Bee, Myself and I #18

The hand quilting continues…

Here’s the latest progress. As you can see, I have the next four hatbox blocks hand quilted as well, and the top row done.

I have not been too idle. I can get a block sandwiched, basted and quilted in an evening if I work on it all evening.

Mostly I don’t manage that (especially with other projects going on), and get it done over two evenings.

I outline the hatbox and its lid first. Then I echo quilt around it.

Lastly I pick out the fabric design in selected areas, trying to make sure I cover the area evenly but not too densely.

Unpick the basting, and she’s done. I really like how these are turning out. The backs are pretty, too.

Lynn at Tialys is also making a Hatbox Quilt wall hanging. She’s machine quilting hers, so for a completely different effect, click through the link to take a look at where she’s up to.  If her post isn’t up yet, try again later. She’s using Liberty fabrics, so the effect is gorgeous!

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not for anyone else. The original concept belongs to Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl. To find out more, you can click through on either her blog link, or using the button a fair way down in the left hand column.

 

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Sea Glass #12: just the border to go

I feel fully justified in a bit of “tah-daaaa”

All 12 of the large 16 inch windmill blocks are quilted. Yes, my fingers are sore, thanks for asking, but the sense of satisfaction has a wonderfully numbing effect.

Now I just have the border to do. But before I get started on that, I need to repin the border. Working from the centre out is important in hand quilting, just as it is when quilting on a domestic machine. It’s virtually impossible to get pinned layers perfectly smooth and tight as you can on longarm rollers, and I had nowhere suitable to spray baste an 80 inch square quilt. There will always be a little excess fabric in one layer or another, and it’s better if that manifests itself at the edges instead of the middle. Sometimes you can quilt the excess out, sometimes not.

On this quilt, there’s a teeny ridge of surplus backing fabric between the quilted blocks and the rest of the pinning, which needs to be smoothed out and the layers repinned. It’s not a biggie, but it does need to happen before the border quilting starts.

Also before I start I have to think about what I want to put there. It would be a lot easier to mark up without the pins in place, so maybe I have to do that first…

So, thinking cap on, cup of coffee… oh bother, no chocolate!

SAL 51: back again

It’s that time again.

I ducked out last time, a bit too much other stuff going on but here I am again. I’ve managed to get a bit of stitching done, but it doesn’t look much as I’ve also had to do a fair bit of unpicking!

Here’s where we were before:

And here’s afterwards:

There’s a lot of backstitching to do in that strip of lace. I’d done a load of it, and then decided two strands looked bodgy and ugly, so out it all had to come. I’ll be doing the backstitching with a single strand, and then it will look a lot more like lace and less peculiar. There’ll also be another strip on the other side, a different design.

Do go and see what all the others are up to. There are lots of us now, all over the place and in different time zones, so if they don’t have their posts up when you check them out the first time, do try again later.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnn, JessSue,
ConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaKathyMargaret,
CindyHelenStephLindaCatherineMary Margaret,
Timothy, Heidi, Connie

Sea Glass #11: the wind’s four quarters

So, five of the windmill blocks done, and seven still to go.

I’ve been plugging away at this, doing an hour here, a couple of hours there. Each of the windmill blocks is 16 inches square, and it takes about an hour and a half to mark and then quilt them. I’m outlining each windmill and adding a curve to each ‘blade’, and then I’m putting wavy lines in each quarter of the square around the windmill, to represent the wind swirling around the blades of the windmill. It’s actually very soothing, now that the calluses on my fingers have built up enough. The trick is to do a bit each day to maintain them!

It’s beginning to get that lovely puffy texture in the quilted areas. The back looks great too. Soon, I’ll have to think of something to do in the outer border. The same criteria apply: something I can work easily in one or two directions, some-thing that covers space without being too dense and fiddly, and some-thing that works with the design of the quilt and existing quilting.

But first, those other seven squares.

Squishy delight!

Sometimes, it’s bills, sometimes junk mail. And just sometimes, the mailbox contains a thing of delight.

Or in this case, two things of delight. The lovely Lynda of Life on the Farmlet has sent me two really wonderful paper pieced envelope blocks to kick off the commencement of Signed, Tealed & Delivered (ST&D), the next Ovarian Cancer collaborative quilt for their next fundraising event in May 2018.

I’ll be posting a call to action at the beginning of September, to remind all of you who’ve said you’d make a block or two what I need you to make, and if necessary, providing the paper piecing pattern which was kindly adapted to the size we need by Katy Cameron of The Littlest Thistle from her Easter post this year. I’ll also repost the sketch of the quilt to remind people what the design looks like.

What a lovely surprise. It could so easily have been the electricity bill!

Gadget crisis…

I’m beginning to get very frustrated….

My embroidery project is making poor progress right now. I have to thread the embroidery needle constantly, for which I need a threader because it’s two strands of floss and they’re floppy and a bit fluffy, and the needle is a fine one, which I prefer. Currently, my needle threaders are lasting about 2 minutes. The little wire loop that passes through the needle’s eye just pulls right out of the plastic handle. I have run through two packs of three threaders in the last three weeks. SIX threaders. It’s not like I’m being rough or careless, they’re just not robust enough for constant threading.

So, I’m putting the problem out there. Does anyone own a rock solid, cast iron, bullet proof needle threader? Something that’ll thread a fine embroidery needle. And if so, who makes it and where can I buy it?

Please help, before I toss my cross stitch out in frustration 😦

 

An ignominious retreat

Small birds are amazingly courageous.

I’ve often seen a crowd of small and not normally fierce garden birds seeing off a larger potential predator. Today, though, I had to applaud. A pair of Peewees (Grallina cyanoleuca) were relentless in seeing off a large juvenile Brown Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus), who’d wafted down and had taken up a watching post on the neighbour’s fence. He sat there impassively for a while as they swooped closer and closer, yelling noisily all the while, until finally he leapt into the air, clapped his wings hard a few times, and disappeared into the sky to take his hunting exploits elsewhere.

Sorry about the poor focus – I ran in for my camera and fired off a couple of shots but by the time I’d got the thing properly focused he was already away. Brown Goshawks prey on small birds, but will take larger ones if the opportunity arises. They have large, strong yellow legs and talons, a raptor’s tearing beak and mad, staring yellow eyes under heavy eyebrows. You can tell this one is a juvenile because of the heavier brown splashes on the breast feathers. Adults have finer barring on the feathers there. I’m not at all sure I’d want to mess with one myself, so it’s particularly impressive that the Peewees got rid of him.

Routed. And by a pair of noisy clowns!