30 July 2013

Prepping Diamonds

On Friday we will be en vacances in between organising our trip to The Dordogne and fantasising about all the lovely French food and wines :) I have been preparing the zig-zag border for 'Love Entwined' I had planned to hand piece this using Freezer paper and then appliqué it to the centre square, but after reading how Jane has prepared hers, I decided to try Floriani instead of the freezer paper too.

I taped a piece of Floriani fusible to some thin card and printed out the page of diamond shapes from part 2 of the pattern (you need 2 copies of page 27 for this border)

a quick check to make sure they do measure 1 1/2" ...
and I was ready to iron the cut out diamonds to the back of my chosen fabrics. I always save odd scraps, you never know when you can use them - a quilt like this with lots of small pieces is perfect for using even the smallest scraps
I have decided to use a combination of dark reds/pinks and light chintzes for this border, I think choosing the fabrics took longer than the preparation!
Once you get into the rhythm it goes really fast, I am using 40 different fabrics.
I love my rotating cutting board for cutting small pieces like these, I use a 6"  'add-a-quarter' ruler and my small rotary cutter to add the seam allowance to each shape as I cut it out.
I will hand piece these and then appliqué the border to the centre square. Jane has described the next part very clearly in her blog post HERE.
I have no idea how much stitching I will get done, it depends on how much wine I consume :p but I like to have plenty with me just in case!

28 July 2013

Christmas in July

One of the many things I loved about living in Norway (we lived in Stavanger from Dec 1997 - Aug 2000) was the way the Norwegians celebrate Christmas. I learned to quilt in Norway from a wonderful group known as 'The International Piecemakers'. So when I saw the pattern 'Scandinavian Christmas' by Lynette Anderson a couple of years ago, I had to buy it.
Of course I wanted to start it straight away, but I could not find fabrics that would work, I had trouble finding some nice Christmas Reds. Christmas that year came and went and I put it aside. Then two years ago, this time while living in Holland I found the perfect linen, some Japanese Taupes and some French General Reds (and so began my love affair with all things French General!)
I even planned to use the embroidered ribbon in place of the cross stitch. Christmas was fast approaching along with the news that we were on the move again, this time back to the UK. Everything was packed away once more and remained so until last week. Our local quilt group had a 'Christmas in July' meeting; now I normally refuse to think about Christmas until after my birthday at the end of November, but as I had been roped in to help with the demos, I began to think - what if I started a Christmas Quilt in July ?! I might have one made by Christmas - Duh!... I know lots of organised quilters do this already!

So I cut the pieces for the first block, and organised all my supplies etc. Love Entwined is my main focus project while at home, but I plan to work on this at Friday morning quilt group. Who know's if I will finish for Christmas 2013, but at least I have made a start!

23 July 2013

Fussy Cutting & Broderie Perse

Now that my summer visitors have all gone home, I have time to work on part two of 'Love Entwined'. Once I had my basting stitches on the background fabric in place, I appliquéd the compass onto the centre. Choosing the fabric for the triangles took quite some time and I discounted a few before I settled on this one. I would like to incorporate quite a bit of fussy cutting and Broderie Perse in this quilt, so I made a plastic template of the triangle shape and drew on some registration marks, to make sure I cut each triangle from the same part of the fabric pattern.
I like many others, use a vinyl overlay to help with appliqué placement. I traced the centre from the pattern and added the lines corresponding to my basting stitches.

I pin the overlay to my fabric, matching the drawn lines with my basting stitches. It is easy to un-pin a small section at a time and slide the appliqué piece in place using a long satay stick.
I pinned each triangle in place before double checking their position and then thread basting them down. This makes the appliqué really portable! (and no sharp pins to worry about)
Once these were stitched down, I decided to find a suitable fabric for the small flowers. I was thrilled to find a left over piece of Dutch Chintz with exactly ten flowers that I could use for some Broderie Perse.
I have decided to cut a circle around the flower motif and appliqué it like that, the piece is very small and I am worried that I will lose a lot of the detail if I try to cut too close to the flower Let's hope there is something good on TV tonight that I can 'watch' while stitching :)
I find it easier to decide on fabrics one at a time so I have not even thought about which I will use for the larger petal motifs. Looking at it now, I think I will go back and add some more buttons to the centre. I am really enjoying making this quilt, there are so many ways to really make the pattern your own and to end up with something unique.

19 July 2013

Collecting Supplies

I enjoyed the six week embroidery course so much that I have signed up for the next one in September. I have given a lot of thought to my next project and am determined to be a bit more organised this time round :) I bought some paper backed silk that can be run through the printer, I would like to try and scan my grandparents wedding photo and make some sort of crazy quilt wall hanging. While I am figuring out the actual design, I have begun to start collecting possible threads and embellishments - possibly more fun than the actual embroidery! I have bought this pretty box to house them all...

Want to see inside?
Lovely stranded cottons in delicate shell pink and ivory...
Some over-dyed cottons...
Some silks...
perle cotton and silk...
some lace, silk ribbon and spangly bits!
I have to confess that most of this came from my stash, years of cross stitch and hoarding pretty things have come in handy! I will need more silk ribbon for what I have in mind :) Now I just need to work out the actual design!

10 July 2013

Floral Heart

I had my last Creative Embroidery class with Sophie on Monday, I have really enjoyed the six week course and have signed up for the follow up in September. I have learned so much from her and am really pleased with my first attempts at silk ribbon embroidery and goldwork. My head is already full of ideas for my next piece :)

Silk Ribbon is so lovely to work with, I can see another collection starting :)
It comes in the most luscious hand dyed colours...

I also really enjoyed Goldwork, although this looks more like a drunk beetle than a spider :p
Instead of framing this piece, I made it into a lavender filled heart to hand on the linen cupboard door

07 July 2013

The finished centre block

After uploading my photos and writing the hand piecing instructions, I noticed that I had used the wrong fabric for a couple of the small wedges! I had to undo all the appliqué and change them :( I have now finally finished :)

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my tutorials, lots of people emailed me with questions, I have tried to answer you all, but a lot of you are no-reply bloggers, if you are wondering why I haven't emailed you, it's because I can't!

I chose to appliqué my compass onto my background, I want to have the strength of both layers of fabric as I don't intend to quilt this one :)
Step one is to iron a piece of freezer paper to the back of your fabric, this helps to stabilise it. I then drew the outer finished circle with a compass, and then added the seam allowance (my cutting line) I then removed the FP
I folded the circle into 1/8th's and used the crease lines to help line up my compass.
I pinned my compass in place and needle-turned the outside edge, before cutting out the final circle shape.
I decided to use some small mother of pearl buttons in place of the dots.

03 July 2013

Hand Piecing the Centre Compass

In my last post I showed how I prepare my pieces for hand piecing using freezer paper templates. Here I will demonstrate how I sew these together.

Leave the FP on your fabrics until you are ready to sew them, have all the pieces for your block pinned wrong side up on a piece of flannel or a covered board as I have. This keeps everything organised.
Pick the first two pieces to be joined and remove FP, place a pin at the seam intersections and stitch between the seam allowances using a running stitch. I load 5-6 stitches on my needle, pull through and then take a backstitch. It is important with hand piecing not to sew into the seam allowances.
Before you break the thread, check if you can add another piece to the second side of your shape.
Make 1/4 sections, lay the pieces joined back down in their correct position until you need them again
and then join these to form the compass outer ring - leave the last seam open, this will allow you to piece the centre circle more easily
I chose to fussy cut my centre rather than make 4 sections. Use the temple to mark match points within the seam allowance, so you can accurately add the centre circle
When you have finished piecing, your compass will look like this - don't panic :)
Very carefully press the seams from the back in a radiating manner, start at the outside edge and work in - you should be lifting and lowering the iron - Press don't Iron and NO steam!
The finished block
and the back