The Hatbox Quilt: homage to hand-sewing

I’m taking it slowly.

You know what it is? I don’t want this quilt to finish, I’ve loved the process so much. But all good things must come to an end, so I’m taking my time but gradually getting it done. Which means the sashing on the back panels will be stitched down by hand. Sorry if this stretches out the anticipated finish a bit, but I wanted to stay in the vintage-y, soft, contemplative spirit of the thing. I grant you, I wasn’t in that groove quite enough to do all the blanket stitching by hand (in which case you’d still be watching me assemble block 5, probably), but let’s take it slowly and pleasurably.

I’m also not going to hand-stitch the internal seams that attach the front sashing. That would be slightly deranged; going through all those layers of fabric and batting with hand-stitching? I don’t think so, not to mention the fact that it would be much less durable. But that final folded edge on the back? Yes, perfect for hand stitching with nearly invisible results, since I even have thread exactly the right colour 🙂

So, the blocks are all trimmed out, the sashing strips for front and back are all cut. I’ve got the first corner joined.

Let’s keep it moving. But slowly….

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 🙂

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!


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 🙂

A hazard to sitting

Screen shot 2014-06-28 at 4.49.19 PMWhen I emigrated to Australia 1o years ago, I left behind me the vast majority of my worldly possessions.

I reasoned that it would cost more to ship my furniture, bookshelves, fridge and washing machine than it would to buy new ones here, more suited to the climate and my living conditions. I was right, but it was a spartan beginning. I had 5 cubic metres of stuff. Most of it books, pictures, lamps, household linen, rugs, mirrors, china and glass; all the things that makes a place yours. I brought exactly two pieces of furniture, one easy chair and one Regency mahogany swivel top card table that had belonged to my mother and without which I wasn’t going anywhere. I’d done my homework on that table, eaten off that table, played games on that table. It was coming too.

The result was the Shopping Trip of All Time, when I finally moved into the house I bought the day after I arrived, and subsequently spent 6 weeks renovating. A bed, chests of drawers, tables, chairs, pots, pans. The whole kit and caboodle. But the best buy of the lot was my sofa. It’s handsome, comfortable, sturdy, elegant, has washable covers, and best of all, it came flat packed. Yes, my friends, it came from Ikea. Anyone turning up their nose and making disparaging remarks at this point may go and play quietly in the corner.  It has done sterling service, and continues to do so. But it tempts me to bad habits.

Screen shot 2014-06-28 at 4.49.57 PMWhich brings me to the title of this post. Bear with me, this really is going somewhere. I’m doing a lot of hand sewing at the moment. “No, really?” you cry. That will be quite enough sarcasm, thank you…. I have to change thread colour on a reasonably regular basis, and am surrounded by the tools of my activity: small scissors, papers, fabric, two reels of thread, needle threader, two needles, etc. On two separate occasions in the last week, I have lost a needle in the sofa, due mainly to my bad habit of parking them in the arm of the sofa whilst not in use. And I rediscovered them later. Painfully. In the part of me that does the sitting. Hence the title…

Screen shot 2014-06-28 at 4.50.10 PMI have a pincushion, but it it’s not very exciting. It’s also a bit barrel shaped and rolls about annoyingly. It was time for a more satisfactory solution. One of my many scrap boxes produced the materials, I took a break from embroidery, and suddenly the needles are coralled, my hinder end is safe and I can once again hurl myself into the depth of my lovely sofa with a peaceful mind.

Back to the embroidery hoop, then.

Lots done, little to show…

It’s been a busy day.

Many pre-Christmas tasks done, nothing much to show for it. Cleaning windows, sweeping the patio, putting handles on doors, getting the final groceries. That sort of fun stuff.  All things that need to be done but which don’t make particularly fascinating words or pictures!

One brag photo: the Car Quilt is now substantially larger.

The Car Quilt, growing fast. It must be all that stitching while I'm watching TV

The Car Quilt, growing fast. It must be all that stitching while I’m watching TV

I’ve been baking: mince pies, Christmas spiced cookies.  Tomorrow I have to tackle the ham, chicken, pork and beef. And make the chocolate mousse. And the sherry trifle.  Maybe I’ll have time to take some photos, or even do some sewing… yeah, right!

It’s getting excitingly close to Christmas now!