Building Blocks

I have sadly neglected my blog of late – we have been so busy with all our animals here at Casa Davies , and I have had to concentrate on quilting in my spare time..which got me thinking..does anyone else have huge problems fitting all their blocks together for the final quilt?

I sometimes see a great pattern and just cant decide about the colour combinations or where and how to place blocks on the quilt. or I think I can improve on it (!) For example I decided to make a small quilt, similar to the one I had seen in Alex Andersons book on wallquilts. So I lay all the blocks out on the floor and decided to play with them..ImageSo it sat on the floor for 3 days while I played about with what i thought was my new design and nothing was working..Big frustration! In the end I went back to the original pattern which had broken up the blocks using two horizontal lines between the top and middle blocks- the spacing really helped to creat a bit of visual tension (along with my own for being so darned stubborn in the first place)

here is the finished piece ..Image

it sure looks pretty different from how I started!! What do you think?

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Elephants in Wexford

Well no ..not real ones just on my quilt!!

I was online at one of my favourite places to buy fabric online www.fabricshack.com  

Well I was looking through all the fabrics for a childs quilt- even though mine have flown the nest and no grandchildren on the ground yet! I found this amazing funky fabric by Valori Wells there and I just had to buy it, but how to make a quilt out of very large animals??

Fabric by Valori Wells for Fresspirit Fabrics

Fabric by Valori Wells for Fresspirit Fabrics

I didnt even know what I was going to do but just loved these elephants..so my first design was born. That was such fun and many scribbles and overwrites. I thought if I cut out the Elephants using Bondaweb and appliqued them onto blocks along with star blocks it might work.

Embroidery panel hooped up and ready to go!

Embroidery panel hooped up and ready to go!

So I found some similar fabrics on the floor behind everything else and was thinking- the elephants are pretty, I thought the stars would need something extra, so I tried a few  embroidery patterns that might fit within the block on my embroidery machine.

I had an idea to blend machine embroidery with the blocks so this is what I came up with……….

DSCF2858 (800x600)

So this is what I came up for the free motion design on the star block……..

Free Motion on panel

Free Motion on panel

I found some matching Minky fabric for the back and completed all the blocks. The Minky fabric is gorgeously soft but I had used it before so didnt want to do anything to complex in the way of free motion quilting. it is a bit heavy for me to drag around on the machine but makes beautiful sculptural designs.

Minky Fabric on the Back

Minky Fabric on the BackAnd this is my finished Funky Elephant Quilt……………………..

And this is it finished , my Funky Fanta Elephant Quilt …..

Finished Quilt

Finished Quilt

I was so glad to get this finished, and folded up…no grandchildren to give it to yet though!! I am trying to find time to get on with my next project now although DH has promised me a revamp of my sewing room next week or so- its our spare bedrooma t the moment and I am working round a double bed and all the extras..have been promised a wooden floor and a sofa bed..Whoohoo!!!

A Step Further.

At least I got my first page up without too many hair tearing episodes! Due to our Irish weather, and copious amounts of rain, I was able to spend all day yesterday tweaking my blog.

I saw a lovely pattern in a magazine that I thought would make a delish baby quilt but realised I would have to re-size it plus I didn’t like some of the design so went back to square one and redesigned it and added my butterflies to the quilt. What is it about butterflies? i really love them and Fabric Shack had some wonderful panels on special a  while back so guess I was just looking for an excuse to use them!

Free Motion Quilting is a whole other business though. Everyone says its practice and more practice, but I found it really hard to start with and there are times when you hit the sweet spot on the machine and it goes so well (for about 6 inches anyway!) I thought it might be quite cool to do wavy lines around the butterflies so that it looked like there was air movement around them..

Applique Butterfly on Pink baby Quilt

I changed the borders around,  and kept the ‘on point’ design which is a fairly universal  design I think. I appliqued the butterflies on using Bondaweb and then used applique stitch 45 on my Janome Horizon, had to fiddle about with the stitch length and width to get the right size. Boy am I glad I took Leah Day’s advice about having practice swatches. I generally am not so patient and then end up using the trusty seam ripper. her videos are fantastic. I have never had any lessons, but the Internet is wonderful -I watched her videos over and over on You-tube, not just the free motion ones but all the ones about starting off and bringing your threads to the front and all the other basic tutorials.

Baby Butterflies and Pink Quilt


Another rule I am making for myself is that I will try and post photos of my quilts and embroidery that is work in progress . That is something I didn’t think of before, I always like looking at peoples work before it gets to the final stage.It is really interesting to follow  how people have made things from cutting out the fabric to the finished article.