A negative sandwiched between two positives: Overcoming the deadline blues

A sandwich of a blog post – two positives surrounding a rather negative filling!

First positive layer:

Here is the progress I’ve made with a couple of the projects I have on the go:

  • Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along: I made the twelfth and final block. Came home from Purple Stitches with fabrics for the sashing and cornerstones… I hope the rusty orange will provide enough of contrast without being a distraction from the blue blocks 🀞

  • English Country Garden cushion covers: Finished! 😁

The negative filling:

I’ve been getting a little stressed by deadlines lately. Not quite sure why, but I’m the run-up to Christmas (complete with it’s own set of requirements combining deadlines and perfectionism) along with heightened anxiety around Covid infection rates as invitations to social events begin to mount up are two of the causes. In my more rational moments I’ve been able to make sensible decisions about what to do and what to let slip but then (especially when I get tired) I have other times when I get overwhelmed and can think of nothing more appealing than shutting myself in my sewing room and not venturing out again until 25th December (when all the deadlines will have gone away!).

Bernie the Bernette

My coping methods at such times are unhealthy and expensive. On Thursday I ate so many biscuits I could hardly face my dinner and last weekend I blew my money on a whim – purchasing a sewing machine 😳 Totally mad! I decided I really needed a small, easily portable machine for sewing days. I chose a Bernette B35 which is a mechanical machine so it’s uncomplicated with no computerized workings to go wrong. When it arrived I felt ashamed of such an indulgence, leaving the box unopened under my sewing table for a couple of days! I have now unboxed the neat little machine, read the instruction leaflet, played around with a few scraps of fabric getting a feel for how it runs. Of course, one purchase leads to another, so I have ordered a quarter inch foot and a walking foot to add to the accessories kit…

Through the past two weeks I have continued to sew, but I have not been reading blog posts. My inbox reached overwhelm, social media was getting me down – so many Black Friday deal messages that any normal, friendly sewing messages were just lost in the deluge. And that left me feeling quite disconnected, lonely in fact. Does that make sense? Perhaps I was experiencing the virtual equivalent of feeling very lost and alone in a large crowd?

Anyhow, on Thursday I reached the bottom of the low, being overtired after a busy start to the week, I hit the biscuits, struggled to share a pot of tea and conversation with my lovely parents, fell asleep with my head on a table, woke up just in time to cook a dinner I didn’t want to eat, went out to a meeting only to find it had been cancelled (I’ve since found the 3 day old cancellation notice on Facebook – Facebook notifications are not a reliable means of communication), came home, escaped into my sewing room (again) before sloping off to bed.

Second positive layer:

Thankfully, a good sleep and a gracious God provided me with a New Morning on Friday. I finished stitching the walking foot quilting designs on the Modern Fans quilt – looking good even if I do say so myself πŸ˜‰

– then pottered around doing a few chores before donning my weatherproofs and setting out to hand-deliver a card to a friend. Despite being elbow deep in pumpkin flesh she kindly welcomed me in for a cup of coffee and we had a good chat as we watched the birds flitting around her garden.

Strava tells me my walk was a 5.6 mile round trip, surely long enough to get a good dose of positive-vibe endorphins circulating through my system?Β 

Have you been experiencing emotional ups and downs? Has patchwork quilting or another creative activity helped you to steady your thoughts, regain perspective or give you respite from a difficult situation?

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday and with Gail who is hosting TGIFF (Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday).

Allison

Tutorial: Envelope Cushion Back with Buttons and Binding

I began following the English Country Garden QAL in February 2021. I did intend to make all nine blocks and create the quilt-as-you-go quilt top… But best intentions and all that…I’ve got to the back end of 2021 with just four of the blocks completed. I enjoyed learning more about EPP and applique by making the blocks and also enjoyed having a slow stitching project to turn to but now I’ve decided it’s time for me to draw my involvement in the QAL to close. I’ll be making use of the completed blocks rather than consigning the project to the UFO Cupboard of Shame!

I’ve trimmed the blocks to 18Β½” square to make four new cushion (pillow) covers to replace the rather worn patchwork covers we’ve been using in our living room for the past 10 years or more.

I hope sharing the process I’m using to make cushion covers from these quilted patchwork blocks will be a useful guide should you decide to do something similar πŸ™‚

Materials

  • One 18Β½” quilted patchwork square*
  • Cushion Back Fabric: cut two 18Β½” x 15″ rectangles
  • Medium weight interfacing: cut two 17Β½” x 2-5/8″ rectangles
  • Two 1″ buttons
  • Double fold binding: cut two Width of Fabric 2ΒΌ” strips to make approximately 84″ of binding. Sew strips together and press in half lengthways
  • 18″ x 18″ pillow form.

*I like my cushions squishy. If you prefer a firmer, tighter fit then cut your square to 18″ and the Cushion Back Rectangles to 18″ x 15″.

Equipment

  • Sewing machine with facility to make button holes
  • Rotary cutting tools
  • Pins and/or binding clips

Step One: Preparing Buttonhole Plackets

  • Place a Cushion Back Rectangle wrong side up on an ironing surface. Press a crease 3″ down from a long edge of the rectangle. Open out the rectangle.
  • Position an interfacing rectangle along the crease – there will be approximately Β½” fabric exposed at either end and approx. ΒΌ” seam allowance along the top of the rectangle.

 

  • Adhere the interfacing in place as per manufacturers instructions.
  • Fold and press the seam allowance over the edge of the interfacing Diagram 1.
  • Fold the interfacing flap to the back of the rectangle and pin in place.
  • Top stitch 1/8″ along the top edge and 1/8″ inside the seam allowance to secure the placket Diagram 2. Now measures 18Β½” x 12″ (18″ x 12 if making the tighter fitting version).
View of wrong side of a Back Rectangle with top stitching completed.
  • Repeat to prepare the second Cushion Back Rectangle.

Step Two: Make Buttonholes and Attach Buttons

  • Fold a Cushion Back Rectangle in half on the placket edge and make a crease to mark the centre.
  • Lay the Cushion Back Rectangle face up on a flat surface.

  • Measure 2Β½” away from the centre crease and make an erasable mark starting ΒΎ” above the top stitching that secures the placket seam.
  • Repeat to measure and mark a buttonhole 2Β½” away from the other side of the centre crease.
  • Make vertical button holes using the marks as guides.
  • Place the Button Hole Placket, face up, directly on top of the placket of the other Backing Fabric rectangle (also face up).
  • Make a mark through each buttonhole onto the placket below to position the buttons.
  • Attach buttons.

Step Three: Attach Cushion Back Rectangles and Binding to Cushion Front

  • Lay the Cushion Front right side down on a flat surface.
  • Button the two Backing Rectangles together and pin placket ends so plackets are lying directly on top of each other.
  • With Cushion Back face up, place one 18Β½” edge directly on top of a Cushion front edge. Pin in place.

  • Carefully smooth the Backing over the Front. Pin in place. There will be a strip of excess Backing fabric along one edge.

  • Flip the pinned pieces over so the the Cushion Front is uppermost. Use a rotary cutter to remove the excess Backing Fabric.

  • Pin the binding raw edge to raw edge around the Cushion Front*. Start on an edge that does not have exposed Placket ends.
  • Stitch the binding in place using a ΒΌ” seam in the usual way. Take care not to accidently flip the placket pieces as you stitch.
  • Hand stitch the binding to the back of the cushion cover.

*If you would rather machine stitch both edges of the binding then first stitch the binding raw edges to the Cushion Back before flipping the binding round and machine stitching it to the front of the cushion cover.

I hope this tutorial is useful. Any questions or suggestions do get in touch with me using the comments box at the bottom of this page. If you are interested in reading more of my tutorials you can find them by using the ‘Tutorials’ tab in the header πŸ™‚ . I’ve also published several patterns including the I-Spy Shadow Quilt pattern, these can be bought as PDF downloads from my Etsy Shop.

Linking with Kelly for Needle & Thread Thursday. Kelly has been busy hanging lights outside her house in time for the Holiday Season but has had time to create a gallery of quilts from last weeks linkup.

Allison

 

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (275)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Please do bring along your projects(s) and join in the sharing of tips, news and inspiration by members of our Worldwide Quilting Community. Use the links below to jump down into the rabbit warren and find your way to some like-minded makers or enjoy the challenge of looking into less familiar branches of the craft of patchwork quilting.

I have had my mind set on pushing three separate projects to a finish. My motivation has been a desire to clear the project clutter from my sewing room. I need to give my mind space to rest before moving on to something different. I actually don’t know what I want to make once these three are finished. This is a new and rather strange place for me to be. Usually I have a whole list of shiny new projects I’m itching to

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Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (269)

Welcome back to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share after our short Summer break. I hope you have a project to bring along and some time to join in the sharing of inspiration, tips, news and views with our Worldwide Quilting Community. Use the links below to find your way into the Community, leave an encouraging message in the comments boxes and enjoy absorbing some of what’s been shared over the past few weeks πŸ™‚

This week I finished the third version of the bag I’m designing (it’s listed along with a matching facemask in my Folksy shop). It was a bit of a slog as I was not only sewing but also taking step-by-step photos and amending the draft pattern as I went along.

 

I’m pleased with the adjustments I’ve made to the design. I’m particularly proud of the bottle holder πŸ™‚ Little things, little things…

Whew! It is a relief to have pushed the pattern writing process to a new stage. Now I have to edit the photos, integrate them into the pattern draft and polish up the written instructions…

Having finished a sewing project I took time this morning to clean the lint out of my machine and change the blades of my rotary cutters. Why do I always delay doing these simple but game-changing tasks? πŸ˜€

Then I scratched my ‘patchwork piecing itch’ by making the eighth block of Melva’s Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along.

Grandmother’s Block

The Sew Along is ideally paced for me with a new block being announced just once every three weeks. The blocks themselves are interesting to make and at 12Β½” square provide a relaxing break from more fiddly sewing.

Just as well I am keeping up with Melva’s Sew Along. Looking around my sewing room and up at my design wall I can see I’ve got rather a lot of projects stuck at a standstill.

The EPP/applique English Country Garden QAL blocks are the February-April blocks, I still haven’t finished the May Marigolds; the blue EPP hexagon flowers were made many months ago to fill in the open spaces of the Irish Chain quilt languishing on the back of the sofa bed; and there are several other partially completed projects stored in clear boxes around the room/house. I think I either need to make progress with the projects on the design wall or replace them with a selection that will get me motivated. It feels like a good time to freshen things up; we’re entering a new season, the new school year is getting underway and several groups I belong to are about to resume after the 18 month Covid break. Are you gearing up for changes in projects and activities as we enter the last third of the year?

Before we get to the links just a reminder that I’m now sending out a newsletter a couple of times a month. There’ll be more links into the world of patchwork quilting as well being the place to hear about new patterns and workshops before they are launched. Newsletter 2 will be winging it’s way to in-boxes in a few days time. Sign up here to keep ahead of the news πŸ™‚

Here are some links that I hope will be of interest and spark your creativity:

Izzy has chosen a flower design to free motion quilt across a Plus Sign Patchwork. The curvy, swirling design makes a great contrast to the straight lines of the patchwork and creates a comfortable, smushy texture too.

The final part of Cynthia’s scrap sorting trilogy includes a selection of the quilts she has made from the scrap fabrics she keeps so well organised.

Watching someone else exercising their free motion quilting muscles is always entertaining (well! in my quiet world it counts as entertainment!). In this short video clip watch Leah Day quilt out ‘Loopy Angles’, straight lines and triangles take the place of loopy lines and circles.

On a fmq roll here so why not add another fmq link? πŸ™‚ This link will take you to Angela Walter’s ‘Tips for Quilting Negative Space’.

Inspiration comes from all directions… How about Van Halen’s guitar? πŸ˜€ Izzy has interpreted the design on said guitar to make a cushion cover for a VH fan.

Quilts that make you say ‘wow’! I have no desire to make a millefiori style quilt but I am fascinated by the process and the results Wendy shares in her blog posts. Her latest quilt ‘Fireworks’ took four years to make! It is EPP and hand quilted. All done exquisitely.

Following the progress of a blogger’s project via their posts makes me eager to click on the email notifications when they arrive in my inbox to see what’s occurring. Finishing the piecing, then quilting and binding someone else’s abandoned Double Wedding Ring quilt certainly provided an interesting series of posts as Sharon battled to keep the project moving, overcoming several difficulties along the way. Having willed the project on I’m so pleased to see the quilt finished. It certainly is a masterpiece in perseverance and well worth all the effort Sharon put into it.

Yvonne is an experienced quilter of negative space. She shares her quilting plan decision making process in this post.

When you finish a huge UFO quilt and decide it’s your favourite make ever! Take in Rebecca Grace’s pure pleasure at moving her Pineapple Log Cabin Quilt to the final stages of it’s construction πŸ™‚

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday. She has finished a scrappy quilt which looks just great.

Happy Stitching!

Allison