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, 20 December 2017

Time to Reflect on 2017 and Look Ahead to 2018

I wrote a list in February of UFOs, WIPs and new projects.  What progress did I make?

My list at the start of 2017
Works in Progress
Carol’s friendship quilt
Hearts and Flowers 2
TQS 2017 BOM
Daisy’s quilt
Passacaglia quilt
2015 Quiltmania Mystery Quilt
Hexi wallhanging
Gem quilt
Phoebe quilt
Rambling Ways
International Miniature Quilt Exchange
...and a list of projects to start
Waiting to start
Etoile Rouge 2017 BOM
Quiltmania 2016 Mystery quilt
Amish II Nancy Rink Quilt
Diamond Hill by Esther Aliu

So...what progress did I make IN 2017?

Works in Progress
Carol’s friendship quilt -FINISHED
Hearts and Flowers 2 - FINISHED
Daisy’s quilt - FINISHED
Passacaglia quilt - NO PROGRESS
2015 Quiltmania Mystery Quilt - NO PROGRESS
Hexi wallhanging - NO PROGRESS
Gem quilt - FINISHED
Phoebe quilt - NO PROGRESS
Rambling Ways - TWO BLOCKS DONE

...and my list of projects to start

Waiting to start
Quiltmania 2016 Mystery quilt - NOT  STARTED
Amish II Nancy Rink Quilt - NOT STARTED
Diamond Hill by Esther Aliu - ONE BLOCK ONLY DONE
What else did I make IN 2017?

Sampler quilt - half finished
Prim Log Cabin and wool scrap wall hanging - FINISHED
Roman mosaic test piece - FINISHED
Two Inktense bird table mats - FINISHED
Feathered star swap mini quilt- FINISHED
Two inktense postcards for swap - FINISHED
Prim crow quilt - FINISHED
Project Linus Gem Batik quilt - FINISHED
Large feathered star pieced and waiting to be sandwiched and quilted.

CONCLUSION - This was a worthwhile exercise as I didn't think I had done much at all this year.  I will try to review my 2018 plans each three months to see if this helps.

2018 Plans

WIPs and UFOs carried forward
TQS 2017 BOM - HALF COMPLETED - sewing machine
Passacaglia quilt - NO PROGRESS - hand work
2015 Quiltmania Mystery Quilt - NO PROGRESS - hand work
Hexi wallhanging - NO PROGRESS - hand work
Phoebe quilt - NO PROGRESS - mix
Rambling Ways - TWO BLOCKS DONE - hand work
Etoile rouge - 3 MONTHS DONE - sewing machine
Quiltmania 2016 Mystery quilt - NOT  STARTED - mix
Amish II Nancy Rink Quilt - NOT STARTED - sewing machine
Diamond Hill by Esther Aliu - ONE BLOCK ONLY DONE - hand work
Should I start anything new when so many projects are partly done? 

Priorities for 2018 - first 3 months

Sewing machine
Finish large feathered star quilt
International Miniature Quilt Exchange
Etoile rouge - 3 MONTHS DONE
Hand work
Hexi wallhanging - NO PROGRESS
Rambling Ways - TWO BLOCKS DONE

Review progress at end of March 2018

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Fun with Inktense Pencils

I signed up for a Christmas postcard swap with the FB group UKQU Postcard Swaps and made two.

I used my usual method of ironing the cotton to freezer paper before starting to colour.  This stops the fabric from moving while you colour or paint.  It also protects your table surface once you apply fabric medium and start to blend colours.  I trimmed and backed the pieces with Timtex and them free motioned  - I hesitate to say thread painted as I used the thread sparsely, using black thread.  Lastly I fused some white cotton to the back of the card and used a zig zag \ satin stitich around the edge.  I hope the recipients will like them.

I so enjoyed making the Christmas robin postcard, I thought I'd have a go at a wren and a kingfisher.  Once they were painted, I didn't really know what to do with them.  I decided to make table mats from them.  It is such a bonus when you can find coordinating fabrics in your stash!  These were a lot of fun to make and didn't take much time.  I completed the wren first and then decided I wanted to make a bit more effort with the kingfisher, so got my ruler foot out.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

What to do on a Dreary Day

I have been having fun painting on some pfd white cotton.  The designs are by Jacquelynne Steves, from her Art of Home Club.  I used Jacquard Textile Color paint in a palette limited to 5 colours.  I have always admired the traditional folk art on canal barges in the UK and chose my colours as a nod to those cheerful, happy barges.

I'm thinking of adding sashing around each block and then, maybe adding an outer border painted with some of the garlands on the blocks... maybe slightly enlarged.  I'm not sure yet.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Busy, but not much to show

It was all hands on deck to finish the Billings quilt before the Hawkinge Patchwork Show.  I am so happy with it after more than two years in progress!  I also managed to finish my Roman mosaic test piece.

 I learned a lot from the process of making this small piece.  I have always wanted to make a Roman mosaic quilt and when I saw a youtube video showing Cheryl Lynch's method, I just had to try it. 

I printed out my source pattern fish on paper in colour - A4 size. I taped it to my light box, and then removed the backing from a piece of Steam a Seam Lite and carefully taped it on top of the source photo, tacky side up.  I found it easiest to use scissors to cut up small pieces of fabric in my chosen colours.  I then uded pointed tweezers to position the mosaic pieces onto the fusible.  I love the Steam a seam as it is so easy to reposition the fabric pieces due to the tacky surface.  When all the mosaic pieces were in position, I removed the fusible from the light box and fused the piece with a hot dry iron, covering the piece with a teflon sheet.  Very important:  I waited until the fused fabric had cooled before trying to separate it from the backing paper.  If the piece didn't come off the backing paper as a single sheet, I reapplied heat and then waited again until cool.  I then placed the piece on my backing fabric and fused again. I love the fact that the backing fabric can be seen between the mosaic pieces.  The background fabric becomes the 'grout' between the mosaic pieces.

For the mosaic braid border, I used standard Seam a Seam and I think it worked better, as the fabric sheet was somewhat sturdier and easier to handle.

I placed a sheet of tulle over the top of the mosaic fabric, and used a layer of wool wadding and backing.  I only quilted the piece very lightly.  I'm not certain that the tulle is needed, as the fused fabric is pretty sturdy, but - better safe than sorry!

I hope I get the opportunity to tackle a larger project.  I took lots of photos of Roman mosaics in Italy a couple of months ago, so have plenty of source material.

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!

Friday, 24 February 2017

A New Year, but Slow Progress

This is my first post since October due to flu and a new pup.  On January 1st, I made a list of projects still unfinished:

Works in Progress
Carol’s friendship quilt
Hearts and Flowers 2
TQS 2017 BOM
Daisy’s quilt
Passacaglia quilt
2015 Quiltmania Mystery Quilt
Hexi wallhanging
Gem quilt
Phoebe quilt
Rambling Ways

...and a list of projects to start

Waiting to start
Etoile Rouge 2017 BOM
Quiltmania 2016 Mystery quilt
Amish II Nancy Rink Quilt
Diamond Hill by Esther Aliu

I've decided not to do the 2017 Quiltmania Mystery quilt this year.

It is the 24th February and progress has been slow.  I have two finishes.  Carol's friendship quilt is finished and has arrived in the US OK.  I tried out a faux piping binding this time. 

I finished my second version of the Hearts and Flowers Quilt.  I really enjoyed making the first version in Moda Fig Tree fabric scraps and wondered how the same quilt would look in reproduction fabrics.  Again I have a lot of scraps, so didn't need to buy any fabric.

I made the melon blocks a little larger, increased the width of the middle appliqued border and added an extra star to each side of the outer border.  This version ended up a little larger than the original. In addition, I added a narrow flange instead of the piped border in the original.

I have also made a start on the TQS 2017 BOM.

...and a start on the QAYG Etoile Rouge blocks

Diamond Hill Block 1 (added March 1st)