Monday, 24 November 2014

No knitting, but plenty of stitching and shopping

It is at times such as Saturday when I went to the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate that my purse is very glad that I only sew and don’t knit. For anyone who knits and sews, this show must be so full of temptations.

This year I decided to book one of the many workshops offered and the first part of my visit was spent learning three different tailoring techniques with Celia Banks from Sew Fundamental. The 90 minute workshop was very well organised and Celia taught us how to use a bias strip to set in sleeves, a new to me way of making a welt pocket, and how to get the perfect sleeve vent. The most technically challenging of the three was the welt pocket and at times I had no idea how it was going to work, but Celia took us through it step by step and there was a Eureka moment when suddenly it all became clear.

The rest of my time was spent shopping, chatting with some familar faces and putting faces to online names. I wrote a shopping list on the coach on the way to Harrogate and I managed to stick to it fairly well with only a few “off-list” purchases. I found several pieces of vintage Liberty lawn which I bought just because I love Liberty and I bought one new FQ of Liberty lawn for a project I have in mind. The shot and peppered cottons are for a quilt for my husband - we’ve finally decided on a pattern, so perhaps 2015 will be the year he finally gets his quilt. The Bottomline thread is for my ongoing hexie EPP quilt and the Flatter was bought for all the FQs in my stash that have stubborn creases from having been there so long. The magnetic bag clasps were on my list, but the slide in frames were an off list purchase which at £5 for two (with a free pattern) were too good to miss. The Gutermann thread at £2 a reel was another off-list purchase as were the back issues of Love Sewing and Quilt Now at only £10 for four magazines.

After all my sewing purchases, there was just time for a quick walk up the hill to Betty’s for one final bit of shopping before getting the coach home.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Some stitching and a lot of unpicking

This weekend I finally got round to tackling two quilting techniques that I’ve been wanting to try for a while – making a quilt with knits and spiral quilting.

Earlier this year I won four fat eighths of Woodland knits in a giveaway by Forest Poppy and The Village Haberdashery and I thought they would be ideal for my first attempt at a knit quilt. I worked out a pattern in Excel (much more fun than my usual tasks in Excel) which optimised the quilt size and eliminated any need for seam matching. 

The pattern is based on Flemish Bond brickwork, using the Woodland knits for the “stretchers” and some squares of white knit for the “headers”. I’m still trying to sew from stash and the only white knit I had was a rarely worn T shirt that was due to head to a charity shop. Unfortunately this was much thinner than the Woodland knits and so I ended up using a double layer held together with some 505 spray! Continuing the “make-do” aspect of the quilt, I pieced together offcuts of fleece for the backing.

I initially chose to quilt using a blue 40 wt Aurifil (from the Simply Solids goody bag) but halfway through I was having doubts. I ignored these doubts and finished the quilting but it was obvious that the blue was the wrong choice. It overpowered the blocks and the white squares were lost. I decided to requilt with white 50 wt Aurifil and to save having to re tack the quilt, I initially unpicked just the centre and restarted the spiral so that the new white stitching was a few millimetres to the side of the blue stitching. It was worth all the unpicking as I'm much happier with the white quilting.

The binding was cut from a FQ from the Fly Away collection by Dashwood (also from the Simply Solids goody bag) which was an ideal match for the yellowy-green in the knits. When making the binding strip I wasn't concentrating and managed to piece all my bias seams so that I had mitred corners instead of a linear strip – time for yet more unpicking.


I’m pleased to have finally scratched the itch of wanting to sew a quilt with knits and try spiral quilting and I now have another quilt for Project Linus. The spiral binding quilting is great to use with a pieced quilt back as there is no worry about getting seams and quilting to align. I can see myself using spiral quilting on future quilts and maybe using the pattern again, but I think I will stick to woven fabrics for blocks.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Hexie Origami

When Bonnie Hunter shared a link to a little hexie pouch, I knew I had another project to add to my to-do list, but unlike many of the projects on my list, this one got made fairly quickly. I used silk and linen scraps from an earlier quilt and lined it with some Liberty Rossmore cord.

Both the link that Bonnie shared (momentosdecostura) and the original link (maria-cecilia-mora) use interfacing instead of paper for the EPP, however, I decided to make my little pouch the traditional way using papers. These were removed prior to applying some fusible fleece to give the pouch some support and some loft for quilting. I hand stitched the lining in place and then did my first ever hand-quilting – just a simple echo of each hexie. 

Then it was time for the orgami part to come into play - following the instructions of where to fold and stitch and seeing the flat panel of hexies tranform into a pouch. I had planned on using a button and loop fastening, but I couldn’t find anything suitable in my stash. Instead I used the couture technique of covering a press stud which gives an almost invisible fastening.

The pouch was made using 1” hexie papers (from the SimplySolids goody bag) and I liked the pouch so much that I used some slightly smaller hexies (3/4”) to make a little matching thread catcher.