Passacaglia Progress

Slowly but surely, she is growing.

Here is my (fourth) layout.


Thank goodness for a big sitting room!

Obviously, this might change, but this is where I am at the moment. I’m working on filling in the rosettes in the middle – adding the belt of stars around the centres – and have bought 200 more teeny tiny triangle pieces as I have run out already (gulp!).

I’m raising a glass to glue basting right now!

Tidying my room … with delectable mountains

Isn’t that just the best block name?

Delectable Mountains. I’ve wanted to do something using this block for ages, and decided it would fit perfectly into a pocket for a bed tidy or machine mat.

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They’re not all that easy to see – on the front pocket – but they look like mountains that step up then step down again. Here’s a detail:


I should have made the contrast stronger. I tried to pick the blue out of the pale fabric in the background, and it is a good match, but not really strong enough to stand out properly. I should have picked another brown, to go with the striking print in the pocket behind.

This project was what I intended the circle quilting for, but that piece ended up too small for the background (doh!), so I cannibalised my very first try at a bed tidy for this cross hatched backing.

Got to love a bit of creative recycling!

Rosettes and rings

My Passacaglia quilt is sort of in limbo at the moment. Making all the rings for the centres of the rosettes was the easy part – now I’m (still) trying to get a layout that really pleases me.

Here is my latest attempt:


So big, it’s eating the room…

The large blue rosette on the top left has been in and out so many times, it’s a bit like the hokey-cokey. I replaced it with this one for a while, but it just seems a bit washed out and flat compared to the other rosettes:

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I like it, but it just doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the rosettes.

I’ve also been working on a bed tidy for my classes to make, and – in a complete contrast to the intricate piecing of the Passacaglia – working on a way to quilt a largeish piece of fabric quickly.

I’ve been playing with concentric and overlapping circles using freezer paper as a template. I tried to stick to 5 basic sizes of circle, drawn at random with a pair of compasses, and went round some with my walking foot different distances from the line.

Here’s the end result:


There are a few twisty bits in the fabric where the circles get close to each other – maybe I could have glued it better to stop the fabric moving while I quilted. Over all, I like the effect, and might play with it again.

I might also add some free motion quilting in the rings. I wouldn’t do this for a bed tidy, as it would all be under the mattress anyway, but it would be very effective on a panel or a whole cloth quilt.

365 Challenge – Joining Up the Blocks…

I’m designing a mini quilt at the moment, but I’m waiting for the background fabric I want to come into the shop – so I’m a bit in limbo at the moment. I’ve been meaning to get back to my 365 Challenge blocks, and this seemed like a good time.

It’s a really grim and rainy day today, so perfect for sewing. I’ve joined up a few of my least favourite 3 inch finished squares (the ones that didn’t quite make the cut) using some left over black batik sashing strips.

It was a bit tricky in places as the blocks weren’t all exactly 3 1/2 inches… (some trimming was necessary!)

Here is the plain sashed version:


The strips work out at 1/2 inch finished – just enough to separate the blocks.

I’ve also played around with the idea of having mini cornerstones at the points where the sashing meets. I’m not sure if this will be too much colour, as the quilt is already scrappy. Here are some potentials:

I’ve tried a bright colour, a cooler colour and a mixture.

Too much?

Too much hassle?

Questions, questions…

A Fabric Box

One of the projects I am teaching this coming term is this fabric box, designed by Sarah Wellfair:

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I’ve been admiring the blue and yellow fabrics with the swirls on for about two years, but hadn’t found the right project for them until now. I picked those out first, then chose the red to give it a bit of zing.

I’m really pleased with the way it turned out, and am planning to also make a smaller one, possibly using one of the 6 inch finished blocks from the 365 challenge.

I could have added a small ribbon tab to make it easier to open, but as the lid overlaps the outside of the box, I think it’s okay as it is. The tab might also have distracted from the overall pattern.

Butterflies revealed – and a bit of catching up

It’s done – ta dah!


My meadow butterflies are now free. They even have antennae – free motion appliqued along a line I marked with a water soluble pen.


Overall, I am pleased with them. The reeds give height and the butterflies (hopefully) give a bit of movement.

The one thing I might have changed would be to quilt after appliqueing. I know I wouldn’t have got the lovely all over pattern behind the butterflies, but it would have made it much easier to match up the joins between the squares on the background and in the applique. There are a few places where they are just slightly off – not enough to be glaringly obvious, but enough to irritate.

I have also been catching up on some of the Splendid Sampler blocks. They also happen to be mostly applique, although one of them I actually did mostly by hand (shock horror!). You can see the stitches a bit, but I find I can forgive myself for that quite easily!


I’ve still got a couple more in plastic wallets to do – and will post them as I finish.


Butterflies and Dressmaking

Not at the same time, but that could be arranged!

Apart from battling a rather nasty flare up of acid reflux, I have been mostly dressmaking recently. Not actual dresses yet, as I don’t wear them that often. I’ve really been sucked into sewing with jersey, and making stretchy tops, as I wear these almost every day, especially in the summer.

My favourite pattern is the Agnes top by Tilly and the Buttons – wearable, easy to put together, and easy to customise. Here is my latest version, made in heather coloured cuff ribbing, with long sleeves:


I’m hoping this will be perfect for those spring days that are too warm for jumpers but just too cold for short sleeved tops.

Never fear, I have been quilting though! I’ve been working on an applique project for next term’s classes. This is where the butterflies come in – a butterfly meadow made from a charm pack:


Here is a butterfly in detail:


I’m planning to add antennae to make them a bit more realistic, but I do want a silhouette effect, so I don’t want to add too much.

I quilted the whole panel before putting the applique on. This was good in that I could quilt all over without worrying about avoiding the shapes, but it did make adding some of the longer grasses a bit more difficult. When I quilted the panel, some of the squares shrunk a bit, so some of the joins between the squares didn’t match up any more.

I will put the panel up again when it is done.