Taking stock

It’s been a very productive quilting year so far. 

I finally finished off my red quilt after a 10 year battle with much learning about quilting. Appropriately this quilt is called ‘Learning Curve’. 


I’ve completed one Quilt from scratch (Christopher’s Jigsaw Quilt) 

I pieced and built a quilt sandwich with my Japanese Sampler Quilt.


And I also pieced the top for my sister’s postage stamp quilt. ((Photos in an upcoming post soon))

Given that my normal rate has been about one quilt per year, I’m feeling extremely industrious. Let’s hope the next few months keep going in a similar fashion. 

Japanese Sampler – Treasure purse sashiko block (Post 21)

One of the really pretty sashiko patterns in Susan Briscoe’s book is the treasure purse. It was a complicated pattern to transfer onto the fabric. Which sewing it I had to think a lot about the various junctions where lines of stitching touched each other.

It was fund to so though, and I like the final effect. I also like how the top of bag echos the shape of the ginkgo leaf. It helps to add some coherence to the quilt.

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I’m really enjoying making a sampler quilt. It’s nice to have something without a deadline, where I can just concentrating on getting each piece exactly as I want it. I think it’s also really helping my develop my skills. I’ve tried so many new techniques of the past few months.

I can’t wait to see the finished version now though. I want to be able to check I haven’t accidentally made something that doesn’t hang together well. Just those inevitable nerves I’m sure we all get once we’re committed to a large project and know the end is still a long way off.

Japanese Sampler – Sashiko edge blocks (post 19)

My Japanese quilt is starting to take shape now. I’m beginning to get a feel for the layout and the balance between the pieced and sashiko blocks. This meant I know I would need a lot of triangle pieces around the edges to square of the quilt.

These were fun, quick little designs to play with now that I’ve done enough sashiko for this quilt to just enjoy getting on with it.

It was nice to have some quick and easy hand sewing to do in the evenings.

They’re coming along quite nicely now…

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I repeated the teapot pattern (on a slightly smaller scale in one of the sashiko edges.

There is a mountain above a lake, which was a really fun one to do.

The moon and clouds is a little abstract, but I’m hoping a crescent shape in the quilting might help bring it out more.

I did a cluster of five bamboo leaves, again just picking out of the central blocks and using it to frame the quilt.

The fan motif is another repeated pattern in the triangle blocks. It looks so different in outline form. It interesting how different styles can change the same motif.

There are a couple of blossom motifs around the edge to. An orange blossom flower with a couple of leaves is pretty. I also like the plum blossom, which normally appears as a circle of three, but I just did one for the edge block.

Japanese Sampler – Knot (Post 16)

I think I’m getting close to having enough blocks for my quilt. My latest iteration of the design calls for 12 x square coloured block (pieced or applique), 6 x sashiko blocks, 10 x triangle sashiko blocks (for the sides), and 4 x coloured triangle blocks (for the corners). I haven’t decided about sashing or borders yet. I want to see how big it ends up after all of those are done.

I returned to Susan Briscoe’s book for another pieced block. I did enlarge this pattern (nervously after my mistake with the Good Luck block)

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Thankfully. It fitted. Whoop! Another finished block ticked off my list.

Learning Curve

Back in 2006 my mother announced that as I had left home she was going to redecorate my bedroom as a guest room. Whilst I had no particular objection to my room being used by guests, for some reason (I don’t remember why now) I took exception to the fact that she planned to choose the colour. I can only describe this as a belated fit of teenage pique. 

I declared that the room should be cream with red highlights. To cement this I began work on a red quilt for the bed. Prior to that I had only made one quilt. A paper pieced single bed sized quilt of 4″ squares. The red quilt would be an altogether different animal. 

This has been a difficult quilt. I didn’t know quilting shops existed when I chose the fabrics, so the quilt was comprised of the small range of reds, oranges and yellows stocked by the tiny haberdashery in my parents’ home town. 

I hadn’t seen any quilts in real life (other than the one I’d made) at that point so I had no design ideas to reference or any real technique. I wanted a sort of spiral swirl coming out from the middle. It’s okay, even as I was doing it, I knew it wasn’t pretty or captivating. I persevered. The top was machine pieced on my mother’s sewing machine during holidays from university. It was a little hodgepodge but it held together. 


The one part of the quilt that I was instantly pleased with was the embroidered centre piece. I spent a summer creating the bullion knot fire motif. I then whip stitched it onto the centre of the quilt. Now I would have a much better technique for doing the appliqué, but back in 2008 I didn’t even know what appliqué was. 


Some time later (I don’t remember how long it took) I finished the top and basted the quilt sandwich. I decided that each fabric would have its own quilting design. Initially I hand quilted, but when I eventually got a sewing machine I started experimenting and trying different techniques. 


I got very bored of burying my quilting ends, but wasn’t really sure how else it could be done. This, combined with the fact that I wasn’t enamoured with the fabrics or the design, meant that it was slow going (very slow going). It was often ignored and shoved to the back of my cupboard. Little by little it inched forward before being abandoned for another few years. 

A couple of weeks ago I realised I wasn’t even sure how close I was to finishing it. I pulled it out of the bag and was extremely surprised to discover that all it needed was binding! I must have finished quilting and squaring it last year sometime. I probably then got distracted by something else and it ended up just packed away.

I set myself the challenge of using a lunch break (just 45mins) to see how far I could get with the the binding. I finished it with 90 seconds to spare. 😀🎉. 


Later that evening I made a quilt label. A few days after that I attached the label and… voila!!!


It only took 11 years but my second ever quilt is finished at last. Now it can take its place in my childhood room in my parents’ house where I’ll only have to see it on the occasions I visit.