Jackleberries II

I’ve completed all the blocks that make up the original Jackleberries quilt now. It’s been awhile since I started this project because I’ve put it to one side in favour of other stuff so often.

Since I only want to make a tablecloth for my dining room, and the Jackleberries pattern is for  a double bed quilt size, I don’t need all the blocks I’ve done, so I auditioned them to see which ones I wanted to keep by laying them out on the table top. I’ll use the leftovers for something else, maybe a cover for my sewing desk. I haven’t decided yet.

I’ve always known that I wouldn’t be able to get even a tablecloth-sized quilt under the arm of my sewing machine. It’s just not large enough, so I’ve been doing some research on the net about ‘quilt-as-you-go’. But there are so many different techniques that come under the umbrella of that name it’s really quite bewildering.

After a lot of thought I decided to use a method where I sew together my blocks into manageable ‘panel’ sizes, so I can quilt each of them individually and then join them into a whole afterwards. For me it’s a bit of an experiment, but at least I’ll be able to manipulate the panels under my machine. I’m not doing free motion quilting, just lines and patterns using my walking foot, and each panel won’t be quilted to the edges where they have to join to the next. I’m hoping I can manage to merge the quilting lines so these joins won’t be noticeable once sewn together.

So that’s where I’m at for now. I’ve added lightweight bamboo batting and a busy patterned backing fabric to each panel, and I’m working my way through quilting them -although I’ve got a feeling that Christmas makes might mean I put my Jackleberries quilt to one side again soon.

 

Link to previous Jackleberries post…

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My Travel Bag

Chastened by the fact that Tracy had completed her brilliant bag in record time, I decided I’d better hunker down and get on with making my own travel bag. The pattern I had was the Overnight Bag, an original design by Julie-Anne from White Cottage Country Crafts.

I love the overall size and shape of the bag but there were a couple of things I wanted to add. The first was some internal pockets, and the second was to give addional strength to where the handles fasten to the body of the bag as I’ve a tendency to stuff my travelling bags to the gunnels. To achieve this I decided to sew the handle strapping all the way down the outsides of the bag to the base seams so as to spread the load.  As an afterthought, I got hold of some plastic D rings and sewed them on with fabric tabs just below the zip on each side so I can attach a shoulder strap if I want to.

Overall, I’m pleased with the way it turned out. All I have to do now is apply some spray-on fabric protector and I’m good to go.

All is Vanity

Angie and I attended a workshop at White Cottage Country Crafts a week or so back.  I do love our ‘away days’ where it’s all about the sewing and there are none of the usual interruptions you find at home.

It’s such a boost when you know there’s someone around to help you with the tricky bits and bolster your confidence when you’re not quite sure on how to go about something.

We can choose a new project or continue with one already started. This time we both chose the same new project – a vanity sewing case. It’s an original pattern by Louise who was also the person presiding over the workshop that day so we thought we’d made a wise choice.

The pattern itself was pretty straightforward and I loved the look of the finished item pictured on the front. We had problems sewing it together though, but this was down to either our choice of wadding or our inability to handle it properly.

We used a foam wadding which does give the vanity case a great shape, it stands up really well, but oh my did we find it hard to sew with. In places I was trying to go through four layers of the stuff plus fabric and lining, and my little machine was really complaining about it. Even though I used a fresh needle, I got skipped stitches galore and had to keep going back to re-stitch gaps – no fun. If I hadn’t had the use of Angie’s machine (the super duper one) to help me finish up I might have given up completely.

If anyone can tell me what machine adjustments are needed to effectively sew through several layers of foam wadding I’d be eternally grateful. Otherwise I think I’m going to avoid the stuff altogether in the future.

After all the hassle I didn’t have the energy to wrestle with machine sewing on the bindings, nor the confidence to think it would work, so I’m in the middle of hand sewing them on for now. That’s slow going too because there’s plenty more things I’d rather be sewing to distract me.

Angie was so unhappy with her finished case she’s relegated it to the back of an upstairs cupboard, never to see the light of day again and certainly not to be photographed! She’s currently working on a new and improved version. Needless to say, she’s not using the foam stuff either this time.

I’ll post pictures in the gallery when we’re finally done with them.

…link to Summer Progress

Quilts UK Malvern 2016

The Quilts UK 2016 show at Malvern is upon us from the19th until 22nd May. We arrived early on Thursday, the opening day, and spent a blissful few hours looking at some seriously good competition quilts and a bewildering array of tempting fabrics and notions offered on the trade stands. Angie and I made a pact not to overindulge since our fabric stashes are already stuffed to the gunnels, and we pretty much held our nerve….. well, almost!

The halls were crowded so it was difficult to get around, but we went with the flow and I think we got to see most everything. Our friends at White Cottage Country Crafts were there, so we had the opportunity to view again a finished example of a quilt that Angie is currently working on. I simply adore the colourways on it, lovely pastels and Parisian style prints. I’ve included a few of the blocks she’s already done in the photo gallery below. I think it’s called the Starry Checkerboard Quilt but I’m not absolutely certain on that since I lost the piece of paper I wrote the name down on. It’s not shown on White Cottage’s website, but I am sure the details are just a phone call away if anyone wants to know more.

Jackleberries

Angie and I have been to a few day workshops now at White Cottage Country Crafts in Seisdon, and each time we learn more patchworking skills and grow in confidence.

On one of our early visits, I fell in love with the Jackleberries Quilt – a beautiful quilt that hangs on the wall in the sewing room at the back of the shop.  It’s a sort of sampler quilt with each block set designed to teach a different technique to the maker. Of course, I bought a pattern, and I’m slowly working my way through it.  I’m finding it challenging at times, but then it’s so satisfying when I actually produce a block I’m happy with.

I’m doing mine in shades of red.  I may not use all of the blocks when I’ve completed them as I plan to make a tablecloth for the dining room with them which is quite a bit smaller than the double bed size of the actual quilt pattern.

…link to Jackleberries II

Friday Night is Patchwork Night

My love of patchwork all began when my friend, Angie, invited me over one Friday evening.  The conversation quickly turned to her fledgling efforts at patchwork.  She showed me some Log Cabin pattern blocks she was making that would one day become a quilt.  They were (and still are) fascinating to me.  I have been sewing all my life, but this was something completely different.  Nothing like running up curtains or lifting the hem on a dress.

We agreed to go visit a fabric shop the following Saturday as she needed more material. The moment I walked through the door of White Cottage Country Crafts in Seisdon I was hooked.  Floor to ceiling is filled with the most gorgeous fabrics. Examples of finished work – quilts, cushions, bags and much more – are festooned about the shop, and there are heaps of patterns to try out.

I bought a pattern for a bolster cushion cover and a jelly roll of fabric.  (Angie bought enough fabric to start a shop of her own.)  Time to have a go myself….