Sunday, 14 September 2014

It is finished!

Friendship's Garden was my oldest UFO dating from 2005 when I went on a course to learn how to applique. 

It was a great pattern to choose as there are straight lines, inner and outer curves but it is not so complicated to put you off.  It is a Blackbird Design by Alma Allen and Cherie Ralston.  

This is the original from the book - I moved the pineapple block into the middle so I could turn my quilt around anyway up and made a block from a different Blackbird design as my ninth block.

I had a very patient teacher in Julia Illman - she still teaches and has her own shop called the Patchwork Cabin in Great Bookham in Surrey.  Perhaps I should send her a photo of my much belated finish?

The thing that frightened me back in 2005 was the HST sashing...

 And then when I finished that it was that swag border that made me delay further.

And then the block to getting it finished was how to quilt it.  I have talked it over with Helen so many times but then we talked about stippling (again - I'm sure). 

The stippling was the right decision without a doubt  - thank you Helen - but it nearly drove me to tears!  So very boring but just what was needed to make the applique on this quilt pop.

And the wreaths are crosshatched with my quilt label information in the centre!

And now the pain of birth is over I am totally delighted with my baby!

And the moral is: don't give up on those 9 year old UFOs - sometimes they can grow up into beautiful quilts....

Thursday, 11 September 2014

more Nordik blocks!

My bee mates in the fabulous Bee a Brit Stingy bee have been most excellent in helping me realise my vision of a Scandinavian red/white/aqua and teal Winter quilt.  

In fact their efforts have exceeded my expectations but I should have known better as they are a brilliant bunch!

So here are the recent contributions

from Emily, Lucy and Collette

Looking forward to playing with the layout of these but here they are so far

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Clamshells are back

I have finished all four 8x8 panels of clamshells that I started out to make and have joined them all together by hand.

It makes a 44" 'square' in all and now I'm wondering what next?

I was thinking I would have it on point and add triangles of clamshells to each side to finish up with a bigger square?   But is this madness?  That would be another 224 clamshells on top of the 256 already in there!?

Oh well I wouldn't be surprised if I have that many charm squares to cut with my sizzix machine as I tend to cut charms from every fabric I buy and I've been in a few charm swaps too!   The folk on IG seem to be saying yes!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

And now for something different...!

The advantage of having lots of projects on the go is that you can change up what you are doing.

So when I woke too early this morning I started cutting up some of my lovely blueberry park fabric printed by my friend and bee mate Karen.

And here are all the chevron blocks I have made so far...(I didn't make all of them today)

And because I've been asked - here is how I put them together...

 Step1 Mitre the parallelograms but only stitch up to the beginning of the seam allowance on the inside edge.

Step 2 Stitch one side of the inside edge to your square (my squares are 5.75" - it works better with the parallelograms I cut using the sizzix die) all the way to your first corner - stopping a quarter inch from the end.   If you are very clever you can lift your presser foot and line up the seams ready for the next seam but I just stop, cut my threads and re-position for the adjacent side lifting the corner out of the way.

Step 3 Repeat step 2 for the other end - you want the outer end to overlap to ensure you keep those essential points on your square!  And your block is complete...

Now making the blocks like this means I will have to do more Y-seams when I'm stitching it all together but I don't mind!   Y-seams and partial seams are great skills to have in your collection and they are easier than you think - honest!

Do let me know if you make a version of this!  It is a great block to show off pretty fabrics I think.

Third Block!

It seems I cannot stop working on this quilt now I've started - Friendship's Garden (pattern by Alma Allen and Cherie Ralston).  

I don't tend to follow someone else's patterns now and indeed I changed the central block in this one to another by the same design team so that the quilt would work anyway up.  Originally the central block was a basket design.

Anyway here is block number three!  

So one row is finished or will be when I've quilted the HST sashing to either side.  I am leaving the borders to the end and hoping they will quilt out nice and flat.

My hands/brain are getting the mini stipple thing now and even the cross hatching seems easier to do.  All more relaxed but still demanding quite intense concentration so breaks continue to be important between bouts of quilting.

I also managed a bit of hand piecing before I started the quilting 

Eight strip of eight clamshells, waiting to be pieced together!

And then I can piece two panels together and then join all my panels together to make one big 16x16 clamshell square.   Maybe then I can see were I'm going with this project.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Stippling Along!

I planned to finish quilting one of my Friendship's Garden blocks every week. It is quite intense all that tiny stitching and not really something I've done before. 

But yesterday I quilted one block and today I have quilted another....maybe I will manage to quilt one row per week.

And here it is...

I have stippling outside the wreath, cross hatching inside plus the word Friendship's which will be joined by Garden in another wreath.

I have been calling this quilt Friendship's Garden (the pattern name) for so long I cannot think of it as anything else!

It is a Blackbird Designs' pattern by Alma Allen and Cherie Ralston.  I really enjoyed the applique with the mix of straight lines and curves - it was a great pattern to learn from.  

The two blocks together!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

At last the quilting begins....

My Friendship's Garden has been with me since 2005 when I took a course using the Blackbird Designs pattern by Alma Allen and Cherie Ralston to learn appliqué.   Over the months I did improve and I really love applique though do it less often.

At that time the whole piecing thing scared me and a delay took hold while I looked on at the HST sashing in horror!

I did eventually get over that and love piecing now of course!  But once I got hooked on piecing the appliqué swag borders intimidated me!

I am now happy with either skill but wasn't sure how to quilt this rather large quilt!   

Well FMQ has come to the rescue and I have bitten the bullet now with some small stippling (suggested by the ever helpful Helen).  It really seems to puff up the applique - no doubt, helped by the wool wadding I used.   I'm really rather pleased with it!

....but if I carry on in this vein I could be quilting for weeks to come!  I have eight more blocks to come, HST sashing and some swag borders!

I will definitely need lots of encouragement so get out your pom poms and cheer me on!  Please!

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