I love to sew, mainly quilts and bags. I am 61, married to Fred and have one son, Matthew who is 23. I enjoy embroidery and applique and prefer to machine piece and quilt my projects. I love my vintage Singer sewing machines especially my Featherweight 222K. My love of sewing I believe comes from my Grandmother - I still have the drawings she made for me to embroider on tea towels many many years ago!

Friday, 21 April 2017

MOUNTAIN MISHAPS

Hello!

Did you read my previous Post re how I make my Majestic Mountain blocks?  well......  I have some explaining to do!!!  and a few "things I learned when I made a mountain".......

1.  You start off making a HST and then cut that into 2" strips...... I pressed the one seam on that HST open as it does make joining each 2" strip together easier BUT...  it DID NOT help when it came to press the finished rows before joining them to the next row.  So in hindsight I should have pressed that HST seam to the dark fabric.  So that's Lesson One.


HST 
TRIM HST (IN MY CASE TO 8")



PRESS HST SEAM TO DARK FABRIC
CUT 2" SECTIONS
TURN TO MAKE ONE HALF OF A MOUNTAIN

2.  As I made each Mountain block (ie: joined the two half mountains)  I pressed the centre seam OPEN and then pressed the other seams away on each side of that open seam.  WRONG!  I would have been better just leaving each block unpressed until I had all the blocks lined up in their rows and then join the blocks into rows and THEN I could press each row in opposite directions so they would nest nicely when I wanted to put them together.  I would like to make a few samples to trial if it would be better to perhaps press the seam between blocks OPEN as that seam is quite bulky if you lay out the blocks and rows as I did with this quilt (note: there are many layout options for these Mountain quilts).  Open seams are a bit trickier to "nest" but there is just so much bulk when you come to nest those rows together.   So that's Lesson Two.


3.  I am a stickler for check measuring units, blocks and rows but I think I might have missed a few of my blocks (probably too much watching tele and sewing at the same time) as I did have a few dramas with the completed size of the blocks.  A few 1/4" seams were very "full" so I then had to trim down a few rows so they met nicely with the next row.  Measure each segment as you go - in this case, measure the two halves of your mountain, ensuring you have your 1/4" seam at the points of the mountain.  Measure the whole Mountain once you have the two halves together.  If each segment, unit, block is check measured, your rows will go together so much easier!  So that's Lesson Three.

JOIN TWO SECTIONS AND CHECK MEASURE
(IN MY CASE 3-1/2" X 8")
JOIN THE TWO UNITS TOGETHER AND CHECK MEASURE
(THIS UNIT NOW MEASURES 6-1/2" X 8")
MY ONE HALF UNIT ALL READY, FINGER PRESSED

So back to my quilt.....   I now have my rows together and today I purchased a border fabric so that will go on over the weekend I hope.  Then the tumbler border.

Happy Sewing!
Cheers from Helen

NOTE:  I HAVE PUT WORD VERIFICATION BACK ON AND HAVE HAD TO LIMIT WHO CAN COMMENT - TERRIBLE SPAM COMMENT YESTERDAY.






Sunday, 9 April 2017

My Mountains

Here is how I make my Majestic Mountain blocks -   If you only use one set of squares and you are using stripes or plaids, you will end up with your stripes and plaids going in different directions in the one Mountain block.   I didn't like that so I cut two sets of squares so I can have my stripes and plaids going the same way and I end up with two Mountain blocks.  I spray starch my fabrics prior to cutting out my squares.  These fabrics come from Op Shop / Thrift Store second hand mens shirts, all cotton.  I try to buy XL shirts with long sleeves.

In this set my dark pink stripe is vertical 
Place a check square RST with pink square - my squares are cut 8-1/2" square


 
Cut on the diagonal- I use the 45 deg angle on my ruler. 
 
This set has the dark pink stripes running horizontally - my 
black plaid was not directional  - cut this set on the same diagonal without
moving the set, it must be cut on the same diagonal as the first set without moving or rotating
this set. 


Chain piece the triangle sets
Square up your HST to 8" and cut into 2" strips.  I don't have a photo but
I press the seam on my HST's open.  It makes it much easier when
you come to join the strips later.




Lay out the 2" strips to form your first half mountain

Joint the strips in sets of two then four and then joint the two halves together.

This is the back of one block.  I like to press the centre joining seam open and then
press the seams on each side away from the centre.

This is the block that used the horizontal stripes


and this one has the vertical stripes

I am enjoying making these blocks.  Hubby is away at present, so I've set up a sewing station out in the lounge room right in front of the tv.  Bliss!

Happy Sewing,
Cheers from Helen














Thursday, 30 March 2017

TULIPS

 

Such a beautiful Siggy Block arrived this week - thank you so much Mieke!  Love your tulip!

We are getting a lot of rain here - coming off Cyclone Debbie.  Although we needed rain, this is just too much!

Schools are closed, many businesses also shut. 

So my motto for today- stay home, stay dry and sew on (although we did go out for coffee!)

Cheers from Helen

 

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

PARTIAL PIECING

Hello!

I've been posting on Facebook about the latest quilt I'm working on....  "Peek-a-Boo Bunnies" from Quiltmaker March/April '17.....

Block # 1

The layout in the magazine is a little different.  I'm doing the block frames (sashing) using the Partial Piecing method.  I think it gives the block a quirky look.  I'm also doing my Bunnies in bright fabrics whereas the pattern in the book is in pinks and greys and they use wool.  This will make a good baby quilt if needed.

So anyway, I've been asked about the Partial Piecing method so I've taken some photos today as I added the frame around the second Block.......

My blocks are 9" square before adding the frame.  My strip width for the frame pieces is 2-1/2".  The math for partial piecing is block size plus width of sashing less 1/2" for seam allowances.  So all of my strips are cut at 11" X 2-1/2"
Place first strip along one side, there will be
an overlap of the width of your sashing less 1/2"


Stitch using a 1/4" seam allowance, stopping about 3" from
the bottom of the block
Working anti-clockwise, add the next strip.
The green piece was my first strip, then working right to left (anti-clockwise)
add the next strip.  Sew along the whole strip using 1/4" seam allowance
Add third strip
So my dark green is 1st, blue spot is 2nd and now the green spot.

Now add fourth strip once again stitching
along the whole strip with a 1/4" seam allowance- you can see the first strip is folded back at this point.

Now complete the stitching on the first strip.


One completed block
Block # 2

The thing I like best about partial piecing is that all of the strips are cut the same length.  So no left and right strips and no top and bottom strips at different lengths.

There are four blocks in the quilt so I have two more to hand stitch and build.  Then to decide how big to grow it :-)  

In other sewing news, I made a large Retreat Bag last night.  The Retreat Bag is a free pattern from Emmaline Bags.  I have the small size and use it daily for my hand sewing but it needed a wash and as I'm carrying quite a few projects at the moment the large size will be perfect...
As you can see.... the LARGE is much bigger than the small :-)

It certainly fits lots of projects and I love how the frame opens wide

Side on view.  

The only trouble I had with this bag is that I had run out of the fusible interfacing I usually use.  I found an old piece way back in my cupboard and used it.  Sadly it did not adhere very well but I persevered and got the bag made.  Next one I make I will use the better interfacing and fleece and also a longer zip as even though I used the suggested length for the bag, I would like just an inch or more to hang over each side - makes it easier to grab to open and close.  

Although Brisbane has had some horrible weather lately - very very hot and humid..... we are getting back to more normal days now and hopefully in a month or so we will start to cool down ready for our Winter.  Sewing has been quite difficult in the hot and humid conditions so I'm looking forward to days when I can stay sewing from morning to night !

I'm still having trouble with my left hand (the fractured one) so I haven't been playing on my Sweet Sixteen since the first time.  My hand still gets sore and tingles and can get quite hot in the area around the fracture.  I'm wearing a pull on supportive brace when I sew now.

Happy Sewing!
Cheers from Helen









Thursday, 9 February 2017

SIGGIES, BIRTHDAYS AND BUNNIES

  
Thank you Martina and Ulrike!  Lovely Siggy Blocks to add to my collection. 

Our ridiculously warm and humid weather continues but I've managed a little sewing. 
 
I'm getting my Easter shirts done - long sleeve this year as Easter falls later in April. 

Birthday package on its way to Maisy and Amos today- 
 

 

This weekend we are going to an Antiques and Collectibles Fair- I wonder what treasures I will find this time?

Happy Sewing!
Cheers from Helen

Saturday, 4 February 2017

SWEET SIXTEEN SEWING AT LAST!

I FINALLY HAD A PLAY ON MY SWEET SIXTEEN!
LOVE IT!

Although I've had my Sweet Sixteen since mid October, I haven't had a play on it as I had fractured my left hand just before the machine was delivered.  I did a very small project to start off with as I still need to be careful with my hand.  This is the front pocket for the Reading pillow.........

READING PILLOW - BIRTHDAY GIFT
CHALKBOARD ROLL FOR THE BIRTHDAY GIRL'S LITTLE BROTHER

Reading Pillows are a quick and easy project..... perfect for little readers.  The Chalkboard Roll is one of my "go to" presents for toddlers and pre-schoolers.  I have linked to a version similar to the one I make.  I don't add the chalk pocket.


EASTER SEWING - A TEE SHIRT OF COURSE!

As I need some hand sewing I have started my Easter gifts.  This little rabbit is just so cute and worked up very quickly.  

Brisbane continues to suffer terribly hot and humid weather so not a great deal of sewing to report I'm afraid.  Hoping things cool down in a few weeks but it looks like most of February will be hot.

Happy Sewing!
Cheers from Helen