Tuesday 28 October 2014

Benjamin Biggs BOM - two rows down

That's ten 12 inch blocks done now, and time to lay them out for a 'play'. I won't stitch them together yet just in case I want to change something later . 

This is the latest one finished - Block 10 - rather an unusual one I think...not quite sure what these four elements depict but I stitched it anyway! They look a bit like candle sticks but maybe they are a simplified stem and flower. I checked in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Applique but there's nothing quite like it, though in outline it could resemble four fleur-de-lis. Any thoughts?

Civil War Bride -  for my second block I jumped across to Block 11 (the numbering in the Threadbear pattern) .

Four block applique quilt: Last post I mentioned that I want to improve my hand quilting technique. I used to hand quilt by stitching forwards (I was taught 20 odd years ago and that was it) - and then got a lot of hand/ wrist pain. I am now teaching myself the rocking motion and quilting towards myself - and feel so lucky to have loads of YouTube video tutorials and blogs to study. 
Anyway...I want to dive in with a smallish test quilting project. There is a pile of completed Baltimore Album blocks which have been abandoned  living in a cupboard here (you know how it is...not happy with the standard of my older work). But I thought I'd pick out four of the better ones and make a small wall quilt - instant hand quilting practice!
First trimming the blocks with my Karen Buckley adjustable square (love this tool) - and they really needed adjustment I can tell you.

Blocks sewn together: 

Then I needle-turn appliqued a saw tooth border to finish it off (lucky I still had plenty of the red fabric left) :

Basting the layers together ready to hand quilt - it measures about 1 metre ( 39 inches) square:

And I'm off...quilting around all the applique pieces: 

I'm pretty slow, the stitches are far from perfect, but am feeling more confident all the time, and loving it. One thing I wanted to avoid was holding up the layers with a hand hoop - used to give me such a wrist pain - but I don't want to invest in a floor stand or frame at this stage. So I bought a hands free 'sit-upon' rotating quilt hoop from Thimblelady - seemed a good start and reasonably economical. I'm finding it comfortable to use sitting on the lounge and the hands are pain free so far.

I've got a lot of applique going on as you can see above - and that doesn't include my secret sewing of Auntie Green. But there are more temptations out there. Have a look at Wendy's new free applique BOM - just lovely!

And what's going on here? ... In Sydney with my daughter and her fiance when she was admitted as a solicitor this month. 
some happy tomfoolery there...
We celebrated after the ceremony with a champagne silver service High Tea in the Queen Victoria Building - such a treat. 
beautiful ceiling

There's been a touch of Summer in the weather. Too early for me (what happened to Spring?) but some things in the garden are loving it.

Monday 6 October 2014

Thrilled and relieved...

Just a quick post to show you why I'm thrilled and relieved in equal measure!

My version of the Ann Randoll coverlet (started in Rhonda Pearce's workshop) is now a complete quilt top. I have to admit I'd been putting off the final sew-together and attachment of that last border - dreading that there might be "issues". All those hours of applique could have distorted the measurements - but amazingly it went together just fine...can't quite believe it really...

I've hung it for photos using pants hangers - works well as a temporary measure for photos. 
It is about 210 cm square ( 83 inches square). 

Now to consider the quilting. I am working on my hand quilting technique to try to relieve hand /wrist pain - trying different methods and tools but am not confident I can tackle a whole quilt. So I'm thinking I may machine stitch the long seams ( the less noticeable parts) and add some hand quilting after. I do much prefer the look and feel of hand quilting but we do what we can ...

Saturday 4 October 2014

and The Bride wore....red

I've started a new quilt - and I know I'm very late to join the bandwagon on this one - my version of the Civil War Bride. There are versions called 'Bird of Paradise' and 'Bountiful Life' - all inspired by the lovely applique masterpiece in the Museum of American Folk Art. I've had the Threadbear pattern  for a couple of years now...waiting for the right moment. 
Here's a picture of the original (left) in the book "Treasury of American Quilts" and Threadbear's 2009 pattern pictured next to it (right):
My thinking here is:
  • I've got masses of quite a good stash of red fabrics from my ongoing project making my Stars meet Hexagons EPP quilt (yep - still ongoing) ...

  • I've been tempted to make a red and white applique quilt since the internet was flooded with pictures of  Infinite Variety in 2011 - wow, how inspiring was that?! 
  • I've enjoyed the process of making my Auntie Green in neutrals (now 'secret sewing') - restricting colours can be strangely liberating - as long as there are lots of prints to choose. 

So it will be a CWB in red and white - with lots of different reds and lots of different prints! 

Working on Block 1 there was much fabric fun.
Became this...
And this...
Became this...

And there was this...

Finishing up with this...
Block 1
Starting another block ( Block 8 this time) ...

I am doing needleturn applique - all using back basting prep. I could have made bias tape for the stems, as suggested in the pattern, but so far it seems just as easy to back baste them first, as I am so used to this technique. 

Ann Randoll quilt - no, not abandoned... I am now ready to sew together the appliqued corner blocks that I drafted for the the hexagon border. They will be stitched to either end of the hexagon border strips, and then machine stitched to the quilt. I prefer to machine stitch the long seams together to give the quilt extra stability/strength.

Here's a collage of photos from my garden this week. They show my favourite garden colour - the limey greens of new growth in Spring. Time to go sit out there and enjoy it....

Have a lovely weekend - a long weekend for us here.