Monday, 1 September 2014

How I'm putting my clamshells together...

I am loving my clamshell project just because it is hand piecing I think.  I enjoy just using the most basic of equipment and skills to make something that would be tricky to make as accurately on the machine.  There is a perverse satisfaction in that.

Although I can hand piece pretty quickly I feel that I'm working at a more leisurely pace and that is pleasing too!

So how do you piece clamshells ?   There are several methods - machine piecing (mine are a bit small for me to piece accurately that way), EPP, appliqué and handpiecing.  

I think handpiecing is actually the simplest way and I am making to more so by gu-estimating my quarter inch seam.  Otherwise I would be marking it around with a pencil and checking while stitching that I was following the line.

I'm stitching my clamshells in diagonal rows - just half a clamshell at a time under each ark.

And the same with the next one...until I have a row of eight!

You do have to be careful that you align them all the same way!  I made that mistake once and was attentive thereafter.

Next I stitch the rows together making sure the points and valleys are matched accurately (after all that is the point of the hand piecing) and stitching up to the seam allowance so that they can be pressed either way or indeed pressed open!  

And there you have another panel finished. 

 I will piece another and stitch them together.  Then stitch the combined panels to the one I have prepared earlier.

Not sure how big I am going to make this....maybe I'll keep going until I have exorcised my clamshell demon...

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Clam happy

A good while ago I bought a Sizzix die to cut clamshells from a charm square sized piece of fabric.  

I tried a few out, you know, just to see if the die worked, though on a strict no new project diet!

But good girl that I was I did no more then!

We went to Spain for a week and the prospect of not being able to stitch anything worried me.  So I gathered up all the clamshells I had cut and took them with me.  And soon finished this panel...

And when I got home I thought I'd do some more!

128 clamshells stitched together.

I might just have cut a few more...

Just in case I need to do a bit of handstitching...

Been a while...

It has been a while since I blogged and I'm sorry - I have sort of sold myself to IG (nickyeglinton) which is quicker to post on but I had intended doing better than this on my blog!

Well I have been busy stitching - did you expect anything else?  And I have sort of got carried away by a few new projects...nothing new there!

The most delicious of which is my #nordikquilt!  I set a challenge to my Stingy Bees for August: to make Scandinavian inspired blocks in red and cream with touches of aqua and teal; and they have not disappointed, indeed they have blown me away with their talent and generosity!

Maybe the photos should speak for themselves!

From Sheila

who also sent two extra snowflakes she had cut with her Go! and I backed in some of my fabric!

From Janet

From Di 

And just today this gorgeous block arrived from Helen

But to appreciate the work involved in this one you do need a sense of scale....

And with a few of my own blocks this is how it looks at the moment

Monday, 4 August 2014

Educational Quilting!

Oops this quilt top seems to have avoided every list so far but it is a Giant Star a la Jeni Baker @ In Color Order tutorial.

As it is a star I suddenly had the idea to quilt star related words round the diamonds!   I am using a dictionary as I have not heard of some of them but who says quilts cannot be educational!

Of course mixed in with the real stuff I have sneaked a few fictional items....time and relative dimensions in space (TARDIS), the final frontier!  

There will be more..... boldly go....fromTrudi
 ....beam me up Scottie ...
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away....
These are not the droids you are looking for
The Force is strong with this one
Don't Panic
Forty two!
So long and thanks for all the fish
A cup of tea would restore my normality
Oh no not again

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Nordik Tutorial number one and two!

If you read yesterday's post here you will know I am wanting to make a Nordik Winter quilt with help from my bee.   I have already made some blocks but want to allow them a choice in selecting a block within a Nordik theme!

In case they really are up against it I am writing tutorials to show how I made my blocks but it also help me remember too!

This first one is so easy that you are bound to know how to make this already!

I am making another of these little blocks

Cut six strips of fabric 1.5" wide and stitch together in a pleasing arrangement.   You do want to ensure you have different colours on each end!

Now you carefully stitch each strip with a quarter inch seam in a straight line till all six strips are joined together as above

Press seams to the dark side! Cut strips across the seams in straight lines at 1.5" intervals.  

Next you alternate the strips - now you know why the end strips need to be different colours!

Now stitch up the new strips matching your nesting seams and your block is complete!  See photo at the top!  

Best to press at each stage and not be lazy like me who unearthed my crumpled strip set from under a heap of fabric and thought it was too hot to get the iron out!

The second tutorial is to make this block - 

It looks complicated but uses the same techniques of building up a strip block as above.

This time the strips are 1.5" and 0.75" wide .   

Make two strip sets one with white print 1.5" strips and red solid 0.75" strips 

and the other with red print 1.5" strips and white 0.75".

Once the strip sets are complete carefully press to the dark side again.

Now comes the big difference.  Instead of cutting across your strip set at right angles as before you now use the 45 degree angle on your ruler to cut diagonally across the first strip set.

You will have a bit of wastage with this technique - making the first angle cut to get your 45 degrees line. Thereafter you line up your ruler as shown.

As I'm re-using my strip sets I cannot show you the triangle I cut off when I first made a 45 degree cut but that is what you do!

See below the ruler markings I am lining up to the edges of my fabric - I turned the photo around so you might see better but it is the same photo and you don't need to do this!

And cut!

Next you cut the second set in the opposite direction - this is the bit that does my head in!  I've learnt my lesson - check twice by putting your first strip on your second strip set and cut once!

Oops just showing the 45 degree angle in this photo - you still need to cut at 1.5"

Stitch the different coloured strips in pairs making chevrons and matching seams.  There is a bit of bias stretch in these strips which can work to your advantage to match those seams.  

Now stitch the pairs until you have the desired length of block.  You will need to trim it square.

In case you are interested this is called Seminole patchwork and was used by the Seminole people who often made very elaborate patterns in this way.  

This is just one possibility prompted by a Scandinavian knitting pattern - a very simple way to make something look quite complicated!  I love it!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Queen bee for August

I'm Queen bee for my lovely Stingy Bee Mates in August!

I am so excited - I have been planning my quilt for months !   Though in a way I cannot plan for this one!

Let me explain...

I have made Christmas sorry Winter quilts for my children but don't have one for our king size bed.  

I love Green Tea & Sweet Bean style sampler quilts and used the idea of the GT&SB quilt to finish this UFO - a mix of pieced and applique blocks, different sizes, blocks, borders and filler strips held together with a restricted colour palette.

So now I'm wanting a sampler style Scandinavian themed Winter quilt made from a variety of blocks, using different methods and a variety of sized and scaled blocks.

I've already made a few as examples of what I'm looking for: 

A feathered star in my chosen colour scheme of red, cream/off-white with touches of aqua/teal

A mix of border patterns and blocks - my Dresden plate needs an applique centre and background!

A chevron star block based on the Le Moyne star with a strip of background fabric in between!

I have a pinterest board full of Scandinavian inspiration - quite a lot of it is knitwear!   And here you can see how I was inspired to develop these blocks from knitting patterns!

Over the next few blog posts I hope to write up tutorials for the blocks I have made but I'm hoping my bee mates will add to the variety by designing or selecting their own block within the theme!  Big ask I know....

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Scrolling was so much fun!

Scrolling was so much fun, I actually finished the quilting ....

Then it just needed a bit of a trim and some white binding 

My job is done here so I can hand it over to my lovely daughter!

Quilt Deets
Pattern:  by V and Co - I rarely use a pattern but was taken by this one!
Materials: Top :Oakshott Ruby bundle; oddments of pink sparkly fabric donated by Helen; Kona white and Backing:  Cosmo Cricket Odds and Ends
Size  65 x 52"

Finish Along 2014
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