Rescue to fill a need

It’s winter here, and I decided it was time to bring out my hand pieced silk cushion covers. However, I was missing one for the set of cushions I like to have in the living room. I didn’t want to take time to make another from scratch while I still have the lattice quilt in progress. Hmm. Then I remembered I had these little hexagonal ones I had fallen out with. The purple colours don’t work in the room. The right hand one has good colouring but made me thing instantly of a car company rather than the trefoil-esque motif that it was intended to be.


After some thought, I decided that if I chopped that right hand one down the middle, split the two halves and did some sort of infill, it would serve the desired purpose with a relatively modest amount of effort.

This was the result:


I’m moderately pleased with it. It does at least stop one’s brain going straight to the car company. I’d rather have used colours for the infill rather than black and brown, but I felt that heavy silk would perform better and these were the only two pieces I had.  It was still quite a bit of work, maybe a day’s effort all up? I make the fronts of these covers as tiny quilts. The batting evens out the texture and the quilting supports the fragile silk. They have proved more robust in use than I originally feared.

Anyway. It gives me the cover I wanted to work in with the other three and the original cushion gets to see some service. The red and turquoise one second right is not my work but that of a friend, made for me many years ago.



Patchwork Milestone


Look! My insane lattice patchwork is ready to lay out. After six months of almost daily stitching, all the blocks are made, nine sections of 16 blocks are assembled and a goodly down payment on the black joining pieces are basted to their papers.

I am so keen to lay it out and finish arranging things. I need to come up with some sort of system though, so I can do so and then stack it up in extractable order. I do not want it living on the cutting table for weeks or months. Hmm.

a few steps back

but a decision has at least been made on the lattice patchwork. I’d stalled for a week or so, trying to finally decide whether to use the sun block or not.  I was never sure it was the right thing and for some reason a couple of the edge pieces refused to line up. Then I found that I had stuffed up and made it about 7mm too small in both dimensions. That’s it. Three strikes and you’re out. Three bits of dubiousness or disappointment and that element I’m trying to make work is rejected. I won’t throw it out, I’m sure it will find a home in another project eventually.

So. The new plan is to replace the sun area with more lattice blocks. Not a huge issue and I’m feeling much happier about this. I just need to make 16 extra blocks, which I’ve just cut the fabric for.  I now need 196 blocks in total, of which I’ve made 160. 36 to go. Quite doable.


Patchwork piecing progress

I suppose I’m writing this more to celebrate the piecing progress than to show you anything much new. I’ve now made 160 of the 180 coloured blocks in the plan. Again I’ve run out of papers, so it’s back to assembling the 16 block sections. Below are the first four sections laid out. Woo Hoo!


Here is the fifth section nearly completed


and the latest stack of blocks waiting assembly.


I’m still loving the look and enjoying the process. Just as well eh? All those hours, and many more to come.

Out of paper error (or method in my madness)

Some of you are going to get really sick of this quilt, some probably already are. Others might enjoy the progress updates. I feel like sharing my excitement about this next stage. Look away if you are bored.

At 125 blocks, I ran out of papers. So I decided to be brave and start joining the blocks so I can liberate papers for the next blocks, rather than cutting yet more papers. This is exciting but a bit scary because I want to have a fairly even distribution of fabrics, and if I introduce any more before I finish making blocks, I might end up with a concentration in a section. So… I decided to make sections of 4×4 blocks so they can be switched about and there will be gaps and edges to add to later. Each of these sections will liberate enough papers for another 9 blocks.

The next decision was how to arrange the blocks. There is a system of fabric/colour arrangement within each block. I’ve learned over my years of patchwork, that to achieve a pleasing balance of colour, one needs there to be order. Random doesn’t deliver the look I want. So my initial set of fabrics were split into four sets. These are very roughly designated as Pales, Reds, Oranges and Blues. One of each has been used in the same order for every block. This spreads the colours out and makes it easier to avoid having the same fabrics adjacent.


As block production progressed, I also decided to make four blocks of each fabric arrangement and split those into four sets of blocks, from which I build the sections. Just another contribution to achieving a good spread of fabrics.

After several trials, I decided to arrange the blocks with each one in the same orientation. It puts each “colour” furthest from it’s fellows and was the option deemed least likely to cause a stuff up. Here is the first section assembled. So good to see it all neat as well as madly colourful:


and then with the tacking threads removed on all but the edge most pieces. It looks so crisp!


and again after the papers have been removed. Softer and more like it will end up. Still gorgeous if I do say so myself. Tee hee, without meaning to, each of these pictures has the section a different way up.


A pic from the back, with the stack of liberated papers ready for reuse.


Still Patchworking

I’ve been neglecting the blog. Sorry about that. I’ve been sick for the last few weeks and spending an awful lot of time on the couch with the patchwork. We now have 121 blocks made!


I’ve also done another round of thinking on the overall design. I thought just the lattice alone might be a bit dull, so I made a sunny centre:

.     .

I mean to add more detail, sunrays etc when I eventually get as far as quilting it. The current plan is to have this in the middle with a lattice surround 5 blocks deep and one block worth of black border, in which more quilted detail can feature. 180 lattice blocks needed for this. 121 is therefore a tiny bit over two thirds. I did know this would take a while. The current lurgy means it’s advancing faster than I expected.


6mth Blogversary

My little blog is half a year old. Or it was 2 days ago. I had plans to post on the day but my time got filled with other things. An obsession with boxes (more later) and preparation for very welcome house guests.

I have mostly written here about finished projects. Today though I’m going to share a longer term labour intensive project that will take many more months to finish.

I have a fondness and admiration for Liberty Tana Lawn. I know I am so not alone in that.  I’ve made quite a few shirts over the years out of it, and saved the cabbage. I’ve also purchased a few remnants. I’ve been keen for years to eventually come up with a patchwork project to combine and use these. Then I had a 3wk trip to plan for, which of course includes deciding what handwork I would take with me to keep me happy and occupied. I often take sock knitting, but the other thing I like to do as a travel project is English pieced patchwork.


Hmm, but what design to use? I felt that all the Liberty scraps did not divide well into sufficiently contrasting shades, so they all needed to be treated as one. I did however want some contrast to make things “pop”. I played with image searches and eventually decided that a lattice design with black as the contrast might work well. I drew up a trial version on engineer’s graph paper to test the thought and decide on proportions. It turned out to be remarkably difficult to reliably identify the correct intersections to draw to!


I did like the plan though so I cut a bunch of fabric shapes and much more carefully cut the papers. By golly it’s hard to cut the papers accurately!


After a couple of weeks of travel and amusing myself working on this, I laid what I had done out. Thankfully I like it a lot.


Now, several more weeks on, I have 52 blocks made. Many more to go to!


Preserved memories

This possibly my first? or one of my first pieces of sewing. A pattern darned hessian cushion made mumblety years ago when I was a fairly small child. The outer fabric was starting to fall apart, from UV degradation I suppose. Mum was just going to throw it out, then decided to save it so we could have a look at the stuffing together.


One can see through the holes that it was stuffed with fabric scraps, so we cut it open to discover what was there. All these fabrics are of course older than the cushion, dating back early into my childhood and before.


Here are all those scraps, split into possible keepers (green bucket, all cotton) and those definitely destined for the bin (mostly synthetics). I actually only took away a small handful culled from the cotton scraps. The fabrics were in pristine condition though. Crushed of course, but bright, crisp and not even musty. The benefits of a dry climate. Most of them are unused offcuts from garments made by Mum and her Mother. A few are from used clothing. We remembered many of the garments they were from, but some eluded us. It was fun, I’m glad she saved it for a spot of mutual reminiscing.


The few keepers will very likely turn up in some future patchwork.

Indigo Shibori Shirt #1

A few weeks ago I had a marvellous time having my first go at dyeing with indigo at a workshop run by Opendrawer. I dyed a bunch of short lengths of fabric, but all from two types of fabric. Below are the results hung to dry straight from the workshop. A few days later I washed them and lost a bit of the contrast. The dark sections are now lighter and the white has gone pale blue. The narrower solid pieces at the front of this pic started as white cotton poplin. Yet again, this is from a friend’s cast off stash. I was concerned about not having enough of this to make a shirt, so I threw a plain undyed piece in when I washed the dyed fabric so it wouldn’t look too stark. That thought worked, the plain piece came out matching the paler sections of the dyed cloth.


Yesterday I cut a shirt from the poplin pieces. It’s a while since I made a patchwork shirt. I used to make them in my student days, free clothing from Mama’s leftovers :-).


I used the plain piece to line/face the collar, yoke, button bands and hem. For fun I made a little self piped edge on the buttonhole band


Due to concern about sufficient yardage, and because the poplin is a bit stiff, I made the shirt shorter and a bit jacketty. The cuffs and collar are deep and interlined with linen. The hem too is deeper and more robust than is usual for a shirt. Definitely meant to be worn over top, not tucked in.


Here is a back view. I took care to place the starburst on the yoke, but the nice central placement on the upper left back piece is a very happy accident, I was just trying to maximise the used of the darkest and most interesting sections. I really enjoy the different patterns pieced together. I know some of my friends prefer a much more ordered aesthetic, but they don’t get to or have to wear this shirt.


From the front. I’m aware that the picture that gets picked up by FB is the last one in a post, so I like to select which that will be. Sometimes that messes with the natural order of the WP post.


Why do I blog?

To celebrate making a thing.
To pat myself on the back. To convince my subconscious that something has been achieved. I’ve always made things. A few years ago, I found that I was not getting any satisfaction from the making. I’m usually thinking about the next projects before the one underway is done, and when I finished something, I just brushed it aside in my mind and moved on. So I felt like I wasn’t achieving anything and it all felt pointless. If I write a blog post about each project though, it’s a little celebration of having made a thing. It does good stuff for my head.


Analysis and review
That may sound silly, but I’m never totally pleased with my makings. There are often good things to note, but usually also some things I wish I’d done differently. Choice of materials, construction errors, quantity changes. I find it really useful to spell out some of these to help myself make better decisions next time.


Journal and record
This is especially useful for recipe type posts. I rarely follow a recipe to the letter. I’ve learned that my future self appreciates it when I record what I’ve done.


I like to share
Actually, I was brought up to share. When I was a child, everyone in the family made things, and when something was done, or well started, we would all show each other. “Look, I made a thing”, or “what do you think of this?”, whether the thing was an item made or some task like achieving a neat garden bed. Now I do it online, especially when people are not available to witness in person. I’ll admit it, I love receiving “likes”, but intelligent comments, questions and discussion are even better.

Edit- Hmm, there is more:
To please and inspireI like to think I’m doing my little bit to put things of beauty or inspiration out there for people to enjoy. I hope my readers get pleasure from the posts, or the pictures, and maybe think “hey, good idea, I could do that”.

To rest
Sometimes I blog to make myself sit down and take a break. This is linked to the aspect of drawing a line under a project before moving on to the next thing.


The pictures are from a blanket I made 7 years ago and still love, dubbed “Queen of Hearts”. It’s on my bed right now even. One day I’ll make another thing involving embroidered pieces.