A Finished QAL Quilt

I’m really happy to be sharing my finished version of the Pieces of the Santa Fe Sew Along quilt. The QAL, organised, by Melva Nolan was easy paced with blocks being published once every three weeks. Melva’s block designs were inspired by the writings of a Victorian relative, Marian Russell, who lived beside and traversed the Santa Fe Trail first as a young girl with her mother and later with her husband. Marian’s vivid memories made interesting reading as the QAL progressed.

I made the twelve blocks using fabrics from my collections of blue and neutral scraps. The outer pieced border is mainly made from my scraps too. The fabrics for the sashing, cornerstones, blue and grey borders and the binding were all purchased specially to complete this quilt. The pieced backing is a mix of fabrics from my stash and the left over fabrics from the sashing and borders.

I used Bosal ‘Stitch It’ 80% cotton/20% polyester wadding for the first time. I definitely recommend this wadding. The fibres used are evenly distributed and the wadding feels soft and smooth. It machine quilted very well and I was impressed with how little lint built up in my machine.

The quilting follows the same ‘hanging diamond’ pattern Melva used for her sample. I used a grey/blue Aurifil 50wt thread, No. 2770 and stitched the quilting lines 2½” apart. I don’t have a walking foot for Julie the Juki so I was relieved the fabrics stayed in place with very few puckers occurring. I credit the lack of ‘creep’ to the quality of the wadding more than the quality of my pin basting technique!

As you can probably see the quilt drapes very well. It is very snuggly and cuddly and at 57½” wide by 72″ long it is a useful size.

And of course, every quilt should have a label 😉

Linking with Michelle for the Beauties Pageant and with Wendy for the Peacock Party.

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:  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!

Allison

 

Finding the right colours for borders

Phew! I have finalised my selection of fabrics for the borders of the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail quilt. Thankfully it hasn’t involved the purchase of too much extra fabric. A total of one metre divided into two quarter and one half metre pieces. A quarter metre of grey for the narrow inner border; some extra of the dark blue for the second border & the binding; and a quarter of the rusty red to complete the sashing strips.

Here are my mock ups on EQ7 complete with colour changes:

 

And here’s how it all looks for real up on my design wall:

I’m planning to use the discarded pinky-peach sashing and excess fabric in a pieced backing. Funny how finishing a scrap quilt involves buying new fabric! If only I’d made the right fabric choices at the start 🙄

Never mind, I’m much more motivated to proceed now I’m happy with the colours of the fabrics.

Linking with Judy for Design Wall Monday and Beth for Monday Making. They’ve both been making place mats ready for Christmas and have plenty of interesting posts to click to from other quilty bloggers who’ve joined in with their link-ups.

Allison

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 😉

– 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? 

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