Sunday, 11 March 2018

BLOG 387

BLOG 387
This week I have set to and tidied my work space! Not a job I particularly like to do really but I cannot bear it when I can’t see any working surfaces any more. So, periodically I have a good turn-out, sort-out and throw-out. During the course of this therapeutic but non-creative process, I came across things which have served me well for this week’s blog!
Firstly, I found a pile of paper strips which were cut away from the A4 sheets I used last year as a foundation for a scrap quilt. As I dislike waste, I began to ponder how I could use them to make a scrap quilt this year. So, armed with a bag of colourful strips, a sewing machine to sew straight lines and the seed of an idea, I began to sew. I tried several paper layouts first and here’s the progress.
              Foundation paper

            Bag of bits

               Layout 1

           Layout 2
               Layout 3

              Stitch and flip




                6 blocks

                Varied centres
I like this project and will find the odd half hour during the weeks to come to sew more strips. It is mindless sewing and easy to start and stop and I have the satisfaction of seeing the bag of bits going down gradually. (I had to wrestle with myself not to keep the itsy bitsy bits which were trimmed away; that’s going a bit too small for me!)

And secondly, I found a pile of ready-bonded hearts in rich colours, ready for some project long forgotten! I have a drawer of calico fabrics that I dyed enthusiastically years ago only to realise that there were much nicer ready–dyed fabrics already on the market to buy! I have never dyed since! I cut 6 ½” background squares, fused the hearts centrally and joined the squares together in rows and the rows together to form a quilt centre. A colourful border fabric was added to complete another quilt top. Job done; 4 down, 2 to go!
              Bonded hearts

           Dyed calico

                 Background squares
                Fused hearts


                  Quilt centre

               Bordered centre







Sunday, 4 March 2018

BLOG 386

BLOG 386
Don’t you just love snow!! We have had a fair bit it and have been snowed in for the last few days. It is not particularly the amount of snow that has been the problem rather the high winds and drifting. We live at the end of a long country lane with high hedges and it has been systematically filled in with wonderful snow sculptures and unpassable snow mounds. For me it is a heaven sent opportunity to catch up on some concentrated sewing time. I know I can’t go anywhere and no-one can get to me so I can just indulge myself with fabric and thread. And I have done that by the bucket load!
I have completed my decorative panels for the group quilt. I can’t show this as the project remains a secret until the Festival of Quilts.
I have completed all the sewing on my second Contemporary Welsh Quilt. The pieces need lots of decorative soldering now but my studio door (part of the garage) was frozen and blocked so I couldn’t open it for a few days. I am very pleased with this project so far.
               CW 1







            CW8 Storage

As with last week’s project, this Linus quilt started with a striped fabric, one which I bought many years ago to make interesting bias-cut bindings. I was able to cut out 36 squares at 6” from what remained of the fabric, enough for a 6 across by 6 down quilt top.
               Striped fabric

At first I thought of a traditional Rail Fence layout and laid the squares down on the carpet to form the pattern. I found that the blocks with yellow in started to stand out and so I contrived to use them to emphasise lines going across the quilt.
              Rail Fence

 …. And then I thought,’ here lies a lot of work!’ as I would have to make sure they were sewn in very precise lines in a very precise order! These Linus quilts are meant to be quick and cheerful so I promptly abandoned that approach and placed all the squares in a pile by the sewing machine. I introduced another fabric to separate the squares and cut 2” strips from this.
              Border fabric
I started to sew the squares onto the strips, alternating them to lie vertically or horizontally.

             Alternating strips
Once separated, I joined them together in pairs and the pairs into lines of 6, making sure 3 lines started with vertical strips and 3 started with horizontal strips.


               Joining strip

            Checking lines

                Joining lines

                Pressing seams

And after an afternoon’s sewing, another quilt top was completed or as I like to say ‘Job done!’
            Finished top


Sunday, 25 February 2018

BLOG 385

BLOG 385
Another busy week for me, accompanied by glorious sunshine, bright blue skies and viciously bitter temperatures. But all that considered, isn’t it great that Spring is gradually edging closer? I can hear the birds singing territorially and enjoy the many spring flowers that are evident. Little do they know that more snow is just around the corner as we continue to experience a ‘proper’ winter this year. Mind you, the lengthening daylight causes me a bit of a dilemma because now I feel guilty sitting down and reading with an early log fire and my late afternoon cup of tea! …But I’ll get over it!

I have continued to make the panels for my Contemporary Welsh 2 quilt. Now I know what I am doing (!), I have found that this repeat project is going more smoothly. All the skills I have fine-tuned over the years are finally coming together in these latest pieces; it is very satisfying and should keep me interested and occupied for a little while.


Contemporary work

 2 BARGELLO QUILT My second Linus quilt started life as 1 yard of a very uninteresting piece of fabric. It is graded in colour from reds, through to browns to olives and beiges and it is certainly not my usual choice of fabric. When I bought it years ago, I was doing a lot of hand applique and I suspect I chose it because of the subtle tonal changes! I probably thought it would be useful at the time but it has remained folded, unloved and unused in the bottom of a storage basket. It’s time to shine has now come!

I ironed the fabric with RS together and with both selvedges lined up accurately. After both edges were trimmed, I sewed them with a ¼”seam to join the fabric in a complete circle. The seam was ironed open and the fabric was ironed flat for ease of cutting as many 2” strips as I could from the fabric (16).

             Shaded fabric

              RS together

               2” strips

 I turned all the strips RS out ready to sew. I measured 3” away from the seam on my starting strip and put a pin there. I lined up the seam of my next strip so that it lay RS together on top of the pin to produce a staggered effect. I sewed along the long edge to join the strips together ‘in the round’, allowing the machine to do what it is designed to do without introducing any tension; it went together accurately and easily. I repeated this process for every strip, always making sure that the colour sequence was the same way round each time.

 RS out 

              3” stagger

               ¼” seams

             Staggered effect 

Still ‘in the round’, I eased the strips onto the ironing board and pressed all the seams in the same direction. I also pressed a sharp edge so that I could cut the circle of fabric open to reveal the Bargello effect. This has turned an uninteresting piece of fabric into a rather attractive design and it was so easily done! Having re-created the fabric, I now had to figure out how to make it into a quilt top of an acceptable size; at the moment it measures 42” x 24”.


                Iron seams

               Press and cut


After some deliberation and auditioning of fabrics, I decided to use the cat fabric that I had used in the previous Linus quilt. This necessitated a bit of reverse sewing (unpicking!) so I could fit in some extra vertical lines but I am happy with the result and particularly like the linear style of this quilt. Job done!

            Auditioning fabric

                   Completed top