Bee, Myself & I #52, Parterre Block 19

Gosh, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

End of January, to be exact. When time is short, it’s always the projects you’re doing for yourself that fall by the wayside, and Parterre is no exception. It’s probably just as well all the blocks are all slightly different and assembly is involved, as they form sort of mini-projects in their own right. The process is very familiar by now, as is the order in which things need to be assembled. The difference comes from the colours and combinations of fabrics.

This one is a tiny bit different in that the flower almost matches, rather than being quite different from the other fabrics. I like the effect, and I may make a few more like this and sprinkle them around the layout of the finished quilt. At some point, I’ll also have to decide how many blocks I’m making. These blocks are 10 inches square. I suspect I will lose the will to live if I have to make enough blocks to achieve lap quilt size, so I’ll probably end up bordering each block to bring it up to 12 inches, and then sash. That will also have the virtue of standardising the final size of each block.

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not to a deadline or 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 of this blog.

Until next time… whenever that is!

Bee, Myself and I #21

It feels like an age since I last worked on the hatbox blocks.

Time, then, for a spot of concentrated work. I got three done this month 🙂

I think this quilt will end up being one of my all-time favourites. It’s come into being slowly and quietly, over a long period and with fabrics I’ve greatly enjoyed gathering and using. They’re all different, but each one appeals to my taste in a different way, whether it’s a formal, traditional design or something splashy, modern and bright.

But the chief thing I’m enjoying while I hand quilt the blocks is the backing. I hesitated briefly over using the voile fabric for the back, but it’s so deliciously soft that I now think it’s been one of my better decisions. It’s going to make using the quilt so cuddly, like an old favourite that has been washed a thousand times. And I’ll certainly consider using voile for backing again if I’m hand quilting, not only because it’s soft, but because the fineness of the fabric makes it easy to quilt through.

Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not to a deadline or 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.

And now, back to Bonnard, and hundreds of 2 inch squares…

Bee, Myself and I #2

I finally got to the point where I could start stitching the first couple of hatbox blocks. Only I didn’t leave it at two…

Hatbox collage 1It made a few things clear:

•  I definitely need tear away stabiliser.
•  Starching the fabric for the appliqué pieces helps a lot.
•  I can stop being neurotic about the Y seams at the intersection of         each cubbyhole.

Up to this point, I’ve used fusible web behind each piece when I’ve done machine appliqué. It has the virtue of holding everything firmly in place while I’m stitching, but the disadvantage is that it adds stiffness and a small amount of extra bulk. Also, it makes trimming out the fabric behind it quite hard. Not using the fusible web means that the pieces can shift a fair bit, so I’ve been hand-basting, which seems to do the trick, even if it’s a bit time-consuming. I’m happy with the result. The stabiliser stops puckering at the seam and channelling of the blanket stitch, so things stay nice and flat.

As for the Y seams, well, that whole section gets cut away, so on the first block I evaded the issue by not sewing completely into the corners. Slack, I know, but it worked! And having taken the pressure off myself, the next Y seams were perfect anyway…

The trickiest part is keeping the long thin banana shape of the hatbox rim stable. Hence my extensive use of starch, which seems to do the trick in preventing it warping or stretching and makes the fabric crisper while I’m drawing around the templates.

The blocks don’t actually take that long, but it’s fiddly: Change the thread to white. Assemble the 3 cubbyhole pieces with a Y seam. Change the thread to red. Cut out the 3 hatbox shapes, being sure to align patterns where necessary. Baste, appliqué, baste, appliqué, hand baste, appliqué. Remove basting, tear away stabiliser, trim out excess fabric behind, press.

I love these blocks as a way of showcasing the fabrics I’ve been collecting for this quilt for over 5 years… It’s nice not be cutting them up too much, and as an added bonus, it’s generating some very nice scraps for my postage stamp blocks :-). Oh, and at the rate I’m going, this project will take a lot less than a year!

Don’t forget to hop over to Carla’s blog to see what the others are up to. You can also click on the Bee, Myself and I button in the left hand column to go straight to the bee page.

Only 32 blocks more to go….