Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Over the Hills and Far Away - an optical illusion finish.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side  This is my second finish for the 2015 Q2 Finish Along. For my second quarter list click here.

Finally it's finished. My Optical Illusion wall hanging has been named "Over the Hills and Far Away" because when I was quilting it that line from a traditional English song kept going through my head. I see hills and valleys in the design.

When quilting I left the square of the 25 smallest pieces as it was. but quilted through the other purple blocks diagonally in both directions. The yellow and green pieces I left alone, except for the largest (and darkest) green pieces which are also quilted diagonally in both directions, and the adjacent greens which are quilted diagonally in one direction.  Originally they were unquilted but the space between quilting lines was much too large.

Here's a close up which shows my very sparse quilting; I was afraid that dense quilting would detract from the optical effect so quilting is practical rather than aesthetic.

For the backing I used a Halloween fabric from the LQS's special offer shelf. We don't really do Halloween here, so it's not surprising it didn't sell. The colour is just right for this though, isn't it.

Quilt statistics:
Size 41 x 28.5"  (104 x 71 cm)
fabric: Bella solids in nine shades of yellow and green and one purple
Thread; Aurifil 40 in matching purple and green
Wadding: cotton (standard as supplied locally)
Backing: Happy H"owl-o-ween by Deb Strain for Moda
If you're interested in the process of designing and making this wall hanging you can read about it here, here and here.

Having bound it yesterday evening and washed it this morning I'm going to share it this week with:

 Wednesday link up Sew Fresh Quilts Needle and Thread Thursday
 Lily's Quilts
so click on the buttons for the link (as they become available) to see what others have been working on this week.

At the end of June I'll be linking up with

 2015 FAL at On the Windy Side
Happy sewing


Saturday, 25 April 2015

RSC15 week 17: The Last Full Purple Week.

Each month Angela at Soscrappy gives a colour and some sampler patterns and lots of people round the world use that colour: some to make the sampler blocks, others to work on other projects. This month the colour has been purple. On Saturdays we link up to show one another what we've been making in the last week. As this is the last post his month, here's a round-up of the whole month.

Firstly the two sampler blocks given by Angela:

Carrie Nation
Broken Sugar Bowl

In addition to the sampler blocks, I made:

Four nine-patches

Four hexagon flowers

and two scissors cases
pattern by Dawn Cornell
for the Moda Bakeshop (19 May 2014)
of which this is one; the other  I gave away without photographing it first! I was so glad I'd met the deadline, I wrapped it, packed it, took it to England, and it wasn't until I was on my way back to the Netherlands that I thought that I had maybe forgotten to take a photo!

I have also been quilting my Optical Illusion Quilt, which is 50% purple, and has 95% purple quilting thread! In my book, that counts as purple! All that's left to do is sew down the binding; at last I can pull the purple thread out of my machine!

I'm linking up to Angela at Soscrappy for
RSC 15

Happy Sewing


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Finish-Along: Q2's first finish: scissors cases

2015 Finish-Along

I made two scissors cases (the secret sewing on my Q2 list), and both are finished. One has already been given away, without my having taken a photo! How forgetful can you get? I was so relieved I'd met the deadline that I forgot the photo.

Anyway, here's the second one:

Scissors case.
Pattern by Dawn Cornell
for the Moda Bakeshop (19 May 2014)
I shall be linking up to Adrianne, On the Windy Side, at the end of the quarter.
In the meantime I'm linking to:

Happy Sewing


Monday, 20 April 2015

Camera Challenge 3: Triangle of Light - Shutter Speed.

Katy at the Littlest Thistle is organizing a camera challenge. Each month she gives an assignment to help us master one aspect of photography. This month we had various assignments to show and understand the differences made by changing the shutter speed.

There were three assignments, but I only managed to complete one. It's not for want of trying, but I was unable to photograph any moving people or animals. I will try to complete the assignment next weekend, if my grandson is playing football, but that will be too late for the link up.

This past weekend I was visiting family in the UK, and Saturday we went to the Royal Horticultural Society's gardens in Wisley, Surrey. In the glass house I was able to photograph the waterfall from behind. I focussed on an orange growing on a tree opposite. It's the orange circle in the centre of each photo (you have to really look carefully!).

In spite of a succession of people stopping to admire the waterfall, and others bumping into me, here are the resulting six photos. (shooting details are on each photo):

Discernable streaks of falling water,
but no individual drops visible

Here the effect is of a net curtain
rather than a curtain of water.
My conclusions:

  1. As shutter speed decreases (the value gets lower) the aperture value increases
  2. As shutter speed decreases ISO value decreases. (I used ISO on automatic because the first photos on fast shutter speed were too dark on ISO 200 and I didn't want to hold up my companions too long while I worked that one out)
  3. 1" is too slow a shutter speed for me to manage while holding the camera. Enter tripod, but I'd left it at home!

 I'd like to think this is hazy because of the curtain of water clouding the image, but even the orange is fuzzy: I think I moved!

To finish: I photographed the fountain in front of the main building, outside, in full sunlight:

There are only two photos this time, but the difference is clear. The pool is however large, so the photos are cropped. Does that constitute cheating?

I'm linking up with the Camera Challenge at the Littlest Thistle. 
Littlest Thistle Camera Challenge 2015
Go and check how other participants in the link-up have made this month's assignments.

Snap happy


Saturday, 18 April 2015

RSC 15 week 16: Who broke the sugar bowl?

April's colour in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is purple.

My guess is that the person who wasn't content with breaking plates had to break the sugar bowl too. Personally I don't get it, but Angela at Soscrappy, who hosts the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, says this block is Broken Sugar Bowl, and I'm sure she's right.

Sawtooth Star surrounding Broken Sugar Bowl
This really is purple, including the star points, with French Navy background fabric; not the best photographic colour balance adjustment!

On Saturday I shall be linking up to
RSC 15

Hop over there and see the other purple passions.

Happy Sewing


Saturday, 11 April 2015

RSC 15 week 15 : Purple star

Each month sees a different colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, hosted by Angela at Soscrppy. This month's colour is purple, and here's my one purple star so far: Carrie Nation block in a Sawtooth star..

Carrie Nation in Sawtooth Star

I showed the centre unit of this block last Saturday, but now I've added the star points and made the purple parts of an alternate block. I saw yesterday that Angela had posted the instructions for a second purple block, but I won't be working on that until later next week. I also did some preparation towards purple nine patches, but no sewing yet.

This week I received a mystery give-away package from Dasha in Australia, containing some lovely fabric showing Australian birds:

birds I've only ever seen in cages, and so different from our native European birds, most of which are brown or black. These are a rainbow in themselves! Now I'm considering how to use this fabric: fussy-cut squares framed by a different fabric, appliqué, broderie perse or what? Do you have any suggestions, because cutting it into 2½" squares would be a waste!

Also my RSC14 quilt is finally now one piece. No pictures yet, but hopefully it'll have quilted borders, a binding and a label by this time next week.

I shall be linking later to the linky party at

RSC 15

so hop over there to see more purple splendour.

Happy sewing


Monday, 6 April 2015

Finish Along 2015 Second Quarter

This year the finish along is being hosted by Adrianne at The Windy Side

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side
Last quarter I only finished one project from my list. So now the other four head the new list. Click on the photo caption by each picture to read a post about the project.

1. Toadstool House
heads the list. This is it's fourth appearance on my list, but I have worked on it each quarter.

Toadstool House
Originally it was going to be a wall hanging. Changed my mind. Then my daughter wanted a cushion. Changed my mind. Now It's going to be a book cover, but I need to make it bigger.

2 Optical illusion
was a project for a course running from November to January at QuiltersPalet in The Hague. 

Optical Illusion
I started quilting this in January, then hit a problem. 

3 Rainbow Scrap quilt
From the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014,

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014
is nearly finished as I write. It just needs to have the joins and borders quilted, labelled and bound. Doesn't sound like much work does it?

4 Sew Together bag

Sewing: Sew Together Bag
Sew Together bag (photo from Craftsy site)

This is a pattern (by Sew Demented and available through Craftsy) that I bought on New Years Eve. 

Essential supplies for the Sew Essential bag.
This is as far as I've got, but the fabric will be from stash.

5. Batik table runner

Batik table runner
I optimistically started in February, using a roll of 2½" batik strips but hit a problem after about 4 days when the local shop didn't have any white/off-white batik with a green or brown or even purple vein. I should have some next weekend.

6. Secret sewing
The deadline for this is in April, so I  should must get this done!

I hope that's realistic and even though it's longer than my last list I'll be doing my best to get them ALL finished by the end of June!

I'm linking up to

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Happy Sewing


Saturday, 4 April 2015

RSC15: The first of the Purple

April's colour at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is purple and the first sampler block went up early this morning.

This morning's work:

Carrie Nation

The sawtooth star surround will be added later.

Linking up to:

RSC 15

So pop over there to see what other scrappy delights have been made this week.

Happy Sewing


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Work in Progress: Quilt as you go

This is my Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2014 quilt.

It's now in two pieces, so the end is in sight. Last time I quilted a full size bed quilt on my domestic machine I had the devil of a job steering the fabric under the needle. The result was curves, meanders and circles with hooks and spikes! Every now and again the quilt would slip over the edge of the table and pull the whole thing sideways, or bump into the wall behind the machine and push everything back towards me.

Since then I've quilted a few smaller pieces and the result was much better. The weight was more manageable.

Result: quilt the RSC14 quilt in four quarters and join them afterwards. Quilt As You Go. Brilliant!

I have a magazine article on the subject where you are advised not to quilt right up to the edge of the pieces to be joined, peel the wadding and the backing aside and join the two edges of the top with the standard quarter inch seam. That done, cut off the excess wadding so that the wadding butts together, hand slip-stitch that together, and then slip-stitch the pieces of backing together. Hmm! That's what I planned to do, but towards the end of the quilting I was having serious doubts.

The idea of CUTTING into an almost finished quilt filled me with horror! What if...? Don't go there! I remembered that in a quilting workshop a few years ago, I had made a sample of a QAYG join. Fished out the sample and the instructions and hey presto!

So this is what I have been doing since the middle of last week:

1.  With 0.25" seam allowance sew a seam through both quilt sandwiches, right sides together, ie through four layers of fabric and two layers of wadding. Iron the seam open.

First attach the walking foot and put the needle as far to the right as possible.

At this stage I discovered it's difficult to hold four layers of cotton and two layers of cotton wadding in position, even when clipped together, with this as the result:
Only one thing for it:

(this happened in several places)

2.   Hand stitch the seam allowance to the backing: be careful not to stitch through into the top. 

This is where I discovered that a quarter inch seam is not enough when you have to fold two layers of fabric and a layer of wadding back over itself. There is not much seam allowance left to stitch down. It doesn't matter too much because this is only tacking to hold the layers in place.

3.   Cut a strip of fabric 1.5" wide, fold it lengthwise edge-to-centre and press.

4.   Slip stitch to the backing on each side of the seam. I think perhaps the flaps on the strip are meant to fold under the seam allowance, but that's too fiddly for my arthritic fingers.

5.   Repeat stages 1 to 4 until everything is joined. 

Conclusion: The hand stitching went perfectly, if slowly. The problem was keeping a consistent 1/4" (or 3/8") seam on the machine. On the whole quilting in parts of 42" square and joining afterwards is a more comfortable option than joining first and quilting in one go.

Since starting this I've read a tutorial on a much quicker method at Little Island Quilting, but I was too far into this method to make a switch.

I'm linking this up to
Wednesday link up Sew Fresh Quilts Needle and Thread Thursday

So pop over there and see what else has been going on this week.

Happy sewing