BM&I #40: Parterre Block 5

And here’s the next one.

This is Block 5:

I rather like this one. It’s more traditional in colour than some of the others, but I couldn’t resist the combination of the spot and almost ikat design of the grey, black, white and green print. What you can’t see very well in the photo is that the orange ribbon is printed with tiny flowers. I’m getting better at keeping the circles round, and I’ve experimented with making the blanket stitch width larger. It prevents fabric pulling out of the stitching, but I find it just a tiny bit in your face. Back to the smaller size next time, I think – it’s a matter of 3.0 instead of the larger 3.5 stitch width.

With Bougainville Nights almost complete, I’m casting about for the next quilt assembly WIP. I’m thinking it’ll be my last BM&I project, the Hatbox Quilt. Hmm… that could mean posting about two projects at once for my end-of-month selfish sewing.

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.

More next month!

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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….

Breakfast inspiration

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It’s not often that my breakie egg gets my creative juices flowing…

But it was a nice brown free range one, soft boiled, and it was just a tiny bit cold, as I got distracted (not hard). It struck me that I have no egg cosies. Normally I eat it as soon as I’ve boiled it. So while I scoffed my egg, I thought about what I wanted. I had some nice pieces of brightly coloured felt (not the real handmade stuff, but some commercial bits), and I thought I’d use that.

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Two hours later...

Not too bad for two hours’ work. And my next egg will stay nice and warm. I’ve already cut out a blue one as well, on the basis that hens need a rooster around, and the Husband doesn’t much like a cold egg either. Whether he’ll use something so relentlessly cute is another matter entirely. Maybe to please me…?

OK, back to some proper work. Think I’ll go and mark up Broken Bottles for quilting. AFTER I’ve done the housework…