OAKSHOTT LIPARI BLOG HOP

Welcome to the second stop on the Oakshott Lipari Blog Hop. Now, before we begin, I have a little confession to make. I am a huge Oakshott fan! I remember seeing some way back when and dying at the sight. You know when people say “oh, you really have to see it to believe it”, well, nothing could be truer with these stunning fabrics. They beg to be viewed up close. My stash now has a whole shelf of them and even a separate box for all the scraps and off-cuts. Hoard them I do, so it was a no brainer when Lynne asked if I’d like to be part of a blog hop celebrating the latest collection.

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Each of the eighteen colours of the Lipari collection are woven with black thread to give a dark and rich palette. I was reminded of a Moroccan souk by the deep jewel colours and my mind was awash with exotic things I wanted to make! They’re 54″ wide too, so they go that little bit extra and are perfect for garment making.

After much thought and lots of fabric petting, I decided upon a paper pieced quilt block I’d had in my mind for quite a while. I think I’m right in saying that the inspiration came from a plant pot I saw in a Buzzfeed article about the ten coolest things you can buy your plants. Slightly odd, but inspirational none the less! I’ve called this the ‘Prism Plant Pot’ block.

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It’s always so much fun to draft a paper pieced pattern. At the start, there’s the worry about whether it’ll all come together and actually look like it does in your head. After a few initial sketches, I had the design nailed and was thankful that a friend was able to digitise it for me. I’m more of a pencil and graph paper sort of guy, which, although fine for me, wouldn’t work too well when it came to sharing the pattern. After a quick test block, I was ready to go!

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Owing to time restraints, I settled on a mini quilt for this make, although, by using chain piecing, the blocks came together so quickly that a full quilt wouldn’t have taken that much longer. I decided to pre-cut the fabric to size beforehand for this project, the first time I’ve done so. I was so surprised at how much quicker the whole thing came together and before I knew it I was ready to quilt. Oakshott cottons take quilting beautifully, though it took me an age to decided on a design.

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What at first was something I didn’t look forward to, quilting has become one of my favourite parts of quilt making. I guess it’s a confidence thing. Early on, I would see beautifully quilted quilts with intricate designs and wish that I could do them. With every new quilt I make, I’m excited and willing to try something new and push the limitations of my skill, slowly but surely building up my repertoire.

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For this mini, after discarding several ideas, I went with a meandering angular line that was so much fun to quilt as I tuned in to an episode of one of my favourite podcasts. If you find yourself tensing up when you attempt FMQ, then listening to some music or a podcast is a great way of finding some flow. The binding was simple, and chosen to blend in to the quilt top. You all know that binding is my favourite part and I so relish the moments of hand sewing with dog at feet and some old vinyl crackling away in the background. Bliss!

This fabric, like all the other Oakshott I’ve had the pleasure of working with, really is a dream to sew. Yet it’s the colours that get me every single time. I’m so excited to see what they come up with next!

Should you want to make your own Prism Plant Pot mini, you’ll find a small tutorial below. I won’t go into the ins and outs of paper piecing here as there are plenty of great write ups on the subject already. If you’ve never tried, this pattern is a really easy one, though you may want to do a few test blocks using fabric that isn’t your best.

To to make a mini like mine, which finishes at approx. 22″ x 26.5 you’ll need to make 16 blocks, which will be sewn into a 4 x 4 layout. Start by printing out 16 copies of Prism Plant Pot template 1 and 16 of Prism Plant Pot template 2 These will be paired up to make one finished block.

To make the quilt, use the following fabric quantities as a guide, though remember that with paper piecing, everyone has a different level of comfort, that’s to say, you may need more wiggle room than the next person! I’ve listed the colours I used too.

For the prisms – fat eighth pack of Liparis (with lots left over!)

For the background, backing and binding – 2 meters of Liparis Milazzo

For the side pieces – 0.4 meters of Liparis Pollara

For the top fabric – 0.25 meters of Scandinavia Uppsala.

If like me you want to do all the cutting beforehand, then use these following measurements to prepare all your pieces to make 16 blocks.

From the prism fabric (I used all the colours in the bundle except the Milazzo and Pollara as these were used elsewhere) – 32 3.5″ x 4″ pieces, 2 of each remaining colour. These will be section 2 on the pattern.

From the background fabric – 32 3.5″ x 2″ pieces for section 1, 32 3.5″ x 2.5″ pieces for section 5 and 32 6.5″ x 1.5″ pieces for section 6.

From the side fabric – 32 3.5″ x 4″ pieces for section 3.

From the top fabric – 32 3.5″ x 1″ pieces for section 4.

Piece all 32 block halves before matching them in pairs and joining together to make 16 finished blocks. Take care to align each half so that the prism is as neat as possible. Arrange the block in 4 rows of 4, distributing the colours. Sew the blocks into rows before joining the rows together to complete the quilt top.

From your remaining Milazzo fabric, cut your backing and your biding strips (you’ll need 2 at the full WOF. I cut mine to 2″ but if you prefer you can cut to 2.25″). Baste with batting using your preferred method and quilt the top before making and attaching the binding.

Job done!

Thank you for stopping by today. If you’ve liked what you’ve seen, be sure to take a look at all the other stops on the tour, which you’ll find listed below. To keep up to date with all the goings on from the attic, follow along by signing up in the task bar and following over on Instagram where I post as quiltsfromtheattic. If you make a Prism Plant Pot block, let me know using #prismplantpotblock.

Happy sewing!

5 May     Allison Dutton       allison-sews.blogspot.com

10 May   Nicholas Ball         quiltsfromtheattic.wordpress.com 

12 May   Helen Purvis          archiethewonderdog.blogspot.com

17 May   Lynn Harris            thelittleredhen.typepad.com

19 May   Kitty Wilkin           nightquilter.com

24 May   Jessica Skultety      www.quiltyhabit.com 

26 May   Karin Jordan           www.leighlaurelstudios.com

31 May   Elisabeth Vaughan  sharksdinner.com

LECIEN LOG CABIN WIP

These days, fabric is coming into the attic quicker than I can cut it up and make things!  As pretty as it looks all piled up on the shelf, and there are a lot of shelves, I recently took some time to start working with the amazing L’s Modern Basics fabrics that Lecien were kind enough to send me. These modern, vibrant blenders are perfect for so many things, but I wanted to really showcase the collection is a clean, graphic way, something which can be at odds with my usually improv piecing method.

I loved that the collection was split into two distinctly different colourways, warm and cool, so decided to work this into my design.  Log cabin blocks lend themselves beautifully to clean lines and optical illusions and are a great way use a large range of prints.  This was clearly the way to go!

I decided to paper piece the blocks as I wanted thin logs, half an inch to be precise, and like the accuracy this method gives.  I drafted a pattern and got cutting.  I’ve spent that last week making up blocks and have loved every second!  The piecing is so addictive and by pre-cutting my pieces to size beforehand, the blocks come together really quickly.

As I made the pattern on quarter-inch dot paper, I found that I was able to use the exact size of fabric for the log and use the dots to line up the pieces before sewing, making everything even easier since there’s no trimming of the seam.  I have the design all planned out and just need a few more blocks before I can start sewing them all together.  Watch this space.

BLOGGER’S QUILT FESTIVAL – TOTEM POLE QUILT

For the first time, I’m going to enter a second quilt into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival.  I’ve always admired the quilts in the ROYGBIV category but never had one to share.  Well, that all changed this year with my contribution to the Rainbow Mini Quilt Swap I participated in.

Of all the quilts I’ve made recently, my Totem Pole Quilt has been the most fun.  I had a great time choosing fabrics from my scraps to piece the pattern, which I designed myself. You can read all about this quilt in the original post here.  You know you’re on to a winner when the repetition of piecing paper pieced blocks doesn’t get to you.  I can honestly say that each of these blocks was a joy to make and I’m looking forward to experimenting with a second version some time soon.

You must all know the drill by now, so go forth and browse this and all the other festival categories.  If you’re so inclined, I’d appreciate any votes you want to put my way.  Thank you!

A RAINBOW MINI QUILT SWAP QUILT

Quilt swaps are a great way to become engaged with the online quilting community.  You make friends, learn a thing or two and, at the end of it, come away with a lovingly, hand-made quilt.  You may remember I participated in a second Schnitzel and Boo swap and the Instagram Mini Quilt Swap last year.  This year I’ve signed up to three swaps, with the first being the Rainbow Mini Swap, organised by Kate Basti through Instagram.

If the hashtags for these swap (#rainbowminiswap and #rainbowteamred, green, blue, yellow and for the individual groups) are anything to go by, nothing is more inspiring than a rainbow of fabric made into a quilt.  There are some really amazing quilts to be seen, each unique and beautiful to look at.  Despite the swap name, the minis didn’t have to feature a rainbow of colour but rather take inspiration from it.

I began the process with a quick sketch.  For whatever subliminal reason, I had the image of a totem pole in my head.  I imagined bands of colours across a Joel Dewberry wood grain fabric that I had buried in the stash.  In the end, it turned out to be not quite enough, so I luckily sourced some more from Simply Solids.  I made some more sketches before deciding upon a design which I turned into a paper pieced pattern.  I decided that would be the best way to make the blocks.  With the pattern good to go I began construction.  I wanted to arrange the blocks in colour wheel order, so began with red and ended with pink-red.

I can honestly say that choosing the fabrics was the best part of making this quilt.  I had 16 coloured piles of scraps that would form the bands of the totem poles.  The background would be a mixture of crosshatch, Essex yarn dyed linen and solids to give a scrappy looks.  For the colours I went straight to my favourites; Tula pink, Alison Glass and Carolyn Friedlander, all mixed with an array of Kona solids. I also included some hand-printed fabrics by the talented Karen Lewis of Karen Lewis Textiles. I’ve long admired Karen’s work on Instagram and this was the first time I’d gotten my hands on some of her screen printed cotton.  Her designs are perfect for this sort of project, even in small pieces, and I knew I wanted to include some from the project’s earliest conception.

The quilting stumped me for a long while on this one.  I still didn’t have an idea when I was sat at the machine with the basted quilt on my lap!  In the end I just placed the quilt sandwich under the foot and went for it, ending up with and all over meander which I think brings all the piecing together.  I chose a light cream thread so’s not to distract from the colours of the blocks.  The binding was simple; a small-scale black and white print from my LQS.

This one was a hard one to give away, but I have the pattern at least so I can always make another.  Paper piecing is something I enjoy and I love the challenge of designing my own patterns.  Before I sign off, I have to share this picture of Samuel’s reaction to the quilt.  I already posted this on Instagram but what the hell, it’s funny!  Thanks for visiting!

MAKING PIZZA

Remember a few posts ago when I mention all the weird and wonderful places inspiration jumps out from to strike my creative consciousness?  Well, I’ve found it hiding in a pizza box.  A few months back, whilst browsing the ‘following’ feed on Instagram, I came across an improv block that someone had labelled ‘ice cream cone’.  It was very me and I wish I could remember who posted it.  Fast forward a few days and I found myself looking cock-eyed at that night’s pizza dinner.  All I could think about was how it resembled the block I’d seen.  One of the challenges I’d set myself this year was to make my own paper piecing pattern, and I started to think how cool it would be to have that pattern be a pizza slice.  Patchwork is full of triangles!  Before I knew it I’d grabbed a scrap of paper and was scribbling like a man possessed.

After a few attempts I had in my hands some semblance of a pattern and ran to sew it up.  I don’t mind saying I came across my first hurdle pretty early on.  I pondered and pondered the problem but couldn’t get my head around it.  Then, in a eureka moment, it came to be; the pattern has to be in 2 pieces!  A quick round two with the sewing machine and I had a block, albeit an imperfect one, that I’d designed myself.  The best bit?  It looked like a pizza slice!

My original idea was for this to be a square block but I thing it works better like this.  I have a plan in my head for a mini quilt, with rows of these slices set amongst a grey background.  The fun bit will be choosing fabrics for the “toppings”.  I can’t wait.

 

A LIGHTHOUSE QUILT

A little late-night hand sewing allowed me get my Lighthouse Quilt Along quilt finished yesterday.  Adding the binding to a quilt is my favourite part of the whole quilt-making process and this time was no exception.  In fact, the whole journey of this quilt was highly enjoyable.  If I had my way (and a Harry Potter style time turner) I’d quilt along all the time.  The idea of making something at the same time as somebody on the other side of the world is one of the many things that I love about our creative community.  Alas, time is not always on our side and with two quilts already in various stages of competition I wasn’t sure if I could dedicate myself to the Lighthouse Quilt Along.  I’m so glad I did!  There was paper piecing, which I love, Tula Pink, who everybody loves, and an amazing pattern by a quilter and blogger who I’d admired for a long time.  How could I possibly say no?

The quilt construction was a breeze.  My inner perfectionist always gets a bit vocal whenever I use a paper piecing pattern (seams and points and pins oh my!) but for anybody new to paper piecing, Faith’s clear and concise instructions took you by the hand and gently guided you through the process.  I intend to hang my smaller, 31″ x 31″ ‘mini quilt’ in the attic, but I can imagine a larger version of this would look stunning on a bed.

I’m so happy with the fabric choices.  The Tula Pink Acacia that I brought back from London with me didn’t last two minutes in the stash.  This was the perfect project for it.  Coupled with some Essex linen, the colours really pop.  I chose an all over quilting design, something with curves to contrast with the straight lines of the piecing, in a simple white thread and finished the quilt off with one of the simpler designs from the collection for the binding.  In fact, I think my favourite part of the whole quilt might be the small, contrasting piece in the binding.

Also, there were no close calls with the thread this time, a la the Dinosaur Quilt, so I think I’ve learnt my lesson!

LIGHTHOUSE QUILT ALONG III

The Lighthouse Quilt Along is in full swing as we reach the third week.  By now everyone should have made a test block from their chosen fabrics.  As I knew I had so many other projects to work on, I’ve managed to get ahead this past week and have already completed my quilt top.  My original plan of a 5 blocks by 5 blocks quilt, which would have finished at 40″ x 40″, has now become a mini quilt, finishing at 32″ x 32″.  The reason?   I had some Essex linen in my stash that I wanted to use for the blocks and the backing.  There wasn’t quite enough so I decided to scale down.  I could have ordered more but I really wanted to get it finished and was too impatient to wait!  The top went together really quickly as, like Faith suggests in today’s post, I made the blocks assembly line style; all the cutting, then all the sewing etc.  The whole process was simple and stress-free.

If you’d like to quilt along, visit Fresh Lemons for the template and piecing instructions and make some blocks.