Tuesday 31 May 2016

My First Quilt - A Sampler

Back to the Beginning

- Recently, I have been asked a few times about my start in quilt making. It made me realise that not many of my early (and less early) quilts have ever appeared here in my "Studio". So I am starting a new series today, "Back to the Beginning". -

I first started quilting in 1995, and my very first finished item was a Monkey Wrench block that I turned into a cushion. Unfortunately I cannot show it here since it was used into oblivion around the time I started this blog.

What I can show you is my very, very first quilt. Immediately after the cushion I progressed to making a sampler I called "First Star" since many blocks in it have a star like appearance (and some of the fabrics have star prints):

While making this quilt I was taught how to draft blocks, colour different options, choose fabrics, make templates, prepare fabric, hand piece and hand appliqué, accurate sashing (technique described here), as well as layering the quilt sandwich and tacking (thread basting), hand quilt, and attaching the binding.

I had never seen a rotary cutter or ruler when I first started, and being in The Netherlands at the time, all measurements were metric...

There are six different blocks (24 x 24 cm):

Gardener's Choice, a Dresden block with different points

Log Cabin block

Don Quichote block

Starburst block

Tulip Garden block coloured to be more star-like than originally meant

Finnigan's Wake block

All blocks were hand sewn, the sashings were attached by machine. The (continuous) binding was also attached by machine, and hand stitched to the back.
The whole quilt has been quilted by hand. I'm not sure if I could even quilt so finely these days!

quilting on the Log Cabin block and sashing/border

quilting on the Don Quichote block and sashing
To finish it off, a label and a sleeve were added. Making this small quilt set me up for a quilt-filled future, all the basics covered!

By now, the quilt is more than 20 years old, and some fabrics have slightly faded. In most of the places I lived I have had it hanging somewhere (though never in the sun), and still today it has a place on the wall.
Over the years I have been tempted by several of the blocks and made plans to make a whole quilt of one block or another, but in reality it has never happened. Maybe one day...

I better get sewing, of course!


Linking up with Throwback Thursday at A Quarter Inch from the Edge

Monday 16 May 2016

Using small scraps

Those of you who know my work probably know that I have a preference for using print fabrics. Not necessary large or overly bold prints (though sometimes that, too), but I mostly use small prints, or mottled, swirly, dotted or otherwise unevenly coloured fabrics in my quilts. However, I love the look of rainbow projects and I find it very hard to achieve a rainbow combination with my print fabrics.
- though I may have to try that again one day soon, too... -

Anyway, when Cindy of Fluffy Sheep fame had a scrap bundle of solids to give away last month for the cost of postage, I thought it would be worth obtaining some of her small pieces of solids to finally make a rainbow project - thank you, Cindy! -

The scrap bundle that arrived from Fluffy Sheep Quilting's Cindy

The bag had a varied assortment, but I quickly decided on my rainbow colours and I found some solid white fabric on my shelves to go with them.

a rainbow of scraps

Soon I was laying out my friendship stars in a circular pattern.

After sewing it seemed quite uneven (smaller at one end than at the other). I must have been slightly increasing (or decreasing?) my seam allowances as I sewed row after row...

However, after some judicious pressing and blocking it ended up square, and with wonderfully nesting intersections. The perfectionist in me likes that!

Below the end result, and have a look at the scale (my mat marks the inches):

In the mean time I have transformed this panel into a finished item, but since I made it as a surprise for someone I will show that after it has been received.

*edit: Now it has been received in Amsterdam, I can show you what I made:

Even though these scraps were not originally my own, playing with them has given me lots of ideas of what to do with my own as well. For now I am happily linking up for the first time (I think) with Scraptastic Tuesday:

Scraptastic Tuesday