Squishy 3

This morning, the postie brought me another one 🙂

One of the chief charms of the F²F block swap is that when it’s your month, the exciting envelopes and packages just keep coming.  These beauties are from Claire in France, and I really love the fabrics she’s chosen, and the soft colours. I’m the last one on the list, and after 8 months of sending blocks out to other people, it’s just lovely receiving them.

This quilt is going to be lovely. The soft shades of grey and lilac are going to make for a very tranquil and soothing effect. I’ve already started thinking about how it might be quilted.

I really must get on and make a few more blocks for myself!


More squishies in the mailbox!

While I was away, the postman brought me all kinds of lovelies.

First and best was a squishy envelope from Robyn, with three blocks for F²F (Footsquare Freestyle), as it’s my turn this month. Aren’t they fabulous? She’s used beautiful soft colours, just as I asked, and I can tell already that this quilt is going to be A-mazing.






Then there was my birthday present from the Husband. I’d been given the OK to order myself some fabrics from the wonderful Fifi’s Fabricology. It’s not cheap, but they have fabrics and designers I haven’t found anywhere else. Luckily, there was a sale on and two fabrics I’ve been pining for were in it, so I didn’t hesitate.

You won’t see these fabrics in a quilt except maybe as scraps. They’re going to become wearables, whether garments, scarves or whatever. When they’re worn out, then I’ll turn them into bits of quilt! From left to right, they’re Kaffe Fasset Orange flower border, Kaffe Fasset Blue Flower border, both from the Artisan range, and Holly Holderman from the Pam Kitty Picnic range in Periwinkle.

It’s taking me a while to catch up on things now I’m back from our trip. I’ve had piles of legal stuff to do in the run up to the settlement on our new house, and every time I think I’ve got a spare half hour the phone goes or the email pings. Never mind, only a few more days to go.

First things first, though. I’ve got a pair of wings to attend to!

F²F³: In the home stretch

It’s February, so it must be my turn to receive F²F³ blocks 🙂

We’ve had a great session this time round, and every year we do this block swap I see blocks new to me, skills improved and people falling in love with colours they’d never normally use, in the pursuit of creating three blocks each for all the participants. February concludes this third iteration of the block swap, and yes, I’ll probably be doing it again. It’s too much fun to stop! The start and end date depend on how many participants sign up; the minimum is probably 9 (including me) because that produces a useful final total of blocks, but we can do it with more. If you’re new to F²F (Footsquare Freestyle), hop over to the blogsite I set up for it and take a look at how it works as well as the galleries for this and previous sessions. And if you’d like to join in next time, either drop me an email using the details on the Contact Me page on this blog or leave a comment.

I’ve already received the first three blocks; these beauties were sent to me by Lynn of Tialys. The colour isn’t very accurate, I’m afraid; what looks red is actually a beautiful plum/burgundy, and the background of the bottom block is more lilac than pink. I’m not getting very good natural light just now with all the rain and dark clouds north Queensland is experiencing, and this colour change is an artefact of artificial light.

Below, you’ll also see my first block for myself, just to give F²F participants an idea if you’re looking for inspiration or have yet to go shopping for fabrics 🙂 It’s called Box Kite, and was designed by Angela Pingel, from her book Modern Blocks by C&T Publishing, and I really like it.

I’ll also be making myself a Circle of Geese block like Lynn’s but in a very different colour scheme. Lynn obviously knows me very well to choose that one to make for me, as it’s another one of my favourites!

I’ve decided to make blocks in both light and dark shades of the colours I’ve selected (but not real brights), because I know it can be hard to decide what someone means by a colour description when you’re trying to choose fabrics. That way, there can be a scattering of both, and no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’.

Right, on with the foundation paper piecing and never mind the rain hammering at the windows!

F2F3: January round-up

January was Kathy’s month in F²F³.

Her colours were sky blue, a sort of cornflower blue, and gray, from silvery gray to as dark as charcoal, with white as the neutral.

She said: “I don’t see having a dash of other colors in a print being an issue, but would prefer they be more on the cool side. I am seeing the sky blue, grays and white being the main focus with smaller bits of the darker blue. I made a Pinterest board with some photos, here’s the link: https://pin.it/5niixxhyxvfpb3“.

If you want to see all the finished blocks, go to the F²F 2018 gallery here. F²F reference and finished block images are maintained on a separate blog from Tall Tales From Chiconia, due to their image-heavy nature, and the home page is here, if you want to bookmark it or follow it. The galleries are a useful library of colour and block designs, and the previous F²F session is also stored there.

And finally, we’re into the home stretch. February is the last month of this series, and all the blocks are for meeeeee! I’ve chose a palette of soft greys and lilacs: amethyst and slate. The effect I hope to achieve is a soft vintage look, nothing very bright or strong. You can see my colour references at the bottom of the Members/ Colours page here.

Note to all participants: although I’m moving house halfway through the month, I’m requesting that you send the blocks to my current address; we aren’t moving right away as lots of renovation is needed first, and in any case I’ll have mail forwarding in place. If you’ve already changed my address details and want the old address, email me. If you’ve already sent it to the new address, don’t worry, the current owners will put it aside for me till settlement day.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what you all come up with 🙂

ITAA: it works!

It’s been head down and bum up in the sewing room the last few days.

I have the main background panel finished and waiting to have the borders joined onto it. I’ve quilted it fairly densely with wavy lines, but more randomly than I usually do, so it’s a softer, more watery effect. I also have the two long side panels assembled and sandwiched and now one side is quilted.

And I’m delighted to say that the silver quilting is working very nicely, thank you!

I did a lot of tests with tension top and bottom. With the walking foot on, a decreased top tension, Sulky silver thread in the top and cream in the bobbin and a long stitch length, it works OK, so long as you keep your eye on it. The main problem, I find, is with the needle eye. Any trace of a rough edge there and the silver foil shreds off the carrier thread and the whole thing goes to hell in a handbasket (whatever that means). You also have to be generous with the silver thread. You need a long tail to hold onto when you start stitching or the machine has a strong tendency to chew it. But isn’t the effect pretty against the dark blue, in that big puffy layered cloud effect?  It looks lovely on the back too, where it’s cream on cream and you just get the texture.

My plan is to also use this design across the top and bottom, but I still need to work out how to join several repeats of the design. I just drew big puffy cumulus clouds on a piece of card and cut it out, drawing round the edges with a Sewline white ceramic quilt marker, which is my favourite quilt marking tool. I hadn’t considered the need to join the design side to side, so that’s something I need to sort out.

Once I have the two side borders done, I’ll join them to the central background, and then I just have two long strips to finish. “Just”, she says… Once it’s all together and bound, I can sew on the banner and the wings with their shadows. And let us not forget the label and a hanging pocket.

It’s a way off, but I can see the end in sight.

ITAA: that’s better!

Sometimes, the best thing is just to start over.

In this case, not the whole quilt, of course, but the banner that’s been bothering me. And I’m so glad I did, because I’m much happier with the new result.

As well as a new banner, I’ve adjust the layout a little. I picked up Sue’s three blocks yesterday from the new house while we were there measuring up, and they’re gorgeous, as you can see.

They completed the layout, but I did need to move things around just a little to make the colours balance. Below is the new final (for now!) layout of the outer border. I’ve looked at it so much now that I can’t really see it any more, so if you see anything that looks discordant, do let me know.

I do want to keep the TCF logo at top right, but apart from that I think the other five cornerstones can move around if necessary.

Looking at the layout, I’m pretty sure I’ll be needing to make those ‘shadow’ sections from tulle to lay under the wings. They just need to have a bit more dimension, to stand out a little more. Time enough for that later. I’ve cut the backing and backing for the background, plus the reinforcement strips. A bit of spray basting, and I’ll be good to start quilting 🙂

I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing on this hot, windy and overcast Australia Day. To all my Australian friends, stay cool, have a good Australia day, enjoy the cricket/tennis/concerts, or whatever else you’re doing to mark the occasion. 

Speaking of starting over, today is the 12th anniversary of my Australian citizenship, and I don’t regret a second of it. Here’s to the next 12 years!

ITAA: taking stock

Sometimes, you have to accept that something’s not working.

That’s where I am with the banner I’ve made for this quilt. Everything about it is suddenly wrong or too hard, on several levels. So I’m moving on, and I’m going to do something different. Something I can make myself, that doesn’t need embroidering, with the letters set on a straight line. Something that doesn’t jump off the quilt more strongly than the wings. Good. That feels better already 🙂

I’ve bordered all the cornerstones I have, and they’re looking great. The last one, Sue’s heart icon (plus her square border block), has arrived at the new house, and we’ll be picking it up tomorrow when we go over there to do a bit of measuring. That’ll be all of them apart from Lynn’s final border block, which is on its way from France.

Nanette’s last two blocks arrived today, which has allowed me to assemble the back-ground section. With all the blocks in, I could pin the wings in place and see how they looked. A bit of re-arranging followed, to ensure that the wings didn’t blend into the blocks behind them too much. It doesn’t look balanced in its new layout, but it does look perfect when the wings are on! I also have on hand a metre of fine grey tulle which I’ll use to create a ‘shadow’ under each wing, to give extra standout and dimension if it’s needed.

So now, I’m ready to sandwich, baste and quilt this background. Still debating the quilting design… It’s a toss-up between something soft, airy and imagery-relevant (clouds), or something soft, a little less imagery-relevant and forming a more robust foundation to sew the wings onto (wide horizontal ripples). I think I’m going with ripples, I’m worried that the weight of the wings will pull the background out of shape, and a stiffer foundation will be better. I might reserve the clouds for the dark teal border/frame.  Oooh, what about if I quilted the border in silver? Hmm, I foresee some fairly extensive testing ahead!

So, that’s the result of a couple of days of fairly hard looking and thinking. What do you reckon?