Carla’s cushion

Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl has designed the most gorgeous cushion.

I was so pleased to be asked to test the pattern for her, and I’ve found it easy to follow; it answers questions before you need to ask them, and it’s versatile enough to work with fabrics of all kinds.

If you go to her blog post, you’ll see her version, a fabulous riot of gorgeous colours, corralled by an elegant set of 4 English Paper Pieced blocks, and trimmed with velvety pompoms. Mine is different. Far quieter, using leftover pieces of the paler colours from my Bonnard quilt, and devoid of pompoms, but elegant and pretty all the same, demonstrating that the same pattern works well with very different fabric designs and colour choices. Like Carla, I’ve made a concealed zipper opening for the back, but the pattern also suggests alternative closures if zippers are a technique too far for you. My cushion will join the Bonnard quilt in due course as a gift to my sister.

Carla has the pattern for sale in her Etsy and Craftsy shops. If you click on the link above and go to her post about this, you’ll find links to both in her sidebar. If you’re looking for a small, interesting but not too demanding hand-stitching project which gives you the option to go bright or pale, dark or light, high or low contrast, lavish or simple, this is for you. Enjoy!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m not being paid to say nice things about it – owning this lovely pattern is reward enough.

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Hand-stitched heaven

Nothing at all ominous about my sudden silence 🙂

Quite to the contrary. I’ve been labouring away at some lovely hand-stitching. Carla at Granny Maud’s Girl has designed an EPP pattern for a beautiful cushion (pillow) cover, and asked if I’d look it over to assess the instructions. I loved it so much I had to actually make it up! I dearly love a bit of EPP, and normally I do it in a leisurely and intermittent fashion.

This was different, since I wanted to give Carla feedback as quickly as possible, so she can finalise the pattern. It isn’t launched yet, so I’m not showing you the whole thing, but this should give you an idea.

Now I just have to add batting and a backing and I can quilt it. After that, I’ll assemble the cushion, and it will go to my sister to join the Bonnard quilt I’m making for her – I’m sure you recognised the scraps!

If you love this as much as I do, hop over to Carla’s blog and maybe leave her a comment or drop her an email to express interest. She hasn’t posted it yet, but I’m sure she will soon.

I’m sure some interest will help her get it finished 🙂

ST&D, postcard 2

I thought I’d change things round for this second one.

The last one had all the fancy business on the front. This time, I’ve made more effort with the back and the actual background. I’ve made a panel of hand-pieced EPP hexagons for the front, the classic patchwork look, using a variety of teal scraps. But combining that fairly plain front with another plain back didn’t do it for me.

Scans, right reading

Reversed, to print on transfer paper

I went to my letter and postcard pile (I get so few now, I like to keep them to read again), and I sorted out ones that had nice stamps and postmark franks. I scanned them, retouched them, cropped them out and arranged them on a single A4 page in Word, at pretty much actual size. Then I took a screen shot of the page, opened it in Preview* and reversed it so it was now a mirror image of itself. You can see where I’m going with this? Yup, I’m making transfers. I printed the reversed image onto an A4 sheet of HP transfer paper. My printer uses pigment inks, so transfers printed this way stand up OK to being washed once they’re ironed onto fabric and heat set. Follow the instructions on your transfer paper package for the best way of applying the transfer to fabric. Once the image was transferred, I cut out each stamp and postmark, and then stitched them down onto the background.

At this point, I have to make a confession. I cut the background piece too small, so I had to sew a bit back on. Being me, I couldn’t stand the horribly slightly visible seam, so I came up with the row of decorative stamps and postmarks down the side. I actually love the way this looks, so all’s well that ends well, don’t you think?

I have some stamps and postmarks left, on a ‘brown paper’ back-ground. I must think of a cunning plan for using them up! Much too pretty to throw out…

 

*I’m working on a Mac, and the way of producing a reversed image may differ on your computer.

ScrapHappy April

And here we are again, making pretty things from scraps.

Once again, it’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Now with 15 hexie flowers. Loads more to add!

This month, I’ve returned to the Anemone scrappy quilt, joining some of the blocks I’ve made and some ‘between’ hexies, rather than making loads of new ones. The joining part isn’t quite so much fun, but is highly necessary if all the hexie flowers are to become a quilt, so I have to be strict with myself and get some of it done before I’m allowed to go back to making flowers again.

This was before. 11 hexie flowers. Oh yes, and the other way up!

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps – no new fabrics. It can be a random or formal quilt block, a pillow or pincushion, a bag or hat, a collage or rag rug. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address shown on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. You don’t have to worry about a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at):

Usually has a scrappy post:

Gun at https://rutigt.wordpress.com (in Swedish and English)

Titti at http://tittisquiltlek.blogspot.se (in Swedish only)

HelÊne at http://quiltochsom.blogspot.se (in Swedish only)

Sometimes has a scrappy post:

Eva at bambisyr-evaj.blogspot.com (in Swedish only)

Sue at sewingmagpie.blogspot.com (in English only)

Nanette at http://stitchandsow-homeandgarden.blogspot.com.au (in English only)

Lynn at https://thetialys.wordpress.com (in English only)

Norma at https://shesewsyouknow.wordpress.com (in English only)

Lynda at: https://pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com (in English only)

Birthe: http://birthesrom.blogspot.no (in Norwegian only)

Turid: http://densyendehimmel.blogspot.se (in English and Norwegian)

Susan: https://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Cathy: http://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com (in English only)

Debbierose: https://sewrosey.wordpress.com (in English only)

Tracy: https://itsatsweetsday.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Jill: http://nicepieceofwork.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Claire: https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Jan: http://thesnailofhappiness.com/ (in English only)

Karen: https://mewithptsd.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Deb: https://abearsthimble.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Moira: http://quiltedsnail.blogspot.com/ (in English only)

See you again, same time next month!

ScrapHappy November

Once again, it’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

And here it is, my latest scrappy project, currently imaginatively called Big Hexies (needs work, I know!). You may have seen the post earlier this month on my first batch of hexie flowers. Here’s the next lot!

big-hexies-2

This isn’t the final arrangement, by any means, just a layout to show what I’ve got finished since my last Big Hexies post.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps – no new fabrics. It can be a random or formal quilt block, a pillow or pincushion, a bag or hat, a collage or rag rug. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address shown on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. You don’t have to worry about a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at):

Usually has a scrappy post:

Gun at https://rutigt.wordpress.com (in Swedish and English)

Titti at http://tittisquiltlek.blogspot.se (in Swedish only)

HelÊne at http://quiltochsom.blogspot.se (in Swedish only)

Sometimes has a scrappy post:

Eva at bambisyr-evaj.blogspot.com (in Swedish only)

Sue at sewingmagpie.blogspot.com (in English only)

Nanette at http://stitchandsow-homeandgarden.blogspot.com.au (in English only)

Lynn at https://thetialys.wordpress.com (in English only)

Norma at https://shesewsyouknow.wordpress.com (in English only)

Lynda at: https://pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com (in English only)

Birthe: http://birthesrom.blogspot.no (in Norwegian only)

Turid: http://densyendehimmel.blogspot.se (in English and Norwegian)

Cathy: http://nanacathydotcom.wordpress.com (in English only)

Debbierose: https://sewrosey.wordpress.com (in English only)

Tracy: https://itsatsweetsday.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Jill: http://nicepieceofwork.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Claire: https://knitnkwilt.wordpress.com/ (in English only)

Susan: http://desertskyquilts.wordpress.com (in English only)

See you again, same time next month!

Big Hexies!

It was time for several ideas to come together.

I needed a new scrappy project. I needed a handwork project. I needed… something different. And here it is. Those who’ve followed me for a while know that I love hexies and the peaceful hand stitching that goes with them. As well as the weeny scraps I chewed up making the Grey Nomad quilt, I’ve got a good range of larger ones. So I dug a bunch of them out, using bright and muted prints in a variety of sizes. I paired all of these with black for the flower centres, and a white with medium black spot for the intervening spaces. A substantial bunch of scraps went on our camping trip with us, and a substantial bunch of hexie flowers came back, but since then, the quantity has exploded because I’m enjoying this new project so much!

big-hexies-1

The papers are 2 inches to a side, so the flowers are a good size and the stack is growing fast. I also love that the size of each hexie lets me feature the fabrics beautifully. Each flower takes one piece of black and then a scrap rectangle 10 x 14 inches, cut into 6 equal pieces. In some, I’ve mixed up the fabrics, in others, kept each petal the same. For each hexie, I cut a piece 4.5 x 5 inches, and then simply fold and stitch it around the paper, rather than cutting it to shape. Whether I trim it out afterwards depends on the weight of the fabric. For lawn or voile, I don’t bother. For heavier weights, I will. This process has worked very well for me on all the hexie quilts I’ve done before, and saves a huge amount of time, since I can whack out all the pieces very quickly with a ruler and rotary cutter.

This is just a taster; already I actually have twice the number you see here, but you’ll have to wait for ScrapHappy day on 15th of the month to see more 🙂

Cosmatesque # 4: the next ring

The central circle is now appliquÊd onto its light background ring, ready for the next stage.

Outer ring segment

Lower left quarter coloursOuter ring piecesThis is the beginning of the second, outer ring. It feels as if it’s going to take forever… A small exaggeration, but there’s a lot of very small bits there. The large triangles alternate dark umber and slate, the small triangles alternate charcoal and golden amber, separated by a zigzag of limestone. Fiddly in the extreme, especially the zigzag, which has to be made up of two pieces. I considered making large limestone triangles and then appliquĂŠing everything else to them, but it wasn’t successful; the fabric was too floppy to get nice straight lines, so I’ve persisted with the EPP method, which has the virtue of producing completely consistent shapes so long as you’re meticulous in how you sew the bits together.

There was some useful learning from the first circle:

•  When making the triangles, fold down and stitch the edge which will be on the outside last. This means that all the excess will be pointing away from the outside edge.
•  Press everything away from what will be the inner and outer edges.
•  Trim seam allowances down as much as possible before joining the shapes, especially on corners
•  Don’t stress if things don’t line up exactly. You can always unpick a bit of basting and ease out some of the seam allowance to make things line up.
•  Do not press pieces basted with polyester thread too hot. You will melt the thread onto the fabric. Don’t ask how I know this, it’s a sore subject 😦

Sore enough, in fact, that it has meant I had to replace my iron. It has seen a lot of action, spent hundreds of long, long hours switched on, and was now regularly overheating, leaking boiling hot water onto my feet, tripping the household power socket fuse (entailing tedious trips down two flights of stairs and outside to the power board) and showing clear signs of corrosion on the charging pins (it was a cordless version, and had to be returned to the stand to reheat after every use). However, since I bought it on special offer about three years ago when it was on sale at one third of the normal price, I had bought two. Out with the old, in with the new. I must admit it feels a bit safer now, and I’m not missing the smell of burning insulation or the scalded feet….

In a recent post, Esther over at ipatchandquilt used a fantastic craquelure print on a block she was making for one of the F2F members.  I saw it and immediately knew it would be perfect for this project, so she’s very kindly sending me half a metre when it’s my turn to receive my F2F blocks in May.  I’m just waiting to hear if there’s anything I can make or do for her in return…

Once this big ring is done, that’s the end of the most fiddly EPP part of this piece. There are other rings, but they’re much simpler.  Soon, I’ll be able to move on to FPP, and progress will be much faster.

But first, back to lots and lots of tiny stitches!