Monthly Archives: February 2016

Definitely Deviating



I definitely deviated from my Plan for the week but I actually ended up getting more done than I expected. I had a few more grand ideas for a potential DWR project which I am trying not to start until I have caught up with everything else. My pupil had to cancel her class so I gained a day, which was handy as I “wasted” quite a lot of time advertising patchwork books for sale on Ebay. I decided not to auction them off for 99p and put Best Offer prices on them all. I sold a few and also one of the surplus typewriters but was disappointed that I had woefully under estimated the postage.

frogznfish  boxopaintselephantsnfish

At least I was in profit enough to splurge out on some more textile paint and marine life stamps from Colouricious. I was surprised that a parcel of blocks from India arrived fairly soon after I placed the order. (I didn’t mean to buy elephants but they were on a special offer!) I intend to plan some classes around a seaside theme for a beach based arts centre that has invited me to teach. I am delighted with the interlocking rubber playmats from Amazon that enable me to have a soft surface for wood-block printing over the entire table.


I spent an evening making crafty things with Nell’s Girl Guides – they enjoyed making pen pots from old jeans, mug mats and simple brooches. One of the leaders was able to take charge of the sewing machine for the jeans project but everything else was hand-sewn, which most found a bit tricky as they never get the opportunity to do anything with a needle and thread. I have a few classes with children coming up so I think I will combine some printing with simple stitching projects.


Purdah1 was the last quilt in the series to get its faced edging. I have now written myself some scruffy notes on how I like to do this for future reference so I don’t forget. I need to run over this black quilt with a de-fluffing device as it seems to have collected every stray thread from my workshop. I am very impressed by how restrained this quilt is compared with Purdah3 which I think probably now has as much bling as it can withstand. I got my knickers in a twist overlocking the tissue organza that I wanted to overlay on top of each quilt. The overlocking was very neat but the tissue organza was so thin that it shredded if you just looked at it – considering that I need to sew it onto the quilts somehow and want to attach large sequins, I decided that it was useless and ordered some different organza from Ebay. The new, super-shimmery stuff arrived quickly and is far more robust. I printed some motifs onto it which are almost invisible until they are held up to the light.

purdah1 orgnazaedge


Freya needed a “toga” for a party but the costumes on Ebay looked trashy so I bought some cheap white fabric and looked up chitons and peplos on Google Images, remembering something about the attire of Classical ladies from my Latin O-level 30 plus years ago! Freya’s chiton was printed along the bottom hem, had some fancy Greek key embroidery around the cowl and brooches made from fake Roman coins in my button tin.


My final challenge for the week was to recreate the mystery 1930’s block from my favourite feedbacks quilt. It is a bit of a mash-up of flying geese and Jacob’s ladder but I have not yet found the same block in any reference book. I drafted it onto 12” squared paper after giving up on EQ7 and Touchdraw as my computer drawing skills were not up to the task. I am not entirely sure why I thought the centre square should be a different size to the original which meant working out what size all of the components should be and my patchwork maths is not very good. I got a wonky block together in the end, figuring out the setting triangles by trial and error. The flying geese were bigger than they should have been and trimming them down chopped off their points. At least it allowed me to see how it went together. I decided to mess around with the centre square to see if I could get it to finish at a better size for calculating the size of the connecting geese and I decided to start with a 4-patch. So far it looks promising – I just need to finish it, write it all down, repeat to see if it works twice, then give it a name!

sqinsq bettergeese mystery30sblock

Double Wedding Ring Can of Worms


prototypeDWR  olddwr

I have always admired double wedding ring quilts but having bought a couple of vintage, unfinished DWR’s on Ebay, I had never actually wanted to make one. They tend to be hand-pieced and have missing points, bulging areas and even holes. I have been asked to teach a novice quilter how to make a DWR for her daughter’s wedding and I admired her beginner’s enthusiasm so decided that I should have a crack at it myself in advance of the lesson. I used the Accuquilt Go DWR die set first. The instructions were not good and the pieces were rather small so I decided not to use that version for my pupil. I found some larger pattern pieces and decided to practise joining the bits using solid rings for speed. Sewing the curve is not so bad on a larger piece but getting the end squares to meet the melon points can be hit or miss.

dwrbits IMG_3174 metrobits oldrings

Once you have a set of reasonable rugby ball shapes the next challenge is getting them to attach to the large squashed square. Just out of curiosity, I might have a go at some sort of invisible appliqué method. I downloaded a PDF pattern for MetroRings from Sew Kind of Wonderful which works fairly well if you follow the instructions for their “Quick-Curve” ruler but I still found that the melons lost their pointy end. It really depends how picky you want to be – the old quilts that I have are full of bloopers if you go scrutinising but you really don’t notice them as part of a lovely, finished quilt.

I have certainly opened up a can of worms for myself – I am now determined to figure a way of making DWR quilts less fiddly, possibly by using larger templates. I have even had an idea for a potential quilt that I might regret later.

I found time to give my modified Q24 ruler foot a whirl – a quilting friend, Brian, made me a prototype set of plastic inserts based on the HQ feet that did not fit the Bernina so I can now couch with finer yarns. It looks like this will work well so after a bit more practice maybe I will finally be brave enough to tackle BzB with some fancy couching. I bet couched fuzzy yarn could be be used to hide dodgy joins on a DWR melon!


Not convinced that Purdah3 was glitzy enough, I have hand-sewn some sparkly beads around some of the painted hexagons. I am going to try to finish tinkering with it this week so I can work out what to do with the organza layers but I am quite sure I will still be adding sparkles right up to the FOQ postal deadline.

beedz2  beedzPart of Sunday afternoon was spent helping Fenella to produce a 3D version of a plant and animal cell for Science homework, as you do;)


Purdah Progress



Technically, I only had a 3 day week in my workshop since I had a Quilt DIY lady one day and the kids started their mid-term break, which is always an excuse not to be busy. I was interviewed for an article in “Pretty Patches” magazine which should hopefully promote my Ebook, Deviant Quilting and I spent a couple of hours thinking about some new patchwork classes for which I will need to make samples and write a blurb. I have been asked to teach a beginner how to make a Double Wedding Ring Quilt! There are different ways of tackling this so I will need to work out the most successful. I had a go using the Accuquilt Go DWR dies but I decided the pieces were too small for a novice so I put them and some other redundant dies up for sale on Ebay. I have SO much stuff that I could put on Ebay/Gumtree/Facebook if I could spare the time;)


Not unexpectedly, Bloody Mabel, who had become geriatric and was gradually fading, just  went to sleep and didn’t wake up. Freya and I miss her more than we thought – she had an an unpredictable character, typical of a terrier, never to be trusted near poultry and eager to pick a fight if another dog looked at her askance. We took her in temporarily around 10 years ago and the dogs’ home estimated that she might be 3 years old so she had a reasonable innings, despite flying off a cliff at St Cyrus beach a few days after she arrived! Welly does not seem to miss his companion – he is still a doo-lally spaniel, aged 12 and I have resorted to keeping him on the lead since he likes to chase anything with wings for hours/miles, and across raging rivers, deliberately ignoring my shouts, whistles and treats.


I sewed a facing onto Purdah 3 and a conventional black binding onto Purdah 2, hand-sewing the bindings onto the reverse. I am really pleased with the red and black quilt but despite adding 3 coats of pink Jacquard lumiere to Purdah 3’s hexagons in an attempt to get a depth of colour, it still does not seem finished. There are a few hot-fix crystals but I have a sneaking suspicion that it needs yet more bling. This may involve glitter, beads and trim of some glitzy description. People won’t actually see much of it hidden behind all of the layers but what glimpse they do get has to be absolutely glittering! I think I will just have to have a quick trawl online to see what trash I can find to add to the beads I already have…

Nose to the Grindstone



I can tell I have spent a long time on one project when I start hearing repeats of Radio 4 programmes. I finally finished the Civil war Sampler this afternoon after turning the nearly finished quilt so I could tackle the remaining borders horizontally. It was almost all done using a small curved ruler and straight line stitch-in-the-ditch apart from a freestyle swirly spiral in the cream areas. It was a very labour intensive quilt and there were times when I felt that it was never going to be done but I am pleased with it. If it was my own quilt I would be tempted to add dark red French knots or tiny buttons in the border… I will settle for trimming off the stray threads tomorrow and getting it ready for posting!

IMG_3143 IMG_3144 IMG_3140 IMG_3141 IMG_3142 IMG_3135 IMG_3139 IMG_3138 IMG_3137 IMG_3136

Freya was busy revising for her Advanced Higher Prelim exams and another milestone test, her driving theory, which she passed! We walked the dogs each day and met up for coffee in the kitchen but we spent most of our time concentrating on our tasks in hand. Now that the Civil war Sampler is done I need to deal with some piles of paperwork, decide which small project to submit to “Pretty Patches” Magazine and then I hope to finish embellishing Purdah 3:)