Cotton&Color BoM 2016: March

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This little iron is March’ block for the Cotton & Color‘s BoM. As the previous blocks, the pattern called for paper-foundation piecing, and after the last good experience with English-paper piecing, I gave this block a try.

I must admit I’m not as happy as I was with the teapot. Most of the wrinkles appeared after I starched the block once finished (I have been observing that in The Splendid Sampler blocks as well, so I’m reconsidering it), but some are due to a deficient basting. I don’t know if I should use a more rigid paper (I used printer paper 80g/m²) or it’s simply that I made it wrong. For the moment the seam allowances are kept folded behind the block; I took care of giving enough margin when basting the templates so I shouldn’t have any problem when putting the quilt together.

The embroidery detail is backstitched with Anchor floss n. 399.

April almost caught me; as it was hand-sewn I alternated the piecing of this block with the sampler’s blocks and some other projects. I wonder if there would be a seam ripper in this Mystery quilt…

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The Splendid Sampler™: Block 12

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The 12th block of The Splendid Sampleris called “Checkerboard” and is the second block by Pat Sloan in this sampler. This one falls into the category of pretty straightforward blocks; the difficulty was more on the fabric selection rather than on the piecing.

After some doubting, I decided to stick to the instructions and the pattern name and use only two fabrics. However, I played with medium-low volumes, so the block doesn’t pop up so much when mixed with the others.

While piecing I skipped the instructions and instead of pressing seams open I went for spinning seams, following this tip by Bonnie K Hunter. It worked really well and the seams nested beautifully against each other in every step of the sewing process, and in the end the block lays flat and squared.

The block’s info and link party are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 11

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Block 11 for The Splendid Sampler, Crocheted Thoughts, by Alyssa Thomas (Penguin&Fish) was so much fun! Not for the patchwork, which came together in a moment, but for the embroidery. I love to chain stitch… but with a crochet hook!

The design imitates a crocheted doily, and I have it crocheted in my block with and actual crochet hook, making the points through the fabric. The thread is kept always underneath, and the hook goes down the fabric, picks it, and pushes it up through the loop that is always on top, as it would do in normal crochet chain-stitch. The puckers that result from tensioning the fabric on the hoop will eventually disappear.

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This technique is used to make the typical embroidery from the island of Mallorca, which is characterised for vineyard / floral motives and the use of a chain stitch made with a crochet hook instead of a needle (although in Spanish, more information can be found here). The crochet allows for a tiny, regular chain stitch, working with a really small hook and perlé cotton. For this block I used a 0.75/12 hook, Anchor perlé cotton n. 316 (both chain stitch and the backstitch imitating the thread) and Anchor embroidery floss n. 399 for the hook.

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This is one of my background-embroidery projects, picturing typical Majorcan embroidery; it was finished about two years ago. I love this type of embroidery, and I have lots of fun working with the crochet instead of using a needle…my current background-embroidery project is Majorcan embroidery too, I hope I will finish it some time soon…

This block took me two afternoons to complete, due to the amount of embroidery it involves. So far, the most demanding block of the sampler. The information and link party for it are here.

Red teapot mini-quilt

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This pattern is part of this year’s BoM by Cotton&Color, for which I already made my block. But I really love the design and wanted to try to English-paper piece it instead of following the foundation-paper method that so much trouble caused me. And I needed a little gift, so here it is. And I must admit I am so happy with the result! English-paper piecing is slower, and it involves, of course, hand-sewing, but it reduces drastically the waste of fabric, and allows for fussy-cutting, which is indeed a bonus! It only needs to be taken into account that, when cutting, pieces that are not symmetrical need to be face right side of the template – wrong side of the fabric (and you can guess how I learnt that, don’t you?).

The red fabrics come all from my (little) stash. The background fabric may ring a bell, as I also use it for The Splendid Sampler blocks. The quilting is pretty simple; the teapot is stitched on the ditch, and I ecoed the frame to give more sturdiness to the quilt. I made a mistake whilst basting and so the quilting resents from it. For the future, I must remember that even the smallest quilt needs to be secured with tape in its three layers before pinning.

For the binding…it was as the natural choice to use this Cotton & Steel print. I added this to my stash not very long ago and fits just perfectly. I cut it to 2″ wide instead of 2 ¼”, which is my normal choice for binding. I think it suits better the dimensions of this mini.

This little teapot can be used as place mat or can be hanged as a wall-quilt, thanks to two pockets added to the back. It will be on the recipient to decide which use to give it!

Project: Teapot mini-quilt
Size: 11″ x 14 1/4″/ 27.5 x 36 cm
Date: March 2016
Pattern: Block of the Month Mystery Quilt 2016 (February), Cotton&Color
Top fabric: Red fabrics scraps from stash
                  Modern Background Paper (Pattern 1583), by Zen Chic for Moda Fabrics
Backing fabric: Pascale Beatrix Tissus TX 64643
Batting: Regular Thermolam TP971 (fusible), Legacy
Quilting: machine-quilt, Gutermann Cotton618
Binding: Black&White, Cotton + Steel Fabrics

Linking with Finish it up Friday!

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 10

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The 10th block of The Splendid Sampler, called “Iowa”, is designed by Sherri McConnell (A quilting life). I’ve been following her blog since I started quilting, and it is really a huge source for inspiration and ideas.

I‘m not quite pleased with the fabric selection I used in this one, so I may revisit it at the end of the journey. I’m going to have to tag those blocks I should keep an eye on…

On another matter, I start to see two main categories in the sampler’s blocks: those that are straightforward and can be pieced in a couple of hours, and those that require more than one afternoon to be completed. This falls in the first category. I have already started working on block 11, and I can tell it belongs to the second one.

The information and link party for this 10th block are here.

Stars-quilt update

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These last days I dedicated some time to work in the Stars-quilt, basically basting templates with background fabric. I still have 104 templates to cut…

Stars basted: 84/84 (504/504 templates)
Stars sewn: 84 /84
Background pieces basted: 42/504
Stars completed: 0

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 9

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In a 100 block sampler it shouldn’t be any wonder there was to be a “home” block sooner or later. The 9th block of The Splendid Sampler is indeed a home, but a very special one:Local quilt shop”, by Jane Davidson (Quilt Jane – Want it, Need it, Quilt). What would it be of us, those who love and collect fabric, without the amazing quilt shops that are out there? Not to say with the amazing service lots of them offer!

The difficulty of this block was more on the cutting part rather than on the sewing. Once every piece was carefully cut, sewing was pretty straightforward. Only one seam to be treated with the seam-ripper, just to get the block to the final size (it was 1/16″ slightly off in the first try). I’m happy I’m seeing progress in my piecing skills! The embroidery is made with backstitch, cross-stitch and colonial knots, using DMC floss n. 310.

The pattern, information and link party can be found here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 7

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Block 7 for The Splendid SamplerSnug as a Bug by Amy Sinibaldi (Nana Company) was all about embroidery. Embroidery is not new to me (I always keep an embroidery project running in the background, although it takes me ages to finish them), but I‘ve learned, and love, the tip included in the pattern about adding stitches to thicken the basic lines. It adds so much more depth and interest in the final result!

I used a stem stitch for the main motif, with a running stitch for the frame. The eyes are a mixture of French knots and Colonial knots. In this case, to keep consistent with the colour scheme for the whole quilt I used black (DMC floss n. 310) with a touch of green (DMC floss n. 907).

The story about the pattern is really cute and touching; all the information and the link party are here.