Plenty of Patchwork

I now have two quilt tops waiting for the next step and although I want to get on with them I want to be able to do some quilting and maybe even some free motion work on them. I’m reluctant to go ahead until I feel a bit more satisfied with my efforts.

So, because I want to keep on making patchwork but don’t want a pile of quilt tops waiting to be finished,  I have made two decisions this week.

Firstly to start a scrap quilt to work on as I go, using up lots of scraps.

Secondly  to make some quilt blocks as samplers. This way I can practice my cutting and get my sewing accurate and maybe learn a bit about drafting too.

The First  Block

I chose a Pinwheel design as my first block. Why a Pinwheel ? No reason really, it was the first one I found when I started looking, I could have looked some more but I know myself too well. I could waste hours deciding so I decided not to!

I chose a plain fabric and two patterned. I’m loving orange at the moment and there seems to be quite a bit in my stash. The squares are cut in 2 sizes, you could use a charm pack and trim some.

I chain stitched the squares, I love using the tips Kate taught me!

… But I hit a snag here – I’ve lost a machine foot. How? I know I change them a lot but I usually put them straight back in the box, after all it’s right there. SO  annoying. I had to use my quarter inch foot, not ideal but ok, it’s done.

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I needed to lay out the pinwheel to piece it together otherwise I could have spent as much time undoing and  redoing as I have with this blog post!

I joined the centre four first then the two above and below.

I was very aware of getting the points joined neatly but I remembered what Kate had said about pressing the seams in opposite directions, lining them up and a gentle stretch where necessary and it all seemed to come together pretty well.

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 Scrap Quilt

I’ve accumulated quite a pile of scraps recently, I refuse to throw away anything remotely useable. I’ve seen numerous scrap quilts in my browsing and decided to try to use the scraps as I go. I decided on 2½” square, which means I can use jelly roll scraps, and make strips, one was left over from the juicy jelly border. The strips will have sashes and a border of solid fabric and a patterned binding . Here are my strips so far.

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An early afternoon walk in the unseasonable sleet gave me a bit of planning time. All in all a productive Easter Saturday afternoon.

Nice Needles

Yesterday I finished my new knitting needle roll. My old one looked like something the dog brought in. I made a whole batch of them for a school fair and mine was a bit of a reject even when it was new!

 

I used parts of 5 fat quarters from my stash, I love them all but especially the retro outer fabric. I saw it first in Aberdashery but when I went to buy it it was gone. I can’t operate a ‘buy it when you see it’ policy with fabric – there’d be no room for anything else in the house. Happily I did find it again in Ray Stitch in Islington. I used calico for the linings – I love calico, and not just for linings. The outside is quilted using a thin batting and I practised some free motion quilting following the pattern on the fabric.

Of course I chose buttons for the closings. I had been thinking orange but I had hardly any so I plumped for pink/red colours, I like the way they pick up the red from the fabric. Sadly I have used all but one of the vintage flower buttons. I actually bought them, along with some others, at the very same school fair mentioned above! Cards of 6 buttons cost 10p and back in the 70’s that was a giveaway. I might just go into ‘grumpy old lady’ over the price of buttons.

The roll has plenty of space for all my kit with 3 layers of pockets and the bottom 2 having a variety of sizes of pockets to accomodate a  variety of tools. There’s a flap at the top to prevent needles slipping out and that is held at each end with poppers. I’ve used the plastic ones again, but only because I’ve got them. I’ll definitely be looking out for good old-fashioned metal ones with a satisfying ‘snap’! Under the flap I’ve sewn a length of tape measure decoration that I found in Papillon, Greenwich on Wednesday. It has repeats of 10cms so it can be used as a measure.

I haven’t got any photos of the process to make this a tutorial but I have a suspicion that it won’t be the only needle roll I make, so next time! I have a few improvements to make already. I think I need to sew a line through the sandwich to stop the inner fabric creasing; I’ve got some ideas for better button loops and I also fancy adding a flap for pins and needles.

Little Charmer

IMG_2355I made this little sweater for Nathaniel, the new baby on our street. He is a real sweety but I haven’t seen a lot of him or James and Jerrica, his mum and dad lately. All to do with this awful extended winter keeping us all indoors. It’s been such a long one.

It’s actually very pale green but that got a bit lost in the photo. The pattern was a Debbie Bliss one but I used Sublime and in spite of the gauge being very, very close the sweater was bigger than I intended. One to grow into then! I wasn’t going to add it to my blog but I did want to show off the little charms that I bought in The Makery in Bath when we were there at the beginning of the year.

It’s the first time I’ve used one – I forgot all about them when I finished Dougie’s ‘spring green’ sweater.

Baby Bunting update

Jan'e buntingJane’s Bunting

This week my sister, Jane, completed a baby bunting using the translation of the Phildar bunting pattern. Pleasingly (especially as someone else has downloaded the pattern) it all worked out fine. Jane used a double knit yarn and the sizing was all good. She made it as a gift for a friend’s baby. I hope she loved it as much as Bethan loved her’s. What a great gift.

Hugs and Kisses Quilt

Hugs and Kisses Quilt

I’ve been looking forward to another day of patchwork at Yarnia and I had decided to make a cot-bed sized quilt for Dougie. On a trip out to Bradford-on-Avon Bethan took me to Jumble Jelly, a shop not to be missed if you are ever in the area. I found a Riley Blake half jelly roll that I like the look of and rather than a plain fabric to go with the jelly roll a lime green and white sort of a check pattern.

When Friday came the day certainly didn’t disappoint. It flew by and I enjoyed every minute and I learned lots of new skills and techniques from Kate. As usual the company was good and Trish looked after us very well.

It’s all in the cut!

I had no preconceptions about how the patchwork would be put together but when Kate directed us to make ‘tubes’ out of six strips of fabric I was intrigued.  I learned to sew each set of strips together starting each new one from the opposite end so as not to create the ‘banana effect’. Then all was to be revealed when Kate showed us how to cut the fabric tubes on the diagonal and they opened out into perfectly formed diagonally stripped squares. Four of these squares were to be sewn together to make a larger square and so on.

I chose a symmetrical layout with matching opposite pairs.

Later this proved a little tricky and I had to make the decision to have two rows of symmetrical with a middle row of randoms since I didn’t have enough matching squares. Maybe I’ll get to grips with patchwork maths when I have a little more experience!

hugs and kisses

 

On Friday I got as far as sewing some of the blocks together; the rest would have to be done at home. I haven’t wasted much time and here are all the blocks sewn together with the matching pairs at the top and bottom and the randoms in the centre.

Kate’s Challenge

As we cut each tube we were left with triangles that were too good to be wasted and Kate challenged us to find a way to use them. My quilt at this stage is squarer than I intended so I decided to join my triangles into two strips and add them to the top and bottom. It was trickier than I thought it would be and I’m sure and experienced quilter would have had a method but I got there with only a few of my joins being a bit out.

Quilt

So far, so good. I’m pretty pleased with it really, although it’s not as flat and smooth as my Juicy Jelly quilt.

I’m now thinking  about whether to add more around the edge to complete the border.

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Dydd Gwyl Dewi

Happy St David’s Day

dragon

A little bit -dipyn bach- of frivolity this week knitting daffodils for St David’s Day. I was thinking back to school days and the annual school St David’s day Eisteddfod in Neuadd Buddug. I’m much better at knitting than singing, and as for adroddiant (recitals); in those days I would rather have faced dragons than get up on a stage.

I would have loved the chance of a knitting competition!

The daffodil pattern is from ‘Beautiful Botanical Knits’ by Nora Bellows. Follow this link to the pattern.