ST&D: the ribbon and the stamp

And another two! I’m enjoying making these so much that I’m having a hard time keeping up with my own ideas 🙂

Every quilt I make for OCA has the teal ribbon on it somewhere, and here’s where it’s going on this quilt. I wanted to make use of the stamps on the brown paper backing, and thought a parcel of some sort would be the way to go. And then, of course, it needed a ribbon round it, and what better way to finish off than with a teal ribbon bow?

Once of the planned central blocks was a large representation of a stamp. Originally I was going to do something with appliqué, but having achieved some success with the small transfers, I went for it with a bigger one. Australia Post issued a series of ‘Australian Road Trip’ illustrated stamps in 2012, and this is the one for the Great Barrier Reef, right there on my doorstep. It was too good to miss 🙂 The bright colours called for a darker surround and gave me an excuse to use this floral fabric which I’ve been hoarding for a while.

I have one more postcard block to go and then I’ve made the 5 blocks I committed to. If anyone in the Ovarian Cancer group is finding themselves short of time and can’t managed the block(s) they’ve offered to make, just let me know, as I have plenty of time (and inspiration!) and can very easily make more.

While I’m thinking about postal issues, we’re off on a motorbike road trip on 14 October, returning on 29 October. Anyone who’s posted anything in the last couple of days can be reasonably assured it will be delivered before we go, but can I ask anyone planning to mail anything soon to hold off for about 3 weeks, so that your lovely squishy doesn’t languish in the depths of the post office while our mail is held? Anything posted after 20th October should be fine.

That’s enough postal stuff for today. Now, will it be hand quilting, or a spot of embroidery….?

 

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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 🙂

 

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 🙂

Bee, Myself and I #17

And on to a new phase of work in my selfish sewing.

Not the final layout, but you get the idea

It’s time to start quilting the Hatbox Quilt. Because of the design, there was no way I was going to do some generic overall machine quilting.

These beautiful fabrics deserve quilting that emphasises them, that makes a soft, cuddly and lovely quilt, that gives it the heirloom quality it deserves.

So, I’m hand quilting. I’m not a good hand quilter, but I can produce moderately even big-stitch quilting. Primarily it’s because I’m no longer dextrous enough for the little controlled movements needed for small stitches – the arthritis in my right hand has taken care of that. There is, too, the fact that I don’t care much about weeny stitches and lack the patience to execute them in any case! I actually like the texture bigger stitches give, a soft ripple and a play of light and shade. I’m using regular white hand quilting thread rather than perle cotton because I want the texture to stand out rather than the stitches and thread colour.

I’ve outlined the hatbox itself, echo quilted around it on the background, and done a little detail outlining in the design of the hatbox fabric itself, to give texture. It would be easy to go totally crazy and outline every detail, so I’ve been careful to hold back a little.

I’m not using a frame. These blocks are only 10 inches square, and with the extra backing and batting around the outside, 12 inches square. It’s enjoyable and gives a bit of swift gratification, because the job is done in a couple of hours. But the nicest part of holding the block in my hand to work on it is the backing. I’m using a beautiful soft Japanese voile, and it feels just lovely with the surface quilted. If all the blocks feel as nice as this one, it’s going to be fabulously cuddly!

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.

 

Gallimaufry: one more step to go

Sorry, I’ve been off the radar for a week, and scarcely realised it.

All sorts of not very blog-worthy stuff has been going on which has kept me busy. Not so busy, however that I was completely unable to sew.

A pretty bit of dappled late afternoon sun illuminating those central blocks. A very satisfying end to the day!

The light was going so it’s not a great shot, but you do get some idea of how the quilting looks.

We’re in the final straight with this one. Just the binding to go on and the label to sew in and then Gallimaufry will be ready to go in the washing machine and then onto my caravan bunk 🙂  The binding is made and the sewing machine is threaded with the right colour and fitted with the walking foot. We’re good to go. I know, I know, I said it would be ready by the weekend.

However, I very foolishly picked up the Anemone quilt to do some stitching in of hexie flowers while I watched the last few episodes of Masterchef. Net result, two lots of addictions: the series and the hand stitching. I’ll show you the sewing results another time, and I’m glad to report that the right person won the competition – by a single point!

Tomorrow I’ll sew the binding on, and then spend some contented hours hand stitching it down, one of my favourite parts of quilt-making.

More soon – or at least, sooner than last time, I promise!

Gallimaufry: two thirds joined up

It’s almost done. I have 60% of it joined up.

I really, really like that narrow dark blue sashing between the squares. It puts a nice crisp edge on them, lines everything up, and is dark enough to throw everything else into contrast. Give me to the end of the week and I’ll have the joining up done and be ready to get the binding on.

There was a point halfway through making the blocks when I had a moment of doubt. Would it clash with the bird/seashell fabric for Miz Lizzie’s curtains?  I don’t think so, on reflection. What do you think? Even if it’s a little bit off, I love this quilt. Can’t wait to use it for the first time on our next trip. Sadly that’ll probably not be till October :-/

Hope the good weather holds so I can take the final photos outside. Then you’ll see what it really looks like…

Gallimaufry: let the quilting begin

Right, final (probably) layout.

I say probably because I don’t rule out wanting to swap a couple of blocks once they’re all quilted. In fact I can see two right now that I want to change. Funny how you can’t see it for looking in real life, but it jumps out at you in a photo….

I’ve cut batting and backing for the first row, and now I need to have a hard (but short) think about how this is going to be quilted. If I go with the cross hatching I did on the Blue Hour quilt, I’ll be running over some of the features that make the blocks interesting. On the other hand, it’s a much longer job if I come up with custom designs for each style of block. Perhaps a combination is the right idea: cross hatching on the simpler scrappy, snowball and 9-patch blocks, and something a bit different on the sunray, twister and bubbles blocks. The trick will be to keep to the same amount of quilting so that the blocks stay the same size in the end. Too much close quilting = smaller block.

Whatever I end up doing, I’ll have that gorgeous pale coral pink thread to work with 🙂