Wednesday, 5 July 2017

5th July Diamond Hill and Secret Garden

Hi everyone,

Have had a great time since my last blog. Part 6 of Diamond Hill was the applique corners and I was ready and waiting with fabrics organised and Esther posted early so was able to do my prep for the first corner at sit and sew on the Thursday.

Mitred and joined my corners first then fused my stems and leaves in place. decided to use a mid olive thread which let me stitch both my stems and leaves at the same time, a huge time saver.
Used two different blanket / buttonhole stitches though to give more definition to the leaves.

Stems were my normal small stitch but changed to one that does a double stitch on the outer edge for the leaves and also used a larger setting.

Kept to my planned colours for the bell flower and the lavender was a $2 scrap that I had purchased on the Thurs, just the right shade. Rethought my orange flower as had changed the cornerstone colours on the last border and the bright orange just didn't work but this multi colour batik did.
Had trouble finding the right center until I tried this red and yellow combo which gave a real pop to it.

Tried out a candy coloured thread for the flower and it worked a treat, stitched with a double stitch and every stitch became a different shade, This is a Mettler thread and just love the short colour changes with their threads. In the center I did two rounds of stitching with the yellow thread and have got a feeling of texture to it.

Happy with my colours.

With the second corner made it was time to add them to the center. Thought about this for a bit and decided to add the corners first but only stitched each side as far down as the first flower then took the diamond panel and checked its positioning as crucial it lined up with the previous border. Diamond panel was cut to size but had left extra length on my applique panel for any adjustment necessary.
Didn't take a photo but used the same method as closing a binding, marking the position of the panel onto the border then cutting with a seam allowance and stitching together at both ends. Checked posotioning of the diamonds and then stitched the seam. 
Couldn't wait to see how it looked so added my vases and the next border.

It went together perfectly using a simiar method to the last border, matching and securing the center and the half square triangle ends before stitching. narrow strips of fusing for this rather than the glue I have seen Esther use on one of her tutorials, also how I did my final placement on the last border.

A quarter inch strip of fusible web pressed to the seam allowance

Seam allowance turned under and border fused into place
Did this for the center and both ends then pinned the rest of the border into place and stitched.

Before I added my border I had a decision to make as when I made my center I used purple triangles at the base of my vase, thought this emphasised the vase shape but as time has gone on it looked more like a mistake so decided to change it. 


Wasn't undoing everything so unpicked the applique stitching I had done from the seamlines and fused a new triangle in place and restitched the edges. Now happy with the center.
Only the last corner to finish stitching and then I can bring DH up to date ready for the 15th.

1st July woke early and went to see what Esther had given us for Part 6 of Secret Garden, not there and it was late afternoon before I finally received it. What a gorgeous block it is, SG is becoming more beautiful as the months go by. Printed out the pattern but no time that night to make a start and in the morning there is an update so very pleased I hadn't started. Printed out the update and made my first block and was so pleased with it.

Very happy with how delicate this looks

Background is a fabric I bought for the modern quilt I have just started, was having trouble finding the right fabric and a piece of this was on the bench and when I tried it just had to use it.

However, there was a niggle that stayed with me espcially after Esther asked on my group photo was I making my block smaller ?   am reducing the pattern but because of the update kept checking and rechecking and it seemed perfect. 4.30am the next morning it came to me, I hadn't used the templates but had traced from the pattern block, which pattern block though!!!
In future will bin incorrect pages immediately as had used the wrong pattern and my applique was a fraction small.

Not a large amount but you can see from the lines that the first block on the right is well inside the lines and the outside curve is a different shape. Not sure if it would really matter but it just might so my first block has been unpicked and remade as am not sure how much background fabric I have to spare.

Blocks added to design wall.
This is how I set up my wall before I started these blocks

Last night I unpicked the bow on block one and changed the colour as it blended in too much with my vase.

Bow is still very soft but has more definition

Would love to be able to keep on working on SG but as am up to date will have to be patient until next month, am linking now to Esther's WOW then will get out my DH corner and work on that.

Enjoy your week everyone,
Cheers Jenny

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

WOW 14th June Catching up

Hi Everyone,

Don't seem to find the time to sit at the computer at present so once again a few weeks since I have blogged, this week its catch up time.
Luv Shack is finished, Yay I am over hearts for the time being. Kept my quilting really simple as wanted this throw to stay soft and cuddly, had planned on only stitching around the hearts but once that was done it did need something else.

Doesn't really show up but I used metallic gold thread  and stitched different sized  hearts in all the open areas, they catch the light and lift the background a little. My hand eye cordination is not great so made freezer paper templates to make sure I got regular shapes and it worked well.

Borders got twin wavy lines sort of peplicating the flight of the butterflies.

Very happy with how the reverse turned out. 

First time I have made a quilt reversible and it worked out great, Used matching orange thread top and bottom for my border stitching so shadow butterflies that just blend right in. My only concern was with making the center of the back larger than the front my butterfly stitching does go onto the red strip but it is only some of them  and its balanced all around so looks fine.
Now to get it to my friend and find out if she likes it.

Diamond Hill is completly up to date as have been taking my outer border strips to the Thursday group and stitching them there so am all set for tomorrow and part six.

All diamonds stitched.

Have also made up the diamonds for in the next border. Not sure how it will look having my diamonds on both a light and a dark backgrond but its the only way I had enough of either of my fabrics. Know my diamonds are the right size and have placed them according to the quilt plan with plenty of extra fabric for trimming to match the applique panels which I hope Esther gives us tomorrow.

For Secret Garden I have made my 40 little blocks for part five and I just love them.

Was an easy calculation to get the 75% measurement of 3 inches for the finished size of my blocks but harder to get my cutting perfect. After a couple of test blocks this is my first one. Had been dying to start using my contrast fabric and it looks as lovely as I had hoped. Esther says we use nearly two meters of this fabric and I for one can't wait to see how we use more of our contrast fabric.
My leaf fabric a friend brought me back from Aust just before part 5 came out, it was the first fabric I thought of and it looks great, just wish I had heaps of it to use in other places but unfortunately I don't and what I have doesn't have a name on it or I would try to get more.

If you know what it is called could you please let me know.

With my blocks made just had to try them out and see how they look against a large block.

Know they aren't for surrounding these blocks as no where near enough of them but has let me see how the colours work together and I am thrilled. Haven't used dark blue anywhere else yet it seems so happy with my other colours. Now patiently waiting for 1st July and part six.

While staying with my friend in ChCh I came across a magazine is she is getting and was very taken by the quilt on the cover.

I'm not really a piecer but this pattern fascinated me and have always wanted to make a two colour quilt, especially using purple so the pattern just had to come home with me.
Was talking in about it at the Thursday group and saying I would need 5 purples and 18 assorted fat quarters of greys to make it, suddenly the counter was full of fabrics so now I have another project for when I want something to do. Have made 20 blocks so far of the 100 I need to make an 80" x 80" quilt, pattern called for 144 blocks finishing at 96" square.
It actually is a very simple pattern to make so long as you get the block colours in the right sequence, something I have yet to perfect!!

Block Layout

Add a square to each corner and stitch the diagonal

Sew the four blocks together

Four blocks together make up the pattern.

Am hoping the two fabrics with the touch of Pinky Orange give pop to the quilt when it is all together plus the grey fabric with a touch of lavender and little black cat faces is my hero of the greys so am trying to use it once in each block. It is wait and see until all the blocks are made to see if it works like I hope it will. No rush as this is my fill in project. 

Back on my sewing table at the moment is Heart's Desire, another wonderful pattern of Esther's that back in 2011 was a mystery BOM and has been sitting for about eight months waitng for me to finish the quilting. With luv shack finished I was in the quilting mood and have made steady progress this last week,

When I put it away last year I had stitched around all the applique and quilted the outermost border and the center.

Three borders and corner baskets now completed though I want to do more stitching around my "candles" but am not sure what to do yet as want to create the look of rays of light similar to the center.

Hard to see but have stitched flower motifs in the triangles of the vases.
Have ditch stitched the sawtooth triangles with same metallic thread as on my leaves but undecided what to do with them next, think I will be googling for ideas.

Thats been my last few weeks of stitching so my diary is up to date again. Now to link with Esther's WOW and head back to the sewing room.

Cheers  Jenny.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Diamond Hill and Luv Shack

Hi Everyone,

Ages since I blogged, life just seems to get in the way or is it quilting, not sure but have been busy and just had a few days in ChCHh as well. Party for a great friend celebrating his 65th birthday, Steve only stayed a couple of days but with four brothers and three years since I had visited them I stayed an extra few days so that could catch up with everyone, especially a couple of very close girlfriends.
part 5 of Diamond HIll came out just before I left and Esther had gone to great trouble to give options for making the diamond borders. Being me I had been quietly working away on these borders since month one as knew I wasn't going to piece them but applique them to the sashing strip. Having the picture of the finished quilt the calculations were simple but decided to cut my strips at 3" wide and trim after stitching them - just in case!!!

When I bought the sashing background (stonehenge) thought it was in the perfect tonings to go with my diamonds and it is, it tones right in, so much so that the diamonds lose their definition.
Diamonds would have been perfect against my block fabric but had fallen in love with what I used for my blocks and even though there wasn't enough for the sahings was determined to make it work.
Had cut all my sashings so was not letting it go to waste so played with threads to highlight the diamonds and have used a variegated 12wt thread that has the same colours as the diamonds. In hindsight a solid burgundy might have been the best choice but it looked too bold at the time.
Placing the diamonds was the fiddliest bit, stitching was a breeze as zigged and zagged my way down one side and then back up the other and presto they were done.

When the sashings were only around the blocks I was very uncertain about them but the addition of the dark strips made them start to pop. Thought I would have to wait for part 5 for the central star but suddenly realised it was a Lemoyne Star that was in a foundation piecing pattern book.
Size was almost perfect with only a slight enlargement needed to get my pattern

My plan was for an orange and yellow star but decided to use this gold fabric instead so green became my contrast. Cut and layered my pieces so the green was on top and I could stitch the edges continously. My half square triangles are pieced, just stitched afterwards.

Yesterday I added the next diamond borders and have the top cornerstones in place.

Tossed up between using purple or this red for the base, red won and think it was the right choice.
Last two cornerstones today and will be up to date again.

Have been spending time on Luv Shack the last few weeks as well and progress has been good.
Decided to use butterflies on the border, went with the ones that toned most with the border so as not too in your face.

When the corner ones were on it needed some on the sides as well.

had been thinking about my backing for a while and came across a Kiwiana fabric called Retro Baches which seemed so fitting for this quilt,  Once again not enough left for a complete backing so had to come up with a way to make it work which was of course to make the quilt reversible.
was able to get more of both the border fabric and the red, this is the result for my backing.

Typical Kiwi baches from the 60's and 70's
The half inch red strip just brings the fabric to life and its surrounded by a brillant sunny day, what more could anyone want..
Thought about the quilting problems I might have matching up the borders so spray basted my backing to the batting first and stitched  just inside the red border before turning it over and placing the top. Also made the center of the backing slightly larger than the top so could position the front just inside the stitching line. So far have stitched around nearly all the hearts, with dark grey thread on top and fawn in the bobbin my quilting is working out fine.

So thats what I have been doing the last few weeks, hoping to get this finished or very close to by June 1st when the next part of Secret Garden is released as am dying to find out what comes next and whether we use our contrast fabric or not, love mine and have fingers crossed it will work.

Enjoy your week everyone,
Cheers Jenny

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Luv Shack and Secret Garden.

Hi everyone,

On a roll at the moment, block four of Diamond Hill complete and have been adding hearts and more hearts to Luv Shack. Having no set idea what to put where so decided to start filling in from the bottom and see what happened.

 Lower Quarter

Used my camera at this stage with small hearts only fused in place, happy with how it is coming together apart from the bottom center heart which is too light and the orange one just above it, Changed these, stitched them down and carried on filling and stitching.

All stitched.

Pretty much what I had been hoping it would look like though not quite as random looking as I wanted I am a organised person which is probably why couldn't get out of my comfort zone. It is a throw not a wall hanging and my friend doesn't know they were meant to be random.
Next was the border, had a real problem finding something to go with it but had been thinking in the wrong direction. The sit and sew group made some suggestions last week and they seem to work.
First was to add a red peeper strip around the quilt. 

Didn't want to cut to size yet so marked my cutting line and cut quarter inch wide webbing and fused to the inside of the line.

Pressed my folded peeper strip into place and stitched right on the raw edge to stop any movement 
then stitched on my border.

Went bold with the border but it seems to work especially with the red peeper strip.
Am wondering whether it needs something on the border but not hearts as think that would be too much so am thinking butterflies.


Luckily I don't have to make a decision yet as the 1st of the month arrived on Monday and Block 4 of Secret Garden was released. Am falling more and more in love with Esther's beautiful pattern as each block is released. Each block is becoming more detailed and having reduced the pattern to 75% am finding more and more challenges in making them, with block four it is the stems, they are so narrow think I may have to machine stitch them all. While I am deciding about this - and the butterflies - have made a start on the padlock and flower.

As I said lots of detail and I don't hand stitch!! Drew the pattern onto my fabric and stitched it out with triple stitch using the zig zag eyelet stitch for the tiny circles and an embroider stitch for the arrowhead. Pencil to colour the inside of the larger circles and reverse applique for the keyhole center.

Couple of attempts for the flower, on the left is my first and I do like it but it is too dark against the other blocks so have gone with the one on the right.

Internal stitching done over stabiliser with variegated thread and soft metallic gold in the center. 
Again reverse applique for central circle.

In position with my vase.

Starting on my leaves now and have to make up my mind about the stems so that I can start stitching.

Have been searching for butterfly fabric the last couple of weeks as wanting to add some to my Secret Garden blocks, 

A friend gave me this one, they are the ones on Luv Shack but also used one for block two instead of the rock in the pattern.

Always knew it needed something in that area but the rock in the pattern just didn't work for me.
Thanks Ellie for the butterfly idea.

The other butterfly comes from a fabric I bought off Trade me and this fabric will give me my butterflies for the rest of my blocks.

Lovely fabric with a wonderful shimmer.

One added so far, wondering about another couple.

Heading back to sewing room now so have a great week every one,

Cheers, Jenny