Japanese Sampler – Flowers (Post 12)

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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.

Japanese Sampler – Teapot (Post 4)

Come on, you didn’t expect me to make a quilt about Japan (land of the tea ceremony) and not include my teapot obsession did you?

I went back to the Teapots 2 Applique book by Kay Mackensie that I used to make my ‘Time for Tea‘ quilt.

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It contained a lovely pattern for a Japanese style teapot that was just perfect for my sampler quilt. I wanted to use lots of different techniques in my quilt so after two paper pieced blocks it was definitely time for some back basting applique. The only change I made to the pattern was to add a ring around the body of the pot to break up the fabric a little bit.

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I’m not going to redo the block because I’m happy with it, but if I do make another one in the future I will do the ring last so that it sits above the pot fabric rather than behind it. I think that would look a little more realistic. At the moment having the embellishment flatter than the surface is a little odd. (But not odd enough for me to need to replace it).

Three blocks done on my Japanese sampler (four if you count the crane that has been relegated to the back of the quilt). I’m not actually sure how many I have left to do. This quilt keeps growing.

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.