At my local quilting group meeting we recently held a members’ Market Place where we could each bring along things we no longer needed and sell them to each other. We were all a little nervous about the idea but actually it was great. I got rid of some orphan blocks I’d been ignoring for about three years and some books and magasines I wasn’t interested in any longer.
When browsing the other tables I came across a set of sashiko patterns. I couldn’t resist. When I got them home and took I look I found a really tiny little set of interlocking square spirals that someone has drawn by hand. It was only about 2 inches square but it really caught my interest.
Although I think it would look really effective as s sashiko design. To me the solid outline of the shape was shouting for a fabric to fill it. I made up a 12″ version of the pattern and turned it into a reverse applique block.
Simple, striking, neat. I’m happy.
I’m not sure if ‘Set Squares’ is the right name for this block. I saw a picture online and I just wanted to see what it would look like in my Japanese fabrics.
So I made up my own pattern for the block and tried it out…
I like it. It might not be a traditional Japanese motif but this block was more about me experimenting with my fabric choices and just having the bravery to mix and match my own ideas. I fussy cut the flower in the centre square and had to be careful when cutting the outer triangle to make the black in the patterned fabric didn’t just blend into the black of my background fabric. I only lost one point with black-on-black so I’m happy with that. This block will make it on the front of the quilt. Whoop.
I decided to have a go at fussy cut needle turn applique. It was hard, and annoying, and not as neat on the points as I would like. However I got a lot better as I went along and the end effect was good enough for me to keep.
Unfortunately that was when I realised that the placement of the flowers worked a lot better if the block was square rather than on point. It’s soo annoying! For now it is still included in the front of the quilt because it does work on point (just not as well) and it was annoying enough to do that I don’t want to make a replacement. I’ll reserve final judgement once all the blocks are laid out and ready to be joined together. It might be relegated to the growing pile of blocks for the back of the quilt.
Recently my sister-in-law gifted me a huge pile of old towels. A strange present you may think, but she knows me well. I regularly use old bedding and linen to make dog beds, either for our dog Archer or for the dog daycare and boarding service he regularly visits. I combine them with all of the teeny tiny offcuts and threads from my sewing to make the stuffing for beds. Bigger towels are useful for making washable covers for the beds. This time however, I had a slightly different plan…
We’ve just redecorated our kitchen so I thought this might be the perfect time to make some new (co-ordinated) items for the kitchen. I bought a couple of packs of dark green fabric dye and chucked the donated towels and some of my old and grungy looking kitchen tea towels into the washing machine. A few cycles later I had a wealth of beautifully matching green towels. My old tea towels suddenly looked brand new and went straight back into the drawer ready for use. The donated towels came with me to my sewing room and emerged a couple of days later as a pair of oven gloves.
I also made a heat pad, which is really useful next to the kettle and for getting things out of the microwave. I made a couple of these while I was in the mood
I did then actually make something for the intended beneficiary of the towels. Archer got a nice new cover for his kitchen bed. It’s already been washed twice and it holding its colour really well.
I’ll probably make some more heat pads and another cover for Archer’s bed at some point soon.
This experiment with fabric dye worked so well I’m sure I’ll be dyeing more stuff again soon. It’s just such a fun way to create new fabric out of stuff that just looks too dull or stained to keep using. Great fun
I was on a sashiko role so I decided to press ahead with another blossom block. This time I used Susan Briscoe’s Cherry blossom pattern
This was a funny block. I wasn’t particularly excited by the pattern before I started. It felt a little flat and boring to me. However, once it was stitched I just completely fell in love with it. I’m not sure why but this is one of the blocks that keeps drawing my attention when I lay them all out. I think the pale colour really helps to make it zingy.
Time to take a break from playing with fabric choices and make another sashiko block for my Japanese Sampler quilt.
This is also from Susan Briscoe’s book and is a simple comma style plum blossom.
Compared to other embroidery styles, sashiko is quick. I’m really enjoying practicing this technique and I think it will work well in my ever growing Japanese sampler.
Just a quick update today.
I wanted to let you know that yesterday I successfully machine washed and tumble dried the I Spy Jigsaw Quilt for my godson. It was pretty nerve wracking but no colour runs, no ripped seams, and no weird distortions. Complete success.
It’s the first time I’ve ever machine washed a quilt and I’m completely delighted I can confidently tell his mother it is safe to use and wash whenever needed. Whoo hoo!
Maybe there will be more quilt washing in my future. You never know 🙂
Happy quilting people.