You can never have enough teapots

This is still a very new blog and I am slowing adding posts about the quilts I have been making since I caught the quilting bug when I was at University. Today is my very first post about a new project. I’m very excited.

Before we start I should probably confess that I have a bit of a thing for teapots. Just see the post about my ‘time for tea’ quilt. Anyway, last weekend my husband and I walked into town for a gentle stroll. He caught me staring at a beautiful little tea pot in a shop window. It would be so so perfect for the lovely sewing room I’ll have when we move into our new home. Being the lovely man he is, he bought me the teapot, a little cup and a matching biscuit tray – yay!!!. He even carried the box home for me (though I think that was mainly so he could tease me by pretending to drop it or throw it into a tree every so often). Nevertheless, it made it home in one piece and here it is…

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How perfect is that for a sewing room?

I don’t have my lovely new sewing room yet but that doesn’t stop me dreaming about it. I decided to make a heat resistant mat for my new tea set in advance of the actual sewing room. I picked out some sewing related fabrics I had hanging around from earlier projects, and chose a couple of marbled solids to complement them.

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As it was going to be a mat for a tea set it obviously needed a teapot on it. Remembering my ‘time for tea’ quilt I chose one of the teapots from Kay Mackenzie’s Teapots 2 to appliqué book and set about using the back basting method of appliqué to create my teapot. If you haven’t tried back basting I can’t recommend it highly enough. So simple and so neat. I cannibalised an old pair of linen trousers for the background. I used a water soluble fabric pen to draw the outline of the teapot on the linen piece.

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Then I roughly cut out bits of fabric that covered each portion of the teapot.

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I then did a running stitch right along the marker lines. Small stitches are best so that you have lots of holes to follow later on. Once you’ve gone round a piece, trim the excess fabric so you just have enough to turn under (1/8 or 1/4 in should do it). In the picture below you can see my running stitch around the four bits of blue fabric.

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It’s best to start with the outside pieces and appliqué all the edges that won’t be covered by another piece. To do the appliqué, you just unpick a few of the running stitches. Then turn the edge under with your needle. If you can see the marker line through the fabric then great, use that. If not, then use the tiny holes that the running stitch will have left in the fabric. Turn the top edge over until it’s holes are at the fold and make sure it is sitting on the holes in the backing fabric. A small hand whip stitch is all you need to fix the edge in place. You just work your way round the shape, unpicking the running stitch, turning the edge with the needle point and whip stitching it down.

With the teapot centre done I added a couple of borders in my sewing themed fabrics. I then lay out the backing fabric, a cheap nasty polyester batting scrap that needed using up, a layer of heat resistant batting and the top layer. The heat resistant batting is great. It has a thin layer of foil it in. I used it to make some table mats a while back and so the leftover was just right for this. I added the extra batting just to make it a bit sturdier and thicker than my table mats had been. I thread basted the sandwich every 2 inches because I was worried about something that thick wobbling about during quilting. I then casually quilted straight(ish) lines all over and bound it. Here is it…

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Now that it’s finished I really not sure I made the best colour choices here. It might have been good to get the button fabric in the teapot somehow. But never mind, it’s finished, it’s neat enough, and it will go in my lovely new sewing room when we finally get our house.

I’m also linking up with Crazy mom quilts for the very first time after years of avidly looking at all the friday finishes. Amanda Jean’s blog was a big inspiration for starting mine so I’m delighted to be contributing to the Friday links myself at long last. Hi guys, welcome to my patchwork home

Time for tea

I have a confession to make… I am a bit of a tea set junkie. I do like tea and I love the ritual of the teapot and serving tea to guests. It’s one of the reasons I really want to visit Japan at some point. A couple of years ago, whilst browsing patchwork pictures online I came across a set of teapot quilts. They had been done in lots of different ways and styles but they all seemed to use the same template: ‘Teapots 2 to appliqué‘ by Kay MacKenzie. Well I couldn’t resist. I bought the book and made my very own teapot quilt

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The fabrics for the teapots were mainly scraps from my stash supplemented with various fat quarters that caught my eye over the months. I made all the appliqué squares first, just gently hand appliquéing them in front of the television of an evening. Then, one weekend when my husband was away and I had finished almost all of the teapot patterns in the book I decided to put the quilt together. The stripy blocks just came to me as a way of injecting a lot of colour into what would otherwise have been quite a white quilt. Although you can’t see in the pictures, the quilting is a single echo line around the tea pots. In the centre of each of the strip blocks I sewed the outline of a teacup, milk jug or sugar bowl in black and then meandered all around the rest of the block in a coordinating thread.

I was quite pleased with this quilt and it was the one I entered into my very first quilt show this year…

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Here it is hanging up in the show – very exciting. It didn’t win anything but the judges were quite kind in their comments so I think I’ll risk another quilt show for a different quilt in the future.

 

Mama’s Sudoku Quilt

During the Christmas holidays we spent lots of time visiting lovely relatives. During our time away from home I decided to make a quilt for my Mum and set myself the deadline of her birthday in March. She enjoys sudoku puzzles and I really liked the look of some of the sudoku quilts that I’d seen online.

The basic idea is that you assign a fabric to each number in the sudoku puzzle and use that to create a simple, random looking quilt.

Mama's Sudoku quilt hanging on the washing line (I'm not brave enough to risk washing it yet though)

Mama’s Sudoku quilt hanging on the washing line (I’m not brave enough to risk washing it yet though)

Challenge 1. Complete a sudoku puzzle.

I could have picked the easy route and just used a pre-completed pattern. But where would be the fun in that. I also could have made my life more simple by picking an easy puzzle. But no, too boring. So about 5 hours (not joking) later, with enough growling and cursing to make my parents-in-law wonder what was wrong me, I had a completed sudoku pattern to for the quilt.

Challenge 2. Picking the fabrics

Choosing the colour scheme for this quilt was really easy. I wanted a quilt that my Mum could snuggle up with on the sofa in her living room or have on her lap when using the computer in the study. My parents’ living room is decorated in red and gold. Their study is deep green and cream. So, red and cream for the sudoku fabrics with green sashing. Easy. However, a colour scheme is different to picking actual fabrics. I am awful at choosing fabrics. It takes me ages. My husband is very patient with me but I knew that choosing nine fabrics (plus sashing, binding and backing) would stretch even his patience too far. For this quilt we came up with a brilliant plan. He would take himself off to a specialist gun shop he’d been eyeing up for a while to scope out potential candidates for the air rifle he was planning to get himself as a promotion present. I have about as much interest in guns as he has in fabric shops so I took myself off to the Bramble Patch for a wonderful three hours (yes I’m serious, it took me three hours!) to choose all the fabrics for Mama’s Sudoku quilt.

Making the quilt

With each new quilt I try and pick a new skill to work on or develop. I’ve been trying to work on accurate piecing for a while now and this was the perfect quilt to test those skills. nothing short of neat, squares joins would do. I also wanted to have a go at using a fleece as a backing fabric rather than using batting and cotton backing fabric.  This was a quilt for my Mum, who spends all her free time making amazing and intricate silver jewellery. She knows good workmanship when she sees it and would spot all wobbly seams and uneven quilting. So this quilt also going to be push my fledging free motion skills to new levels.

Piecing went fairly smoothly. Basting gave me a bit of a headache because the fleece kept wanted to roll up at the edges. I added an extra layer of cotton from an old sheet in between the top and the fleece. I thought this would help stop the red fleece showing through on the cream squares. It also felt a bit more like a normal quilt having three layers. And then came quilting. Or rather, then came trying to decide how to quilt it. To stabilise the quilt I started with straight line quilting in the sashing.

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The back of the quilt, fleece is great as a backing fabric but really fuzzes up my sewing machine

I then chose to quilt a different motif on each of the nine sudoku sqaures. Some reflected the patterns in the fabrics

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Others were just patterns I liked

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The finial touch was the label. This is the first quilt I have made a label for. I decided to make a mini sudoku puzzle – the incomplete version of the finished one on the front.

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I think this would have worked a lot better if I had added sashing like I did on the front. But hey, not bad for a first label. One week to go until the birthday deadline. Thankfully the fantastic Staffordshire Patchworker and Quilters held a perfectly timed Soup and Sewing Day. It was so much fun to finish off this quilt around fellow quilters, just chatting and swapping stories. Finished in time and delivered to Mama for her birthday a week later – Success.