Monday, 21 October 2013

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Isle of Man calling.....

These blocks haven't see the light of day since last Christmas. I was fed up with hexies and needed another hand sewing job.  I need at least 100 for a quilt top.

There is no wadding in this quilt. The  10 1/4" backing squares are cut from a variety of fabrics that I had multiple yardages of and will coordinate in the finished top, after a fashion.   I draw diagonal lines on the wrong side of the backing and the 3 1/2" centre square so I can stick a pin through and line them up properly.

This project evolved as a way  to use up ugly greens and clothing-I have got to the stage where I can't throw things out at all, they have to be re-purposed.   The strips are all 2", not cut to length before I start.   The cream strips have duvet covers, pillow cases, accumulated charity shop shirts, my shirts, my mums, colleagues and some cotton quilting fabrics too.  I'm not fussy about using all cottons in this, as its meant to be a utility quilt.  The centre squares I'm using at the moment come from a top I picked up in a 50p bin at a charity shop-the red square is meant to represent the 'fire' in the cabin and this fabric is flame-like!

It is pieced around the centre in the same way as a traditional log cabin, the diagonal lines on the backing help you keep things straight. Once a strip is sewn down, using thread that blends with the backing (you don't see stitching on the front), fold it towards the edge, 1/3 on the bottom, 2/3 of the strip on top, giving a 2/3" overlap.  When I get to the last round, I tack down the last fold.  The backing is about 1/8 to 1/4" larger than the front. Traditionally this is all done by hand, however, I will probably sew the backing together on the machine, then fold and tack the top joints and sew them down with a decorative machine stitch.

The sewing part is really quick, its the lining up and folding for accuracy that takes the time-whilst I'm watching TV, each block takes about 2 1/2 hours.

Additional info here:

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

An Oldie Exhumed

I made this duvet cover over 20 years ago: it's all cotton and has lasted well, considering it was made from cheap cottons and dressmaking scraps.  I haven't used it for a few years, it was rediscovered at the back of the cupboard.  It's all soft and worn now, cozy as we have a cold snap. It's not until I took this photo that I saw the blocks spun the wrong way!! 

310 bow ties  spun so far this month, I'm trying to stitch 10-20
a day to get them done.

 I couldn't resist  sewing a dozen together.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Crummy week

I decided that as the crumb bin is overflowing, it needed proper attention.    I set out to use it all in strips for the next crumb quilt.   Last time I left it far too long and the task was overwhelming, but I did get this flimsy out of it........

I sewed strips around 10" long, using up a whole bin full...

Now the rather tedious job of trimming!  These will go away for a couple of years I expect, until the bin is full again. There will be a different colour batch of crumbs, so I will be able to mix the strips up before I sew them.  This batch had a lot of pink (sisters choice), brown (hexies) and black and white in.

I got a coupe of these random hexie sets sewn up, and strips done for about 10 more.  They will be a portable project now.  Each set is around 17 x 15", I need 36 for a full flimsy (plus the infill on the edges). I had a count-up: with the strip sets I have, I only need five more! Yay!  Although this has been on the go for ages, it seems to have been quicker than I expected it to be.

I have also sewn in a lot of papers lately whilst watching TV. I have done so may thousands over the years I can sew and fold without looking now.

I was doing a few in the dentist waiting room the other day, it's funny how people will watch you but if you look up and smile they look away embarrassed!  Older men will speak to me more often, saying they remember their grans doing it.  As one chap last week said, "At least you're not fiddling with your phone!" What did we do before mobile phones? We read a magazine or just relaxed whilst we waited I suppose (though maybe not at the DENTIST), without feeling to need to pretend to connect with an environment other than the one we are actually in!  Sometimes we even talked to a stranger, shock!

Saturday, 5 October 2013


The final batch from September, 102.
That's a months total of 902 bow ties.  I recon I need about 1000 for a quilt, which I will have now.  There are  500 or so left to sew up, I will do this  before I start to piece the top, so I have maximum variety to choose from.  I see these quilts as ongoing-its a good way to use larger offcuts, I add to the pile of sets every time I cut something.


Sewing stopped for a family emergency for a while, now back to normal I hope.  Whilst I was away I sewed a few of the 1/2" paper pieced diamonds and triangles.

 I watched a film and went through the crumb bin this week on my return. Some more 1/2" diamonds cut, a few hexies, the rest will be for a second crumb quilt-a lot of these crumbs are already sewn into pairs from the last one.  I love this kind of relaxed piecing.


I have cut lots of black and white nine patch sets, along with bricks and squares for future projects.   They are stacked underneath the acrylic table top, bow ties on top.

I have some brown hexie paper pieced blocks sewn up too and made progress with the random hexie blocks last week. 

So, quite a bit  achieved.  Once the current batch of bow ties is completed, it's on to quilting some of those flimsies!