We all deserve a little luck occasionally; this quilt was made from a little bit of mine.
I’m lucky enough to live near a company called Standfast and Barracks, they print fabric for Liberty and Designers Guild amongst others. They have a factory shop where these fabrics can be bought in small amounts for discounted prices. You won’t be surprised that I shop there often. They also have a facebook page. (https://www.facebook.com/search/top/q=standfast%20%26%20barracks%20fabric%20factory%20shop ) and some time ago they ran a little competition to win some fabrics … guess who won?
I won… Four lovely pieces of Liberty Tana Lawn; now what to make?
I decided to make a disappearing nine patch, I had only used that block once before but I knew it would go together quite quickly, and I liked it, you don’t need a better reason, do you?
I fiddled around for a while trying to work out the placement of the fabrics and came to the conclusion that I needed more contrast, a different colour. I dug out my enormous stash of Liberty Tana lawn remnants from Standfast and Barracks, and found a blue which I thought would work.
Thinking about the balance of your fabrics in simple terms, the fabric you want to use the most of or to be the dominant fabric should go in the corners of the nine patch block .
The next fabric or fabrics should go on the four sides of the nine patch , you could use all one colour as I did or you could alternate two colours which would create a completely different look.
NB , if you use a fabric with a directional pattern, as I did the pattern should not be placed the same way up, but directed from the sides to the middle of the nine patch block, otherwise when you cut it up and try to put it together again, you’ll find the pattern going every which way. It won’t work.
Finally the fabric you have least of if you are using scraps, or you like least, or would dominate the quilt if used in greater amounts, goes in the centre of the nine patch block. The disappearing nine patch block has a balance of fabrics which is expressed by 4, 2, 2, 1 . The largest patch is 4 times bigger than the smallest and the middle sized patches are half of the larger, if you see what I mean?
Having put together the nine patch I cut it into 4 quarters and put it back together having turned two of the quarters 180 degrees. All the blue patches are aligned in the same direction. If two patches had the pattern aligned along the length, and the other two along the width, it would be visually distracting.
Nine nine patch blocks gave me a 30” quilt top and used up all of the flowered and the blue fabrics, to make it big enough for a lap quilt usually 40 -45 “ square, borders were needed. First I considered a darkish blue… too dark, then a bright watermelon pink… too bright. I thought it would dominate and make my pieced disappearing nine patch centre look dull.
I added a narrow green border to separate the pieced top from the outer border, using the green helped to balance the colour across the quilt and use the green up too. Finally I took my centre back to Standfast and Barracks, draped it over the rolls of fabric for sale in the shop. I found another blue that worked for the border. I also bought a piece of the flowered fabric big enough to back and bind the edge, leaving enough left over for the hanging sleeve too.
I planned to submit this to my quilt group’s exhibition; the third of my three items, and thinking it needed to be handed in in a few days time I was in a hurry to finish it. The last time I had used this disappearing nine patch block I used a circular quilting to balance the very square pattern, I began to mark out the circles, but my disappearing pen was dried up and useless, pencil was too laborious, I had to do something simple.
It’s stitched in the ditch, just outlining each quarter block, and the border follows the pattern of the disappearing nine patch block in a simplified form.
The binding was stitched onto the front, rolled over and tacked down over the stitch line on the back, almost ready but time was up. I drove out to the village where my Quilt group meet to hand it over, only to find I was a week too early.
Curses! Well at least I now have time to stitch that binding on, and take it back next week.
In case you are wondering I have a plan for the other two fabrics not used in this quilt, with the addition of that bright watermelon pink, I think I’ll make a disappearing four patch… watch this space.
It’s Challenge Month again and this year’s challenge was to take a greetings card, and create something using the card as inspiration. We had to bring the card and finished item to the quilt group meeting tonight.
For months I have searched high and low for a greetings card which sparked my imagination, I even found an interesting sympathy card which might have worked but the card was bought for the purpose for which it was made, and went to a bereft friend, I could not find it again.
So last week I set myself a harder challenge, I would use a card I had, whether a card I had in my stash of “just in case” cards or one which had been received and kept for sentimental reasons, it was crunch time, I did not have time to look any further and would have to make do with what I had.
I found a rather tatty card I’d bought in a sale, (pictured) a hand finished decoupage card with wrapped presents and bunting. It was the bunting which caught my eye. Last year I made red, white and blue bunting to decorate the garden to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee year and the London Olympics, I made it from off cuts of furnishing fabric, cut with pinking shears and due to the wet and windy weather it didn’t survive too well, this year I had planned to make some more, in prettier colours. This card with its Sweet Pea colours chimed with what I had wanted to make, so that was decision made.
I have a triangular cutting ruler which is pennant shaped and ideal for the job of cutting all the pieces….could I find it…… not! It took me a week to search the house, The thing is, when I have lost something I know my subconscious knows where it is so I often go and stand where I think it might be and wait for my subconscious to direct me, in this case it kept directing me to where a chair stood but I kept moving the chair to search beyond it. Doh! I found it at last, on the desk chair under a pile of other things which I had shoved out of the way several times to search the area in which it was sitting. I must have moved it 5 or 6 times in the week I was searching. Note to self, tidy up for goodness sake!
Next step, what fabric? I didn’t really want to use my precious quilt fabric stash, at £12 a metre it’s way too expensive for bunting just to decorate the garden this summer, so back to the charity shops I went, this time as well as looking for checked shirts to cut up I looked for cotton or poly /cotton sheeting or duvet cover sets in the right colours and patterns, I found a lovely pair of fine cotton curtains in blue and yellow, I think they may be home made as the cotton is dress weight not furnishing, they are now in my stash;I think they will make good quilt backs for lap quilts, not bunting. High and low have I searched but no suitable fabric did I find. Desperation set in on Sunday night, bearing in mind the bunting had to be ready to hang by Tuesday night.
Sometime after midnight I went into my studio (the spare bedroom) and opened the drawers, I had decided to pull out any fabric I knew I would never use for quilting, so what did I find? A flowery pink, poly cotton I’d had for more than 20 years, it was too thin and poly for quilting and would never have graced a quilt of mine, a pale blue bought at Abakhan which was coarser in weave than I was used to and not quite what I had in mind when I bought it, and another green fabric which is at least 30 years old, looks as if it may be a Laura Ashley but I suspect is a fake, printed by another company to take advantage of the popularity of the ditsy prints Laura Ashley made so fashionable on the 70’s. There should have been a fourth colour; a lavender shade, but I had none I was prepared to part with,three colours would have to do.
On Monday evening, after work and shopping, I cut out the pennants and stitched them on the two long sides, turned them out and put a row of tacking along the edge to hold the seams in place till I could topstitch them. I really did burn the midnight oil for this one.
On Tuesday evening after work and a walk to pick the last of the Elder flowers for drying (of which more another time), and a long chat with my neighbour in the front garden, I top stitched the pennants and stitched them to a 5m length of cotton tape, eh Voila, my Sweet Pea bunting was ready to go by midnight.
Tonight I came home hot and bothered from work, and was just about to jump in the shower when Mum called, she wasn’t feeling well, and would not be going to the quilting group tonight. I took a shower anyway and while I stood in the shower pondered, should I still go, should I not? I decided not, much as I wanted to take my bunting and have it displayed as Cecily would have enjoyed a good display of work, did I really want to drive in this heat and sit indoors on such a lovely evening? No, I decided not, instead I hung the bunting in my garden, and sat on the front step in the late afternoon sunshine, chatting to my neighbour and enjoying a glass of Pimms with ice and cucumber. Sometimes the simple pleasures in life are what counts.