Saturday, November 13, 2021

Fresh Fields Quilt

 

Motivated by the desire for a portable holiday project, and a hope for better times ahead, I settled on a one inch hexagon English Paper Piecing (EPP) quilt. This was December 2013, mid-summer. The cool colour palette was refreshing in the heat and inspired by the paint scheme of a home which has since been demolished to make way for the new Grafton Bridge.


Each summer since then, I have gravitated to this long term project - it was easy to pick up again and always seemed appealing on long hot days. With no plans for the finished size, I kept stitching and adding new fabrics to the mix.



Eventually it was time to start stitching hexie flowers into trios, which fitted perfectly into plastic pastry storer containers. In time, they were sewn into rows, which could be safely kept wrapped around the cardboard from empty fabric bolts.





It seemed to be the never-ending quilt, and over the years since 2013, our older five children have all left home and my husband's health has had many monumental twists and turns. In 2018 life brought major changes and we are now very happily located in a delightful coastal area. In many ways, the name of this quilt has been prophetic, as we now find ourselves in fresh and pleasant fields in many respects.

After completing my Sunshiny Day Quilt in August I decided it was time to focus on this quilt and bring it to completion. I set a deadline of trying to have it ready to use this summer. It took a lot of determination to finally piece it together, filling in the gaps and edges, removing and relocating some hexie flowers in the process, to create a cohesive, usable rectangle. With the addition of an outer border, it would become perfect for our queen size bed.


For batting/wadding I chose Quilters Dream 100% cotton in white. The white batting keeps the cool white/blue tones of the quilt top true to colour. Being a thin cotton wadding, it would be easy to hand quilt and create the perfect weight for a summer quilt. 

Following much mental debating, I decided it deserved to be hand quilted, hoping to make considerable progress before the heat of summer made hand quilting unpleasant. It took less than one ball of DMC Cebelia #30 in white for the quilting. Primarily marketed as a crochet cotton, it is smooth, shiny and most importantly, very strong. When I had quilted the EPP centre of the quilt, I trimmed the edges and attached the binding, enabling me to finish the border quilting lines exactly at the binding line. It also made the large quilt much more conducive to handling.



Yesterday I finished the hand quilting. This brings nine summers of casual stitching to a satisfying finale. Fresh Fields now looks delightfully at home on our bed, ready to serve us well for many summers ahead.




Quilt Details

Fresh Fields Quilt (my own design)

90" x 86"

228cm x 218cm

Started December 2013

Completed November 2021

1" hexagon papers

Sewline glue pen for basting

Quilters Dream Request 100% Cotton Batting in White - queen size

Cebelia #30 DMC cotton in white used for hand quilting


Friday, August 13, 2021

Sunshiny Day Quilt


It's always a great sense of accomplishment when you finish a quilt, often tinged with a little sadness knowing the journey is over. I definitely feel this way about my Sunshiny Day Quilt which was completed yesterday.

I'm incredibly grateful Jodi (Tales of Cloth) approached me about being one of her volunteers to stitch some blocks prior to the release of this quilt, her club/quilt-along for this year. I'm also pleased she is happy for people to add their own twist to her designs. The original pattern has 48 blocks and no borders. As you can see, mine has only 25 blocks and a fun border.


This is my first ever quilt with circles, yet there are NO curves to stitch! Each block is hand stitched using English Paper Piecing (EPP), then appliquĆ©d by hand onto a background square, with the squares later being machine sewn into a quilt top. A wonderful combination - all the fun of creating EPP blocks, without the arduous task of stitching them together. Not only that, but this quilt includes three slightly different circle patterns - Dawn, Noon and Dusk, allowing for even more possibilities.




I chose fabrics from my collection which met my 'sunshiny' criteria, aiming for a quilt to give a little sunshine every time I look at it. Early in the year I settled on a border option, so I made a start and cut fabrics for these 2" eight point diamonds and 2" half-square triangles. The border stitching was perfect for those times when I needed a more portable option and didn't want to be making lots of fabric choices.





Lustrous silk thread in sapphire blue (Gutermann R 753 silk, colour 960) was my choice for hand quilting around each circle and little square, as well as one internal 'star' row of stitching inside each circle block. At this point I decided the centres of the Dawn and Noon blocks needed some definition. I used any colour matching fine thread, making tiny stitches along the seam line to be 'invisible'.




Eventually I settled on Perle 8 cotton in a deeper golden shade (DMC 741) to hand quilt the borders. This is a thicker thread than I usually use (often a Sulky 12 wt) however I thoroughly enjoyed the stitching and the effect. I can see more Perle 8 in my future!

 





I do believe Sunshiny Day is my favourite quilt ever - and my husband's also. Another great design by Jodi Godfrey of Tales of Cloth. Remember, her original varies from this - it has 48 blocks and no border. My background squares are slightly larger too. Jodi has mentioned the possibility of releasing her Sunshiny Day Quilt as a kit/pattern in late November this year - I would highly recommend it.

PS If you look closely you will see the same fabric in my centre block used for the mini corner circles and the backing. You may also notice a little 'cross' of four sunflower blocks and other minor features to keep one looking šŸ˜ŠšŸŒ»šŸŒž

Quilt Details

Sunshiny Day Quilt 
Designed by Jodi Godfrey - with my alterations as mentioned above
54"/137cm Square
Started November 2020
Completed August 2021
Legacy natural cotton wadding with scrim

Filigree Stars Quilt


This quilt is the result of curiosity and playfulness. It is another quilt combining hand stitched English Paper Piecing (EPP), appliquĆ© and machine stitching. Each star is made from only two shapes, 2" point diamonds and 2" five point diamonds, the same shapes Jodi used in her Rosemary Quilt from The Seedling Quilts book. 

For the star centres I fussy cut pieces from two different patterned cotton poplin fabrics. With 10 points meeting in each centre, a lightweight fabric worked much better than regular weight quilting fabric. These stars came together quickly and I greatly enjoyed the process.





I machine sewed low volume four-patch backgrounds for each star. After hand appliquĆ©ing each 'filigree' star, I cut away the centre of the background block to allow each finished block to sit more evenly. Then it was time to quickly machine sew the completed blocks together.

The four internal intersections of the completed blocks are covered with hand pieced and appliquĆ©d 4 point stars (long sides 3.5"). The quilt seemed too bare without something in these large open areas. I will admit it was quite tricky to fold and appliquĆ© those four star points neatly!

A colourful, narrow, pieced border was added followed by a wider pieced border of low volume prints. I really like the finish this gave the quilt.

The hand quilting was another opportunity to explore new ideas with some embroidery style stitching. This effectively secured the quilt while adding a little embellishment too. I outline quilted each large and small star, then ghost quilted the partial four point stars around the edges of the quilt.






The autumn tones of this quilt deserved a thicker wadding/batting for added warmth. For now it's another wonderful household addition, very useful in the cooler days. The generous sized stars add lovely visual warmth too.


Quilt Details
Filigree Stars Quilt
my own design
61"/155cm square
Started early March 2021
Finished late May 2021
Legacy Natural Wadding with scrim

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