I finished my Mirabelle quilt this week and overall I’m really pleased with it.
It’s by no means perfect though. There are lots of alignment problems but I think since I started this quilt two years ago, my piecing has become more accurate. The machine quilting isn’t as good as I’d like either. I quilted in the ditch, which was made easier with a dedicated ditch quilting foot, but it’s still more wrinkled that I’d like, especially the horizontal sashing, which you can see in the photo above. Mum seems to get her quilts so smooth when she quilts them.
Things that I learnt whilst making this quilt
- Always piece on the same sewing machine. Failing that, check the accuracy of your sewing/seams as you complete each block. As I made this over the course of many months, I used different sewing machines when piecing. I found that some machines did a more generous ¼ inch seam than others and it wasn’t until I’d done a good number of blocks did I realise that they were coming out at different sizes because the seams weren’t quite the same. I had to remake some and trim down others. If I’d stuck to the same machine, even if the seams were a fraction bigger than they should have been, at least they would have been all the same!
- Press the seams the same way. With the cross pieces in each block and sashing, I pressed some seams away from each other, and some towards each other. Because it is a pale fabric you can see the seams underneath through the top and it doesn’t all look the same.
- Cut all the sashing from the same piece of fabric. Unfortunately all my horizontal sashing pieces were cut from a different piece of plain fabric. It was the same shade of Moda Bella Solids, however it was from a different bolt and the colour is very slightly different. It wasn’t until I’d sewed the whole quilt top together, that I noticed the colour variation. It does annoy me a bit as it looks like it is a bit grubby, but I couldn’t face re-doing it.
If you’d like to make a similar quilt, I’ve written a short tutorial here.
I am really enjoying EPP but I have to admit that I started the Bee cushion before remembering that I was given this book on English Paper Piecing at Christmas. I’m horribly embarrassed that I’d forgotten it was on the bookshelf.. especially because it is such a good book on EPP.
All Points Patchwork is a technique book rather than a project book and the author, Diane Gilleland, covers everything a beginner needs to know: equipment needed, types of papers, basting and how to sew the pieces, not just hexagons, but all sorts of different shapes including curved shapes.
It’s full of handy tips and hints and I’m sure it’s going to be one of those books that I will keep referring back to as I do more EPP and try to improve.
Once I’ve finished the cushion I think I’m going to try the Ring-a-Roses pattern by Flossie Teacakes. I fancy a bit of fabric artwork on the wall. Choosing the colours is going to be the hardest job I reckon though!
I’ve decided that it’s about time I finish the half made quilts that I have packed up and decided that it was time to get on with the Mirabelle Quilt. I started this quilt 2 years ago and the top has been finished for over a year! The backing fabric and wadding have been cut and it’s been ready to go for ages.
So yesterday whilst it was quiet in the shop, I sandwiched the layers and pinned it with curved safety pins.
And today, using the Elna 760 and quilt in the ditch walking foot I got started.
Progress was a bit slow as I had to keep stopping to serve customers, but the main thing is that it underway and I will keep it at the shop to work on in quiet times. I’m determined to stay on top of it and get it finished as soon as possible.
I have to admit that I’ve never tried EPP (English Paper Piecing), so I thought I would give it a go this week, using 1″ hexagon papers and a mini charm pack which contains fabric squares that are 2.5″ square.
The fabric is from Moda’s new Bee Creative range (which is selling fast!) and perfectly suited for a hexagon/honeycomb effect I think.
The hexagons measure 1″ down each side and 2″ across the diameter, so a mini charm square fits quite nicely. I’ve also punched a hole in each paper as I read somewhere this was a good idea to help you pull the papers out afterwards.
I am using a Sewline fabric glue pen to hold the fabric onto the papers as I sew. I didn’t fancy tacking all the hexagons. It would take to long.
I’m thoroughly enjoying the hand stitching and think I will be turning this into a cushion of some sort. Watch this space to see what they become!
I made up my Japanese rice bag the weekend before last, using the kit I bought at the quilt show. I love it, although I don’t know what I’ll use it for
I thought I would show you the baby quilt I put together this week.
It was the quickest quilt I’ve ever done, because there was no piecing. This is a complete quilt panel. I simply added wadding and backing, quilted it and bound it.
The quilting was a mixture of straight lines around the boxes and then some free-motion quilting around some of the animals and lilypads.
I also did some quilting in the blue border area using Mum’s new Parrs-Reel Ruler which she bought at Westpoint at the weekend. Unfortunately the photo here doesn’t show up. It took a few attempts to get it right at first, but I did get the hang of it after a while.
If you’d like to make this quilt, you can buy the Paul and Sheldon quilt panel here.
This past week, I’ve gone all Japanese, and not just because I love sushi! Sometime ago my husband bought me a book on Sashiko, a type of Japanese embroidery, and I bought some a couple of sashiko kits which I hadn’t started until this week. One is a cushion and the other is for a tote bag. I thought the bag would be nice project to take to Knit ‘n Stitch, especially as one of the group members has done some sashiko and I could ask for help if I didn’t understand what to do.
It is actually easier than I thought it was going to be, especially using a pre-printed cloth kit and I’m really enjoying doing it.
Then today, Mum and I went to the Quilt Show at Westpoint, Exeter as we do every year. It’s a small show but I quite like that as it’s not too tiring.
As well as the usual stallholders, there is a quilt exhibition. I wasn’t wowed by the quilts this year to be honest, except for some by a quilter called Kay Bell. The quilting was amazing. All free motion machine quilting. It was pretty darn perfect. I took this close up photo of a quilt called Swooning. She used Camille Roskelley’s Swoon pattern for this quilt. I almost didn’t recognise it at first because the colour and fabric choices and quilting made it look so different.
As far as purchases went, they were all Japanese related from a business called Japan Crafts. I bought some plain blue fabric for some more sashiko embroidery which Mum suggest I turn into a wall hanging with the patterned blue fabric forming a border. I also couldn’t resist a Japanese fabric charm pack and kit to make a traditional rice bag. The stallholder threw in a free pattern to make a larger bag too with the charm pack.
Mum splashed out on a Parrs Reel Ruler kit. This is a new free motion quilting system with a special foot that fits most machines and a slotted ruler allows you to quickly and easily quilt your projects. You can get all sorts of different rulers to create different shapes. I’ve only had a quick play this afternoon, but I think with a bit of practice could really help us with our quilting.