Sunday, 29 May 2016

BLOG 301

BLOG 301

When it is sunny outside, it is very difficult to concentrate the mind on indoor pursuits; that then is why we have evenings! So after our evening meal, I scurry up to my room and slump in front of my machine to sew the many seams that make up a quilt. Gresford is the main focus now and there is a lot of slog between now and then. I have optimistically entered this Sunshine and Shadow scrap quilt so I have to get on with it. This is what it looks like with the squares for almost 9 rows on the design wall. Squares in the middle section only have been joined together.

                Scrap quilt

I use the floor an awful lot whilst sewing. Here my threads land after I have cut them (I can’t think why I don’t place my litter bin there; it would save an awful lot of clearing up!!), and I pile my blocks there for ease of access. (Note for the exercise conscious readers: picking them up requires plenty of reaching, bending and stretching!!)

              Making rows

I need to construct the rows by joining the ready-quilted squares and this I do with 2 strips. I have covered this procedure before but it always worth a second mention. The squares are 6 ½” so the strips are cut to this length. The top strip measure 1” x 6 ½” and the back strip measures 1 ½” x 6 ½”.

                  Top and bottom joining strips

Place the front joining strip RS together on the lower edge of the square and, at the same time, place the back joining strip RS together along the same edge on the back.

                Sewing the joining strips


Use a ¼” foot to sew an accurate ¼” seam to attach the strips through all the layers.

Attach the next square in sequence to the top joining strip with RS together. Sew an accurate ¼” seam and make sure that the edges of the blocks are level with one another.

                Joining squares

And back to floor again where you can see considerable progress has been made.

             Work in progress

Part of this process has to be done by hand for a neat finish. The edges of the seams attached with the 1” strip butt up to one another. (Too small a seam allowance would leave a gap; too large a seam allowance would cause the edges overlap)

               Butting edges
Press and fold the edge of the back joining strip so that is rests along the first line of stitches.

             First fold
Press the folded edge over so that it covers the raw edges and finishes just beyond the second line of stitches. Pin and sew it down with a matching thread and concealed stitch.

                Second fold
The story so far: I still have to join the vertical lines and I need to make some dark squares to go all the way round the edge!

                Vertical rows

                Dark squares
The squares of floral fabrics on the back make this a reversible quilt.

              WS squares

Sunday, 22 May 2016

BLOG 300

BLOG 300
I have spent a few hours this week on a rapid project. Last minute as usual, I wanted to quickly make a gift for a friends 40th birthday. The person in question studied marine biology and just loves fish, so I wanted to make something individual for her. Because I wanted to make marks with a soldering iron, I used synthetic felt, fabrics and voiles with Bondaweb as my chosen fusible. Here’s the sequence.


              Added detail


              Machine stitch

              More stitch

             Stitch detail

            Completed stitchery



ASIDE: This week I am excited on two counts. The first is that all 11 bkuetit eggs have hatched as seen by the camera installed in the roof of the nesting box. This is the 7th year I have enjoyed this spectacle and it never ceases to fascinate and amaze me. There will be several fatalities along the way thus ensuring the survival of the fittest and the parent birds will be worn ragged by their constant quest for food.

                 Adult bird and nest

The second reason for joy is that I have flowers on my wisteria for the first time. It was planted 8 years ago shortly after we moved in but apart from runners there has been a blatant lack of the promised blooms! We live on the side of a hill so we are exposed to winds and low temperatures; that perhaps explains why our blooms are only 2” long whereas they are at full stretch everywhere else I have seen them.




Sunday, 15 May 2016

BLOG 299

BLOG 299
You mustn’t underestimate the value of a holiday. By removing yourself from your familiar environment and time-travelling to somewhere different, you get a total break from routine. You have time on your hands to relax, explore, read and cogitate and you can fully recharge your batteries by doing little. We went to Ibiza specifically for some early sun but, after the first couple of days, we woke to overcast skies, cooler temperatures and occasional showers! We wouldn’t have minded but the UK basked in glorious sunshine until the day we flew back. Where is the justice in that!! Anyway I am back now and battling to get on top of the garden which burgeoned whilst we were away and I am happily being creative once again.

Sunshine and shadow quilt

 With the Gresford show looming in June, it is a matter of urgency that I get to grips with the tonal scrap quilt. Needing a title for the entry form, I have now labelled it Sunshine and Shadow which poetically describes the effect I am creating!

                 Sunshine and shadow

The backing squares are from my stash of floral fabrics, fabrics which I used to use on a regular basis to create my impressionist garden quilts. I feel quite nostalgic about them.


I am working from the middle of this quilt outwards as I have used up all my light and medium light strips and made as many squares as I am able with the scraps at my disposal. I don’t want to start cutting extra strips from larger pieces of fabric as I feel that that’s not in the spirit of a scrap quilt! Progress will hopefully continue this coming week.



The really long table runner
At Suzette’s a couple of weeks ago I decided to make a start on a table runner in the style of Susan Lenz. The fabrics need to be synthetic so they will burn with a soldering iron and the stitchery needs to be done in cotton thread so that it will not burn. I cut out synthetic rectangles and bonded them onto a nylon felt background.

           Bonded rectangles


I then painted some Bondaweb and ironed that on top. You can see in the close-up below how the paint has been transferred.

             Removing the paper

                 Colour detail

The next stage is to add sheers and voiles over the top to add depth of colour. Then I will be stitching line and pattern with black cotton thread. More on this next time.

And finally, Pat completed her dragon; it was beautifully layered and intricately stitched. Fabulous!

             Pat’s dragon





Sunday, 1 May 2016

BLOG 298

BLOG 298

In the end I decided that I should attach a square of backing fabric and I sewed 3 lines that went across the strips to hold the backing in place. I numbered them with water erasable marker which will just need a little dab with a damp cloth to remove.

              Backed and numbered


The backing squares are all the floral prints I have left in my stash. I think that a lot of these would be regarded as old fashioned nowadays; I certainly have had them for an age!

           Backing Squares

The first squares I cut were slightly larger than the blocks and they required trimming after sewing, which was a bit of a pain! So I now cut them to the same size as the block to speed things up.

              Cut to size

These are the fabrics I am going to use for the joining strips front and back … perhaps ….! I will make progress for the next time I blog; I desperately want to get this finished for Gresford in June.

              Joining strips

               Auditioning fabric

And talking about next time, on Monday I am going to Ibiza for a week of early sun (fingers crossed!) My sister and husband will be in residence giving us peace of mind that the house is safe and the cats happy. So don’t be hanging about waiting for me to post my blog next Sunday, go and smell the flowers instead.

PS I have sometimes referred to the fact that we live quite remotely in the country, surrounded by fields and fresh air. Can you pick out the cat (Pussy Willow) on the window sill in the sunroom? She was giving herself a good and thorough groom in the sunshine. Little did she know that she had an audience!  And little did the audience know that they had an audience too!