I've now been quilting for three and a half years. This blog is my personal quilting diary, that charts my progress (and occasional regression) from the start. I use it so I can look back at my past projects...and hopefully see my skills improve!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

After Two and a Half Years...

I have finally finished my 'Daisy' quilt - otherwise known as the Hertfordshire Quilt, pattern by Carolyn Konig.  The pattern is inspired by the Billings Coverlet in the UK Quilter's Guild collection.

About three quarters of the quilt was hand pieced.  Parts of it are well-travelled, as little baggies of cut shapes, needle, thread and scissors travelled with me on every holiday.

I made some changes to the outer border.  The original had 2200 small honeycombs to be English paper pieced.  I used my Sizzix to cut the honeycombs.  They are larger than the original pattern.  I English paper pieced each motif and then appliqued it to the border background.  This reduced the number of honeycombs to about 600.

I machine quilted in the ditch over nearly every seam in the quilt.  None of those hand stitched seams are going to fall apart.  I did some stipple in the outer and one other border.  With a quilt this busy, fancy FMQ is a waste of time, as it wouldn't be seen.

I had an awful time trying to photograph the quilt.  It is 101 inches square.  In the end I moved the dog's bed out of the kitchen (much to her concern), stood on some steps and managed to get most of the quilt into the photo.

I also pieced the back.  I had a palampore in my stash that I used in the centre.  I didn't want to cut it up, so was happy to use it on the back of this one.

I have always loved Roman mosaics and am working on a small piece using tiny pieces of Northcott Stonehenge fabrics.  This involves fusing the pieces onto a fabric backing, then covering with tulle and securing it all with free motion.  I am presently working on a braid mosaic border.  This is a test piece and I hope to make some larger pieces using photos I took on a recent trip to Italy...if all goes well.

Happy quilting! x

Sunday, 23 July 2017

On a Roll

I have managed to make good progress on Daisy's quilt over the past couple of weeks.  Only two more borders to go.  I have started cutting the pieces for the penultimate border - over 500 pieces.

At the same time, I have started preparing the honeycomb pieces for EPP in the outer border.  The pattern calls for about 2200 pieces, but I am going to EPP the coloured pieces and then applique them to a background border - hopefully saving some time.  The nice thing about the EPP is that I can work on it in the evenings and at patchwork group...and there is a LOT to do for that last border!

Happy quilting, all!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Sometimes It is Better NOT to Know

I got out my 'Daisy quilt' on Wednesday.  I haven't worked on it in AGES - because small pieces of fabric, needles and a naughty, nine month old puppy are not a good combination.  I am hoping to complete this prior to the Hawkinge Patchwork Group show in October.  I am working on the 6th border and it feels like the quilt is getting large, so I must be over half way? 

I took a look at the pattern, and so far, I've hand pieced 1836 pieces...

My jaw dropped when I calculated how many pieces I have yet to sew - another 4960 pieces!  The outer border alone has 2212 pieces, including 1540 elongated hexagons.  This is a wake up call.  I am now thinking it might be finished for the show in two and a half years time.  Sometimes it is better not to know.

The photo below is of the original Billings coverlet that Carolyn Koenig used as inspiration for her pattern in her book, Creating Heirlooms.

Happy quilting, all!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

One Step Forward, Two Back

I've had a very unproductive week so far.  It is one of those weeks, where everything I touch seems to go wrong.  It is frustrating as I have a lot of projects I could be getting on with...but I feel like I have lost my confidence.  I know this is silly, but there you go.

Last week was good.  I managed to make good progress with the Etoiles Rouge block of the week.  I managed to do some catching up, by sewing and quilting 12 blocks - so I am now only 6 weeks behind.  I thought a while before taking on this project - not because I thought the piecing was beyond me, but because I was worried about quilting such a large quilt - there will be 49 blocks.  I have managed to quilt large quilts before with my tiny harp space, but it isn't fun.  This is the first project I have tackled as QAYG.  So far, I am happy.  There is something about knowing I haven't a huge quilting job to face at the end that is making the project more enjoyable.  I will probably wait until next week before sewing more blocks as I will then have all the block patterns for another full row. 

I have signed up for the International Miniature Quilt Exchange being hosted by the Quilt Show.  I have been paired with a lovely lady from Colorado in the US.  I think it will be fun and will give me the challenge of working on a small scale.

Happy quilting, all! xx

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Having Fun with Textile Paint

Three weeks ago I started a Textile Printing course for beginners- only 10 hours over 5 weeks, but a taster of a range of printing techniques.  The first week we made foam stamps.  In week 2 we worked with linocut and this week we started screen printing. It's all fun but messy (I seem to be able to get paint into places that should be impossible!)  It is so much fun, though.

I love autumn leaves, so decided to make a practice piece using a Sizzix die to cut out the foam for the stamp.  I discovered that acrylic blocks used for rubber stamps are great for self adhesive foam stamps.  The glue can be removed with surgical spirit, making the blocks reusable - unlike wooden blocks.

I applied Jacquard Textile paint in a variety of colours to the block with a foam brush and using a dabbing motion.  Once the leaf was dry, I used the cut out of the leaf as a stencil to apply a small amount of Lumiere Gold with a stencil brush.  Too much fun...even if I manage to get paint everywhere!

The border is a batik I've had in my stash for three years.  It is a fabric I have looked at many times and thinking 'What was I thinking when I bought this??!!!' It is SO ugly!  It is perfect for this, though...so it just goes to show how wrong I was!
Happy quilting!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Fun with Scraps

I have discovered I have more fun playing with scraps than making quilts from patterns.  Maybe it is the serendipity of not knowing what I will end up with.  I wish I was super organised - one of those folk who plan everything out, choose all their fabrics, cut all their pieces and then progress in an organised fashion.

I have tried being organised with the pieces for the semi-circular flying geese border for the TQS 2017 BOM.  I chose all my fabrics and have cut them out...and they are presently sitting there is a box waiting to be pieced.   It is definitely more efficient to do things this way.  A lot of the time I don't have a pattern to follow from and make my decisions 'on the fly' - very inefficient.  Maybe the issue is that I can't discipline myself to plan, as I want to get on with the sewing.

Can good things come from chaos?  I'm not sure...but I'm having fun, and that will have to do for now.

I have a very large stash of scraps...and the stash keeps getting bigger and bigger.  I realised that I had only ever once made a log cabin block, back in the day when I took a Patchwork for Beginners course.  I thought it was time to have another go.  I didn't have a pattern, and only intended to make one block, so would use scraps.  As it turned out, I ended up making 4 blocks, and then using more scraps in a very simple pieced border.  The centre looked rather bare, so I delved into my stash of wool, cut out some shapes and appliqued them by hand.
The result is below:

Happy quilting!

Thursday, 6 April 2017


It has felt good to finish a project.  This is only the second finish so far this year.  The quilt top was pieced last year.  I prevaricated about whether to all an additional border or not...and then, somehow, it just got forgotten.  Anyway, no extra border.  I'm not sure whether the flange along the edge of the quilt was worthwhile.  It meant that the binding was machine sewn to the back of the quilt, and I just could not get the mitres as neat as when the binding is machine sewn to the front of the quilt.  It is done and it's a bright, cheerful quilt.  I do like the pattern.  I adapted it from a pattern on the Moda Cookshop blog. 

I kept the quilting basic.  I used a ruler to quilt 3 lines around each jewel.  I then FMQ'd pearls between the first and second line.  Everywhere else I used a medium stipple stitch.  I used Hobbs Polydown wadding, which gave a nice puff to the coloured blocks.

I finished the third part of the TQS 2017 BOM, The Halo Medallion.  Month 4 and 5 involve a LOT of tiny flying gesse in semi-circles.  How bad can that be?  I guess I will soon find out.  I love the accuracy of foundation paper piecing, but at the same time find it a little tedious which is odd as hand applique doesn't seem to have that effect on me.   I wonder if it is because I have to concentrate when doing FPP, (otherwise I end up doing a lot of unpicking) whereas I find applique relaxing.

I am making very slow progress on the sampler quilt, applying little wool flowers and leaves to a border.  This may have been a big mistake, as I have no experience working with wool, let alone tiny wool pieces!  I am happy with the look, I just hope my sanity survives it!