Posts Tagged quilt as you go
It’s the end of March already so it’s time to show and tell the three hatbox blocks I’ve finished in time for this month as pledged to Kate over at Tall Tales from Chiconia. Kate is making a full size quilt from her blocks so needs to make gazillions plus she has been battling Hurricane Debbie for the last couple of days over in Australia and has had other things on her mind so if she hasn’t made her three this time I won’t be casting aspersions – even though we did have a bit of snow here the other day accompanied by thunder and lightening which, to be fair, only rendered me slightly perplexed rather than full on terrified.
Here’s a bit of Chinoiserie for you as a change from florals. As you might remember, I’m using Liberty of London tana lawn for all the hatboxes and scraps of other fabric for the backgrounds. I bought this when Liberty had a 50% off sale recently – I did give you all a heads up at the time and apparently cost some of you money.
The book that this quilt pattern comes from – Passionate Patchwork by Kaffe Fassett – has been on my bookshelf for ages and seems to be quite hard to get hold of now (at a reasonable price) . I had always fancied making this but was newly inspired when Kate started hers.
Some very art nouveau style flowers here – would they be fritillaria or some sort of poppy do you think? – or do you know?
These are definitely poppies – even I know that – and this one might be my favourite this month, although I do like the Chinoiserie one at the top just because there be dragons.
Unlike Kate, I’m only making a wallhanging 4 blocks across x 3 blocks high so I only need 12. I’ve already made 9 but I’m not sure about one of them so there may be 4 still to go.
Then I’ll have to think about how I’m going to quilt them – I’m not convinced about the suggestion in the book. I’m going to do each block separately using the quilt as you go method. If you quilt, how would you tackle it – something simple perhaps or something more squiggly?
Just a quick post to show you that I really did manage to finish my ‘man quilt’ in time to give it to Mr. Tialys for Christmas. Thanks to Kate for organizing nine quilters for the F2F block swap again this year meaning that, apart from the blocks I made for myself , I also received 24 blocks from Australia, the States, Sweden, the Netherlands and France all diverse and gorgeous in my chosen colours. This swap, just as last year, helped me to improve on my existing skills and develop some new ones – foundation paper piecing is my new addiction.
Thanks also to Kate for encouraging me to finish it by blogging about the Quilt As You Go method which we were both using to finish our quilts, mine for a Christmas gift and her own for another charity auction to raise money for Ovarian Cancer Awareness which you can see here.
Here’s the back in case he gets fed up with looking at the front where you can see more clearly – though not too clearly I hope as my seaming wasn’t always spot on (or anywhere near) – how the blocks are sandwiched together, quilted and then joined with strips.
This quilt will go and live in London to keep Mr. T. warm in his ‘commuter flat’.
Some lovely blocks were sent to me and, because the full length photo doesn’t do them justice, I folded the quilt in half and photographed them separately so you can see each block more clearly. Unlike Kate I don’t live in Australia and the quilt was too long to hang on the washing line without draping on the frosty grass so I had to take the photos indoors on a larger bed than the quilt is intended for – although it is fairly large at about 65 inches wide x 78 inches long (1.6m x 1.9m).
Here’s the top half
and the bottom half
The new – and unintentional – member of the family was testing it out for comfort while I was attaching the binding and I think it passed. (More about him at a later date!)
I just need to ‘sign off’ on the quilt by making and attaching a quilt label which I will do tomorrow and I will sign off on the blog now until just after Christmas when I will hopefully be able to share the contents of my Stitching Santa parcels with you. (Update – received the knitting one today – phew!)
I hope you all have a very enjoyable festive season with lots of good food and good company. Lynn x x
I have been laid low by my first cold in years – which I could have coped with – but it turned into laryngitis. I don’t know that I’ve ever had such a hideously painful throat in my life before but my memory’s got further and further back to go these days so I can’t swear to it. OMG – the pain was excruciating. So much so that I – who have a phobia of being anywhere near a hospital – nearly took myself off to A & E on Sunday morning as swallowing was so painful and as I was trying to cough at the same time I thought it would cut off my breathing. As is clear, I am still here but have been silent since Saturday morning. Mr. T. had always fantasized about such a thing but was soon disabused of the notion it might be ‘a good thing’ when I was unable to answer requests, questions, commands, etc. yelled from the other side of the house but could remain serenely silent and await the yeller – being Mr. T himself or Mlle. T. the younger – to actually approach me and speak in measured tones. Then, the waiting game began whilst I scrawled my replies on a block of notes which finally became useful after years of perching on the edge of the desk. It transpired that, over time, where my handwriting has been abandoned in favour of the keyboard, it is now almost illegible. There followed scenes of what would have been hilarity if I’d been up to laughing, where husband and daughter tried to make sense of my scribble in a desperate attempt to communicate with me. I think I might actually try it again one day when I’m only pretending so that I can sit back and enjoy the show.
In an effort to take my mind off the throat that seemed to have taken over my whole body and made it all hurt – I decided to press on with joining my F2F Block Swap quilt together and, encouraged by Kate, who is also joining one up with the quilt as you go method, and the fact that I sort of realised I’d quite like to present this to the husband for Christmas, I started cutting up the strips. I won’t bore you with the strips put on upside down, the not catching the binding in at the back first time round and all the other little mistakes I made in my Paracetemol/Ibuprofen Alternating state of mind but, suffice it to say, it didn’t go well at first. However, here are the top and bottom corners of the quilt, laid side by side for ease of ‘fit in photograph’ and now I have the right side to do which will consist of two sections of 3 blocks across x 3 blocks down. Then, there will only be one long vertical strip to sew down between the left and right hand sides and I will have a 5 x 6 block sized, husband sleeping on his own in London (at least he better be!) sized quilt. Kate was thinking that this method would avoid the necessity of doing long strips between each completed row and, so far, it seems to be a good idea. Kate explains it much better here should you be interested in going down this path yourself.
Then this came in the post and I was very touched by it as Claire is always making little impromptu gifts for people and sending them out to them and it’s almost as if she knew I was in need of a bit of TLC. So germ infested hugs and kisses to you Claire for such a lovely thought – your timing was perfect.
I love this ad from Poland which is really sweet and funny, encouraging for a post-Brexit Britain and so in the spirit of Christmas so, if you haven’t seen it yet, enjoy!
I’m off to drink more honey and lemon in hot water – I’m almost up to adding a tot of something stronger in it but I’ll wait until after 6.
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
Next time, I would make the cuffs a little looser and alter the pattern slightly so that it is slightly wider at the bottom edge.
…..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.
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.
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).
What’s that bundle of lovely turquoiseness?* I hear you ask.
*made up word
Can she possibly have finished putting together those 36 pieced patchwork blocks – 33 of which were sent to her from Australia, the States, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. as part of the F2F Block Swap? Yes, she has.
I had a little help in the last stages
although as I had to unpick quite a lot of the work I did that day, maybe I should work alone in future
As will be obvious to most, if not all of you, the design on the back of the quilt had to be reversed – a bit like when you’re printing out something you’re going to transfer on to something else so you have to flip it round. Well, I didn’t. So my cunning design on the back was all random and not how I wanted it to be so rows had to be unpicked and re-joined.
Never mind, it’s done now.
I used the Quilt As You Go Method which is ideal for this sort of quilt. Each 12.5 inch square block was layered together with batting and backing and quilted individually. The resulting ‘mini quilts’ were then joined together with sashing and regular readers will be pleased to know that I remembered to ‘butt up my backing’ this time so no squidgy empty bits in the middle. This is the best quilting I’ve ever done because it was so easy to get each 12.5 inch ‘quilt sandwich’ under the machine. That is a Superking sized bed so there would have been a lot of quilt to push around under an ordinary sewing machine.
A risky ‘flung on the grass’ photo shoot.
‘Risky’ because I have 3 dogs and 5 cats who are enthusiastic garden users.
Much less risky and probable, eventual home.
Thank you to all the participants in the block swap – as you can see, all your hard work has made for a lovely quilt which will be well used. Also, knowing there are other people waiting to see the results of their efforts is a really good
kick up the arse incentive for getting a quilt finished in a much quicker time than one is used to doing. No languishing in the WIP pile for this baby.
Not all twelve of us are joining up for the next F2F swap – some have other commitments – but we have a few newcomers and there will be nine for the next one so perhaps I’ll make just a double sized quilt or even a couple of lap quilts .
Speaking of which, I’ve been practising my Paper Piecing and, while still not perfect, I’m happy enough to show you the whole photo this time without censoring the bottom half and it just happens to be in the colours I’ve chosen for the next round which is just as well because it starts next month and my name was first out of the hat to receive blocks. Eek! Here we go again.
Bring it on!
Now, I really must do some housework. Well, after I’ve had a cup of coffee……
I used to ‘do’ upholstery. I have all the gear – a hide mallet, tack remover, a webbing stretcher, hammers, tacks, horsehair, etc. etc. but after a few years I went off the idea. I bought a chaise longue (interestingly, not called that in France unless you mean a garden recliner) from a junk shop and did it up but, nine years later, it had got a bit faded, saggy and generally in need of a facelift. I know the feeling. It was still comfortable – ask my dogs! – and the framework is very good as it was made before the days when most furniture is made to be chucked out after a few years, so I decided to pay somebody to re-do it for me. It took her about a week – it would have taken me much more.
I can’t get a brilliant photo because it is next to a French window and the light is shining on the metallic threads so it is not quite as ‘blingy’ as this but you get the idea. I got the fabric from Turkey and could have had red to go with the cushions on my sofa but decided to go a bit mad with the orange – although there are dark red bits on it which you can’t see for the duff lighting.
Anyway, to make up for being lazy with the upholstery, I decided to buy some more of the Turkish fabric – both in the orange and also some red mixtures – and make new cushion covers for the L-shaped sofa we have as the current ones are splitting at the seams and spewing feathers all over the place. Two completed ones above although not being displayed on their intended sofa because this one has better lighting. Mr. Tialys has insisted – despite my protestations and tears – that they should all have piping. I drew the line at zips though and they will all have envelope backs albeit generous ones. Two down sixteen to go.
Then I had a couple of dog collars to make and, while I had the webbing to hand, I fixed my neighbour’s sandals.
All of which is to explain why my F2F quilt is still not finished.
Kate who, along with Sue, organized twelve of us for this block swap, is keen to see another finished quilt so I am trying to steam ahead with it and thought I’d do a progress report and prove to her that I am on the case.
Thirty six blocks have been sandwiched and ready quilted (I’m using the ‘quilt as you go method’). This will be the second row but I have laid them out as a double row for ease of photography.
The backs of the blocks where you can see some of the quilting – machine only I’m afraid but I am trying out different methods such as free motion quilting on some of them as, at this stage, they are like mini quilts and easy to get under the machine.
I had enough of this blue marbled fabric to do the requisite amounts of backing blocks but didn’t chant the ‘think twice cut once’ mantra and so ended up two squares short. After a fruitless search for more of the same fabric – including an unanswered pleading email to the wholesale supplier (thanks for that Pascale & Beatrix) – I may have to ‘make do and mend’ by joining (as above) and quilting in a cunning manner to hide the join line. ***
Using the four backing fabrics, I made some improvised blocks for cornerstones.
This block, from Emmely, was a natural choice for one of the corner blocks of the quilt and lends itself to my favourite form of quilting – on the machine, in the ditch, easy!
and it also worked well with the back.
Some of the blocks were a little ‘scant’ when I came to join them and didn’t quite get taken into the seams of the sashing strips. I used this printed tape, attached with bondaweb and then sewn into the seam allowance at the top to hide the gap and prevent fraying. It’s not an ideal solution but I couldn’t lower the sashing strip any more otherwise I’d risk losing details from the adjoining blocks. Any other ideas gratefully received as I’m sure I’ll come across other anomalies when I join the remaining rows.
So, here’s one row sashed vertically and once horizontally just to prove that I am getting on with it.
I’m waiting for more piping cord to arrive in the post now and all of my neighbour’s other sandals are in good condition so no more excuses and, hopefully, the next images will be of the finished quilt.
Now I’ve put it in print I have to do it!
*** My friend Sandra returned from a week in Spain, had her fabric stash raided and, as I suspected she might, had a length of the turquoise marbled fabric hidden away in there which is now with me 😉
SPOILER!! The block row joining is not going as well as I had hoped – the seam ripper has been put into service and many many tiny stitches have had to be undone. This is mainly due to the fact that I was concerning myself more with attaching the sashing nicely and not with butting up the batting properly so ending up with empty sashing which is not a good look (or feel). Although, now that I’ve put it down in plain type, I think ‘butting up the batting’ ought to be a phrase brought into common usage.
This is Taz, one of my three dogs.
He is old(ish) – he’ll be 11 this year – but it’s not him learning new tricks, it’s me but I’m much older than 11 and not as good looking in close-up.
If you remember, I have been taking part in a patchwork block swap called F2F (organised by Kate and Sue) which involved twelve women from around the globe, making three patchwork blocks a month and sending them to one of the recipients in turn so that all twelve of us end up with 36 blocks, having made 3 for ourselves to turn into a quilt. ( You can read about it here if you are interested.) Well, I was leisurely putting my blocks together and joined up for the next swap which starts in June when my name got drawn out of the hat first so I will be the first person to receive blocks – probably in around 7 weeks time. So, that’s put a fire under me and I’m now desperately trying to get the first quilt finished before the new blocks arrive. I have learnt a lot from doing this swap and have started trying new things and challenging myself a bit so that the blocks I send to the other participants are not boringly safe or complete pants.
This time, there are only nine of us but that’s O.K. because we can either make a slightly smaller quilt or make more blocks for ourselves. I have persuaded my Wednesday sewing friend Sandra to join the swap this time which will be a challenge as English is not her first language, she doesn’t blog and is a bit scared of the computer. We usually find a project to sew together on Wednesdays and, lately, I’ve been running out of ideas. Here’s our latest project.
Who wouldn’t want an owl as a tea cosy? Cute aren’t they and will also be useful once I have stopped using mine as a mannequin head which is creeping out anyone who enters my sewing room.
The free pattern and tutorial is by Buzy Day here if you want to repel all visitors during sewing time as I try to do unless they are bearing a cup of tea.
Despite owl cuteness, I thought we might be better employed doing something more patchwork(y) now she’s got involved in the swap. So, for a project last Wednesday afternoon I decided to try paper piecing and
forced encouraged Sandra to join me. Lordy! What a revelation to the uninitiated. Not having a light box, we were holding printed patterns and teensy bits of paper up against her windows and trying to join things up backwards and in reverse. Lots of unpicking was done and I’m sure I saw her take a headache pill at the end of our session. I continued at home and although I’m chuffed to bits with my first try at a paper pieced block it is not fit for eyes other than my own and so I will show you the half that is only a bit terrible and not the half that went completely to pot.
I think I might actually grow to like paper piecing so I made a light box out of an Ikea box frame and one of those little LED lights that you can stick up somewhere and press for ‘on’. Basic, but it works and was free as I already had the two components lying around.
I’ve also been trying out free motion quilting on my blocks as I’m ‘quilting as you go’ with this quilt – two new tricks for me in one there – with varying degrees of success. FMQ is a lone pursuit and requires you to concentrate like hell while apparently needing to be chilled out at the same time. I think I’m relaxed then realise my shoulders are up around my ears with the tension. One YouTube tutorial I watched was by a very sensible lady who suggested you might like to have a glass of wine by your side to help you relax. A woman after my own heart but I’d be too scared to knock it over on to my fabric. Maybe it would be better to have one before – and then maybe another one after. I do need lots more practice but, to date, have been achieving some (very) free form designs which are just about acceptable although how anybody manages to do some of the more intricate FMQ designs I have no idea. The whole bottle of wine by your side perhaps?
I am far too easily distracted – I blame it on being a Gemini – although I’m not really a believer in astrology it’s just that I can’t think of a better excuse. For instance, once I had walked the dogs and fed the seemingly ever growing menagerie that lives in our house this morning, I had a whole day free and thought I’d get on with the quilting. However! I bought some fabric the other day I’m dying to turn into a sewing box and so I thought, ‘I’ll just get all the pieces cut out so they’ll be ready to put together in the future’ – a stage of the box making which is by no means quick – and ‘whoosh’ there went the rest of the morning. Now, at lunchtime, instead of eating, I realised I hadn’t posted anything for ages so here I am telling you about what I should be doing instead of doing it. Hey ho. There’s always this afternoon.
Fabric is Haberdashery Box by Makower
So, I’m learning FMQ, paper piecing and QAYG and, for my next trick I became a model for a day.
I am involved with a group that raises funds for our local dog and cat shelter and we decided to do something a little different. We get lots of second hand clothes donated and, to be honest, they don’t look that inviting when hung up or laid out in piles like a jumble sale. So, we decided that six of us would pick out something from the donations that suited us (or fitted us) and do a ‘fashion show’. We hired a hall with a stage, some steps and somebody lent us a runner to use as a ‘catwalk’. One of the organiser’s partners is a D.J. so we could walk down the catwalk to music and we had a ‘presenter’ who read out descriptions of the outfits we had written ourselves – mostly in humorous fashion and we had clothes by designers such as ‘Terry Err from London’ , ‘Walter Spanielle from Yorkshire’ and ‘Beau de Collie from Paris’. In other words, helped by a glass of champagne on arrival, everybody had a good laugh. We modelled five outfits each and they were on sale afterward for 5 euros each. All the remaining clothes were sold for whatever people chose to put in the donation box.
We made a whopping 1400 euros for the Shelter which I can’t help but consider in terms of how many castrations that will pay for 😉
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.