Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hot Day and Kansas Troubles quilt block

The forecast for today is 40 degrees.  Hot, Hot, Hot.  But there's something about the early morning of a hot day which is quite beautiful, a combination of the light, the stillness, the shadows. The house is all buttoned down in preparation for the day.

Barbara Brackman has put up her weekly block on Civil War Quilts.  I was going to use the word brainteaser to describe these blocks but that's not the right word.  It's not a brainteaser as it is all so beautifully clear and logical.  Rather it's a teaser for your hand-eye co-ordination and your nimble fingers (or lack of them!).

This is the sample Block No 5 - Kansas Troubles.  I'll cut out the components today but I think I'll wait until  quilt32 at Lillian's Cupboard   has had time to make up her block and photograph and describe the steps before attempting the construction.  One thing I've decided though is that I'll use fabrics which show up clearly against the dark green background of the cutting board.  I find it difficult to align the ruler with a cut edge of fabric when it is a similar tone as the background.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Accuracy, three points and seam allowance.

Accuracy in cutting and stitching is vital.  I've been told that over and over again and I respect that.  But every now and then you start to think that there's something funny going on.  After all my care why doesn't my square turn out the way it should.

Take 4 Texas Tears from  Civil War Quilts by Barbara Brackman.  I've been cutting from that pattern at the moment.  Usually it's a 1/4"  seam allowance and that's what I've been using. This shows the back of the spot where three triangles join,  The little points are sticking out in just the right place.

Now if I use another 1/4" seam allowance to join this nice straight edge to another piece of fabric then I am going to nip off the point of the centre triangle, because where those two lines of stitching cross is less than 1/4" from the cut edge for the seam.

This diagram shows the small square at the back where the three triangles meet, a square with sides of 1/4".  Calculate the length of the diagonal of this square.  Then half the length of the diagonal is the amount of fabric you have available for a seam allowance. It's much less than the 1/4" that you want to use.
 I hope you can follow my maths.  Think of Pythagoras Theorem in Maths at school.

Perhaps I've been reading the wrong books but I can't find any reference to it in the articles on joining points.

So what am I meant to do.  Fudge it ?  That's not exactly being accurate !

Monday, January 17, 2011

Embroidered Flower Quilt

Now that the Goldwork is finished it's time to get back to my embroidered flower quilt- six different flowers set in a diamond pattern,  Five of them are finished , the tulip still to do.

The Carnation

No matter how hard I try I always pull my stitches too tightly in this type of embroidery and usually I put some sort of fine backing on the material.  But this time I forgot and now I am paying for it !  Everything looks nice and smooth when it is in the hoop but once it comes out of the hoop there is plenty of puckering which doesn't seem to disappear with ironing.  Hopefully the quilting might disguise some of the puckering.

The Cornflower

The Double Rose

The Pansy

The Pink Rose

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Finishing a goldwork "UFO"

I am completely in awe of those people who are able to blog regularly, whether it be daily or weekly, their prose just flows.  I always find it interesting.  Sometimes it concerns a craft project, or a meal they've cooked or little items of news about their family.  A small window into a life which in some ways so similar to mine and in other ways so different.

There was a rumble of thunder a moment ago but the rain we're having is nothing to what is happening in Queensland.  We're getting  almost non-stop reporting of the disaster on radio and TV.  Just terrible.  You can't help being horrifed at what is happening to people.  But today the flood is moving into Brisbane and it was a newpaper article which really sent the shivers down my spine. This writer is a master of his craft.

I have been using this post-Christmas period to try and tackle some of the UFOs in my cupboard and  have managed to finish one.  It's not perfect, and I ended up making a couple of changes  as I was making a mess of things.  The pattern was "Extravaganza"  by Betsy Bee Designs for Rajmahal.

The background is white satin. I started it about three years ago but kept getting frustrated and  leaving it to do something else. I've decided I don't really enjoy doing goldwork. There a still a couple more smaller ones in the cupboard to finish but I won't start any new ones !

All that's left to do now is get it framed.