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!

Friday, 25 September 2015

A New Project is making Progress

After several weeks of indecision, I have taken the plunge and started to quilt my old butterfly tablecloth.  I don't think it is terribly old, as the embroidery is done by machine, but it is pretty and I can only hope I make a decent job of it.  The tablecloth was very inexpensive, as it had a small hole in the middle.  I have fused a small patch of cotton behind it and strategically placed some lace butterflies (another eBay purchase) over the top to disguise the hole.  I used Superior Monopoly to sew them down.

I decided I didn't want to use trapunto for this project.  The stitching twice aspect gives some potential for a lack of tidiness on my part, not to mention the extra work, so I thought I'd try a double batt for this project to see if I like the effect and whether or not it is a viable alternative.  I am using a layer of Hobbs Tuscany wool on top of a layer of Hobbs Polyester.

I have done very little stitching so far, but I am getting a nice puff.  I won't know if I'll get the light and shade I want until I start the background fillers.  I still have quite a bit of blank space around the motifs and edges so will need to break these areas up, before I background fill them.  I haven't decided what stitches to use for the fillers, yet...so I still have a lot to think about.  It would probably be better to work out ALL the design aspects first.  I would probably end up with a more coherent design, and wouldn't have that slightly queasy, anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach!  The irony is that in real life, I am very risk averse.  I look three times before crossing the road, etc...but when it comes to quilting, I fly by the seat of my pants!  Perhaps it's because if I make a bad design decision, no one will die!  :) 

I normally use Isacord for my main quilting, but have decided to use white Superior Bottom Line this time...another experiment.

A corner of the tablecloth

 The first few stitches

The lace butterflies that hide the hole in the cloth

I am finding the design aspect one of the most interesting and most enjoyable  parts of each tablecloth project.  I enjoy the quilting most of all.  I love the purr of my little, old  Bernina 1008 as we stitch along.  It is very therapeutic and a bit compulsive.

Happy stitching, all!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Tree of Life Finished

I have finished the Tree of Life quilt today.

I added one line of echo quilting around the tree and flowers motifs. I decided on gridwork for the centre panel inside the loopy border, with cathedral window fmq using the same size gridwork outside the loopy border.

I used Superior Monopoly in the top and Bottom Line 617 in the bobbin around all the motifs..  I used a fine calico for the backing and for the facing.  I've decided I like facings rather than binding around my quilts.  For this quilt, I cut 4 strips of calico 4.5 inches wide about 10 inches longer than each side.

 I sewed on the calico stopping a quarter inch from each end, leaving 5 inches either end.  I sewed mitres in each corner, trimmed and turned.  I used some strips of Mistyfuse to hold the facing in place, in readiness for sewing down.

I enjoyed the method I used for creating the blocks.  I made a major error when I added the outside border.  I forgot to measure the length of the sides and just pinned and sewed.  I didn't realise I had wavy borders until I had basted the quilt sandwich and stitched in the ditch!  The quilting has reduced the effect, but I'm NOT happy.  I am so annoyed with myself.  The border looks OK, but not great.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Tree of Life Ready to Quilt

This quick project is ready to quilt.  The centre is a panel by Di Ford and Petra Prins.  The pattern is from her book.  I added an extra pinky-red  border, as I used a different method for producing the half square triangles and mine ended up oversize.  I didn't want to cut them down, so added the extra border.  Maybe, I should learn to follow a pattern, but I do feel the need to wing it most of the time.  The windmill blocks used lots of different reproduction fabrics.  The outer border is tan paisley from Collections for a Cause.

The centre panel and some of the lights were too light for my taste, so I tea dyed the entire top.  The photo below shows the partly pieced top prior to tea dyeing.  The quilt top (above) is slightly darker than shown by the photo.  One day I'll learn how to manually adjust the white balance on my camera. 

After all the stitch in the ditch, I will FMQ around the motifs, maybe a couple of echos, then a background fill...not sure what, yet.  I'm not sure how I am going to quilt over the outer border.  I am thinking about adding a facing, instead of binding, around the edge of the quilt.  I'll decide when it is completely quilted.  I am sure I should plan everything meticulously.  I have a habit of doing what I feel like on the day...and I sometimes regret it!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Second Tablecloth Finished

I finished the old tablecloth project yesterday.  Boy, I put in the hours on this project, but I am happy with the result.

This is a close up of part of the central medallion.  I drew it up using Cindy Needham's Ultimate Stencil...so much quicker and easier than my usual method of drawing something out by hand using rulers and round plates and then using a light table!  I know it is daft, but I was so pleased with the little scallops around the centre ...done using one of Cindy's clamshell stencils.  I could never have drawn them all the same size without the stencil.   I added little pearls to anchor the lace inserts - yet another of Cindy's great ideas.

A close up of one of the corners, showing the pretty lace edging.  I used Cindy's grid stencil for marking this out.

It is such a pleasure to be able to extend the life of a rather tired tablecloth and turn it into something I will enjoy looking at and using!

I have another old tablecloth that may be my next project.  It was very inexpensive, because it has a hole in the middle of it!  I will mend the holes and cover them  with  some pretty,  little lace butterflies I have.  At the moment, I'm thinking of using some flower  motifs to compliment the butterflies but at the moment, I am just drawing out ideas on paper.    The butterflies will distract me from the darker, chillier mornings and evenings we are getting now. :(

Happy quilting, all!

Update:  The lovely Cindy Needham has featured my quilt on her blog.  Thank you, Cindy!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Quilting Second Old Tablecloth

I am quilting my second old tablecloth.  I learned an awful lot from quilting the first one.  There are challenges not always faced with something I have pieced myself.  It is usually square for a start!  This tablecloth is posing some new head scratching.  There are lace inserts and lace at the corners of the tablecloth.  Solution: I've backed the tablecloth with pink cotton so the wadding doesn't poke through.  The tablecloth has a slightly scalloped edge.  I am hoping that the pink cotton will give me a straight edge.  I don't want to quilt the lace, so plan to use small pearls to anchor the lace.  All of the above solutions have been gleaned from Cindy Needham.  Thank you, Cindy!  I had a set of her background filler stencils arrive last week, and so far I've used the Ultimate Circle centre template for the medallion motif, the medium clamshells stencil for the medallion surround, the half inch grid template for the gridwork in the centre and corners of the tablecloth.

It is all going very well.  I added some wool wadding behind the motifs for a trapunto effect.  The wadding layer is polyester. The polyester is giving a slightly stiff texture where I have scribble stitched, so I may try something else next time.

I used my Westalee ruler foot extensively for all the straight lines and medallion curves.  It is a godsend!

So far, I've got two borders quilted...two more to go - then finishing and beading.  I'm having the best time!

Happy quilting, all!

Original tablecloth ( had started to mark up the centre)

Two borders still to quilt

Centre medallion

Centre of border