Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Where I'm up to now

I've had very little time for quilting the last couple of weeks, but such is life.  I have made progress though, including my bee blocks and modern sampler blocks as well as circles of course.

First things first here is my bee block for Bee Inspired.

Meet Marcel.  Marcel is the poodle block requested by Karen from Tu-na Quilts.  It's not called Marcel of course but a couple of the girls have named them which I thought was rather fun.   You can find the Bee Inspired post here which has the link for the pattern but read Karen's subsequent posts where she has a handy  printout for labelling the pieces and gives post by post instructions.  There are a LOT of pieces, in fact that is what makes it one of the more difficult challenging blocks I have ever made.  I'm not sure if I enjoyed making it but I enjoyed the challenge,  I think.  It took me four sessions to make the block.  First one to cut the fabrics, then there were two to do the stitch and flip preparation (confusing at times even with the labels), and the last one to stitch the pieces together.  Karen requested black with white or white with black for the poodle and the background, I didn't have either so I had to hit the shops.  I did have a black on black for the accent fabric though, its rather nice but shame you can't see the detail.

The second one for Stash Bee Hive 2 was much easier,

orange peel.  Although Lisa requested a white with black scrappy background she did say it would be acceptable if it was all the same.  I didn't have any white with black, but as I was already buying one fabric to make Marcel I splashed out and bought two.  This version is made using a bonded interfacing, I can see the advantage, it makes a nice neat edge and no chance of fraying but for me it is a little bulky, although I did use a light and very thin interfacing.  Orange peel is on my bucket list but this method is not for me I think, glad I tried it though.  That's the great thing about being in a bee, you get the opportunity to try lots of things without committing to the whole quilt.

I only made two new sampler blocks this month.

I added two new fabrics in, both from the same range, the grey and the light brown with tiny flowers. I'm really not sure about them, the brown I used as borders obviously doesn't work and needs to be replaced but the grey looks fine.

I was going to remove it but looking at it with the rest of the blocks it blends in better.  So, opinions please, do I remove the new brown completely, use it in small pieces, or should I remove both?  I'm not sure on this one.

Then there was circles

No I'm still not finished it and yes it is taking forever, but here is where I'm up to now, it's easier to see on the back.   I ironed the back before every line of quilting and although the fabric looks a bit loose on the pic when I iron it it does smooth out ok so that's what I will do before starting the next stage.   I went down each row of blocks going around the circles and diamonds, then I stitched around the borders and finally around the edge.  The plan now is to meander the background then do something in the circles.  I doubt if I will finish it this month though as I still have a lot going on just now.

Thank you all so much for your imput on my last post, there was a wealth of information in there which gave me much food for thought.

First of all Bonnie and several others appear to spray the wadding, now I always thought I was supposed to spray the fabric which is what I have been doing and which is what Margaret has read and recently seen on a craft channel, hmmmmmmm!

There is also a theory that it's to do with the grain of the fabric, Louise made some very good points

I find that I sometimes get that kind of wrinkling when I'm using my walking foot and the backing is lined up in a particular way. If the stitching lines go selvedge to selvedge, no problem. But if the quilting runs parallel to the less stretchy, straight grain, it can wrinkle. I think it doesn't happen on the front because there are more pieces, so the fabric grain is running lots of different directions. That makes the top more flexible and able to "go with the flow." And of course you can see any little tucks and puckers that are starting to form and fix them immediately on the top.

Louise also thinks a pieced backing helps avoid it, it is well worth reading all her comments.

Karen from KAHolly commented about a recommendation for heat setting whereas Karen from Tu-na Quilts says she never irons after spray basting and hasn't had a problem.

If you haven't read the post or commented early and are interested I would certainly recommend reading all the comments of the previous post, there is so much information there.

Lastly I finished the last of my embroidery and added the needs to this small piece.  I'm going to Higham Hall in a couple of weeks for a long weekend of embroidery and seeing as I haven't done any since I was last there I thought it was about time.

So here it is.  It's a small piece but it's amazing how much time it has taken to stitch it.   I quite enjoyed doing the silk shading on the leaves, the flower centres are padded underneath and covered with french knots, and I love the woven picots that make the petals.   All I have left to do is add a 3D leaf which is already made, and another two butterfly wings.   They are all stitched using wires and then cut out and attached.   I haven't done that before so I will finish it off in class.

Then I will go back to this piece, which is really a tray cover.

Sorry I've been missing for a while, my son is much recovered now thank you for all your kind enquiries, but one of the parents has been ill, and quilting and blogging and reading blogs was the last thing on my mind.  Tell truth it will happen again, until eight months ago my husband and I were lucky enough to have four parents between us, now we have three, aged between 85 and 90 and all with health problems.  We are indeed very lucky and I count our blessings, no matter how much it disrupts our lives, every year every day is a bonus.

But today the sun is shining and I am now just about back to normal so I am back to blogging and will be visiting everyone in the next few days.  Thank you all so much for not giving up on me.

Until next time,
with smiles from,
Kate x

Linking up with:
Let's Bee Social
Midweek Makers
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?
Finished or Not Friday
Slice of Pi Quilts hosting for TGIFF


  1. You have so many amazing projects going on, I don't know where to start. I guess I'll start with Marcel. What an absolutely adorable little poodle...and the name just fits so well. The colors of your sample blocks go so well together. It will be a lovely quilt when you're finished. Now for your embroidery...it is the most exquisite embroidery I've seen in a long time. Your work is outstanding.

    Sorry to hear about your parents. My husband and I are in the same spot right now with four aging parents between the two of us. It seems that at least one of them is laid up in bed or at the hospital at any given time. Glad you are able to feel some normalcy when you get to work on your projects. --Andrea

  2. Marcel is a handsome poodle!! He doesn't look at all like he gave you trouble. Sorry, I chose a hard block but gosh just look at that face on Marcel. Doesn't it just make your heart melt? One can almost hear him sing err. bark. He will be a delight to have come to play with all the other poodles, when they arrive, and be sewn into a quilt. If I can catch them all and get them stitched down before they turn my house upside down.

    I totally understand about aging parents and the care they require. It's not easy physically or mentally or emotionally to watch them go thru ill health in their later years. And it's just plain a lot of work for those who provide care. I guess none of us wants to admit what the final outcome is for any of us. It's just plain hard. Karen

  3. Oh, your embroidery piece is just lovely, Kate! The 3D pieces make it so special. Completely understand where you are with aging parents. My in-laws and my Dad are in their 80s, my Mom in her late 70s. And Mom has a new life partner who is in his 90s!! We count ourselves lucky that the medical issues are still mostly minor with all of them.

  4. My poodle block took forever to put together as well and I was ready to throw it into the corner and walk away a couple of times. Yours looks really good though, so the outcome might be worth it. I was going to name mine Marcel as well after the poodle we had when I was growing up. I'll have to choose another name - maybe Deefer or Rolf...I love your embroidery project - the colours are so soft and gorgeous! Look forward to seeing more after your weekend away. Hope your parents and in-laws stay healthy-ish for a while.

  5. your poodle looks so proud strutting along, it looks very complicated to do. Likewise the orange peel I have tried a little applique but did not like how it feels stiff when using bondaweb or similar. Glad you said the circles seemed a bit puffy but iron out okay as I am doing some at the moment and mine too are puffy but will iron when completed was thinking of unpicking them but you have put my mind at rest. Loving the embroidery both pieces the stumpwork is delightful. Hope Mum is feeling a bit better now. Good to read what people have said about crinkling etc when quilting and lots of advice. Re the brown I think it works providing you use it in some more blocks too

  6. You're certainly making up for lost time at the sewing machine. Marcel is simply adorable. Looks like he's strutting his stuff! My 'to go' project this year is orange peels. I use the freezer paper method and hand applique. I think you should wait before deciding whether to keep the blocks or not. Once you've introduced more blocks and more of that fabric into the mix, I think you'll find it all blends together very well. I, personally, love your fabric choices! Circles is looking just fine! Once it's laundered, it will be perfect! What batting are you using? Kate, that embroidery piece is a stunner! I am SO impressed!

  7. So you were NOT blogging for a couple of weeks and then you return with a BANG!!! Oh my such a rich post - it is like drinking from a fire hose. I love the poodle very much. I will make at least one and include it on my sampler quilt. The embroidery is so delicate and exquisite. And I am sure you will figure out the rest. Give up on you? No way.
    Lots of Hugs,

  8. My goodness, Kate! You certainly have been a busy stitcher! All of your projects look fantastic, but of course you have to know I am a sucker for a block that represents anything animal. Love your sweet poodle! Marcel is certainly worth all the trouble he caused you. I have not participated in any bees, so I enjoyed reading about how you felt it was a great opportunity to try something new without the commitment of having to make a whole quilt. And about the quilting when it runs parallel to the less stretchy, straight grain on the backing.... I pin baste, but had that same experience!

  9. I agree with the other comments, Kate -- you have been busy, both with quilting and with life. It's been really fun to see what you are working on. I think I'd leave the brown fabric for a little bit and see if you warm up to it. It'll tell you one way or the other soon. Enjoy your day!

  10. Your embroidery is stunning, gorgeous and amazing!! I love looking at all the detail! Marcel is quite cute! I can imagine there were a few interesting spots, but he was well worth it! I can relate to the an elderly parent with health issues. The end of the month I'll be meeting up with my sisters to pack and move my mom back to Oregon. Her mind is sound, but her body not so much!

  11. Thank you for sharing the sampler blocks - love the colors! Even though you not quilted much lately, you've still gotten a lot done.

  12. I love that embroidery, Kate! Take things in their own time and don't worry about going missing; we'll be here when you come back after an absence. Glad to hear things are okay for the moment.

  13. Marcel is very cute! You may have had little time for sewing, but you're making great progress on your projects.

  14. Beautiful embroidery! I also think the brown will work if you use it in some other blocks...you've got a lot of projects going and it's great to see the progress in spite of the life issues.

  15. You have a lot of progress anyway ! Your circle quilt and your modern sampler look great.

  16. Marcel is just precious! How do you keep up with all of those project? I can barely handle two at a time. Never more!
    I like the brown in your sampler. In fact I think you can add additional colors so long as you don't stray too far from what you have. They are pretty amazing already. It's obvious you are enjoying this project.

  17. Hi Kate: I've also had very little time for sewing. I am amazed at how far you've come along with things. I think the brown works....and I am curious about the circles so I guess I will have to scroll back to check them out.

  18. How could he be anything other than marcel? He's brilliant , has just that right amount of snootiness

  19. It's really a great and useful piece of info.
    I am happy that you shared this helpful information with us.

    Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  20. I'm so jealous, Kate! You really have got a lot of things done! I already know you're a great piecer and quilter but I am also impressed by your embroidery. That really is beautiful! What will you be doing with it when it is all done?

  21. You've been working on lots of things lately! Thank you for sharing your progress! And thanks for linking up to TGIFF!

  22. A post full of beautiful works. Fun bee blocks!! I like the music background fabric you used. The sampler blocks are beautiful. They make me think of woodland. I think the new fabrics blend in quite nicely with rest of the blocks. The circle quilt looks great, too. Your embroidery is gorgeous, Kate! They remind me of my mother’s embroidery.


  23. I am happy to hear your son is doing better. Life just gets in the way and the fun stuff has to be set aside until there is time for it again.
    I cannot believe the gorgeous embroidery Kate. You are really talented!! It looks just perfect. I look forward to seeing that little piece finished off. It is lovely.

  24. What a cute snowman! And having him juggle various things is great. Thanks for sharing.


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With smiles from,