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!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Working on my 'Summer' Wall Hanging

A long time ago, I attempted to make the Flowering Urn Quilt by Rosemary Makhan.  Unfortunately, I did not have the skills and I gave up.  It isn't like me to give up on a quilt, but at the time, it was easier to put it in the bottom of a storage box and forget it.

I want to have a different wall hanging for each season of the year - to hang in my sitting room.  I have a Spring and a Christmas wall hanging, so summer and autumn to go. 

I love the Flowering Urn pattern, but don't have room on my wall for the whole quilt, so will just add two borders to the centre block and it should fit just great.

I decided I would hand applique the quilt.  Sometimes it is nice to be able to sit and be sociable while sewing.  Although I have done some hand applique over the past two years, I had never appliqued onto a piece 30 inches square before.  I didn't realise it would be tricky to sew on such a large piece of fabric.  I think in future, I will think twice about undertaking appliquing such a large block.

I wanted the colours to remind me of summer.  I also have a considerable stash of batik fabric, so thought I'd use some bright batiks.  I also decided to use a white background fabric (instead of my usual first choice of cream) to give the batiks a bit more pop.

There is still quite a lot of embellishing to do on the block.  I haven't decided whether to machine or hand embroider the leaves and bird wings.  I still need to embroider the bird legs.  I used a white sequin topped with a small black seed bead for each eye and a double strand of embroidery floss for the tendrils.

The next border is pieced, and then the outer border is appliqued with more birds, pomegranates, leaves and roses. 

I also need to get around to quilting my Sutton Grange quilt.  I've made a start on it, but there is still plenty to do!

Happy quilting, all!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A Couple of Finishes

I have finally managed to finish a couple of quilts over the last couple of weeks.

The first is an old embroidered tablecloth.  I started quilting this one last October.  Initially the quilting was done using a matching Wedgewood coloured thread.  I found that the quilting underwhelming and the motifs were very difficult to see, despite using two layers of batting - one layer of Hobbs Tuscany wool and Hobbs Polydown.  What did I learn?  I should have used trapunto!  The two layers did not allow the quilting to 'pop'.  I used a dense scribble stitch as background quilting.  I found that the coarse weave of the linen top made it difficult to get the effect I wanted.  I put the quilt away for 5 months, but I HATE giving up on a project.  I finished the quilting and used Jacquard Fabric Paint and Derwent Inktense pencils to colour the motifs. I used a different finish at the edges.  I folded the backing cotton to give a quarter inch hem that met the edge to the tablecloth exactly and slip stitched it down.   Lastly I hot-fixed some crystals to add a bit of bling.  I'm still not delighted with the quilt, but feel that I have done all I can with it.

My second finish is a Spring Colours wallhanging.  I am creating several wallhangings using seasonal colours for my sitting room, so I can change them regularly to suit the season.  This was a quick and fun project to sew.  The pattern is by Susan Briscoe and was published in Issue 6 of Today's Quilter magazine. 

I made some minor changes to the pattern.  The original used 2.5 inch jelly roll strips,  I cut each of my strips in half lengthwise, so I have three quarter inch finished strips instead of 2 inch finished strips.  I also decreased the width of the outer border from 7 inches to 4 inches, so that the finished quilt would fit my hanging space.

I have had a Moda Folklore jelly roll sitting in my stash for some time and was beginning to despair of finding a pattern I liked enough to use it.  Susan based her design on the 19th century Hearts and Crosses Coverlet in the Quilter's Guild of the British Isles collection.  I admired the original for ages, so was thrilled to see Susan's pattern! 

The quilting was very straightforward, but time consuming, as I stitched in the ditch over every seam.  The sashing was quilted on my mechanical Bernina 1008, using a Westalee ruler foot and ruler.  I used a variety of fills to give some light and shade in the triangles.  I used Hobbs Polydown batting and am pleased with the 'puff' it has given to the quilt.  I had a few little scraps left, so incorporated them into the binding.

I am SO tempted to make more of these.  There are so many fabrics that would work with this design - scraps, autumn colours, Kaffe Fassett brights or pastels or shot cottons, Christmas fabrics etc.  Increasing the width odf the sashing and adding some applique would also work.  My quilt finished at 58", but as the measurements are given at each stage in the project, it could easily be made larger or smaller.  I LOVE this pattern.