Wednesday 27 August 2014

Filling the flower beds

Spring is on the way in the garden here so it seems perfect timing that I'm filling 'flower beds' in my version of the Ann Randoll coverlet. The borders I'm working on are like long narrow garden beds. Here are some flowers:

I wanted to do a little bit of fussy cutting with the flower petals so I made a petal 'window'  out of light cardboard - to place over fabric to audition. Don't be shocked by how rough cut this is - it was not used as a template - just for audition purposes! The flowers were then back basting prepped from the patterns I drafted (see last post) and needle turned. 

That selection ended up in the flower below:

And so here is my first flower bed planted and blooming ...

Talking of plants - I have just received an online plant order. I love the way they pack these little plants for the mail - in cardboard tubes and little pots taped over with pieces of card. Funny though, when you unpack them you often end up with what looks like a dead stick in a pot of soil (because they are dormant perennials in winter). They always grow beautifully when they go in the soil but it is a matter of trust when you unpack! 
So I had a laugh at the label included with this one.  I could use a label like that for myself some days?

Something else lovely came in the mail - a 'Perfect Adjustable Square'. I got mine from Legend and Lace and am thrilled with it - thanks Wendy. It is made by Karen Kay Buckley - that is the link for her Youtube video. 
I often have issues with squaring up blocks for applique (and piecing), centering  patterns for applique and trimming blocks - such as with my Benjamin Biggs BOM.
Unpacking the box drawer and its contents:
Removing the paper backings from all the pieces - like a pile of jigsaw pieces now:

They click together firmly in whatever size square or rectangle you want. The video suggests a hammer (!) to tap the links together but I just used the handle of a spoon to press on the joins and they snapped together fine. I made a square with 12 inch inner borders ( the size of the blocks I am making for Benjamin Biggs), attached cross pieces of thread as suggested and checked BB blocks I've completed - looking  pretty good. 
12 inch inner length square

I love it and I think the pattern marking stage is now going to be that much easier for me. 
I also think it will be useful to trim up all my BB blocks to 12 1/2 inches ready to sew together. The jigsaw pieces can be changed/ swapped to form a 12 1/2 inch outer border. Then all you do is rotary cut around the outside. Pretty versatile?
changing to a 12 1/2 inches outer length square
And pretty too, don't you think?

Saturday 23 August 2014

Gift completed

So glad to have this one finished - Double X quilt - a gift for my niece's September wedding. 
We've had some lovely, much-needed rain so this is the best I could do for a garden photo - very careful to keep the quilt clean and dry!
1.33m square (53 inches square)
 I kept the quilting simple - hoping it would suit her taste. It was easy to manage by machine with the walking foot. The quilt is a rarity for me in that it is totally machine made - pieced and quilted (oh -  except for hand hemming of the binding). The piecing was done rather infrequently so it took quite a while to complete..little doses bit by bit! 

Something else that is slow going, but very enjoyable, is my hand applique (needleturn) of the Ann Randoll sawtooth edges - two edges on each border - fiddly but fun. As the borders get bigger on a medallion quilt - so does the workload! I am getting the sawtooth edges done first and then will fill in the middle of the border strips with hexagons and applique flowers.
Back to some more prep...

Wednesday 13 August 2014

Ann and I

Feels like "first name terms" with Ann Randoll at the moment - making her quilt and studying every photo I can lay my hands on.
Up to this point (the end of the clamshell border) I've largely relied on the notes and templates from Rhonda Pearce's workshop that I attended in January . Sadly she has had a major health set back and the last thing she needs to be bothered with at the moment is finishing the quilt pattern. I only hope she can focus on a speedy recovery to good health. 
The more I look at the quilt, the more I think I could give it a go and draft the rest myself. Of course it would be good to have Ann here to help but ...

The hexagon border : A reminder - here is a snippet of Ann's antique hexagon border:
Picture printed from pinterest 

I 've already made a bunch of the hexagon flowers (half inch hexagons - see earlier post), so I need to draft the applique flowers in between. A circle template and a 60 degree ruler came in very handy - and a wee bit of schoolgirl geometry...

I made a mock up on a strip of background fabric. Ann's not letting on how she got that variable height sawtooth applique edging to work, hmmm, so I'm settling for sawtooth all the same height. The applique will be back basting prepped and then needleturn. Looking forward to selecting fabrics for the flowers.

There has been a bit more of this - Stars meet Hexagons - they fit in like an EPP jigsaw - ready to whipstitch in:
EPP pieces ready to add 
And some more of this - working on the large floral borders of Auntie Green
the messy stage of back basting prep 
One border done

Benjamin Biggs block 8 - glad to get that one out of the way as the 'ins' and 'outs' on the red flowers were a challenge:
It is still very wintery but parts of the garden are in full bloom at the moment. For some reason hellebores do very well in my garden so I encourage them to multiply - such a rewarding, low maintenance little plant, and wonderful mass planted.
Spring is just around the corner - and here is proof - the jasmine in bud. I love the perfumed flowers but then chop it back mercilessly after flowering - seems a poor reward but am told it loves it - cruel to be kind?!
Hope you are enjoying plenty of sewing (or gardening) time.