Challenge 2017 – Fall Jewels

April 30, 2017 at 8:48 am | Posted in Patchwork | 4 Comments

Every year, my quilt group issues a challenge to make a small 40×40 cm quilt using specific materials. We show the results in our yearly exhibition. Here’s last years entry.

This year, I was a bit stumped to start with, and took a while to come up with an idea for this:

Challenge 2017 - Materials

There’s some gorgeous-looking but hard-to-work-with blue velvety stretchy fabric, which I had already stabilized with some iron-on interfacing in the picture. Then there’s a nice ribbon in a kind of olive colour, and a button. There were different buttons to choose from, I spontaneously went for the leaf.

So, what to do with the loot? The blue fabric, while it looks and feels lovely, is not very patchwork-friendly. In addition, turns out there’s not very much of it, which killed my first plan. At the end, I took the leaf button as the topic and central point of the quilt:

Challenge 2017 - Finished

The idea was to show the gorgeous colours of fall leaves lying on a lawn. The panel in the middle was made with English Paper Piecing, leaving a hexagonal hole in the middle. I then prepared the backing and batting, layed the dark blue fabric – two strips for the sides and a hexagon in the middle – on top of it and attached it with a couple of seams. Then I put the panel on top, securing it on both sides where the ribbon would be attached later. Everything else I secured with the free-motion quilting. First I did leaf forms on the fall-coloured areas, and then meandering for the background. In hindsight, I think the thread I used for the meandering is a bit too strongly coloured, especially on the pale tiles. After quilting, I hand-stitched the ribbon on top where the panel overlays the blue background. From the colour scheme, this will fit nicely into my living room, so I finished it as a pillow cover, which is a nice use for those 40×40 cm pieces.

I’m leaving you with a detail view of the quilting:

Challenge 2017 - Detail


Seven Sisters – a leftover challenge

April 16, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 4 Comments

Last year, our quilt group went away for a weekend retreat for the very first time, and we managed it so everybody could come! To mark the occasion, one of our members, who tends to end up with all the leftover material for our raffle quilts, collected all the leftovers, made 14 nice packages out of them, and we drew lots to choose from the packages. I got a pretty early number, and from all the packages still there at that time, here’s what I chose:

Seven Sisters - the Leftovers

I immediately fell in love with the paper-pieced stars and the colour scheme. But, what to do with them? The challenge was to use our package to make something for this year’s exhibition, coming up in November. After a while of having the pieces laid out and thinking back and forth, I decided to make a tablerunner. I’d have to add a few stars and quite a bit of background, and I was lucky again that the same friend who set the challenge still has about half a bolt of the background fabric, so I could get some from her. Otherwise I’d have had to be very creative. As it was, it just was quite a bit of work, since I wanted to mix the differently coloured stars up, so I needed to disassemble the blocks first before I could sew them together again. I learnt quite a few tricks about English paper piecing that way – and the fact that there are quilters that sew so densely that it’s almost impossible to get the pieces apart again, while with others you just have to look at the seam sternly and it will fall apart on its own.

So, here’s the table runner ready for this year’s exhibition (I even already attached a tunnel):

Seven Sisters - Finished Tablerunner

I decided to quilt spirals in the dark hexagons, so the stars could pop out even more:

Seven Sisters - Detail with Quilting

Oh, and you’re interested in how the original raffle quilt looked like? I was as well, since this quilt was from 2005, when I wasn’t yet involved with this group. It took quite a while, but after repeated asking one of the members found a picture she took back then, so here it is, and you can see exactly where my leftovers came from:

Seven Sisters - Original Raffle Quilt (2005)

TV Sewing

February 16, 2014 at 11:33 am | Posted in Patchwork | 3 Comments

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:

Finished Sample

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:

Crumbling Beauty - Layout

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?

Patchwork the Slow Way

January 13, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Posted in Patchwork | 3 Comments
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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!

Crumbling Beauty 1

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.

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