Saturday morning was very productive at Foreman Towers! I was busy cutting up some fabrics from the Frosty Friends collection by Lynette Anderson Designs (this is Lynette's latest festive collection of fabrics) ready to make some Churn Dash blocks for the Scandinavian Christmas quilt. These blocks are quite small (just 3" finished size) so as usual for precision piecing I'm using a straight stitch needle plate, a Microtex size 60 needle and Aurifil 50wt thread. Only 16 more blocks to make...
...and by the end of the day, I had a nice collection of blocks ready for this quilt! I thought it would be much easier making all the blocks in one session. I'm getting on well with my new Bernina 570QE sewing machine - it really does sew beautifully, as you can see from all these little blocks. I've had a very happy sewing day!
A few weeks ago, Lynette Anderson sent me a gorgeous bundle of fat eighths of her latest festive fabrics, Frosty Friends. It is perfect for this project, Scandinavian Christmas. The applique for block 1 was prepped using the applique paper and gluestick method...
...and the applique was stitched in place by hand, using Aurifil 80wt thread onto the linen background, that had already been embroidered. Once the block has been trimmed to size, the next step will be to make 3 churn dash blocks, and a couple of embroidered blocks that will be pieced together and stitched to the side.
This set of patterns was bought online from Patchwork Chicks, here in the UK, just after Christmas 2016. This design is "Scandinavian Christmas" by Lynette Anderson Designs, and as is usual for Lynette's designs, it incorporates both applique and stitchery. A friend had recommended a product that was new to me - "Sticky Fabri-Solvy" by Sulky. These sheets of stabiliser can be put through an inkjet printer and a stitchery design can be photocopied on it, ready to be stitched over. The stabiliser is dissolvable, and is much quicker to use than tracing a design by hand. I'd already done a bit of a test patch to check the colour fastness of the red DMC thread. When I was happy with the test, the main design was copied, the backing paper removed and the stabiliser pressed into place on a piece of linen. I'd already fused a piece of weaveline interfacing to the back of a piece of linen, and made a start on the stitchery...
...this was the first time that I'd used "Sticky Fabri-Solvy" by Sulky (bought online from Amazon). Overall, I'm quite impressed. It's quicker than tracing the design by hand, and it's much more accurate, especially for all that cross stitch! Well, now it's time to rinse it off and see if it's worked! Drum roll please..... it worked! The block was rinsed in lukewarm water and the "Sticky Fabri-Solvy" stabiliser has completely dissolved. The block is now drying on a towel, then I'll press it on the back.
However there are a couple of things I'd do differently for the next block.
1. Use a thinner interfacing on the back of he linen... my favourite is weaveline, but it was a bit tricky stitching through so many layers. Next time I'll use a finer Vilene interfacing.
2. Stay-stitch around the edges of the Solvy stabiliser once it's in place. As I moved my embroidery hoop around this block, the edges of the stabiliser lifted up... I couldn't be bothered to get my machine set up yesterday, but 5 mins spent doing that would have saved a few hours of swearing!
3. Wear a thimble!! Stitching through the stabiliser, the linen AND the interfacing is hard work!!
4. Stitch the finer details e.g the satin stitch and colonial knots when the stabiliser has been rinsed off.
This gorgeous backing fabric was supplied by J-Quilts, my longarm quilter, and the quilt sleeve was made with some of the left over fabric. I use a method for making the sleeve that was taught by Philippa Naylor, and this is hand stitched into place on the back of the quilt, taking care for the stitches not to go through to the front of the quilt. The full instructions for making the sleeve are in Philippa's book, Quilting in the Limelight. This just needs to have a bit more hand stitching to secure the sleeve in place and will be ready to hang on display in my local quilt shop, Kis Quilting Ltd in Ipswich.
A couple of evenings spent with a needle and a spool of Aurifil 40wt thread and all 276" of the binding was hand stitched to the back of my Bluebird Lane quilt! I go to a couple of sewing groups twice a week, and it really helps me to keep on track with finishing projects! This stripey fabric is part of the Autumn Lily collection by Blackbird Designs for Moda and was included with month 10 of this BOM. Now I just need to get the quilt sleeve made ready for displaying this beauty on a wall. This pattern is by Natalie Bird of The Birdhouse Patchwork Designs, and was originally bought as a BOM from Patchwork Chicks here in the UK back in 2015.
Christmas fun is finally finished! This was machine quilted with Aurifil 40wt thread, and I used my Bernina 230PE and the free motion foot as I haven't been brave enough to try out the BSR on my new Bernina yet - anyway, I am quite pleased with how this looks, and as it's quite a small quilt - 23" x 32" it really didn't take very long to finish. The quilting is really very simple, firstly stitch in the ditch around all the blocks, and free motion quilted around all the applique shapes, followed by a very simple stipple - nothing too fancy - I really must practise more of the skills I learnt on the courses with Philippa Naylor!! I couldn't decide where to put the label on the back, then decided to applique it bang in the middle - I really love stitching my labels to match the quilt...
...and here it is, swaying gently in the breeze. I'm really looking forward to seeing this one hanging on my wall at Christmas time. The pattern and hand painted wooden buttons were bought online from Patchwork Chicks here in the UK - and I used a selection of Lynette's festive fabrics from my stash. Now on to my next project - and that's another festive one too, using some very special fabrics that Lynette sent me a few weeks ago.
I can't believe I'm actually binding this quilt! It seemed like a massive project when I first bought it as a BOM back in 2015 from Patchwork Chicks here in the UK. Bluebird Lane is a gorgeous quilt by the Australian designer Natalie Bird, and was made using gorgeous fabrics from the Autumn Lily collection by Blackbird Designs for Moda, and I just love the stripey binding fabric that was included! For larger quilts, I prefer a wider binding, and these binding strips were cut at 3.5" wide, for a 0.5" finish. The binding strips were cut and pieced together, then machined in place to the front of the quilt, using a neutral coloured Aurifil 40wt thread. The folded edge is then turned to the back, and held in place Clover Wonderclips (these are really easy to use, and the bonus is you don't get stabbed with prickly pins!). This will be my project for the next few evenings as there are several inches of binding to stitch down!
This morning I drove over to East Bergholt to collect Birdbird Lane from Janette at J-Quilts. As always she has done the most amazing job with this custom longarm quilting. It looks superb, and I';m absolutely thrilled with it. This was a BOM that I'd bought back in 2015 from Patchwork Quilts here in the UK. The pattern is by the Australian designer Natalie Bird, (The Birdhouse Patchwork Designs). This has been machine pieced with Aurifil 50wt thread, and hand embroidered with DMC threads. The applique was completed using applique paper, a glue stick and apliquick tools. Now I just need to get the binding on and design a label to be stitched to the back.
One of my favourite parts of making a quilt is stitching a label that suits the theme of the quilt. For Christmas Fun, I was inspired by a reindeer template in Lynette's book Stitch it for Christmas. The reindeer was appliqued using the applique paper and gluestick method, along with apliquick rods. The hand embroidery was completed using DMC threads in the same colours as the quilt. And the words were drawn on free hand, and embroidered by hand, adain with a DMC thread. The final embellishment was a cute wooden button that I'd bought from Lynette at FOQ a while ago. This is all ready to applique into place on the back of the quilt!
This morning was spent machine quilting my Christmas Fun quilt, at a Saturday morning sewing session at a local quilt shop, KIS Quilting Ltd in Ipswich. I decided to use my Bernina 230PE for some basic stitch in the ditch quilting until I've mastered the BSR on my new machine - I still need to practise with that one a bit more before I tackle one of my quilts! I've used a neutral coloured Aurifil thread for this, and outlined all the applique with quilting too. Now I just need to decide how to quilt the rest of it!
Hi - welcome to my quilting blog! My passions are my family, my dog, my friends and sewing, not necessarily in that order!
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