ST&D: postcard progress

It’s not done yet, but the hardest part is over.

I laid the design on my lightbox, and traced the outlines of the drawing onto fabric scraps, which I then cut out and arranged on a fabric backing, ensuring there was plenty of excess around the sides. I photographed this and made a large scale colour printout to help me with placement later. I inverted all the scraps and sprayed the pieces one by one with 505 basting spray in my hi-tech spray booth (aka a large old cardboard box with all the flaps taped out into a sort of tunnel; it keeps the stuff inside instead of all over my sewing room). I then placed them on the backing in the correct order, following the printout. A quick press with a hot iron under a sheet of baking paper to set the glue, and then I placed the fabric rectangle on a piece of tear-away stabiliser, with the stabiliser grain running horizontally, following the horizontal strips of fabric. This makes it easier to tear away afterwards. I basted the fabric and stabiliser together round the outside, and then I was good to go.

Sewing machines all differ with stitch lengths and widths. I did a small test piece on some scrap to see what gave me the best version of blanket stitch. I wanted the stitch that caught the edge of the fabric to be small, and the interval quite large, for minimal visibility. I also decided that life was too short to change the thread colour for every piece, so I selected a pale grey blue for all the stitching.

Once all the pieces were stitched down, I removed the basting and tore away as much stabiliser as I could before passing out with boredom deciding I’d removed enough. I clipped away as much of the fabric layers as I could get my small scissors into (I’ll probably be unable to resist having another go at it later!) and then gave the whole thing a good pressing. And there you have it. My Greetings from Tropical Queensland postcard front, good to go (apart from the embroidered message). The back is a piece of cake, and I’ll have a go at that tomorrow. I’ll show the finished thing when it’s done.

Once this first postcard block is done, I’ll make another and much simpler postcard front for my second block. I feel some hexies coming on, or possibly a scrappy block… I’ll probably also make the postcard front and back sit at different angles for a bit of interest.

Time for a cuppa and a well-earned piece of chocolate 🙂

 

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ST&D: Postcard preparation

For those of you debating how to make your postcard block, here’s how I’ve made a start.

Initially, I thought about doing appliqué for the whole thing, but given the design for the postcard I’ve come up with, I can see there’ll be multiple, multiple layers which will need quilting through, so I’m reserving appliqué for the front of the postcard and the stamp on the back, and all the rest will be pieced. That being so, I feel I’ll achieve the tidiest result if I paper piece the appliqué sections into the background, which will avoid any nasty Y seams. The only thing is that I need to avoid a directional print for the background.

The image shows how I’ve drawn my design onto 12 inch quilter’s graph paper, and then divided the design up into sections A and B, numbering the piecing order. There are registration marks to help line up the two sections when the time comes. I’m going to take this plan and separate sections A and B, giving them both lots of seam allowance around the outside – at least an inch on the outside edges and half an inch at the join. This will hopefully ensure that the assembled block isn’t skimpy. You can always trim off, but not add back on, right? I’ve chosen fabrics that are mainly on the cool side of the spectrum to blend with the mainly teal colour scheme. The background will be cream with a very pale teal batik floral print, and the back of the card will be a mid-teal solid with a dark teal ‘stamp’. The lines on the back will be lines of machine stitching.

Given the slightly kitschy tropical beach scene on the front of the postcard (well, I do live in the tropics, near the beach, so why not?), I’ve gone for a message on the front of the card in the sort of font you see on the older type of postcard. If you want to incorporate a bit of embroidered text of some kind, there’s a website here where you can choose from a limited range of fonts and build a caption or a few lines of text. It’s free. I’d suggest you take note of where it tells you the finished letter height, so you don’t end up with text that’ll turn out an inch high, unless that’s what you want, of course! I haven’t yet decided what colour to do the embroidery. Bright pink’s a strong contender, though 🙂

I’m going to give my stamp a ‘perforated’ edge, like the real thing. Not so fine, of course, but this strip of cotton lace will do the job nicely. I love little details like that.

If this postcard works out well, I’ll try something completely different for the next one, perhaps an abstract splodge of colour like my ScrapHappy blocks, or hexies, or some really teeny weeny pieced blocks. It’s a small space, 7 x 5 inches, so why not go a little mad?

Watch this space for how I get on 🙂

ST&D: Some clarification

Hello, wonderful Ovarian Cancer Quiltmakers.

Some of you made an early start with Signed, Tealed & Delivered (ST&D) and have highlighted something that’s not clear – thank you for the heads-up, and here’s an explanation.

If you print out the 4 pieces of the paper pattern for the envelope block created by The Littlest Thistle and join it together, it’s all in one piece. However, it needs to be separated into two parts to work. The photo below shows how you should reassemble the paper pattern to make things easy. The numbers showing the order of assembly are then much easier to understand.

If you print the pattern twice (at 100%, don’t forget, not to scale), you should have enough spare parts to create the full pieces in both sections. If you click on the image above, you’ll see where I have stuck pieces together with a glue stick. Remember to allow a seam allowance to join the top section to the bottom.

Another question I’ve been asked is whether the envelopes have to be plain and light coloured. The answer is no. If you want to make the envelope dark and the lining light, then do. If you want to make the background dark and the envelope light, feel free. All you need to do is ensure there’s some contrast. The envelope can be patterned or plain, same for the background and envelope lining. Have fun!

In the next few days I’ll be making my first postcard block and will post it so you can see the sort of thing I intend for it. I’ll be making an appliqué version, but if you want to piece them that’ll be fine too.

Have a great weekend, y’all.

 

Signed, Tealed & Delivered: Ready, set…. go!

And here we are again. Time for another Ovarian Cancer donation quilt.

Signed, Tealed & Delivered has a postal theme, as you can see from the original sketch I showed some months ago. The response to my call for block contributors has been outstanding, and I will be emailing everyone who volunteered with confirmation of what they’re making, attaching a pattern if necessary.

As always, the colour scheme is based around various shades of teal and cream, in 100% cotton quilting weight fabrics. However, with this quilt, I’m encouraging the use of other colours in the envelope linings and postcard fronts, to ensure this quilt is lively, colourful and varied. Pink, apricot, orange, emerald, dark blue and lilac are all possible additions.

As you know, there’s a paper piecing pattern for the ‘lined envelope’ blocks, and it’s pretty simple, so shouldn’t present too many difficulties. The ‘postcard’ blocks can be pieced or appliqué (personally, I’ll be using appliqué), and as you can see, there’s a postcard front and a back on each block. I think it would be a lovely idea to put your name on the address portion of the postcard back but not, of course, your address! It could be permanent marker, embroidery, etc. If anyone would prefer not to do this, let me know and I’ll let the others know that it’s not happening, so the blocks are all consistent. How you achieve the postcard is completely up to you, but if you need ideas, I’m happy to offer suggestions. Email me!

The four large envelope blocks in the corners can be achieved with simple piecing of triangles. Finally, there are the centre blocks, the stamp, the frank and the OCA ribbon. I have a brave volunteer for embroidering the frank, and I’ll be doing the stamp and ribbon blocks myself. The binding will be in the ‘airmail’ stripe fabric I sourced previously. I’m not sure what colour the sashing will be this time; I’ll wait to see what the block layout looks like so I can check what colour the quilt is ‘asking’ for.

The sizing follows the previous quilts. The blocks will finish at 12 inches square, and I’d ask you to give me an unfinished block of AT LEAST 12½ inches square, preferably a bit larger if possible. This will ensure that when the blocks are quilted I still have plenty of leeway for trimming out.

Ideally, I’ll have all the blocks in by the end of January, to give me plenty of time to quilt and assemble (I think I need to do something a bit more elaborate than quilted wiggly lines this time!), so hopefully that’s enough time for everyone to get their block or two sorted out. I’ll be posting the incoming blocks as they arrive, to keep everyone’s creativity flowing.

So here we go. Time to start sorting out your teal-ish fabrics, fabulous OCA Quilt Volunteers 🙂

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!

A sneaky Teal

A while ago, I volunteered to test a pattern for Teresa of Sewn Up – TeresaDownUnder.

It was a new design called Win My Heart, a lovely pieced designs with hearts and triangles. I made one change to the pattern, which was adding that strip of floral down the centre to make the quilt just a little wider. I’ve been working on it in the background to everything over the past few months, and I’ve finally finished quilting it. I’m going to donate it to Ovarian Cancer Australia because, of course, I managed to get teal into the name and the fabrics I chose. As well as the teal hearts on the front and the gorgeous teal, pink, peach and yellow floral pattern, it has a pale pink backing and a binding in mostly brighter pink. Despite all that, it’s not too terribly girly.

This is Gonna Teal Your Heart Away.  I made some errors in my fabric choices and when I was assembling and quilting it, so it’s not by any means perfect (or even completely straight!), and doesn’t really do justice to the beauty and clarity of the pattern, but Ovarian Cancer Australia say they’ll be delighted to have it anyway, either as a gift to someone in need, or as a comforting snuggle quilt for someone hearing bad news in their counselling centre.

As always, the label on the back gives credit where it’s due: in this case, to Teresa as the designer as well as me as the stitcher. It also pays tribute to all those women past and present who have suffered from Ovarian Cancer, and by their suffering have contributed to improvements in knowledge and treatment of this silent killer.

Do go and take a look at Teresa’s pattern, which shows not only her quilt but examples of those made by her pattern testers. It’s a beautiful and versatile pattern, and I’m glad and privileged to have been part of the process, especially as it’s made such a pretty quilt for OCA.

That’s it teal-wise for a while. My airmail fabric for ST&D has arrived, but I have an appointment to quilt Sea Glass for my SIL before I touch any of that 🙂

 

Signed, Tealed & Delivered #2: fabric update

Please call off the search!

I’ve located the perfect airmail stripe at Hawthorne Threads in the US, for a reasonable price and even more reasonable postage.

Grateful thanks to everyone who offered to look and send me something, I really appreciate it, especially those of you who’d have to send it a long way 🙂

There has been a brilliant response to the call to action for this quilt. We now have just the following blocks left for which we don’t yet have a maker committed:

  • 9 paper pieced envelope blocks
  • 4 appliqué postcard blocks

If necessary, I can make these up myself, but if anyone out there is debating whether they have time to help or not, you have a while to think about it, as I don’t plan to start assembling till September.

Now for some other news. Katy Cameron of The Littlest Thistle had created a lovely paper pieced envelope block for an Easter post on her blog in April. It was too small to use here, but she has very kindly resized it for us to use for ST&D. If you are making one of the paper pieced envelope blocks and would like to use it, please let me know, together with an email address if I don’t already have one for you, and I’ll send you the pdfs.  A link to the relevant blog post can be found here, so you can see what the block looks like. I’m so grateful to Katy for saving me the trouble of drawing one up myself!

And finally, I’ve just heard from Ovarian Cancer Australia that TWX has arrived safely and they’re absolutely delighted with it.

Well done, you lot!