Saturday, 16 April 2016

Hazel & Little Hazel: Part 4

OK, let's have some serious piecing fun! I decided to tackle the swirler block immediately after creating the centre star because it's one of those blocks that, once made, will make you feel like you can do anything! Your confidence will soar and who knows, you might even make a few extra just for the sake of it.

I am in love with the swirler block. It looks so complicated (if you let it) but it can be tamed with patience and know-how. This is post is all about how I went about making this block. Please read through the pattern (several times) and really understand what you are doing before you make a start.

An important aspect of how I made my blocks is understanding the technique I used. This technique works from the back of the block and it's the most successful method for creating neat, even centres that allow the swirl to look perfect. If you've never created a block in this way, I suggest you make a sample first to get the hang of things. Yes, it's achieveable, so don't let any worries about a new technique slow you down. Heres how I made mine, step by step.

The block consists of TEMPLATES A- B- C
 This is the RIGHT SIDE UP pattern sheet. I've outlined all the lines in the block and names them according to their TEMPLATES. As you can see here: the pattern is segmented into A -B- C
 Take a good look at this picture. This is TEMPLATE A and as you can see, I've cut my fabric WITH seam allowance, then I cropped one curved edge. That means, I removed one seam allowance from the PAPER TEMPLATE. Why would I do that? In order to starch the edge of my fabric and crease the line when I turn the edge of my fabric.
This image is of my pattern sheet above REVERSED. On the reverse pattern, there is a straight line and a dash line. The straight line indicates where the TURN EDGE of your fabric piece will sit and the dash line indicates where the 'no seam allowance' edge sits.
 Take a look at both lines
It will make sense soon
 I've turned the edge of my fabric over over my paper template with starch and pressed dry
Remember that my PAPER TEMPLATE is being used in the REVERSE
 When the TEMPLATE has been removed, this is what the fabric looks like. The edge here is very important to this technique. My seam allowance is a 1/4 " but you can use 3/8 or 1/2 " max.
Now we are looking at the REVERSE pattern sheet and my fabric piece positioned in location. The fabric piece is sitting on straight lines. The dash line above indicates that the NEXT template piece will overlap my turn edge
 Like so
 close up
 I've pinned my fabric to the pattern sheet so it won't move as accuracy is key to this block. Now, along the turned edge, I've applied a scant line of glue.
The next fabric piece is positioned right into the dotted glue line of the turn edge seam of the previous piece. See how the raw edge of my second piece is glued down to the glued line of the turn edge of the piece before? The raw edge is always a glue edge. Take a good look. 

Now, take a hot iron and 'stamp' the fabric over the seam lines so the glue dries. Don't move the iron up and down, you are simply drying the glue.
This is another view of the same block. Notice that the glue has gone down all the way into the centre start point. This is important.
 And looking at this image, you can see the fabric pieces actually go over the cenre point. The whole way must be glued and dried for accuracy.
Now it's time to add the next fabric piece and again, the raw edge is always the glue edge and remember that the pattern sheet is reversed, my paper templates are reversed AND my fabric is cut accordingly. So I am actually creating this block in reverse.
Notice this thin scant line from the very beginning to end of the seam line. I'm using Elmer's washable school glue which is actually just a starch. It's the only glue I recommend for quilting. Here I have popped it into an old basting glue container for ease of use.
 Now positioning new fabric into place
 it must line up neatly and within the lines
 hot stamping the glue seam
 This is A -B -C in position, working from the back because my block is reversed
 and continue, paying attention to your pieces and joining them accurately on your glue lines
 hot stamping the glue dry
 and more continuing
 until it's time to add the final segment
One left. In order to position the last piece, you will have to gently lift the bottom fabric and slot in the last piece
 lift the previous piece
 and position the last piece
 I've open up so I can get the last one accurately on the line
 slot it in, apply glue and press it dry
 Now, gently lift the seam allowances, I did this with my fingers. Now you take a marker and you run the marker along the seam lines. Can you see the blue line below? I've marked my seams on the crease line.
 This is a crease line, marked in
 Just running my pen along
Now, turn the block over and check the front 
the centre points should be accurate, like this
See how the swirls create a flat surface right in the centre? In this image, my block is NOT yet stitched, it is only glued. See how neat and tight it is?
When you're happy with your block, go back and stitch your seams on the line you indicated with pen. You start stitching on the last piece your slotted in and you stitch from the outside of the block sewing into the centre, always sewing on your crease lines and stop  1/4 inch before you hit the centre swirl. You don't stitch over the swirl. You worked clockwise on the reverse. You start sewing down starting at your last piece and you sew the crease lines, working anti clockwise. 
This is the glue I used.

Hazel & Little Hazel are my current Free BOMs  
You can join my BOM Group my clicking here now. It's full of fabulous, talented women sharing their work, ideas and inspirations as they make my quilt patterns. Join us and our friendly, supportive community today. 
Wait until the 15th of each month and download the available pattern right here directly on my blog. The choice is yours. My old Yahoo Group has closed due to limitations on the platform. If you haven't come over to the new group, now is a good time.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Sweet 2016: Part 3, Donut Delights

The treat this month is the ever tempting donut tray—complete with a French éclair and vanilla slice. Just because! Growing up, I knew donuts as ‘carnival donuts’ and they were puffed round donuts dusted with sugar and filled with jam or custard. It wasn’t until many years later that I saw an American donut with the hole in the middle and bright neon colour icing. What a famous indulgence that image has gone on to become! I can’t even imagine a bakery or dessert offering without some kind of donut or pastry option nowadays. 

How will you make yours?
This month I'm still playing around with backgrounds, as you can see above. I just love this handwriting, I really think it adds a special something! I now have seven serious background contenders, so I hope it will become clearer to me as the months go on! At least now, in Part 3, you're in the swing of things - you know how to make the domes and how to get about creating your blocks each month in your own favourite method of applique. I think I mentioned last month that I had intended to make this entire wall hanging in raw edge. Well, that was the idea but I'm so used to turn edge that it comes naturally to me without even thinking about it and I once again 'forgot' to raw edge this month! So now it looks like the whole thing will be turn edge as I figure there's no point fighting it.
My easiest delicacy was the chocolate eclair because I have such a firm idea of what they should look like in my own mind. And the fabric I used has a lovely glossly sheen in real life that adds a nice touch. I was flexible with the vanilla slice - be it pink topped, white iced or swirled. I knew there had to be an American donut at the front, all bright colours and stripes or sprinkles - I went with stripes.

My favourite? This bun. Or perhaps its a donut, it all depends on the fabrics you choose. 
I was going to go classic to match my Raspberry Charlotte in a lovely crusty beige bun with white icing and a red cherry on top - but at the last minute I decided to mix it up and opted for a custard filled bun. If you look closely you can see my custard is in fact cats, which I thought was so cute and funny. 

Well, I got a laugh out of it anyway, and you know, it's all a lot of fun. This is what my fabric party looked like for Part 3. I loved every minute of it!
I hope you are too, Happy Quilting until next month!

'Sweet 2016' is my current Mystery Applique BOM
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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

WOW: Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Today, as you join WOW for this week, I'm in Europe for my mother's funeral.

I took no sewing with me on my long flight, which is something I went back and forth on as I packed. Would it help to occupy me on the 24 hour flight? Probably. But in the end, I left it behind. I didn't feel any desire for it. Instead, I spent those long hours thinking about the projects in my life, and their meaning. Although there is so much sadness, life goes on. The stitches I have sewn, the hours I have committed and the energy I have put into ideas takes on a new significance as I consider what it means to leave behind a legacy. My own work, which I have poured so much of myself into, will be left to my own family and, in that realization, will represent me in my own absence when that time comes. It adds a poignancy to my own WIPs that represent so many years of my life. WOW each week is all about moving forward and getting things accomplished. So it seems fitting somehow, to be thinking about the value and importance of creating during this time of grief and mourning. 

I've been so touched by your kind and supportive messages, thank you for taking the time to think of me during my sadness. Your thoughts and prayers really do make a difference and I'm so grateful to you all for taking those moments out of your day to help strengthen me during this time of loss and change. Although there is such a feeling of shock and pain, I'm comforted by the kindness of those around me and blessed by the promise that life is not temporary - death is. 

What's Your WOW?

Friday, 8 April 2016

My Sad News

I'm completely heartbroken. My mother has unexpectedly passed away. 

I'm lost for words. 

I never expected as I prepared for this week, that I would be faced with the death of my mother. Or that I would be packing to board a long flight home one final time. Or that my next blog post would be my own healing hearts request. How quickly things can change.

If you'd like to send me a healing heart, I have no preferences, only gratitude. 

Doncaster East Victoria 3109

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

WOW: Playing With Nelke

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
I have plenty of WIPs waiting around for my attention, but that doesn't stop me going back and updating past patterns, like Nelke. I love this wall hanging, but the birdy looks lonely and I have always felt the corners needed something. So I popped a Love Entwined double border bow in there and all of a sudden, it feels 'finished' to me. As for the birdy, I made a mate for it - did you see it on Instagram? I snapped it at the time, I was so happy with it. Such small changes, but they feel like such an improvement to me! I'll be updating this pattern with the new changes for anyone who wants it and the update will be available to everyone for free, so if you feel as I have, you can make tweaks too.
What's Your WOW?

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Love Entwined by Ineke Waijers-Persons

Many of you will instantly recognize this exuberant Love Entwined by Ineke Waijers-Persons, Tilburg, The Netherlands. What a stunner! I was lucky enough to see stages of Ineke's quilt progress whilst it was being made because she was generous enough to share pics over in my BOM Group. Now, Ineke's sharing finished images over in the LE Gallery and what can I say? Each is as gorgeous as the next!

Here's what Ineke had to say about her Love Entwined:

"The quilt is called “Send in the clowns”.  I have made some changes to give the quilt a circus theme, there are acrobats, clowns, circus animals, the circus director is there too. I have used Kaffe Fassett fabrics, some silks, cottons, satins, crushed velvet, embroidery, beads.

Searched a long time on the internet to find suitable circus fabrics. Made my own silhouette figures for the elephants and circus artists. Everything that reminded me of the circus has found its place on this quilt. Most of it is appliquéd by machine, I used a small blanket stitch, often with the help of a magnifier glass. At one stage started thinking about the quilting and decided I would let it be done professionally.

It is machine quilted by Elly Prins, who outlined everything and some overall pattern between the applications. Think it is my lifetime achievement this quilt ! Love it too bits, it is now proudly hanging in my living room from ceiling to floor and oh my god it is not a wallflower."

How many times can I even say WOW? I'm speechless, in the best possible way. Seeing Love Entwined made in a unique and stunning style is a real delight! Thanks Ineke, for sharing your beautiful work with all of us!

What about you? Are you making Love Entwined? Have you joined the Love Entwined BOM Group? Go ahead and join us as we share friendship, quilting tips and creativity.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Love Entwined: Month by Month: Part 2

Completing the Compass of Part 1 was such a noteworthy achievement in the creation of this quilt that framing the compass with its own 'crown' and embroidering between the points felt easy in comparison. Something that caught my imagination straight away with the coverlet was the desire the original maker had to add flourish wherever she could possibly squeeze it in. And what a romantic eye she had too, so many flourishes and surprises. In Part 2, we squeeze in some of those tell tale flourishes and attention to detail with little daisies growing our from between each crown point.

The pattern gives you a template for applique-ing these and that was my original attention, but when I was searching for fabric, I came across little flower heads that just spoke to me. So I decided to fussy cut them and over embroider their design. Then, once I'd started I simply carried on an embroidered the entire stem and leaf as well. Consider your options. I knew they'd be plenty of tiny applique ahead and didn't want to exhaust myself so early on in the pattern - and just felt like embroidering the little flowers. Something I later learned is that the coverlet tends to have a mind of its own. When you begin handling it yourself, it will let you know what works and what doesn't. Just go with the flow, I had so many set ideas and all of them fell away when I actually starting making the quilt. I just started and found that it formed its own style. So remember that you can tweak each stage to suit your mood, just as I have with these flowers around the crown.
When it comes to the zig zags, pick a fabric you really love as you will be making 152 of them (76 light and 76 dark). I prepped mine and set them aside for weeks at a time, sorted by lights and darks (and a picture of the completed quilt to keep me going!). It all fit nicely in an old chocolate box and I carted this box around with me to work patiently one zig and one zag at a time.

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