Monday, 31 August 2015

Passacaglia and Four Patches

So this is the start of my next rosette for Passacaglia. I'm going for a mixed colour rosette, as there were a few fabrics I was eager to use and couldn't wait! The outer ring of white-ish pentagons with the red/green A's are what I managed to get done today and I'm really loving this project so far.

However! I did also get a hankering to do something with my machine, so I tackled a job that's needed doing for some time.

Everytime I cut fabric or end up with scraps, I used to sort them by colours and put the scraps in colour coded tubs, e.g., all the reds in one tub, all the purples in another. I figured that someday, I'd use all these scraps somehow no matter how tiny the piece. But you know what? I hadn't touched them for years, except to add more. So I decided to take the bull by the horns and sort them out!

I took a colour and sorted the pieces, either into strips for string piecing, or by cutting them into 2 and a half inch squares. Anything that didn't fit or didn't cut down, got thrown away (gasp, horror, shock!)

Yes. I threw them away.

And it felt goooooooddddd!

I've never been happy about throwing fabric away before. I stashed everything, like a little fabric magpie, lining my nest, until I was sitting in a room almost bursting to the seams with waste fabric. By the time I'd sorted it, I'd discarded a whole shopping bags worth of offcuts that were no use, yet I ALSO had a huge pile of 2 and a half inch squares. So many that I had to find a container for them as well as a container for my string pieces.

I intend to make a scrap quilt of my own design/Bonnie K Hunter inspired. Can I say I love Bonnie? I do. I adore her and I love watching her when I can on Quiltcam. Unfortunately, due to the time difference, I'm usually asleep when its happening live and so I have to watch it without being able to join in, but I love how she takes something scrappy and turns it into the most beautiful quilts. And her Leaders and Enders projects? Inspiring!

So, I started on my squares and decided I would perfect the four patch. Four 2 and a half inch squares sewn together with a quarter inch seam allowance, should measure 4 and a half inches square when sewn together correctly, but often I would find myself having bigger squares, or smaller squares. I was always easing fabric in, or trying to stretch it out. Only occasionally would I get a perfect match in my seams. 

Now Bonnie is a big believer in getting those seams right first time. Check your seam allowance. Stop trimming blocks down. Cut right. Measure right. Watch your seam allowance.

And by doing so, I can now make up perfect 4 and a half inch four patches. It takes time, but it's worth it. I think when we're chain piecing we often speed through, eager to complete the task and this is where we make mistakes. I used to work in a factory and speed was of the essence, but in factories they have people to check the standard of work. Anything not good enough is either sent back, turned into a second or sold in the factory shop as a second, but essentially it doesn't matter.

But our quilts? These are one off pieces. With OUR names on. We ought to send out the best we can. We owe it to ourselves to be proud of our work. To accept compliments on what we've done, rather than stand there thinking, "well, you should know about all the mistakes in that quilt"

So, what have YOU tackled this week? Let me know, I'd love to hear about it. Happy quilting!

Louisa x

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Passacaglia and a Store Review!

Rosette number 2 is coming along! I chose purple as my theme colour, as it's one of the larger rosette's and purple's my favourite. It's not quite complete. It still needs 12 stars added to the outer rim, along with 6 trapezoid shapes, then that cog will be done and I can start another, with another theme colour.

The ladies on the Millefiori Quilts/Passacaglia Facebook page have been posting some lovely photos (of their completed cogs) ever since I joined, so if you are interested in joining in with this quilt, then I thoroughly recommend that you also join the FB group, too.

Last week, my husband and I took a trip to Chichester for the day. Before we went, I googled the area to check to see if they had any good fabric stores, and I saw that there was a shop called The Eternal Maker on Terminus Road, so we decided to pop in there on our way home.

It was very easy to find, plenty of parking outside and though the building doesn't look much from the outside (seems a bit dilapidated) it's actually very bright, large and delightfully charming inside.

I think it was the grounds of an old factory, but inside there is fabric aplenty, all sorted into colours, so it's easy to go to the section you want, for either solid or patterned. Then there are separate sections for fat quarters, jelly rolls, layer cakes and charm packs (though there weren't too many of those) it was mainly fabric from bolts. Up above and around you, completed quilts are on show, as well as soft toys and sock teddies, ribbons and buttons, lace and a wall of notions.

It wasn't cheap (on the island where I live, I can get fat quarters for £1.50 each) the fat quarters here were £3.50 each, but I did get myself a couple of metres of fabric for £14 a metre each. You can see some of it in the picture above (the outer layer of purple).

Well worth a visit! Pleasant staff, who just let you get on and browse (I do hate it when someone pounces on me the second I walk through a shop door and asks if they can help. If I want help, I will ask for it) and next door was a pleasant little coffee shop (The Eternal Baker) selling beautiful cakes (oh and a yarn section, too!)

You can check them out and order online too, or book into a class of theres, or even hold a party there! It's run by a mother/daughter team, who I didn't get to meet, because they were up at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, but I hope to meet them the next time I go and I will be going back very soon.

So, if you're in the Chichester area, do check it out.

So what about you? Do you live near a cool fabric store? Please share it in the comments, so that others can find out about it!

Thanks everyone. Happy sewing!

Louisa x