Grandmother’s Flower Garden (small)

I’m slowly finding more moments of time for patchwork.  What a joy it is to build something so simple and so sweet.

Plenty of quilters will fussy cut to get geometric patterns happening in their hexagons, but I’m going to show you something with a twist:  how to use large prints and motifs.  Such as this beautiful bird print.  I wish I could remember the name of it so I could get more, but as I have only a tiny amount left I want to preserve it in my quilt.  However the birds are each twice the size of my patches.

Though I haven’t shown it here, this is a great opportunity to use print motifs that have been sliced in half when your length of fabric has been cut from the roll, or are near the selvedge.  It also creates a sense of movement and difference, when it’s sewn in with plainer flowers, that I like a lot.

First, lay a patch over one motif.  You will need two motifs so two opposite halves, or one half and one whole, work nicely.  Consider carefully where the edge will go and how the patch will sit in your overall design.  Cut around the patch, leaving a generous — and I mean generous, like half an inch — seam allowance.

Pin the patch to the back of your paper and baste with your preferred method.  Then lay it over your second motif.

Nice!  You can hardly tell there’s a patch on there.  OK, now you need to lay a second paper patch nest door and pin it in place. 

Cut again, using another generous seam allowance.  With the pin still in place, finger press the fabric around the paper to mark placement.  Then remove the pin and move the paper to the back.  

The next step is the trickiest stage.  You will need to reposition the paper exactly, which usually means a couple of tries for me.  Take care that the sides match up as nicely as the long side.

Baste the paper to the second patch.  Check that everything’s still in place.  If not, you will have to take the basting out and try again — like I said, you need to have a lot of seam allowance and it’s fiddly.  But it’s worth it, as long as you’re not trying to fussy cut an entire quilt!    O_o 

Match them up and…

Sew together as per usual into…

A birdy flower!  Hooray!   Now you may cut away that bulky excess seam allowance.

Try this out for yourself — and please tell me in the comments if anything seems confusing, I’ll edit the tutorial. 

I have been very lax with blogging and I do apologise but on the up side, I have a super-exciting new project which I hope I can share with you soon.  In the mean time, there’s a special post coming up next in which I will share a way of making darts that will change your life for the better!  See you soon…

This fussy cutting business is a lot of fun.

I’m pretty sure this is my favourite.

Some days, the sewing goes slow, and you enjoy the little bits and pieces.

I’ve never been to the Stitches and Craft show and had a free day last weekend, so went along.  I was looking forward to a huge expo where I could do workshops and see what crafty people outside the quiltosphere were doing.  Unfortunately I thought it was lame, and I feel confident in saying so because my friend Annemarie thought so too 😉

Seriously folks.  Does the world need fifteen stalls selling cross stitch patterns with twee verses, sad, dated little flowers, and stick on jewels?

Some good parts were worth going for.  A handful of brave crafters had stalls.  The ‘Handmade Nation‘ doco was an enjoyable way to look at cool crafters’ lifestyles while I drank an overpriced Expo coffee (although it was really a long advertisement rather than hard-hitting documentary).

Someone deliberately misunderstood a sign asking for  ‘craft secrets’, which made me giggle:

And someone else lent the show a gorgeous 30s quilt, though I don’t know who as the quilt display was strangely devoid of names.  Perhaps the maker labelled the quilt, but like most quilters I don’t feel comfortable touching display quilts.  Does anybody know the name of the pattern?

Another plus: on the way home I saw the overexpensive and undersafe Southern Star looking beautiful for the first time.  It took Melbourne’s first hard rain in four years to show me its happy face.  Of course: white against a stormy grey sky.  This is from North Melbourne station.

And then the best part: getting home and laying everything out on the bed.

There were only three or four stalls selling fabric, and less with interesting fabric, but of course I did find some bits and pieces to buy.  The fabric here is all for my hexagons (even finished a flower on the train home!).  It is odd to be buying new fabric for a ‘scrap’ quilt, but when the pieces are small, I’m sure it’s fine with the Quilt Goddess.  I bought some applique scissors and pins for reasons that I’ll explain in another post, some variegated embroidery thread, twenty little pieces of the most gorgeous feedsack fabric, and I especially love the yellow rose print and the little owls.

So to wrap: unless there are some major changes to the Expo, I’ll stick to quilt fairs.  For I need not your smocked and bedazzled toilet roll holders.


Yes, it is, but I’ve never hit Explore before!  (Top right)

In honour of Block 16 (which makes a nice 4×4 set), some progress shots.  I think it’s about time to update the WIP page, too.

I’m so over that idealistic plan to only post photos of my mini hexes when they’re sewn together.  I will post again when they’re done.  Glory!  Glory, I say!

I’ve cut the pieces for Block 15 again (third down, second along) as it’s not like the original and very wonky.  I also cut pieces for Papa’s Star, and I’m really looking forward to sewing it.  Any Dear Janers done this block in hand piecing?  I’d appreciate your advice.

Unrelated: I’ve decided to join NaNoWriMo and make a book as well as my crafty things.  Note, I did not say a good book.  It may be gibberish. But it will be a romance, it will be 50,000 words long, and I will write it between 1 and 30 November.  I’ve put a progress ticker on the sidebar so you that you all know where I’m up to, and so that the guilt of everybody knowing makes me actually finish.  If you’re planning on doing it, too, send me an email and we can be online writing buddies!

Also totally unrelated but exciting: we’re going to meet a litter of schnauzer puppies on Saturday.  They’re about seven weeks old, I think.  Sooooooooo excited!  I’ll take the camera so there can be many puppy photos on Saturday night!

I finished stitching my ten swap fabrics into flowers. Hooray! Time for a photograph!

I’m sorry it’s been such a long time since I posted. BF and I have Been Through An Ordeal with Netspace, our apathetic internet ‘provider’. After a week on dialup, we caved, and the blog is back.

In more interesting news, I also made a dress from a 1953 pattern: I’m wearing it now. I’ll get BF to take a picture tomorrow, and write the post that should have been today’s.

BTW: I’m also returning to ‘Masculine Quilt Advisor’. BF is such a blah name for a person I happen to quite like.

Would you like to see the pretties? I have 30 of them now, though they’re not all sewn together. Work has been all-absorbing for a while (this is a good thing), and the new edition of Vic Quilter has taken some time to get ready. Jan (co-editor) and I had to learn how to use Publisher and it seemed every guild and their dog had an article that needed re-formatting and printing. The magazine has a tight deadline – it’s a new thing for me. Whether I’m trying to have my own writing published or editing other people’s work, I’m almost always dealing with the academic press. Deadlines are vague and mysterious in academia, and it’s not at all unusual to wait six months for a response, have another three to edit your work, and then first hold your printed article a year or so later. The process is frustrating at times, but it also allows time to think and to edit very carefully. It feels odd to make quick decisions and to field and make urgent phone calls.

It’s nice to have a hobby for the end of the day:

Susan’s swap fabric arrived today from America, and I’m only sorry that the sunlight has gone and I haven’t got a better picture to show off all the pretty colours. Thank you so much, Susan! I hope your aquas get to you soon. I’ll post another, better photo when these are nicely stitched up. I don’t have any of these fabrics, and I love them all – although I think the purple swirls are my favourite.

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