieced Tardis and then incorporate it into a cushion.
So far so good. I had a project with a purpose and could use some stash fabric to make it.
I found some ‘constellation’ fabric that had come in a ‘stash building’ bundle of ‘blues’ I’d ordered online and didn’t even realise I had. (Slight pause while we all stop laughing at the very idea I need any ‘stash building’ ). This would made a perfect background for the Doctor’s tardis hurtling through space and time.
Then, I remembered I had some ‘Police Box’ ribbon I’d bought for making quirky dog collars.
It was meant to be. My life was complete.
The first mistake I made was not checking my printer settings so the pattern printed out to finish at 9.5 inches instead of 10 inches which I didn’t realise until I’d already started piecing and, as it didn’t really need to be a specific size as it’s not going into a quilt, I let it be. This, despite the fact that, two posts ago, I wrote about this self-same thing.
The second mistake I made was believing the designer had made an error and put the outside written notice on the wrong side of the tardis – something my daughter would have immediately picked up on. So, I reversed the pieces, forgetting that because you sew the fabric on the reverse, the reverse eventually becomes the front. I expect your brain hurts now. I know mine did. Anyway, trying to be clever made joining those window and door pieces more difficult than they needed to be but I got there in the end.
It was all coming together so well. All the individual sections looked good.
Then I started to join them together.
This was the first result. I had noticed the slight overhang on the right side of the tardis wasn’t overhanging slightly or in any way at all on my version but thought it wouldn’t matter too much as the rest wasn’t bad. Then, what wasn’t that obvious in ‘real life’ became glaringly obvious in the photo – the right hand side of the tardis was in its own time warp and waving about all over the place and there was bagging in the background fabric.
It was around about that time I found myself asking the question ‘why?’ and also cursing quite a lot in a very unladylike manner.
I had to unpick many many teeny stitches and, after a couple of attempts at re-doing it through the papers, eventually took the seams apart up the sides, separated the mid section, redid the ‘police box’ line, took the papers off and then joined it all up again with 1/4 inch seams of my own devising.
Well, I am older and wiser yet again and have now tackled teeny pieces in a pattern and have ended up with a vaguely acceptable tardis.
I’m going to put a border round it to make a bigger cushion and do an envelope back edged with more ‘Public Telephone’ ribbon. Any ideas for the border colour? I’m thinking of the navy I used on the box itself or maybe some navy with little white stars but other suggestions welcome.
O.K., there are still a few areas I could improve on and, if I made it again, I would stitch those little window frames as Avis did as it looks a lot neater (as does her whole project but I have aspirations), and the good thing is that the pattern – printed free from Craftsy here – says ‘intermediate level’ so perhaps I can now feel I’ve graduated from ‘beginner’.
I used to ‘do’ upholstery. I have all the gear – a hide mallet, tack remover, a webbing stretcher, hammers, tacks, horsehair, etc. etc. but after a few years I went off the idea. I bought a chaise longue (interestingly, not called that in France unless you mean a garden recliner) from a junk shop and did it up but, nine years later, it had got a bit faded, saggy and generally in need of a facelift. I know the feeling. It was still comfortable – ask my dogs! – and the framework is very good as it was made before the days when most furniture is made to be chucked out after a few years, so I decided to pay somebody to re-do it for me. It took her about a week – it would have taken me much more.
I can’t get a brilliant photo because it is next to a French window and the light is shining on the metallic threads so it is not quite as ‘blingy’ as this but you get the idea. I got the fabric from Turkey and could have had red to go with the cushions on my sofa but decided to go a bit mad with the orange – although there are dark red bits on it which you can’t see for the duff lighting.
Anyway, to make up for being lazy with the upholstery, I decided to buy some more of the Turkish fabric – both in the orange and also some red mixtures – and make new cushion covers for the L-shaped sofa we have as the current ones are splitting at the seams and spewing feathers all over the place. Two completed ones above although not being displayed on their intended sofa because this one has better lighting. Mr. Tialys has insisted – despite my protestations and tears – that they should all have piping. I drew the line at zips though and they will all have envelope backs albeit generous ones. Two down sixteen to go.
Then I had a couple of dog collars to make and, while I had the webbing to hand, I fixed my neighbour’s sandals.
All of which is to explain why my F2F quilt is still not finished.
Kate who, along with Sue, organized twelve of us for this block swap, is keen to see another finished quilt so I am trying to steam ahead with it and thought I’d do a progress report and prove to her that I am on the case.
Thirty six blocks have been sandwiched and ready quilted (I’m using the ‘quilt as you go method’). This will be the second row but I have laid them out as a double row for ease of photography.
The backs of the blocks where you can see some of the quilting – machine only I’m afraid but I am trying out different methods such as free motion quilting on some of them as, at this stage, they are like mini quilts and easy to get under the machine.
I had enough of this blue marbled fabric to do the requisite amounts of backing blocks but didn’t chant the ‘think twice cut once’ mantra and so ended up two squares short. After a fruitless search for more of the same fabric – including an unanswered pleading email to the wholesale supplier (thanks for that Pascale & Beatrix) – I may have to ‘make do and mend’ by joining (as above) and quilting in a cunning manner to hide the join line. ***
Using the four backing fabrics, I made some improvised blocks for cornerstones.
This block, from Emmely, was a natural choice for one of the corner blocks of the quilt and lends itself to my favourite form of quilting – on the machine, in the ditch, easy!
and it also worked well with the back.
Some of the blocks were a little ‘scant’ when I came to join them and didn’t quite get taken into the seams of the sashing strips. I used this printed tape, attached with bondaweb and then sewn into the seam allowance at the top to hide the gap and prevent fraying. It’s not an ideal solution but I couldn’t lower the sashing strip any more otherwise I’d risk losing details from the adjoining blocks. Any other ideas gratefully received as I’m sure I’ll come across other anomalies when I join the remaining rows.
So, here’s one row sashed vertically and once horizontally just to prove that I am getting on with it.
I’m waiting for more piping cord to arrive in the post now and all of my neighbour’s other sandals are in good condition so no more excuses and, hopefully, the next images will be of the finished quilt.
Now I’ve put it in print I have to do it!
*** My friend Sandra returned from a week in Spain, had her fabric stash raided and, as I suspected she might, had a length of the turquoise marbled fabric hidden away in there which is now with me 😉
SPOILER!! The block row joining is not going as well as I had hoped – the seam ripper has been put into service and many many tiny stitches have had to be undone. This is mainly due to the fact that I was concerning myself more with attaching the sashing nicely and not with butting up the batting properly so ending up with empty sashing which is not a good look (or feel). Although, now that I’ve put it down in plain type, I think ‘butting up the batting’ ought to be a phrase brought into common usage.
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
Much as I love this dog, I don’t really make quilts, especially not quilts made from Liberty tana lawn, for the benefit of my pets. Instead, I go to the local charity shop once every few months and buy up some used blankets which I put in their beds and, once they have been chewed, ripped to shreds or made ‘dog smelly’, I dispose of them and go back to the charity shop. However, Flo had other ideas and took advantage of the fact that I was doing some artistic ‘draping’ for purposes of photography to dive on top.
Although I used the fence around the chicken hut to lay the quilt over, the chickens don’t seem to feel the need to lay on soft blankets so the quilt was safe for the outside shots.
As a point of interest and not really relevant to this blog post, one of the words I have soooo much trouble with in French is ‘poulailler’. Now, most people could probably survive without ever having to say it but, as I keep chickens, and as it means ‘henhouse’, it is a word that I sometimes need to say, much to the amusement of anybody French that is listening at the time. The other word I have difficulty with, which also contains lots of the letter L, is ‘rouille’ as this also necessitates rolling the ‘r’ in front before twisting your tongue around the ‘ou’ sound and that double ‘L’. As ‘rouille’ means ‘rust’ it is a word that, for various reasons, I do find myself using quite frequently.
Anyway, I digress. As suggested by several of you when I asked for advice on this particular project, I quilted it using wavy lines which I think works well. Somebody said they would look ‘organic’ but, as I didn’t mark anything out apart from the distance between the lines and really just followed my (wonky) eye down the quilt, vaguely trying to echo the line before, I think that might be quite a flattering word for it. I’m going to stick with it anyway.
It appears that one of the advantages of using bands of fabric the width of the quilt means that, when folded lengthwise and placed on a sofa or chair or wherever, you are able to see the full range of fabrics used which is not always the case with more complicated designs.
Persuaded by a friend of mine to start a new quilt together, I have resolved to finish the last bit of hand quilting and add the binding to one I had almost completed but, as I had draped it over a chair in my workroom, it became to look like part of the furniture so I sort of considered it finished. It wasn’t!
So this weekend should see the ‘handbag quilt’, first blogged about an embarrassingly long time ago, completed and then I won’t feel guilty about starting a new one.
Meanwhile, I must remove a dog from a quilt.
No use pretending to be asleep.
After asking you for help making a decision with the border fabric, I decided to go with my first instinct and use the mushroomy grey colour. So, if you thought ‘cream’, you didn’t say so and, unlike my daughter who is miffed that I ignored her, you can’t complain 😉
I think it was the best choice. Please excuse the teddies – they are from a more hormonal time in my life and now share my workroom with me (banned, as they are, from any other room of the house).
I do like to compromise however and, when I realised I didn’t have quite enough of the backing fabric, ended up using the cream to bring it up to size – so everybody’s happy.
I must try harder to get that fold out of the middle of the backing fabric. It doesn’t look that obvious in real life. Perhaps it will disappear into the quilting.
It is fiendishly difficult (and hideously expensive) to get good quilt batting in France and I’ve had to order it from an obliging seller in the U.K.
So now I’m just waiting for the wadding.
I’m cancelling everything today apart from finishing my WISP (work in slow progress). Three days to go and I have to hand quilt a queen size cover and then bind it. It could just be possible if I fend off appointments, visitors, dog walks, housework., eating, washing, Etsying and phone calls.
Saying all that, I just had to show you these gorgeous new Liberty of London fabrics that arrived yesterday with my postman who I love because he brings me such lovely things although he is a miserable old twonk. These are from the new Lifestyle Collection which is Liberty of London’s beautiful new line specially designed for quilting and crafting. They are not as fine as the divine Tana Lawn and, therefore, much cheaper and, therefore, much easier to cut up and use in patchwork. Tana Lawn will always be my favourite but the designs, as always, are sooo gorgeous and you can’t argue with a less expensive alternative for some projects.
Anyway, off to hand quilt heart and bird shapes . Hopefully I will be able to show you(and my daughter!) the finished article soon.
I am supremely uninterested in the Olympics – a sad confession but it’s true. I’ve never really been one for watching televised sport and the more ‘professional’ it has become the more disinterested I am. I even managed to avoid the Tour de France again this year despite the fact that it goes right through our local town. Bah humbug! It’s not that I’m against physical activity. Last week, for instance, in an attempt at sociability with some sporty friends who were visiting their holiday home nearby, I went for a 4.5 hour walk. Don’t let the word ‘walk’ fool you into thinking it was a gentle ramble. For at least one hour, the route was so steep we could have done with crampons to hammer into the ground. I blame Mr. Tialys (who else?) as he was in charge of poring over the map and sorting out the route and his instructions (from me) were ‘no more than 2.5 hours and not too steep’ . It wasn’t helped by the fact that it was about 34 degrees and the humidity was very high but I suppose I can’t blame Mr. T. for that, although I did give it a very good try. Anyway, on T.V. the next day, still trying to be sociable with the visiting sporty types, we watched Jessica Ennis win the gold for G.B. in the Heptathlon and I did have a little tear in my eye and felt strangely jubilant and patriotic whilst pressing a bag of frozen peas against my calf muscles.
It is the season of the vide grenier here in France and I am making the most of it. Saving up for a trip to Barcelona with her boyfriend, Madamoiselle Tialys the elder took a stall on Sunday to sell some of our tat and, making the most of having to be there at sparrow fart to help her set up, I was able to be in at the start to buy some tat from other people.
I was rather taken with this doggie who, unlike most of the dogs in France that I find and bring home, won’t cost me anything in vet’s bills and food. I’m not sure whether to leave him as is or to give him a lick of paint – maybe even some paint effect thingy like crackling or something. Maybe once I decide whether to put him in the garden or keep him in the house it might be easier to decide whether to keep him in his ‘chippy paint’ state or tart him up a bit.
Having established that, although I have three dogs, none of them look remotely like this one, the woman I bought him from declared him a ‘coup de coeur’ which is a nice way of saying I am a bit bonkers and good luck explaining yet another ‘too heavy to post’ item to Mr. T. Speaking of which, I just had to have this too. It is sooooo heavy and my décor isn’t the least bit ‘industrial’ or ‘loft’ but it just couldn’t be left there. The visiting friends came round for dinner that night and we had some wine and very nearly had a game of ‘who dares to plug the very old fan in and see if it still works?’ but , thankfully, good sense prevailed and I lived to share the photo with you.
Most of my time this week has been spent trying to complete the ‘two year quilt’ in time for Mlle T. the elder’s 19th birthday on Sunday as it should have been finished, you may remember, for her 18th birthday last year. Anyway, I galvanised myself into action and set to work a couple of weeks ago only to realise that I needed more fabric for the border and, because I have taken so long to make it, the fabric has been discontinued. After searching the internet high and low, I found somebody with some yardage left and it arrived from the U.S. today. I can’t tell you what a pain this quilt has been to make. Well, I can actually. The problem was that, instead of doing what all normal people do and make the top of the quilt first and then back it with some plain or patterned fabric, I decided to make the back of the quilt a feature too, with a panel in the centre and then some patterned fabric and then some pieced blocks around the border. To make matters worse, I made the back first. Then, of course, when it came to making the top, which is pieced, I had to make it fit the back. Bad idea. Don’t ever do it. Maths is not my strong subject and I have been having to make all sorts of calculations to make the top and bottom match up. At the moment, it seems to be working. Tomorrow I will attach the borders to the top and then it will be ready to be sandwiched together with the batting and the back. Fingers crossed. That leaves me Thursday and Friday to do some quilting (by hand) and Saturday to bind it. There goes the housework again. I don’t know whether I’ll manage it but I will let you know if I succeed. Here’s a reminder of the back of the quilt which I had actually finished in time for her 18th. You can’t see the blocks around the border very well but they are there. What the hell have I been doing between then and now?
The scary thing is that it will be Madamoiselle Tialys the younger’s 18th in February and that’s only 6 months away. Better start buying in the fabric.
Like Picasso, I am going through a ‘period’ where I favour certain colours. Unlike Picasso, mine is red not blue. Also, unlike Picasso I’m not an incredibly talented, world famous artist but, let’s not quibble – I’m not Spanish either.
Last October, when I went to visit my friend who was housesitting, I found this slubbly spotted linen and immediately thought it would lend itself to one of my hexagonal work boxes. Finally, I have got around to making it. I used, on the inside, a linen blend fabric I found at a craft fair which is a finer weave and more suited to the interior.
Meanwhile, my little sewing group has been working on this pattern we found in a French crafts magazine from back in 2000 and, although I am quite pleased with the result, it was a pain in the derrière to make. The instructions were really bad – and don’t blame my French, as my two fellow group members are French so it wasn’t my fault.
It’s quite sweet though and when I have figured out exactly where to insert the piece of wooden dowelling – no suggestions please! – it can be hung from a hook and, when you want your needles, threads, etc. you unhook the ribbons and – voila!
What I love the most though is this gorgeous teapot which I made from my blogging friend RicRac‘s awesome pattern. I just love it. I will have a go at the cup and saucer next .
And, finally, my plan to do a patchwork block a week with my group commenced with the ‘Tumbling Blocks’ pattern as it came first in the sampler book I have and is fairly straightforward. Also, I am determined to stop being a slave to my machine and I am only going to do the hand pieced blocks which is much more sensible – and sociable – when you are round somebody else’s house. Everybody will be needing different coloured thread and constantly rethreading the sewing machine then trundling away at 90 mph is not conducive to socialising and, in my case, learning French. So, I’m getting out the Sharps no. 8s (and needle threader) for these blocks. I don’t know what I am making yet but if I keep the colour scheme similar, if I want to and have made enough blocks, it could become a quilt.
Did you guess it was going to be red? (obviously not the finished item – 4 more tumbling blocks to go and, even though my hand quilting isn’t brilliant, it won’t be as large as these tacking stitches – just saying…)
Anyway, apart from the blocks which I am going to do at the weekly group, all my current projects are finished. SO! Does this mean I can go back to Madamoiselle Tialys’ 18th birthday quilt which should have been finished last August but is still languishing in the cupboard? Yes. Well, hopefully. By the time she either has her 19th birthday or, failing that, leaves for University, I will have that quilt finished and wrapped up to present to her. And, this time, I won’t be asking for it back in order to finish it. That’s the plan anyway. By the way, if you have forgotten or didn’t see my earlier posts on the subject – her quilt is predominantly red. I’m spotting a theme.
Happy Jubilee long weekend to everybody back in the ‘old country’ – I’ll definitely be putting up some bunting and coming over all ‘monarchist’ on Sunday – I’ve even got my souvenir issue of the Radio Times with the new portrait on the front – can’t quite decide about that portrait but let’s just say I’m glad it’s not of me.
I wrote a post on here just before the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, on a fun book entitled ‘Knit Your Own Royal Wedding’ which, incidentally, I bought for £1 after all the hooha had died down as my own eccentric souvenir of the event.
Now, I can knit – quite well actually – but I seldom bother because after years of knitting everything from scarves to dresses, I realise that I don’t really like knitted items much so don’t wear them. All that expensive yarn, puzzling over complicated patterns and buying trendy bamboo needles in every size and I find that, as with lots of things in life, the journey is more fun than the getting there.
Perhaps it is for this same reason that the phantom knitter of North Yorkshire, known as the ‘Saltburn Yarnbomber’ has been knitting away like mad and then leaving the results of her (or his) labours in carefully chosen spots around the town at night. This knitter (or knitters) with a big sense of fun has left a set of knitted books outside the library, some woollen buns by the cake shop and teddy bears with miniature knitted sandwiches on a local picnic table.
Now, in a spectacular tour de force, the knitter has wound a 50 yard ‘scarf’ around the pier. The scarf has been adorned with figures to represent the 2012 London Olympics and includes skiers, rowers, runners. I particularly like these little synchronised swimmers.
Maybe next time I get the urge to wield a pair of knitting needles, I will do a bit of this ‘altruistic’ knitting and leave little knitted items around the rural French town near where I live. Somehow, I don’t think my efforts would be appreciated as this sort of thing seems so ‘British’ – it’s probably no coincidence it happened in a seaside town where people will actually wander along a pier in the midst of winter and sit in deckchairs in coats and scarves overlooking the sea.
This afternoon I’m off to my friend’s house where we are going to start a new project. A more ambitious and practical one this time. It is a sewing machine cover which I have lusted after for a while and, because I am making it as part of a communal project, it will force me to sit down and do it. This pattern is from a great book called ‘Born to Quilt’ by Véronique Requena. Gorgeous isn’t it? It’s a bit tricky but I’ll let you know how we get on.
Talking of projects – don’t forget to enter my giveaway for Scott which ends on Sunday 25th March.