Japanese Sampler – Carriage Wheel (Post 9)

After the Silk Circle I was on a reverse applique role so I kicked it up a gear and made a carriage wheel block (also in the Susan Briscoe book)

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This block as fun. I love the look from using just two fabrics and how the pattern runs across the wheel. I’m really pleased I took the time to orient the direction of the pattern. How weird would this have look if the ripples ran on a wonky diagonal or something.

One of the things I’m trying to concentrate on with this quilt is the directionality of my fabric to try and enhance the patterns created in the quilt. We see how well that comes together in the finished quilt I think.

I Spy a finished Jigsaw Quilt

I’m so excited to share my latest finish with you today. This quilt is for my godson as his christening present in a few weeks time. I’m delighted I got it finished in time.

Thank you for your comments and suggestions on the layout. I trialled (what seemed like) every combination of block placement possible. In the end I felt that the quilt needed something smooth and flowing to balance the riot of colours, images and corners. A rainbow effect seemed to tie everything together and give the overall Jigsaw coherence. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.img_0802.jpg

 

It’s a really busy quilt, but I like that the busyness of the patterns mean that it can cope with so many bright colours. The images were gathered over a series of months from scraps and fat quarters that caught my eye. I also asked his mum for some of his old baby clothes so I could include them as well. That’s where the larger motifs and the two pockets came from. I’m hoping that the I Spy element of the quilt will keep it fun as he grows up and starts learning to talk.

The finished size is 39″ x 44″. I quilted in the ditch around each square and then free motion quilted around each Jigsaw protrusion. That was hard going but I got better as I went along. For the larger blocks I just picked out a couple of shapes/lines in each to quilt over to stabilise it.


It’s been washed (very gently in the bath) and it didn’t fall apart, so when I’ve worked up the courage I’m going to try it in the washing machine. I want to be able to confidently tell his mum that it can withstand normal household usage. Fingers crossed.

The quilt itself is nice and snuggly. I was very cosy with it on my lap whilst I buried my quilting ends. However, for an 8-month-old I figured a play mat would be just as useful as a blanket. So I came up with an idea to make it suitable for both indoor and outdoor play. Here it is in its outdoor mode.

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Don’t notice much difference?

We’ll look closer at the corners. On the underside of the quilt I placed a button hole in each corner.


Then I got a piece of vinyl table cloth and cut it a little bit larger than the quilt. Using the leftovers I made a button hole square and attached it to the underside of each corner of the vinyl.


And voila!! Now the quilt can be used outside without worrying about it getting wet or muddy. Simply attach the two layers together with the buttons in each corner.

Japanese Sampler – Silk Circle (Post 8)

After my Good Luck quilt I was feeling confident about my piecing accuracy, but nervous about my ability to accurately resize patterns.

So I decided to go for the Silk Circle Block from Susan Briscoe‘s book. I didn’t change the size at all so these pieces would be the smallest I had ever pieced. I really had to check the accuracy of my 1/4″ seam.

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Once I had made the circle I then reverse appliqued the block outline on top of the pieced circle. I cut away the middle and then satin stitched over the raw edge.

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I’m not going to lie. I am seriously pleased with myself for this block. It really pushed my ability to be precise and accurate with my sewing.

 

Japanese Sampler – Good luck symbol (Post 7)

For my next block I used one of Susan Briscoe’s pieced block ideas, but I increased the size a little to fit what I needed. It’s a Good Luck symbol.

I think it’s pretty and chose a simple, quiet pair of fabrics to let the shape of the symbol stand out.

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I did slightly misjudge the size of this one. It’s like the hexagon block all over again! Thankfully I did manage to get it to sit inside the block eventually, but you’ll notice the outer border of the symbol is a bit narrower than the inner spacings. It’s not perfect, but it’s close enough so this block will make it on to the front of the quilt. I was getting worried the back would get finished before the front at this rate.

Laying out the Jigsaw Quilt

With a rainbow colour scheme chosen, I went full steam on making the blocks. When I thought I might be getting close to have enough (not actually sure what the final size will be yet) I started to lay them out to see what colours I needed to balance out the quilt. Then I hit another design dilemma…

Should I go for a random placement or a gradient rainbow effect?

Apologies for the shadows in the images and the funny colours. It was late at night when I took these photos. Random colour placement above and rainbow layout below

I don’t want to ask Christopher’s mum to make this decision. I want some of the blocks to be a surprise so I can’t show her a picture of the full layout in advance.

Can you help? What should my layout be?

Thanks

Japanese Sampler – Sashiko Wave (Post 6)

My Japanese sample quilt is all about learning new techniques. Although I have done a fair bit of embroidery over the years I’ve never tried sashiko. Susan Briscoe‘s book has some lovely patterns for sashiko blocks. She also includes some helpful advice on techniques.

I didn’t use proper sashiko thread. I just used three strands of embroidery floss. It seemed to work fine. I haven’t seen any other sashiko work ‘in the flesh’ to compare it with so I might be way off, but I like my take on sashiko.

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I’ve decided there will be quite a few sashiko blocks in my sampler quilt. I’m going to alternate them with pieced blocks. I’ll vary the colour of my thread between yellow, cream, orange and red to try the quilt a little coherence that might it lacking with so many fabrics being thrown in.

I don’t know about you but I’ve always struggled with how to transfer patterns from paper to my fabric. In the course of making this quilt I hit upon a technique that seems to work well for me. I made a full size paper pattern and pinned it in place on top of the fabric. Then I put a really fat denim needle in my machine and followed the template lines, sewing without any thread. This left a great trail of puncture marks I could then connect with tailor’s chalk and use as my sewing lines. I discovered that if I didn’t go over the puncture lines with chalk before I started stitching the fabric would slowly relax and my puncture marks would disappear. The chalk has enough staying power to wait until I’d finished stitching the sashiko blocks.

Building blocks for the Jigsaw Quilt

One of the cute baby outfits my friend gave me to include in her son’s quilt had an adorable little applique panda leaning into view and waving. It was too big for one of the 5″ blocks and it was on a white background which wouldn’t fit too well with the bright colours I’m using in the design.

I decided this might be a good opportunity to get Christopher’s name into the design by turning the panda piece into a large feature block.

I extended the white background by joining two pieces together to give me a wider surface to play with. Then I made some building blocks and hand embroidered his name onto the lower tier. I turned the edges under and got them to more-or-less stay put with the same bondaweb layer than enabled me to fix the blocks to the background.

 

I stitched the internal edges of each block to help them be a bit more recognisable. However, now I’m really stuck for how to secure the edges without making it look too textured. I’m almost tempted to leave them as they are and just use an all over quilting design to secure the edges ‘almost’ incidentally.

Any thoughts? This quilt is proving quite the design challenge.