Patchwork & Quilting Feed

Unreal expectations

Sixteen place-mats to whip up in a few days.  It is not going to happen.  I have so over estimated what I am capable of.  I have now quilted the first 6 of the 16.  That has taken 2 days.  And let me say 2 full days.  I am pleased with the quilting.  Six different designs all done with my walking foot.  All that practice has payed off.

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But I haven't thought this through.  I still have all the bindings to do and all that hand sewing takes time.  I knew what I was doing with these mats.

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With the next 10 I am going to be in new territory.  I want to use my Bernina quilting rulers and my free motion sewing is not good.

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Thinking about it, if I want to catch up on the number of mats I need to finish I might be better to stick with the walking foot quilting.  I might be able to finish this lot in a week or so.  I still have another 14 to go to get to my projected total which has to be finished in November.  I can complete this lot using a technique I am familiar with and take some of the pressure off myself, then learn something new when I have a bit more time.  (I have had a couple of visitor to my sewing room who would like to buy these.  It's the cat thing.)



I have a major recycling project on my hands at the moment.  I had to pull out my spare sewing machine to lend to a friend (her machine had completely frozen,  I think it might be rust.)  And when I got it out from under the bench I found 2 big bags of scraps from my last quilt.  I'm glad I didn't put them in the bin because I have been able to make 16 place-mats from those bits and pieces, or I will once I get them going.

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I have now pieced all the small pieces of wadding and off cuts and layered my mats ready for  quilting.

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The first 6 are from a piece I found at Vinnies a while ago.  It was a cat print, so not technically part of my off cuts, but it is recycling.

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I am way behind on my 50 place-mats for charity but this effort, when I finish, should put me within striking distance.

New Applique Technique

One of the blogs that I subscribe to is Martingdale Publishers.

I sometimes find a book I like and I have bought a number of Ebooks from them.  In one of their latest posts was a video about a new applique technique, called "stitch and flip" applique.  Sounded interesting, so I had a look.


I teach all kinds of hand applique techniques and thought this might be a good addition.  But, would it work on other shapes?  So I did a little trial, with patchworkers in mind.  I know from experience that, as a norm, they do not like hand stitching and prefer to so as much stitching on the machine as possible.  I choose a star shape and rounded the corners of the star.   I found that I needed to lower my stitch length to 2.0 or less and that it was neccessary to use a slow speed for the sewing. (Using a Bernina machine.)

I think that if I had used points on the star and similar scissors to those used in the video it would have been easier to turn through and I would have got a sharper edge. 

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Still, I wasn't unhappy with the result and the applique shape did sit up proud on the surface.  The fabric I used was a bit problematic because it had such a high thread count.  Great for the fabric to take up the dye but hard to get a needle through.  I wrote the quote on the fabric using a 1.0 ink pen.  Working on the assumption that most would machine stitch the opening closed after the pin cushion was stuffed I decided to do some Feather Stitch over the join.

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I then added some beads and made tiny tassels to finish off.  I don't think this technique would work in my handwork classes and I prefer needle-turn applique myself.  But, it was fun making this little pin cushion, (5" square,) although those tassels were a bit of a fiddle.

It's in the bag

There were times I didn't think I was going to finish this quilt but it is now in it's bag and stored in the guest room for my paddlers. So it is called "the paddler's quilt."

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I made it's storage bag from the left over fabric, which means I know what quilt it is without having to open it and it keeps it clean. 

My paddlers arrive during any good weather.  "Hello Mrs Foley, we were paddling in the area and thought we would drop in".  After feeding and watering them, or rather after a few beers,  it's getting dark and too dangerous to paddle back so they are invited to stay.  It is always, "we don't want to be any trouble" but I have a bundle of inflatable beds and pull quilts out of the cupboard for them.  Being  mostly young men, who you can read like a book, the looks on their faces when the floral quilts are given out made me think I needed something more masculine.

This quilt all started with a charm pack of nautical fabrics and like topsy grew.  I started the quilt  a year ago but managed to damaged my shoulder  and made it worse trying to use the roller cutter.  Then I bought too much fabric and then a few couples started to turn up in the mix.  So the quilt ended up queen size.

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I just couldn't handle quilting something this size so gave it to my local quilt shop Bayside Stitchcraft who did a great job.  I am so lucky to have such a good shop close by.   (Well only about 15K away.)

She used a wave pattern to suit the nautical theme.

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So I can't wait for the next lot of paddlers to arrive to see if this meets with a better reception.

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Family has taken over

My eldest son, father of my grand daughters, had a serious workplace accident .  After much to do he ended up with a major operation on his spine.  It has been rather tense here wondering if he would end up in a wheel chair but to date everything seems to be going well.  The big problem is keeping him from moving,  he has always been a bee in a bottle.  This has meant that we are constantly visiting to take the girls to and from school and him to and from medical appointments and from doing what he should not  (Like chopping and stacking fire wood!)  In-between travelling and looking after everyone not much sewing has been going on.  What I have managed to finish is my' sew together bag' that was my gift for one of my patchwork group.  I managed to cut the cushion of my thumb while sewing and although I still have to keep a dressing on it I am sewing again.

So this is my gift, now finished with the correct zipper and beading in place.

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My choice of fabric for the bindings was not good.  They matched the colour of the main fabric well but the weave was too open.  Still, it is now ready to return to it's new owner.


I also finished the trial run of this bag.

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I used tailoring interfacing on this one it was a lot lighter but still held it's shape well.  I also hand stitched the bindings on  both bags as it gave a better finish.

I used different coloured zips and a bright kangaroo print for the lining.  (I never thought I would find a use for this fabric.)

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I don't think I will make any more of this these two were enough.

An Aniversary

My patchwork group celebrated 30 years of wonderful friendship and love of textiles this past weekend with a High Tea at 'Room with Roses' in the city.

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I have been a member of the group for 20 years now and the support and friendship from these woman has been one of the outstanding blessings of my life.  The theme of the celebration was 'roses' and we were tasked with making a 'sew together bag' made of a fabric which featured roses.  This was a challenge not helped by the fact that 2 of the 4 zippers I purchased were faulty and I had no means of transport to go and buy another.  I put in a plain white zipper for the day but have requested the bag back so that I can replace that zip.  Thank goodness for You tube or I would never have worked out how to make this from the written instructions.

The bag I received was made by Mia and it is beautiful.

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The fabrics are lovely both inside and out and mine came packed with goodies.

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The friendship of these ladies is so important to me.  Thank you ladies.

Some more quilting trials

Today's sketchbook activities included quite a number that I didn't have the equipment for so I went back to my experiments with curves using my walking foot.

Free Curves

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A bit more structure.

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and the front of the mats.

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Then I drew a grid and took that structure pattern at bit further.  This pattern would stand out better if I used a heavier weight thread.  ( I also tried a machine finished edging that just doesn't do it for me. So back to hand hemming.)

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Then I sectioned of the mat and drew a curve and shadowed it.

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  Still not sure which kind of quilt I would use them on.

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I have now finished 22 place-mats which is my quota till the end of May.  My machine goes in for service next week so I might have to put this project on hold for a while.


I had a rude shock when I went to my patchwork shop.  I am going through cutting blades at a terrible rate.  I was told it could be my cutting mat.  I did a quick reckoning and realised that the mat must be getting up to 20 years old, with lots of use over that time. 

Where did all those years go?

I came home and gave it a good wash and it is now drying but I think it is time to replace it.

All those little boxes have now been delivered to my Quilting friends, along with a chocolate bunny each.

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It is really good to know I achieved that goal and learnt lots of things along the way.  I must make one of those for myself.


Update time.

Well the knitting isn't progressing because it makes my shoulder too sore.  I have to put that aside for a little but I did get the fronts and back up to the arm hole before I stopped.

The cross stitch grows, very slowly.

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I have completed another 2 place-mats.  I am now expanding the quilting patterns I tried out on the 10" squares.

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And the big step forward is that I have now finished all 35 blocks of the Nautical Quilt.

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These are now ready to trim to size and start adding the sashing and borders.  I am hopeful that I will have this quilt top finished ready for quilting by next weeks update.