Posts Tagged ‘patchwork’

It’s been a long time since I did any quilting (the last occasion being a mini quilt for my bears), but back in March I decided I wanted to make a quilt for my fella’s nephew.  He’s nuts about Dr. Who so the theme was easy to choose, and I bought some great Dr Who themed fabrics from Spoonflower.  That was a while ago… the fabrics arrived and I put them away safely and as I’m off sick at the moment I finally got round to paying them some proper attention.

Having already learned the hard way that you should always iron fabric before cutting it (see here) I spent quite a lot of Wednesday morning with an iron in one hand and a frown on my face.  It was worth it though as I got the squares cut and stitched together pretty easily after that.

As you can see, I decided to use the patterned fabrics sparingly, and used a plain cotton (in a shade called 30s Yellow, from this seller) which I thought showed off the patterns nicely.  By the end of Wednesday I had sewn all the squares together and the quilt top was finished.

This morning I hauled my poorly self up to Hobbycraft in search of wadding/batting – they’d had a rush on, I was the fourth customer before 11am to buy some!  I also picked up some red cotton to use as the backing.

After yet more ironing I laid out the back, the wadding and the top and basted them together with pins before taking the whole lot down to the studio…

…where I discovered that quilting on a small machine, in a small space, is tricky to say the least, and requires quite a lot of faffing around.  I had to roll the quilt up so that I could get it on the machine, and keep rolling/unrolling as I went along.  Plus more faffing as my desk butts right up against the wall of the studio, so I’d get so far and have to (you guessed it) roll the damn thing another way so I could keep going.

Another problem I had was that I can’t lower the tracks (dogs?) on this sewing machine, so they kept gripping the backing fabric.  As a result it’s not quite as smooth at the back as I would have liked, but probably no one except me will notice!

Several hours, and almost 200m of cotton thread later, the quilt was finished.

Pretty quick, but that’s because there’s not that much in the way of quilting.  I stitched in the ditch across the whole thing, then sat back and looked at it for a while trying to decide what to do next… and went for the very simple option of criss-crossing each of the yellow squares whilst leaving the patterned ones alone.  Partly for aesthetic reasons, and partly because this quilt is for an eight year old, and I could just imagine him asking why the dalek has got lines all across it.  As it stands I think it works really well: the red thread shows up beautifully on the yellow fabric, and there’s nothing to detract from the Dr Who-ness of the other squares.  The edge of the quilt is simply the red backing fabric folded over the front and hemmed (not as neatly as I wanted in places, because the backing wasn’t perfectly flat).  Simple, but striking 🙂

This will now be folded up and kept safely until Christmas, and I will have to report back then and tell you what young Archie thinks of it!

I’m glad this little project is finished, it’s given me a bit more confidence with quilting, and also taught me the limitations of my sewing machine.  The quilt I started making earlier this year (see here) is still languishing in pieces, but I will have to finish it at some point, and it’s going to be a much bigger quilt than this.  I need to get over my fear and use my mother’s scary industrial sewing machine instead, as it’ll be really important to keep the backing fabric from ruching up on such a large quilt, and I’ll also struggle to get the whole thing through my little machine as I’d like to use fleece as the backing fabric for extra snuggliness and I don’t think the little machine will cope with the additional thickness.  I’ll report back in a few months as I need to shelve quilting once more and go back to some of my other projects first.

Update 18/10/2013: I’ve been meaning to edit this post with an update for absolutely ages!  Better late than never, here is the recipient of the quilt – he loves it, and as far as I know it lives permanently on his bed!

archie quilt

Many thanks to Sarah of VintageRetroKitsch for the photo 🙂

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I’m a little tired this morning so I’m stealing borrowing today’s title from Kirst over at The Leopard Anchor, she regularly posts a Wednesday WIP and it’s a great idea.

I’ve got quite a lot on the go at the moment, inspiration is a lot like London buses – you wait ages for an idea and then three turn up at once.  The past few days have therefore been a flurry of activity and there really haven’t been enough hours in the day to get everything done.

I’ve been playing with old book pages and felt to make bunting…

… I’ll post more details on the bunting later this week.

I’ve got more vintage books to turn into notebooks…

…and I’m hoping to get some of these finished today.

I’ve taken up an interest in international mining…

…not really, but were you worried for a moment?  I’m working on a custom order for someone and she’s provided her own artwork for the cover, so she needed something to protect the artwork in the post.  What do you do when you haven’t got any stiff card?  Use a random magazine of course!

I’ve been playing with quilting again…

…and hopefully this will be turned into something very soon…

And finally I’m still happily working on the Beekeeper’s Quilt

…and it’s going well.  I’m knitting in front of the telly most evenings and it’s wonderful watching my stash of hexipuffs growing.  I’ve now got 73 so I’m well on my way to my new quilt!

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15th April 2012 – “Patchwork”

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If you’re new to the Scavenger Hunt then please visit Kirst’s blog to see how this all began.  Rachel over at The Awesome Lady is acting as guest host again this month, so if you somehow came here first then please do go and visit her blog to see who else is taking part!  I decided to go with a black and white theme this month…


This month seems to have been more about sewing than bookbinding, I’ve certainly spent a lot of time talking about sewing haven’t I?

Something I Made

My first adventure in quilting.  Who cares that it’s only a miniature one for bears?

Motifs: Animal

Very handily I happened to order quite a few papers which feature animal motifs recently, this is my current favourite.


Fungus of some description (I’m not good with fungi!) on a tree stump.  The stump was brought into my garden for decorative purposes and has now sprouted this fungus all over it, I’m now not entirely sure if I should keep it or throw it out…


A close up of a gorgeous panel on my Singer sewing machine.  They really don’t make ’em like this any more.

Rachel over at The Awesome Lady is guest-hosting again for February so please do pop along to her blog in a day or so to find out what topics we’ll be playing with next month.

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Back in September I bought a rotary cutter and took my first step towards quilting.  I cut up a load of my old pyjamas into neat squares and then stashed them away.  A couple of months after that I got my first sewing machine, and last week I finally learned how to use it.

I don’t have a proper workstation for sewing at yet so I had to set up shop temporarily on an old drop-leaf table in my mother’s room.  Not ideal, but it did the job.  Now, I’ve not been taught how to quilt, just given advice by people and looked stuff up on the internet.  Pretty much all the instructions I found said to sew my squares into long strips and then sew those strips together.  Hmmm.  As a complete novice with a sewing machine straight lines aren’t that easy… I can manage to sew straight for a short stretch and then it all goes a bit pear-shaped.

So I decided to sew the squares into small strips, and then turn those small strips into a larger square.

First one was a bit wonky and the seams didn’t all meet up, but yay!  This seemed like a good way to proceed as it would be easier to keep track of how the pattern was going (I only had 9 different types of pyjama fabric, so it was definitely fate), and I’m hoping it’ll be easier to sew the larger squares together than to sew lots of very long strips.

Now, I’d thought that my squares were all nice and neat.  Nay nay.  I made the mistake of not ironing the fabric before cutting out my squares (yes, I’m a lazy moron), so they were all a bit on the wonky side after I ironed the cut squares.  So I made myself a template out of paper and used that to help me sew them together at the right spacings (the template is 5 x 5 inches).  First I’d sew two squares together thus:

Then I’d get my next square ready, line one edge of the template up with the seam I’d just sewn, pin the whole lot together and sew along the opposite edge of the template.

That photo’s a bit blurry isn’t it?  Sorry about that.  Anyway, that’s how I got around my wonky squares, and I’m sure there’s a technical term but I don’t know it!

My confidence grew as the day wore on (although I did get confused at some points and sewed the squares together in the wrong order, leading to much swearing and unpicking of stitches) and my large squares got more even.

See, the seams line up!  I’ve now got 20 of these larger squares all sewn together and that my friends is how they’ll have to stay for the time being.  The next step will be to sew the big squares together (probably using another, bigger, paper template) but that will have to wait a few weeks.  In the meantime I’m very proud of myself for finally conquering my fear of sewing machines, and will be posting details of another, smaller, sewing project very soon…

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