I'd seen this gorgeous Aurifil 80wt thread on Instagram a few months ago, and was desperate to try it on one of my projects. It's finally available here in the UK and I ordered a couple of spools from Sew Hot to see what it was like. I deliberately chose a couple of fairly neutral colours, Antique Blush and Dove, to blend with most coloured fabrics. I was let down by a friend today, so instead of meeting up for coffee and scones, I spent the afternoon playing with another Flowerville dresden plate and this thread is absolutely superb! It's 100% cotton and glides through the fabric without tangling, and doesn't slip off my applique needle either!
This gorgeous project, by Rosalie Dekker Designs, was initially started back in December 2015. I'd received the first block in the post in September that year, but didn't start it straight away! The blocks were all hand embroidered using a selection of the most beautiful variegated Cottage Garden Threads. The dresden plates were made with a selection of Tilda fabrics, and the embroidered centre piece is then appliqued on top. The applique was all stitched by hand, using a Clover Black gold needle and a neutral coloured Bottomline thread. Here's the first block - hand embroidered and hand appliqued.
I finally finished piecing the 42 star blocks together for the border of this gorgeous quilt - Bluebird Lane, by Natalie Bird of The Birdhouse Patchwork Designs - a few days ago, but didn't get a chance to get a photograph of it until the weekend. I'd originally bought this as a BOM back in 2015 from Patchwork Chicks, here in the UK. This quilt has been a real labour of love, with lots of machine piecing, hand embroidery and hand applique. The first block was stitched back in March 2016, and the borders completed in January 2017. Here is the finished quilt top, blowing in the breeze. This will be delivered into the care of Janette, my wonderful longarm quilter J-Quilts who does the most amazing quilting. This will be custom quilted, and as usual I'll let her choose whatever she thinks will look best to bring out the beauty of this quilt.
I'd been busy earlier in the year with a beautiful hand embroidery project, making the centres for this gorgeous quilt, Flowerville. The pattern is by the Australlian designer Rosalie Dekker Designs. I'd bought this as a BOM online from Under The Mulberry Bush in Australia, and each month I'd kept up with the hand embroidered centres (these were stitched with gorgeous Cottage Garden Threads). Anyway, I'd put off making the dresden plates and when the 9th centre was embroidered the whole thing was packed away. My resolution for 2017 was to get my UFO's completed before I started any new projects. So I pulled out these gorgeous Tilda fabrics and started slicing them up...
...a very handy dresden plate template was included with month 1 of Flowerville. I'd got a nice new blade in my 60mm rotary cutter, and I layered several fabrics on top of one another, so it didn't take too long to get the blades cut - all 324 of them! Once the blades were cut they needed to be stitched across the top to make the point. This involved lots and lots and lots of chain piecing...
...I'd arranged all the blades in the order in which they'd be stitched together, and this certainly saved a lot of time once the top seam had been stitched. The seam was clipped, finger pressed open, and turned the right way through revealing a nice sharp point at the top of the blade. The blades were stitched in 4 sets of 9, and I found that using a straight stitch needle plate really helps with the precision piecing...
...once the 4 sets of 9 blades were joined together, I gave the blade a final press, and laid it into position on the background fabric ready to be appliqued into place. As you can see, I decided to follow the same layout that Rosalie Dekker used in her original design, as I don't really do "random" very well! Only 8 more dresden plates to make and I can finally start the applique!
Back in January 2016 this gorgeous parcel arrived in the post from Patchwork Chicks - it was the fabrics for the beautiful star borders for Bluebird Lane. This quilt was designed by Natalie Bird of The Birdhouse Patchwork Designs, and block one had originally arrived in the post back in March 2015. I had been busy working on this quilt a few months ago. I'd finished the 9 applique blocks and pieced them together, then other things got in the way and this project was packed away. Finally it was time to get started on it again, and I had a busy afternoon cutting strips of fabric ready for these 42 star blocks that make up the borders...
...my favourite thread for machine piecing is Aurifil 50wt thread, and I used a mid-grey coloured thread for this project. To get accurate, precision piecing, it's all about having the correct tools for the job. I use a straight stitch needle plate, a fine thread, and a Schmetz Microtex size 60 needle. I had a very productive evening at the Busybee Stitching sewing group, and managed to get all of the flying geese units pieced together (all 168 of them!!). These fabrics really are lovely, and this project has been a joy to sew. I've been using Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Pins for this project, and they certainly are perfect for keeping these blocks together so the star points are kept clean and sharp. These star blocks will make a spectacular border...
...due to having a heavy cold that lingered for a bit too long it seemed to take ages to get all 42 star blocks completed. Having a "brain fog" didn't help and rather a lot of unpicking was involved! Anyway, finally the blocks were turned into the borders, and here's a sneak peek. I'll get a better picture of the completed quilt top in daylight, weather permitting!
I'd decided to get my UFOs completed before I started any new projects this year, and once I've pieced the Christmas Blessings quilt top together I needed to get some fabric for the backing. This quilt top is 32" square, so didn't need a huge amount, but I didn't have anything suitable in my fabric box! I'd bought Christmas Blessings as a kit from Julia at Cross Patch in Wales, so I contacted Julia to see what she couls suggest. Well she sent me the most gorgeous reindeer fabric that is part of the Scandi2 range of fabric from Henley Studio by Makower UK (there are some other fabrics from this range in the kit). Now I just need to find some time to get this one machine quilted - I've decided to tackle this one myself! Meanwhile I'll carry on sewing some blocks for my other UFOs!
Ohhh I wonder if Mr F could make me this sign to hang on the door of my new sewing room (WHEN it's completed!!) - this is just the perfect quote of the day! The builders have been on their Christmas break, so should return sometime this week. It's so exciting as this has been a dream project for so long. But for now I'll just repeat this mantra - and yes it is a silly question really!
Better late than never! I'd bought this gorgeous BOM, "Bluebird Lane" (designed by Natalie Bird of The Birdhouse Patchwork Designs) from Patchwork Chicks back in 2015. I pieced these 9 blocks together several months ago and didn't manage to trake a photograph at the time. It hasn't been a very good day here in Suffolk for photographing quilts today, as it's dreary and dull and drizzling with rain. This is the next project on my UFO list, as I need to make 42 star blocks for the borders, and have just realised this means cutting out 168 rectangles and 168 squares from assorted back ground fabrics, 336 squares of darker fabrics for the flying geese and a further 42 squares for the star centres. Looks like I'm going to be quite busy!!
Well I finally made a start on those 20 patchwork blocks for the Christmas Blessings wall hanging. This pattern is by the Australian designer Natalie Bird (The Birdhouse Patchwork Designs) and the pattern and fabrics were bought as a kit from Cross Patch in Wales. I'd started this earlier in December 2016, then had to put it away until the festivities were over. A few days at home nursing a heavy cold meant I was able to pick it up where I'd left off, although my titching was much slower due to my germ-addled brain not coping very well with the mathematics of cutting out all these pieces! These small patchwork blocks are just 3" finished size, so I pressed most of the seams open to reduce the amount of bulk on the seams. I used a Schmetz Microtex size 60 needle (really fine and sharp, excellent for precision piecing), Aurifil 50wt thread in a mid-grey neutral colour and a straight stitch needle plate...
...once the patchwork blocks had been pieced together, it didn't take long to add these to the applique blocks and finally get the borders added. Now I just need to get this quilted and the binding on, and it will be the first completed project for 2017.
Well the new year hasn't got off to the best of starts - I've had a dreadful cold for almost 2 weeks, and my get-up-and-go has got up and gone - so I've spent the last couple of days curled up on the sofa dosed up on Lemsips and Strepsils, snuggled under one of my quilts while I'm watching films and feeling rather sorry for myself. Even the winter sunshine streaming in through the windoow this morning couldn't lift my spirits! Hopefully normal service will soon return and I'll be busy sewing again.
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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