Pink quilt progress

This is the machine-stitched pink quilt top as of last weekend. IMGP0782

5 rows stitched, another 7 to go. I’ve found it tough going, and am amazed afresh by what amazing things people proficient at machine stitching (unlike me) can do. Rows 1 and 2, I would say about half of the corners met. Stupidly, I then decided that as the stitching foot is 1/4 inch wide, and always seemed to coincide with the lines I’d drawn, I would then not draw lines on the backs of the squares in row 3. When I sewed it onto the other two rows (this was done a few weeks ago, I’ve lost track) the corner success rate was about the same as first time round, so I repeated it for row 4. Big mistake! The whole thing ended up being about half an inch out, so I had  to unpick it all, identify where in particular it went wrong, unstitch a couple of squares from each other, and put it back together again. Better, but two squares are joined together with each having a 1/2 inch seam! For the next row I re-measured all squares, but all were fine, and drew lines on. They still didn’t match the row above, but I worked that out before joining the two rows (phew), so only had to unpick one join. Had to reattach it with one of the squares having a 1/2 inch seam, though, which isn’t good. Weirdly, when I joined the two rows together they were almost all exactly right at the corners, I think just two were off.

You can see here the horrible stepped effect mismatched corners caused in some of my rows:

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Also the joys of trying needle-turn applique for the first time! That’s really hard, too… I couldn’t manage the invisible stitching and didn’t really understand the bit in Linda Clements’ book about putting in the stitches at right angles to the fabric, so followed a YouTube video which shows the lady putting in tiny little stitches right up close to the line. I think I picked a difficult shape to start with, though, and it looks jagged where it should be smoother. Still, practice makes perfect, and I don’t think the aunt I’m making this for will mind.

This is the last row, with the improved corners:

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I’d like to do more like these, and so actually make good use of my nice sewing machine!

I did all the pinwheels before laying out the design, but am doing the applique as I go along, to make me feel like I’m making progress and have a bit of variety in what I’m doing. I’ve decided to do applique flowers on alternate rows, so am only doing 6. Two done, one just started, and 3 to go. Those I can at least do on the train; when I’ve been doing things on the machine, it’s frustrating having to leave it behind and go out to work!

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Majestic stag and lots of autumn leaves

IMGP0783I love the centre fabric here, with the woodland animals, it’s just a shame the light colour is white rather than cream, though you can’t tell too much on a piece like this. As usual, I spent ages working out the best combination! A rare opportunity to take a photo in natural light outdoors, to give a better idea of the colours. Not one of my better-finished pieces, and top-left inner corner piece is stretched quite a bit out of shape, whoops. I’m hoping its not too obvious once quilted.

This one took me a fortnight partly because in the evenings/weekends I was busy with sewing machine, working on the pink quilt. About which more later!

Variations on a theme of cream

As ever, pleased with my order from ‘Laughing Hedgehogs’. I needed more of the brown and the cream with leaves, but while I was there and paying only one lot of postage I thought I’d get the blue, not for any project currently in my mind, but just because I liked it. They offer free P&P if you spend more than £10, so I got the cream with green and red with Christmas in mind, as it matches some other modern Christmas fabrics I’ve got, and then I thought the cream with brown leaves might go either with my current project or failing that, with the hexagon paper piecing.

I want the outside part of my current block to be cream, but it’s so hard to get the right shade! They’re often too pale, and stand out too much when you put them against the other colours, but that’s really hard to tell when you’re looking at a fabric in isolation, or online. I’m thikning of using the new cream+brown fabric in latest block, but will have to lay pieces alongside each other when I get home tonight.

Looking at a photo of all my blocks laid out, I’m beginning to think I will need sashing after all, perhaps in the cream + green and brown leaves fabric on the top left in the photo, although I’m wondering about doing it in strips shading down from pale to dark (suspect I couldn’t do it and it would make an already over-busy design even more messy, though). A pain because that’ll double the work of sewing together the blocks – and it would prove husband right! – but I have only myself to blame for making such uncoordinated blocks and hoping it would all come right at the end. At least (for now) that fabric’s available, unlike some of the discontinued fabrics I’ve used!

A darker autumn block

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Another block finished, a darker one this time, using burgundy and brown. Sorry to see the last of the fabric that makes up the central star shape, it was bought on ebay and must have been a remnant or vintage because I’ve never seen it anywhere else. As often happens, I was happy with the colour combination of the centre part of the block but couldn’t get the outside to quite ‘click’ (the same is happening with the new one I’m working on). Quite pleased with getting the points where the flying geese meet the centre square to meet without the thread showing, but didn’t achieve it on all the outside squares, alas.

Going for a little walk yesterday, I saw that although autumn’s some way off, these oak leaves in the hedgerow were showing some beautiful colours, and some berries and nuts are starting to ripen