Thursday, 28 April 2016

Bits & Pieces

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I can't remember now what I saw on Instagram that prompted this sudden purchase, but I was left with a yearning for some softer, calmer colours and Oakshott's Scandinavia bundle answered this perfectly. I bought the tiny fat 1/8th pack, which may seem too small to be good for anything, but I actually think when a fabric isn't patterned, I often end up using it much more economically as I'm not trying to fussy-cut certain parts of the print, so I'm hopeful it will still be usable. It was even lovelier than I'd been anticipating and it looks so deliciously creamy and soft bundled up here in perfect colour order. It's very deceptive once unfolded, as one moment it looks quite coloured and the next the colour is barely there because of the white thread used on the warp of the fabric.

English paper piecing curves

This week I've returned to some more curved paper piecing. I designed these shapes one evening last week and if it goes to plan, then it will hopefully become a pattern. However, its progress has been hampered slightly by what-comes-next fabric-indecision (thank you, people of Instagram, for being such a wonderful advisory board). I'd really like a wise man to come and give me the gift of decisiveness (which sounds alarmingly like I'm comparing myself to the baby Jesus; I'm not. I'd just like a gift from a wise man) because it would up my productivity levels quite incredibly. Discussing it with my husband this evening he said: I think you just need to go for it, because in the time you've spent feeling indecisive you could have actually finished and completed all three options that you were weighing up! This is probably true and I've suddenly realised while writing this that maybe my husband is actually the wise man!

English paper piecing

Nb. You might think Magic Mirrors can cure indecisiveness as you can essentially see a mock up of all the options...but for some people, even that doesn't help!

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In other news, thank you so much for all your wonderful advice to my quilting dilemma in the last post. I'm yet to finish unpicking all the machine stitches but, as suggested in the comments by Pieces of Cotton and also Cathy, I've now trialled some diagonal hand-stitching in a large corner and really quite like it. I couldn't quite face doing tiny hand stitches though and I suddenly remembered that I had the solution to that sitting patiently in a drawer. A few years ago I'd met Kim Porter of Worn & Washed at The Festival of Quilts and had fallen in love with how soft and squishy her quilts looked - possibly a combination of the batting she was using (I have a vague recollection that it was 100% poly, which made me rethink this option as they felt absolutely gorgeous), the soft, recycled fabrics, but also her larger quilting stitches. The three elements came together to make her quilts feel and look utterly divine! Anyway, she'd sold me some of her needles and thread and when I took them out of the drawer this week, it felt most enabling to see the label bearing the words 'needles for thicker thread and bigger stitches'. I find it really hard to do things on a larger scale, so for me, what you can see below feels like huge (and quite liberating!) progress. And this corner of the quilt feels exactly the way I'd hoped it would, so although I'm not looking forward to all the unpicking, which I think will take several hours, I think I'll enjoy the finished quilt more. Kim doesn't seem to have a shop as such, but if you're interested, I think she's going to be at The Decorative Living Fair at Eridge Park in May.

big stitch hand quilting

This post is brought to you from the middle of the night as I've woken feeling hideously nauseous after eating food containing garlic, which I normally avoid. When I came up to my sewing room with the idea of writing a post to distract myself, I saw that my half-finished quilt was in here and I can now attest to the wonderfulness of a wool batting, because I'm sitting under it right now and I was toasty within about thirty seconds of draping it over me. The voile backing is so incredibly soft and lovely so I've now added a quilt made of voile on both sides to my list of things to make at some point.  I made this one back in 2010 and it's by far and away my loveliest quilt in terms of 'feel', but I find the colours a bit wishy-washy now that my daughter is six years older and she tends to have this one out on her bed (or more often trailed across her floor because she's a teenager and that's exactly where I would have left it at her age too!). There aren't a huge range of fabrics to choose from when it comes to voile though - Free spirit used to do a collection of voile solids, but that seems to have disappeared. Finally, in writing this post and thinking about quilts-past, I've also realised that I've made three quilts for my daughter and only one for my son and his lone quilt is incredibly basic, so this too may need to be added to the quilt list too!

Sleep tight (or be highly wakeful and effective if you're reading this during the daytime!),
Florence x

12 comments:

  1. I love Oakshott and find there's a surprising amount of fabric in their F8 bundles as the pieces are larger than usual. I can't wait to see what you make with t and am going to have fun spotting it in your future makes!

    P.S. As for the EPP dilemma, I like the top right option, if you're still collecting opinions.

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    1. Yes, there is, isn't there. Which is a relief as it's the most affordable quantity!

      And thank you - that was what Instagram said too! x

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  2. If you can't find voile in the colours you want, you could always try dyeing plain batiste: http://organiccotton.biz/store/index.php?route=product/product&path=36&product_id=980 . I think they have a dotted version of the same stuff, too. My mum's been getting some amazing colours with Jacquard Procion dyes. x

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  3. Ah, Nina, what a perfect recommendation. I've searched high and low for a supplier of batiste (most especially in navy, which they don't have, but I'm thinking I may just have to dye it) and so I ordered a sample of it along with a few other samples. Thanks also for the dye recommendation - has your mum got a good even colour with those or has she been using them for tie-dying, which is what the website seems more targeted at (I'm guessing it's the former, but you can surprise me by saying it's the latter, if you wish!). x

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    1. She's only been dyeing small bits, mostly, for stitchy-art purposes, and we've both done a bit of shibori/tie-dye. But we've done some bigger pieces too and got good even colour - you just have to make sure the pot's big enough to move the fabric around in. x

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    2. That's so lovely that you and your mum take on joint projects. Do you always tend to have a similar vision for how you want something to look?

      Your saying that is making me think that the only way I'll end up not daubing myself and the entire house in dye would be to find an abandoned bath tub! x

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    3. Usually it's more that I want something dyed and I persuade my mum to do it for me :-) Or with the shibori we shared the "dye bath" (it wasn't an actual bath, mind you!) but were dyeing our own bits of fabric. We do all the dyeing outside to avoid staining the house! But I think a large bucket ought to be big enough for fine fabric like batiste - unless you're planning to dye a whole bolt at once! Or use the Dylon machine stuff?? x

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    4. Urg. Dylon. I am currently suffering withdrawal from it. For the last few years I've dyed my black jeans black with it every few months (as I used to wash them everyday as I wear them for dog walks, they lost their colour fast), however, the dye started to get stuck in the workings of the machine and no amount of flushing it through with hot washes, vinegar or soda crystals could clean it and it meant that it was depositing black dye over everything - we lost two sets of white bedding and five t-shirts to it! I now have a lovely new washing machine and have been banned (by myself!) from using Dylon in it...I've been wearing skirts and tights for dog walks, but even so, my lovely black jeans are looking paler all the time and I'm missing it horribly. However, I'm not willing to risk it as they say that it won't dye your machine, but the black dye has stained the seals of my last two machines (they seem to die frequently in our house!), so this alone feels like quite outrageous false advertising! Such a shame.

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  4. I love this hand stitched look you are getting, I guess this will still not be a quick project though!
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who makes random purchases based on things I see on instagram, I think to think I am supporting small businesses!

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    1. Yes, it can all be totally justified in the name of supporting small businesses, can't it :) And yes, you're right - this will still take forever!!! x

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  5. I hope you are feeling better by now! I love big stitch hand quilting, although I can very much see how this would be a stretch for you (pun intended ;-) This quilt, with the wool batting and big stitches is quite similar to one I made last summer, simply for the pleasure it brought me (although I mixed hand and machine quiltingon mine...) It was frivolous and fabulous and perfectly scrumptious (here it is, if you'd like to take a peek: http://pursuingjoy.blogspot.com/2015/07/simply-luscious.html )
    happy sewing ~ Tracy

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    1. Tracy, it was so lovely to see photos of your gorgeous quilt! It looks to have a wonderful feel to it and I love the mixture of hand and machine stitches (your hand stitches don't look massive at all, so I'm imagining it must have taken a very long time!). Thank you so much for sharing it. x

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x

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