Tags: english paper piecing
So, there’s the Olympics going on in Sochi at the moment, which is one of the few occasions where I will spend an extraordinary amount of time in front of the TV. And since I’m incapable of holding my hands still, the long-running hand-sewing project I posted about a few weeks ago is making more progress than expected. Getting some traction there was my official plan for the Olympics, so I did some preparation beforehand:
I finished up the sample I made so many years ago:
I appliquèd the pattern pieces to the original background fabric I will use on the big piece. I was unsure if that would be successful because of the pointy edges, but it went surprisingly well. I also tried out the yarn I found for quilting. I’m using the old couching trick again, with a black cotton knitting yarn that has some added sparkle. The effect is nice and subtle.
Then, at the last weekend at the studio with my quilt group, I tried to finalize the arrangement of the pattern:
When I got home, I plunked down in front of the TV and got to work. To my big surprise, I just took the last stitches on assembling all the pieces, with the Olympics only half over! Things do sometimes go faster than expected, although the usual case tends to be the other way round.
So, the next step will be to appliquè the big piece onto the background. I’m thinking to remove at least part of the paper in the middle of the piece first, in order to see how it really shakes out and to avoid puckers. Question to the experts: good idea, or bad one?
Tags: 2014 Challenge
So, last week left us with a finished top. Next step: quilting. As I wanted to replicate the strong graphical pattern of the original fabric, I knew a simple black machine quilting line would not give me the effect needed to achieve this. So, I remembered a cone of ribbon yarn a friend gave me quite a few years ago:
The yarn forms a narrow, flat strip, perfect for couching. I’ve done something like this in another challenge project, so I knew I could get the effect that I wanted using this. I consequently started to quilt my top, using a zigzag-stitch to sew down the thread. I added some additional lines, and then quilted all the lines of the pattern:
Here’s the back, so you can see the quilting pattern a bit better:
And finally, here’s the finished project:
Here’s a detail so you can see the quilting a bit better:
That was a fun challenge, for sure! I’m currently working on a couple of very different projects, so I think I’ll dive into one of those for next week’s post!
Tags: 2014 Challenge
So, looking at the strong graphical patterns of the fabric, I though it would work out well to use a magnified section of the pattern as a patchwork block. Some drawing and fiddling later, I had this:
Since I liked what I saw, I started making the other eight blocks needed part by part. Starting with the easy things, the quarter-sqared triangles:
Followed by the squares made from irregular triangles:
You can already see that I had to be pretty economic in my use of the black and white fabric, since there was so little of it, but I managed somehow.
The half circles:
And from that, the completed half blocks:
Combined with the smaller squares from above, I got eight blocks:
Adding the test block back in makes 9 blocks, which can be arranged into a 3*3 pattern:
Looks pretty dramatic and captures the fabric well, I think. Since this ended up being a bit smaller than the required 40*40 cm, I added a narrow white border:
It’s now a bit too big, so some of the border will be cut off once it’s quilted. We’ll look at that next week I think, this post does have enough pictures already!
It has quickly become a tradition that my quilt group does a challenge each year for the next exhibition. During our yearly exhibition in November we’ll choose the parameters of the challenge, and then we have time till the next one rolls around to come up with something. This year, my challenge quilt was finished less than a month after the exhibition, I just couldn’t help myself. I even remembered to take a few pictures of the process, so I’ll share those with you during the next weeks.
But for today, the challenge. We each got a piece of this fabric:
The piece as shown is about 15*55 cm in size, which is all each of us got to work with, since the seller of the fabric didn’t have any more than that.
- Finished size of quilt: 40*40 cm
- Additional fabrics allowed: plain black, plain white and one additional colour.
- The challenge fabric must be clearly visible on the front of the quilt.
I have to admit that I was very happy with the choice of fabric, and I was part of the small group that chose it. I’ll show you what I did with it next week. So, what would you do with it? Any ideas?
For inspiration, here’s some previous years’ challenge quilts of mine:
They’re quite different from each other, I think. So how will this year’s look like? Find out next week!
Tags: english paper piecing, Islamic Pattern
Way back in 2010, I wrote about my samples using an islamic pattern taken from an object in the V&A collection. With the dark blue quilt long finished, I haven’t written anything about the paper pieced quilt since then. It has not been forgotten, but I did run into a couple of snags on the way. Apart from that, hand-sewing is slow, and this has been almost exclusively a travel project over the last years.
But I’m slowly getting somewhere now, so, progress!
This is the currently finished pieces laid out on a tentative background fabric. The big circle in the upper left is already assembled. Very, maybe too colourful for a whole quilt, and I’m running out of the yellow fabric as well. So, plan B is in order.
The tentative title of the piece is “Crumbling Beauty”, and the idea is to not cover the whole area of the quilt, but let the pattern gradually run out towards the lower right, with smaller pieces here and there left, while most of the tiles have already fallen off, like a mosaic that’s slowly falling apart. I’m thinking of a very dark blue for the background fabric, but haven’t been able to acquire just the right fabric till now.
Wandering around Greenwich on my trip to London a few weeks ago, I also ventured into Queen’s House, lured in by a poster that had of all things something fibery on it! And my eyes weren’t deceiving me. There’s currently an exhibit by Alice Kettle at Queen’s House, named The Garden of England. It’s still running till August 18, 2013, so if you’re in the area go ahead and have a look, it’s free! It’s a small exhibit, just four or five pieces, but it seems to have left an impression on me, since my mind has been wandering around making flowers lately.
Flowers have long been a favourite motif for all kinds of needlework, so I started to rummage in historical needlework books. First, my favourite source, Project Gutenberg’s Crafts Bookshelf. Since I want to create free-standing flowers, to be applied to a larger piece later, I skipped the embroidery books and landed on the Bath Tatting Book. On closer inpection it turns out that the first three doilys presented there have a small flower as their basic unit. Just what I was looking for!
I then realized that my last tatting projects were long enough ago that I had forgotten how to make the knots. Another favourite to the rescue: the Encyclopedia of Needlework has the clearest tatting instructions I’ve ever come across. Half an hour later I was up and running. Here’s what I made:
What I did not expect just from looking at the pictures and a cursory readthrough of the instructions, was that the flowers are actually three-dimensional. I started with the rose shown in the middle. Here’s the doily it comes from:
On the left there’s the cornflower from this doily:
On the right is the sorry attempt at the chrysanthemum from this doily:
I’ve currently given up on that one. There’s a lot of picots and not many double knots holding them in place, so they tend to turn round or vanish when you’re not looking. Even after looking closely, in the current round I’m never quite sure if I’m tying to the correct loop, since those are loops I already tied to in the previous round. And there’s lots more of that kind of stuff coming when creating the spirals on the outer edge of the flower. I think the result would be stunning, but I’m not quite sure if I can pull it off. I may try to pick it up again in a few days or so.
For a few years now, my quilt group has issued a challenge to make a small (40*40 cm) quilt with a common fabric (or theme) for our yearly exhibition in November. You can read about my contributions for previous years in their own posts: 2012, 2011, 2010.
This year’s fabric was chosen after quite a bit of discussion, but it won on the merits that it definitely isn’t boring, and we were sure to get a lot of radically different quilts:
As usual, everybody got about 25*55 cm worth of fabric. On the left, that’s my piece, and on the right one I had borrowed to get more of the repeat. Those are big color repeats on the fabric, each individual piece shows only part of the repeat, and since my plans included extending the pattern into another fabric, I needed to trace the part of the pattern I didn’t have in my piece.
While a few of my quilting friends cut the fabric into very small pieces, so the flowers aren’t visible anymore and only the colour impression stays, I decided not to cut up the fabric at all. I wanted to show the pattern in as big a piece as possible. So, I transfered the tracing onto a piece of dark purple fabric:
then I ironed both fabrics onto some iron-on batting, so the pattern continues from one to the other:
Machine quilting the whole thing took quite a while, despite its relatively small size. I used an orange machine embroidery thread on the purple, and a rather subdued green on the Fassett fabric, since it definitely didn’t need more colour. Here’s the back of the finished quilt, where you can see all the quilting.
I added an orange strip as a border between the two areas, and finished the piece as a pillow cover, which I think would be a great use for it after the exhibition.
I enjoyed making this piece, and I think it does show off the fabric nicely.
WordPress just informed me that this blog is seven years old as of yesterday. I couldn’t believe it at first, so I went looking at the archives. Of course, they’re right. I wrote my first post on May 17, 2006. This was followed by the first quilting post on May 20 of the same year. You can read the rest of the story by delving into the archives yourself, so I thought for today’s post I’d go a bit farther back.
While cleaning up my CD-Roms a few weeks ago, I found pictures of my first patchwork projects from a backup that was dated 2004:
I’m not quite sure, but I think this may be my very first attempt at patchwork. It’s a Christmas doily made from a kit I bought at the Kreativ Welt Wiesbaden, which is where I first contracted the patchwork virus.
And this is a table runner I made for my Mum for Christmas 2003, as well. It’s paper-pieced, and the pattern was printed in Patchwork- & Quiltjournal September/October 2003.
While I don’t seem to get around to posting as often as I used to, I still like to share what I’m up to in my textile adventures. I’ll try to get back to posting a bit more regularly!
When I first went to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham back in 2008, I was amazed about the wealth of needlework supplies available that I’d never come across before. The products available certainly didn’t stop at patchwork and quilting supplies, there were booths for all other kinds of needlework as well!
I found myself attracted by the vendors with different kinds of embroidery kits, and circled back time and again to look at the pretty packages on offer. While I generally like to design my own projects, for learning new things I find it useful to start with a small kit. So, after a bit of contemplating, I ended up with a stumpwork kit from the Coleshill Collection. And now, after almost five years (oops), I finally finished the project:
What took me so long, you might ask? I started the project soon after returning from Birmingham, but got distracted somewhere along the way. When I wanted to get back to it after a while, I realized the fabric had acquired a smudge that would be visible in the finished project. At that point, I started to feel very reluctant to work on the project, since I couldn’t be sure I’d be able to remove the smudge. This is not the kind of project you can wash afterwards! So, it got carefully put away and pretty much forgotten about.
At the beginning of this year, while trying to clean up my craft room, I found the bag with this project again. I realized that I needed to get the smudge out right now, or I’d never finish it! So I went and carefully washed the spot in the fabric with some ox-gall soap, and to my delight, after the fabric was dry again, no trace of the smudge was left! I then started working on the project regularly, and just a few weeks later, I was all done! I damp-stretched the finished embroidery, and now I only need to find a square frame to put it in, which might be difficult. But I’m really happy this is finally done, and I do like the result!
The folks over at Botanica Mathematica have started an art project that’s right up my alley: illustrating mathematical concepts through needlework. I found them through Ravelry, where there’s a group to coordinate things.
Technically this is a perfect binary tree, since all the levels are completely filled. Of course there could be other versions, where not all branches are present. This would also be nearer to a natural growing tree, since nature tends to be messy. The important part so it stays a binary tree is that at each intersection, the branch splits in two.
Naturally other types of binary trees are knittable as well, but if you want the smallest branches to have always four stitches, calculating how many stitches to cast on and how to split can get a bit more interesting. To illustrate, I drew a few examples:
To the left is the perfect tree, this is the one described in the original instruction. The tree in the middle has three levels on the left side and four on the right. The tree on the right is even more sparse. You can easily calculate the number of stitches starting from the top: The last branch always gets the number “4″. When two branches meet, the branch below gets the sum of the stitches of the branches meeting. Repeat till you’re at the trunk, and you know how many stitches to cast on.
Those concepts are really fun to play with, I’m very tempted to do another one! As if I didn’t have enough projects on the go as is.