Sunday, 10 December 2017

BLOG 375

Blog 375
‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas’ tells me what’s round the corner when I see the storage boxes down from the loft. It is starting to build up here at Y Gorlan Plas Onn and it will take a few more days to get it looking just right.




And ‘Let it snow, let I snow, let it snow!’ tells you all you need to know about the time of the year.

               Seasonal weather 
I haven’t been altogether idle this week with a waistcoat to make for Ella who is Maid 3 in ‘Aladdin School’. Katie’s costume as Mary has already been adapted by the sharer of the granddaughters. Well done Jackie!

This week I have completed all the Wedding Stars; it was something I needed to do so I could put them away until the New Year and concentrate on the preparations for Christmas.

                Wedding stars 
There is another project that is progressing slowly, day by day. One of my daughters is going through a bad patch at the moment. When she received her diagnosis, I said to her ‘When life deals you scraps, you make a quilt!’ I vaguely hoped that she might start sewing but instead she took up felting! Successfully too.

           Tessa’s robin

So I will continue with my proposed project and make a 4” patch for every day that she is ill, just to see what can come out of it. Here are the August patches at the start of the project. They are made using a positive/negative technique, the subject of my last book, and I will change the motif  and colourway every month.


Sunday, 3 December 2017

BLOG 374

BLOG 374


Happy December! I think I could call this week ‘a week of progresses’. I have been striving to construct more signature stars and this project is going well now as I have get ‘stuck in’. Even when all the cutting has been done in preparation, I can generally just sew 3-4 stars an hour; they are fiddly and time consuming!  I told the bride’s mother that traditionally the quilt was finished as a gift for the second wedding anniversary (cotton) so that there was plenty of time for the hand quilting to be done (!). I couldn’t bear to have a project hanging on for so long like that so I am aiming to get the stars constructed by Xmas.

                Gold stars  

                 Maroon stars 

I have a bit of machine embroidery in progress too. But however many colours I throw at it, the stitch work is never as beautiful as the original. The shape is a bit awry too looking through the lens!


More progress has been made on the Contemporary Welsh quilt. This needs to be completed for Quiltfest in Llangollen next February. Members of the Quilters’ Guild (Region 13) have been invited to exhibit and I was asked to put this quilt in rather than one of my older pieces. When I work on it I just love the experience of being saturated in colour but all sorts of other things divert my attention throughout the week so progress has been intermittent and slow. I will get there in the end. Here are some details of my progress.
            Detail 1

                  Detail 2

              Detail 3

This is what the quilt will look like when it is finished. All the pieces are being worked independently and there is still a lot of stitchery ahead, not to forget the soldering detail. I have yet to decide how these pieces with be attached to each other. Onwards and upwards!

               In progress

               Close up



Sunday, 26 November 2017

BLOG 373

Blog 373

 The cushion has been prepared with a Xmas side and an alternative side.

                    Xmas side

               Alternative side

 The buttons have been covered ready to be attached right through the centre of the cushion. Use strong thread to do this and do a few stitches into the centre first to depress the bulk of the cushion.  

              Covered buttons

              Xmas combination

             Alternative combination

The cover needs to be bound now and, as I am doing a 2-coloured binding, I need to sew together a 1” Xmas strip and a 1 ¼” alternative strip with an accurate ¼” seam to measure about 90” in length (the strip measurements are an amendment to the original list of requirements).  This is sewn on in the usual way with a generous seam allowance this time, slightly more than the usual ¼”. Fold the end of the strip to start, mitre the corners and overlap the fold to finish. Turn the binding over to leave the Xmas fabric on the Xmas side, the seam along the top and the alternative fabric on the other side. Turn under and sew down the seam by hand to complete the binding on the alternative side.
            2-coloured binding

            Folded start

                Accurate seam

              Mitred corner


             Turning the binding

They are almost complete. The only thing I haven’t done is to add the fine elastic loops to the corners (I thought I had some in stock … and didn’t!). These loops stretch onto the central button to hold the corners in place. Ta Dah!

                Xmas cushion 

               Alternative cushion

And more signature stars have been sewn for the wedding quilt.
                ignature stars



Sunday, 19 November 2017

BLOG 372

Blog 372

1 Trim all the squares to 10 ½”. Use a square ruler, laying its diagonal line along the centre diagonal seam of the block.  Cut on 2 adjacent sides and remove the excess fabric. Rotate the block and place the trimmed edges along the marked 10 ½” line on the ruler. Cut the remaining two sides.

             Match the diagonals

              Cut 2 sides 

             Align edges and ruler
Once the blocks are trimmed they are ready to put together. There are two possible layouts and the second one is the most interesting for this project.

            Not like this 

            Like this

My joining strips for the Xmas side is the reverse side of one of my Xmas fabrics; this one is cut at 1”. The strip for the other side is cut at 1 ½”.

                 Xmas strip 1” strip

                Alternative strip 1 ½” strip 
2 Place the 1” joining strip RS down along the edge to be sewn (remember I am using the reverse of my fabric!). Pin this in place. AT THE SAME TIME place the joining strip for the other side along the same edge with RS together. This means that the strips are sandwiching the block. Sew a very accurate ¼” seam to attach these strips.

               Pin RS together 
            Add second strip

             Accurate seam2 Open out the 1” seam so that it covers the sewing line and place this RS down along the correct edge of the next block. Pin this in place and sew with a very accurate ¼” seam.

            RS together on next block 

            Accurate seam 2 
3 On the WS you will see that these seams have pulled the raw edges together so that they meet in the middle. Press over the wider strip to cover these edges and turn under a small seam allowance so that the line of stitches is covered. Hand stitch with an invisible stitch to close the seam. Place it back into sequence. 

            Raw edges together  
            Cover the seam

              Turn under and hand sew

Repeat this process to join the second pair of blocks to each other. Then use the longer strips to join two squares to two squares to finish the cover ready for binding.


Sunday, 12 November 2017

BLOG 371

Blog 371

1 Lay the large Xmas triangle onto one side of the wadding so that the right angled edges lie along the edges of the wadding. Accuracy is important. Pin the edges to secure.

              Accurate placement
2 At the same time, lay the other large triangle (from the alternative colour scheme) onto the other side of the wadding, lining up the edges on the opposite edges of the square. There will be an overlap of the fabrics right on the corner.

3 Place the first Xmas strip (longest) along the edge of the Xmas triangle with RS together and pin it in place.

            First strip Xmas
4 Turn over the wadding and pin the first strip from the alternative colour scheme onto the other side in the same way. Pin through all the layers from this side and remove the pins for the seam on other side.

First strip alternative
5 Use a marker to draw a diagonal line on the lighter of the 2 long strips, going from 1 overlapped corner to the other. Sew along this marked line to attach both strips through the wadding, removing the pins as you go.
6. Flip the strips over onto the wadding, on both sides, so the RS is visible.

                Flipped Xmas strip

              Flipped alternative strip
7 Add the remaining strips in the same way to complete the square on both sides: i.e. place RS together, sew and flip. Remember to use the correct coloured thread in the bobbin as this will be seen on the other side. (EG I used gold in the bobbin to show up on the Xmas side when I sewed the strips on the alternative side … and red in the bobbin when I sewed the Xmas strips).

…. And this is a jigsaw I found time to complete this week. I can’t tell you how much pleasure I get from doing a jigsaw, I could never walk past one without trying to fit a piece. They are sometimes time consuming and fiddly but the process is very relaxing and satisfying, better than social media!!