Speedy Patchwork and a Pre-Wash Surprise!

Well! This was a bit of a surprise! To allow the fibres to shrink before cutting and piecing I pre-washed a piece of white cotton from IKEA I wasn’t expecting the colour to change! I mean it’s white, there’s no dye to bleed!

Left: Before washing and Right: After washing

My husband knows a thing or two about this and says its the OBA (Optical Brightening Agent) in the detergent and demonstrated it’s effect with a UV light 🙂

Left: Before washing and Right: After washing

I generally wash my quilting cottons before cutting and piecing. I know there are good arguments on both sides of the pre-wash vs. don’t wash debate. I just feel more comfortable knowing excess dye has been washed out of deep colours and the cotton fibres have shrunk before I start sewing. Of course there are exceptions to most rules and I’m willing to be pragmatic on this issue. Fabrics in packs of pre-cut strips and squares can’t be washed without fraying and becoming distorted. If I’m using pre-cut strips or squares I don’t wash the background fabrics I’ll be piecing with them – they can all shrink together when the finished quilt is washed.  And scrap quilts do end up being a mix of pre-washed fabrics and off-cuts from unwashed pre-cuts. So, in principle, I pre-wash but there are plenty of exceptions 😀

Back to sewing 🙂 I decided to take out the dark solid from the blocks I made over the weekend. I don’t think it was the dark colour value bothering me, it was much more that the chunk of solid colour in amongst the prints and lighter solids kept drawing my eye – becoming less a place to rest the eye and more of a distraction.

Looking at a B&W image of the completed quilt top I’m satisfied there is a fair range of value without the dark solid.

 

Having completed this quilt top my attention went straight back to the remaining fat quarters.

I decided on another simple block pattern and found a really helpful strip piecing technique for making the blocks in Allison Harris’ book, ‘Growing Up Modern’. It was easy to adapt her width-of-fabric instructions to my fat quarters and non-standard width IKEA cotton. I am enjoying giving my sewing machine a pedal-to-the-metal workout as we race through all the long seams together 🙂

Ready for some high-speed strip-piecing action!

I haven’t decided on a layout for this quilt but as there are only four prints I think it may be easier to keep them in an orderly fashion rather than try to make a ‘random’ distribution. Here are the blocks I’ve made so far:

Linking with Jennifer for Wednesday Wait Loss – a place to encourage one-another to keep going with our WIPs. Also linking with Susan for Midweek Makers – she’s found a lot of green quilts to get in the spirit of St Patrick’s Day. With all this speedy strip piecing it seems appropriate to link with Denise for Put your foot down Thursday 🙂

Lastly a heads up that this coming Saturday, 20th March, is International Quilting Day 🙂 Will you be doing anything special to mark the day?

Allison

Making a Spiral Template for Walking Foot Quilting

Working on UFO’s is very satisfying! My current WIP (Work In Progress) became a UFO way back in July 2018. I suspect I couldn’t figure a way of quilting over or around such a variety of 6″ blocks so abandoned the quilt top along with a pieced backing including an integrated label (wahoo!) and a piece of cotton wadding cut to size.

Looking at the quilt after a two year break I decided to stitch a spiral to fill in the centre of the quilt and continue using the walking foot to echo some straight lines through the borders.

First task to tackle with a spiral design is drawing one! I used Yvonne Fuch’s method to draw the centre of a spiral. I drew mine onto a sheet of paper continuing the spiral lines until they were 2″ apart – the spacing I planned to use in the quilt stitching. To transfer this spiral onto the quilt I opted to make a template. Not having any template plastic to hand, I cut up an old, clear plastic, zip lock folder and traced my spiral using a permanent marker. I then cut along the spiral twice to create a narrow opening to use as a stencil.

(On reflection the template would be more stable if I hadn’t cut a continuous spiral but had instead left some little ‘bridges’ of plastic like those found on commercially produced stencils).

I tested out the template on a practice quilt sandwich using a Hera Marker. The groove left by the marker was a little hard to see (even with side lighting as suggested by Yvonne) but for a first attempt I thought my spiral had worked reasonably well.

Stitching the first few ‘spins’ of a spiral using a walking foot can be a bit tricky especially when starting from the centre of a quilt as the tightest turns are being made with half of the quilt stuffed through the throat of the sewing machine. Tips for achieving this initial tricky maneuver include reducing stitch length and being prepared to stop every few stitches (with needle down), lift the foot and shift the quilt to keep the walking foot on the curve. As the spiral increases in size the stitch length can be increased and stopping to realign the walking foot will become less and less necessary 🙂

I used the template and Hera Marker to start the spiral in the centre of my quilt. I chose to use a Hera rather than a marker pen or chalk as the fabric in the centre of the quilt just happened to be pure white 🙁 Being anxious about using coloured markers anyway I just couldn’t bring myself to use one on white fabric slap-bang in the middle of a quilt top!

😉 It took two attempts to stitch reasonable curves but I’m happy with this and will be keeping my spiral template for future projects.

Two inch spiral seen on the back of the Chocolatier quilt. I used my walking foot with an adjustable guide bar to keep the stitching lines 2″ apart.

If you’d like to have a go at making your own spiral template you are welcome to download and print my drawing of a spiral if it would help 🙂 Here is the link for the download: Spiral by Allison Reid New Every Morning patchwork and Quilting

Linking with Susan for Midweek Makers and Jennifer for Wednesday Wait Loss.

Allison

 

 

Patchwork Project Progress

As hoped I have been able to spend more time in my sewing room. I even missed the screening of The Great British Bake Off in order to progress my patchwork projects! (I know! The sacrifices made for this hobby of ours!). 🙂

Breezy day!

I’ve completed the patchwork top of the Dashing Stars quilt. I think this is the sixth version I’ve made. As I had plenty of the background fabric to play with I decided to make an addition to the pattern. Note the narrow borders on the

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(Should have been) Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (222)

Saturday is long gone so I won’t even pretend to make this post a regular Saturday Quilting Bring & Share but, never fear, at the end of the post there are some links into the quilty goodness shared by our Worldwide Quilting Community.

My blog posting schedule slipped as we welcomed family guests and enjoyed celebrating birthdays (two of our children have their special day in the same week!). Nothing makes me happier than having all three of our children together with us 🙂 Monday was a Bank Holiday for most of the UK so that made for a relaxing long weekend.

Now I’m trying to get my head round today being Wednesday. I finished converting the guest room back into my sewing room first thing this morning (a video on my Facebook page shows what the room looks like ‘mid-morph’). I haven’t been putting everything back into place though: I’m having a bit of a de-stash following on from the Quilter’s Color Quest stash challenges. I spent yesterday afternoon out in the garden photographing fabric – conditions were ideal, hazy sunshine and hardly any breeze 🙂 Check out my Etsy shop, AllisonsPatchworks for the latest de-stash items.

Back to my sewing room…. First up on the re-hung design wall are the Bear Paw blocks made as I followed the Quilter’s Color Quest QAL.

I’ve put all sixty up in no particular order and will just leave them to settle, waiting to see if any are too dominant or distracting. It’s such a scrappy mix I figure most, if not all, will be fine. I am considering adding sashing between the blocks to give the eye a bit of a rest as it travels over the quilt top. What do you think? Rachel Hauser gives instructions for different layouts including ‘Flower Pod’ and ‘Modular’ which both involve grouping and separating the Bear Paw blocks with additional fabric. But these alternative arrangements are not on-point and I do like the blocks on point… Plenty to ponder.

Here are the promised links into just a little of what has been shared by our Worldwide Quilting Community:

I wonder how many Hoffman Dream Big panels are languishing in ‘must get round to that’ piles? The panels are available in many attractive colourways. Carole has been at work on two of the panels. In this blog post she shares her quilting plan for the second of her panels and shows us, with lots of clear photographs, how she executed the plan. The quilt is now hanging in a local quilt shop and makes a stunning display.

Christa Watson shares her method for creating wavy line quilting patterns in a video tutorial. She is also offering a free download of her patchwork pattern, Puzzle Box.

Re. The Quilter’s Color Quest, JanineMarie has written a lovely post describing what she has learned about her stash through the final couple of Challenges. Her Bear Paw blocks look great – she has given a lot of thought to her fabric choices.

Often times ‘simple is best’. Patty has used a Charm Pack and some background fabric to make a lovely quilt to welcome her neighbour’s new baby. It’s a great gift and can be made in double quick time… It makes me want to rummage through my stash for a charm pack!

Linking with Susan for Midweek Makers and Jennifer for Wednesday Wait Loss. Both blogs have quilts and projects made by their hosts and contributors to the link ups – more inspiration!

Allison