Wonky Hearts and Advice Please

Having finished sewing the ditches on my quilt I’ve started the decorative quilting. I decided on a combination of heart motifs and what I think is called stippling, aka scribbling in thread.

I’ve completed the centre. The hearts are sadly, but not surprisingly rather wonky.

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I’ve also quilted one of the four borders around the centre, but I’m wondering about the other 3, which is where I need your advice.

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They’re so thin, I’m considering not quilting them.  Here’s another pic with none of them quilted…

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What do you think? Any ideas on what to do if I don’t leave them unquilted?

Bekki x

Quilt Sandwiched – Thoughts on quilting please

Although my lovely quilt savvy friend is incredibly busy at the moment, she spent an hour and a half yesterday crawling around my bedroom floor helping me glue my quilt back and front to the batting.

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So much easier to put a giant quilt together when their are two of you and also great to have someone to make sure I got it right with my rusty memories of how to do it.  The only downside was that we were so engrossed working on it and in having a quilty discussion, I forgot to take any more pics until we’s rolled it up ready to carry downstairs to my sewing room…

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Today I’ve been stitching in the ditch around the patchwork seams…

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Still a way to go, then I’m going to do some more quilting, but I’m not sure what. So I thought I’d ask if anyone has any quilting patterns/motifs they’d like to suggest. I’ll probably ignore you, but you never know.

Until next time,

Bekki x

Patchwork Progress

Finally – almost two years after I started it – I’ve finished the patchwork for the top layer of my quilt.

Last time I showed you it was looking like this…

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The final border was made up of six inch squares. It took quite a while laying them out and ensuring the patterns were evenly spread and no two patterns that were the same touched…

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I then numbered ever square, because every time I do chain piecing I manage to mix the order up.

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Pleased to say I managed to keep them in order and they’ve all been attached now.

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Next I need my lovely lovely friend to help me put the quilt sandwich together – far to big to do on my own – and I don’t mean this lovely lovely friend…

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Until next time

Bekki x

Patchwork Progress

One of the many reasons I returned to blogging was because posting about what I’m doing helps me notice my abandoned projects and makes me ask if I really want to complete them. One project that has been abandoned and I definitely want to finish is the quilt I started in April 2017.

The last time I posted about my progress on it was in May 2017. I’d just finished the middle section, attached a round of squares and had sewn two 12 patch blocks for the next round…

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Sunday before last I took the patchwork out and discovered that somewhere after May 2017 I’d completed 8 more 12 patch blocks. I then pieced together another ten smaller 12 patch squares before I ran out of time.

Patchwork

Determined to get it finished soon, I picked it up again last weekend and added corners to the smaller squares to make finished the blocks.

 

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Apologies for the photo quality

I then lay it all out on the bed to work out which blocks to sew to where…

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I managed to sew the rows of  blocks for the sides together, before I again ran out of weekend.

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I’m setting myself the goal of finishing the whole quilt by the end of March and telling you lot about it, so I can’t sneak it back into a cupboard and forget about it for another year or two.

Until next time

Bekki x

 

 

 

 

 

Progress on my goals for 2018

Bet I’m not the only one saying ‘Wow! That month went quick!’ And since January’s come to an end, it’s time for me to review my progress on this year’s goals. Here’s how I’ve done…

Make a gift a least once a month on average

I made two gifts last month, one a two dog crochet hook/pencil case..

Dachshund Dog Crochet Hook Case - Pencil Case

Continue reading “Progress on my goals for 2018”

Third Time Very Lucky – Philippa Naylor – Applique Workshop

CowslipI’ve tried to master hand sewn applique twice. Both times my efforts have ended up in the bin or the recycle stash. However, back in January, I was browsing through Cowslip Workshop’s 2015 programme and spotted a two day machine applique class on the 2nd/3rd July. That sounded more like it – no trying to sew down dainty shapes with my huge fingers, plus the speed of machine sewing.

Cowslip have some really top notch tutors – so I took no notice of who the tutor was, signed up and forgot all about it. But as July drew near, I discovered the tutor was Philippa Naylor! If you haven’t heard of Philippa, check out her website here. She really is a superstar quilter.

The list of course requirements was long – although I did already own most of it. Packed up the night before it took up most of the kitchen table.

I admit a lot of this my stash of fabrics - easier to leave them all in their boxes and know you've got all you need than shuffle through deciding.
I admit a lot of this my stash of fabrics – easier to leave them all in their boxes and know you’ve got all you need than shuffle through deciding.

Philippa started the first day by talking about threads and needles. I knew the basic theory, that the higher the number the finer the thread and that good thread is smooth while bad thread is sort of hairy and fills your machine with fluff.  But Philippa also explained the different properties of cotton, rayon and polyester threads, while we stroked them and snapped them, which made it all so much clearer.

Our first exercise was turned edge applique. This was something I’d tried before – with little success – but Philippa explained how often to cut the darts in the seam allowance, what shape they should be and where not to cut them. Simple tips like this, coming from a wealth of knowledge, made a big difference, although I definitely need to keep practicing.

Turned Edge Applique

Next we moved on to circles. Philippa introduced us to nifty perfect circle templates and showed us how to gather our circles to create a perfect applique circle.

Perfect Applique Circle

Our third exercise was an applique heart. Philippa told us that cutting it on the grain made for a more manageable piece, showed us where to snip into the seam allowance and how to baste so we didn’t end up with that annoying tuft at the top of the heart.

Applique heart

After the hearts, we cut out and played with bias strips, both straight and wobbly.

Joined bias strip Wobbly bias strip

Our final exercise of the day was rouleux loops. They were a bit tricky to turn, but in the end we all managed to.

Rouleau Loop 1 Rouleau Loop 2

On day two we tackled decorative stitches. Philippa first talked to us about threads, stabilisers and tension. Our first exercise was satin stich edged applique.

I cut out my two practice squares, adhered them to my background fabric, changed my presser foot and threaded my machine. And that’s when the trouble begun. Whatever I did, I couldn’t get a satisfactory satin stitch.

Tension Trouble

We moved on to how to satin stitch around curves. After the demo, Philippa helped me bodge an almost satisfactory stitch, but using a bobbin thread that in theory was far too thick. Everyone else started working on satin stitching curves while I did a little on my squares.

Satin Stitch

I then almost caught up by stitching part of a circle.

Satin stitch definitely not perfect yet!
Satin stitch definitely not perfect yet!

Fortunately the lovely Bernina machine lady from Quilt Direct was at Cowslip that day and bless her, she spent the whole lunchtime playing with my machine. Although she could get a satin stitch with a fine bobbin thread, the long and short was my machine needed a trip to the sewing machine hospital.

After lunch we learned blanket stich edging. The trick here was to pivot at the right point in the sewing sequence.

Blanket stitch applique heart Close-up Blanket stitch Applique heart

Finally Philippa talked to us about free motion stitching and we had a quick play at that before it was time to go home.

Philippa sent us away with the message to just spend time playing, exploring and improving the techniques we’d learned. Unfortunately, due to my poorly machine being taken away in the Bernina ambulance, I’m still itching to do that.

All in all, I would say that this was one of the best workshops I’ve ever attended. Philippa didn’t just show us what to do, but shared a multitude  of tips and tricks that made our work so much better.  Philippa herself had a wonderful common sense attitude, put everyone at their ease and helped build confidence when we wobbled. Her explanations and demonstrations were really clear, she kept us moving at a cracking pace – which personally I loved, but if you like to learn really slowly might not be for you. She was also hugely encouraging.

Philippa Naylor Workshop

Overall I had two days of great fun, great learning and great value for money (£110 for two full days – including cake to die for. Oh crickey! Did I not mention the cake before? Oh yes, there’s always is the most scrummy cake with your cuppa at Cowslip Workshops. Can’t believe I left that out. Can’t believe I forgot to take a picture!)  Anyway, back to the point, I’d definitely recommend Philippa’s workshops – in fact I’d be tempted to sign up for one even if I didn’t want to learn what she was teaching.