Thursday, 28 January 2016

how I joined my LTP blocks

A couple of people asked me to show how I would join the LTP blocks so I took a few lot of photos to show my process.

First of all, you need to have all your blocks quilted and trimmed to size.

Then you need to cut sashing strips for the front and back of your joins. I'm using white on the front and stripey on the back. My white strips are 2" wide and the stripey ones are 1" wide. The white 2" strips are folded in half longways (wrong sides together) and pressed so they're now a folded 1" strip. Cut both the whites and the stripes to the same size as your blocks - in my case that's 8".

Now you're going to make a sandwich with your block and the strips. To do that, you're going to put the stripey strip on the back of the right edge of your leftmost block with right sides together -

- then put the raw edge of the white strip on the front of the block, again right sides together.

Pin those together and sew with a ¼" seam. You can see the sandwich here - stripey back strip/quilted block/white strip.

I used the pink variegated thread so you could see it in this photo. For the rest of them I used white in my top thread and the pink variegated thread in the bobbin. I'll show why in a minute. I do a few reverse stitches at the start and finish just to make sure the end stitches don't give way.

Now turn over your block and press your back strip out over the seam.

Next take your next block and put the back strip you've just sewn on to the back of the right edge of that next block.

Pin them together from the top side. Sew down that seam with a ¼" seam keeping the seam you've already sewn out of the way. I used my ordinary sewing foot in my machine as the walking foot kept getting stuck on the all the layers from that other seam. Take your time and it'll be fine!

This is what the back now looks like with the stripey strip sewn down between the blocks. It measures ½" wide and neatly covers the join. Nice!

Turn back over to the front and press those seams down flat. You might need to (gently) pull your blocks apart to make them lie flat. Again, take your time and they will lie properly. This photo shows the seams before pressing!

Press your white strip over that seam. The folded edge will lie just past the seam line from sewing the stripey strip on the back of your second block.

Pin and stitch that down as close to the folded edge as you can. I used white thread to match the white strip and a straight stitch but you can use a coloured thread and/or a fancy stitch if you prefer.

This is what that line of stitching looks like on the back. Because I used the same pink variegated thread in my bobbin as I used for the quilting, it's not really shouting out at me. If I'd used the same fabric for all my backs then I'd have used a matching thread in my bobbin.

Now I turn back to the front and stitch down the left side of the white strip as close to the edge as I can.

Here's what that line of stitching looks like from the back. It's actually right there in the ditch of the stripey strip but it probably won't always be that close.

So that's the first join done.

Go through the exact same process for joining blocks 2 and 3 and so on along the row. This is what my first row of joined blocks looks like.

And here's what the back looks like.

Using a 1" strip on the back makes the join ½" wide and the 1" folded white strip on the front makes the white join about ¾" wide. If you wanted your strips wider than that, go for it! I wanted my white strip to be roughly the same width as the white diagonal strips in the blocks so ¾" was perfect for me.

After you've got all your rows done, you go through the same process for joining the rows. You'll need to cut your strips to the length of your rows - in my case it'll be 56" - but, other than that, the process is exactly the same.

I hope that makes sense to the people who asked - and isn't too bamboozling for the people who have no clue what I'm blethering about!

Okay, off to join the rest of my blocks into rows ... then the rows together ... then it'll be the binding on and the LTP will be done.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

LTP - let the joining begin

I got all the LTP blocks quilted:

Then I trimmed them all to 8" square:

Had a dummy run of the layout on our bed:

This isn't the final layout as I realised after joining the first row that I had done them upside down and back to front (!!!) so I had to have another dummy run today to make sure it still looked okay. It does so I'm now in the joining process.

I've taken some photos how I do the joining process and hope to post those tomorrow but, in the meantime, this is row A - the top:

And row A - the back.

It's looking good so far - even if I do say so myself! :o)

Friday, 22 January 2016

the beginning of the end of the LTP quilt

I decided it was about time to get on with my Long Term Project quilt. I made a few more blocks:

Then decided to work out some sizes. After a few sums, I decided I was going to make my quilt top 7 blocks square which would finish at 56" square. As I'd already made 43 blocks, I only needed to make another 6 blocks so that's what I did.

I decided I was going to do the quilt-as-you-go method so I wouldn't have to quilt the whole thing in one go. This means that each block will be quilted separately and then they'll all be joined together after they've been quilted.

I chose 49 fabrics for backings. All of these came from the scrappy bags I get when I go to one of our local quilt shops. It felt good to use these - gives me a good excuse to get some more scrappy bags the next time I'm there! :oD

I cut 49 pieces of bump - I use this instead of the polyester wadding which I despise! Bump is polyester curtain interlining which I get from my local curtain fabric shop. It's washable and is cosy in a quilt.

Then I had to take the paper backs off the 49 blocks. Because I'd shortened the length of my machine stitching when I was making the blocks to 1.6 instead of the normal 2.5, the paper was practically perforated along the sewing lines so it wasn't a hard job to take it off. I actually quite enjoyed it and was a wee bit sad when I'd finished!

Next I pinned all 49 blocks to their bump inners and their fabric backs. The first one pinned:

All 49 pinned:

Then I started quilting them. I'm doing straight lines about 1½" apart along the opposite diagonal to the way the fabrics are sewn. I'm using a variegated pink thread which I got in the January sales last year - or maybe it was the year before that! Anyway, it's getting used now!

I've quilted 7 of the blocks ... only 42 more to go before I can start joining the blocks together.

Monday, 18 January 2016

from Archer to Amaryllis

I finished another Archer shirt on Saturday.

I love this one just as much as the first one I made which I blogged about here. It's a really dark navy needlecord with flowers in various colours all over it. I picked some creamy flower buttons to go with it - very appropriate!

After finishing the shirt, I was looking through my piles of fabric wondering what to make next. I had a bit leftover from a dress I made in December 2014 and realised it was big enough to make a tablecloth with so that's exactly what I did. I overlocked and hemmed the edges, gave it a quick press and then, about 10 minutes after digging it out of the pile, put it on the dining room table. Lovely!

I must remember and not lie on the table with my dress on or I'll be invisible! LOL

Yesterday I cut out and started sewing a pair of grey trousers. I finished them off today. Another pair of Simplicity 5844, view E.

Lastly, this is our Amaryllis.

Isn't it glorious?

There's still another flower to come. I hope these three are still out when the last flower opens. It'll be even more fabulous than it is!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

skirts, trousers and a diary cover

I've been keeping myself busy in the sewing room again. First of all, I made myself this skirt:

It's another version of my own pattern which I made using the "Sew What Skirts" book. I got the fabric from Santa - thanks, Santa! :oD

It's a lovely grey stripey fabric - a bit hard to see in the photos. This time I was "boring" and made the facings out of the proper fabric.

Next I made a new cover for Douglas's mum's diary.

The one I'd made for her a few years ago didn't fit her new diary so I asked Douglas to measure the new diary for me. It's always so much easier to make these covers when you have the diary on hand to test to see if the cover fits so I'll be keeping my fingers tightly crossed that I've got it right!

Yesterday, I decided to make myself some brown trousers. I had bought the fabric back in September when I discovered that all my trousers were too big for me. (Yay!!) These ones are a perfect fit.

I made them using my old faithful pattern - Simplicity 5844, view E.

Then today, I decided to tackle the last piece of fabric that Santa gave me to make skirts with. I used Butterick 5466, view A (see here for photo of the pattern) but this time I widened it at the hem by about 6" in total. It's now more of an A-line skirt rather than a pencil skirt.

It's hard to see but there is a dark pink pinstripe on the navy fabric. I used a dark pink spotty cotton for the facings.

So far this year, I've made 4 skirts, 1 pinafore dress, 1 pair of trousers and 1 diary cover. Not too shabby considering it's only the 12th of January!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

skirt, hyacinths, hexagons & books

I made another skirt for myself yesterday. It's in a polyester suede type fabric which Santa brought me and I made it using the pattern I made from my own measurements using the "Sew What Skirts" book. I've made this skirt so many times now, the paper I used to draw the pattern is almost worn out! I really should dig out the roll of paper and make myself a new one!

I used a yellow bias binding at the waist this time - see the left side of the photo below to see the colour - and, as I didn't have an ordinary brown zip in my stash, I used an invisible zip instead. I'm not fond of sewing invisible zips but I must admit to being chuffed at how well this one looks, well, invisible - apart from the zip pull, of course!

This morning, I was in Lidl and bought myself a wee bowl of hyacinths. I planted them as soon as I got home and, according to the instructions, in 10 days I'll be taking them out of the cupboard at the bottom of the stairs to display them. I wrote it in my diary in case I forget!!

This is the design on the wee pottery bowl. Not bad for only £2.49, eh?

This afternoon I decided to see how many hexagons I had in the box where I've been keeping them. I started these back in April last year. I haven't been working on them non-stop - nothing like it. I take the urge now and then and then I stop again.

I tipped them out ...

.... then arranged them in piles of 10.

100 made! I don't know how many more I'll do or how many more I think I'll need. I do still have a few still needing their black "rounds" crocheted on. I don't think a few more would go amiss!

Douglas kindly got me down a pile of old books which were on high shelves in the room I used to use as my sewing room. He now uses it as his train room with his huge train table taking up most of the space in that wee room. I couldn't reach the shelves so he got these down for me yesterday. I've not read these books in years so it'll be a bit like re-visiting old friends. I'm looking forward to reading every single one of them!

Fun times! :o)