Monday, February 08, 2016

Caswell Block C2

I'm just so thrilled to have finished another Caswell block. The glue baste technique I learned from Teresa's blog really makes it so much easier to tackle the more fiddly elements - do try it if you are working on an appliqué project.

Caswell Quilt - Block C2

The leaves, the stem and the butterfly were stitched in place using my normal needle turn technique, but the flower and the bird were done with the glue baste method, and I'm so impressed with the speed and accuracy that is achieved. I now understand how Teresa is so prolific ... I'm definitely converted.

I do have a couple more pictues to share, but I'll have to leave them for next time, as I'm just about to run Camo to tennis training. Now that school is back, all the other activities are back too. Between Camo and I, there is tennis in some form seven times a week, Camo's tutoring, work and quilt group. All good fun and useful, but it means I'm never sitting still for too long. Chatter soon!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Caswell Block B3

Oh my goodness, I'm so pleased to have finished this block. There were elements of it that were tough! Well, not that tough, but I did learn a new skill ... I'll explain shortly - here's the finished block:

Caswell Quilt - Block B3

As you know, my favourite technique for applique is needle-turn. I've been doing it for years, and I feel reasonably confident that I can tackle most things with it. But as I was contemplating the nest and the birds, I couldn't settle on which would be the best order to do the pieces. That's when I decided to try a technique I'd read all about at Teresa from Fabric Therapy's blog. She uses freezer paper and glue bastes. Do check out her fabulous tutorials - they're amazing!

I constructed the nest first:

It was pretty easy, and I was very confident going forward. Teresa talks about being sparing with the glue, but I got a bit preschool and used plenty, so it was a little hard to needle afterward, but I'm sure practice makes perfect. All confident, I tackled the blue bird next and it was much tougher, but by the time I put the pink bird together, I was super happy with how it was all going. I will definitely use the technique again for tricky elements. Thank you Teresa!

It's getting late here, so I should get to bed - I have tennis tomorrow morning if it stops raining. It seems we dash from major heat to major rain - just the extremes for us to deal with. I have some emails to catch up etc etc, but they will all have to wait until tomorrow. Chatter soon!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Caswell Block A4

This morning I put the last few stitches in my next Caswell block. I just had the last two flowers to place, and it was done:

Caswell Quilt - Block A4

It appears that I've centred the appliqué poorly on the background fabric, but in reality it's fine - the blame lies with my lack of photography skills and taking the picture off centre - honest!

I'm a bit of a lazy appliquér, and to that end I made some changes. I smoothed out the bumps in the larger leaves - for two reasons. The green print fabric for the super big leaves is quite heavy and hard to needle turn, so I didn't want the hassle of the little lumps and bumps, and if I'm honest, I actually prefer the look of neater leaves. I also changed the centre of the two left most flowers - I liked the William Morris print for the centre, so I used that instead of appliqueing the fussy shape in place.

Not sure yet which block I'll work on next, but I'm thrilled to have 14 blocks done - I have 16 to go!! Chatter soon :-)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Dresden Play Mat

Last night I put the last stitches in the binding of a gift I FINALLY made:

I found it so hard to drag myself away from my Caswell blocks to make this, but once I finally got to working on it, it didn't take long at all. Seriously an hour to put the top together on Friday, and then on Saturday I quilted it, applied the ric-rac and binding - then last night (until quite late watching the tennis) I hand stitched the reverse side of the binding down. Easy!

Up to now, I've only thought of this pattern as a table topper, but a little light bulb moment recently helped me realise it could be a baby play mat, and that's what this one is destined to be. I think I'll photograph it nicely and add the pictures to my pattern at the Etsy store.

I'll be back to the appliqué this afternoon I hope, I've actually been missing needle turning! Speaking of which, I've had a another question pop up a few times; lovely readers are asking where they may purchase the Caswell pattern. It's available from Threadbear in Castlemaine Australia. Thank you to Monique and Isabel for asking. And Hi to Mary Ann and Celia, lovely to hear from you both again.

 Chatter soon! xox

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Questions ... Queries ... Posers ...

Just for fun, I created a collage of the Caswell blocks I've made so far. Because I've made 13 blocks, the program has used a couple of the blocks twice, but I have to tell you, I'm loving how this project is coming along so far! Super fun!!

I have had a couple of questions from blog followers this week, and I thought it might be worthwhile to share my answers with everyone.

A lovely reader Mary Ann (who I wasn't able to respond to personally) asked about what background fabric I'm using. Of course I'm happy to share. There are two backgrounds, and they're both by French General - the one with the tiny print is from the French General Favourites line. The one that is more plain and has a slight woven look, and I think it's from the Maison de Garance line. The colourway for both the prints is oyster. I love both the fabrics, and this is the third project I've used the woven looking print for. Thank you for asking Mary Ann! :-)

Another sweet reader Meryl asked what needles and thread I use. This one is easy - I've used Piecemakers betweens for a long time. For me they're tried and true, and I love that the eye of the needle isn't wider than the shaft. And the thread I've been using is Masterpiece by Superior Threads. While I was in the USA in 2012, I purchased a bobbin donut at the Superior Threads booth, and I have to say it has been one of my most favourite purchases ever! Some of my bobbins are getting low, and I'm going to have to replace my favourite colours soon.

May I also just say that I'm not compensated for these recommendations in any way, just a very satisfied customer.

I'd also like to say a big Hi to Jenni who commented recently, I'd love to reply personally, but your email address didn't come through to me xox

No stitching at all so far for me today, and the day is almost over. I've been out and about with Camo, and this evening has been spent doing guild work. If I'm super lucky I may be able to trace another block before I head to bed, but maybe tomorrow will be the day instead. Chatter soon!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Caswell Block B1, and a lucky find :-)

And another Caswell block rolls off the (incredibly enthusiastic) production line:

Caswell Quilt - Block B1

I don't mind admitting that this isn't one of my favourites so far - it was fine to stitch and everything, but it's not as pretty as some of the others (in my humble opinion). And that's fine - because I know it will look just lovely when placed alongside the others in the finished quilt.

Not sure which one I'll work on next, but I'm thinking A4 should be a contender. It will mean I'll be entirely finished the first row which is good ... but those jaggedy edged leaves!?!

In other much less interesting news, I thought I'd quickly share something I found while shopping with Mum this week:

We spied these William Morris mugs while in Harris Scarfe, and I decided to snap a pair up. They were discounted to just over $4.00 each which I thought was a steal. My morning coffee is sure to be much sweeter with such a lovely view, don't you think?

And before I dash, I just wanted to say a quick Hi, and thanx for stopping by to Chantal L. She left a comment on my last post and I wasn't able to message her back. I appreciate all your comments, and always try to reply when I can.

Time to make dinner here, so I'll chatter again soon! xox

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Caswell Block C4

Here is my latest C4 block - further evidence of my addiction:

Caswell Quilt - Block C4

I finished the last stitches in this block yesterday afternoon while I was cooking for the hubster's 'significant' birthday party dinner we had last night. It was a really fun time, but I'm feeling mighty tired today. Because it was such a late night, we left most of the aftermath to deal with for today, and the sweet guy has already tackled most of the dishes before I even climbed out of bed this morning. He's a keeper!

But back to the block - I didn't necessarily use the same colours as the original block - that purple flower definitely wasn't in the plan. Also, on the blue and yellow flower at right, the two outermost petals I had originally stitched a yellow batik fabric down - when the block was finished I just didn't like them, so I swapped them out for the petals you see now. The yellow ones were just the only thing my eye rested on, so out they went.

Not sure if I'll get another block started today - I still have chores to get through, and some guild work to tackle ... here's betting I'll find a few minutes for my stitching though ... :-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Caswell Block C5

Ohhh yes, I need someone to divert me away from these blocks ... I genuinely have so many other things I must do, but I keep heading back to this completely addictive applique! Here's my next completed block:

Caswell Quilt - Block C5

How fun to find that I had the same fabric in my stash that Corliss used for the vase in her original block. I have the print in three colourways and chose to use the one that has a little pink in it - my thinking was that I could then use pink in the centre of the flowers. 

Two of the fabrics in the block are almost 20 years old. The green in the centre leaf on the vase - it was a gift to me from my sweet friend Linda when I visited with her in the USA in 2000. And the yellow/black print is a Smithsonian print that Sue from NZ sent me a little while back. The Smithsonian collections were around when I started my original Dear Jane quilt back in 1997. I had long ago run out of the yellow, so it was just so kind of Sue to send me some more. What lovely friends I have!

Tonight before I head to bed, I'm making a list of the things I must achieve tomorrow. I'm a compulsive follower of lists, so hopefully I won't get distracted and head right on back to the appliqué ... here's hoping!


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