Wednesday 21 October 2015

Civil War bride ready to quilt

I wasn't intending to quilt it right now - the top was folded away while I focused on a few hand applique projects, gardening, daughter's wedding prep etc. But it caught my eye in the sewing room yesterday afternoon...and before I knew it it was prepped!

... I thought I'd just see what wadding I had left - and found a collection of large off cut strips. In a 'twinkling' four pieces of wool were stitched together - just zig zag on the machine.
Wadding strips - edges butted together, not overlapped

Large zigzag across the join
Then I just thought I'd see if there was a chance of a backing fabric lurking in the stash. I have a shelf of "less liked" fabric that I rummage through for backings, especially for a quilt like this which will probably be hung and the backing never seen. Well ...found something straight away! 

So then, in another 'twinkling', I had it layered on the floor. Can you see the wonky edges of the wadding - all odd strips stitched together? yep ..I'm no perfectionist as long as it lies flat.

..and while it was all laid out there I thought I may as well pin it. I can imagine you snorting but it only took a couple of hours from "spotted in sewing room" to basted and in the hoop. Amazing what you can do when you're not actually meaning to! 

It feels good to have another hand quilting project and I'm going to enjoy a few hours of outline quilting all that applique. 

My Wheat and Woods design is progressing - all strips and corner blocks stitched together into a square. There was quite a bit (understatement there) of trial and error so I'm relieved to get to this stage. 
I'm planning a wide outer border - with more applique and broderie perse. More trial and error coming up for sure! 

Spring is a busy time in the  garden - just ask my two friendly garden helpers - Bill and Ben the Blue Tongue Lizards 
basking on warm concrete

gardening duties

rushing off to more gardening duties

Can you see the blue tongue?
They are pretty relaxed about sharing the garden with me,  and work hard at gobbling up pesky snails but I do wish they could manage a pair of secateurs or a weeding tool. 
This is breeding season for these much loved Australian creatures so I'm guessing I should be more correctly naming them Bill and Belinda

My daughter's wedding preparations are ramping up (for the end of November).
I have been anxiously growing these succulents for months - favours for the guests. There was a serious set back in the frost and snow here but they are now thriving indoors in a sunny spot - phew. 

There's also been a lot of collecting of decorations and table cloths. 

All the flowers are to be sourced from my garden (no pressure) so I 'm doing all I can to keep the plants happy. White iceberg roses, ivy, maples and silver foliage plants will be the backbone of it, and I'm hoping for a variety of salvia flowers too. Fingers crossed for no nasty weather events to create garden havoc!  

Wednesday 7 October 2015

A finish and a start

Finished project....

My version of  the Ann Randoll coverlet
Just to recap - I started it in January 2014 when I was lucky to attend a great workshop with Rhonda Pearce who had just drafted her own pattern. The original antique coverlet (in the V and A in England) is huge - 147 inches (3.75m) by 118 inches -  too big for me!  So I worked a few changes - made my version square, omitted the large outer pinwheel border, and drafted my own final border (the  one with hexagons and applique). My quilt finishes at 82 inches square - hand quilted. 

If you recall, I added a wide border of scrap fabric just to help in the hoop with hand quilting the edges. So that had to be unpicked and removed before trimming the batting/backing to size - easy enough (she says). 

Adding a solid brown binding to match the dog tooth edging:

...including a hanging pocket along the top at the back: 

There we are -  bound and hung (...sounds painful?)

I'm very happy with it and love the hand quilted finish but I tell you what - just for now - I need a change from brown! I actually really like brown but is it Spring and the timing seems right for something fresher and lighter. 

New project...
Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album sewalong (SVBAQ) - and no brown in sight here. For more info on this project see the SVBAQ blog

Civil War quilt... Quilt, Botanical, 1859 Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. Album quilt of local flowers with Union Forever square Made by Esther Matthews for her grandson Addison Blair Martz (died at Chancellorsville, May 1863) Cotton; appliqu├ęd and quilted:
Picture from Marcus Mentions website

I've made a change in my greens selection for this quilt. There was a lot of dithering indecision last post trying to pick just the right shade of green, and I had a feeling it wasn't over! But now I am committed...out with the old and in with the new.  

So - to make a start - I am piecing my background squares (to make a 12 inch finished block). I cut background fabrics in to 7 inch squares (allowing the extra inch to play with) and machine stitched them together. 
Now I don't want a nasty big bump of seam allowance in the middle - won't be fun to applique over that! So I'm following a good tutorial "How to reduce bulky seams when piecing patchwork blocks" (thank you, thank you for this) and here is the back of the first block:

..and the front - nice and flat:

My chosen applique technique is needleturn with back basting prep. Here is the first block drawn on the back of the block : 

...and in no time I had two blocks completed. I think the idea is to complete one block a month but this is a relatively easy one, and will be repeated three times in the quilt,  so I couldn't resist making two:

They do feel like Spring don't they? Such a lovely pattern ....

I have three Dogwood trees in my garden. They don't grow fast here as the heat knocks them back a bit, but this Spring they are the best they've ever been - especially this little one. Now that is a good effort - extra mulch and water for you!