Hexagon Squirrel Quilt Project

This must be the longest gap between posts that has ever happened here on New Every Morning Patchwork Quilting 😳 A full month between posts! As we all know a lot can happen in a month… I won’t burden you with a month’s worth of patchwork goings-on in one post (‘phew’ I hear you say!) instead I’ll share a finish.

Contemplating layout changes on my design wall. The green fabric is from my stash and not the fabric I actually used for the borders.

Way back on 28th May I posted a photo of a partially pieced quilt top. I’d just decided to alter the design slightly from the Hexagon Hip-Hop pattern in the Lintott’s book, ‘Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts’. My version has complete hexagons extending into a wide border. The border fabric is a ditsy floral on a green background from the Amelia range by Makower. I’m really happy with how this matches-up with 1930s style prints of the layer cake hexagons.

I used a darker floral print from the Amelia range to make the binding. For the backing I opted for a text print (this and the Amelia prints were purchased from Purple Stitches, Basingstoke).

The quilt measures 65″ long by 60″ wide. I used a walking foot to echo quilt a wavy line design with a 2″ gap between the stitching lines.

I finished this project in a burst of uncharacteristic speed in order for it to take pride of place in my display at the Whitchurch Craft and Art Fair on 4th June. The venue was lovely, right next to the clear, fast flowing waters of the River Test and the historic Whitchurch Silk Mill.

Sad to say footfall was low and I didn’t sell any of my products to visitors but fellow stall holders kindly bought some things and signed up for my patchwork workshops 🙂

There are places available at each of the workshops I’m running in July. There’s the introduction to patchwork Bargello on 16th July and a fun piecing day on 30th July when I’ll be teaching techniques to piece an I-Spy quilt. Click the Workshops tab at the top of this page to find out more.

If you can’t make it to a workshop but would like to be part of a learning community then you are very welcome to join my Facebook group, Patchwork Beginners’ Learning Hub. Please answer the membership questions so I can welcome you into the Group 🙂


Spray Basting – Will it Work for Me? #2

Well? I’ve left hanging the ‘Spray Basting – Will it Work  for Me?’ question for several weeks. The spray basted quilt sandwich lay on the back of my sewing room sofabed for all that time. So, first off, I can confirm the spray baste was still holding the layers together and hadn’t made the sandwich stiff or affected the fabrics in any visible way (not part of my original investigation but you know how project schedules can drift 😁 ).

To quilt the spray basted sandwich I used my Pfaff sewing machine that has a built-in walking foot. I choose to quilt one of my favourite designs, a curved grid. I used a Hera marker to create the initial shallow curvy lines across the quilt in two directions. Then I set the quilt guide 2″ from the needle before echo stitching the curved lines.

The quilting went well. There were just a few occasions when I needed to work hard to prevent puckers forming where stitching lines crossed. As you can see the fabric still moved a bit and looks slightly puffed up in places but on the whole I’m pleased with the outcome.

What I learned about spray basting vs. pin basting:

  • Spray basting is quicker – no surprise there!
  • Spray basting is reliant on favourable weather conditions (it’s not always dry with a light breeze when a quilt needs basting!).
  • Quilting a spray basted quilt sandwich is easier than a pin basted one (none of that stopping to remove pins). I imagine this is even more of an advantage when free motion quilting.
  • My needle didn’t gum-up (I was using Odif 505 Temporary Adhesive Spray).
  • Spray basting worked great for a Beginner’s Course student whose arthritic fingers would have struggled to use safety pins.

My quilt needs to be bound and then it will have to be washed to remove the spray. I don’t usually wash quilts as soon as I finish them so that’s an added step to be considered in the spray basting vs. pin basting debate.

In answer to my basic question, “… will the fabrics bubble and pucker when I quilt them together or will spray basting stop the layers shifting over each other more effectively than basting with pins?” I conclude spray basting is more effective at holding the three layers together. But fabric will still get pushed around by the pressure of the machine foot, the stitches drawing the fabrics together, and (however carefully done) the ‘smooshing’ of the quilt bulk through the throat space of a sewing machine.

I’m not completely converted from pins to spray. I still have qualms about using aerosols and the cost is a deterrent. However, I would choose to use spray baste for some projects: for speed (only if the weather’s favourable!); to make quilting easier (if I wanted to concentrate on getting in the flow with fmq and not be distracted by pins); for smaller ‘utility’ quilts that will be used and washed frequently.

Foot Note I did try modifying my pin basting technique after Laura sent a link to her post sharing her method. I used Laura’s method to baste the bright version of the Trip Around the Stars quilt. As usual I smoothed and clamped the backing face down to a table, then gently smoothed the wadding over but after centring the patchwork face up on top I followed Laura’s recommendation and didn’t clamp it to the table. Instead I started pinning from the centre and gently smoothed the patchwork out as I went, being careful not to stretch or pull it taut.

As you can see fabrics did shift a little during quilting. But as with the spray basted quilt I did manage to prevent puckers and pleats even where quilting lines crossed. I will be interested to see how this revised method of pin basting works on a larger quilt.

There we are, I haven’t discovered a conclusive victor in the spray basting vs pin basting debate. I am willing to continue tweaking both  methods in the hope of settling on a technique that at least causes less frustration even if it can not provide the perfect answer.

Thank you to those of you who left tips and techniques in the comments after my first Spray Basting post. If you have any tried and tested basting tips or techniques please do share in the comments box below. Thank you!

Linking with Kelly for Needle and Thread Thursday. Click over to see Kelly’s selection from last weeks linkup.



A catch up, with finishes and new ventures!

After an unscheduled break from writing blog posts I have a bit of catching up to do! So, without further ado, here we go:

The Beginners course ended successfully with my student finishing her lovely quilt. She’s looking suitably proud of her achievement in this photo!

I can share a finish too – the pretty, pretty version of my Trip Around the Stars quilt I made as the demo for the class is complete.

I added binding in the bright pink I’d used for the star points. I stitched the binding down by hand – not such a chore on a quilt that measures 38″ x 46″.

The lovely decoupage print extra wide backing is from Purple Stitches.

For the quilting I stitched one of my go-to favourites: a wavy line grid. I used a walking foot with a guide set at 1½ inches.

Thinking about what it’s like for absolute beginners trying to get their heads around patchwork quilting prompted me to rise to an online product challenge. I’ve produced the ‘Patchwork Quilting Equipment Guide: Best Buys for Beginners‘. My aim was to provide the information needed to make purchases that are fit for the job and will provide value, project by project, over many years. I’ve included sections on rotary cutting equipment, threads, needles, pins & scissors, fabric, wadding and sewing machines. Of course I got a bit carried away and added lots of extra information including how to care for the tools and even an explanation of all the weird cuts of fabrics us patchwork quilters talk about so blithely! The Guide is now ready to purchase as a pdf download.

My most recent project has been a ‘learn something new’ endeavour: the making of a little coin purse using a decorative purse frame. I have to say it was a bit fiddly and I’m not convinced about the practicality of this particular design. I find the opening of the 8.5cm/3¼” frame is a bit tight even for my small-medium sized hands. That, combined with the broad base style of the purse, makes it difficult to reach into the bottom corners.

As I’ve already prepared fabric with interfacing to make another nine purses I’m going to experiment with other pattern templates that have a smaller, more rounded shape. I only bought two of the small metal frames so I’ll move onto 10.5cm/4″ frames to find out if they are more practicable (hopefully the pieces of fabric I’ve prepared will be large enough!). The first pattern template I used was one that came free with a tutorial.  Next up, I’m going to try creating my own pattern template following the directions in this tutorial.

Linking with Wendy for the Peacock Party and Michelle for the Beauties Pageant. Wendy is making preparations as she is the guest exhibitor at the Taupo Quiltmakers show in June while Michelle is enjoying over-thinking a fabric pull for her next Plaid-ish quilt.

Happy Stitching! And, most importantly, Happy Easter!



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:  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 🙂

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!