Floribunda #6: blocks 5 and 6

….how does my garden grow?

Pretty darn fast, as a matter of fact. These blocks are such fun!  The layout’s the same, so you get faster and faster at completing them, but the fabric combinations make sure that each one looks very different. Take a look:

See what I mean? Imagine these blocks joined by a dark jade green trellis. What do you think of the idea of adding a vine winding through the trellis and the occasional 3D leaf here and there when the whole thing is assembled? I’m sorely tempted, on the basis of my usual ‘more is more’ principle, but I do accept it may be Too Much. I will listen to your thoughts on this one, because I know perfectly well I’m in danger of tipping over into Don’t Even Go There territory… I’m going to defer the decision till the thing’s fully laid out in any case.

So, here are the close ups of blocks 5 (pink) and 6 (green):

I missed posting a Parterre block for BM&I at the end of October. That’s OK, I’ll have more time this month.

I must go, Mouse is standing at the back steps, waiting for me to throw him a doggo-popsicle (aka a frozen chicken neck). At what point did I become a slave to this dog’s every whim, I wonder…?

Till next time.

Floribunda #5, blocks 3 and 4

This is so dratted addictive.

I make a couple of blocks and think that’ll hold me for a day or so. Then I find myself standing at the cutting table, sorting colours and cutting strips for another block. Or two. Or three.

Which is why there are two more ready and the parts for another one waiting on the bench.

Turns out this quilt might be ready a fair bit sooner than I’d imagined, if I keep going at this rate. I really must stop and finish up a couple of other things.

Or not. My willpower may not be up to it!

Floribunda #4: the first two

I haven’t been totally idle on holiday.

I did manage to get the hexie cushion cover done for ScrapHappy, and here are the first two Floribunda blocks done, one pink and one green.

I’ve decided that hand piecing is going to be much, much too slow – I can’t wait that long to see the results! So, I’m going to be machine piecing this one, and with luck, I’ll get the 44 blocks I need completed some time this decade! Some of them are whole blocks, some are halves and there are a couple of quarter blocks, all needed to set this quilt on point, which is the current plan.

I really love how these two have turned out. Roll on the next 42…

Floribunda #3: this is it!

I have the right block pattern now.

It’s called Ribbon Star, and it’s easy to cut, easy to piece and just complex enough to be interesting, especially in a variety of colours and patterns. It’s made entirely from 2½ inch jelly roll strips. All I’ll need are needle, thread, squissors, cutting mat and rotary cutter, a few pins, a pencil to mark the seam allowance, and my mini iron and ironing mat (which both live in the caravan anyway).

I haven’t wanted to use the actual fabrics while testing so as not to waste them if something doesn’t work, so you’ll have to imagine this with a bright raspberry pink background and a green star, or a fresh green background with a pink star. The ‘corners’ between the star’s points will have some sort of contrast; I haven’t yet sorted the fabrics into sets, but that will happen before I go away, because I need to cut some sets to take with me.

It’s a relief to know what I’m doing, finally!

Floribunda #2

Hmmm. I probably need to change a few things…

Unless I’m happy to finish this quilt some time around 2025, I’ll probably need to use a different block design 😦

I’ve made the test block. It’s really lovely, but it’s very, very time consuming to make by hand. I know this was the first one, but it took hours to cut, mark, stitch and press. And I do want a block I can make by hand. Just not one with eight Y-seams and a central 9-patch of 1 inch squares…

I also made life harder for myself by using a couple of directional fabric prints. That said, it wasn’t hard to make, just very, very fiddly. And the hand piecing process isn’t hard either, so long as you remember just a few simple rules.

Tradition has it that you don’t press any seams till you’ve finished assembling it. That didn’t work so well for me – I like to see what I’m doing – and I don’t think it’s necessary so long as you have a plan for how the seam allowances will lie.

This block can now go into my basket of orphan blocks, waiting for me to find a use for it. Or maybe one day it’ll form part of a scrappy sampler quilt, all different designs.

Oh, and I want to reassure you that the Quilt Supervisor was hard at work, keeping my nose to the grindstone.

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it…

Floribunda #1

Well, this is going to be the next one – and it’s for me.

I bought these two Bali Pop packs nearly a year ago, without any clear idea of what I wanted them for, but I was unable to resist the fabric mixes. Now, I have found a block I like. It’s really quite simple, but is just complex enough to be interesting.

It’s designed to be machine-pieced, but I want a big handwork project to keep me going for a while, so I plan to hand-piece it. I also need to be able to break it down into smaller parts for easy portability, and that too works well with this design, at least until the point where I have to assemble it.

I’m going to use the individual block design from Jen Kingwell’s Star Dust quilt. I won’t be laying it out like hers; mine will be on point, and with a single fabric sashing between the blocks rather than double. I’ll also have a much simpler colour scheme: I will use the two batiks as alternate green and pink backgrounds, and from the Bali Pop packs, I will select 25 or 30 strips for the petals, putting pink on the green background and green on the pink, but with some variations and ‘wild cards’ for visual interest. The solid green and pink will become the central tiny square of the 9-patch blocks which are the centre of each flower. I’m thinking a dark blue-green for the trellis which is formed by the sashing between the on-point squares. I haven’t quite decided what’ll happen in the setting triangles and corners. Maybe leaves…?

I think a marathon cutting session is called for, so I can package up the pieces for each individual square to make a travel kit to take on trips with me. Though I should probably do a test block or two in advance in case I find the hand stitching unbelievably tedious, wouldn’t you say?

Oh, and do you like my ‘squissors’?  That’s what they’re called, scissors you squeeze, no need to get my porky digits into tiny holes in order to snip threads. The blades are slightly curved too, so you can get right into tight spaces. I love them! So much easier than the little embroidery snips I’ve been using.

Now I have something to look forward to, watching these flowers grow on my trellis.


Bonnard, and a brief break

I’ve been working away in the background on Bonnard.

This is where I left you, the centre and first two rounds done.

And here’s where I’m up to now, the centre and nearly three rounds done. Of course, each round is larger than the last, so everything goes a lot slower the closer you get to the outside! I thought I’d need another round, but actually, I’ll be happy to leave it at the size I originally planned. The graduation works, and I don’t want it to get too pale around the outside. The outer blocks on the left have been stitched, but on the right the squares are all still pinned. I still have two rows of squares to place at top and bottom. It’s a lengthy, leisurely process…

Yup, it’s definitely looking wonky, but is actually pretty straight when I’ve got it pinned right. That row on the right looks really crazy!

I really like how this quilt top is coming along. I think the wash of colour from dark centre to light outside is working well, as is the change of colour balance from rich, intense tones to delicate, watery pastels. Mixed throughout are the pings of warm colour, like sequins of sunlight on leaves in the centre and vibrant water-washed rocks and autumn leaves on the outside. The batik prints recall moss, lichen, flowing and dripping water, leaves warm and cool, sunlight, flowers, stone, soil, and here and there, a flicker of flame. I hope it evokes the life of the forest…

There’s still a fair bit of placing and piecing to go as you can see, but the final character of the quilt is making itself plain. I’m beginning to think about what I want to do about the quilt back, and more importantly, the quilting. The back will either be all one fabric with a ‘filler’ pattern (I’m thinking dark green with a small leaf pattern if I can find something suitable), or alternatively, a deep red, but I’m tending towards green at the moment. The other option is a filler pattern, but with a pieced strip up the centre, using leftover squares.

For the quilting, I’m going to hand quilt a small, simple leaf design in each square. I’ve got 4 different leaf templates so they won’t all be the same, and I’m also thinking about how to arrange the direction of each leaf. I’ve drawn up a few plans showing the leaf designs arranged in formal geometric patterns, but I’m not terribly enthused about them. I’ll think on it some more…

If I can keep up the pace I’ve managed so far, I should have the top done by the New Year. But now, it’s time for a short break for Christmas 🙂

Beginning with Bonnard

One of my sisters had a landmark birthday yesterday.

It turns out that she’d love a quilt, but hadn’t quite liked to ask, and it wasn’t until I asked if she’d be interested in having one to add to the peaceful décor of her new apartment that I discovered this. We talked a lot about size and the sort of colours she likes, and whether she uses Pinterest for mood boards (she doesn’t, but it’s not for everyone…). She’s also not keen on modern prints. We ended our conversation and both went away to have a think. Next morning, she sent me this, as a guide to the colours and mood she’s after:

Well, as we all know, I do love a bit of blue and green and lilac, so it’s no great hardship for me to make a quilt that references this lovely Bonnard painting. I had a blissful hour or two rootling in my stash*, with the following result:

There’s not a graphic modern print among them, so we’re ahead already. Yes, they’re all batiks, but they blend so wonderfully, and I love the contrast of the warm colours across the top. I’m hoping this effect will enable me to create a soft, watery, leafy effect, with dashes of brilliant brightness here and there.

My sister still has to consider and edit this selection, but I think the bones are there. And in case you’re wondering, the quilt really has named itself. It’s going to be called Bonnard. I think it’s probably also going to be hand quilted, but that’s a long way down the track still. Not quite such an intimidating job as the last one, as this quilt will be only about 60 inches or 1.5m square. Perfect sofa-snoozing size.

*In case you’re wondering, this isn’t folded yardage but individual 2½ inch strips, with maybe two or three exceptions. My stash really isn’t very impressive!

There’s no rush with this one, no deadline, so I can afford lots of thinking time. Having said that, it’ll probably go really quickly!


If anyone’s interested, there’s an amazing video of the sale of this painting at Christie’s auction house in London in 2011. It realised a staggering GB£6,400,000, and the auction process is really entertaining 🙂

Indigo a go go

OK, on Monday, I jump on a plane and go 1200kms to get surgery.

I have a half day journey, lots of hanging around airports, hanging around the surgeon’s office, hanging around the patient accommodation the night before, hanging around waiting to go down to theatre. And as I’ve recently demonstrated to myself, keeping my hands busy is a great antidote to stress, worry, impatience and boredom. So I’ve brought forward a project I’ve been planning for a while. It should have been Steampunk, but there are too many tiny pieces to lose, and I need a table to lay things out on so I can keep track of where I am. Not a good travel project…

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The hexies I’ve made so far from the fabrics in my scrap collection, and the new uncut ones on the left.

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Furoshiki with carp

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Furoshiki with gambolling hares and the moon

I adore indigo, that most intense and lavishly blue of dyes. I especially love batiks and Japanese fabrics, and have been accumulating them here and there over the past few years. And recently, the lovely and generous Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl brought me back some fabrics and two furoshiki from Japan. The furoshiki are traditional gift-wrapping cloths, and one of them will feature somewhere on the indigo quilt which is brewing in the back of my mind.

Now it’s time to take the rotary cutter to my fabrics. And it’s going to be an EPP hexie project because that’s portable, because I can crank them out at speed, and because I love the combination of indigo and red, so it’s indigo flowers with red hearts. I have no idea what it’s going to be, or how big, or how long it will take, but it’s going to keep my hands busy and my mind and heart peaceful before, during and after my hospital stay.

And best of, I can carry it around in my new travel sewing kit!