As promised, here are my Top Twenty Makes from last year. With the exception of the Ultimate Travel Bag that I made to take as Cabin luggage on my flight to the Caribbean, I am pretty sure that I will be repeating all these garments using fabric from my stash. So watch this space!
Now that we are in a new year I have put away the Christmas linens and that has included changing the quilt on my husband’s piano.
The Christmas log cabin quilt has been removed for another 11 months and been replaced with my Winter-themed quilt.
This was made using the same patchwork block design as the Autumnal Quilt shown in an earlier post. The faux Cathedral Window blocks were made using two charm packs plus some additional Fat Quarters of coordinating fabrics from New Threads Quilt shop.
This Quilt is one of my husband’s favourites and will be displayed until 14th February when it will be replaced by the ‘Hearts and Flowers’ Valentine Quilt.
I forgot to mention that I changed the quilt on the piano just in time for Christmas Day! Usually I am ahead of myself and all the Christmas linens are displayed from 1st December but this year has been a little behind.
The quilt previously covering the piano was the ‘Autumn’ version which I made over a year ago using two charm packs and some remnants of fabric from my stash. The patchwork is a form of faux cathedral window and a particular favourite of mine. The ‘Winter’ quilt features the same design in a different colourway and will be installed by Twelfth Night.
Meantime, we are enjoying the Christmas log cabin quilt. This is the first quilt that I made specifically with the grand piano in mind. All the strips of Christmas-themed cotton fabrics were cut by a great friend who sadly has now passed away. This quilt is a reminder of a lovely lady who enjoyed life to the full, was a super cook and needlewoman, always smiling, a friend who bore all the vicissitudes of illness with aplomb.
Regretfully, I cannot find a full photograph of the quilt, as soon as I can I will post.
Just before I fell ill with chronic Bronchitis I, together with my great friend, Adrienne, attended the Rookwood Sewing Retreat Day. This has become an event held twice a year when we like-minded sewing enthusiasts descend on the Rookwood School for a day a sewing, chatting, eating and downright 100% enjoyment with our sewing sisters!
On offer were several projects to make starting with a Jelly Roll Rug, mat or bag, something that seems to have taken the internet by storm.
I had prepared by bringing along a jelly roll, some pre-cut wadding and plenty of pre-wound bobbins as I knew that the project was particularly ‘thread hungry’.
Before commencing on that BIG project, we were also shown some clam-shaped zip-top pouches.
They looked really cute and the pattern was available in several sizes from extra small to extra large. As I knew that I would be needing some form of pouch or bag in which to put Christmas gifts, I started the sewing marathon with a Medium-sized pouch.
During the day we undertook a block stitching challenge which was really well-prepared with all the triangles of fabric pre-cut. All we had to do was stitch into the CORRECT order and ensure that we kept to a strict ¼ inch seam allowance. All the completed blocks were then drawn and distributed to lucky winners to make up into a project of their choice. I was unlucky but Adrienne did win a set of blocks with which she was delighted.
We stopped for a delicious lunch to which everyone had contributed. All very tasty.
After lunch I started on the mammoth task of the jelly roll. I intended to make a bag which I continued stitching at home. I can only say that this turned out to be the most unusual-shaped bag that I have every made! Banana-shaped!!
We ended the day tired but happy, loaded up with a head full of inspiration and new ideas for our sewing.
The next retreat will be in May 2019.
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……
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!
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 ……..
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.
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!)
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 .
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
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!