Bee, Myself & I #23

Wasn’t sure I’d get this one done in time!

There’s been a lot of hand quilting going on round here, so slotting in my monthly Hatbox block wasn’t a problem, but I’m doing a few other things which are also taking time, so it was a question of what was going to give. Luckily, it wasn’t this!

This is the thirteenth hand-quilted block, and I’m following the format I’ve used for all the others so there will be an additional uniformity of look despite all the different colours. I’ll be taking the next two blocks away on holiday with me; they’re light, take up almost no space, and need a very small sewing kit – perfect for caravan holidays! So at least I’ll get the BM&I post sorted, even if I’m not going to manage many other sewing posts while we’re away.

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.

Hopefully I’ll have a bit more to show you next time 🙂

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Bonnard quilting: halfway

We’re getting there.

This clamshell quilting design creates a lovely texture under the hand and looks really good when it catches the light. I’m glad I finally listened to the quilt.

I was worried red quilting thread would stand out too much on the front, but as you can see, it works really well, and disappears on the back.

The spray basting has held up very well, I haven’t had to manage any saggy bits or excess fullness, and despite not using a frame, working with the quilt simply laid across the table, everything is still good and stuck! I also haven’t had any issues with spray baste gumming up my needle, possibly because I was fairly frugal with the spraying. The 505 spray I use is quite a ‘dry’ product, you don’t get wet splatter. If anything, it goes a bit like Crazy String, which is a sign you need to clear the nozzle. I’m also happy to report that some of the excessive fluffiness of the backing fabric seems to disappear as I work, which is probably due to my right arm rubbing across it as I sew.

At this point, I’m allowing myself to think ahead to the binding, and what colour I might use. No fixed ideas yet, but it has to work with both back and front. I have a fair bit of the red backing fabric left, and I might use that if it doesn’t look too strong against the front when I audition it. Otherwise, maybe a dark green. I’ll see…

Halfway there. 16 lines quilted, 16 more to go.

Right, onwards and upwards. I’m not going to post about every additional small increment; the next time you see this quilt it’ll be fully quilted and I’ll be ready to bind it.

Bonnard: quilting progress

I’ve been stitching away in the background.

Progress photos of quilting are a bit dull unless you’ve reached some kind of landmark. It’s not terribly exciting to look at, but I’ve reached the one-third point.

The last row of quilting is just above the fold of the fabric where you see the red backing. The safety pin with the tuft of red yarn at top right marks the halfway point of the quilt, and as you can see, I have only 5 lines to go before I reach halfway, at 16 lines. I’ve done 11 lines and I’m just over 30% through. Hurray!

You’ll have to forgive the fluffiness of the backing fabric – there’s batting fluff everywhere on the table. I’ll give the quilt a good grooming with the lint roller once it’s done, and before it goes in the washing machine, otherwise the fluff’ll be all over the front too.

I like the new needle I’m working with. It’s medium-long (compared with a short quilting ‘Between’ needle) and fine, but has a large eye. On the upside, it goes through multiple layers of fabric easily. On the downside, it slips just as easily into my finger… ouch! On balance, though, I greatly prefer it to the one I was using before. It’s a Birch size 7 Embroidery needle, in case you’d like to try one.

Right, back to it.

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.

Clamming up: quilting for Bonnard

I must have made, tried and discarded a dozen different templates.

My original plan was to quilt Bonnard with a random scatter of leaves, but no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t find an assortment of leaf shapes I liked, which were the right size and which were simple enough to quilt with my not exactly tiny hand-quilting stitches. My subconscious was at work, I think, or perhaps it was the quilt, trying to gain my attention and tell me what it wanted.

And then I realised that the quilting wasn’t the point of this quilt, it was a supplementary feature, an attractive way of holding the layers together which incidentally added visual richness and texture. And there it was. I’d do a simple all-over repeat. What about a Baptist Fan, one of my favourites? Still not quite right.

I’ve come full circle, I think. I’m quilting clamshells, like my bestest and favouritest quilt of all, the one that lives on my bed. The ones on Bonnard will be larger, at 4 inches across rather than 2½ inches, but I wanted them to fit within the proportions of the squares and blocks I’ve used to make Bonnard. As an incidental bonus, the larger size will mean I get it done more quickly, and the interlocking clamshell shapes mean the stitching all travels in one direction so I won’t be twirling the quilt around. It’ll sit on the table, its own weight providing the tension I need to hold things flat, and I won’t be draped in acres of cosy quilt at this hottest time of year. As an extra benefit, my plain white teacup is exactly the right size to form the template I mark around, plus it won’t bend and deteriorate like a card template.

Win-win all round, I’d say.

BM&I: #22

Only one more block done, but I did have one or two other things going on this month.

This is Hatbox block 12 quilted. There’s 17 more to go, so I’m not even halfway yet. I’ll hope to get a couple more done next month, and more the month after, especially as we’re going away in February. I’ll need some hand-stitching to take with me, and this is as good a project as any, since it only needs needle, thread and scissors as well as a block or two. The photo might be a bit tricky, as I won’t have good photography lights with me. I’ll just have to hope for brilliant daylight to achieve the same result 🙂

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.

Look out for more Hatbox quilting at the end of January.

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…