Sunday, 22 April 2018

BLOG 393

Blog 393

                  Tess with daily squares
This week I have had quality garden time because the weather has been superb! I have been finishing the autumn cut-back, removing weeds, replacing lost plants, digging in compost and adding decorative bark. Exhausting but also very satisfying! The neighbour’s ewes are grazing the paddock … and wandering around the garden after they leaned on a gate that wasn’t fastened securely … and all’s well with my environmental world.

My creative world is a bit more frantic with the Gresford show very much in the front of my mind. Last week I made significant progress on my scrap quilt so this week I have dug out the wedding signature quilt which I started last November. All the names have been embroidered and I am now adding 1” strips to form a narrow border round each square. The gold stars will have maroon borders (all different) and the maroon stars gold.


              Wedding stars 

               Ironing surface 

I am sewing a scant ¼” seam, placing the WS of the blocks uppermost against the strip so I can see exactly where the needle is sewing. There is an exact place where two construction seams cross and I aim to sew a smidgeon clear of that place to make sure all my points are sharp! I am also trying to make sure no border fabrics are duplicated. Errors are easily made! I have yet to decide whether I will join these bordered blocks together with more background strips. This is indeed a work-in-progress and I hope to make steady progress this coming week.

              Sewing strips 



                    Bordered stars 

               Work in progress




Sunday, 15 April 2018

BLOG 392

Blog 392

I have a feast of colour for the eyes this week as I have been sewing at Suzette’s with other machine embroiderers. I learn so much and I love seeing their work develop over the weeks. Occasionally I ask if I can take photos for my blog and they generously agree. Pat, who owns three large boxes of embroidery threads, (organised by colour!) is working on a pair of grebes. I suspect that she needs so many threads to be able to ‘thread-paint’ her birds so exquisitely. Peggy, who must surely have the same amount of threads if not more (carried in large plastic bags!), is creating an lifelike owl, stems and ivy leaves to add to her textured portion of tree trunk. There is a mind boggling amount of detail and effort in all her constructed embroideries. And Suzette, an incredible thread artist, is working on a very large competition piece in her own inimitable style. I applaud you ladies!


             Thread envy



 Tree trunk

                 Blue tit

  Machine embroidery
And what did I do this week during my day at Suzette’s? I sat at my machine to complete all the foundation strips that I need for my Gresford quilt! It was a heaven-sent opportunity to catch up on myself and break the back of this quilt and I was grateful of the time away from home and other distractions to make valuable progress. And with the wet weather still keeping me from the garden, I spent more time constructing the block and adding borders. I am confident that this quilt will be completed for the June show now!


                Foundation piecing

             Block construction


  Border strips

             Sewing borders



I have also completed the 3 ½” daily squares for my daughter. They represent every day (and then some) from her initial diagnosis, through her operation and treatments until she was signed off this week. I said to her when she was diagnosed ‘When life deals you scraps, you make a quilt’. I rather hoped that she would do it! but she was very poorly a lot of the time and patchwork is really my chosen means of expression. So she was totally surprised and bowled over when I gave them all to her this week. What we are going to do with them next remains to be seen ……

             Daily squares



Sunday, 8 April 2018

BLOG 391

Blog 391

I was at the Gresford craft group this week and they have already started to hand out the forms for items that will be on display at the Gresford show in June!! Gulp! This means that I have to get a wriggle on with many of my exhibits as they need to be (started and) finished. Now that I have completed all the Linus quilts, I feel quite liberated and happily able to move forward again.
Scrap Quilt. (I will have to find a suitable name for it; one of the hardest parts of exhibiting your work in my opinion!) I met up with quilting friends recently for lunch and took samples along from this scrap quilt. I laid out one sample with a black centre and another with a coloured centre and asked them for input. Without hesitation, they both said the coloured centres looked the best and so the decision has been made; coloured centres it is.
Each constructed strip measures 8” x 3 ¼” and I worked out that the centre square needs to be cut at 5½”. Here is a practice construction. I laid out the block beside the machine. The first strip has to be part-sewn to allow for the rest of the sides to be added, in full, working in a clock-wise direction. Once the final strip has been added, the rest of the first strip can be sewn to complete the block. I ironed these joining seams towards the middle because that was the way the heavily seamed strips were pushing it.

              The block

                 Part seam

            Next side


               In sequence

            Complete first seam
             Wrong side

               Right side

I wanted to add a border to this block and then put it onto wadding and a backing square. This quilt is going to be constructed using a ‘quilt-as-you-go’ technique. I trialled a couple of fabrics, ones of sufficient length, and quickly plumped for the brighter of the two. Once the borders were added, the square measured 13 ½”. I still have a lot of scrap strips so I will continue making blocks until I have sufficient for a single quilt to hang in the Gresford show!.


               Bright border

           Dark border

               Bordered blocks
It is very satisfying to be able to get rid of scraps and create something beautiful in the process.



Sunday, 1 April 2018

BLOG 390

Blog 390
‘Pasg Hapus’ as we say in this part of the world. A fair day weather-wise and the family round the table, what more could you want?! My Lenten fast has finished and there are many Easter eggs to consume. One of my daughters found a limited edition orange Smarties Easter egg for me. She reminded me of when they were young, and whenever they were given Smarties, I always used to tell them that the orange ones were mummy’s Smarties and they religiously used to separate them from their tube and to give them to me! I feel quite shame-faced now when they remind me of it and they suggest that it is tantamount to child abuse!! How times have changed. But I am still going to enjoy the special Easter egg.
I have spent Lent doing a Linus quilt each week and this week I have completed the quilting on them. I have only the bindings to do on 3 of them now. For the first time, I used fleece to go on the back of 3 of them. Other people had told me that this was their preferred method but I shall not do it again as I found that the quilts don’t have the same weight and ‘body ‘ compared to using wadding and a backing. It affected the quilting also to give disappointing results. That said, they are soft to the touch and someone may appreciate them!

          Fleece backing

When using fleece, the quilt top is placed RS together with the fleece and sewn around the outer edge. A gap needs to be left for turning through and the corners need to be blunt to allow for the bulk of the fabric on the corner. I used a decorative stretch stitch around the edge flatten the edge and close the turn-through gap.
           Sewing around the edge
          Turn through

            RS out

             Pinning the opening

          Decorative stitch

              6 quilts
The quilting done was the bare minimum, to hold the layers together with a walking foot or to be decorative with a free-motion foot.

             Ready for quilting





            Job done!