The Splendid Sampler™: Block 4

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Block 4 for The Splendid Sampler “Happy Happy” is designed by Jen Kingwell, and it’s all appliqué. Having done block 1, I found myself rather comfortable sewing this one. I had fun fussy-cutting the flowers, and took the chance to use one of the big, geometrical prints as a background. I really like the result of the combination, the gray, strong background with the pops of colour of the flowers.

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This is a close up of how I sewed this one: first I basted the patches into position and then needle-turn appliquéd them. These flowers were too small to be subjected with a pin and be comfortable to work with at the same time.

This block has incredibly triggered the creativity of the participants in the quilt along; it’s amazing to see how other quilters had turn this vase of flowers into extraordinary bursts of colour and embroidery. I shall see if I add some more embroidery to this one once I can see the overall picture of all the blocks together.

The 4th block’s information and link party can be found here.

Stars-quilt weekly stats and maths re-do

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This is how 84 6-point stars look together! All the stars are sewn, so I took the chance to audit them together in two different layouts, one more compacted, as it would be with only half the stars with background attached to them, and one more uncrowded, with all the stars being given a background.

And it turns out that my fear this was gone to be a really huge quilt hasn’t happened. What’s more, the layout that works best is the second one, which was also my first intention when I planned this quilt. Giving each star a background gives a quilt the same size as my bed (for which the quilt is intended, by the way).

So, happy about that, time to re-do the maths:

Stars basted: 84/84 (504/504 templates)
Stars sewn:
84 /84
Background pieces basted: 9/
504
Stars completed: 0

The background pieces have, of course, been doubled. That also means I have to cut out 200 more templates.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 3

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The 3rd block for The Splendid Sampler is called Lots of love, by Melissa Corry. If I found block nº 2 challenging, I don’t know how to describe this, although it was (only) 48 pieces. I struggled to get matching points, either when joining the two halves of the hearts or when sewing the hearts together. Surprisingly, I was able to put together the vertical row of mini-hearts without using the seam ripper!

However, I really had fun with this, and had any stress at all while re-sewing seams. I know I still have a long way in front of me to learn and improve my piecing skills, and this is what this Sampler is, for me, mostly about. To learn. To try. So I’m really happy with the final results, although I might revisit this block at the end of the journey.

I’m also trying the starch thing. I think I didn’t starch enough the fabrics for this block, and that this would have made lots of difference in the piecing process. With these little pieces, fraying is a nightmare.

The 3rd block’s information and link party can be found here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 2

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Ta-dah! The second block for The Splendid Sampler: Wings, by Jane Davidson (Quilt Jane – Want it, Need it, Quilt). 56 pieces, with a final size of 6 ½” x 6 ½”! That was absolutely challenging! I still have to figure out how to avoid puckers, I don’t know if it’s a piecing or a pressing issue… Some seam ripper to get those seams to match, but it’s was totally worth it.

I really like this block. I decided not to go for the embroidery indicated in the pattern and leave it just a pieced block. The idea of making a whole quilt with this is really tempting…

The 2nd block’s link party is here!

Stars-quilt weekly stats

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Well, only three stars sewn together this week (plus two more that were miscounted in previous stats). I decided to leave out two of the darker prints (so, 4 stars less to be sewn). Now that I can get an overall picture of the colours in the quilt I think they just don’t match. I like how bright and colourful the stars look together, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they work with the white background!

Speaking of background, all the templates are cut and ready to go. This is how 300 hand-cut templates look like.

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Stars basted: 84/84 (504/504 templates)
Stars sewn: 77 /84
Background pieces basted: 9/264
Stars completed: 0

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 1

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This is the first block for The Splendid Sampler, Hearts Aflutter, by Pat Sloan. I’m not a fan of appliqué, and this was my first needle-turn appliqué ever. In my previous approaches to the technique I used fusible appliqué, which I find easier, although the final results are not as neat as with this one.

So far, so good. I’m pretty happy with the block. Now to block 2…

(the 1st block’s link party is here!)

Cotton&Color BoM 2016: February

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This is the February’s block from the Cotton & Color BoM. I love, love this block! (perhaps because I wouldn’t say no to a cuppa?). And I had lots of fun piecing it, although putting it together was a challenge. Really.

This block is pieced with the foundation-paper method. Using paper instead of interfacing (as I did with January’s block) was something new. And it didn’t come together as smoothly as it should have. I think that almost every seam was ripped off at least once. Either the fabric was short, either points wouldn’t match. What’s more, I run out of the background fabric that was given with the pattern. I managed to put together the last scraps of it to complete the block, but I didn’t have more fabric to allow for more errors on cutting. Conclusion: when working with limited supply of fabric, measure, measure and measure (and think twice before cutting). And perhaps, change the technique for piecing.

I now think it should have been better to English-paper piece this block. I’m not sure if afterwards it would be easy to attach it to the rest of the blocks, but I wonder it’s just a matter to leave enough seam allowance when basting the templates. I should make another one, perhaps for a pot holder?

New project: The Splendid Sampler™ -fabric selection-

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I mentioned some days ago I was considering joining a 2-block per week – one year long QAL: The Splendid Sampler™. For me it’s a huge project to undertake. For starters, I didn’t have enough fabric to tackle it (well, perhaps, but not enough variety to choose from). I didn’t, until few days ago two new fat-eight bundles joined my little stash!

I already had the fat-quarter bundle from “Pie Making Day”, by Brenda Ratliff, for RJR Fabrics. It wasn’t enough for the sampler fabrics requirements, and after some thought, I decided for two collections I’ve been longing for: Modern Background – Ink and Modern Background – Paper, by Zen Chic, for Moda Fabrics.

So my plan is to use these two as my main fabrics (they cover the dark-medium-light range), with the coloured fabrics as a contrast points in the blocks. Mainly, a black and white quilt with pops of colour!

This is for me a total new adventure: it’s going to be the biggest quilt I’ve planned to do (Stars-quilt besides, whose final dimensions are yet unknown), with techniques I do not like, master or know at all. I’m committed to do the 100 blocks, we shall see in a year how this turns out!

For the moment, and also something I don’t usually do, all the fabrics have been pre-washed and waiting for starch and pressing. With so many different techniques involved, and those plum and black prints to be paired with white fabrics, I decided to play safe against bleeding.

A new pincushion

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I had wanted a new pincushion for a while, and I knew it had to be the carry-all pincushion by Noodlehead since the moment I got her book “Handmade style”. I had some trouble deciding on the fabric, but once my mind was set, it came together pretty quickly: in just two afternoons! The fabric used has a little history behind it (that’s why I used it after all):

– the print fabric: if not the first, one of the first fabrics I -ever- purchased. I just fell in love with it. I used it in a purse (one of my first sewing projects) and I have stored the remaining piece like a treasure trying to find something to use it on. I really wanted this fabric to be the focal point of the pincushion. And then comes…

– the light denim. It comes from a pair of jeans I wore a lot. I really loved them, but I reached a point where I couldn’t wear them anymore… so I stored them with my fabrics. I love the idea of re-using a garment I’d really enjoyed in something I foresee I would enjoy a lot too. This was the fabric I doubted, because it’s thicker than the quilting cottons the pattern calls for and I was not sure if I could sew it properly. It caused some trouble (it stretches a lot!), but with patience and not forcing things everything turned OK – and yes, with some help from the seam ripper, too-.

– the dark denim. Funny history… I attended a course on how to attach zippers into garments, so they had a professional look. The teacher brought denim to work with, and at the end of the course, she was about to throw away what hadn’t been used… and yes, my fabric hoarder side couldn’t allow it! She happily gave me the scraps, somewhat amused that someone could really make anything of profit out of them. In fact, very little has left over from this project (but I have saved those scraps, of course!).

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The ribbon for the scissors strap was purchased in a recent visit to the UK, with this pattern already in mind… I think it’s just perfect! So a little reminder of one of my travels into this, too.

For the filling, I used a sachet filled with plastic grains, some polyfill and scraps of fabric from trimming blocks I kept in a tin. They work perfect for stuffing!

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Project: Carry-all pincushion
Size: 3″ x 3 1/4 x 8>″/ 8 x 8 x 21 cm
Date: February 2016
Pattern: Carry-all pincushion, Anna Graham, from the book “Handmade style”
Exterior fabric: unknown collections and producers
Ribbon for strap: Premium Trim Collection, Groves
Batting: Polyester foam interfacing, unknown producer
               Woven fusible interfacing, unknown producer
Filling: plastic grains, polyfill, scraps of fabric

Linking with Finish it up Friday!