Ovarian Cancer Quilt: TTOF #4

The mail has started to come in!

Today, I received Kjerstin’s block for This Teal’s on Fire. And my word, it’s a stunner. Just look at all those tiny hand-sewn hexies. I could not have asked for more perfect colours, either.

For those who don’t see how painstaking and meticulous the work is, here are detail shots, first of the front:

And then the back. I mean, the back’s almost perfect enough to show on the front, like a textured version.

Kjerstin, thank you so much for your beautiful work on behalf of ovarian cancer patients and their families.

I love this stage of putting the quilt together. Every package is like Christmas!

Ovarian Cancer Quilt: TTOF #3

Number 3 is done.

I like the combination between giant and regular-sized hexies, and it’s also a combination of hand- and machine-stitched. The wheel aspect is a bit more abstract in this one, but I feel the ‘wheel on fire’ idea still comes through clearly.

And now, I’m going to stop until some of the other blocks come through, so that I can see where colour intensity and shapes need balancing across the quilt, and what kind of other blocks I’ll need to make to achieve a harmonious result.

C’mon, Australia Post. Show me what you can do!

Ovarian Cancer Quilt: TTOF#2

… and my second block.

OK, it’s not a New York Beauty, but it sort of made itself, a kind of hybrid Wedding Ring block with prairie points.

I can’t seem to take a straight photo. It’s round in real life!

Next time for the New York Beauty, maybe. Or perhaps something completely different!

I know that there are 4 different sets of blocks already in transit to me, so that’s exciting. My design wall will be filling up soon.

Meanwhile, my work table badly needs a tidy-up!


Ovarian Cancer Quilt: TTOF#1

I thought I’d post my first block, to encourage people.

Not that anyone seems to need it, I’ve had some great responses with news of blocks posted already! The Trudy Crowley Foundation is thrilled that we’re producing our annual fundraiser, so the quilt will be going to a very appreciative audience.

So then, here it is. Block #1 of This Teal’s on Fire. Can you visualise it now? A quilt of teal/cream blocks which have circular motifs, or give that impression, touched with flickers of flame orange. In this photo the background looks dark blue but it’s actually a deep teal. The spikes are pieced, but the majority of the block is appliqué.

I’ll be posting everyone’s blocks as they come in. Next on the agenda is a New York Beauty block, which, for the uninitiated is a spiked circular design set in a square and made up of 4 quarters, often paper pieced. These blocks can range from simple to very complex, and some of the most interesting versions have different layouts for each quarter. I’ll be keeping it simple, myself…

Back to the box of teal scraps!

ScrapHappy May

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

I’d fully intended to have my little scrappy fabric-covered drawer unit ready for today, but it kept getting pushed to the back of the queue. Never mind, I will get it done for a future post. In the meantime, I have a small scrappy project I did get done and another one that’s singing a siren song to lure me away from other more constructive things.

Firstly, a small key pouch to go in my colourful backpack, using scraps of the backpack fabric and pieces from the Harlequin coat. I had some leftover piping I couldn’t bear to throw out, and it seemed to be telling me it would look very nice around the outside of a small scrappy pouch. Keys are hard on bag linings, and this one is double lined to preserve the interior of my lovely new bag. The zipper is a recycled one from an old pair of pants and actually determined the size of the finished thing, the ribbon pull is a scrap from a garment swing tag.

The other thing is all the fabulous Harlequin scraps. I simply cannot let them go. I trimmed them out very frugally to tidy shapes, throwing out only the barest slivers. Jigsawed together, they form a piece about 80cm square. I would need to join all the pieces together with sashing, but it would be a spectacular piece of scrappiness, and I believe there might actually be the potential for at least part of another garment in there. Maybe a waistcoat/bodywarmer? These bits are all basted to the charcoal grey 60% wool batting, so it’d be moderately cosy for the forthcoming not-very-cold North Queensland winter, and although there’s not enough for a whole anything, I could easily cut a pattern and piece something together using some other fabric to supplement it. No silk lining on this one, of course, but I have plenty of quilting fabric needing a home.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). The list below is the most current one I have, so if you’d like me to update something, let me know in the Comments. Please note that Jule has asked to come off the list as she will be turning her attention elsewhere for a while, and we are delighted to welcome Hannah for the first time.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, 
JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnGwen,
Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, Edith
 Ann, Dawn 2, Carol, Preeti,
DebbieroseNóilinViv, Karrin,
Amo, Alissa, Lynn, Tierney and Hannah

We also have a special one-time guest appearance by Kym’s blog, The Byrd and the Bees, featuring creative scrappy recycling by her husband, The Engineer. You’ll find it here, so do pay a visit.

The Harlequin Coat #5

It’s all going rather well.

Perhaps I should be concerned, and anticipate some huge imminent disaster, but even the bits I thought would be scary (like spray basting the silk backing onto each piece) turned out fairly, well… straightforward.

So, as you can see, all 7 main pieces are sandwiched and quilted.  The bodice parts of the coat body have vertical quilting 2 inches apart, which splays outwards as it goes towards the hem, following the line of the coat skirts. The sleeves have straightforward vertical lines from sleeve head to cuff. The collar has parallel lines half an inch apart, following the curve of the top edge. For the quilting I used Rasant cotton-wrapped polyester-core thread in a lively shade of bright purple. Not that you can see the colour, really, but I know it’s there. The silk lining is also very, um, lively and I love it, but I’ll save the reveal of that for a later date.

Next job is to trim all the pieces out to the exact pattern size less seam allowance (joining edge to edge, remember?), and then start joining. I’ve already cut sashing strips. I know I said I was going to use black, but I’m actually going to use a very dark shade of navy. I tested both colours against the coat background, and the black was just too… dead. From a distance it will look like black; close up, you’ll be able to see that the colour has a bit more life to it. I’m also using a slightly narrower than usual doubled strip for the back of each join. Normally, I’d cut a 2.25 inch width for this and stitch in the ditch on the front to catch the doubled free edge on the back. For this coat, I think I’m going to hand stitch the free edge down for a more perfect finish, which means I need only a 2 inch doubled strip. More work, yes; more beautiful, also yes. Some projects are worth it.

Joining on the sleeve heads and collar is still exercising my brain, but I’ll work it out in due course. I also have to make the pocket fronts, but for that, I’ll need to be able to put the coat on to determine the most comfortable location for the pockets. Once that’s established, I’ll know what colours to use on the fronts.

Still plenty to do, but at this stage there’s no doubt this coat will be ready for our trip south in June. Exciting! I can’t quite believe how fast it’s going.

Let’s hope I haven’t just invoked Murphy’s Law…

The Harlequin Coat #4

It’s going well.

I’ve got the colours for the fronts and sleeves sorted out. The front strips are sewn together but I haven’t yet attached all the strips to each other. I’ve only shown one sleeve, but the other one is laid out too. That leaves only the pockets and collar strip to assemble.

Two fronts, one sleeve. Once again, the colours are rubbish, with everything taking on an orange cast and the darker patterns flattened.

Once they’re finished, it’ll be time to assemble the quilt sandwiches. I’m going to trim out fairly close to the seam allowances so I can gauge exactly where to place the pattern piece on the fabric – with luck I can align most/some of the seams. The plan is to quilt in vertical lines from shoulder to hem, following the pattern outline. So the quilting will flare out at the hem and be less dense, hopefully allowing the skirts to move more.

I’ve worked through various options for assembly. Currently, the plan is to proceed as follows:

  1. Make the two bust darts. Trim out inside if necessary and cover with sashing.
  2. Join the two halves of the back with a flat sashed seam.
  3. Join the two fronts to the back at the shoulders using a flat sashed seam.
  4. Join the two fronts to the back by the side seams using a flat sashed seam.
  5. Make the sleeve seams. (I have to work out if I can get in there with the machine as they’re basically two tubes. If not, hand stitching may be called for. Sash over the seam.
  6. Bind collar top edge and attach collar with a flat sashed seam if possible, using bias sashing if necessary.
  7. Insert the sleeves into the armholes, using bias sashing. Hand stitching may be necessary.
  8. Bind all open edges (hems, cuffs, front edges).
  9. Bind edges of pockets. Attach to front of coat.
  10. Attach closures/fastenings.

Anyone see something I’ve missed? The only thing that’s worrying me really is whether the final coat will be so stiff that the skirts stand out rather than falling in folds. If that happens, I’m considering cutting slits to allow the panels to lie flatter, and binding the edges. Hopefully this won’t be required, but I should be able to test it once the body of the coat is done and before the sleeves and collar are attached.

The lining/backing will be quilted into the garment and is silk (another first for me, and I hope it goes OK!), so that’ll make putting the coat on a bit easier.

I’m going to bind the edges in black to make the colours pop by contrast. I’m also looking at various kinds of corded or silk froggings for the closure so I don’t have to attempt buttonholes through so many thicknesses and batting. There are some lovely black or black and red silk ones on Etsy. I briefly considered trying to make my own. I’d love to have a go, but not for this project. Life is too short.

Onwards with the job of joining all those lovely squares…

The Harlequin Coat #3

Who knew it was going to be this much fun?

Well, this part, at any rate. I stared at a table thickly covered in colourful squares. In no particular order, mind you. No organisation, just a saturated puddle of brilliant hues. I looked at my design wall, back at the puddle, and I dived in.

Harlequin coat back panels

So now, here we are. One coat back panel is pieced, enough and to spare around the outside. Another is curated and is in the process of being assembled. So far, so hugely enjoyable. Of course, the photo is completely hopeless and flat, not even slightly representative, but it gives you some idea of the variety. Roll on the day when I can put it on and walk outside for a decent photo with natural colours.

Tomorrow, I will finish the second back panel and make a start on the fronts. It will be necessary to exercise some self control, so that I don’t end up using all my favourites on the 4 body panels, leaving the smaller pattern pieces to be made from fabric I don’t really love.

Bears, bees, birds, deer and squirrels

One of the unexpectedly fun aspects of this enjoyable task is identifying all the animals in the fabrics. It was to be expected that the Tula Pink Tiny Beasts range would feature a creature or two, but it turns out that they’re everywhere. Birds, bears, bees, butterflies, squirrels, deer and foxes are frolicking over my coat. Especially birds, it seems. I must try and remember to do a post about it, further down the line.

Once I have all the pieces made, the next task will be to sandwich and quilt them. I have bought a wool/polyester mix batting for this, in a pale charcoal colour. This will be warmer than cotton, but lighter and less lofty than pure wool, so it fits the bill for me. I also didn’t want a pale batting because I want the colours to be intensified and enriched by their dark backing, like underpainting on an oil painting. The backing/lining is a surprise. It has to function as lining, be non-boring and respond well to quilting.

Testing will be required… And I fear it is not only the fabric that will be tested.

The Harlequin Coat #2

Well, you know me. Everything has to be named.

Harlequin it is, although historically speaking the patches should be diamonds, but who’s checking? So after  the other day’s template-fest, I sat and stared at my fabrics for a while, and then I eliminated a handful of them. Too pale, too sparse, too stark, too bitsy, that sort of thing. I like what I’ve ended up with, although I don’t discount eliminating a few more as we go along. I suspect some of the more uniform batiks will end up going, or I’ll only use a small section, for example. And to avoid making the garment look too ragged and motley and to keep things simple and easy to calculate, I’m going with uniform 5 inch squares.

A small selection of the fabrics

Anyway, on to the ‘quilt math’. I measured the templates and worked out how many squares I’d need to cover each one.

The fronts and backs each measure 45 x 20 inches at the longest/widest parts, which means I’d need 36 x 5 inch squares to make a panel to cut them from. Four of those is 144 pieces.

The sleeve panels are 25 x 20 inches, so I’d need 20 x 5 inch squares to cut them from. Two of those is 40 pieces.

The pockets are 10 x 10 inches, so 4 x 5 inch squares, or 8 pieces.

The collar is 1 square deep by 4 squares long, so 4 pieces.

That’s a grand total of 196 pieces, so I’ll make sure I have 200 cut in case of accidents, changes of mind or adjacencies that don’t work. To be honest, I thought it would be more, but I already have a bunch of squares cut, and plenty more fabrics to cut from, so it’s all good.

I do want to make sure that seams line up on the centre front and back. I’m not going to fuss about the sleeves, and I want to offset the pockets to make their presence known. I’m still debating whether to have the inside of the collar more patches or keep it the lining fabric, and the same debate about the reverse of the wrap-over lapel. A decision will announce itself as I go along, I think. Projects like this have a tendency to tell me what they want or need.

So, today will be lots of placing, stepping back and squinting.  O joy…

And now for something completely different

Only not really, of course. This is me, after all.

You’ll remember that I had thoughts nearly a year ago about making a patchwork coat. I wrote about it here.  Other things took over, other priorities emerged and the project went on the back burner. Well, having  just finished two quilts and a curtain for the caravan, with the Delft quilt top finished and waiting for more leisurely times to start hand quilting it, I couldn’t put it off any longer.

I took the coat pattern pieces I’d previously selected, and did a bit of adjusting. It’s now going to look less like this:

That red coat, in the middle

And more like this:

Imagine it multicoloured, not ‘military’

I want the quilting to be integral to each piece of the pattern, to help shape it. In order to be able to cut the pattern pieces from completed, quilted patchwork, I have to make large sections of patchwork, then sandwich and quilt them, and then cut out the pattern pieces from those, and join them afterwards. So today I made templates from sheets of butcher’s paper for those large pieces of patchwork. Larger than the coat pattern, to allow for shifting the pattern placement to let things line up  nicely. This was also necessary to give me an approximate idea how much patchwork I’ll need to make. It comes out at a good double quilt size, I reckon, so not a negligible amount.

That’s a lot of patchwork. I have to cut the sleeve, pocket and collar twice.

I’d also love to join the pieces of the coat with QAYG sashing, since this would make for a much tidier inside, but I’ll have to wait and see how practical that is. For seams that aren’t too curved it might work, and I could use bias cut sashing, but testing will need to be carried out. I’m also a bit concerned about making buttonholes through all those layers, so it may end up having different fastings. We shall see.

Collected bits of loveliness.

Has any of you made something similar, and if so, do you have any useful tips or suggestions? I’ll definitely end up with something wearable in the end either way, but if someone else’s experience can offer a shortcut or better finish, I’ll gladly listen.

Tomorrow, I’ll start doing some colour work with the fabrics.