It seems impossible that Christmas is only two months away… It may seem a lot of time, but it’s not when you’re planning sewing-gifts! October has flown by, and there has been some progress on some projects, an absolut halt in others. The Splendid Sampler™, the Cotton&Color BoM and the Star-sampler sew along are the main priorities right now, and my knitting projects have taken over my hand-sewing time.
Even though, I managed to do some progress on the Stars-quilt. Sewing the background pieces to the stars is slower than just putting the stars together:
Stars basted: 84/84 (504/504 templates)
Stars sewn: 84 /84
Background pieces basted: 504/504
Stars completed: 7/84 (+7 from the last stats)
– The Frivol n.10 quilt, featuring the Cookie Exchange collection by Sweetwater, for Moda Fabrics is finished and on a little retreat. Meanwhile I get it back and photographed, you can read about it and my adventures sewing it in a short Q&A at Cotton&Color’s blog.
– I finished my first knitting project, a scarf! I still have to block it, but I’m considering it finished -post and photos to come…-. And my second project is making good progress in a consistent pace. It’s a top I hope I will be wearing next spring…
– The Wild Jelly Roll n. 3 pattern by Me and My Sister Designs is the neglected project of the month. Absolutely no progress on this one. And I don’t foresee any progress in the next few weeks…
– Christmas sewing: I have a list of small projects to sew for Christmas… let’s see how many of them I can finish on time (no pressure there…)
The Splendid Sampler is (almost) up-to-date… I’m currently working on block 74, and block 75 is an embroidery one that will require some time.
Block n. 73 of The Splendid Sampler™ is called “+ Love”, by Jennifer Albaugh, and is one of those blocks that are beautiful in its simplicity. This was a straightforward piecing block (in fact, I sewed most of it as a leaders-and-enders for block 72), perfect to play with big prints for the background.
It will also work perfectly for a bigger quilt, won’t it?
Pattern, info and link party are found here.
The Splendid Sampler™‘s block n.72 “Full Circle Star”, designed by Victoria Findlay Wolfe, is quite a complete one: appliqué and templates. The piecing of this particular block requires time, but I don’t find working with templates difficult -just entertaining-. For the appliqué I decided to do needle-turn appliqué, which I was rather comfortable working with in the centre pieces, but I don’t think it worked for the small circles. At Victoria Findlay’s blog there are some tips about appliqué, and I’m thinking on trying the paper-basted-circle-clip-from-the-back-and-remove-the-paper method and change those circles. I’m also realising that I need to balance some colours on the overall quilt, so perhaps I change the coloured fabric for this one in case I decide to revisit it.
Pattern, info and link party are here.
The 70th block of The Splendid Sampler™ is called “Bows” by Jane Davidson (Quilt Jane – Want it, Need it, Quilt). I like the thought included in the pattern, and it applies wonderfully to my quilting journey right now. Perhaps it has been through practice and perseverance that now paper-piecing doesn’t look so intimidating. Because this year, if anything, I have paper-pieced a lot!
(And I will require lots of patience and perseverance to advance into the next step, that is, quilting!… but that’s for next year…)
I tried to keep this block a low volume one (I already have some blocks with lots of contrast), but I think I might have gone too far. What’s more, I finally run out of one of the prints, the one I was using for the background. I miscalculated, and did a minor cutting mistake… but there was no more fabric left for the final strip of one of the blocks (it’s easy to spot if it’s searched for!). For the moment, I won’t compromise the big pieces of fabric I have still left by re-doing it again. At the end, I might revisit this one (it’s a two afternoon work, but nothing more complicated than that at this point!), and perhaps add more contrast in the bows.
The pattern and link party are found here.
The fourth star for the Star-Sampler quilt-along organised and hosted by Amanda Rolfe at 3and3quarters was an easy block, after the two previous ones. I’m having lots of fun playing with the fabrics for this quilt, and couldn’t resist to add that contrasting solid at the outer points of the star.
The 71th block of The Splendid Sampler™ “First stitch” is a deceptively easy and quick paper-pieced block by Kerry Green (Very Kerry Berry). And it was lots of fun to sew together!
The main concern while sewing this one is to leave the seam allowance between sections A and B. In Kerry Green’s blog there is a wonderful post full of tips, and also inspiration to play with the fabric placement.
Actually, this block offers tons of possibilities: from drawing a grid to an interlaced pattern, I’m already seeing this as a pillow case… or a table runner…
Pattern and more info are here.
This month’s block for the Cotton & Color‘s BoM are, in fact, two blocks. I decided to piece the thread for the bigger spool and play with the fabrics for the little ones. That red was meant to be with this yellow background!
I‘m really curious about how these two “partial” blocks will be included in the final layout…
(And yes, I made a cutting mistake, again… some day I will learn).
Well, this one was difficult! I hope that the habit of sewing a second version of the same block ends with this one… The third star of the Star Sampler quilt-along (by Amanda Rolfe at 3and3quarters) called for snow-ball cornered units, and honestly, I’m finding myself unable to master them. I tried several methods and there was no way I had a unit that would measure what it was supposed to, and the resulting block was a ½” short, and totally unsquared.
So, I changed gears and built this one from square-in-square units. It took some maths and trial-and-error test blocks to get the measurements, but what a difference! A squared, 12 ½” block with the points where they are supposed to be! (and yes, with the help of the seam-ripper along the way…).
I love those X on the green background… It looks like a field of little stars!
Block n. 69 for The Splendid Sampler™ “Full Circle” is designed by Holly DeGroot (Bijou Lovely) and it’s what the name says, a circle. Sewing curves… not my cup of tea! I find them really tricky (better to say, I find pinning them really tricky!).
I paper-pieced the stripped half of the circle. Quick, easy and accurate. Before ripping the paper, I marked the template on the fabric and basted as instructed. Then I removed the paper and lastly I cut the piece. Having the paper and lots of margin to guide the fabric underneath the machine’s foot made things a lot easier when basting.
Putting the block together was tricky, as said, but everything went smoothly, except for one little detail: I run short of seam allowance in the centre seam. So I had to unpick that seam and one of the curves. In the second attempt I sewed the curve from the centre to one edge, and then from the other edge to the centre. It seemed like it helped to keep everything from shifting. After that second try, the centre seam turned out with the correct seam allowances, and the block with the correct dimensions, albeit a little bit wonky.
Pattern, info and link party are here.
The 68th block of The Splendid Sampler™ is designed by Pat Sloan and called “Wild Roses”. Truth to be told, this block came to life when I started stitching the blanket stitch with the variegated pink floss. It alone makes so much difference! I like the subtle appearance it gives to the flower… I’m not so sure about the flower centre, though… perhaps a darker grey would have worked better. I guess I shall see when putting the blocks together.
Anyway, pattern, info and link party full of flowers are here.