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Tag: Liberty fabric

Making Miriam’s cushion

May 11, 2018
Miriam's cushion

Recently one of my staff team handed in her notice, I was very sad to see her go because she is a great practitioner and a lovely human being, but I was happy to see her progress in her career.

Naturally I wanted to give Miriam a leaving gift that was personal from me to her, no shop bought gift , it had to be hand made.  A cushion was all I had time to achieve, so this is the tale of Miriam’s cushion.

Miriam's cushion

Finished!

 

I decided all would be made from my fabric stash, and wanted something very pretty, so Liberty prints seemed to fit the bill.

I wondered if perhaps there was a block called Miriam, well there is but it isn’t particularly pretty, and its also known as Crazy Susan, so that wouldn’t go down well. Stars was my second thought. Pinterest supplied this idea, Miriam’s cushion was going to be Fab.

Miriam's cushion

Liberty prints

 

15 different fabrics were picked out of my stash, and a new white on white fabric was bought to tie them all together, there was nothing suitable in my stash.

Miriam's Cushion

trimming down to 2.5 “

 

 

From each fabric one 2 ½ “ square and four 2⅞ “   triangles were required.  I found it easier to cut 2 x 3 “ squares from each fabric and the same from the white to make 4 half square triangle units by putting a Liberty fabric square right sides to right sides with a white square, sewing two lines half an inch apart across the diagonal and cutting them apart, pressing to the dark side, then cutting down to 2 ½ “.

 

Half square triangle units are traditionally made by marking a fine pencil line diagonally across the paler fabric, so that it can easily be seen, and sewing a ¼“ from either side of the line.  We press the seam allowance towards the darker fabric so as not to allow the darker fabric to show through the paler, it also helps to nest seams for a flatter, neater end result.

Miriam's Cushion

placing fabrics

 

Once I had 15 sets of square and triangles, I had to decide on placement of the fabrics, with this pattern there are no blocks which can be made up and colour placement decided later, each fabric interlocks with its neighbours row on row , so the whole design must be laid out in advance.  Thank goodness it was only a cushion, I don’t have space to lay out an entire quilt in this way.

Miriam's cushion

 

Numbering the rows so that I didn’t get myself in a tangle I stitched each row individually, then pressed the odd rows in one direction and the even rows in the other direction so that the seams would nest neatly.

 

I was under time pressure, so as I worked I considered how to finish Miriam’s cushion, I wanted to finish the edge with a binding which would look like piping without the faff of having to use piping. But that left me with a problem of how to close the cushion cover.

 

A Zipper looks better than an envelope back, which I always think looks baggy and unfinished, but I couldn’t figure out how to put a zipper in a bound edge. So rather than make a matching back I had to make a smaller version of the front for back with a sashing to insert a zipper and leave a raw edge to bind.

Miriam's cushion

cushion back with zipper

 

Each side was sandwiched with a 2oz wadding bought specially at Abakhan    (https://www.abakhan.co.uk/stores) in Preston; and quilted simply with diagonal lines, happily because the wadding was quite chunky, it didn’t need a lot of close quilting.

Miriam's cushion

quilting Miriam’s cushion

I sewed the front to the back wrong sides together with the raw edges on the outside, a ¼ “ seam allowance.

 

Finally I cut and stitched the binding ; I cut a 2 ¼ “ binding and folded  it in half lengthways, right sides out, sewing it to the front of the cushion just a smidge wider than  ¼ “ so that the first seam isn’t showing.  It also stabilises and strengthens the seam around the edge being stitched round a second time.  Then rolling the binding over the raw edge by hand, because I have folded the binding I now have a folded edge to hand stitch along the seam line on the reverse side.

Miriam's cushion

Finished!

 

I used the same fabric for the binding as the sashing so that any wobbliness of the binding or the hand stitching would be less obvious on that side. I was burning the midnight oil by this time; Miriam’s cushion had to be finished, she was leaving the following day.

 

I wanted to label the cushion, but not for it to be seen  announcing myself constantly, so I made a label and stitched it inside the cushion, just under the zipper.  It simply says it was made for  Miriam, it is Miriam’s cushion.

 

When I gave Miriam’s Cushion to her, I pointed out my two errors, the zipper isn’t centrally placed, can’t figure out how that happened, but I didn’t have time to fix it, and the far corner fabric isn’t quite “right”, but I left it in because, as all quilters know, “only God is Perfect”.

 

There was one final flourish that I had planned to add but I ran out of time. It was a bible quotation I sought out especially For Miriam, a committed Christian, as she was leaving us for another job nearer to her home. I had planned it to be sewn inside like the label.

 

So here it is :-

 

To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. (Ecclesiastes 5:19)

 

It’s more than simply Miriam’s cushion it is a gift to express fond appreciation of the person she is.  Thank you Miriam for passing through my life however briefly, it has been a pleasure to know you, to work with you, to see you develop and flourish in your profession.

 

 

Sunshine and Shadow

September 14, 2013

This is something I have been tinkering about with for months; I’m making a scrap quilt from all my Liberty lawns. I have many small pieces sometimes a quarter or half yard many with print errors which need to be carefully cut around, so scrappy quilts lend themselves to such a collection. All my Liberty prints are roll ends and misprints from the factory shop, but for a project like this they are perfect.

so far so good

so far so good

This block makes a wonderful scrap quilt but can just as easily be adapted to use only two fabrics or a carefully chosen mix of your favourite palette, the only stipulation I would make is that you need lights and darks to ensure clear definition, if you choose fabrics which are too close in shade or tone you will lose the pattern.

half lights half darks in two sizes

half lights half darks in two sizes

It would work with pastels on white or ivory, for a baby quilt; or two plains for the team colours of any keen supporter, claret and blue for a West Ham supporter perhaps. Imagine it in red and white, a striking alternative to the traditional double Irish chain. Perhaps it would work in black and red if you have a Goth in the household, or black and neon Brights if you want a stunner.

nearly finished block

nearly finished block

I’ll explain how it’s made and give the dimensions when it is finished, but there is a long way to go yet; now that the nights are drawing in and the days getting colder and wetter my garden needs to be “put to bed “, and then the quilting can begin.

A challenging challenge

February 6, 2013

What do you do if you don’t like the challenge block? Hide it.

Cecily's favourite churn dash block

This Lap quilt is made using the Churn Dash block (or monkey wrench), I think it was the favourite block of our most venerated late member and the instigator of our quilt group’s challenge, Cecily. But I dislike it. I wanted to rise to the challenge as always but I find the block rather pedestrian, perhaps because I’ve only made it in co-ordinated colours and plain fabrics, so a decided to do it in heavily patterned fabrics and mix it up so that the pattern was lost and the fabric became the star of the piece rather than the block.
Good idea, but I think I took it too far, the pattern is completely lost and with it the sense of rhythm to the quilt top, as a consequence what stands out are the pale squares, rather than the fabric in general. All of the fabrics are Liberty scraps from the printer’s factory shop, I’m so lucky to live nearby; I call in occasionally to buy craft packs, but I can also buy off the roll if I have a big project in mind.

Detail of quilting on Churn Dash quilt

In other senses I’m happy with the quilt; it hangs beautifully flat and straight and is evenly quilted throughout. I created my own wavy line quilt guide using taped together strips of cereal packet, with a hand drawn wavy line. On one side the wavy edge has wide and fairly flat curves, on the other side they are closer together and therefore appear deeper. I used the flatter side, drew on the lines with an air dispersible pen, and chalk pencil taking the quilt pattern right out in a continuous line to the edge of the quilt.
I like the curvy line quilting because it’s easy to do and does not rely on the accuracy of the piecing, in fact if your piecing is not accurate curvy line quilting is very forgiving. That’s always a good thing.