Sunday, 19 February 2017

How many hexagons?

Someone asked but I've no idea. If any body knows a quick formula I might try it but am not going to count them the slow way!

Hexagon Star - top finished.
I have a hand full of hexagons (half inch) left over but am calling this a finish at 56" by 62". It will be a good size for a wall quilt . For now - off to join the others awaiting hand quilting. 
I really enjoyed the portability of this project - using zip lock bags to store and organise the pieces. I know some will think it quite mad to be stitching half inch hexagons by English paper piecing (stitch basted), but I found it very relaxing and quite manageable. In fact I found this size hexagon was quite a bit more comfortable to handle than the large 1.25 inch hexagons in my Grandmother's Garden quilt .

Chapman Coverlet
On the rare occasions when I feel like machine stitching I make it a marathon session! The last one got me a bit further ahead with this quilt. Still have a box full of appliqued squares to join and quite a few more rows to here's hoping for another "rare occasion" soon.
Posies and Plaid
I've not posted on my applique quilt design since May last year, for various reasons. A lot of changes have been made and the unpicker has been very busy. For example I have scrapped the original broderie perse centre - it was just too dark and distracting. 
Unpicker at the ready
In keeping with mixing modern fabrics in with the repros, I'm trying to interpret a lot of different traditional elements with a more contemporary feel.  It's not coming easy for me but I'm happier with it now. Don't you hate it when there is a vision but poor execution!

I've had fun with various applique techniques:

But mostly I have needle turned with back basting prep:

Just a little more applique to go and then I'll be stitching the blocks together. Hopefully there won't be too many more changes (LOL) as I'm really looking forward to Big Stitch hand quilting this ...maybe with coloured perle thread. 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Grandmother's Garden

Started mid 2014 and finished at last!  The fabrics are a mix of homespuns, chambray and peppered cottons, and it measures 84 inches (2.15m) by 71inches (1.8m).

The quilt was sadly ignored for long periods as I hate to admit I got a little b o r e d with it. The lack of variety in shapes and the strictly solid colours can do that. But I love the look of antique quilts made of solids, and this was inspired by those was keen to finally get it finished.

It was hand pieced - English Paper Pieced with 1.25 inch hexagon papers.

The quilt was layered with a thick wool batting and Big Stitch hand quilted in a hoop. I used Aurifil 12 wt thread and Foxglove Cottage ''embroidery/redwork" size 10 needle. I did try a few different needles and found this needle and thread combination quilted up the most easily and quickly for me. 
The quilting design is simple - just zigzag rows across the whole quilt.

The Australian Summer is not a great time for hand quilting but I took advantage of a few cooler evenings to rush through the last of the quilting and the binding.

Trimming the quilt ready to bind

There were a few hexagons left over so I made a label patch and appliqued it to the back.

The thick wool batting was chosen with winter in mind - planning on a warm bed cover. But for now it's hanging on the wall - and freshens up the room no end!

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 :)