Having been given a jelly roll and a quilting book for Christmas 2010, there is no excuse not to get on with quiltmaking.

Here's what happened next...


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Quilting the Borders

I've had a huge dither about how to quilt the grey border on Scatty Stars.

I had a practise with zig zags of various sorts, and tried stars (which didn't work at all). I could have done a stippled border (whee! Loads of fun!) but I didn't think a swirly border would work well with the rest of the quilt either.

Then I had a eureka moment, though, after I saw Joanna's Christmas Wreath quilt, but rather than wavy lines, kept with tram lines, with a star in each corner.

I've trimmed the quilt and it's ready for binding (or will be when I've redone a couple of the corner stars as they are rather close to the edge).

Then burying about ten thousand ends (honestly, I'm not kidding here!) and a label, and I'm done!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Project Number Five

Despite not having finished Scatty Stars (quite), I am cogitating upon the Next Project.

Now that mum's seen the first couple of quilts that I have made, she's asked me to make her a quilt for her bed. The brief was that she didn't want a really 'busy' pattern, and it had to match the three colours in the curtains, and also the carpet.

Ha! Easy peasy - I just gave her Sue's Pick Four and asked her to choose which one she would like me to do for her.

The designs are all lovely, as we know, and for me, I know that the instructions will be good to follow, and I have the added advantage that if I need to alter the dimensions at all, the esteemed author herself will be able to advise on changes in fabric quantity, and other helpful advice. Brilliant!

Mum's chosen Antique Nine Patch, and we will be going on a fabric choosing expedition when big sister Helen is up in a couple of weeks.

I do have my work cut out slightly in that mum wants to have the quilt with side & bottom pieces - as in this example from the FoQ - to cover over the drawers in the bed base.

I was thinking of side panels and a bottom panel that are removable (zip/buttons/velcro?) so that the top can be washed separately - and of course, I'm not sure how and to what extent these pieces should be patterned.

So lots of food for thought there!

So today, I tried out our nearest independent fabric shop (which I had always thought was monstrously expensive) to see if this would be a good place to shop for what we need, as opposed to Hobbycraft, or the well thought of Cotton Patch - which is over the other side of the City.

I had a pleasant surprise to see the bolts starting at £8 a metre - and a sale shelf of selected fabrics at £5 a metre. So I couldn't resist a metre of this wonderful pattern, and an offcut (about a third of a yard) for £2.

A good day!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

That's Better!

Right - I've done the tedious unpicking bit, and I'm now doing the fun FMQ stars.


There's lots of ends to bury at the end, though.

The grey border needs to be quilted, but I'm not sure how at the mo.

More conundrums!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Goldilocks and the Three Bears...

...or Make Your Bloody Mind Up.

I've been cogitating with regard to the colour of the thread used for the FMQ on Scatty Stars - inspecting closely what I've already done in the daylight, and consulting with colleague Rita, and my mother who happened to be around too.

The conclusion is the the light grey is too light, the dark grey is too dark as shown in the pic here.

I am now using a mid grey, and I'm not giving myself the option of changing my mind yet again - it looks better than either of the others, not overwhelming the quilt design, but not fading into nothingness either, so I'm happy.

Well, as happy as a girl with a whole heap of unpicking the too-light and the too-dark sewing can be anyway.

If that Hobbit even thinks, 'I told you to use a practise piece!', there will be trouble!


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Scatty Stars Experimental FMQ

I loaded up the new dark grey thread this evening, and had a play with some FMQ stars to see how the thread looks against the quilt top.

As predicted, I hit my stride this second session of FMQ, and had to stop myself from romping away doing the whole quilt - I had to remind myself that this was a test to see which thread looks better. The two stars at the top of this block are in dark grey, the bottom two are in the light grey.

Jury out until I see it in daylight tomorrow.

Friday, 18 November 2011


Colleague Rita points out that the lovely grey thread that I bought last week for the quilting doesn't stand out as much as it might.

Most irritatingly, I think that she is right.

So before I plough on any further with my FMQ stars, I'll give this darker grey thread a go - possibly the dark grey for the top thread & keep the paler grey for the bobbin thread.

If it looks better than the block and a half I've done, I can undo without too much bad language.


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Scatty Stars Quilting Decisions - Made!

This evening I've finished quilting in the ditch around all the blocks, and of course round all the stars. Which leaves the fun bit of the FMQ stars in the railfence blocks.

Or rather, the bit that will be fun once I hit my stride. I did quite some unpicking earlier, and there's been too much in the way of breaking thread (and I broke another needle - I'm too rough!)

The second block of four stars has started well (bottom left here) - and I sensibly made myself stop before the magic hour and a half mark when my concentration gives out & I start to forget the bobbin etc etc....

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Scatty Stars Quilting Decisions

I got a bit further this evening with quilting Scatty Stars - nice straight lines in the ditches between the blocks, although I've not finished yet.

For quilting the railfence blocks, I am still undecided about how many five pointy stars to FMQ in each block. I thought about four in each, but perhaps that will be a bit dense, so perhaps just one. But then I don't know about the half blocks at the edges.

No doubt it will come to me in due course.

And in other news, as they say, I won Sue's Christmas quiltalong competition, and she says that she will be sending me a small PRIZE - hurrah!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Knowing When to Stop

At 6.30pm this evening, I sat down to quilt round the final five stars on Scatty Stars. I finished this at 8pm and I was so delighted with the result that I dived straight on to FMQ the railfence blocks. Whee!

The theory was to doodle about four stars in each block, linking them by going round the outside ditch of the railfence block. The stars looked great - the line of stitching around the edge of the block not so much. With the thickness of the seam to contend with and the free motion foot, the line was not only wavy, I also broke the thread a number of times.

Then I broke the needle.

Not to be thwarted, I undid that attempt, replaced the needle and dived in again with the walking foot, having decided that if blocks were going to be outlined, I could quilt in the ditch on the long seams, which would just leave the star(s) in the middle of each railfence block to FMQ.

I ploughed on, refreshing the thread in the bobbin, re-threaded the needle and was pleased to travel the entire diagonal length of the quilt with no further mishap.

Er - apart from not having replaced the bobbin back into the machine, that is.

Moral: when I say that I can only concentrate on quilting for an hour and a half, I mean it.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Christmas Quiltalong! November, pt5

Sue is canvassing opinions as to how best showcase the results of the Christmas quiltalong. It looks like she might ask us all to submit a post with what we've worked on - Scatty Stars quilts and and other projects - to a link so that we can all go and see what our efforts have achieved.

I can't wait to see all the Scatty Stars quilts in one place!

This gives me added impetus to get mine quilted and bound! One more session should see the rest of the stars quilted (five more to do), and then the fun bit of FMQ stars in the railfence blocks. Then binding to make, attach and finish.

I wonder if the 'gallery' can be unveiled on what would be the December quiltalong day?

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Christmas Quiltalong! November, pt4

I've quilted around three stars, but got sidetracked by what everyone else has been up to!

So I'll be carrying on tomorrow, but in the meantime, it is time for supper - hot chocolate & an egg custard (and cat supper too, the cats are insisting).

It's the final quiltalong Saturday for 2011 - it's been brilliant fun to take part in, and to share with other quilters all round the world. So thank you to Sue and Cathi whose design & hosting duties have made it all possible!

Christmas Quiltalong! November, pt3

The washing is on the airer, the biscuits in the tin, the lasagne cooking in the oven as we speak - I'm having a productive day!

My trip around the charity shops today for backing fabric for Scatty Stars didn't turn up anything that I liked more than the beige I had planned to use, so I got stuck in when I got back assembling the quilt sandwich.

My cat has no manners - he walked in from the courtyard garden (stage right) and tramped muddy footprints on to the quilt whilst my back was turned and proceeded to wash his neithers when I wanted to take a photo. Tut.

My plan for quilting is to quilt in the ditch around each star, then FMQ stars into the railfence blocks - it's a good Plan in my head, let's see how it turns out in practise.

I've started with sewing round the stars - I really like the way the quilted stars show up on the back of the quilt.

Glass of apple wine & lasagne first, then I should be able to get the sewing round of the majority of the stars out of the way tonight, leaving the fun stuff for tomorrow.

Christmas Quiltalong! November, pt2

I'm doing pretty well so far today - hurrah!

The washing is on the line

The biscuits are cooling on the rack

I've given loads of thought as to how to quilt Scatty Stars, and I have a plan.

And a hitch.

I'm really not sure that I like this backing fabric. It's okay, and it's the best that I have, but as I am just about to nip up the road for a paper, I will have a scout round the charity shops in the town to see if I can do any better.

Christmas Quiltalong! November, pt1

Although I have the whole Quiltalong day ahead to quilt Scatty Stars, I only the ability to concentrate for about an hour and a half at a time with my sewing, so my festive day ahead looks like this:

do the washing and then some quilting

do some baking and then some quilting

start a batch of quince wine and then some quilting

nip up the road to the shops and then some quilting

cook lasagne for tea and then some quilting

And although I have run out of sherry, am not keen on mince pies, I promise to wear this all day to get into the Christmas spirit.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Looking Forward to Saturday...

...because it will be the last session of Sue & Cathi's Christmas Quiltalong, and having missed last month's I now have my work cut out to finish Scatty Stars.

I've decided that I don't need another border on top of the grey that is half attached - it's quite balanced as it is, I think. Then I'll use the yellow for the binding.

So I need to finish sewing on the skinny grey border, sandwich, quilt, and bind. Doesn't sound much to do when you say it quickly, does it?


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Not Quite Quilting...

Before disappearing off on holiday, I treated myself to a Kindle (which did rather revolutionise my packing - no books!) but rather baulked at the outrageous cost of a case - nearly half as much again as the thing itself.

But a cover or case of some sort was essential to guard against damage occasioned from dropping onto the tiles around the pool/into the sand on the beach/suncreamy finger marks etc etc, so I knocked this up beforehand.

It's a fabric sleeve with cardboard fillets (and a sponge insert on the screen side) kept in place with a couple of rows of 'divider' stitching. The Kindle is in a plastic sleeve, and sticky Velcro dots attach that to Velcro strips inside the back of the cover, then Velcro to fasten. It worked really well.

By chance, a couple of days after I got back, Dave Next Door called round clutching his new laptop and said, 'Um.' When someone says that, they want something.
'What is it?', I asked.
'Um. Are you any good with a sewing machine? There's only a temporary soft cover supplied with this, and it's not very robust, so I was wondering if some sort of pillowcase or something could be rigged up as a carry case...?'
'Of course, leave it with me.'

I consulted about design and techniques with colleague Rita, who next day brought in a length of manly pinstripe fabric, some very thin wadding, an odd colour brown canvas-weight cotton & a length of Velcro. Then it was just a case of putting it all together.

I took it round to much astonished praise from the Next Doors, and received appropriate and very satisfactory remuneration.

Glad to be of service, sir.

All this doesn't get the borders on Scatty Stars, of course, or it sandwiched, quilted and bound, but there you go.
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