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

 

A Diamond Wedding Anniversary and a Bed Runner Gifted

What a special occasion! My lovely parents are celebrating 60 years of marriage. They have stayed faithful to the vows they made all those years ago. I’m sure it hasn’t all been plain sailing but they made a commitment to one another and have created a marriage which is a great example to follow and a source of much stability and love for us all.

My brother gathered together some photos and had this card made for Mum & Dad.

On this rather grey, chilly December day we have managed to have some – socially distanced – time with them. They stepped out of the warmth of their home for a photo shoot before moving to the conservatory to unwrap their cards and gifts. Six of us stood outside and watched! What strange times! Still! There were lots of smiles. The Postman arrived with a big handful of letters while we were there. One envelope contained a very special card – signed by Her Majesty the Queen πŸ™‚

We are looking forward to a proper family celebration to mark this wonderful milestone when it is deemed safe to gather together.

The bed runner was not a surprise gift as I’d wanted my Mum’s input on colour and design before embarking on the making of such a prominent piece of decor. However Mum & Dad hadn’t seen the whole design before today.

Sorry about the strange angle – if quilts are difficult to photograph then bed runners are just about impossible!
One of the four Flower Basket blocks.
The quilting shows more on the back.
I didn’t label the runner but I did stitch a message into the design.

I made the runner using Kona Solids fabrics, Hobbs 80/20 wadding and Aurifil threads in three colours for the quilting. The runner measures 20″ wide by 86″ long.

Linking with Kelly for Needle and Thread Thursday. Kelly is getting into Christmas mode making napkins and there are plenty of inspiring makes to see via the linky gallery she shares πŸ™‚

Allison

VE Day 75 – my snapshot

It has been a special, memorable day. Unlike the people who took part in the exuberant celebrations of VE Day seventy-five years ago we have had to celebrate under the restraints of lock-down.

This necessarily quiet day of commemoration has given time for reflection. Many of the scheduled programmes on the TV have been dominated by interviews with ordinary people sharing their experiences of WW2. There has been an opportunity to take part in a two minute silence of remembrance, to hear Winston Churchill’s speech made at 3pm on 8th May, and to close the day with a short, poignant VE Day address by HM Queen Elizabeth II broadcast at 9pm – the same time her father, George VI, spoke to the nation 75 years ago.

The 2nd World War lasted six long years. Ordinary people had to take on responsibilities and roles they would not have chosen, often living away from loved ones, enduring shortages and heartbreaking losses. Thinking about such a lengthy time of severe hardship certainly gives perspective to our seven weeks of lock-down!

My parents were very young at the outbreak of war. My father was born in 1937, he was seven years old on VE Day 1945, my mother was six years old. Their families lived in London. They both have very clear memories of the air raids, running to air raid shelters or hiding under their kitchen tables as bombs exploded in the streets around them. With an adults perspective they can imagine the fear and hardship that their parents went through as they sought to provide for and protect their young children. But my parents memories of WW2 are not saturated with fear. My Dad can think of only one incident when his Mother betrayed her fear to her young family: As they hid in the little dug out air raid shelter at the end of their garden a ‘Doodlebug’ flew overhead, the engine noise stopped and my Dad remembers his Mother throwing herself across the three children in a desperate attempt to protect them from the coming explosion.

With hindsight my Dad is sure his Mum must have shared her food and clothing rations to supplement her childrens’ rations. The children also benefited from kindly Aunts and Uncles who made regular visits bringing their own rations of sweets for the youngsters to enjoy. My Mum remembers her family having to move out of their house when a bomb blast blew out all the glass from the windows. In hindsight she realises some of the difficulties her Mother endured while her husband was away serving as RAF ground crew. A while after VE Day my Mum recalls there was great excitement when the local greengrocer announced a shipment of bananas was on the way. At six years old Mum had never seen a banana let alone tasted one. Everyone told her how good bananas were to eat and she was caught up in the excitement. Oh! The disappointment on tasting the fruit – it was not to her liking at all and yet she couldn’t show her true reaction to her parents and felt compelled to finish it with a smile on her face! To this day she avoids getting close enough even to smell a banana let alone eat one!

While we have not had to endure even a small percentage of the hardships experienced by the wartime generations we are going through a shared time of tragedy the like of which few of us have encountered before. Today it was a great morale booster to hear directly from those who acted with such courage and fortitude during the War and to take part in a local celebration honouring them and those who paid for our freedom with their lives. The neighbours on our street came together (well no nearer than 2 metres together!), decorating houses with bunting and flags and sharing in a front garden/doorstep tea party. It was a lovely opportunity to see one another, to stand at a distance sharing our news and remember the people and events of WW2.

Allison