Days Gone By: done deal

‘Tis finished, people.

Last night I set the last stitch in the binding and the label. It’s finally finished and ready to be handed over to Days for Girls next weekend, when our Saturday morning stitching sessions begin again after the summer break.

A couple of weeks ago, I handed the completed top and back and a large piece of batting over to a very kind lady called Judith, who is a long-arm quilter and who had graciously agreed to quilt it for free. On Thursday I got it back, beautifully stipple quilted, plus all the offcuts. For those not in the know, when a quilt is long-arm quilted you need to make the backing and batting at least 5 or 6 inches larger all round than the quilt top. I had been generous with both batting and backing, and I got one substantial piece and several smaller pieces of both back. Enough, in fact, to do the batting and backing for my table runner, also for Days for Girls.

I made binding from a number of partial or discarded jelly roll strips from other projects. I have some left over, but not, I think, enough to bind the table runner, so I’ll need to dig out more scraps for that.

So, without further ado, the photos. Appreciation to the Husband, who did the holding up.



And the label:

A final summary for anyone not already familiar with this lengthy project: the quilt front is made from scraps left over after cutting out the pieces that go into the Days for Girls kits. When I joined the group, I was horrified to see usable pieces being simply thrown away. It meant that all the donated money and fabric was being partly wasted, so I determined that I’d find a way to rectify this. Days Gone By is the result. The backing and binding are made from scrap fabric from my own stash, which had not yet found another purpose. The only new parts of this quilt are the batting and thread, without which it would not be a quilt at all. It’s a truly scrappy, minimal-waste quilt.

It has been a very long pull. Some of you may recall that a large piece of assembled hexies was lost at the end of September 2019, and I had to start again. It was hard, but start again I did, and finally we’re across the line. This quilt, the table runner still in progress and the cushion cover I’ve shown earlier will all be raffled to raise funds to purchase fabric and other supplies for more Days for Girls kits. Although we have been unable to distribute the kits we make because of Covid-19, we haven’t stopped making them, and when travel restrictions are finally lifted they will once again go to the women and girls whose lives are changed and improve by them.

On to the next DfG quilt. This time I think I’ll go for something a bit quicker to make!

Days Gone By: the gap is closed!

I’ve finished all the border cutting and piecing!

Now I have to stitch the seams joining all the border sections together: the top is done, but I have the side and bottom strips to put together, which is why it still looks a bit wonky. I’m really pleased that paying close attention when I was cutting and stitching has meant there are very few places where the seams don’t line up despite the widely varying fabrics used.

Once that’s done, I have to press the outer edge of the hexie section very well, remove the last of the papers, and pin it down onto the borders. Hand stitching the hexies down will take a fair time and requires a large flat surface to ensure that there’s no bubbling or buckling caused by the stitching.  I’ll also have to make a backing, which will, yes, also be scrappy but will be pulled from several sources, not just the DfG scraps. I need largish pieces or all the seams will make the quilting a bit arduous. I have a basket of pulled fabrics ready to go.

It’s so good to see real progress at last 🙂

A handwork dilemma

Not a very serious one, mind you.

The Days Gone By quilt top is in the home stretch. I have two more square blocks to make and then it’ll be time to assemble the border. A few quick seams and that will be done too. After that, I need to hem the hexies down onto the border, but that will be a large piece of work and needs a table and plenty of space, so it’s not handwork I can take on our travels with me.

We’re off again in two weeks for another couple of weeks in Far North Queensland, so clearly, I’m going to need plenty to do with my hands while I sit in the sun drinking coffee and eating cake!

When we have the raffle for the quilt, it would be nice also to have second and third prizes. So I’ve taken the leftover hexie flowers that were too pastel for the look of the quilt or were duplicates, or just didn’t make it into the mix, and I’ve laid them out into a table runner and a cushion cover. That yellow hexie in the middle really stands out, but I’ll probably do something about it after I’ve assembled the whole thing. Also, the table runner may need lengthening and widening with square borders, like the quilt. I’ll see what it needs once I’ve assembled what I have.

They’re in a couple of project bags, together with printouts of the photos I took of the layouts, ready for me to start assembling them. Handwork sorted, leftovers used up, two more prizes in hand.

Dilemma resolved. That was easy! 🙂

Days gone by…

No, I’m not talking about the holiday.

I’m rather proud of myself. I took the Days Gone By hexie scrap quilt along with me in case I had some free quiet time to just stitch and listen to the birds. I didn’t think I would, but we had some rainy days, and time when the Husband wanted a snooze or to watch a movie and I didn’t.

I set myself a goal of adding another two rows. It seemed a doable quantity, and it would finish the shape off nicely. Sorry about the shot, it’s laid out on my bunk in the caravan.

I got them made! (Laid out on the Husband’s bunk this time, that’s his quilt).

Next job was to add the strip to the existing piece. And I’ve done it. The centre panel is now a decent size and shape.

I’m calling time on the hexies, and will border this quilt with squares, probably arranged as 9-patches. With individual squares at two inches finished it’ll be about right, because most of my scraps will easily produce squares of two and a half inches. Plus it’ll make an interesting contrasting border. The hexie edge will need to be appliquéd onto the 9-patch border, and that will be the last of the hand work.  However, there are still a good few hexie flowers left, but in colours which are too pastel to work well in this piece. I’ll probably turn those into cushion covers, which can either be raffled separately or as a set with the quilt.

It’s the hand stitching that has made this quilt so long winded. It’s time to turn up the dial and get something made that Days for Girls can finally raffle to raise funds. Time to start pulling out Days for Girls scraps to start assembling border blocks.

It’ll be nice to have some decent progress to show, for a change.

Anemone: creeping along around the back

It’s slow, fiddly work, but will be so worth it.

Here’s the exact how-to, with pictures to make all clear (hopefully…).

Trim the edge of the backing and batting away from the quilt top by about 3/16″. I prefer the minimum necessary, and think a quarter inch is too much, the outer hexies get a floppy edge.

Stitch your hexie facing together in pairs. Offer up a pair to the edge of the front, and hem the facing to the front using tiny stitches. It helps if you pull the facing back a tiny bit to give you a clear space to run your needle between the fabric layers..

Stitch both sides of the pair to the outer edge of the quilt front. Stop and knot off. You can see the stitches if you look very carefully, but they are small and neat, and with this ‘hemming’ process they’re not right on the edge and will resist wear a bit better.

Take your next facing pair. You need to stitch the right hand edge of the right hand hexie to the left hand edge of the one you’ve just finished sewing in. Lay them face to face and stitch inwards towards the centre of the back. Knot off, and flip the other half over. Now you’re ready to sew the next top edge.

At this point, I like to undo the basting on the previous pair and pull out the paper. I fold the seam allowance back in tidily and pin the free edge down through the quilt layers to secure it.

Once all the facing hexies are sewn onto the outer edge, you’ll come back to this inner pinned edge and hem that down too. After that, you’re ready to start quilting. Because the batting goes right up to the edge, you can also quilt right to the edge if you wish.

Yes, it is labour intensive, but doesn’t it give a pretty result?

Anemone: facing the next stage

That’s a big chunk of work completed.

First on the agenda was to snip away the excess fabric on the back. It’s not really necessary, but I’d like this quilt to be as soft and supple as possible, so it was worth the investment of time.

Following a few more hours of work today, the quilt is sandwiched and trimmed out. It was a tricky one to sandwich because there’s no straight edge to line things up to, the light, soft fabric of the backing is harder to control than firmer regular backing, and the quilt itself needs to be handled a bit more gently than usual because of all the hand sewn seams around the edge.

The easiest way to manage the job turned out to be first sandwiching the backing and backing on the floor, then hanging that up on the design wall, batting side out. Onto that I pinned the quilt top, just along the top edge, and then I rolled it up and sprayed adhesive onto the batting from the top down, unrolling the top and smoothing out as I went along. I masked everything off with pieces of plastic drop sheet, which I seem to be able to get several uses out before they get impossibly gummed up!

I’d left the outer row of hexie papers in place to stabilise the edges, stop stitches unravelling and keep the folds crisp till they could be stuck down permanently.

Once the top was in place and smoothed out, I went round the edge unpicking the basting, gently pulling out the papers and sticking the hexies back down again.

Then I pinned each hexie on the outside edge through the sandwich, and finally, I trimmed out the excess batting and backing.

Now I’m ready to start assembling sections of the facing and stitching them in place along the outer edge. Finally, I’ll hem the inner edges down onto the backing. And then, and then, I can start quilting!

I’m having to take things a bit slowly just now. My back is going through a rather painful phase, and to top that off, I put my foot down a hidden pothole in the grass when I was walking Mouse the other day, and I’ve managed to tear the ligaments down the outside of my right ankle. There’s some quite spectacular swelling and bruising, and I’m lurching around in a rigid brace. Happy days….

Never mind. In a while, I’ll be able to sit contentedly and start hand quilting this baby 🙂

Anemone: back at it

Did you think I was taking a break?

Nope. I’ve spent the past two days adding the additional columns of hexie flowers at left and right. It’s laborious. It’s fiddly. It’s, dare I say it, booooorrrrinnnggg. But it’s done. The front is finished. I’ve even taken out all the papers except those at the extreme edge. But it looks exactly like the last version I showed you, so no photo of that.

Once it was all in one piece, I counted up how many hexies I’d need for the facing on the back. Turns out it’s 78, or 39 each of the spot and floral fabrics. I’ve made a start, so I thought I’d show you what I plan the back should look like:

What do you think?  I find it fresh and pretty, and a quiet antidote to the riot of colour on the front, without being dull. The backing fabric will go right up to the edge of the front hexies, and then be trimmed back just a little so the edge is nice and flat rather than thick and bodgy. Where the outside edge of the front and back hexies meets, I’ll whipstitch them together, edge to edge. Where the inside edge of the hexies meets the backing fabric, I’ll hem them down onto the backing. Does that help to explain the plan?

Because these edging hexies will also need to be quilted, the facing has to go on before quilting, so that’ll be the final stage. It’s going to take a fair while to get there, so don’t hold your breath.

Next steps: finish making the facing hexies; piece together the backing; trim out excess fabric on the reverse of the quilt top; cut batting and spray baste the quilt sandwich; trim away excess backing and batting; stitch together sections of the facing, press hard, remove papers and whipstitch to outside edge. There will be some easing required, I think, so I won’t be hemming down the inside edge till right at the end. And then it’ll be time to quilt!

Now, excuse me, I have an appointment with another 44 hexies.

Anemone: facing facts

Sorry, sorry, yet more puns…

So, the back of the Anemone quilt. I’m not going to straighten out the edge and give this quilt a conventional binding. I have plenty of straight edged quilts. No, I’m going to face the ziggy zaggy edge with yet more hexies on the back. Lots more handwork to do…. Firstly, I have to make all the hexies for the facing. Then I’ll layer it with batting and backing and spray baste the layers together. I’ll trim out the excess of both backing and batting so it’s back a quarter inch from the edge of the outer hexies, and then I’ll lay down the facing on top. The facing strips will need to be assembled into long strips. I’ll starch and press the bejasus out of them, remove the papers and gently lay the strips on top of the backing and quickly pin them in place. I’ll need to whip stitch the outer edges of the quilt together, and finally, hem down the inner edges of the facing onto the backing.

The main backing is going to be this nice blue and white voile in the leaf and animal print. I’d originally bought it to make clothes, but I’m a voile convert for a quilt backing because it feels so soft and lovely when it’s quilted. The facing will combine the navy and white spot with the pink floral. I think this is a pretty combination, and will produce a reversible quilt where the back is just as pretty, if a lot less colourful!

I’ve decided what I’m doing for the quilting. It’ll be offset hexies, the same size, but overlapping the intersections, like a ghostly outline of a second quilt overlying this one, but slightly ‘slipped’. Hard to describe, but hopefully all will make sense once I can show some progress. I’ve decided on a medium-pale grey quilting thread, which will blend nicely into most of the colours and only show a bit on the black.

The original plan for this quilt included entering it in Mackay Show in June. The Show has been postponed to who knows when, so that’s not exactly a deadline any more. But one of the show criteria is that quilts need to feature a hanging pocket. Given that this won’t have a straight edge, I’m having to consider how it might be hung, and I’m thinking tabs along the top edge. Time enough to finalise that. So, quite a lot still to be done…

… in case you thought this baby was in the home stretch!



Anemone: I think that’s it…

I think this quilt may finally be big enough.

This was before, the way I showed you last time.

This is now, with an extra row of flowers on the right hand side. I still have to make the dotty fillers.

As you can see, I’ve taken out that dark blue flower. It was just annoying me too much.

To me, it’s now large enough. I’ll still want to make coloured fillers to go round the edge so that it’s a simple zigzag, but there are sufficient complete flowers now, in my opinion. Now for several quiet days attaching all 14 new flowers and 13 dotty fillers. For clarity, this quilt is 70 inches wide by 67 inches high, and each flower is roughly 10 inches square. Big, eh?

For the back, my current plan is to use a single fabric backing, but to face the edge all round with an outer row of black hexies so the final edge of the quilt will be the zigzag edge of the hexie flowers.

Once it’s faced, I can start the hand quilting. There’s something to keep me out of trouble for several weeks! Before I start, though, there’s still a fair bit of work to be done. Once that’s finished, I have to make a decision. What colour thread shall I use for the quilting?

I was going to enter this quilt into the quilt section at Mackay Show. That has been postponed for the foreseeable future, but once it’s on again, I should have the quilt ready.

Every lockdown has a silver lining…

Anemo’ Inspo’

Yes, OK, the title’s a bit of a stretch…

What I’m trying to say here is that when I saw Wild Daffodil’s latest post, I was inspired to crack on with more Anemone quilt hexie flowers, especially a pink one! If you click through on the link and scroll to the end, you’ll see her gorgeous pink anemone and may have a lightbulb moment about the reason for this quilt’s name (if you’re not a gardener). I had only 5 more to do until I thought I maybe had enough.

So I chose a very strong pink, with blossom on it rather similar to the amelanchier blossom she’s already showing. It’s the one at bottom left. The other flowers fill what I feel are colour gaps; it’s all getting a bit neutral down that side, and you know how I love my brights! What do you think? I’m a bit worried the blue with teal spots is too dark and strong for this quilt… Would it be better in a different location? What do you think? And is the quilt big enough now, or do I need another row on the right?

Finally, I leave you with my latest face mask, made from scraps of the top I’m wearing. It wasn’t quite enough, hence the black filler pieces at the sides. The linen is too loose a weave for an effective mask, so I’ve lined it with batik to increase the impermability.

, everyone: Stay home, Stay safe and Stay well.