Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Hexagon Star

Hanging on the wall at last!  
approx 62 inches by 56 inches

I was expecting all the EPP seams on the half inch hexagons to be hard going with hand quilting but they weren't too bad - just a bit bumpy at times. The hand quilting progressed surprisingly quickly and I was finished within a month. 
No marking was needed as I just outlined all the 'flowers' in the garden, and followed a lot of the star and diamond edges.

To give a little definition to the outer borders (single coloured hexagons among cream ) I quilted straight through three rows all around the outside of the quilt - see below:

Just in case anyone wants to know - I used YLI cream quilting thread, thin cotton batting, a 16 inch square hoop and my usual handful of hardware (Clover brass half thimble, yellow needle puller and TJ Quick quilter spoon) - no affiliation with any of these suppliers but they are Australian stockists. After losing a couple of my usual needles (flicked into the 'ether' across the room - as you do!) I tried a new quilting needle which I now also love - Sew Easy Quilting gold eye size 9. They were $2.65 for 20 strong little needles from Lincraft - got to love that sort of economy. 
The backing is a favourite old floral called 'Plantation' from Windham.

I thought that, especially as this was to be a wall hanging, this quilt would suit a no-show binding. If you google and Pinterest search there are quite a few handy tutorials on various ways to do this. 

In 2014 I made a hidden binding on my 'Simon' Dutch quilt (click to see more in the link) but I was not entirely happy with the corners on the back as they were a bit bulky and not particularly neat. Mind you the quilt hangs beautifully square and I love the finish on the front

So I decided to take a chance and give another method a try - adapting the method in this tutorial from QuiltArtNews.
To reduce bulk a little I only used a single fabric thickness (not double as in the tutorial). 

a nice straight bound edge on the folded quilt
The result is just what I hoped for -  a firm, neat edge (front and back) but still flexible enough to drape. And I highly recommend the method - very easy to stitch up.

Having a bit of photo fun with a "focal black and white" faded finish - how's this for an Autumn garden photo? 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Posies and Plaid - lots of pictures to finish this one off

time to stitch the blocks together...
pin basting with cotton batting ...
a variety of hand quilting threads selected for 'Big Stitch' hand quilting...

we had a good run of rainy quilting-and-binding weather...

and my favourite photo in the garden... sunshine after rain is extra special isn't it?

And a bit of a blurb about the quilt? 
I started it in May 2016. It measures approx 70 inches by 78 inches and is my own design. I was initially inspired by an antique quilt spotted in Jane Lury's book (about her antique quilt collecting). The design went off on a tangent - a bunch of tangents really! A few unpickings and alterations later it has ended up as a blend of a few ideas, and a mix of reproduction and modern fabrics. I especially loved experimenting with Big Stitch quilting and a mix of different colours and weights of threads. 

I'm hanging Posies and Plaid in the entrance hall at home and that meant a shift around the house of other quilts. It's always the way that one change leads to another! The guest bedrooms have had a makeover and quilts as bedheads provide a cosy finish. 

I've now got a space on a wall that is just the right size for my Hexagon Star quilt. So it has zoomed up the quilting queue and has just gone in the hoop for hand quilting - again with thin cotton batting. These are half inch hexagons so I think best suited in size and style to traditional (small stitch) quilting. But I'm not planning on dense quilting so am hoping for a relatively quick finish (fingers crossed!). 


Sunday, 19 February 2017

How many hexagons?

Someone asked but I've no idea. If any body knows a quick formula I might try it but am not going to count them the slow way!

Hexagon Star - top finished.
I have a hand full of hexagons (half inch) left over but am calling this a finish at 56" by 62". It will be a good size for a wall quilt . For now - off to join the others awaiting hand quilting. 
I really enjoyed the portability of this project - using zip lock bags to store and organise the pieces. I know some will think it quite mad to be stitching half inch hexagons by English paper piecing (stitch basted), but I found it very relaxing and quite manageable. In fact I found this size hexagon was quite a bit more comfortable to handle than the large 1.25 inch hexagons in my Grandmother's Garden quilt .

Chapman Coverlet
On the rare occasions when I feel like machine stitching I make it a marathon session! The last one got me a bit further ahead with this quilt. Still have a box full of appliqued squares to join and quite a few more rows to here's hoping for another "rare occasion" soon.
Posies and Plaid
I've not posted on my applique quilt design since May last year, for various reasons. A lot of changes have been made and the unpicker has been very busy. For example I have scrapped the original broderie perse centre - it was just too dark and distracting. 
Unpicker at the ready
In keeping with mixing modern fabrics in with the repros, I'm trying to interpret a lot of different traditional elements with a more contemporary feel.  It's not coming easy for me but I'm happier with it now. Don't you hate it when there is a vision but poor execution!

I've had fun with various applique techniques:

But mostly I have needle turned with back basting prep:

Just a little more applique to go and then I'll be stitching the blocks together. Hopefully there won't be too many more changes (LOL) as I'm really looking forward to Big Stitch hand quilting this ...maybe with coloured perle thread. 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Grandmother's Garden

Started mid 2014 and finished at last!  The fabrics are a mix of homespuns, chambray and peppered cottons, and it measures 84 inches (2.15m) by 71inches (1.8m).

The quilt was sadly ignored for long periods as I hate to admit I got a little b o r e d with it. The lack of variety in shapes and the strictly solid colours can do that. But I love the look of antique quilts made of solids, and this was inspired by those was keen to finally get it finished.

It was hand pieced - English Paper Pieced with 1.25 inch hexagon papers.

The quilt was layered with a thick wool batting and Big Stitch hand quilted in a hoop. I used Aurifil 12 wt thread and Foxglove Cottage ''embroidery/redwork" size 10 needle. I did try a few different needles and found this needle and thread combination quilted up the most easily and quickly for me. 
The quilting design is simple - just zigzag rows across the whole quilt.

The Australian Summer is not a great time for hand quilting but I took advantage of a few cooler evenings to rush through the last of the quilting and the binding.

Trimming the quilt ready to bind

There were a few hexagons left over so I made a label patch and appliqued it to the back.

The thick wool batting was chosen with winter in mind - planning on a warm bed cover. But for now it's hanging on the wall - and freshens up the room no end!