Thursday, 26 June 2014

Quilt binding for my Triangle quilt

I started on the Triangle QAL what seems like years ago but was in fact in late April. I blogged about it here. Progress has been really slow. I kept putting it on one side firstly because I needed more fabric then because I found cutting out all those triangle a real trial. I starched, then starched again and took my time to make sure I did not stretch the bias. It was not the most enjoyable experience. Two days ago I decided that I WAS going to finish this d….d quilt and spent all yesterday and most of today on my machine. The result is a finished top and pieced backing. What, no photo????? Well, no. I want to keep this one a surprise for my little granddaughter Vivi. We are going up to the Lakes in mid July by which time I hope to have had it quilted.

However I will share the photos of the binding which I am so proud of. I followed a tutorial by Debbie of A Quilter's Table.  Debbie shares my two big interests, quilting (which she has done for 25 years) and cooking, shopping for and eating food. Her quilts are so exciting and she is just about to start running a Postcard Quilt along. I might just join in now that I've all but finished Viv's quilt.

On to the binding. Debbie's full tutorial can be found here but I thought I'd add some photos of my process.

First I lined up 1.5" strips taken from the half width of the fabric with the right ends at an approximate 45° angle. I sewed the strips into a block of about 16 strips. The block was pressed very well with all seams pressed to one side.

The right side was cut to 45° by lining up the 45° angle on the ruler with the first parallel seam.

In order to cut the bias strips I turned the fabric so that the accurately cut edge was to my left. I then cut 2" diagonal strips by lining the 45° angle line with the bottom of the strip and the 2" line with the edge.

The bias strips were then joined by matching the right side of the fabric together at 90° and sewing where I have marked with a pencil line

Once the join has been trimmed at a 45° angle the seam can be pressed open. I pressed all the strip seams to the side. When I had joined all my strips I had 300" of magnificently stripy bias binding as in the top photo.

I have added a 6" border in a silvery grey to my triangles. The backing is pieced in Annali scribble lines in white on light grey with a floral panel from the Sunnyside range. I think the striped binding looks amazing against the silver grey but you will have to take my word for it for a couple of weeks!

I'm linking with Fiona at Celtic Thistle Stitches for New to me in 2014 to show off my lovely stripy binding.

Have to go and get ready for my daughter visiting this weekend with Jacob and Isobel and friends coming for dinner too tomorrow night.


Sunday, 22 June 2014

A Swarm in June is worth a silver spoon

It must be summer. We've had at least seven days of sun here in South Wales which is getting on for a record here. Today has been a scorcher.
The best news of the day so far is that we have bees again. Mike went to look at his hives this morning because he had seen a couple of dozen bees going into his empty hive over the last couple of days. He came back this morning to say he had seen a swarm in the hedge about 30 yards from the hives. Mike has never collected a swarm himself so rang our friend and neighbour Andy for advice. Both men went to have another look and no collection necessary. The bees had found their own way into the hive. A celebration beer for the men and rosé for Carole and I.
‘A swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly’ 
 It was decided that our bottom field was ready to cut for hay so that began this morning. So we will have both a load of hay and hopefully some honey later in the year.

I needed a new challenge on the quilting front and decided to confront my demons. My first attempts at appliqué had been very poor and I needed to give it another go. 

Kerry at PennyDog Patchwork is running the English Country Garden BOM. The patterns are free for the first month of the BOM then available at her Craftsy shop for just less than £1 each. A bargain!
The BOM started a couple of months ago so I had to work on the first three blocks this weekend. The background fabrics are Lynette Anderson Bread and Butter and a fabric from my stash (unknown origin). The fabrics for the flowers are all from my stash so far but I may need to buy some red for a poppy or rose later.

I love the naive simplicity of the English bluebell design. The Sarah Raven book was a present from Mike last year. Possibly one of the best wild flower books I have seen.

Kerry's instructions include a number of ways to appliqué either by machine or hand. I traced the design pieces onto freezer paper, ironed this to fabric then cut the shapes with an approximate ¼"seam allowance. I clipped the curves and used Sewline fabric glue sparingly on the seam to form the shapes. These were placed and pinned on the 12½" block and I used a Mettler silk-finish 50 wt. thread to match the background (col. 725).

The only problem I have had so far has been turning seam allowance on the points without showing any excess fabric from the front. Any tips anyone? I'm just a bit concerned as July's pattern is a hyacinth and I presume the shapes will be like the bluebells but smaller.

The June block is an Iris and I have made a start with the log cabin background and cut the petal shapes for the Iris itself. I might do some sewing this evening once the house cools down.

I have been doing very little knitting or crochet due to the hot weather but I have almost finished a bag I am making from Lucy's pattern at Attic24. It is made with a chunky yarn - Bergère Magic+ in Brebis, Lichen, Colvert, Corail, Petrol and Criquet.  Just the handle to make now and then I will have a bag for my projects.

showing the bottom of the bag
The bag is fairly large so next time I will be following Lucy's pattern for her Jolly Chunky Bag which is smaller and neater. I will be using Lucy's collection of yarn colours in Stylecraft Chunky acrylic from Wool Warehouse which are in her typical bright palette. Have a look at the selection here This should work out a bit cheaper too than the Bergère yarn.

I'm linking up with Catherine at Knotted Cotton for the Slow Bloggers linky and with Janine at Rainbow Hare Quilts for Wool on Sundays. All those of you who sometimes feel pressured to blog need to look at the Slow Bloggers manifesto! Janine has been making the most amazing jointed cloth doll family and there are always lovely project links.

I'll also be joining in the Sew Darn Crafty Linky party when it starts later today

and also joining for the first time
Slow Sunday Stitching
stitch by stitch
Have a wonderful week and keep your fingers crossed that it remains sunny to dry our hay.


***** UPDATE*****
I was too late to join the Slow Bloggers Linky but please check it out as it is being hosted by Martha at Weekend Doings. Talk about SLOW!
The manifesto for the Slow Bloggers though is on Knotted Cotton. Take a peek.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Friday finish

What a week!
I had the most fab time in Dublin with Ros, Sue, Anne and Letitia. It was my first time back in 15 years and it could not have been better. Ros had organised for us to stay at the Radisson Blu St Helens which is a little way out of town but all the better for that. The hotel has been converted from an 18thc country house. Many original features have been retained including marble pillars and staircase in the hall and a musicians gallery in the ballroom (now the sitting room). The gardens were immaculate with a spectacular fountain and beautiful formal flower beds. We ate out at Dun Laoghaire on the coast both nights and had a ball. The days were spent touring Dublin on an open top bus, lunch in Temple Bar, visiting Trinity university, seeing the magnificent Book of Kells and having brunch in Bewleys Oriental Cafe.

On Tuesday I attended a Trapunto class called "Sew it and stuff it" run by Barbara Chainey. More on this next week except to say that it is a technique I shall be revisiting.

So on to the Friday finish. Ta dah!!!!!

It is the quilt I made for Sam using a jellyroll of Hearty Good Wishes by Janet Clare. I blogged about it first here in more detail. I chose a wave pattern for the quilting which you can just about see on the border fabric. This adds a great texture to the quilt as well as keeping to the nautical theme. I've just finished sewing on the label and it is off to it's new home in Wiltshire this afternoon.

I'm linking up to TGIFF which this week is being hosted by Jo at Riddle and Whimsy and Can I get a Whoop Whoop? which is run by Sarah Craig at Confessions of a Fabric Addict If you can hop along to see what is going on. It is a great way of seeing what others are up to.

Have a wonderful weekend (it looks like the weather will be pretty reasonable here in the UK). I am taking the grandchildren to Malmesbury tomorrow for the Malmesbury Living History weekend when the town will be recreating life in the 17th century. Should be fun!


Thursday, 5 June 2014

A couple of very small finishes

I'm off to Dublin this weekend for a reunion with nursing colleagues. We started our nurse training in 1973 at Withington Hospital, Manchester and in 1976 went our separate ways. I kept in touch with a few close friends from that time and last year we met for our 40 year reunion. Ros flew over from Dublin for that event and we thought we would go over to see her this year. A chance for a natter, some sight seeing, eating and drinking.

I've made the FPP butterfly block from last week into a mug rug as a gift for Ros. I hope she likes it.

It has been a funny kind of week and I did not have the time to get out all my quilting stuff so Vivi's triangle quilt is on hold until after Dublin. I decided to finish off my Rainbow Bower bird. This was from a workshop pattern from lovely Lucy at Attic24. I blogged about the workshop here. My workshop colour choices were very subdued. This time I had a go at a more colourful bird which I finished yesterday. The garden was looking very inviting so I let the bird fly! She landed among the Buff Beauty roses.

I also made a start on a crocheted bag from Lucy's pattern. This is made with chunky weight yarn and with a 4.5mm hook. I'm using Bergere de France Magic+ yarn. It is a 50/50 wool/acrylic mix, hard wearing and machine washable. I chose a cream, beige, brown, burnt orange, petrol and dark green. The pattern is very easy and hooks up quickly. I will use the bag for crochet WIPS I think.

I'm linking up to Wool on Sundays  and Needle and Thread Thursday!
My Quilt Infatuation

I'm off to pack my bags and count down until the weekend,