Today the weather was back to Canberra-normal (cold but sunny), which is a lot better than it was earlier in the week, so I took En Bourgogne out to Lake Burley Griffin for some glamour shots. Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos of the lake itself — you’ll just have to accept that it was there behind me.
First, the obligatory flat shot. I held the camera as high as I could but it’s still at a bit of an angle:
If you look closely you can spot the two out-of-place blocks. If you can’t spot them, I’ve circled them in the next shot:
I tried to take a couple of “artsy” pictures but it was pretty windy and the corners kept turning. This one was nice, though:
You can see the blossom on the trees in the background — and it’s only half-way through winter! I couldn’t resist taking another couple of close-up photos as it was so beautiful:
I also caught a couple of black swans who came out of the lake and wandered across the grass. I didn’t want to get too close (they can be aggressive) but I got a couple of zoom shots:
It was too cold to stay out for long so I packed up and came home. It was lovely to get a little sunshine, though, and it was a pretty good place to take photos so I’ll go back there later in the year.
Here is my nomination for Q3 of the 2019 Finish-A-Long. As usual I’m linking through Sew of Course in Ireland.
After the effort it took to get En Bourgogne quilted I really need a smaller project for this quarter, but all my unquilted tops are full size. I remembered a Christmas Tree panel I’ve had for several years and decided that now would be the time to quilt it. But … I can’t find it. I know I haven’t thrown it away (I never throw anything away) but it’s not in the shelf with the other panels, it’s not with the multi-coloured fabrics, it’s not in a project box and I simply can’t find it anywhere. Having set my mind on a panel for this quarter’s project, however, a panel I must have, so I took a quick trip up to Hobbysew.
To be honest, I didn’t really care for most of the tree panels I saw — too garish or too cutesy or too plain … just not what I wanted. Then I saw a couple of blue and silver tree panels and I realised that blue is a much better colour for Australia, being cooler and lighter. I also found two sets of small panels and some coordinating silver and grey fabrics, so there will be a blue and silver wall hanging done in time for Christmas this year. (Finding somewhere to hang it will be another matter — all my walls are covered in bookcases.)
I don’t know what the dimensions will be yet — I’m aiming for 50″ x 60″ or smaller, but we’ll see. As for the quilting, I’m going to do outline stitching of the main tree, and FMQ for the rest, with sparkly machine tacks here and there.
The main stumbling block between then and now was the difficulty in choosing fabrics for borders. I was a little concerned that creams and caramels would blend too much with the outer edges of the blocks, but I didn’t want to go much darker as it would be too heavy. Bonnie had added a border of neutral four-patches, so eventually I decided to stick with a light inner border but to use a fabric that hadn’t been in the blocks. I chose to cut up an old cream-on-cream pillow case which had been part of a Sheridan 100% cotton set I had given to my parents in the early 2000s. After they died and we were cleaning out the house, I couldn’t find the sheets but I did find the pillow cases. One portion of the fabric is slightly stained from hair oils and sweat but to me that’s a bonus, since it means a little part of my parents will be in the quilt forever — the fabric is perfectly clean and sound, and the stain gives the border an subtle ombre effect.
I auditioned about 25 brown and green fabrics for the second border:
I chose the medium green eucalyptus leaves fabric as it picked up on the greens in the quarter square triangles and was neither too bland nor too overwhelming. I think it came out well.
My big mistake for this quilt was misplacing two of the B blocks, which had centre and edge variations — I still don’t know how I managed to miss it but I put a centre block on the edge and an edge block in the centre. What’s more, I even photographed one of the errant blocks after doing the borders and still I didn’t pick it up. It wasn’t until I was halfway through the quilting that I noticed it, and by that time it would have been far too much work to fix it, so there it stays.
I had run out of Matilda’s Own cotton batting when the time came to baste this and my usual shop was out of stock so I opted for SewEasy 100% cotton instead. Unfortunately this is a much denser batting than Matilda’s Own and made the quilt a lot heavier than I had anticipated. It’s a sturdy batting and it certainly held up well to being pushed through the machine but the sheer weight of it means I probably won’t buy it again. It also has a polyester scrim, which I discovered when I came to iron out the creases on basting day — if I’d realised that beforehand I’d have thrown it in my tumble dryer with a couple of wet flannels. Ah well, I’ll know better next time.
Given the complexity of the pattern, I knew that there was no point in trying anything fancy for the quilting. The additional weight meant that it was going to be difficult to manoeuvre, even given the Janome 9400’s large harp space and my sewing table, so whatever I chose to do had to be simple and could not require frequent turning. With that in mind, I opted for a diagonal grid down the four-patches and the cream squares with additional FMQ.
For the tall triangle stars in block A I drew a 6.5″ circle and went around it with the feed dogs down (which is why the circles are a bit wobbly). I would much have preferred to do this with the walking foot, but the quilt is much too heavy for all that shifting.
As I wrote a few weeks ago I tried some ruler work on the B blocks but it was an abject failure. Instead I did FMQ diagonal lines through the corner units and a vague oval / leaf shape in the hourglass units for blocks B and C. I’m a firm believer in the adage “every piece needs a quilting line”, especially for quilts that will be used all the time.
Borders were quilted with the walking foot. I did my customary serpentine stitch in the first border and diamonds in the outer border.
Since the border was green, I chose brown for the binding. After auditioning several fabrics, I chose a Jinny Beyer fabric I’ve had for a couple of years — it’s mainly a pinky brown but there are subtle patches of yellow-green that pick up the border colours beautifully. I stitched it down using the HP2 walking foot, which produces a great edge.
Of course, things couldn’t go smoothly even for that very last step — I ran out of thread with a side and half to go. I had the same thread in a bobbin, but you can’t use a bobbin as a spool because the thread comes out backwards and is much more likely to shred. Instead, I wound the thread onto a second bobbin so that it was right way around and then finished the binding.
So, the quilt is finished. Well, actually, I still need to bury a few thread ends and sew the label on, but it’s quilted, bound and photographed. I don’t have room to lay it out and it’s too big for the curtain rail but I’ll try and get an outdoor photo sometime in the next few days, weather permitting.
Size: 230 x 230 cm (about 90″) square
Design: “En Provence” by Bonnie K Hunter
Fabric: scraps from the stash, all cotton
Batting: Sew Easy 100% cotton
Pieced: by machine (Janome HMC 9400 QCP) October -November 2017 (blocks); April 2019 (borders)
Quilted: by machine (Janome HMC 9400 QCP), April-July 2019
Bound: July 2019
1. Pressing to one side may make it easier to create quarter-square triangles, but it produces very bulky seam allowances.
2. It would be a good idea to take a photo of a layout before you stitch it together so you can pick up silly mistakes like swapping edge and middle blocks.
3. SewEasy cotton batting is denser than Matilda’s Own
1. AHQ: I didn’t set a goal for Aussie Heros this month as I needed a break. Break is now over (see below).
2. Personal: Finish the last two Hawaiian Blocks. Still not done (I spent much of that break playing video games so quilting work fell a bit behind). Eh, maybe next month.
3. FAL: Finish the quilting on EB and bind it. Quilting is almost done; I just have the borders left to do, and they’ll be walking foot so fairly fast. The binding won’t take long either. I’ll talk about this in a few days when I post the Q2 finish.
I went up to Sydney for a sewing day with JM and almost completed one top for her (I was working with blocks other people had done and some of them were a bit uneven, so they needed trimming and frames added to bring them up to the required size). No photos though.
My wrists are much improved and I finished the central stars for the next part of Flame Rose without any pain. The rest of the next section comprises 70 green and black units and I don’t anticipate being finished until September at the earliest. I’m determined not to make the same mistake I made in March so hand sewing is restricted to two hours per night.
1. AHQ: One quilt, due date 29 July — I’ve already started this and it’s a fairly simple design so no problems are anticipated.
2. Personal: Is it worth nominating the Hawaiian blocks again?
3. FAL: Not sure yet but it definitely won’t be a full-size quilt. Probably a Christmas tree panel … but I still have a few days to make the decision.