25 February 2014

Goldwork Bird a little progress...

I was back at embroidery class yesterday afternoon after the half term break. I am still working on my goldwork bird, I really like this design, but embroidery is a very slow process which can be frustrating at times! I have decided that it doesn't matter if I don't finish this by the end of this term, I can continue to work on it at home; it is important to me that I enjoy stitching it, learn some new skills, and I will actually finish at some point!
I have finished one side of the first pomegranate and plunged the gold passing threads to the back, I do find this part of the process difficult :(
I appliquéd some felt on to the suede body of the bird as a base for the Goldwork collar she will have; I have decided it must be a female bird with those eyelashes!
I started work on the tail feathers, a mixture of stem stitch in silk; couched gold rococco thread and my favourite - silk wrapped over stretched purl, couched in place
I also learned another new technique - block shading, similar to silk shading/thread painting but you deliberately work in blocks of colour without blending; I did find this quite hard as it was difficult for me to get a nice smooth edge, another technique that I need to work on!
I think one of the reasons that this is such a slow project, is that most of the stitches/techniques I have included are new to me, and so I have to be shown how and then practice before I can work on this piece. If nothing else, I should have learned something by the end of it!

22 February 2014

Double Pinwheel and Churn Dash

The next couple of blocks went together very quickly. I rotary cut the pieces and machine stitched them.

Two Double Pinwheel blocks...
and two Churn Dash blocks...

20 February 2014

Machine Piecing with Freezer Paper Templates

The Poppie block on the GTSB quilt has several sharp skinny points; normally I would hand piece a block like this, but as I am trying new things with this quilt, I decided to machine piece it using Freezer Paper Templates.

The first step is to photocopy the pattern onto a sheet of Freezer Paper. I like the Jenkins brand as it is heavier and feeds through my printer easily.
Double check the block is the correct size, before carefully cutting out the pieces; I like to mark the pieces that will be cut from my focus fabrics with a coloured dot, the others will be cut from my background fabric.

Iron the FP templates to the wrong side of your chosen fabrics
Cut out the pieces, adding a 1/4" seam allowance to each side of your shape as you cut; I also trim the long skinny points to 1/4"
Lay out all the pieces wrong side up in the correct order, I promise they will fit together!
Leaving the FP in place, use it to help you match points and line up your pieces
Using the edge of the FP as a guide, stitch the pieces together. I shortened my stitch length a little (1.8 on my machine) Make sure you don't stitch through the FP! Press the seams open.
Leave all the FP in place until you have completed the block, it will help to stabilise all the bias edges.
Remove all the FP and press again from the front
I decided to machine appliqué the flower head in place, I cut a donut shape out of some fusible web and then buttonhole stitched around the edge on my machine

EDITED: Thanks Margaret for reminding me that using this method produces a block which will be a mirror image of the original; it does not matter in this case as the block is symmetrical, but if you are trying it on a different block, then remember to make a mirror image of the pattern before you start.

19 February 2014

Orange Peel and Flower Applique

In the evenings I have been stitching on some of the appliqué blocks for The Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt. I am using the starch and glue method of appliqué; you can find my tutorial HERE This is the first time I have tried appliqué this way and I do like it for these simple shapes; the preparation takes a bit of time but the stitching goes fast :) Once I had finished stitching, I soaked the blocks in soapy water for an hour or so before rinsing and pressing, that got rid of most of the starch and glue. I also plan to wash the quilt once it is completely finished.

These are the Orange Peel Blocks

and the first of the Appliqué Blocks

18 February 2014

Garden Paths

I used a combination of hand and machine piecing to complete the three Garden Path blocks for my GTSB quilt. I am still really enjoying making this quilt, I love the bright 1930's style fabrics, and all of the different block styles.  I try to work on it a little every day and I hope to keep the momentum up! It will be a lovely summer quilt when it is finished (I am just not placing bets on which summer!!)

07 February 2014

Goldwork Bird

Remember this box of beautiful silk and gold threads?
They were intended for a new Goldwork Bird design; a learning piece for this term's embroidery class.
The class has been running for three weeks now and I finally have some progress to show! There is a lot of quite boring preparation for Goldwork before you can get to the fun bits!
The bird has a felt padded, appliquéd red suede body...
The branches of the tree have been embroidered with raised stem band, a new stitch for me but one which I will definitely use again, as it is very easy to stitch and gives a nice padded effect.

I have started some of the Goldwork, the pomegranate has been padded with felt and I have started couching down the gold passing thread.
The centre is laid work in silk with a gold silk trellis, I added a small gold bead to the centre of each diamond shape.

04 February 2014

Hexagons and Lozenges

I have finished hand piecing the hexagon block, it is amazing how much you can get done while 'watching' TV! I ended up needing 54 hexagons instead of the 30 odd called for in the pattern as mine are 1" not 1 1/4" I am quite happy with how they turned out, and it meant I got to include even more of these fun fabrics...

I will definitely use THIS method again.
I also finished the two lozenge blocks
I decided to machine piece these from squares, which worked out much quicker than making templates.

Each block is made up of four units. For each unit I cut one 3 1/2" square and two  2" squares
I drew a pencil line diagonally across each of the smaller squares
and carefully lined up the corners and then stitched on the line
pressed the small square over
and trimmed the seam allowance to 1/4"
I then did the same on the opposite corner, chain piecing the units to speed things up even more
The units were joined in pairs and then fours to make the two blocks needed