Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Curve Pieced Hydrangea Flower Tutorial

To mark the arrival of spring I'd like to share with you a nice little flower pattern that would be nice to try for somebody who is learning curve piecing or just wants to add some curvy zest to their piecing. It can look as modern or as traditional as you want it to depending on your fabric choices.

I designed it to go together with my butterfly pattern, it is compatible in size and style and together they can form lots of different layouts. I played with a couple of options for a bed quilt here:

The flower is made up of four identical petals, so the pattern is just one 4 in squared, the resulting flower is thus 8 in squared (of course you can scale it up if you want to, but I wouldn't recommend scaling it down as some parts are quite small already).

Click here to view and download the pdf pattern for the hydrangea flower

You'll need:
  • about A4 size piece of the background fabric (or scraps)
  • about A4 size piece of the flower fabric (or scraps)
  • freezer paper
  • pencil or fabric marker
  • pins, scissors for paper and fabric and piecing thread
The process:

Print out the pattern and trace it on freezer paper. Tracing on the dull side mirrors the image, tracing on the shiny side leaves the image looking as is, which is not a lot of difference in this case, but if you carefully compare the pink and the purple flowers in my photos, you'll notice they "rotate" in opposite ways. Make sure you trace the marks across the lines as they will be necessary to correctly align the pieces.

Cut out the pattern pieces and iron them to the wrong side of your fabric. Trace around the paper, don't forget the marks! I traced all four sets of pieces at once, to be able to chain piece the block.

Cut out the pieces, eyeballing the quarter inch seam allowance on all sides. Cut notches about 1/2 in to 3/4 in apart the concave (valley) curves - the curved sides of the background pieces.

Place background pieces marked 1 and 3 in the pattern on top of the petal, right sides together. Match the marks on both pieces and gently stretch the background piece so its edge follows the petal edge, pin them together. Repeat on all the four pieces so you can chain piece them all.

Always keep the concave (valley) curve on top of your convex (mountain) curve, because the convex part stays flat, as you can see in the photo, whereas the concave piece ripples - in this way you can see what it's up to.

Stitch the pieces together and press the seams closed. Generally, I would press the seams under the petal piece, but in this case that would leave a gap in the edge, which is risky for further assembly, so I pressed the seams towards the background.

Pin background piece number two in place.

Stitch down and press the seam.

Now put the four petals together like you would any four patch. It's up to you to press the seams closed or open.

I turned my two blocks into mug rugs, but I'm going to make more to put together in a quilt.

Please enjoy and do share in the comments if you make yourself some flowers!

Linking up to Tips and Tutorials Tuesday at Quilting Jetgirl

Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River

Sunday, 23 April 2017

A Great Saturday

I spent a very exciting Saturday at the meeting of Eastern Branch of the Irish Patchwork Society. Bought some bits and pieces form the visiting shop, Fabric Matters, including my beloved YLI variegated threads.

I also couldn't resist a layer cake of beautiful "Shibori" collection by Moda. Wendy had a sample quilt on display made of this collection's charm pack.

I'm planning a quilt for my brother, so this collection of imitation shibori prints in shades of indigo seemed a great choice.

There was a great talk by Ruth Bourke of Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner about modern quilting.

And then, in the afternoon, Ruth held a workshop for us on the Ticker Tape technique, which was very interesting and inspiring. You can see Ruth's quilt of her dog Wilbur made in this technique in her blog here.

As it was just a half-day workshop, we could only start the process, but everybody enjoyed playing with scraps and I'm looking forward to seeing (at least some) finished quilts at the next month's meeting. I made my own pattern of a dragon and had a good start on it. After some more work at home, this is where I am now:

Admittedly she looks more like a dinosaur at the moment, but there are still wings and spines to come. Anyway, you can see she's a girl and I hope she's going to be a good girl. The process is fast and fun and hope to have her finished before I get overwhelmed with my college tasks again.

Linking up to Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts

Friday, 21 April 2017

Spring is in the Air (Again)

Another of my year-old curve pieced flimsies used for FMQ practice, this time coupled with the the book Nemeshing by Bethanne Nemesh (if you haven't seen her quilts, check them out here, her new style is absolutely mind-blowing).

Nemeshing is the name used for a quilting style she developed - free-hand feather motifs combined with a dense backfill that allows the feather to pop up. The "vintage" florals in this little wallhanging seemed very suitable for this kind of quilting, but they also make it difficult to see any texture.

I'm not very happy with the shape and positioning of all the feathers, but it's not too bad for a first try. The most difficult part was the micro stippling which is physically very demanding.

The quilting on the flower itself is very simple, just following the shape, again to allow it to pop up.

Tulip is a very timely image for this time of the year, and can't help sharing a few recently taken photos:

Linking up to TGIFF hosted this week by Ruth at Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner
Freemotion Mavericks at Lizzy Lenard vintage Sewing
Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
Can I get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Chasing the Waves (Again)

Almost a year ago I designed and tested several curve piecing patterns for a workshop at the Eastern branch of Irish Patchwork Society. I left the tops as flimsies so that the participants could see the seams, and so they spend this year as UFOs. Now in my drive to practice FMQ I decided to use my remaining flimsies as well.

For the dolphin quilt I used the book Mastering the Art of McTavishing by Karen McTavish. My version of McTavishing is somewhat different because I wanted to retain the piecing lines in the waves and quilt inside each fabric piece.

After a long deliberation I left the dolphin unquilted, although it's a much larger area that I would normally be happy to leave unquilted. I just couldn't think of any way of quilting that would not break the shape and that also would make it pop up.

I like the flowy character of McTavishing and I think it suits the subject here. You can compare the finished quilt with the top here to see how the quilting texture changes the look.

Linking up to TGIFF hosted this week by Ruth at Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner
Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina-Marie
Freemotion Mavericks at Lizzy Lenard vintage Sewing

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

More Quilting Practice

I'm continuing my FMQ adventures with Angela Walter's book and shibori samples (the beginning is here). The dye patterns inspire the choice of quilting motifs to practice. As the samples are in red, blue and yellow, I used the same three colors of thread (variegated YLI number 40) in different combinations.

Here is my second batch:

I was able to take photos only with direct light, the quilting texture is not very visible, but you get the general idea :))).

I think I will put them together in a sampler quilt one day.

Linking up to Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
Main Crush Monday (Tuesday) at Cooking Up Quilts

Monday, 10 April 2017

Quilting Practice

A little bit of free time + a couple of really inspiring books = lots of quilting practice in the last several days.

My sewing group was recently treated to a visit to the home of one of our members, Kathy, who is an accomplished long-armer as well as all-over talented lady. She showed us her beautiful work as well as her extensive quilting library and stash, and to add to the impressions of the day, we got to try quilting on a long-arm machine - it was just overwhelming! So, in order to overcome the feeling of being totally useless as a quilter, I borrowed several book from Kathy and was determined to practice FMQ as soon as I have the time.

Last Wednesday we handed in the last projects in my Graphic Design course and got a two weeks' breather for Easter. Then I was able to turn my mind towards quilting. I got out some shibori samples from last year's fabric dying workshop and made them into little sandwiches.

They are about 30 cm square, just the right size for quilting on a domestic machine. I used a book by Angela Walters as my inspiration and reference and tried to follow the shibori pattern on the samples; this is what I have so far:

I wonder if you can recognize the original samples, they look so different when quilted. It's also amazing how light affects their appearance, in the photos below they look like they have at least three layers of batting inside ;)))

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them - leave a sort of reference or connect the QAYG way into a sampler quilt. I've also been quilting a couple of little UFOs which I'll show you as soon as I do the binding (soon, soon...)

Linking up to Main Crush {Tuesday} at Cooking up Quilts 
Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River

Friday, 31 March 2017

Dublin Beauty

This is quick finish to meet (almost) a deadline - mini quilt for the Irish exhibition for the EQA Challenge 2017 to be shown at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. The general theme is "Inspired by... block" and each member country was given a traditional block to be inspired by, thus, the Irish theme is "Inspired by the New York Beauty Block". I thought about circle and semi-circles and it wasn't long before I thought of this:

We do see a lot of those beauties here. So this was what I made:

It's a small thing, 25 by 35 cm, but it did require quite a lot of pieces. It was the first time I used the no-tear paper piecing method I had hear a lot about, and it worked great. Here is the video I used for guidance, can highly recommend this to anybody doing a paper piecing project.

As the image is very busy, the quilting had to be simple: curves in a rainbow thread, a little bit of grey rain in the bottom corner and a little bit of sunshine in the top corner.

Just have to show the backing fabric as well - it seems just too appropriate )))

Linking up to Off the Wall Friday ay Creations by Nina-Marie
TGIFF at Celtic Thistle Stitches
Finished or not Friday at busy Hands Quilts
Show off Saturday at Sew Can She
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