Three Bargello Table Runners and a Squirrel Project

Time has been whizzing by! I’ve been carried along on waves of inspiration which has been rather lovely after a long period of just ‘doing’ patchwork without feeling creative.

My sewing room after a flurry of creativity!

Following the craft fair with no sales I decided to think through what it is I enjoy about patchwork quilting and in what direction I should be heading. Sharing knowledge and skills came out as the way to go. This fits with my 2022 word of the year NURTURE and with previous words of the year LEARN, COMMUNITY, SHARE and GROW. With this fresh clarity, I pressed past procrastination and a bit of a crisis of confidence to book a local community hall for two Saturdays in July… Time to plan a couple of workshops….

Workshop No.1 – Bargello Table Runner has been inspired by the popularity of a couple of blog tutorials I posted back in June 2020. Seems people would like a straightforward introduction to the rather daunting patchwork version of the classic Bargello design. So I’ve fiddled about with pencil, paper (eraser) and fabric to come up with two designs, one symmetrical, the other asymmetrical, which provide an opportunity to practice the process of patchwork Bargello without a massive commitment of time or fabric. In fact all that’s required are seven WOF strips (left over jelly roll strips would be ideal) to make a Bargello table runner.

Top left: symmetrical Bargello; Top Right: asymmetrical Bargello; Bottom Middle: first attempt at asymmetrical Bargello (not too sure about the rainbow of colours?)

Workshop No.2 – I’m leaning towards teaching quick strip piecing using my I-Spy Shadow pattern. I haven’t quite made up my mind, so, for the time being I’ll put a ‘to be confirmed’ message next to this workshop!

And then there’s the squirrel project that just leapt out of an old book and onto my design wall! Ahem! There may have been an excursion to Amazon Prime to purchase a Layer Cake along the way 😏 The design is called ‘Hexagon Hip Hop’ and can be found in the original ‘Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts’ book by Pam & Nicky Lintott. Looking along my shelf of books about patchwork I have a feeling this may have been the first one I purchased. It was published in 2009. I’ve thumbed through the book so many times but never made any of the designs! Maybe the (brief) thought of de-cluttering my patchwork supplies spurred me into making a quilt using a pattern from the book? I’m not sure but there it is on the design wall!

At some wakeful point during the night I was thinking about the patches on the design wall, wondering about changing up the border from the design in the book, when I came up with the idea to use whole hexagons rather than have partial hexagons around the edges. So first thing this morning I was busy making a few changes to the arrangement on the design wall.

I like the the look of the complete hexagons nudging into the borders. It will mean a bit more cutting to make border fabric half hexagons and a bit of fiddling to make border fabric pieces to fill-in the ‘v’ shapes along the top and bottom rows of the hexagons but I think it will be worth the trouble πŸ™‚

Oh! I nearly forgot to mention another sewing project that got some attention this week! On Thursday I went to the monthly sewing day held at a local Scout Hut and made the May blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. For the first time in months I am up-to-date with the RSC πŸŽ‰

Finally, I did manage to post a short video tutorial in my Facebook group, Patchwork Beginners’ Learning Hub.Β I demonstrated how to use a regular rectangular ruler (I like those rolling ‘r’s!) to cut the 60ΒΊ slices to form the edges of the half hexagon patches.

All the sewing activity was made possible by the silver-lined cloud of a very sore back caused by an excess of digging and weeding at the allotment last weekend. We’d actually had some rain and rushed to get some beds dug over before the ground re-set to it’s usual concrete state. Boy! Did I know about it on Monday morning? Usually I find walking and moving about is the best relief for my back pain. Not this time, walking was really uncomfortable, bending and lifting were very painful, sitting and sewing were just fine πŸ™‚

Thankfully, my back is feeling a lot better now. We had a gentle walk to the newsagents this morning with no ill-effects. There will be far less time for sewing in the coming week. I’m working two full days in Purple Stitches; the 2nd-5th June is a special holiday to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee so there are lots of activities around that; and I’m preparing to run a craft stall at an Art Fair on Saturday!

I hope you are finding inspiration and the time to sew. It is good for the soul!

Allison

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (278)

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first edition of Saturday Quilting Bring & Share to be posted in 2022. Hope you have time this holiday weekend to push aside (or tidy away) the decorations, bring out your craft projects(s) and share in just a little of all the goodness published by quilty bloggers from around the world. Click on the links below to become an active participant in our Worldwide Quilting Community:Β  don’t forget to leave an encouraging message or handy tip in the comment box at the end of any of the blogs you visit πŸ™‚

We were so fortunate this Christmas to be able to visit family and entertain visitors as planned. We also had the blessing of having our booster jabs over the holiday period. I am so thankful for the staff who worked extra shifts and the volunteers who gave their time in such a cheerful manner to ramp-up the vaccination programme over the festive weeks.

It was a pleasure to pack away my sewing equipment in order to convert ‘my’ room into a guest room and enjoy having a guest for only the second time in 2021. Since our guest left I’ve gradually been re-organising the space. Julie the Juki is set up and has been my quilting workhorse, stitching vertical and diagonal straight lines across the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail quilt. I’m on the final leg of making the quilt – just the label details to trace onto fabric before I machine stitch the binding in place.

Label on the light box ready for the words to be traced using a permanent marker.

I already have my eye on my next project (isn’t this so often the case?), I’ll be returning to the Modern Fans quilt.

My version of Modern Fans by Suzy Quilts

Before Christmas I used a walking foot to stitch a simple echo design in the concave blocks.

I’ll probably stitch in the ditch around the convex blocks but what I’m itching to do is switch from walking foot to free motion quilting. Inspired by Christmas gifts in the shape of Christina Cameli’s book and a dry-erase whiteboard my head is full of fmq designs to stitch!

Here’s some reading for the holiday weekend, I hope you find plenty to inspire you as you contemplate projects for the year ahead:

Before Christmas Kirsty shared a tutorial showing how to convert a square orphan block into a rectangular place mat.

What a moving finale to Marian’s tale of life on and away from the Santa Fe Trail. Do settle yourself down for a few minutes to read the last excerpt Melva has shared.

Christa Watson’s series of live video chats are easy to access as recordings and are full of interest as she shares her years of experience in the craft of patchwork quilting. Click this link to view the recording of Christa chatting about variegated threads.

Rachel explains how her Block of the Month (BOM) Pas de Deux, will be organised. There’s a discount offer running through the first week in January.

Gretchen is using her wonderful hand stitching skills to combine 1930s prints and much more modern prints in her applique project, Hearts & Wreaths. She’s chosen a soft yellow background, Kona Maize.

The Best of 2021 Linky Party is a great place to find fresh inspiration and new friends in the Worldwide Quilting Community. Cheryl’s party invites patchworking bloggers to link a post written to hi-light their six best blog posts of 2021. Make a large cup of coffee/tea and get ready to slip into a colourful warren of ideas and wonder!

If you are wondering about colour trends for 2022 then click over to Kirsty’s post. She’s collected together the colour predictions from Pantone, Kona and Etsy and written a post full of colourful images and ideas.

Leah Day has created a quick-to-make quilt pattern using strip piecing. Her video tutorial for the Easy Weave Quilt is full of handy tips.

And talk of strip piecing takes me neatly to Busy Hands Quilts. Myra is a prolific pattern designer-writer and uses strip piecing as her go-to technique. Her New Year pattern sale runs until 2nd January.

I like the results Rachel is achieving by delving around in a box of orphan blocks and fabric leftovers. She describes the quilt on her design wall as ‘lighthearted and off-kilter…. a nice sentiment for this time of year’.

I’m looking forward to another year of stitching and blogging. Thank you for reading my posts and following my progress as I explore the many skills and techniques to be found under the patchwork-quilting umbrella.

Happy Stitching!

Allison

 

So what exactly is a Churn Dash?

My bedtime reading had me puzzling over this question: So what is a Churn Dash? I know it is the name of a much used and much loved patchwork block but actually what is a churn dash?

Little House in the Big Woods Puffin edition by Allison Reid
My childhood Puffin edition of Laura’s book was printed in 1974

Little House in Big Woods is the first in a wonderful series of books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder telling of her childhood in the 1860s and 70s. The books tell of the adventures encountered and everyday activities lived out by her family as they followed the Pioneer trail for ten years from the Big Woods of Wisconsin to the Prairies of Kansas onto Minnesota until finally settling – at Ma’s insistence – in De Smet, South Dakota.

Mary Ingalls churning butter, illustration by Garth Williams
Mary Ingalls churning butter, illustration by Garth Williams

The recollections of everyday life for Laura and her family include a description of the weekly task of making butter. Laura describes how Ma poured cream into the tall crockery churn and then lowered the ‘churn dash’ attached to a long pole into the cream, dropping a lid with a central hole over the pole to stop the cream splashing out of the container before the lengthy task of churning got underway. Laura was too small to move the dash up and down but her ‘big’ sister Mary was able to take over every-now-and-again while Ma had a break from the heavy work.

Having read this description of butter making I wanted to know what a churn dash looks like. I tried ‘images of churn dash’ in my computer search engine and received links to lots of very lovely variations of churn dash blocks used in patchwork quilts! I was in danger of disappearing down a rabbit hole …. But managed to resist and instead tried a more specific search, ‘images of butter churn dash’.

 

Image result for images of butter churn dashThis second search provided the answer I was looking for. Seeing this image and others showing the churn dash at the end of the pole has helped me to see how the patchwork block got it’s name. The dashers vary from simple ‘X’ shapes through to circles with several round holes. Wisemen Trading have a variety of replica churns and dashers on their website.

 

 

 

The Churn Dash patchwork block is simple but very versatile. Here it is in a straight layout and then turned on end in an on-point layout.

Churn Dash 3 x 3 by Allison Reid

Churn Dash on point by Allison Reid

Allison

PS. If the photo of my Puffin book has made you nostalgic then have a little smile at the price on the back cover πŸ™‚

Little House in the Big Woods cost 20p by Allison Reid

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (51)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. I hope you have had a good week and you will have time for a some creativity over the weekend. Bring along your project(s) and share in the latest quilty conversations across the Worldwide Quilting Community. Do use the comments box at the bottom of this page to share your projects and add your thoughts and reactions to what has inspired you and caught your attention this week.

I’ve been busy preparing for the third class of the Beginners Course at Purple Stitches. This, the penultimate class, is all about basting and quilting. I’ve pin basted my Dashing Stars quilt ready for the quilting demonstration.

Dashing Stars (2) basted by Allison Reid

I decided it would be a great idea to use another quilt top to demonstrate basting. I could have picked any number of completed quilt tops from my UFO pile but no, I chose to use the #scrappytripalong2019 – the blocks needed to be sewn together, borders measured and stitched in place, the wadding cut, the backing fabrics chosen and pieced together… Oh! And a label made too! Well! It may have been a good idea… But…It took me all day Thursday to piece the top and faff about putting the backing together. Thankfully I had a piece of Quilter’s Dream Poly wadding just slightly larger than required. I pushed through, not only making the label but also machine stitching it to the backing πŸ™‚

Blocks stitched together and borders added.
Backing for Scrappy Trip Along Quilt by Allison Reid
#scrappytripalong2019 backing
Label made and stitched in place.

I’m really pleased with the pieced backing. It looks so simple yet it took me well over two hours to select the fabrics, cut them to size and stitch those l-o-n-g seams! I had a thoroughly satisfying day moving on the #scrapytripalong2019 blocks from the design wall to having a quilt top ready for basting although it really struck me just how long it takes to make a quilt! I guess when we make a few blocks here, a few blocks there and complete a quilt in our ‘free’ time we very quickly lose track of just how many hours it takes? I was amazed how the hours ticked by that day and by my consistent underestimating of how long it would take to complete each step!

We have a houseful of guests this weekend so my sewing room has morphed into a guest room. Once home from Purple Stitches I’ll be turning my hand to some hand stitching πŸ™‚ As luck would have it I started a little Blackwork bookmark project on Monday at our monthly craft group.

Blackwork bookmark by Allison Reid Elizabeth 1 wearing Blackwork by Allison ReidI like Blackwork, I first learned it as an off-shoot of cross stitch (my go to craft before I discovered patchwork). Blackwork (essentially filling stitched outlines with repeating patterns stitched in running stitch) has a long history and was particularly popular in Tudor times. Look at this portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, her sleeves and the bodice of her dress are covered in Blackwork. I found this portrait in a great book by Becky Hogg, published by the Royal School of Needlework in their Essential Stitch Guides series.

And moving smoothly (or should that be ‘seamlessly’?) into this week’s links:

I read in the March edition of ‘British Patchwork & Quilting’ magazine that the Royal School of Needlework have published embroidery courses online. Find out more at www.rsnonlinecourses.comΒ 

Christa Watson has been sharing how she plans out the quilting designs she stitches over her quilts. This is a really comprehensive guide given as a guest post on Amy Smart’s blog, Diary of a Quilter.

Shannon Brinkley loves to talk fabrics and colour. In this blog post she explains the virtues of ‘monochromatic prints’.

Bobbie’s post has lots of handy piecing tips. She shows us how to make the first block in a sewing themed mystery quilt. The first block is a sewing machine.

If you are in the USA and could be inspired to create a quilt to donate to one or other of the charities supported by Hands2Help you can find out more information from Sarah at her blog, Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Bernie gives a moving description of the work carried out by a hospital Palliative Care Team and the use they make of donated quilts.

Happy Stitching!

Allison