Saturday, 14 January 2017

Works in progress

It's been a few months - well and truly time to stop lurking and update progress.
And what has prompted a return to posting?
Have you read Barb's  latest great post, and her plea to all quilters to "put yourself out there" - especially the hand quilters? Susan - more quilting please 😊 
Another inspiration has been Meredithe and her "17 UFO's in 2017" - will be fun to follow her progress ....but am not setting myself any schedule. Good to see Carole will be joining her - such a super beautiful list of sewing there.
Then if you want to see a truly accomplished 2016 review check out Kyle's smilebox - just makes me itch to stitch. I added a page to my blog - my 2016 finishes - a modest list compared with some but I enjoyed making them so much. 
On that note -  a BIG thank you to these and many other inspiring bloggers that I follow - and may we have another super blogging year 📝 

Here are some UFO works in progress:

Grandmother's Garden
I started in mid 2014 and am now hand quilting it with big stitches but there has been a Summer pause in proceedings as it is just too hot to quilt in the hoop, especially with a thick wool batting! 

Chapman Coverlet
Started middle of last year - I had a red central fabric selected but wanted to put it into an octagonal frame. First I stitched on pieces of the black stripe fabric. Then I made a bias strip and appliqued it over the seam to frame the red centre.

There are many, many more 4 inch blocks to be hand appliqued -  then joined by machine in rows around the medallion centre.

Hexagon Star
Started early last year - a portable EPP hand stitching project that is not too large as they are half inch hexagons. I had the centre done in August and am gradually adding borders. 

It's a bit tricky turning corners with hexagons - they have a geometry all of their own!  It will have irregularities but I quite like that - just trying to mirror the corners and sides. I'm finding the free downloads of hexagon graph paper and some colour pencils very helpful.

Here's one that's new to the blog -
Forget Me Not - a cathedral window quilt.
I have quite a few old doilies (not embroidered by me unfortunately) that are treasured but unused, many are damaged or stained with age. I was also kindly given some doilies with Forget-me-not flowers on them - hence the name came to mind as a way to honour the embroiders too. 

Forget-me-nots in my garden in Spring

Forget-me-nots embroidered on doilies

I have been in awe of the huge cathedral window quilts on a few Dutch blogs I follow - often with carefully selected window colours. My cathedral window quilt has 'windows' made of squares cut from my vintage doilies and linen. I needed to research the technique in books and blogs - found that there are quite a few ways to do this, and ended up with a combination of methods that suits me. I machine stitch the invisible part - joining the linen blocks together - and then hand stitch the doily windows. Hopefully the pictures will give you some idea what I'm on about. 

A start - getting addicted
I cut linen squares of 9.5 inches. Then I followed the method in this excellent tutorial and they end up as approx 4.25 inch squares. These are joined together as in pics below.

2 inch doily squares are placed on the linen blocks (see picture below) ready for pinning with applique pins. The loose edges of the linen blocks are rolled over the doily squares and then hand stitched/hemmed (as in top picture).

This is part of my sewing room - quite a few other UFO's in there - but not 17 I'm sure...hehe 

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Wheat and Woods quilt finished

I started this one in July last year - all appliqued apart from joining the sections by machine. The aim was to design and stitch a quilt with lots of hand applique but with enough variety in technique to keep it interesting, and then to hand quilt it. 

About 80 inches square (2 m)
There were some challenging moments but I loved the process and the fabrics. I wanted to get some structure in there without actually doing any piecing. The repeated lattice of leaf and squares looks simple enough but required quite a bit of care. I was worried it might look more 'organic' than precise in placement but worked out fine in the end (see posts from August and September last year for more detail). In contrast, the random placement of the broderie perse (or tile applique) in the outer border was great fun to do and much more relaxing. I'd like to do more of that in a future quilt.

The binding is a fabric I've had in the stash - the ombre stripe seemed just right. 
The backing is also an old repro that's been in the stash - a large border stripe. I'd been 'saving' it for a border but not sure that time will ever come. So's now a backing. 

It's been a long while since I updated my progress with my Sarah Fielke BOM (started January). The 12 inch blocks are getting more difficult - as you'd expect with a quilt that is a series of classes in different techniques. That's exactly why I signed up - to get more proficient in areas where I am deficient! While it is not strictly my style of quilt, it is a great source of practice and I am in awe of Sarah's sewing skills. She has stitched three of each block (using different colour ways) and that is quite something, what with the difficulty of some recent blocks. 

The foundation paper piecing has required maximum focus. Sarah was kind enough to provide an applique circle to cover the meeting of 16 points in this block - phew!

Another foundation pieced block

And an applique block - this was more my sort of thing! I used back basting prep and needle turn here. 

And a few made earlier that I've not yet posted ...

There are 24 of the 6" star blocks in the quilt and I've made a point of hand piecing those. That has improved my hand piecing no end. I'm still not able to perfectly 'eye ball' (as Jinny Beyer says) a scant 1/4 inch seam - but am getting there!

Here's my design wall so far - might not be the final layout. Should look better with the wide dog tooth border that goes around the outside - in red on cream?

It was warm enough yesterday to sit for a while and enjoy this little crabapple tree flowering in the garden. Glad I did because today it's blowing a gale and there may be no blossoms left on by tonight!
Hope your week is going well :)

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Updating the process

One of the best things about blogging is the record it keeps of what we quilt, how we do it and long it takes us. There are a lot of us out there who like to make/start a lot of quilts - award carrying members of QUADDA (Quilter's ADD anonymous). I made that up but you know what I mean! My blog helps me remember the process - useful in looking back. The details can be so easily forgotten when you just look at the finished product. It's a great record for me excuse the waffle. You can always skim the waffle though and just look at the pics?!

Wheat and Woods - the hand quilting update:
Last post I was outline quilting around all the applique - and removing pins as I went.

Then what to quilt over the broderie perse centre? I decided on a half inch grid - easy to mark on my largest coffee table with the Hera marker. Note that I have a cutting mat under the quilt as the Hera will mark a table top - not a good look! And no - I did not cut out the background under the broderie perse - decided it looked too fragile and needed the stability of the background fabric. As it turned out the quilting was easy over the top - maybe due to having only a thin batting (Quilters Dream Request cotton)?

Once the grid was quilted, then the trees in the corners around the centre looked quite loose and flappy so some intense quilting was needed. I love echo quilting so that was the go here - and no marking needed. I'm still using a TJ quilting spoon under the quilt (left hand) and a half thimble and needle puller (right hand) - and have found that the perfect combination for my arthritic fingers - comfortable and quick. The thread I favour is YLI hand quilting thread (here in 'Natural'). I'm quite keen on these needles too - size 10 Piecemaker quilting betweens - short and strong.

Next I added half inch parallel lines to the outer broderie perse border. Simple to mark again with the Hera marker.
The border quilted very quickly. Maybe it helped to be watching track racing on recorded Olympics TV coverage!
Next step is to add some more quilting on the main part of the quilt - not too intense but just to get more balance across the whole. I dithered a lot here - trying to decide on possible motifs (and how much marking I was willing to do). In the end I liked a simple grid that also absorbs/masks some seam lines. 

...and that's what I'm working on now

Some progress on Hexagon Star: started in March and has been a useful portable project to take to Quilt Group Sit and Sew meetings, and even in the suitcase travelling. 

They're half inch hexagons - English paper pieced. The little top measures 31" by 35" and I could finish the quilt at this point (that was the plan). 
But after seeing all the unbelievably inspiring antique quilts at the Making of the Australian Quilt exhibition in Melbourne (see last post) I'm motivated shamed into to add more to this. So I'm starting a border. 

Indigo Stars is a quilt I have been making since November last year - in Audrey's Quilty365 - hand appliqued onto squares of 2 and 4 inches. 
I've not been the best follower since there was supposed to be one circle appliqued each day for a year. I constantly played catch up and then have let it linger for a while on the design wall. Not wanting to be beaten I decided to finish at 288 circles and make it into a quilt. I cut some border and corner triangles and had a machine stitching marathon to make them into a top (about 55"). 

I'm not entirely thrilled with it  - am not sure why exactly.  It's calling out for some quilting to add definition but will wait in the queue for now. 

Here's something I am thrilled with - my iron tote/caddy. 
It was quick and super easy to make (I downsized a large pattern to suit my mini quilting iron). Google search for "iron caddy" to find a pattern from various sources - very clever and cute. 
And I'm also thrilled that I didn't need to buy anything to make it! The fabrics and battings were left overs in the stash, the vintage buttons and elastic were in my sewing cabinet and the ironing fabric was a recycled ironing board cover. 

Aren't these lovely fabrics? I was so surprised to win this generous collection from Margaret through her Instagram feed. We have the same taste in fabrics - lucky for me :)

It's been fairly quiet (and cold) in the garden so more time to watering and no mowing - but that is about to change. We've had a relatively wet winter and the plants are showing they love it. 

It's a gorgeous day - a balmy 18 deg C -  I'm off for a walk. Enjoy the start to Spring ( or Autumn)!