Sunday, 24 January 2021

BLOG 532


Blog 532


‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow’ as the song goes! It has been snowing on and off for 4 days and it’s still snowing now. It’s the drifting along our lane to the road that always causes the problem and prevents us from going out in the car…..But, as we can’t go anywhere anyway because of covid restrictions, it’s not a problem this year. Yay! The surrounding landscape looks seasonally pretty and pristinely clean and there’s barely a footprint in the garden. I love the look of it but I just automatically feel cold and our walking regime is on hold as we have to look after our hips!!

I have been fiddling a bit this week, waiting for various supplies to arrive so that I can continue to make progress on my main projects. On order are threads (Quilt Direct), Warm and Natural wadding (Empress Mills) and backing fabrics (Bombay Fabrics). My first fiddle was with the art cushion panel that I made a few weeks back and it has now been made into a cushion with an over-lapped back. It looks lovely in situ and cheers up the corner of a sofa.


Cushion front


Over-lapped back


In situ


Next, whilst tidying up my drawers, I came across some blocks that I had sewn using Kaffe Fasset fabric. I was given a sample pack with a plain contrast a long while ago and I had a go at a design called Disappearing nine-patch. They are quality fabrics but I have found that K F fabrics only go with K F fabrics. This is a terrific marketing ploy but not so good if you don’t buy into this trend. So I am trying to use them to make a Linus quilt. This is what I have done so far and I have yet to decide what to do with the remaining fabrics to make it into a respectable size for a lap quilt.


K F Samples


Mini quilt


Remaining fabric


Then I made a start on quilting the Set Square quilt having found a suitable multi coloured thread. I wound 3 bobbins in preparation and made a start. I got no farther than a few inches when the thread started to break and it continued to do so despite all the adjustments I could make. So I swopped to a Mettler multi-coloured poly sheen thread 9916 and continued to use the prepared bobbins. This worked very well until I ran out of top thread about three quarters of the way along the first strip! Grrr! I eventually found more supplies of the same thread and I am waiting for them to arrive.


Ready to quilt


Starting to quilt


Making progress


That left me with the freedom to focus on quilting the colour study and that I did over a few afternoons until all the surface was covered with stitch. I have to do this copious amount of stitching because of the bonded method I use to create the surface. It’s as much about holding the pieces in place as it is about the decorative detail. As I am sewing I have plenty of time to think about the flowers that I am going to create to enhance the scene.


Colour study


Detail 1


Detail 2


Detail 3


Detail 4


I tell myself that I build snowmen for the grandchildren but actually I do it for myself! If I am dressed well, I enjoy being out there as I sink into my own little world of creativity. Aw bless!










Sunday, 17 January 2021

BLOG 531


Blog 531

All this week my focus has been to make progress with the individual strips of the scrap quilt which I have decided to call ‘Set Square’. I have been in the zone this week because of the weather and I have persevered until all the long individual panels are now being layered up and pinned onto wadding and the backing fabric that I have created. I can’t remember the last time that I worked so efficiently and with so much focus; I enjoyed it! It was also extremely pleasing to have used a lot of my remaining cotton fabrics to create the backing strips for this quilt. Yes it would have been much quicker to have bought fabric but not quite so smugly pleasing as seeing my stash being reduced!

After sewing all the individual strips to each other, I relocated to the warmth of the lounge to cut off the joining threads and reduce the fabric on the corners. Then I had a brain wave when I decided to wrap the strips onto wide pieces of cardboard to keep them tidy and flat. I labelled them on their width and it is good to know that any remaining strips will be easily stored for future use.










I decided as I went along that I would tidy up my fabric drawers bit by bit and that was when I found a tray of fabrics that I had not used! Mind you, these were tone on tone fabrics which, on reflection, might not have been suitable so I don’t feel quite as grumpy about it now!! But it probably means I have to make a final scrap quilt now to get rid of them. For a long while now I have been trying to reduce my considerable stash so that I can just concentrate on painterly fabrics like Batiks and Bali’s. The Liberty fabrics have been used up; the silks have been sewn into a quilt and most of my scrap fabrics are now part of many quilts and wall hangings!! Sometimes I wonder why I am still making large pieces of work like quilts and throws but I suppose it is a reflection of the raw materials that I have to hand and the compulsion to use them to show that the money to buy them wasn’t wasted!


Tone on tone fabris


Painterly fabrics


To create the backing strips I decided to sew them straight onto the wadding using a walking foot and a ‘sew and flip’ method.  To cope with the bulk I rolled the wadding so it would fit under the arm of the machine and I worked with multiple strips so that I made progress along each one at the same time. I finger-pressed each strip after flipping it and only ironed the whole strip on completion.

Strips onto wadding









More progress




I am at the stage where I am layering up the strips now ready for free motion quilting which should happen this coming week. I am delighted to have made so much progress on a piece of work which has been folded and ignored on top of a cupboard for many a month!!



Sunday, 10 January 2021

BLOG 530


Blog 530


I dislike having a mound of unfinished work lying around in my room so my aim now is to get these projects completed before I move forward creatively. I am starting with the scrap quilt shown below, which I haven’t named yet; perhaps something original will come to mind as I am working on it! This particular quilt is very large and will be a pain to control under my standard sewing machine which is probably another reason I haven’t tackled it yet. I am in the pleasant situation of having loads of fabric but not the large pieces that I need for the backs of quilts, so I need to get imaginative!


Scrap quilt


The first thing I did was to cut the quilt up into smaller units. I took a deep breath and cut along the middle of the black strips joining the rows together (the remaining pieces will need removing eventually but will be easier to tackle as smaller unit)

One section


And then I looked at my remaining stash of fabrics, ones which aren’t the Batiks and Bali’s which I prefer. There is a lot of variety and lots of different sizes and they are not co-ordinated at all; so I decided to cut them all up into workable strips. This involved a lot of time at the ironing board and the cutting board but hopefully it will be worth it!


Scrap fabric


Pressed fabric


I cut the fabric into strips of varying widths, namely 3”, 2½”, 2”, 1½” 1”. It took a long while and even after cutting masses of fabric, the basket didn’t look particularly empty!


Cut fabric


Remaining fabric


Another decision I made was to join the strips together to give a continuous length in order to keep the fabrics from creasing and keep them tidy. I prefer to do a diagonal join and this is how it is done. The strips are placed RS together but at right angles to one another with a slight over-lap. They can be pinned and the sewing line can be marked as shown below.



RS together


Marked diagonal


If you don’t want to mark all your fabric pieces, and who does, you can mark a guide line on your sewing machine with a permanent marker. This line is drawn in a direct line from the needle towards the edge of the sewing machine and it is invaluable for accuracy. Just let the machine do the sewing whilst you watch the point where the fabrics overlap travel along the line.


Joining seam


Marked line


I used a string-piecing method to save on thread and then I went to sit in front of the log fire to cut the threads and do the trimming with a tray on my lap. So far, so good.

String piecing


Completed section


Action required













Sunday, 3 January 2021

BLOG 529

Blog 529


From where we live on the side of a hill, we were able to witness the fireworks going off across the region to welcome in the New Year, getting 2021 started with a bang. And off we jolly well go again!

I have started to play with some transfer paints which I purchased a good 18 months ago and never used. You know how it is when you go to the Festival of Quilts and watch someone doing a slick and practiced presentation. You get carried along until you think ‘I could do that’ and you end up buying the product! Once home, it gets stored and then it never sees the light of day! There is also a marbling kit but I have never opened either of them! I am going to challenge myself to use them and to see whether they have a place in my current style of work.


Marbling kit


Transfer paints


Transfer paints have to be painted on paper and then they are ironed onto fabric to transfer the colour. My starting point was to colour the paper so I know what’s in each bottle and to stick these samples in a book for reference. So far so good! Then I ironed squares of these colours onto fabric several times to see how much of the colour transferred each time. You can see these samples at the bottom of the picture.




Then I thought, I wonder if you can paint a scene on paper and then transfer that onto fabric. You can and here are the samples for that. In the process, the design becomes reversed of course and some of the colours become more intense. I had intended to draw some detail on the sample with my sewing machine but it has been mislaid under the pile of ‘controlled chaos’ that needs to be sorted … and that will be my task this week. I have cleansed the house and had a good throw out; my playroom is next!


Painting on paper


Transferred onto fabric


I have completed the quilting on the cushion front from last month but I can’t finish it until I purchase a suitable backing. Either that or I must get imaginative with the fabric that I already have in abundance!! I am also machine texturing the colourful wall hanging from last month; I prefer to do this first before I add any flowers over the top.

Cushion front


Machine texturing



Latest label (in progress: paint and heavy stitch)


My Secret Santa gift from the family this year included a jigsaw which I have just completed. I get so much pleasure from jigsaws but to have one based in a quilt shop with 5 cats in the scene is as good as it gets!