Monday, 30 December 2019

Dancing Stars

In November I made a surprise quilt: a surprise both to me and to the recipient. I called it Dancing Stars.

Dancing Stars: about to be rolled up and taken to my friend
I heard in the middle of November that a good friend was to be operated on her back at the end of the month. Knowing that operations to the spine can require a long convalescence I decided to make her a large lap quilt to cheer her up and keep her warm during the process.

Not having much time I decided on a simple repetitive design and went into mass production mode first cutting all the pieces for the stars and then making all the triangle in a square units. Quite an experience for me to see all 64 grey triangles with their accompanying left and right side triangles stacked together to the left of my machine.

Most of the centre squares I cut from a single fabric with a large print to match the star points, but I didn't have large enough pieces of interest fabric in some of the colours, and so there are also 4-patches and hour glass blocks as star centres.

Detail, before washing
After completing the star units I added strips of background fabric to two sides of the units and arranged them as in Bonnie Hunter's pattern "Dancing 9-patches" , giving the stars room to dance while making the quilt big enough! The top was finished within four days of starting cutting! A personal record!

The quilting is straight lines, half a walking-foot's width from the seam lines in both directions. Extremely boring, but effective. This took longer to do than piecing the top, mainly because I didn't want to overburden my shoulders again.

All in all finished within the fifteen days; from buying the background and backing fabric to washing and drying the finished quilt. I gave it to my friend on 7 December which was in time, because her operation had been postponed for two weeks.
dimensions: 145cm x 145cm   (57" x 57")
star fabric: from stash 
background: Kona: Iron
backing: Free Spirit: Wales from Parson Gray World Tour
Quilting thread: Mettler 1358 50 wt.

Although his hasn't been my RSC project for 2019 (that is ready for me to quilt) 
I am linking up this finish using scraps. 


Click on the button to see more rainbow finishes.

Happy Sewing


Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Hand-knitted sweater

This is my finish for the two link-up's above. Click on the images (OMG at the end of December, and FAL at the beginning of January) for my goal-setting posts.

Finally all the ends have been darned in (there were a lot!) and my husband's sweater is finished!

The pattern is Evo, by Natasja Hornby of Moonstruck Knits. The sweater is knitted in one piece from top to bottom. There are no seams, and only the stitches for the neck ribbing were picked up right at the end. All that then remained was to darn in the ends. I am trying to use up my wool stash, and this wool was bought by my mother in the UK more than 50 years ago! In those days wool was sold in 1 ounce (oz) balls (roughly 30 g) and there's not much yardage in 30 grams! My mother was always afraid of running out of wool so I've still got loads left. I wonder if my husband would like a matching hat (just plain; no cables!).

The front and back panels are done in a twisted cable. I'm OK with straightforward cables but this was a new stitch combination for me, and I'm sure there must be an easier way. Nevertheless I persevered, and it's now finished, about six months later than I expected. (We just went out for a walk and he assured me that it is very warm: those cables serve their purpose!) The upside of the pattern is that while the side panels and sleeves are in reverse stocking stitch (all purl), the pattern included instructions for turning the work inside out for the sleeves, which were then knitted in stocking stitch (all plain) which I can do much more quickly. This made no difference to their appearance.

I shall be linking up to:

when they come online in the next week or so.

With my best wishes for Christmas and 2020,

Happy sewing



Tuesday, 3 December 2019

December's Goal

I'm linking this post to Elm Street Quilts for One Monthly Goal.

Pattern: Evo by Natasja Hornby of Moonstruck Knits.

This sweater for my DH could have been finished three months ago, but wasn't!

All I have had to do is darn in the ends which are everywhere, and not just the two visible in the photo. The others are all on the inside, but nevertheless need to be finished off. The problem is I absolutely loathe darning in the tails in knitting: I've tried three techniques and they all give fiercely ugly results.  I'm sure when I was a teenager I got better results, but maybe I was just less critical! If anyone can point me to a foolproof tutorial I'd be so grateful.

I'm linking this to:

in the hope that DH will be wearing this before the end of the month.

Click on the button to see more goals for December.

Happy sewing



Sunday, 24 November 2019

Overlapping Octagons is finished!

Overlapping Octagons is copied from a photograph of a quilt made around 1950 and featured in the book "Unconventional and Unexpected, American quilts under the radar", by Roderick Kiracofe. Making a replica of a quilt in this book was a challenge issued by Sujata Shah about a year ago.
Unlike the original maker I used the sewing machine throughout, although I now think I would have been faster sewing all those y-seams by hand. I chose to use red to meet the criteria of another challenge; about the same time the Ad Hoc Improv Quilters issued the challenge: "Red is the new Neutral"

The Y-seams are not only at the four corners of the red squares but also at the X joins of the string sections.
In this photo the octagons are maybe easier to identify.

Originally I tried using hourglass blocks as cornerstones in the string sashing. That didn't work as the hourglass blocks became too visible as hourglasses and didn't blend into the octagons. The seams also became very bulky as five fabrics came together at one point, as opposed to just three now. In the original the fabric in the "sashing" continues into the "cornerstone" so I went with that, as you can see in the picture above.

I used fabric scraps throughout. I started with red and blue 19th century reproduction fabrics - the ones that have been hanging around the longest - but soon used up that lot (hooray!!) and moved on to the more recent fabrics. Just two colours - red and blue - became very boring, so quite early in the process I introduced small pieces of other colours among the blue strings.

fabrics: scraps from stash
measurements: 38" x 44"
pieced with Aurifil 50 wt light grey
quilted with Aurifil 40 wt dark blue, dark red and bright red
 Although this was intended as a small lap quilt my DH has claimed it for the wall above his desk! 

Finishing this quilt was my goal of the month this month, (and last, and the one before!) but now it really is bound, labelled and all the threads are buried!
It is also the first item on my Q4 list for the 2019 Finish A-Long, hosted by Sandra at Studio sew of course.

I'm linking to: 

Quilting is more fun than Housework 

Click on the buttons to see more scrappy quilts and goals achieved. 

Happy sewing


Thursday, 31 October 2019

One Monthly Goal November

My October goal was to finish my "Overlapping Octagons". Hmm!

A few minutes ago, on Thursday 31 October, just as the sun was setting,

 I finished the quilting

but not the whole quilt! I still have hundreds of threads to bury, before I can even think of straightening up and binding. I failed to reach my goal! Boo!

The Octagons therefore are featuring in One Monthly Goal, yet again!

I am linking this to:

Click on the buttons to see more fun handwork.

Happy sewing


Sunday, 20 October 2019

RSC 2019 Bow-ties is a finished top!

For the Rainbow Scrap Challenge Angela gives a colour and participants all over the world make blocks in that colour from their scraps. This year there is also a sampler; some of the block instructions being given by Angela, and some by participants themselves, resulting in a different tiny block each week.

This year I decided not to make the sampler, but to make bow-tie blocks inspired by a quilt published last year in "Make Modern" issue 22. I was particularly struck by the effect achieved by this layout.

This will be a lap quilt or possibly a baby quilt as it measures 48" by 54".

Here are some detailed photos.

Each coloured fabric occurs only once, but I had to repeat some of the neutrals.

Double Dutch Bee mates: can you spot some of the fabric from the uglies table in here? There are at least two!

I'm linking to

SoScrappy and  Quilting is more fun than Housework

Click on the buttons to see more rainbow scraps. 

Happy sewing


Thursday, 10 October 2019

Finish Along 2019 Q4

This is my list for the Finish along in the fourth quarter of 2019. As usual rather optimistic, but several items are nearing completion.

1.   Overlapping Octagons - for the UandUQAL hosted by Sujata Shah. The challenge is to reproduce a quilt from a photo in Roderick Kiracofe's book, "Unconventional and Unexpected, American Quilts under the radar". I have about one quarter of the quilting done.

2.   Pullover - The sleeves and neckline are done; I'm now weaving in the threads.

3.   Bow ties - inspired by a pattern in "Make Modern". My 2019 project for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge
(The mistake below has now been corrected!)

4.    For the Boys - pattern by Jen Kingwell, published in her book "Quilt Lovely". This I will start as soon as the Overlapping Octagons and the Bow Ties are finished.

5.   Dwellings - appliqué wall hanging - pattern by

I'm linking to Sandra at Studio Sew of Course: 
Click on the button to see more projected finishes.

 Happy sewing


Friday, 4 October 2019

Rainbow Bow-ties

My project for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, hosted by Angela at Soscrappy, this year has been bow-ties. I read yesterday that the colours for October are black, grey, and brown, so I decided to call it a day (or perhaps that should be year) and have started putting the quilt together.

webbing in progress

the last two columns waiting their turn

I first sewed all the blocks in column 2 to those in column 1. Then I added the blocks in column 3, and so on. On the table are all the blocks up to and including column 7 joined with vertical seams.

On the design wall are columns 8 and 9, here still waiting for the last two blocks but otherwise ready to be added to the rows on the table.

The next step will be to sew the horizontal seams which should go easily as the blocks are already attached to one another.

Ha,ha, look what I just found:

The last three blocks in each of the last two rows have somehow got twisted! Unpicking in progress! I hadn't noticed until I got to that point with the next column. One block I can understand, but six!

I'm joining:

Click the buttons to see more patchwork.

Happy sewing 


Thursday, 3 October 2019

"Circles" is finished!

Circles is finished?

Well, it's labelled, quilted and bound, which usually means finished, right?

I made these blocks several years ago in the Quilty 365 project, hosted by Audrey at Quilty Folk: one circle each day,  appliquéd onto one square. I chose to do needle turn appliqué, which I'd never done before. Finally I've got 180 circles together in a quilt. I stopped making the blocks in the middle of August that year, and have got a box full of appliquéd circles waiting for another project.

But now, every time I look at this quilt I think it needs quilting inside the circles. I started quilting it that way last year, but it was impossible to get through the "made fabric" with all it's seams.

This circle, for instance, has twenty one different pieces of fabric in it. Twenty one in a 3" circle! What was I thinking?!

I've thought that tying those circles that are too thick to quilt might be a solution. I'll give it a try. If that works I'll quilt the flatter circles by hand.

The blocks might look rather strange: some tied, some quilted. Too bad!
Not just yet, however, I have to wait for the inflammation in my right shoulder to subside.

Meanwhile, it's a finish!

At the end of the week I'll be linking to
 Click on the button to see more finishes.

 Happy Sewing 


Wednesday, 2 October 2019

October's goal

September left without my realising it and without achieving my goal to quilt my "Overlapping Octagons" for the UandU QAL.

All was going well until inflammation in my right shoulder put pay to machine quilting two weeks ago. Although the shoulder is less painful now and I'm sewing again, I haven't dared to try quilting. It was probably heaving the quilt through my machine that caused the injury in the first place.

So far I have quilted about two thirds of the vertical blue sections. I've been using a quilting ruler and foot for the first time and there are lots of imperfections. I can live with them; you have to start somewhere! Once the vertical sections are finished I can start on the horizontal and then the red squares; let's hope I get this finished this month!

My goal for October is to finish my Overlapping Octagons.

I'm linking up to 

Click on the button to see more October goals.

Happy sewing