Sunday, 27 February 2011

Civil War Quilts - Block 9

Block 9 - Birds In The Air . . . I really like this block.

Although it wasn't without its challenges!

I did some adjusting on my machine before I began sewing. I decided to use the seam guide, which is screwed onto the bed of the machine. Small problem . . . I was all set up for a perfect 1/4" seam - I thought. But when I had the whole block together, the "birds" half was smaller than the other half, which would have made the block too small. Those tiny fractions of an inch really do matter - even more so on a small block with many seams.

So . . . I unpicked, re-adjusted the seam guide and stitched again.

Second time lucky - the block is now the size it should be! And I've taken the seam guide off. I think just using the plate markings as a guide is what I'll stick with from now on.

I did read a hint about starching the fabric before working with it to avoid the triangles stretching on the bias . . . and it worked a treat. Cutting and piecing was a breeze. Wish I'd thought of that before I stitched Block 5!

Pattern: Civil War Quilts - Block 9 - Birds In The Air
Designer: Barbara Brackman

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Cotswolds - Finished!

It's been not far off 3 years since I started this quilt . . . and now it's finished and on the bed! I wrote a bit about this quilt here and here.

This medallion quilt radiates from the centre in alternating borders of pieced blocks and then plain (or at least large chunks of fabric) borders.

The quilt has a couple of really lovely paisleys in it, so the quilting (by Quilts With Attitude) is a very scroll-y, swirly, paisley-ish design to match.

I've washed this quilt and (look away now if you are a purist or a bit precious about quilts!!!) put it in the dryer to give it a crinkly, vintage look. I must confess to being a little anxious about doing that, but it's turned out just fine . . . although it did shrink a bit (it started at 93", then 92" after it was quilted and bound, then it lost another 2 1/2" in the washing). Still, it's finished and on the bed - ready for its intended purpose. After all, isn't that what quilt making is all about?

Pattern: Cotswolds
Designer: Susan Smith

Monday, 21 February 2011

Civil War Quilts - Block 8

Block 8 - Cotton Boll. This block went together reasonably quickly . . .

But for a simple block it sure makes quite a statement when you see it amongst the other blocks! Makes me realise the importance of the right fabric choice for future blocks.

When the blocks are laid out, they are starting to look like the beginnings of a "real quilt".

There are some great blocks being shown on the Civil War Quilts Flickr Group. It's well worth a look.

And check out this week's block by BeeCee at Piece and Quilt. Also, if you love batiks, you'll love her "Autumn" quilt. It's is fantastic.

Pattern: Civil War Quilts - Block 8 - Cotton Boll
Designer: Barbara Brackman

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Mystery Solved!!

I was sent this the other day . . . all has now been revealed!!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Civil War Quilts - Block 7

Block 7, Log Cabin, is this week's block for the Civil War Quilts. It's been chosen for Abraham Lincoln's 202nd birthday anniversary on February 12, 2011.

This was a very quick little block to do. My "creative consultant" saw the various log cabin quilts on Barbara Brackman's blog and thought that one of those might be nice! I do note that there is still no needle or thread in his hand . . .

I thought I'd keep a little journal of this quilt, so I've got a sample of each of the fabrics, the cutting instructions and I'll also put a photo of each block. I always think I'll remember the details, but am constantly surprised these days at how quickly the details seem to fade into vagueness . . .

I find, too, that by sketching out the block and writing down the cutting dimensions, I've already got a very clear picture in my mind of the block going together before I even begin.

This is a little A5 Visual Art Diary, but a little plain with its black cover. I may have to make a little "Civil War Quilts" journal cover for it.

But that's a job for another day!!!

Pattern: Civil War Quilts - Block 7 - Log Cabin
Designer: Barbara Brackman

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

"Man Craft"

I share my life with a man who has about as many "gadgets" for his craft as I do for mine! He works with timber . . . creating beautiful heirloom pieces - and lots of them are for me. Click here to see some of his handiwork. He uses all this gear when he's creating . . .

Lots of bits and pieces in here . . . see it's not just "girly" crafts that have lots of accessories!

So when he asks if I'll do him a favour, what's a girl to do? So what is the favour?

To make covers for his tool chests, of course! And could they have a monogram, too?

So a trip to the fabric store and a few hours later, he has covers for the tool chests . . . and monogrammed as well.

He already gets lots of comments when he takes his tool chests to site. It's amazing how many people stop and admire his kit. His tools are his livelihood, so he takes them pretty seriously. He likes to work with good quality, well maintained tools. And vintage tools and heirloom tools, too (see any similiarities to a lot of quilters here? Did I mention how I like to sew with Francene?) So he takes good care of his stuff. And it looks lovely all nicely fitted into these gorgeous tool chests. It will be interesting to see what sort of comments he gets now . . .

And true to form, Squeaker had to get in on the act - quilt, tool chest cover - it's all the same to her!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The one that went astray . . .

This is a little heart that I made for a friend for Christmas, but it seems it went astray in the mail . . .

But if life is really about the journey and not the destination, then I guess having made the heart is the main thing!

I made a heart, as my friend has a "heart thing" going on. And I wanted to try my hand at tiny little cross stitches, so I worked this on quite a fine linen using a single strand of DMC thread. My Luxo magnifying lamp was my best friend while stitching this!

So, while the little heart didn't make its intended destination, I hope the good thoughts I had for my friend while stitching traveled across the miles. Anyway, there's always next Christmas . . .

Pattern: One of the hearts from the European Cushion Cover
Designer: Agnes Delage-Calvet, Anne Sohier-Fournel
Publication: Made In France - Cross Stitch and Embroidery in Red, White and Blue

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Civil War Quilts - Block 6

This block is #6 and it's called "Richmond". It's a block which was published about 1915 by the magazine Hearth and Home. They asked readers to send in patchwork patterns for the state capitals. Richmond, Virginia, became the capital of the Confederacy in the spring of 1861.

I really enjoyed making this block. It incorporates my favourite star . . .

And the little 4-patches are really cute, too.

It's amazing how different this block looks in different colour ways. With some blocks I see the star very clearly, with others a cross, some a diamond. Check out the Flickr Group to see what I mean . . .

Pattern: Civil War Quilts - Block 6 - Richmond
Designer: Barbara Brackman

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Civil War Quilts - Block 5

Well, this is block 5 done - Kansas Troubles.

The background fabric is quite orange and vibrant in "real life". It's been a while since I've pieced little tiny triangles, and I'd forgotten just how much a little stretch can throw a whole block out!

Note to self: be very, very careful when piecing tiny pieces on the bias.

Pattern: Civil War Quilts - Block 5 - Kansas Troubles
Designer: Barbara Brackman
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