Category Archives: patchwork & quilting

Cat-themed Patchwork Lap Quilt

Ancient & Modern

You may be wondering why this post has a sub-title, the reason is that the quilt has been constructed using both ancient and modern techniques and equipment! The pieces for the patchwork blocks were cut using my Accuquillt GO! Die-cutting machine (Modern) and the whole quilt constructed using my new Singer Featherweight sewing machine (Ancient!).

The central applique uses Modern methods – Google to find a cat motif, Heat n’ Bond to apply to the background fabric and my ‘old’ tried and tested method to outline with a double row of fine zig-zag stitching using my ‘Ancient’ Brother 4000D sewing machine. 

The fabric was a gift for my birthday (all my friends know that I am a shoe-in for any fabric featuring cats) and I could not wait to make something to showcase these delightful prints. The Drunken Bird blocks have taken aback seat whilst I ‘play’ with the die-cutting machine and ‘Pearl’s a Singer’ sewing machine.

I have basted the quilt top to some polyester wadding and now simply need to find a suitable backing fabric. I fancy a bold print to echo the front rather than stick to a plain calico backing. The search is on……

Finished at last! Drunken Caribbean Birds Quilt

With apologies for the poor photograph – as soon as I have more people available to assist, I will post a better picture. Finally, the quilt is finished. This has been a labour of love. I never thought when I started just how much quilting would be involved.

The quilt has a plain polyester wadding purchased from New Threads Quilt Shop. Combined with some heavy-duty quilting in the centre panel of 25 blocks this has resulted in a fairly ‘stiff’ quilt. As the finished size of the quilt is 64 inches square it has also turned out quite heavy. But I love it!

The central panel of 25 blocks is outlined with a border of Yellow low impact print which in turn has a border of Green background Bird and Bows print (bought from Fabricland and also used for a blouse AND a dress!)

The Yellow border has a simple quilting design of interlocking leaf shapes for which I made a template and then transferred using a Frixion ® pen. As the Green border is only 1 inch wide, it has a central row of ‘wavy line’ stitching. For the outer border blocks I have only quilted within the bird shapes.

I had deliberately cut the backing fabric extra wide and this was trimmed down to ½ inch beyond the quilt top before folding in the raw edge, turning to the top and machine-stitching in place.

I may (at some time in the future) re-visit and quilt into the blank spaces of the outer border blocks, but currently don’t know yet with what motif.

I am so in love with this particular block that I have already made over a dozen additional blocks that I will combine to make a much smaller lap quilt.

Till then, the Drunken Caribbean Birds quilt is on display on the piano and I am very proud!

Quilting Progress on the Drunken Caribbean Birds Quilt

Those of you who follow my blog on a regular basis will have noticed that there has been no posting for 6 days! Fear not – I have been sewing just that the project on which I am working is very much a WIP (work in progress). I have finally bitten the bullet and started the quilting of my Drunken Caribbean Birds quilt.

I last discussed this project on 26th May and since then I have made a couple of garments but now I have taken over the dining room, extended the dining table to its full size and got down to some ruler and free-motion quilting.

This is my first venture into ruler work and I have to say that I am loving it! I spread the quilt all over the table, roll up one side to slide under the arm of the sewing machine and get stitching. OK it is not perfect but I am getting there and really enjoying the process. This is a real lesson in slow sewing.

So far I have quilted about a dozen of the bird blocks and filled in the ’empty’ spaces with ovals. I am using a Westalee ruler plus a ‘french curve’ template which has different-sized oval cut outs that are ideal for the filler motifs.

I am trying to work on the quilt for about an hour at a time before taking a break. That way I hope to avoid too much strain on my shoulders, try as I might, I cannot stop myself from tensing up as I wrestle the quilt and rulers whilst stitching.

Taking a break also gives me the opportunity to refresh – and cut out other projects! So the next post will probably be a garment.

Stitching, cutting, stitching, cutting ……..

 

Drunken Caribbean Birds Quilt – the next step

I was somewhat overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead…. I have now completed the patchwork of the quilt top.

To the original 25 blocks I added a narrow border of Green background bird print cotton purchased from Fabricland (this print is also used for the backing of the quilt).Then, and I  don’t know what possessed me, I made a further 28 (yes 28!) drunken bird blocks for the outer border. This has brought the size of the quilt top up to approximately 64 inches which is a little over the size that I normally make for later display on my husband’s grand piano.

I purchased some polyester wadding from New Threads Quilt shop and on a rainy Sunday afternoon I laid out the backing, wadding and quilt top on our twin beds and ‘layered up’ the quilt. I used 505 temporary spray adhesive and quilting safety pins to keep all the layers together and set the quilt aside whilst I thought about how to quilt…..

Three weeks later I had a couple of additional blocks that I had hand-stitched at Sprat & Winkle Quilters club evenings. I used these for trialling a quilting design.

  

I am happy with the quilting within the bird shapes  but at present am not sure  how I will deal with the empty spaces of the backgrounds. Possible cloud shapes?

For now I am taking yet another break from this project so that I can make a Red dress to wear on 3rd June when my husband and I will celebrate our RUBY wedding anniversary.

Sprat & Winkle Rookwood Retreat Day

I have previously mentioned the Rookwood Retreat Day that is arranged by the Committee of Sprat & Winkle Quilters. Now three weeks after the event, I have finally got around to posting on the blog!

This year the event was held on Saturday 12th May at Rookwood School in Andover and was very well attended by both members of the quilting group and several guests.

Having registered we took our places at the tables set out in the assembly hall. Christine and Lizzie regaled us with a brief review of their recent weekend away at a hotel in Oxfordshire that had been arranged by Purple Stitches followed by a quick re-telling of Lizzie’s adventures in the world of Singer featherweight sewing machines.

After instruction and demonstration we then set about making up the kits of ‘granny squares’.

One set was for personal retention, the second set was entered into a draw. Each of the seven winners was handed 4 blocks to make up as per their heart’s desire! I did not win from the raffle but my good friend donated her spare block to me so now I have two with which to make into ‘something’!

We enjoyed an ‘American Lunch’ and whilst that settled went on to make the divided baskets. I was ‘almost’ able to  finish my basket on the day. The finished basket measures approximately 11 inches  x 6 inches x 8 inches deep. All that was required was some hand sewing of the binding around the top of the baskets before I could put it to good use in storing and transporting fat quarters and sewing accessories for yet more Caribbean bird blocks (see yet another post about those later!)

  

Tutorial for Drunken Birds Patchwork Block

This is a great setting design using Drunkard’s Path blocks that I first discovered using Google and pinterest. I used a set of Sissix dies to cut several sets to make co-ordinating pairs of bird blocks. I found that the lozenge piece of scrap when cutting arcs for the wings was ideal to cut in half and use as the head. The block can be stitched either by hand or machine although I found it easiest to applique the head piece by machine using a narrow zig-zag stitch.

Equipment: Sissix dies or card templates, scissors, hand sewing needle and thread or sewing machine and Microtex 70 or 80 needle and thread. Iron.

Materials: background fabric – print 1,  wings and head – print 2 , for shoulders and tail – complimentary print 3 .

Cutting plan:

3 x ¼ circle pieces in background print 1, 

1 x arc piece in background print 1

2 x arc pieces in print 2 for wings

1 x 1/2 lozenge shape in print 2 for head

1 x arc in print 3 for shoulder

1 x ¼ circle in print 3 for tail

Method:

1.Establish centre points of head piece print 2 and one of the 1/4 circles print 1

2.Place headpiece onto ¼ circle, lining up the centre points and raw edges of the curve with the straight edge of the head piece. Applique stitch in place (use zig-zag or blanket stitch).

3.Take the shoulder piece (arc shape) of print 3 and matching centres with the 1/4 circle, pin and stitch taking a ¼ seam.

3.Fold each of the remaining 6 pieces in half to establish the centre points pin and stitch together to make the other 3 portions of the block. I usually stitch the wing arcs print 2 to 1/4 circles print 1 next, and finally the tail arc print 3 to the  1/4 circle print 1

4.If stitching on the machine you can chain piece these together. Press the seam allowances away from the 1/4 circles and towards the arc sections of the block.

5.Stitch the 4 portions of the block together according to the plan to make a complete Bird block. Press the joining seams open and flat.

6. Enjoy your completed block!

 

144 Drunkard’s Path Blocks

This is just a quick post now that I have returned from my Caribbean cruise adventure. Whilst away, Catherine and I managed to complete the stitching (by hand!) of the 144 blocks that will go to make up her Caribbean Quilt. I laid the blocks out arranged according to the different prints – they are looking good.

Catherine now has the task of putting the blocks together, adding a border and completing the making of the quilt.

Meantime, I have about 20 of my own Bird blocks to stitch on the sewing machine.

Let’s see which of us completes their quilt first!

Drunkards Path Patchwork

When my sister and I go on our travels which has lately taken the form of a cruise, I always prepare a couple of kits of patchwork hand-sewing projects. This year we will be visiting the Caribbean for a fly-cruise so will have to reign back slightly on our packing.

After consultation with Catherine, we decided to tackle the Drunkards’ Path block. After browsing various Pinterest boards I came up with two very different arrangements for the blocks.

The first, ‘Drunken Birds’, I will be stitching myself, whilst Catherine will be working on a slightly more traditional arrangement.

We decided that as we would be in the Caribbean we would choose vibrant coloured fabrics to reflect our location. I visited New Threads Quilt Shop and purchased twelve fat quarters which combined with some equally bold prints would be used in our projects. The background colour for my quilt will be Blue and Catherine has chosen a Primrose Yellow.

After careful evaluation of the ‘birds’ I sorted my fabrics and started cutting the various parts. When cutting the ‘arcs’ there is always a lozenge shape of spare fabric and I thought that it would be ideal to use as the ‘heads’ of the birds. Once all the parts had been die-cut, I arranged the blocks

according to the inspiration to check how they looked together. I have used three different shades of Blue for the background ‘sky’ and arranged the blocks so that the lightest ‘sky’ is at the top of the quilt, grading to a medium Blue and then for the bottom row of birds, a much darker Blue. I hope that this will help to give the impression of perspective, that the top row of birds are further away. We shall see.

I cut the lozenge shapes in half widthways and placed on the appropriate Blue fan-shaped piece before using a fine zig-zag stitch to appliqué in place. Gradually all the ‘heads’ were stitched.

Well, now I thought I would stitch a sample/test block.

I was so pleased with the result that I could not stop…. now I have stitched seven blocks on the machine. This means that I shall have to make all 21 of the blocks on the machine as otherwise with some hand-sewn the result on the quilt may look a little odd. I don’t mind.

I enjoy stitching this block and as Catherine has in excess of 100 blocks to sew for her quilt I will happily assist by hand stitching some for her. What are sisters for?

Back to Basic Patchwork – Hexagons

The second Monday in the month is the morning for Patchwork & Quilting at Franklins in Salisbury. We are re-visiting the basics and this month we looked again at hexagons.

Using templates that came free with a quilting magazine and some scraps of cotton fabric, I made 6 hexies with 1 inch sides.

Using Emma’s detailed instructions, these were carefully placed on a quilt sandwich of a fat quarter printed cotton, thin wadding and another fat quarter of plain cotton for the backing. I would normally use a spray adhesive to keep the layers together but as this was a small piece and would be quilted very quickly, I simply basted with glass-headed pins.

Prior to stitching, the hexagons were kept in place with some fabric glue.

In Emma’s sample she had quilted in three directions through the middle of each hexagon. However, as I had ‘fussy-cut’ the print of some of my hexagons, I had to stitch around the edge of each individual one. I then quilted in two directions only as time was getting on, I wanted to have the project finished by the end of the evening!

I completed the bag with a Yellow zip and sugar bag bottom corners. The finished bag measures 15 inches across x 9 inches deep. A really useful item to showcase those hexagons!

Like a Chinese meal, no sooner have you finished making a few hexagons than you feel like making some more. They will have to wait until I have made the full circle skirt which is now cut out and ready to sew….. catch you later!

Blue Skies & Sunshine – Log Cabin Cushion

I needed a change from dressmaking. I had a quick look through the stash of UFO projects in the corner of my sewing room and came across two blocks of folded Log Cabin in Blues and Yellows. Just the thing – a small ‘pick-me-up’ before I tackle yet another Raglan-sleeved bodice project.

I had plenty of 2½ inch wide strips in the two colourways of Blue and Yellow. Each strip was pressed in half and the folded edge then placed around the outside of the central square. I stitched each strip in place with a ½ inch seam allowance. Further strips were placed just covering the previous row of stitching. The finished blocks were squared off to 8½ inches.

As each block had been stitched to a calico backing I thought that to apply another layer of wadding would be too much. The blocks were stitched together so that the Yellow strips are central with the Blues on the outer edges.

I used some donated fabric for the reverse which has a zip closure. The finished cover measures 17 inches and is well-stuffed with a 20 inch polyester-filled cushion pad.

A brilliant sunshine in a Blue Sky – now that is cheering!