Tuesday 15 March 2016

Hazel & Little Hazel: Part 3

[UPDATE] Since launching Part 3, Glenda noticed (and I'm ever thankful to her!) that TEMPLATE F had the grain line pointing in the wrong direction! This is an annoying but important detail. Please re-download the Part 3 pattern (page 2) to view the correct grain line for TEMPLATE F.

This month we are working on the zig zag circular points and adding in the background. You can opt to piece in the background as I have by sewing them in, or you can stitch your completed centre circle onto a background fabric. Last month a lot of you learnt the value of patience and practice in perfecting your piecing technique! It really does take time and practice but the results are well worth the effort. 

I've really loved seeing all the Hazels and Little Hazels come together and taken aback by how many 'live' Hazels are being made right now and shown over in my Facebook BOM Group - it's a fabulous spot to share what you're doing and get any needed advice. For those of you still struggling with your Y seams, please go back and re-read my post about how to make Part 2. You can find all Hazel related posts in the Hazel archive at the top of this page. It's the perfect place to read up on techniques and see how I did it myself. Make sure Part 2 is made accurately and sitting flat before moving on to Part 3. 

These are what your Templates look like in Part 3. Take note that there is an inside curve and an outside curve. Ignore my G & H sample markings, these templates are known as E & F.
Here are the two fabrics I have opted for, notice that their sides do not match in the length
 Bring them together to create pairs, right sides facing inward
and stitch them together
Like this. Again, notice that the top and bottom of my first triangle is longer than the green - don't try to correct this, it's not an error
Now line up your next connecting piece
so when you line up this next piece, it meets up
like this
this is where I start stitching, you can see my stitch line here
this is how the seams go, I've finger pressed my seams towards the darker (red) side
this is how they look from the front
I've notched every one of my triangles in the middle out of habit for accurate reference when sewing, so I always know where the middle is. 
Then I line up my stitched together zig zag rim to check for accuracy before sewing in
Then I stitch it in
Next, when the ring was completed, I stitched in my background.

My background in this image is a striped background so I adjusted my pattern to create a specific look, don't be distracted by this - follow the pattern. In fact, since this photo was taken, I have since changed my background back to a print fabric. 
And this is what the seams look like inside

An important note on ironing: in my own opinion and experience, you shouldn't press your blocks in between creating them. I have not ironed or pressed any part of my entire centre block - and won't until the centre is complete. Then I will press it before adding my side blocks. When you iron or press, you can easily distort the pieces. And it's just not necessary - it doesn't add accuracy. I only ever finger press and I work and as you can see, my pieces fit perfectly.

This post is related to Part 3 of my current free BOMs "Hazel' and 'Little Hazel'
To join my Quilt BOM Group over on Facebook, click the image above

Don't like Facebook? You can download Part 3 files of Hazel and Little Hazel right here on this blog, right now:

Monday 14 March 2016

Sweet 2016: Making Raspberry Charlotte

Once you've read through and accurately printed and constructed your pattern this month, it's time to consider fabrics. I'm not going to say this part is easy - fabric selection is one of the hardest things for me! I was thinking about a beige range of fabrics, but once I set my eyes on these stash options in streaked gold and mottled gold, I knew I'd found my outer biscuits. Then I set out some pinks I thought could work as my raspberry part and put them out to look over as I consider the best way to create my applique pieces.
Here I am, my pattern pieces carefully drawn on fusible and cut out with a scalpel. Use a light box if necessary to trace the pieces accurately - you really need to keep an eye on tracing the pattern pieces correctly. You don't want your shapes to 'grow'. To have a nice neat finished block, every little piece needs to be kept in check at every stage.
Here are all my cut out pieces
I'm using the fusible applique method - it's the easiest and fastest way to get the shapes down
especially when dealing with so many thin flimsy pieces
and you don't have to turn edge if you don't want to - raw edge is fine

I had actually planned on making all of Sweet 2016 raw edge, but forgot when I started my macaroons and then found myself turn edging everything! What can I say? After LE, turn edging has become second nature to me!
These slivers are the shaded biscuit area that create depth between the biscuits. I had considered a darker gold (which would have worked) but ended up deciding on this deep chocolate with gold detail to tie it in. I just liked the contrast.
Here are the two shapes that create each biscuit
The gold outer biscuit and the lighter inner shape below. 
Here I am carefully turn edging each shape. I'm using glue to keep it in place. I only ever use Elmer's Glue for this as it's not a glue, but actually a starch which washes away easily. 
You can see how I leave the fusible in and turn my edge on it

I mention this because, over the whole shape of the block, turn edging can add mms on each shape which can add up by the end. To stop this happening, I cut out my shapes on the line, instead of immediately next to it. and this takes off an extra 1-2mm which will be added when I turn my edge. It sounds like such a small trick, but it really helps keep my applique pieces accurate. 
and this is how it looks against my pattern. I check every single piece as I'm making it
I pin the pieces in place as I move onto the next overlapping ones
If any shapes have grown, I immediately re-adjust the edge until it fits the pattern
front and back of the biscuits
coming along nicely
and once the biscuit pieces are all dine, this is what they look like from the back
when I'm sure my biscuits are right, I add the biscuit edges - the contrast shade from the back
and it looks like this
and here is the front
Remember that each dome has it's own size each month - so follow the pattern. Don't make any ahead or assume they will be the same - they aren't. 

Because of the light, you can't see my dome so well in this image, but I have opted for a milky background and on this dome I have not added any lacing or fringe - whether you add a decorative fringe on your own dome is a matter of personal preference. 

And here's the happy dollop of cream to top my lovely Raspberry Charlotte
For now, I've pinned my dome in place on my current but temporary background. 
I haven't decided on my final backing fabric, but am having fun plating around whilst I look. 
'Raspberry Charlotte'

'Sweet 2016' is my current Mystery Applique BOM
It's just $3.95 per month
Delivered digitally, to your email inbox each month

Sunday 13 March 2016

Sweet 2016 Part 2: Raspberry Charlotte

Our dessert this month is the classic Raspberry Charlotte, with outer biscuits and inner raspberry mousse, jelly or pudding—depending on how you prefer your own recipe. This is an iconic dessert that always looks so impressive on the platter. I always think Charlottes are almost too pretty to eat, so creating one for Sweet 2016 was an easy choice - I don't think any dessert platter is complete without one! So here is my own.
Charlottes evoke so many pleasurable memories for me—I have always made mine in a berry flavor but you could also consider a peach, lemon or chocolate version to suit the colour scheme you have decided on. 

When making the biscuits, remember to keep any eye on your edges—the shapes and pieces have a habit of growing, so after constructing your pattern accurately, keep checking all your pieces against it to make sure your own dessert isn’t enlarging!

Each dome in this mystery is a different size, so approach each dome along with the dessert each month as a unique installment. You’ll also notice that this lower dome doesn’t have a decorative fringe. I have selected to have just three domes with lacy fringes in this mystery—and you can decide yourself whether you’d like none, some or all of them to be embellished in this way.

As in Part 1, I strongly recommend that you continue creating your motifs and setting them aside or pinning them against your chosen background—don’t sew anything down yet. 

As you can see, I'm still playing around with background options. I have been set on the idea of a light, possibly floral, background. But now I've seen Glenda's deep red and it really set my heart aflutter, it's gorgeous! Perhaps I will try out some moody dark backgrounds next - dark blue? velvet red? We'll see. The background it turning out to be a real mystery to me, there's always something and I do find it nearly impossible to select and then stick with colour schemes - there's just so many possibilities and I want to day dream over all of them! I've been lucky as there are so many colours and styles being made and shown over in my BOM Group over on Facebook that I've been able to consider many more variations than I originally would have done. Although I had a soft pastel idea in the beginning, I think that the style of my cakes will determine the background ultimately. The shades I choose and the stylistic tone will determine what I finally set my hear on. Until then, I'll keep playing around each month until something sticks. 

Tomorrow I'll show you just how I made my own Raspberry Charlotte, step by step. 

'Sweet 2016' is my current Mystery Applique BOM
It's just $3.95 per month
Delivered digitally, to your email inbox each month

Wednesday 9 March 2016

WOW: Look Where I Showed Up!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

I'm delighted to be featured as a domestic machine quilter in this month's Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine. It's always fun to be featured in a new magazine as it usually means new blog readers to connect with - I have such a large readership now that it still amazes me - especially over on Facebook where everything feels more live as it's so immediate. In many ways I feel that blogging has become a new kind of magazine, so many people pop in each day to see what's new and these days many of us (myself included) have an almost daily blogging read list. But still, there's something special about sitting down with a magazine and cup of coffee and I haven't yet found a laptop, tablet or mobile phone that beats it for comfort! I was really happy that this magazine arrived in the post yesterday - I actually did have a cup of coffee in my hand when the door bell rang and it was a lovely surprise - some exciting new reading!

What's your favourite quilting magazine? I'd love to know. At the moment, I'd have to say that mine is Quilt Mania as it's certainly the one I purchase most regularly. But then again, I surely haven't read them all - although I'd like to. Any suggestions most welcome :)

What's Your WOW?

Friday 4 March 2016

Love Entwined: Month by Month: Part 1

'Month by Month' is all about sharing the original Love Entwined experience with new makers. There's just so much available to you now that it can be hard to find it - you can't see the wood for the trees, so to speak. Well, with all the new Love Entwined's that are starting up, I thought now would be an ideal time to re-visit the valuable info that was shared here on my blog, the first time around.

On the first Friday of each month I'll be re-visiting the blog posts that detailed my ideas, tips and techniques which cover how I went about making each part of the coverlet. Today I'm starting at Part 1 which makes it the ideal time for you to make a start yourself. Have you started this historic heirloom BOM? With all the info, experience and friendship built up around this quilt now, there's never been a better time.

This post archive below lists posts that are not always in date order - this is because I started my own Love Entwined outside of the first ever released BOM schedule and continued making it 'out of order'. This archive will help connect you with all the info you need to create your block. I suggest you read all the 'compass' posts listed below, once you have you'll be ready to take on the first block with complete confidence. Remember to keep us all posted on your progress over in my LE 1790 Marriage Coverlet Group over on Facebook.

Part 1: The Centre Compass Star
Looking back, I think the Compass requires the most focus compared to any other block for the coverlet centre. I didn't always feel that way, but considering the time I spent on it and the gained understanding from passing time and other people's experiences, I have to admit it can be tricky for applique devotees like me. Interestingly, many quilters who regularly paper piece just went ahead and got it done on the first attempt, so I suppose it all depends on how you usually spend your quilting time and focus your most technique effort on. When I made the Compass, I really wasn't spending any time on piecing so that may be why it took me a while to 'get warmed up'.

The Centre Compass Star tested my patience and I had to create several before making one I was satisfied with. I always say practice makes perfect and this compass put my words and nerves into practice! Oh boy, did I have some bad luck the first time around! I'm not sure exactly what happened with the very first one, but everything was just 'off' somehow. So I put it aside and started afresh. I'm rather prone to not always following my patterns exactly as I have a habit of getting ahead of myself and I suspect that's what happened with the first one, so I can tell you now - save yourself the time and trouble - follow the pattern exactly. Near enough will never be good enough. The eye is continually drawn 'in' on this design and you don't want to always be reminded of a not so perfect compass for years to come. Take your time, only start once you are settled on your fabrics (and completely in love with them as a scheme) and then practice patience, accuracy and careful construction. Once I actually went back and followed the pattern, step by step, it worked perfectly.
Speaking of construction, make up the pattern into quarter segments first and then join these segments to complete the compass. If you haven't made one before, make a sample first. Or, jump into the deep end and be prepared for a few lovely compass cushions!

Once completed, you can be doubly satisfied - that you have finished such a beautiful focal point of the centre and also that, best of all - from here on in, the rest will feel like applique play in comparison!

These posts below cover what you need to know, so take the time to read and learn from them. I've added all the relevant posts to help you complete Part 1 with ease and confidence.And remember, if you'd like to connect with other quilters making LE, we're all looking forward to warmly welcoming you to our Group.

See you there!

'Month by Month' is all about sharing the original Love Entwined experience with new makers. On the first Friday of each month I'll be re-visiting the blog posts that detailed my ideas, tips and techniques which cover how I went about making each part of the coverlet as well as listing a post archive for new members to browse and read up on. 

Love Entwined is a historic heirloom applique quilt now available as a monthly BOM. You can take part in Love Entwined as a monthly BOM for $9.95 USD per month. You can start any time. Visit my online pattern shop for more info by clicking here and whether you're starting out on a new LE journey or picking up where you left off, be sure to join the Love Entwined Quilt BOM Group.

Wednesday 2 March 2016

WOW: Get Your Brushes Ready!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday
Look what I found! I think it's about time to cover stencils again. The first time around, 7 years ago, when I had just started blogging, I covered this exciting technique and I got a lot emails from interested quilters who had no idea how rewarding it could be. Fast forward a few years and my blog has grown so much that I know some of you reading this post have no idea how passionate I am about stenciling as a traditional quilting technique. Yes, that's right, I said 'traditional'! 

Well, I'm about to share it with you - stay tuned because this weekend I'll be stating my online tutorial guide to stenciling, and you don't want to miss it!

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Phew! What a Year Already!

March is upon us and I am stunned at how quickly it seems to have arrived. Easter is now just around the corner. It's been a really busy start to 2016 here on my blog and I can tell you that I can see no signs of that slowing down!
In January I launched Hazel and Little Hazel (and I've got to tell you that there so many being made out there, it makes my head spin!) Over in my BOM Group on Facebook, there are images and styles aplenty to feast your eyes on - from bright and brash to soft and dreamy and they are all completely gorgeous. I can't wait to release Part 3 just so that I can see even more of them!
Also running right now is Oma's Blues over in it's own dedicated Group and, be still my beating heart, there is even one being made in red and white. Yes, can you believe it! How lucky am I? I get to see every possibility without having to live 50 lifetimes to fit it all in!
This Friday and each first Friday of the month, I'll be re-visiting Love Entwined, Part by Part for new makers. There are a lot of you out there and I noticed that you were all asking the same kinds of questions and technique tips that were covered in blog posts the first time around - which most new followers haven't read. So, starting at Part 1, I'll be covering how to make each part. If you've been thinking of making your own historic heirloom, the time is NOW! Join in and make 2016 your year to begin the coverlet.
And let's not forget how deliciously tempting Sweet 2016 has proven to be, it started last month - and the next installment is on the 15th of March. If you haven't joined us in this chic and sweet Mystery - what's stopping you?!

I've only just started, so stick around and be sure to join my Quilt BOM Group over on Facebook.
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