Poppy Field #1 – Finished

Once I got rolling again on piecing the quilt back, the quilt went reasonably quickly. I’d already set up an embroidery (320mm x 320mm) to quilt the project – using my “grand dream” hoop – 360x350mm. The hoop is “reversible” – the machine stitches out the right half of the embroidery design, then you rotate the hoop to stitch out the second half. So all I needed was to execute 16 repeats of the design. The quilting turned out quite nicely.

Poppy Field #1 – Top

Then I stitched the sashing “in-the-ditch” using a navy 50wt thread adjacent the dark blue so the stitches are barely visible. After I trimmed the backing, I had enough leftover fabric to use as binding. I’d initially thought I’d turn the binding completely to the back, but in the end I liked having 1/4″ showing – it added interest to the quilt top. Then I hand stitched the binding to the back. It blended in perfectly; you hardly notice it at all.

Poppy Field #1 – Back

Now I have the choice to display either side of this quilt – I’m almost tempted to show the back of the quilt in Parrsboro!

Quilt Back – Finished

Finished Quilt Back

Just finished piecing the quilt back. I managed to get it a bit longer and a bit wider than the quilt top which will allow me to position the vertical pieced stripe further to the left a wee bit when I assemble the quilt sandwich.

I’m not sure how I feel about the unequal sashing on the pieced stripe – I suspect it ought to be symmetrical – the question is whether it wants both sides 1″ or both sides 1/2″? I’ll probably leave it as it is. Nobody looking at the finished quilt will even wonder about that possibility! They’ll accept whatever decision I made.

Now I have to think about binding fabric – I intend a hidden binding which will show only on the back side of the quilt; I suspect it should be pieced – I may be able to salvage enough from all four sides, after quilting, to make the binding strips which will then match (more or less) the four sides of the quilt! Wouldn’t that be nice. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

BTW the quilt back is actually square. I’ll be able to ease out the wobbles visible in the photo when I place it against the batting. That’s one of the things I like about Warm & Natural batting – the cotton fabric clings to it so I don’t have to use a spray glue when I assemble the sandwich. Also, I’ll be able to smooth each section when I place the quilt in the hoop to quilt it. The slight excess of fabric will disappear. I’m not going to fuss about at this stage. A good spraying with Best Press will shrink the fabric and eliminate a good bit of the fullness.

The Back – Shaping Up

The Back – Shaping Up

I’ve been pondering the quilt back for many days – I have the four long strips assembled from the 2 1/2″ batik pieces which I’d originally intended using on the front and I wanted to incorporate them in some way on the back. I picked up what could have been some batik backing fabric at Atlantic Fabrics on Friday – there wasn’t quite enough of it for a single length but I thought it brought out the colours in the small strips so I bought what was there. I also picked up this blue batik on Sunday at Heidi Wulffrat’s shop in Mahone Bay – just enough for a single strip. However this quilt (because it’s a square) needs ~60″ in width – close to 20″ needed to augment this strip I’ve assembled so far.

I’ve attached one of the long strips to the right side, the second is sitting on the floor beside it. I’m going to intersperse something between those two long strips and I intend using a third but I also want to integrate the fabric I bought on Friday which also needs to be broken up in some way.

I’ll just keep working at this. I’m thinking about this – if I get it more or less pieced in an interesting way – as possibly the front of the quilt! I have to see how it all turns out.

I also don’t have a name for this quilt, either! Maybe something will come to me when I get it completed.



I’ve just added a 1″ border to the panel using the sashing fabric. My intention was to add another 3″ border built from 2 1/2″ cuts of the panel fabrics. I have the assembled strips, I’ve added one to one end – don’t like it at all!

The backing fabric I ordered arrived – the same navy sparkle that I had – whew! – I could now cut a wider outer border from the dark sparkly fabric but I’m not sure that’s what I want, either! I might be fine with this narrow outer border and consider the panel done.

I know my local fabric shop down the street from me has no batik that would work as an outer border (I want something darker rather than lighter) so I guess it’s a trip to Atlantic Fabrics and hope I can find something there.

Quilt Math…

16 Blocks With 1/2″ Sashing

I have just finished assembling the 16 blocks with 1/2″ sashing. I decided to use a narrow sashing to tame the bias edges of the blocks – it has done that. The half inches and the intersections are pretty good – the imperfections won’t be noticeable when I’ve added the outer border and quilted the whole thing.

So here’s my dilemma – I have exactly 20″ of the sashing fabric to use for the outer border. I’d like to use 3″ cuts but here is the math:

  • Side length = 56″
  • Fabric (minus selvage) = 42″ + 14″ = 56″
  • Overlap needed to join fabric = 6″
  • Overlap for corner mitre = 3″ x 2 = 6″
  • Total fabric needed for one side = 56″ + 12″ = 68″
  • Fabric needed for 4 sides = 272″
  • 20″ of fabric cut into 3″ strips yields 6 x 42″ = 252″!

If I cut six 3″ strips I’m going to be 20″ short of fabric – and I don’t have a scrap of this navy Speckled (Ruby Star Society) anywhere in my boxes of scraps. (If I hadn’t done the sashing, I’d have had enough fabric!)

Back to the beginning – what if I don’t mitre the border corners – I still need 56″ of border length for two sides, plus 6″ to create a mitre join, the two short lengths each need to be 62″. The two longer pieces each need to be 62″ + 6″ (double the width of the border) – 68″. Total border length: (62 x 2) + (68 x 2) = 260″! I’ve managed to save 12″ but I’m still short 8″. Butting the border pieces won’t work either.

OK, so I create 2 3/4″ strips (2 3/4″ x 7 = 19 1/4″) – that means I have enough fabric to make 7 cuts from the 20″ of fabric. 7 x 42″ = 294″. That gives me enough length for four border sides with mitred corners (leaving me 22″ to play with). Attached, (using a 1/4″ seam) gives me a 2 1/2″ border. I then lose at least another 1/4″ if I do a hidden binding, 1/2″ – 5/8″ if I decide to finish with a traditional quilt binding. In the end I will have just about a 2″ border. Not quite wide enough to tame the busyness of the 40 coloured strips in the panel.

I managed to find more navy Speckled fabric online – it’s on the way; but I have no guarantee that the colour will match what I used for the sashing. It looks like I better wait for the fabric I ordered to arrive. Just put this project aside and start another quilt. If the fabric I ordered is close I’m in business. If not, I will have to make a narrower navy border and then improvise with another fabric to make a wide second border.

New Quilt – In Progress

Four days ago I shared my work on a new quilt – I had sewn together 3 panels of four strips each – I had 7 panels left to create.

4 Panels Sewn

I’ve worked away at the panels – finished sewing them yesterday.

40 Strips Sewn in 10 Groups of Four

Here’s where it got interesting. I made the decision to revamp the panels into 4 sets of 10 strips – I accomplished that by sewing two sets of 4 then splitting the next adjacent panel in half and joining the resulting 2 strip sets to the first 8 and the second 8. Repeated that with the remaining strips giving me 4 sets of 10.

What I did next was create two 20.5″ squares from each 10 strip panel, matched up two non-identical panels, stitched around the outside, then cut along the diagonals. From my first two panels I got the following:

The first eight blocks laid out

Not a bad start – you get two large blocks with an encircled square. But my other eight blocks are very different in colour so how do I use them?

The first layout was a more or less random placing of the 16 blocks. The second layout set up a dark square in the centre and build more or less randomly on that centre. The third layout took the initial 8 blocks and added the second eight to the sides. At the moment I have no idea which to use. Each time I look at the photos I see new conflicts I want to resolve.

In addition, I’m planning on putting a navy speckled 1/2″ sashing between all the blocks which should actually bring the hodgepodge of colour together – fingers crossed on that. Furthermore, I really don’t want a square quilt! I want a rectangular one. I could get that, if after sewing the square together, I cut each of the two sides in half and place the cut pieces at the top and bottom! I have a hunch I may actually do that.

I worked on another half-square triangle project yesterday as well – the quilt is really a half-square triangle block (just built from 10 strips rather than a smaller number, usually 4).

Table Runner

I’m on the calendar to teach a quilting class Thursday on experimenting with HST. I had a layer cake – I matched up the fabrics – same batik pattern in two different colours, and made the blocks. This is the layout I will probably use. I can’t really sew the blocks together since I want to use them to show the many different ways these blocks can be assembled. In fact, it’s Sunday, tomorrow is a holiday, I won’t find out whether anybody actually signed up for the class till Tuesday – at which point I’ll have to scramble to contact the participants to notify them about what to bring to class on Thursday. Crazy! If nobody has signed up I’ll be able to work on the quilt!

Continuing To Explore With Icon 2

4 Panels Sewn

Last week I pulled a jellyroll package from my stash (Hoffman Bali Poppy: Poppy Field #2: Hard Cider #662) – it held 20 strips – maybe enough for a lap quilt but there weren’t enough light contrasts so I dug through the drawers of batik and came up with another 20 fabrics that blended – I cut 20 more strips. I colour sorted them into groups of 4 to give me 10 groupings. I’ve begun sewing the 4-strip groups together. I have 6 groupings to go.

4-Strip Groupings

I have no idea yet what I’m going to do next. The obvious move is to cut the strips into 8 1/2″ blocks, overlap blocks (right sides together), stitch around the outside, then cut on the diagonals to create 4 HST blocks. But there may be other things I can do with these 8 1/2″ panels. I’m still thinking about it.

The thing is, I used the projection guidelines on the machine to set up a scant 1/4″ seam – I still used my 1/4″ quilting foot with right guide, but the laser guide was a scant bit to the left of the guide on the foot. It was actually quite easy to follow the laser guide and I did end up with a pretty accurate 8 1/2″ panel.

Laser Guides on Creative Icon 2

I’ve marked the needle position on the embroidery unit extension (and I’ll mark it on the tool box, too) in order to accurately stitch a 45° mitre when joining two 2 1/2″ strips. No other marking needed. The laser guide isn’t quite long enough to position the end point of the mitre.

I also played with more decorative stitches:

Decorative Stitches on Silk

I’m doing the “Experimenting With Your Machine’s Stitches” class a second time in couple of weeks – an opportunity to try out more off the stitches on this machine. Again, I used the laser grid system to align the stitching. I mirrored the stitches as well as the thread colour from the centre. [I did a simple grid quilted the back of the bag.]

Crazy Quilt Bag

I also pulled out a bag I made quite a while ago using scraps of fabric, where I used the “stitch/flip” technique to construct the fabric on which I then used decorative stitches to mark the seams. I want folks to see this other possible use for other machine stitches.

Sky / Sand / Sea – Finished

Sky / Sand / Sea

Finished, except for hand stitching the hidden binding to the back. It’s hard to tell from the image how much quilting I did. I decided to leave the narrow strip unquilted to act as a separation between the two pieced strips. That meant I had to free motion quilt the light elements stopping precisely at the separator and make sure I did a tie off at the back. The darker elements required a different technique – I created embroideries to fit the size of each of the dark elements and stitched them in the hoop as I would any embroidery. You can see the detail below:

Quilting Detail

I wanted a “wave” like flow to the “sea” elements so I set up a couple of different embroideries for each section. I used a “stippling” stitching in the embroidery on the hibiscus fabric. I created “grass” for the green/blue fabric, etc. I made sure each embroidery fit the dimensions of the bit of fabric I was quilting. In the end I was pleased with the outcome.

I added the gulls once I’d stitched the “sky” portion of the hanging – they are cut from black raw silk, fussy cut, fused, then edge stitched in place. My initial idea had been to print images of gulls on fabric but when I did that with the paper cutouts they didn’t show up well. In the end I thought silhouettes of the gulls worked better against the “Sky” background.

This evening I’ll do the hand stitching to finish off the piece.

I Forgot To Post This

I finished these socks last week.

Yarn From KnitPicks

I’m always on the lookout for interesting sock yarn. From time to time the KnitPicks catalogue has shown up at my door. I bought four skeins of the “Static” sock yarn. This one – “Allsorts” has produced an interesting sock. the pattern repeat is very long – it’s deceptive with the second colour block being navy/pink whereas the first one was navy/white.

I have a couple of wound skeins of this yarn still to be made up. I like the feel of it, smooth, slightly finer than some sock weight yarns. Nice colours.

(Oh, and I knit the foot 46 rows instead of 50!)

Pink Boiled Wool Jacket

It’s been ten days since I posted anything but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working away at stuff.

Here’s the pink boiled wool jacket.

Ruby expressed interest in having a boiled wool jacket when she saw mine. So we went shopping and I talked her into this pink poly/wool blend boiled wool fabric – heavier than the 100% wool I’d used but likely warmer.

The challenge was Ruby has a high waist measurement of 52″! How was I going to expand the pattern to cover her in the middle and still make it a flattering garment for her. The solution was to start with the XXL size in the pattern then pivot the centre fronts about 15° from the neckline. I left the back just about as it was so that it would hang flat.

I traced the adjusted pattern onto Swedish tracing paper (a sew-able light weight non-woven “fabric” for tracing patterns). I pin fit the pattern on her – initially it looked like I should drop the neckline both front and back; instead I raised the shoulder which enlarged the neckline. I made a few other adjustments then basted the parts together and tried the half-jacket on again. Much closer this time.

To control the bulk in the seams I sewed each 3/8″ seam, pressed using steam and a wood clapper, then top stitched 1/4″ from the seam using a stitch-in-the-ditch foot to ensure a 1/4″ seam; I pressed again on the right side using a press cloth. That gave me nice flat seams.

I finished the front and neck edges, sleeve hems and bottom hem with batik facings (I interfaced the front edge with a mid-weight woven fusible interfacing for a bit more body), edge stitching each facing so the turning would be flat.

I added patch pockets (raw edge on three sides, top edge interfaced and faced with the same batik) to the front. I left the collar with a raw edge, as well.

The jacket is a good length on her. I like how it drapes in the front and hangs straight in the back. The “boat-neck” sits solidly on her shoulders although it’s too open to wear without a scarf. I scoured my scarf collection and decided a navy print mobius scarf I made several years ago would fill in the neck nicely.

Ruby was happy with her new jacket. Me, too.