Sunday, 5 August 2018

BLOG 407

BLOG 407
I have continued with my task of cutting 3 ½” squares from my selection of Liberty fabrics to give a good palette of fabrics to choose from when I start to work on my design wall. My one thought as I look at the palette is that I may not have enough in the dark value range.  I will see how I progress before trying to rectify that potential problem (more expense!).
            Palette of fabrics
So the palette is sorted, the design wall is empty so what am I going to do on it? Well, many moons ago, when the ’colourwash’ revolution was at its height, I bought an innocuous little workbook by Shirley Liby on one of my visits to Paducah. There is no colour at all between the covers, just a variety of designs based on the tonal value (light through to dark) of the squares. A design from this book would be my starting point.


             Potential design

               Sample block

              2 blocks

          4 Blocks
I do enjoy playing in this way, squinting my eyes to get a blurred effect so I can check that the squares run smoothly from one to another. And this is the one time when my mobile phone comes in handy! I take pictures as I am working so I can assess whether I am achieving what I have set out to do. Sometimes you can be too close to your own work and pictures help to give distance (that, and using a mirror to look over your shoulder at the other end of the room!) These pictures reinforced what I feared, that I hadn’t got enough dark fabrics!

So the next step was to look at the colourwash bible written by Deidre Amsden. She was making fabulous patchwork quilts based on value long before the Americans took it over. I particularly liked 3 designs which Ithought were doable with my limited palette of fabrics.
     The colourwash bible!

            Design 1

           Design 2

            Design 3

I decided to concentrate on Design 1 and found that this worked better for me with my range of fabrics. Here’s the play sequence which I hope will illustrate what I mean when I say you can be too close to your own work. At the end my efforts I felt quite dispirited, assuming that I hadn’t achieved what I had set out do. It was only when I was going out of the studio and I looked back at the design wall that I saw that indeed I had created alternating value strips. I was pleased and will continue along this vein when I return from holidays.
            Sequence 1

             Sequence 2

              Sequence 3

             Sequence 4
Did someone mention holidays?! I am going to Las Vegas and San Diego with the family for a couple of weeks so there will be no blog postings whilst I am away. Happy hols to one and all!


Sunday, 29 July 2018

BLOG 406

BLOG 406
Tessa’s wall hanging is in the process of being bound; the rug making continues at a snail’s pace; I need more light fabrics to proceed with the current scrap quilt and so I obviously need to start something new! In a bid to use up more of my fabric … and that is what this year is all about! …. I pulled out the drawer of Liberty fabrics. Much of this has been amassed over the years and some has been donated so I think it is about time to make use of it and then pass on what I don’t need to someone else to enjoy.

               Liberty collection
I have obviously had a few false starts with Liberty projects judging by what came out of the same drawer. (I usually keep stuffing fabric into the small spaces in drawers so it always amazes me how fabric rises like bread when freed from the constrictions of space. It seems to expand as though it is breathing!)  There were a couple of squares, one dark and the other light, possibly the start (and stop) of a string quilt! There was a sample of a needle case, many of which I have made as gifts in the past. I came across a value strip (light through to dark and back again) and of course the mini Liberty sampler quilt (which still isn’t quilted I’m ashamed to say!). 

            Strip work

            Pin cushion

           Value sequence

I believe that most scrap quilts start on the ironing board. So as I am sorting through the fabric and pressing it ready for cutting, I am starting to sift through ideas of how I can use it. I have to say that the value strip has made an impression on my mind so perhaps I will use that concept to create something; Liberty fabrics are fabulous for blending in this way. So 3 ½” squares seem like a good idea and as I cut them from the array of fabrics I placed them in a value sequence. Some fabrics are off-cuts; others are sizeable chunks so, as yet, I don’t know what I have to play with. Once pressed, a straight edge is cut, then 3 ½” strips, then squares.

             Ironing board


              Off cut
           Straight edge


           Short sequence

 Longer sequence



Sunday, 22 July 2018

BLOG 405

BLOG 405
I have made considerable progress on the squares for this quilt now. In fact I have used up all my light squares and may need to find more light fabrics (!!!!) so I can use up all the dark squares that I have cut! They have all been trimmed accurately now to 4 ½” squares and this is where the fun begins by starting to explore how I can use them. I have been trailing different blocks and placements on my design wall but as yet I haven’t made a decision on how I will proceed. There’s plenty of time for that!

              I Star

                 2 Stars

              Checker board

              Flying geese

                 Square within a square


               Square on point


               Positive and negative

              Twisted border

I have also been making steady progress on the rag rug too. I am using the small pieces of Bali’s and Batiks which I have stuffed into a sweetie jar over the years. I am actually cutting out and using off-cuts of off-cuts!! And there is so little wastage! That said, when I started to delve into the jars, I noticed that there were large chunks and strips of fabric that I had stuffed in there for ‘out-of –sight-out-of-mind’ reasons!! I think they may be used to start another scrap quilt, here we go again!
              Chunks of fabric


I am thrilled to report that I have put together Tessa’s block. Because of the method of construction through pelmet Vilene, they are really not suitable for a quilt so they are to be used as a wall hanging behind their bed. I have joined the 3 ½” squares together as 9-patches and then joined the 9-patches together using a colourful fabric cut at 1”, just sufficient to pull the edges together. There’s a bit more work to do on this yet but rest assured that we all love it!

              Joining strips

            Wall hanging


Monday, 16 July 2018

BLOG 404

Blog 404
There is an extra-special excuse for the late blog this weekend. The granddaughters!!


This week I have been continuing to cut my fabric up into 5” squares and sew them into half square triangles. I have now given away the remaining cotton fabrics to my local craft group so I can’t look at them anymore and feel guilty for not using them!  This has been a very cathartic process and something I have needed to do for years. The remainder of fabrics suitable for creating gardens will be donated to my Polish friends who are making backgrounds to go behind wrought iron gates. And after this massive clear-out, I will eventually be able to do what I love to do and that is work with Batiks, Bali’s and colour.

There are 5 distinct stages in the preparation of the squares for this scrap quilt. It is naturally a repetitive process and all about sitting at the sewing machine and applying onesself. If I have half an hour to fill, I can do any one of the stages as I have several pieces at every stage, a bit like a conveyor belt!

           1 Sewing 

           2 Pressing 

           3 Separating 

            4 Pressing 

             5 Squaring off 

Another long term project I have started is a small rag rug. I have created one before for a family bathroom and it still looks as good now as when I made it. Such a rug provides a warm place to stand instead of on cold bathroom tiles and all it needs is a periodic shake outside to refresh it. This one will be for an ensuite bathroom. And the reason for starting one (and there usually is a very good reason)? When I investigated my sweetie jars of batiks, I discovered masses of strips and scraps that could hardly be used for making a larger piece of work. So I am cutting them into ¾” strips by 1 ½” length. It is painstaking cutting and not for the faint-hearted but I personally get a buzz from creating something out of practically nothing. This is recycling at its best and all you need it a piece of sacking, a pointed gripping tool (I don’t know what it is called but I loaned it from a friend who’s grandmother used to used it) and fabric …. Oh and a lot of patience! No knotting is involved. One end of the strip is pulled down and up through two holes in the sacking (so that both ends are free on the topside and the backside shows a stitch). So far I have marked a grid with a dark fabric, and I am just going to fill them in with lights and darks.

              Sweetie jars 


First attempt