Saturday, 10 August 2019

some pale blue bow ties

For August the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is pale and bright blue. I only had two pieces of pale blue large enough to make these two 6" blocks.

They look so washed out, and that isn't because it's raining so hard the whole world looks washed out from here, but because there isn't enough contrast between the pale blue and the neutral fabrics (and the weather doesn't help!). Maybe I'll only have two representatives of pale blue in my quilt.

I have some bright blue, but I used that in the "dark blue" month.

Are the two blocks on the right of the bottom row "dark blue" or "bright blue" ?

I also have these blues:

which I would have used in June, but find the print too big for these 6" blocks. They are bright in my opinion, but the print is still as large as it was in June!

And finally, still hot from the iron, my first 4.5" unfinished shoo fly block for the 2019 L&E challenge:

I'm linking up to: 

SoScrappy   Quilting is more fun than Housework

 Click on the buttons to see more scraps at work.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Happy sewing


Thursday, 1 August 2019

One montly goal for August

This month I hope to make progress on quilting my Circles Quilt, made during the Quilty 365 QAL hosted by Audrey in 2016. I didn't make 365 ( i.e. one a day) circles, as I ran out of room on my design wall in the middle of August, and decided it was large enough. Up until then I had been adding circle to square using the needle turn appliqué technique every evening. The first, on 1 January 2016, took me 3 hours to complete; the last, on 17 August less than half an hour. Practice makes perfect! and quicker!

180 4" (finished) blocks joined in three sections ready for quilting.
Photo from August 2016.

As the circles are all appliquéd by hand I decided to hand-quilt it too. It's taking forever! That's not really surprising as I've only being working on it one evening every two months at the Bee meeting. So far I've only quilted a dozen or so blocks.

although I did stabilise the quilt by machine quilting in the ditch first.

So this month will see a blitz on this quilt. Let's hope practice makes perfect in the hand quilting department too. It's rather too warm at the moment to sit with so much fabric on my lap but I intend to persevere, if necessary sitting on the balcony with the weight of the quilt on the bench next to me. At least the light is good there.

I'm linking to

Click on the button to see more August goals.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 27 July 2019

The last of the pink.

July has been in the pink for the participants in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. In just a few days Angela will reveal the colour for August.

In attempt to use some of the scraps in my stash I made these ten pink bow-tie units:

Each unit finishes at 6" square. Most of them were made as Leaders and Enders, but yesterday I cut off the bonus triangles from the last four and put those bow-ties together. Now I'm wondering what to do with 1.5" unfinished HSTs. Any ideas?

and these are just the pink ones!

I'm linking up to

SoScrappy    Quilting is more fun than Housework

Click on the buttons to see what other people are making.

Happy Sewing


Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Clam-Up Pouch

 finishalong logo 125px

This is my second finish for the 2019 Q3 FAL, and the third on my list. My projected list of finishes can be found here.

I started the Clam-Up pouch at a workshop at Quilters Palet in The Hague. The pattern is by By Annie. I almost finished it at the workshop, did a little more when I got home, and then left it to mature for ten days before sewing down the bindings on the inside by hand - 15 minutes work at the most! I think it's a useful pouch, one that really opens wide.

It has a light fabric for the lining; I really dislike bags, of any size, that have dark linings: I can never find anything, and what you really need is always right at the bottom in the darkest cavern.

I shall be linking this to 

finishalong logo 125px

at the end of September.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 20 July 2019

Overlapping Octagons is a top!

In January I started making this following a suggestion by Sujata Shah. I've forgotten where I first read about it, but immediately found it intriguing. The U&UQAL uses the photos in Roderick Kiracofe's book, "Unconventional and Unexpected, American Quilts under the radar." This book is a history of lesser-known American quilts from the first half of the twentieth century; there are no patterns just excellent photographs. Every participant in the QAL chooses a quilt from the book to copy. The puzzle is to work out from the photo exactly how the quilt was constructed.

While we know from the notes that the original was pieced by hand I chose to piece using the machine. Not a fast task as only the strip sets could be pieced easily. Assembling the octagons requires y-seams everywhere. I did wonder near the beginning if piecing by hand might not be faster, but persevering with y-seams has paid off, and I got both faster and more accurate.

My plan was to use 19th Century reproduction fabrics in red and blue and finish that stash. Unfortunately the reds were largely almost brown and didn't contrast enough with the blue, so I introduced flashes of other colours from the scrap bags to liven things up! When I finished those blues I had to use other, modern fabrics, and added modern reds too.

I tried hourglass blocks in the small squares between the red centres, but wasn't happy with them: they detracted from the octagon effect, and they made for excessively bulky joins. Removing them made it possible to continue the last strip into the triangle which gives less bulk, and enhances the octagons. Hourglass blocks would have made quilt assembly more straightforward, but they were giving a sashing and cornerstone effect - emphasising the squares, and not the octagons. More photos of the process can be found in my posts to A Basket Full of Scraps

Now I have to decide on the quilting, and having pieced by machine I think I'll quilt by hand. I would like to try doing Baptist fans, spaced fairly widely, maybe as wide as 1". But first I have to reduce a few wobbles in the piecing:

The joins above and to the right of the dogs in this photo are just refusing to lie flat. I will try pressing them again so that they do lie flat, and then sew along those creases by machine. If that fails I'll try by hand, and otherwise rely on the quilting to fix it. Not very scientific!

Have a good weekend.

I'm linking this to:
Needle and Thread Thursday        Quilting is more fun than Housework        
Click on the button to join the party.        

Happy sewing


Monday, 15 July 2019

Two crocheted cuddly toys

 finishalong logo 125px
This is my first finish from my FAL list for 2019 Q3.

For my new-born twin grandchildren I wanted to make something special. They are no longer new-born but seven months old and the toys are only now finished! I hope they haven't outgrown them already.

The pattern is a free one from the online yarn shop Hobbii based in Denmark.

I had a problem with the hats. The pattern suggested finishing off with a pom-pom but in my experience babies (and toddlers) pull pom-poms apart and eat them! I don't want to be responsible for that kind of mishap! It took me quite a while to think of an alternative that could be safely anchored. Now they have a sort of rosette in a contrasting colour to cover the finishing hole at the top of the hat. They don't have mouths, so they won't be answering back!

I shall be linking this post to

finishalong logo 125px

at the beginning of October

Happy sewing, and crocheting


Sunday, 14 July 2019

Finish Along 2019 Q3

My list for the FAL in the third quarter is:

1. Crocheted cuddle cloths 

 This looks finished, but only one arm is attached. And then there is the one for her twin brother!

2. Sweater for DH 

 Just needs sleeves and the neck ribbing

3. Clam-up pouch

 I only have to sew a binding down on the inside.

4. Sewing machine cover

using these blocks:

5. Cats and Dogs wall hanging

 - secret sewing -

6. Overlapping Octagons

All the vertical columns are joined, as are columns 3 and 4 to one another. Here is a detail from columns 3 and 4:

I'm linking up to Sandra Jansen at Studio Sew of Course for the FAL Q3 planned finishes link up.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 13 July 2019

Rainbow Scrap Challenge pink in July

A short post this week on just one topic!

Each month Angela posts a different colour and this month she has chosen pink.

pink bow-ties
I'm not making the RSC sampler this year, although I like the blocks, but making the same blocks, bow-ties, each month. I have four more pink ones in various stages of completion waiting next to the sewing machine; I'm using them as leaders and enders.

I'm linking up to

Quilting is more fun than HouseworkSoScrappy

 Click on the button to see more scrappy  (pink) delights.

Happy Sewing


Saturday, 6 July 2019

Rainbow Scrap Challenge, Summer Sampler and Clam up

My scrappy theme this year is bow tie blocks. I didn't get much sewing done at all in June as I was away for most of the month touring Eastern Europe, visiting cities that for most of my life were not accessible. I had some knitting with me as I've found knitting is very good at distracting the back-seat driver in me!

The last two weeks I caught up on my Rainbow Challenge blocks for June  (dark blue):

Even though I've never been to the United States some 4th July fabric has crept in there! I received it several years ago in a giveaway, and am gradually using it. I think that's it for blue this year, and I'll move on to pink this weekend.

I've also joined the Summer Sampler QAL  hosted by Lee Heinrich but couldn't start until I returned from my travels. Over the last two weeks I made four blocks

1. Spring Fever: Lynn Carson-Harris

2. Pixelations: Lee Heinrich

3. Curious Crossing: Krista Hennebury
5. Rope Twist: Amy Friend
but am still four blocks behind schedule.

Thursday I attended a workshop at QuiltersPalet quilt shop in The Hague to make a Clam-up pouch.
I didn't finish because my 35 year-old Bernina Nova refused to sew through two layers of foam plus the zip and four layers of quilting cotton! Not surprising really. My Bernina 404 managed with some difficulty, even when using the walking foot. Now I just have to finish some hand sewing on the inside.

Looks finished, but there's still a binding to sew down!

This was my first time putting in a rounded zip. Although I've made lots of pairs of trousers in the past, they have a much more gentle curve. This I found tricky, maybe due to the machine's difficulty in getting through so many layers of fabric, but I think to my inexperience.

I'm linking to 


 Click on the button to see more rainbow projects.

Happy sewing


Thursday, 20 June 2019

Two new blocks

Recently I joined Comfort Circle of Do Good Stitches. This group of quilters in The Netherlands and the UK (as far as I know - my apologies to anyone from elsewhere) work together via the Internet to make quilts for charity. The Queen Bee decides to which charity the quilt of her month will go.

This month's blocks are 12" Circle of Friends blocks and were requested by a member in the UK.

I sent my contribution to her in Liverpool yesterday.

Yesterday was the worst day ever for taking photographs: far too wet and windy to take them outside, and fearfully dark and gloomy indoors. The background is off-white low volume, and the colours are really vibrant. I think they will fit well with the other blocks now being made.

Happy Sewing


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Overlapping Octagons and Y-seams

For the UandUQAL organised by Sujata Shah I am reproducing the Overlapping Octagons quilt from Roderick Kirakofe's book, "Unconventional and Unexpected". I haven't done much to it over the last few months; this is the present state of this lap quilt.

I have made octagons with red centres surrounded by predominantly dark blue strings.  With this choice I aimed to use up most of my blue and red Civil War reproduction fabrics, and with the red I succeeded and have added more modern reds, but the blue were all so dark I soon started introducing flashes of other colours.

At present they're not overlapping, but I have more red squares cut, and here I've positioned them where red squares will go in the final design.

I am pleased that the overlapping octagons have now emerged.

The octagon blocks have Y-seams at each corner, and inserting the second set of red centre blocks will involve more Y-seams. I wasn't happy about this at the beginning, and so tried making hourglass blocks in the corners, as shown here:

This is one of two hourglass blocks I retained, before I gave up on them. At each of  the corners of this hourglass block five fabrics come together making very bulky seams which I couldn't get to lie flat.

Doing Y-seams, however, means joining only three, which will lie much more easily, especially if the last string in the side panel continues into the corner triangle, as here below.

Sorry about the fuzziness!
In this corner above, one of the four string sets ends in a separate triangle; this is one of the string sets I originally joined to an hourglass block. I rejected that method because of the lack of continuity between the string set and its triangular ending as well as the bulkiness of the join.

There was only one thing for it: Y-seams. I dreaded the thought! Now I'm becoming an expert! Practice makes perfect, they say, and I've had a lot of practice! The secret lies in:
  1. starting sewing the seam at the opposite end to the Y-join,
  2. stopping two stitches before the point of the join and backtracking a couple of stitches. That unsewn space gives you some room to manoeuvre.
  3. starting each seam four stitch lengths further than the join, stitching back two stitches to fix the seam and then stitching the seam further until two stitch lengths before the point and backtracking two to fix the seam.
The mistake I made when I first tried Y-seams was to start at the point where everything came together. It's very crowded there! Much easier to keep your distance from everyone else at the party. Approach slowly and stand still when you're close enough. After following a tutorial from Mary Huey on sewing tumbling blocks, it was plain sailing for me! Mary illustrates the process with lots of excellent, clear photos.

Happy sewing