Friday, 28 April 2017

Undoing what Doris did

Now is the time of year when I start to visit more garden centres than fabric shops. Last May, I spent a weekend tidying up a corner of the garden and trying to minimise the visual impact our neighbour’s very large Leylandii was having on our fence at the bottom of our garden. Improvements were made and the corner went from this:
        to  this
Despite us offering to contribute to the cost of having the some of the height removed, our neighbour was not interested and so we were left with a garden in shade for most of the day and an ever increasing tree. That was until February this year when Storm Doris paid a visit and removed the tree for us, but sadly taking our lilac and half our fence with it.

The neighbour was not in any rush to sort things out after the bulk of the tree was removed from his garden (he was very lucky it was not from his house!), so with help from a good friend we manage to remove the remains of our lilac and put a temporary fence fix in place working around the Leylandii stump.

I had that view from my kitchen window until the beginning of this month when the neighbour decided that the only way to remove the stump was to burn it! I had a week of coming home to bonfires at the bottom of the garden and wondering if the rest of our fence would survive (if you look closely, you can see the fire got rather too close to our neighbour’s new side fence).

On Easter Saturday, our friend came back and helped us remove enough of the stump so we could finally replace the fence posts and panels. Very large holes were dug and few “finds” were discovered from the days when our garden was part of a row of terrace houses.

By mid-afternoon the new fence was in place and by late afternoon everything had been tidied and levelled and the plants I had managed to rescue back in February were placed ready for replanting.
Last weekend saw at trip to the garden centre for some grass seed and something to replace the lilac (I went for a jasmine that can climb the trellis this year and perhaps move on to something bigger next year) and Sunday was spent planting, raking, relocating the bench, painting, and sowing grass seed.

What the photo doesn’t show are two very large wood pigeons who are taking a great deal of interest in the grass seed. Hopefully it starts growing soon and I can get back to sewing not sowing.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Morris Hexathon - finally finished

After many months of hand sewing and a half a day of machine quilting, my Morris Hexathon quilt is finally finished.

As the quilt is backed with fleece with no batting I didn’t have to worry about quilting distances so given the complex piecing on the front, I decided to keep the quilting simple and just stitched around the hexagons. I went from edge to edge, crossing over at the points of each hexagon which meant there were no thread ends to bury.

There were 26 blocks in Barbara Brackman's original weekly series (which can be seen here). My layout required 32 blocks so I used the alternative block patterns where ones were provided and modified one or two others so all blocks are different. With the exception of three fat quarters bought for fussy cutting, all fabrics and the backing were from stash, though the size of my stash doesn't seem to have shrunk much.

I have enjoyed the slow progress of this quilt and having something available to hand stitch in the evenings or at Leeds MQG. Now I need to get myself sorted with my next slow stitching project and some more stash busting.

Quilt Details
Pattern: Morris Hexathon by Barbara Brackman
Finished size: Approximately 52" x 68"
Piecing: EPP
Quilting: Edge to edge straight line using Aurifil 40wt
Backing: Fleece
Batting: None

Monday, 27 February 2017

Morris Hexathon - when two wrong (sides) would make a right

After several months of stitching, the end is in sight for my first hand pieced quilt. A productive day at February’s Leeds MQG meant I had only three pieces left to stitch when I got home that evening. Fortuitously, I had a piece of fleece the right size and colour in my stash for the backing and even more fortuitously, friends with a large table invited us over at the weekend. They are quite happy for me to use their table to baste quilts, but it might have been better to do it before a couple of glasses of wine rather than after. What you can't see from the photo (and I didn't spot at the time) is that the right side of the backing is facing the wrong side of the quilt.

When I got the quilt out yesterday to start the quilting, I realised that the backing was on the wrong way round. So after a few choice words, it was a matter of unpinning it and repining it on our much smaller table. Luckily, there were no hiccups when I eventually started the quilting and I managed to complete the first (and maybe only) stage in a few hours. I’ve done an “echo and link” pattern around the hexagons which will be enough to hold the layers together. The simple pattern looks rather nice from the back so I’m tempted to leave it at that for the quilting, but I’ll have a little ponder whether to add something in each of the hexagons.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Decisions, Decisions

My Morris Hexathon quilt has reached the awkward and unwieldy stage of EPP, but the end is in sight as 24 of the hexagon blocks have been joined together, leaving only eight hexagons and the edge filler pieces to add.

This means that I need to think about a new long-term hand stitching project. I’ve narrowed it down to either the Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses using Liberty lawn or Glorious Hexagons using Kaffe Fassett.

If I were to do the POTC quilt, I would make it smaller than in the book so I would have to work out how much background fabric to get but I would certainly have enough Liberty in my stash for the rest of it and I have a Sizzix die for the papers. If I were to do the Glorious Hexagons, I could make a start with the Kaffe Fassett fabrics I have and add to them as needed, but I wonder if it is time for a change from pieced hexagons.

Both these quilts have been run as Block of the Month clubs last year (and are being repeated this year), so I think  a Google search for comments and inspiration is needed – I may be gone for some time!