Welcome to week 10 of the Patchwork Please Zakka Along 2 hosted by Lindsey and Debbie. I was so thrilled when Ayumi told me she was finally writing a book and even more excited when I got a copy of Patchwork Please! I felt so proud of her and her huge accomplishment of creating a book where every project is a delight. It is packed full of projects with a little bit of everything- applique, paper piecing, quilting, small projects, big projects- I chose the biggest, Swedish Bloom Time lap quilt, it was love at first sight.
A project this size with paper piecing as the main design needs a little organisation. I printed out my foundation templates first- I use a scanner to transfer the pattern from the book. It does use a lot of paper but the cheapest thinnest paper makes the best foundation patterns so don't use your best printer paper. I was systematic in my process. I picked out a colour combination for each flower looking for contrast and harmony. I made plastic templates of each separate piece of the petals and leaves and drew round them on the reverse of the fabric with Sewline pencil and cut 1/2" seam allowance all round. I worked on 4 petals at a time so I could sort out directional prints and laid all the pieces out before I sewed anything. This method means you use a less fabric, allows you to fussy cut a little and keeps all the pieces on the grain. I used just over a yard of background for the flower/leaf blocks rather than 2 yards. Each flower took around 2 to 3 hours to assemble from beginning to end.
If you are a beginner at paper piecing, using non directional prints or solids makes this process a lot easier- no need to worry about getting things upside down- (read about directional prints here). I also creased all the seam lines on the foundation paper pattern using a Hera tool as this makes the process of flipping the paper back and forth for each seam easier for me. I pressedand trimmed all the seams to 1/4" as I sew. You can find paper piecing tutorials here. The same process is applied to the leaves- I did a 9 of these in one session so I started to pre-cut the pieces in bulk and create an assembly line.
The template method has some big advantages. The pencil marks on the reverse help lining up the pieces. You can see how I aligned piece 3 on the petal.
This is especially useful when adding diagonal pieces. The pencilled corners give precise points- in the pic below I am adding one of the background corner sections- the pencil corner aligns with the edge of the paper, then I know the fabric will fit without being too small.
When it came to sashing, I got a little confused with the different strip measurement so I went my own way with it. I stuck to the same widths but I cut my lengths differently and assembled in a different order. My outer columns and top/bottom strips ended up 1/2" longer than those in the book which may have been trhough my strip construction but it is worth checking your measurements, especially the lengths before you cut the sashing. There is room to be creative and play around with the layout- add more leaves, take leaves away. Just a single bloom would make a great pillow/cushion or mini quilt, or the design could be shrunk down for mini blooms, they would look great all in a row!
The border was 5" pieces, mainly a the remains of a Posy layer cake with a few extras added.
I kept the quilting simple. There was a lot going on with the flowers and so I did a little colour matching with these fantastic variegated 50wt threads from Aurifil- this selection is chosen by Tula Pink and the colours were a great match. The quilting is mainly echo quilting on petals and leaves with parallel lines round the quilt border.
I did get a little fancy in each flower centre. Free motion quilting does not come easy to me so these were stitched with a pencil line to guide me, lets just say they are organic in design!
I used my favourite batting of the moment, Quilter's Dream Blend. This has a little more loft (only a little, it is still very flat) than the 100% cotton Quilter's Dream Natural Request so it makes for a little softer, cuddlier quilt plus the touch of poly makes it lighter and quicker to dry. It is a very stable batting that holds its shape whilst cutting and making the quilt sandwich and it can be stitched far apart.
The only thing to watch out for is not to get a hot iron near it. I was trying to fix a nick in the border by pressing a little fusible interfacing underneath the fabric but my iron was too hot and ended up scorching the fabric and the batting went a little hard and flat underneath. I had to hand piece a new section of fabric and batting. All was hidden in the quilting but it did give me a little flutter at the time.
Now time for some giveaway goodies, generously donated by some of the sponsors involved in the the sew-along, Form and Fabric and Aurfil.
- 1 person will win Form and Fabric fat 8th pack in green prints plus a great sticker plus Aurifil sample pack, further 3 people win Aurifil sample packs.
- I can post anywhere so international entries are welcome but you must have an email address that I can contact you on in your profile/comment.
- I always find giveaways where you recommend me something are great to read and really helpful- please recommend: a great book- audio/fiction/whatever, or great music- track, artist- whatever and if all else fails recommend me something totally random!
Leave one comment with your recommendation!
Random winners chosen 12th August
Don't forget to visit Lindsey's blog where she has a Zakka Along 2 linkup details and prizes provided by the generous sponsors.