Bargello in the heat!

I’m British so I’ll start with the weather! Today is officially the hottest day ever in the UK πŸ₯΅ We have spent 48hours sharing in the extreme heat enveloping much of mainland Europe. Not being used to extremes of weather you can bet this is a major talking point here! The BBC website is keeping us up to date with all the numbers.

So! Whew! DH and I made a pre-breakfast visit to the allotment this morning – watered most everything, harvested a few beans, courgettes and raspberries before returning home. Since then we’ve shut ourselves indoors, with windows, doors and curtains all firmly closed. Now, at 4pm the thermometer indoors is registering 29ΒΊC, guessing outside must be 10ΒΊC hotter as Heathrow (40 miles away) recorded 40.2ΒΊC at lunchtime. Thankfully we are assured our prevailing Atlantic airflow comes into play overnight bringing much cooler air and maybe even some rain (yes! please!).

It was certainly warm last Saturday but not too hot for my Bargello Workshop. The class went well. By the end of the day the four friendly, enthusiastic participants produced Bargello blocks which looked just great:

I suggested the block could be used to make a table runner. Before the Workshop I created a table runner using one of my sample blocks:

I used the no-binding, ‘bagging’ method to attach the top, backing (unbleached calico) and wadding together. I free motion stitched an open meander across the runner to hold everything together.

For demonstrations of the Bargello patchwork process in the Workshop I used strips of fabric from a roll of Artisan Batiks by Robert Kaufman. I chose the roll because it has duplicate fabrics – I was hoping for seven of the fabrics to be repeated at least three times so I could make three strip sets. The first strip set produced this Bargello block:

Three blocks make a quilt measuring 31″ x 43″ which looks great (in my humble opinion) but isn’t a particularly practical size (and I’m all about the practical!).

I searched online for images of Bargello quilts with borders, turns out there aren’t many, but what I did see convinced me to be brave in my fabric colour and print choice. Working at Purple Stitches yesterday was handy! I narrowed my border fabric choice down to three before seeking Eve’s (shop manager with an expert eye for colour) advice – always a good move when teaming up fabrics πŸ˜‰ I came home with 1.5m of ‘100 years Conservatory 9993′ by Patty Sloniger for Andover fabrics. I’m so pleased with how this print fits with the Bargello – to my eye the border adds to the centre rather than taking anything away for it – wonderful!

The completed quilt top now measures 40″ x 51″ which is a reasonable lap quilt size and – quite by chance – the perfect size for the hanging space in our hallway πŸ™‚

As a post script, working with Batik fabrics is not something I do often/ever. The crisp feel of the fabric doesn’t appeal to me but it’s been good to get over that and try working with them on one project at least. The saturated colours are definitely to my taste. I searched the internet for tips of using Batiks and found the following blog posts useful, both in learning more about the fabrics and in sewing with them.

Information about sewing with Batiks:

For a quick overview try this page on the Fabrics Galore website.

Claudia shares ‘10 Tips for Sewing with Batik Fabrics‘.

And on the allpeoplequilt website there’s another useful summary of how to handle Batik fabrics.

I took on board some of the advice including using a 70/10 needle and found piecing the Batiks was straightforward as the close weave of the fabric prevents it stretching or fraying.

Allison

 

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 (289)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. I hope you are having an enjoyable weekend and have a bit of time to relax, bring along your project(s) and share in some of the inspiration, tips and news circulating through our Worldwide Quilting Community. Leave an encouraging message in the comments box of any of the blog sites you visit to keep the goodness flowing πŸ™‚

It’s been a bit of an odd week here as me and my husband settle into a new ‘looking for work’ routine. We are very blessed that this break in employment coincides with a burst of Spring weather bringing with it plenty of opportunities for walks and allotment, ‘lottie’, activity. This afternoon we were busy weeding, mowing, watering and nurturing.

While we are waiting for the veg seedlings to be big enough to plant out I let the Forget-me-nots take over the vacant beds.
The Strawberry plants are already covered in flowers. Not many bees about though…

In my sewing room this week I’ve made a mug rug and pushed on with making clasp purses. The mug rug is the example made for a free pattern I’ve written and the clasp purses are my latest bid to make some items that I can sell (or, more to the point, that other people might buy!).

First of all, the background to the mug rug. I decided to launch a new group on my Facebook page. The group is named, ‘Patchwork Beginners’ Learning Hub‘. My idea is to create a friendly group where new-comers can come and learn the craft of patchwork-quilting. Here’s a link to my first ever live-stream video where I attempt to explain what the Learning Hub is all about and who it is for.

The Patchwork Beginners’ Learning Hub is a private group so there are a couple of questions to answer before membership is approved – just to make sure it stays a safe place with no spammy intruders! The mug rug pattern is available to download as soon as membership is approved. I’ve written it with patchwork newbies in mind but obviously it can be used by more experienced patchwork-quilters too.

My other sewing related venture this week has been preparation for a craft fair next Saturday 14th May. Four or five years ago I gave up on trying to sell items at craft fairs and turned my attention to selling on line. This hasn’t met with much more success so my stock of quilts, bags and other bits and bobs has been growing and growing! I’ve decided to have a switch back to physical, in-person, selling. It’s a risk that could cost a lot more than I gain as I’ve paid out Β£30 for table space and Β£80 to renew my public liability insurance 😒 With my ever enlarging stock you might well be asking why on earth I’m adding to it by making the clasp purses? πŸ€” Especially as having completed just one of the ten I’ve cut out and stitched I now know what a fiddle it is to attach the clasps πŸ™ƒ

My thinking is they’ll be at a lower price point than bags or quilts so may attract buyers… But whether I’ll make back my investment in the clasps I don’t know! Anyhow, other preparations for the craft fair have included sorting out which items to take, making price labels and creating a mock-up of the stall to test out my props. I tested the stall using the folding table from my sewing room. It’s less than 5ft long so all the things on it look a bit squished for space but I’m assuming the table I’ll be given next Saturday will be 6ft long so it’ll be easier to see individual items rather than being faced with a big jumble!

Having moved the folding table out from behind my sewing machine table and into the hallway I decided this was the time to clean and tidy my sewing room… It was a BIG job but I’m glad I did it as the dust and muddle had been unsettling me for a while.

My diary is pretty full this coming week so getting prepared for the craft fair well in advance was a priority this weekend. In little spaces of time through the week I may, or may not, finish a few more of the clasp purses…

Here are links to a few of the inspiring and useful posts I’ve read over the past days:Β 

How many years ago did you start your oldest UFO? Cynthia is celebrating finishing a quilt she began way back in 2014. The blocks are foundation paper pieced and depict 1950’s style kitchen utensils. Cynthia gives a link to the pattern that’s still available to purchase from Kristy at Quiet Play.

If you tend to get so absorbed in a sewing task that you carry on even though it’s causing your body stress then you should definitely take time out to read ‘5 Tips for Good Sewing Ergonomics’. There are way more than five tips to take away from this blog post by Jenni Grover.

Wow! JanineMarie is using a multitude of scraps to work on her Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects and several others besides. I now consign scraps smaller than 2″ square to the bin (waste/trash NOT scrap bin) but Janine Marie’s ticker-tape patchwork strips must be using up the most teeny-tiny pieces of fabric!

Jen Frost has produced a comprehensive video tutorial detailing how to attach hanging tabs to a small quilted wall hanging. She includes her method for calculating the finished size of the tabs which is obviously worth considering BEFORE making and attaching them! There are also tabs (ha! ha! see what I didΒ  there?) in the video so you can skip the parts you already feel confident to do eg. adding binding.

As promised Allison is sharing new quilt designs to showcase her latest fabric collection, Forget-me-not. The Primrose pattern has rows of blooms in vases and definitely makes the most of the fabrics.

Linda outlines the process of making her Seaglass Quilt #2. It is another great way of using up scraps (Linda says 3″ squares of fabrics rather than ‘crumbs’) and I like the faced edging she’s made to her quilt too (there’s a link to the tutorial in Linda’s post).

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday. She made a 1,500 mile round trip with two stop-overs to get a new motor fitted in her longarm machine. Honestly here in the UK if we drive 150 miles in a day we feel like we’ve been on a major adventure!

Happy Stitching!

Allison

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (287)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. It’s lovely to back πŸ™‚ Hope you have enjoyed a peaceful Easter break. Bring along your projects and share in the tips, tutorials and news to be found via our Worldwide Quilting Community. If you click on any of the links below do leave an encouraging comment wherever you visit to help grow the Community good-vibes πŸ™‚

As usual I’ve been working on more than one project at a time 😌 But there is progress to share. I finished quilting another Trip Around the Stars quilt as part of my investigation into the spray baste vs pin baste debate – read more about that here. Yesterday I made the binding and hope to finish the quilt in the next few days.

I also made progress on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks. Feeling a bit tired and in need of a session of ‘no-brainer’ stitching I remembered the RSC and then 😳 realised I hadn’t made the yellow-gold blocks for March and didn’t even know the colour for April! So that was a good bit of motivation.

The blocks came together quickly and I even found time to delve into my pink scraps (for pink, so it transpires, is the colour for April), cutting 1Β½” strips ready for another peddle-to-the-metal sewing session.

Here are the links into our Worldwide Quilting Community. I hope you find plenty of interest:

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge is the inspiration behind one of Cynthia’s scrap projects. Every month she makes placemats from fabric scraps. Later in the year she will donate them to a local meals on wheels charity who will gift a placemat to recipients of one of their holiday meals.

Christa Watson’s series of YouTube videos are great if you are fairly new to patchwork quilting or want to try a different technique (she shares plenty of tips for more experienced patchwork quilters too). In the latest video she takes us through the method of making a quilt, start to finish using one of the free patterns, Puzzle Box, available from her website.

Sometimes scrolling through Instagram does bear fruit…. My scrolling stopped when I saw a wonderful version of the Modern Squares quilt being show cased by Judy Gula. I found her website and enjoyed reading the guest post by the quilt designer/maker Christine Vinh. She used a selection of very colourful fabrics called ‘Earth Made Paradise’ by Kathy Doughty. The pattern is ideal if you are puzzling over how to use a collection of busy, large scale prints to best effect in a quilt. Needless to say I have the pattern download and have added it to my ‘must make’ list!

Patty has created the illusion of curves in the careful placing of her Half Rectangle blocks. It is a very striking design in her colour choices of black and wasabi.

Linda’s Seaglass modern applique quilt displays her usual great colour choice and placement of fabrics with really effective free motion quilting designs. I’m so glad there is such a wealth of inspiration and knowledge made readily available by talented textile artists who are generous enough to blog about the processes they employ.

Leader-Ender projects quietly grow in the background while other projects are being worked on. Katy’s leader-ender quilt has 1,368 squares lovingly stitched together. I don’t need to tell you that Katy is a prolific quilt maker!

Forget Me Not is a new fabric line by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew. Go to her blog post to see the new fabrics and catch a glimpse of the new patterns she’s designed to showcase the collection.

Allison