Colours of Happiness 7

The piecing is finished. 

Here it is, all pinned up on my design wall, showing how the panels will be arranged. I just wanted to get a photo of it all in one piece before I take the whole lot down and start cutting backing and batting panels for everything.

It’s the usual rubbish indoor photo, not only because the lighting’s not ideal, but also because I suspect only in daylight will the camera come close to capturing these colours properly. They always look either washed out and lacking detail, or luridly radioactive, some stronger than others. In real life, the visual effect is rich and complex, and nothing shouts too much louder than everything else. So roll on the day when I can hang this beauty on the washing line, in the sun, and finally get a photo I like!

I won’t be able to show much progress on this for a while. I have quite a work list on the go right now, and I need to start concentrating on the final Ovarian Cancer Australia quilt for the time being. But I’ll be hand quilting this one in the background, and will show stuff from time to time. I’ll probably get the long panels and corners done first, as I’m still thinking about what happens in the centre.

Till then.

Colours of Happiness 6

Progress is being made.

I have three of the four chequerboard sides assembled, just the last one to go. So I took the opportunity of having a clear cutting table to work out what I was going to do with the corner squares. I got one assembled, and I’m pleased with it. I took a bit of a left turn with the colours, and as well as the gold/brown and orange fabrics and the floral prints I’ve used elsewhere, I’ve included some of my favourite shot green, which ties in perfectly and adds an acid note amongst all those pinks and oranges and yellows.

It’s probably a bit fanciful, but I think these corner blocks look like lotus flowers turning their faces up to the sun radiating in the centre. I’ll make the same block for each corner, identical except for pattern variations in the fabrics.

I also scored with backing fabric. I found the perfect orange/ yellow print, and then discovered there was only a metre left on the bolt. This lovely orange print alternative will look great with the hot pink hand quilting thread I’ll be using. Yes, that’s the plan. I decided I have plenty of time to do the quilting by hand even if I have to stop and let my paws recover for a day or so here and there. In the central starburst section I’ll be doing some kind of round multi-pointed mandala-type motif, yet to be designed.

On the corner squares, I shall outline the quarter-Dresden flower shape, do something wiggly in the straight strips, and in the chequerboard I shall do a fish-scale clamshell motif. Imagine a round top clamshell, but with a small upwards point at the centre of the top. Here’s the template I made for it. It’s the same sort of idea as the hand quilting for the Bonnard quilt.

So, one more chequerboard side and three more corners to make, and the piecing is done. Then I’ll cut the backing pieces and spray-baste the quilt sandwiches. And then quilting can start. The final stage is assembling the quilted pieces and binding. But that’s still a way off.



Colours of Happiness #5

Two long sides completed, two to go.

It’s fiddly work, it doesn’t go together as fast as the starburst, so it’s taking a while to finish each one, especially as I have to lay out all the pieces first. Left and bottom side are the finished ones, the top one is the layout template and will be stitched together last. I have the right side laid out on my cutting table to be sewn together tomorrow.

I thought more about the cornerstones, and the more I thought the less I liked the idea of big plain squares of fabric. Too easy, too simple, a bit of a cop-out. So I have something a bit more fancy-schmantzy in mind, involving a quarter Dresden, a couple of leftover strips from the three-sets, some unused fabric strips and a couple more contrasting squares. I’ll make one and then show you what I mean. There will be some gold hand-lettering in these corner squares, and again, you’ll have to wait and see!

I’m not going to add any more to the outside, and I’ll assemble the quilt in sections; I want to hand quilt, and it will be much easier to work on if it’s still in smaller pieces. So, the centre starburst and its border will be Piece 1, the 4 chequerboard borders will be Pieces 2-5, and the 4 large cornerstones will be Pieces 6-9. I don’t know if you remember the Cloths of Heaven quilt, but I put that together the same way (although I did machine quilt the borders on that one).

It’s going pretty fast, and I’m still loving it, still having lots of fun 🙂

Colours of Happiness #4

What, you thought I wasn’t working on this at the moment…?

Yeah, right. So, as you can see, there’s been a bit of progress. I finished the starburst, I added a gold/ochre print border with corner posts, and I’ve made a bunch of sets of three 2½ inch strips sewn together to make the chequerboard border.

I think I’m going to put in corner squares of solid fabric. That’ll help to stretch the strip sets, plus I like the way it looks! I have large enough squares of some of the prints left over to let me do that, so it’s a question of choosing the ones I like best, and that work together. After that, who knows…? I haven’t yet decided if I’ll add another border and finish the quilt, or if there’s more to it. It’s evolving as I go along. I do want it to be at least lap quilt size, or around 48 inches square. Other-wise it’s just for pretty, not for useful, and I do like things to be both.

Next is setting out all the squares in the chequerboard. At the moment, the layout for the top border shown above is just placed, not sewn. There was lots of placing, stepping back, squinting, thinking, changing… and repeat. I like this layout, so I’ll repeat it on each side. You won’t be able to tell, I don’t think, as the strips will hopefully look random enough to avoid visible repeats. I know that the original long strips were mostly not very exactly sized (it’s the way I bought them, not my defective cutting!), so I’m not aiming for perfect seam matching here, more of a mosaic effect. Still, if I do match, it’ll be a happy accident! Lots more stitching to come as I piece these border panels.

I’m liking how the lighter colours at the centre of the starburst are shading out to more intense shades on the sides. I think if there is another border, it needs to be darkish, to finish off. And maybe a paler binding, for contrast….

And away we go again.

Colours of Happiness #3

I have the bit between my teeth now…

You know how it is when a project seizes your imagination and you just have to work on it, although other things rightfully have far more priority? Yup. This is one of those…

Today I went from 8 tidy stacks of HST blocks to this.

Then this, and this

Then this

And this is where I’ve stopped for the day, and what is still left to do on the centre starburst.

It’s coming along really well, and I’m very happy with it. All the seams and points match up (so far, anyway), all the edges align. All that extra finicking about with trimming, rulers and cutters has paid off. Oh, and my brand spanking new quarter-inch sewing machine foot, bought in Townsville on our recent trip, has made a big difference in achieving consistency. The guide on the old one was bent, and a quarter inch was anyone’s guess.

So, I’ll leave you to it. Enjoy the colours. You won’t be seeing this for a couple of days as I have end-of-month posts to put up, so look out for a big change next time.

I have spots of purple, blue and cyan dancing before my eyes from staring so long at orange, yellow and pink 🙂

Colours of Happiness #2

So, I got stuck straight in, no big surprise there…

I’m starting with the centre of the quilt, the starburst. A few years ago, I found a really great tutorial on Pinterest which showed a really quick and easy way to make 8 HSTs (half-square triangles) from two pieces of fabric. It’s called Magic 8, and the tutorial is here. Lots of you will already be familiar with this process, but for those who aren’t, I’ve summarised what I did below.

So, I cut all my 10 inch squares and placed them into pairs that worked: darkish and lightish, so that there would be enough contrast to create the effect I’m after. There are 16 fabrics in total, which will generate 64 HST squares

With the fabrics right sides together, you then draw diagonal lines from corner to corner, and stitch ¼ inch either side of the lines. I drew the ¼ inch lines too, to make sure I kept things straight, but you don’t need to…

After that, you slice through first the diagonals, and then horizontally and vertically, as shown here. Each of the 8 segments opens out to become a HST block, with enough excess to trim them out neatly.

It needs a bit of patience, some accuracy cutting, and a steady hand with ruler, pencil and rotary cutter, but after the first one, it’s dead simple and you can really crank out those babies out at speed. The main thing is to avoid stretching the block out of shape when you press the seam open. The great virtue of this method is that the unstitched edges are on the straight grain, so they’re much less like to stretch than with some of the other ways of making HSTs.

After a few hours of work, I’m halfway through making the blocks for the starburst. Each of the stacks shown below contains 8 blocks, so that’s 32 done, 32 to go. Next step is laying all the blocks out till I have a layout I’m happy with.

The starburst is going to be assembled in 4 identical sections, each one being rotated through 90° to form a square. Once the central square is done, I’ll join strips to start making up the chequerboard border.

But that’s for another time…

Happy colours

There’s a new quilt in the pipeline.

Anyone who sees the finished thing wouldn’t believe it’s one of mine, but it is. Let’s start at the beginning… I have a new friend (hello, Vera my lovely!) and she is warm, kind and generous, and because of this, she deserves a quilt. I asked her what her favourite colours were, and she replied that she loved yellow and ochre, they made her happy. Now, you know me. If there’s one colour I’m unlikely to make a whole quilt from, it’s yellow. So I took yellow as my start point and extended it out into this gloriously bright and happy selection. Yellow, ochre, orange, pink, pumpkin and rust… Colours of Happiness, which is what the quilt is called.

It’s going to be simple and hopefully quick to make: a giant starburst in the middle, with a chequered border of 2 inch squares all round. I think I’ll be hand-quilting it. Vera lives 2,320km (1,442 miles) away, in Melbourne, and I won’t see her again till February, so I have time…

I think this quilt is going to teach me to love yellow. We don’t have much of a relationship right now; I don’t believe I own a single yellow item, but I can see how it brightens and enlivens and brings sunshine to this colour selection 🙂 It’s never too late to learn.

Spring’s on the way. Let’s let the sunshine in!