Time for Teal part 8

It’s been a sore few days in the back department.

Not a lot of sitting at the sewing machine or hunching over my light box. On the other hand, I have signed up with our local aquatic centre and am doing a half-hour to an hour of water-based back strengthening exercises every working day. I have the entire pool to myself, it’s heated and it’s a bit of luxury; about the only place my back doesn’t hurt. Anyway, back to Time for Teal.

Teal Small Plate PP design

This beautiful block designed by Esther of ipatchandquilt, and available in her Craftsy store, has taken me three times as long as it should because of not being able to sew for long periods at a time, but I’m so happy it’s finally finished and I can show it off!  I know my forks are a bit, um, rustic in appearance, but I feel they’re OK enough. Finished is better than perfect. I have two more blocks to do, and then the panel of 3 x 4 blocks for the centre of the quilt can be completed. One will be a pair of cups and saucers, and the other I’m yet to decide about, but may appliqué a pile of saucers to balance an appliqué block showing stacked teacups.

To all those who have offered to make a dresden plate block for the outer border of the tea table, thank you! There’s no big rush, end of June or mid July would be fine. I need a total of 18, and we’re still a long way off. Guess what I’ll be making a lot of in the not too distant future… I enjoy it a lot, so it’ll be a chance to build my skill and speed.

I also have some lovely paper pieced blocks I want to make for the outer border, to add to the beauties I’ve already received. Of course, there’ll have to be a postage stamp block, and I want a Hunter’s Star, an Icicle Star, a couple of hearts, and need to make another of my teal ribbon blocks for the bottom centre of the border.

I don’t think boredom is going to strike any time soon.

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook # 5

After Anne, who made it, I’m honoured to be first on the list to make a mark on the pristine pages of the Travelling Sketchbook.

If you’re not familiar with this project, I recommend you hope over to Anne Lawson’s blog and look at how it all came to be, links here:


It’s been a rough week or two for me health-wise as some of you will already know, but I’ve finally finished my entry, and here it is. Click on the photo for a larger, and enlargeable, image.

Kate Sketchbook page

A stitched image in fabric, a bit of loopy hand lettering and a sorta, kinda poem. The sewn fabric piece is the hardest bit of foundation paper piecing I’ve ever made, but knowing how fond Anne is of feathers, it was a challenge that just had to be met…. I’m not totally in love with the lettering, but sometimes you just have to commit to getting something down on paper, don’t you? And I like the words… Actually, I’m not even sure which way the page should go, landscape or portrait.  I think I prefer portrait for the feather, but then the words are on their sides. You decide for yourselves which is better.

The Travelling Sketchbook is even now on its way to Sandra (Lady Red Specs – see the link below), so remember to check her blog to see what she’s going to add. I can’t wait to find out – the additions are going to be widely varied and fascinating. I’m going to save myself the trouble by Following the lot of you!

Below is the list of participants and links to them, so you can keep track. Maybe later participants could save a bit of time by cutting and pasting the info? You can track its progress on an interactive map miraculously conjured up by Chas Spain, here.

and finally, back to Anne herself in Melbourne, Australia

The Sketchbook's route The Sketchbook's globetrotting

There is an envelope containing the Sister-hood list with contact info and addresses in the back of the Sketchbook, so do make sure if you’re a contributor that this travels along too. Anne has also made a map where we can record the Sketchbook’s travels, and I hope the others will also update and show this when they publish their contributions, in addition to following Chas Spain’s proposed interactive version (for more on that, jump over here and read up on what she’s planning – it’ll be awesome!).

If anyone reading this would like to join in, please contact Anne about it via any of the blog posts listed at the top – we may need to either add more pages or start Volume II…

So far, the Sisterhood is living up to its name, but the odd Brother would be welcome too, I’m sure….

Update: I’ve now added a Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook page to this blog, which records the background, the story, and the additions, page by page, as they are made. You’ll find it in the bar at the left, under the More Information heading.

Time for Teal part 5

Cake without baking!

Peppermint gateauLook at this fabulous beauty. It’s the gateau and cake-stand  pattern designed by Esther which I mentioned in my last post. If you click on this link, you’ll see her design for using all the gorgeous teatime blocks she’s designed in one layout. It’s brilliant! Sadly, my gateau has taken forever to finish, not because the pattern was so very difficult but because I can only spend a short time sitting at the sewing machine before my back starts yelling at me. The pattern does require some experience, but it’s not a hard one, you just need to be meticulous. Up to now that has not been a problem, but I did make an exceptionally stupid mistake yesterday regarding colour, which resulted in my having to completely remake the bottom section… I make no excuses, it was just plain stupid.

So, my lovely tiered pale sponge cake has a swirly peppermint frosting and a slightly darker background to give the paler colours better contrast, and it may end up taking centre stage in the middle of the tea-table so as not to throw off the balance visually. Now that it’s Monday again here, I’m going to be checking the mailbox eagerly for squishies; I know there’s at least one on the way destined for the central section, and I’d like to start getting that laid out so I can see how much work I still need to do there.

I’m not averse to using machines in baking, as you probably realise from all my cooking posts, but this is the first time I’ve used a sewing machine to make a cake… It could become addictive!

And we all know how much I love cake… heh, heh!

Time for Teal part 4

More squishy fun through the post, this time from the lovely Lynn. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

T4T collage 4

The top two are hers. Lynn, I hope you don’t mind, but I might add a narrow inner border on the cup and saucer block, which ‘float’ a little bit in the background. Something in teal, to pick up the colour of the stitching. And I love the fabrics in the Dresden Plate, which is especially welcome as I need loads of them!

I also got a couple of blocks done myself. ‘A couple’ might not seem that impressive, but these two were fiendish, and while I’m pleased with the result, I will probably never, ever be making them again! They are by Maartje Quilts in Amsterdam. It’s a lovely blog, and she has a fairly large library of free paper piecing patterns, but if I’d been in my right mind, I’d have printed them out at 200%. Making a 6 inch block that has about 45 pieces in it was not a good choice when I was so uncomfortable and in pain and not able to sit easily at my sewing machine! Actually, I’ll revise that. I’d like to try them again when I have a bit more time, my back isn’t screaming at me, and I’ll definitely print them out larger… Some of the pieces were tiny triangles only 1cm (about a third of an inch) on a side.

Next up on the sewing list is the gorgeous gateau on a cake stand and small cake plate and forks blocks from Esther. These two patterns are available *free* in her Craftsy store, along with many other beauties, some of which are free and others which are very much worth their very modest price. After that, I’ll make up another one of my own design for the teal ribbon block, which will feature on every Ovarian Cancer Quilt I make, and probably some hearts and stars for the border, and maybe a postage stamp or rail fence block or two.

I have a couple more teapot blocks and cup and saucer blocks in reserve to fill out the centre section, if necessary, but I probably need most of all to concentrate on Dresden plates; I only have about a third of the quantity I need.

I know there are at least two more squishies on the way with more blocks, so I’m not going to go mad till I see what I have.

Venice is beautiful at this time of year….

… or so I’m told.

Venice testCertainly, Esther’s new pattern by that name is! I have spent a few happy and busy hours over the last couple of days assembling this gorgeous star. If you’re in the F2F block swap, you’ll recognise my colour scheme for when it’s my turn next year, and indeed, this beauty is going to be one of my own blocks for the quilt that will eventually be assembled. I think it looks like a beautiful wrought iron sunflower…

There’s a bunch of us testing the pattern, and the results will be collated and incorporated into the instructions in the next week or so.  After that, the pattern will be available in Esther’s Craftsy shop, so if you like the look of it, go and check it out. She has made some really beautiful versions of it herself.

And on with the next paper piecing project! For the three F2F blocks I’ll be making, you’ll have to look in the F2F gallery some time next week; I won’t be posting about them in case Christina, our Miss December, wants to maintain the surprise.

Have a lovely day!

PP Stash: getting my head round it…

The process of creation, that is.

OK, the process of making doesn’t frighten me any more. I’ve now made 6 blocks, accompanied by bad language, unpicking, cutting and recutting pieces I’d miscalculated, and hopefully the worst of the mistakes are behind me. Now, it’s a different problem. I want to make my own designs.


This block is Marley by 627Handworks, so-called because of the three ‘little birds’. Cute design, flawed make…

This is one of the ‘not quite right’ ones, and instead of going to an F2F participant, it’s going into my stash.  It’s not so much the piecing and accuracy, which is only OK-ish, it’s more that it’s 1/8 – 1/4″ short on two corners, and I can’t expect someone else to accept my mistakes. It could still be used, but the seam allowances would have to be fiddled with. The colour scheme may look familiar to one of you out there, and if you’d still like to have it knowing the problems, let me know.

I don’t have EQ and am not sure I could learn to use EQ even if I got it, so I can’t play with how things will look that easily. I’m quite good at visualising colour, so I’ll rely on that. However, there are all sorts of things I’d like to turn into blocks, but I can’t get my lame brain around how to arrange the pieces so that it works. Or perhaps it’s not the order so much as where to place the breaks between the pieces and keeping them to a minimum. Any hints, tips, suggestions or pointers towards online resources to help with this would be gratefully received – I know there are heaps of you out there who do paper piecing all the time.

TeardropStarTemplateI have drawn up two blocks I like. One of them is going to be used for F2F, so I can’t show you progress on that, but this one is the Teardrop Star I showed you before, and it’s for me, to add to my block stash. I’ll show you what it looks like when it’s done.

Now I just have to pick fabrics…

Building a different kind of stash

It’s a new obsession – as if I needed any more, where quilting is concerned….

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 9.30.54 pm

Evidence of industry. I don’t think anyone will accuse me of wasting fabric scraps…

So far, all the blocks that I’ve made and planned for F²F have been paper pieced. When you’re making a block for someone else, you want to push the boat out a bit, showcase your skill a little, go the extra mile, because it’s only small and you don’t have much space to impress with, and whatever you do end up making won’t take forever anyway…

Previous experiences with paper piecing haven’t been happy. I’ve found it hard to work back to front, upside down, sewing on the back of the piece. I’ve tended to avoid even looking at PP designs. But with the end of WWF and the hard grind that went with ensuring it was completed in time, I’ve been enjoying a slower, more considered pace of working. I wanted to build a new skill and it seemed the obvious place to start. It helped to organise myself very thoroughly up front and not regard the need to unpick as a disaster, but as a valuable lesson in checking not once, but twice.

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 9.31.29 pm

Wanted: Good home for multiple scraps of all colours. Must be prepared to accept very small scraps and odd shapes and generate very little waste…

So, I’ve come to a decision. Alongside the blocks I’m making for F²F, I’ll be building a personal stash of 12″ blocks. There’s no colour or design theme. There’s no purpose in mind. I just want to have a basket full of gorgeousness to dip into whenever I need to make something for someone in a hurry. And 12″ blocks are great because they’re big, and versatile. You can place them straight or on point or round the outside as a border or in the middle as a central medallion.


#1: Hand drawn ‘Teardrop Star’ template – hope it works!

I’m not going to post about it whenever I make one, but I may show off a handful of them from time to time. And I’ll be really happy if anyone out there falls in love with one of them and would like to become its new owner, so please speak out if you see one that works for you. The first one is already in the pipeline, and any patterns from F²F that I think work particularly well will be repeated for my stash.

It’ll be like a little quilty holiday from whatever big project I’m currently engrossed in. Not quite a portable hexie project, but something quick, small and perfectly formed!