Sunday, 25 March 2018

BLOG 389

BLOG 389
It is the final week of Lent and I have completed my final quilt top today. Although I have ended each project with the boast ‘Job done’ of course it is far from done as I have yet to layer, quilt and bind them. That is what takes the most time, the quilt tops are straight forward as long as the cutting has been accurate. Remember that old adage ‘measure twice and cut once’, it is especially applicable for patchwork!

I never know what I am going to do until I start rooting through my draws and baskets to see what needs using up. I came across some 3 ½” squares of a jolly cat fabric; a project once thought of but not carried through. These 30 squares were my starting point and then followed another rummage around for potential border fabrics. I chose a soft mauve and a deep pink but as there was a limited amount of each fabric, particularly the pink, I didn’t know if there would be enough. I decided to divide the squares into 3 piles of 10 so that I still had the option of adding another fabric if I ran out! And I did!
              Sorting fabric


The fabrics were cut into 2” strips and these were used to add borders to the top and bottom of each cat square first and then along the sides. I cannot emphasise enough how useful the ironing station is next door to my sewing machine. A small travel iron and a pad made with calico and 2 layers of cotton wadding is so useful! Every seam was pressed as soon as it was sewn and the construction went along like clockwork. It is good piecing practice!




As I had anticipated, there was not enough pink fabric so I had another rummage and found something which I deemed suitable. On completing the squares, I laid them out in several formations, finally settling on the one below. 


                Blocks into rows

           Rows into top

                Quilt centre

For the border, I used left-over strips to complete the top. Job done! (I wish it was!) 6 quilt tops in 6 weeks is quite an impressive out-put and more of my fabric has been shifted.

                With border

              6 in 6










Sunday, 18 March 2018

BLOG 388

Blog 388
In those quiet half hours, when you can’t really get stuck into anything too complex, sewing strips onto a paper foundation is a welcome, albeit mindless activity.  However, when the strips are placed in formation on the design wall, it makes me happy to see the progress and it confirms that I haven’t been wasting my time playing Spider Solitaire which is what I really like to do! I use the cheapest paper because it is easier to sew through and it is easily removed after being perforated by the sewing machine needle. As I have used up the stack of papers left over from the last scrap quilt, I had to replenish my stocks. The blocks on the design wall below show what the quilt would look like with light centres or black centres; I’m not sure how I will resolve this yet.
             Paper foundations


                  Black centres

I have been soldering this week (what a joy to do!) on the second Contemporary Welsh quilt in preparation for the panels being laced together. This is the centre and the first two rows before and after lacing.
                Contemporary Welsh #2



I have a basket of children’s fabrics which I have added to and taken from over the years. The fabrics have been cut into to make quilts for new members of the family, Linus quilts and gifts etc. I decided to see what was in there and if there was sufficient of anything that could be used for the next Linus quilt. There were squares of differing sizes, plain and patterned, strips wide and narrow; quite a confused selection really. I found some pre-cut 4” squares and decided there were sufficient to make a small quilt.
              Children’s fabrics


I sewed 9-patch blocks with a colourful centre square using ¼” seam and ironing the seams in the same direction to give tidy backs. Progress was rapid and the effect busy. I decided to separate the blocks and surround them with a black/patterned strip. A final row of half blocks completed the quilt top. Job done; 5 down 1 to go!  


               ¼” seam

              WS pressed

             4 blocks

              9 blocks

              Completed top

              Spring greetings from Willow









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