Monday, 2 November 2015

Keeping the record straight

Just a quick update.  Still trying to use up the Liberty stash but each project seems to require just a little but more that I don't happen to have. There is not much to say about the one-rosette version of La Passacaglia - I just keep going.  Round and round. It's now about 25 inches across.  No idea what it is or if it will be useful. Which worries my puritan soul. Linking up at Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.

As an antidote, I made something quick and useful yesterday.  I used Pink Chalk Fabrics pattern for the double fold, and used some of my favourite Liberty Lawns.  The main fabric is called Phillipa Zebra.  At least I bought it years ago from Ebay as that.  You can also see Growing Fonder, Mitsi, Phillip Clay and Jonathan.  Those last two came recently from Very Berry Handmade's Etsy shop.  Yes, every project needs more fabric.  

It's a very quick project using exactly half a meter (two panels, 9 inches by 54 inches which is the Liberty wof).  Luxuriously soft and surprisingly warm.  I think I might need one in every colour.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

What happened to the clamshells?

This happened.
It pained me to chop off some of the clamshells, but it seemed like the right shape.  Here is a description of the different methods I tried, with links to the tutorials I found helpful.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Passacaglia Update

This is the current state of my Passacaglia.  I've never been one for following patterns, and those familiar with the Passacaglia will see that I've gone off piste and beyond the edges of the large Rosette.  I want to see if I can expand the pattern indefinitely.  Round and round.  A break between each round will be good for my sanity.

It's all Liberty and shot cottons.  I'm pausing for a while now while I decide on the next fabric.

Linking up with Jessica over at Life Under Quilts

Monday, 24 August 2015

Clamshells - to EPP or not to EPP?

There may be as many different ways to do clamshells as there are quilters.  I decided to try a few using my favourite Liberty blues while my Passacaglia is resting.

First, EPP

While Im happy to make my own templates for more basic shapes, I didn't feel that my compass skills were good enough.  I bought some 2 inch clamshells from Sew and Quilt .  Sewing them together was a bit awkward as you can't hold the pieces front to front in the usual way.  It went together OK but was a bit fiddly.  Here they are with the top row appliquéd to a strip of plain fabric.

Next I tried appliqué.  This involves securing the fabric round the top curve in some way.  You can sew it, gather it or glue it.  There is also a method where you iron the fabric around the template using kitchen foil.  I tried all four of these in my next piece.

You start by securing the first row to another piece of fabric.  Them you have to carefully line them up, row by row.  For me this was the main disadvantage.  With EPP, the pieces fit together naturally. But for appliqué, you have to keep measuring to keep everything lined up.  I was not entirely successful.  Here's the finished piece:

Is there a difference between them?  Well if there is, it is not a big enough difference for most non-quilty people to see. I think the EPP clams are a better shape, and are more regular, but the stitches are more visible.  They both took about the same amount of time.  

Here are some of the tutorials I looked at - they were all useful in their different ways:

Messy Jesse

Molly Flanders

Poppy Makes

These two pieces are going to be hand quilted and made into a pouch.  I'm sure I will soon forget which side is which.  Linking with Life Under Quilts for the Monday Star Count, and with Celtic Thistle Stitches New to Me.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Late to the Feast

Three things made me start this project:

  • a kind Instagram friend sent me a pack of templates for the Passacaglia quilt
  • I'd just finished another EPP project
  • Clare who blogs and Instagrams as @selfsewn started one, so it would have been rude not to, right?

Is an interesting pattern because its based on pentagons which don't tesselate easily.   The pattern for the whole quilt, from Willyne Hammerstein's book Millefiore Quilts is a huge undertaking and would require a massive investment of time and fabric.  Although the original in the book is not fussy-cut, the pattern is ideal for fussy-cutting and that means lots of waste.  

I'm not contemplating the whole quilt.  At the moment I'm going slowly, enjoying the process, stitching in the garden with its not too windy. Clare @selfsewn and I are using the hashtag #alittlepassacaglia

 Here's a rather dark image of the finished Oakshott mini quilt from the previous post.  It seems that once I've finished as EPP project I have to start another.

Linking with Jessica at Life Under Quilts.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Nine Stars - some EPP with curves.

I've been working on a small piece made from shot cotton.  The above pic is from the back against the light, so you can see all the gaps I've left!  Each block is 6 inches square.

 Oakshott did an offer for their sample packs and I got my hands on the Lakes pack - lovely blues with a bit of green and purple.  It was fun squeezing the pieces out of a five inch square.  I used every scrap.  The white and brown pieces were from stash.

I used my usual method of drawing on a piece of Incompetech graph paper - this one is on Polar graph paper.  I found the best way to get round the complex curves was to cut the seam allowance really fine and let it stretch. Easy with a closely woven fabric.

I wish you could see the colours.  About to finish it off with some hand quilting.

In haste so I can link up with Life Under Quilts -and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Another Liberty Quilt - reversible.

Last week I finished my second Liberty quilt in a month. This one includes some of the more unusual dark fabrics which many people would not associate with Liberty.  It is a mix of four patch and sixteen patch blocks, which make an unexpected secondary pattern.

The back is made from the same fabrics.  The dark one here is Susannah, which is also shown in the pink in the bottom left quarter.  

The small squares finish at 2½ inches and the whole quilt is 60 inches square.

I think I'll slow down a bit now.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Moorish Patterns in EPP - Update

I'm working on a new EPP pattern to go with the other Arabic style patterns that have been pinned to the wall here. This one is based on a pattern from Kharraqan in western Iran. It's a two colour tesselation. I had to split each shape into three for the EPP.

The fabrics are Oakshotts.  It may not show up too well, but there are three different blues and two different whites.  I wanted them to look like tiles with slightly different glazes.  

But it is not too extravagant; I bought a bundle of fat eighths when they were on offer.  If you work small you can get a lot of fun for your money.  Less than a round of G&Ts in a London bar.  

I like to have an EPP project in the summer when I can work outside.

 Not a bad workspace, is it?

Decided to use thread basting instead of glue because there are so many seams joining in one place.  I find it easier to make the (technical term coming) little flappy bits sit right. The squares you can see on the paper shapes are 1 cm.

The fabric is running out and I've no idea which colours they were and if they are still available.  

So maybe I will stop soon and join all the pieces together. Somehow.  

If you want to see the patterns go here.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Liberty Ninepatch

I finished the Liberty Nine Patch.  If you could only feel how soft and silky it is.   It is 100% Liberty Tana Lawn, binding, backing and every last piece. 

It was made from a sample book (you can read how I got hold of that here) and any scrap in my stash which was big enough to cut 4 or 5 2½ inch squares.

The sample book was very useful as it included lots of unusual darks which were great for contrast.  Beautiful as Liberty is, I find it can look fuzzy from a distance if there isn't enough contrast. 

It's big - 72 inches by 84 inches.  I had intended it to be bigger but the sample book was running out.

Oddly I seem to have more fabric left than before - partly because through posting pictures on Instagram I was commissioned to make another Liberty quilt by a friend of a friend.  She requested pink with contrasting darks.  So I had to buy more, naturally. I'm piecing the back of that one now.

Linking up with Mrs Sew and Sow's Scraptastic Tuesday.   

Friday, 29 May 2015

EPP and Instagram Swaps

I recently joined an Instagram swap organised by Jo who blogs at Life in Lists.  It is a secret swap, so although I know the person I am making this for, she does not know who I am and I don't know who is making for me.    It's been great fun following new people and seeing what they are making, and wondering if their creation is meant for me.  All the while I've been neglecting this blog.

Something original seemed required so I had a look around my secret partner's Instagram feed and her Pinterest board to see what she likes.  I think I've nailed it.  This design is based on one of the lovely geometric ceramic tile designs that are around now. 

I started with a small test piece and just kept going.

It is a surprisingly simple design based on only two shapes.

The 3D trick is in the fabrics - three shades of various low / medium volume white, grey and cream with a deep red/orange for the triangles.

Of course I had to add a bit of Liberty.  Can you see it?

Here's the completed top which is about 20 inches across. 

It is now being backed and bound with this Art Gallery fabric called Optical Origami Moon.

I hope my partner likes it - I'll have to wait to find out though, the swap does not finish until July.

Linking up with Jessica at Life Under Quilts

Monday, 13 April 2015

Using it - Liberty Nine Patch

I've been collecting Liberty fabric on and off for years.  I've been using it, too.  But not fast enough.  I went to an exhibition recently (Spring Knit and Stitch at Olympia) where Worn and Washed had a stall.  You may know worn and washed for their curated bundles of soft cottons.  They also prepare beautiful £50 bundles of Tana Lawns for the Liberty store.  Anyhoo the lady behind the counter, who may have been Kim Porter herself, recognised me as a Liberty addict and offered me something from under the counter.  Yes, it was a sample book from a few years ago.  I couldn't resist. 

There were many, many fabrics I had never seen before and lots of dark ones, which I don't usually buy.  There were some I didn't like at all. Plenty I did though. After pawing them for about a week I got OH to dismantle the book.  There were a few staple holes at one end and a sticky label at the other end, but I worked out that I could get 4 or 5 2.5 inch squares out of each sample. And there were more than a hundred.  I decided the dark ones could be teamed with lighter, brighter ones from my stash and started making nine patch blocks, alternating the dark and the light.  

When I got to 81, remembering my maths, I laid them out in a nine by nine square on the floor. There's barely a dent in the sample pile. I could make a full size bed quilt and every block would be different.  So thats what I'm going to do.  I'm not going to sew any of it together until the end, when I'll decide how to arrange the blocks. There is a patch of paler ones above that might need to be spread around - or emphasised.  Not sure yet.  Here's my favourite nine patch so far:

I'm going to keep going until I get to 238 blocks  (14 x 17) which would give me something 7ft wide by 8ft 6 long.  

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Zip around purse in Liberty Lawn - Tutorial

Like most people I rarely use cash these days.  So I needed a purse for credit cards with a small section for a few coins.  It was great fun to make and I used up some scraps.  You could use any fabric for the outer piece, but I would recommend a lightweight lawn for the interior because there are so many folds and layers.


This is not a difficult project, but it is a bit fiddly and there is hand stitching involved.  This is the third purse I have made and they get better each time.  So you might want to make a trial purse using a cheap zip and non favourite fabric before risking some favourite print.

This is my first tutorial and it has not been tested by anyone, so if you are puzzled or I have left something out please leave a comment and I will do my best to help.

I'll be linking up with Lily's Quilts Fresh Sewing day.

What you will need:

For the outer piece:
  • Outer fabric 5 x 9 inches. 
  • Heavy duty iron-on interfacing (fusible stabiliser) like Pellon Peltex 4.5 x 8 inches
  • 12 inch zip / zipper.
For the coin section:
  • Two pieces of cotton lawn 11 x 6 inches
  • Lightweight nylon zip - cut down to 3.5 inches
  • Two 1.5 inch squares in lawn for the zip end tabs
For the credit card section:
  • One piece of lawn 4.5 x 32 inches.  This can be pieced if you don't have a bit that's long enough.
  • Strips of the same lawn 1.25 inches wide - 2 x 9 inches and 2 x 5 inches.
  • 4.5 x 8 inch piece of fairly firm iron-on interfacing (fusible stabiliser) such as you might use in a collar, not as thick as the Peltex used for the outer part.
Clover clips, a thimble and a glue pen are also useful.

Outer Piece

Mark a curve on each corner of the Peltex using a large thread reel or similar round object.  Cut off the curves. 

Cut 3 3/4 inches off each side of the Peltex - this will leave a half inch central strip which will allow the outer section to bend.

Fuse the three pieces to the outer fabric as shown in the pic, centring the design on the fabric.

Trim the edges of the fabric if needed.  Fold over the edges and glue down.  You may need to gather up the corners using a running stitch.

Mark each side of the centre of the zip and the centre of each side of the purse.  Open the zip and attach it to the outer purse with clover clips or basting.  The ends of the metal part of the zip should not go below the gap in the Peltex, as they will stop the purse from folding nicely.  In the pic below I have folded the zip webbing in half so I can use the clover clips while I baste with the yellow thread.

Then hand stitch round the zip, going right through the patchwork, the Peltex and the zip as close to the edge of the patchwork as you can.  Use a small half back stitch, which should be almost invisible from the outside on a patterned fabric.  Start in the middle of each side and check regularly to make sure both sides are even.  This is the fiddliest bit.

The image below shows the stitches on the inside, which get covered up when the inner piece goes in.

Bend round the ends of the zip onto the central half inch section of Peltex and glue or baste them down.  

Coin Section

First prepare the zip.  Cut the zip down to 3.5 inches, making sure you don't loose the zip pull. Cover the ends with the zip end tabs.

Now mark the middle of the long side of one of your 11 x 6 pieces and mark the middle of your prepared zipper.  Machine the zip to the fabric, matching your middle marks.

 Press a 1/4 inch seam along the rest of this edge and the other edge.  Fold the side piece lengthwise.  Top stitch the two sides together.  When you meet the zip continue along the same line.

Sew the other piece on to the other side of the zip in the same manner.

Now create the coin enclosure.  Position the two long pieces one on top of the other, with the zip at the top.  Stitch a line in a long curve starting at one end of the zip, down to the other side, and up again to the other side of the zip.  This is shown by the pins in the photo below.

Next make the folds which will form a concertina.  Fold each flap back across the zipped section and then fold back towards the edge to form a 1 1/4 inch fold.  Top stitch the folds.

Now put this piece to one side.

Credit Card Section

Each side of the purse has three credit card slots.  Take your long 4.5 x 32 inch piece of fabric and mark the middle of it - this will be at the bottom of the purse.  Fold the fabric around your credit cards until you get the position of the folds in the right place, remembering that it all has to fit on the piece of interfacing (stabiliser).

Iron the folds in place (removing the cards first!)  Then sew one of your 9 x 2 inch strips up one side to secure the folds.  Test the width by putting back the credit cards and trim the width, then sew the other 9 x 2 inch strip to the other side.

 Finish it off by sewing the remaining strips to either end. 

Now round off the corners of your piece of interfacing using the same round object you used before. It should fit snuggly inside the outer part of the purse, but now is the time to check in case you need to trim it slightly.

Iron the stabiliser to the back of the credit card piece, making sure it is centred.  Then trim the edges and fold the excess over, glueing it in place using a fabric glue pen.

Nearly there now!

Fitting it all together

Now join the two inner pieces.  Fold the credit card section in half and position the coin section inside it using clover clips or pins.

Fold the ends of the fabric flaps around the edge, then trim and glue in place.

Place the inner sections inside the outer section and hand stitch around the edge.  Start in the middle of each side and work your way as far as you can down the edges.  As you get towards the bottom of the purse it will be easier to go through all the layers. You will need a thimble here to push the needle through.

And that's it!