Artnextdoor's Blog

My place to be creative

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Creative Week 3

It was half term for my youngest son last week, so I spent as much time with him as I could – I love having him home, needless to say not much of my creativity was allowed to show, after all homework is rather important.

Although, when he wasn’t doing homework and we weren’t out enjoying ourselves, he spent time on his X-box which is in the same room as my sewing station which meant I could actually be with him and he let me sew.

I am still working on the scrap quilt blocks, and have now decided I need 16 blocks to make a decent sized lap quilt (approximately 60” by 60”), I will make 17, the spare one will be used to trial the quilting out on – I do have enough scraps after all.  When this ‘spare’ one is finished with I will bind it and use it as a pot holder – no waste!

I have others from previous weeks to add to the collection.  All will measure approximately 12” before framing and 151/2”(unfinished) when framed.


Creative Week 1

I promised myself that I would try to blog something every week, that  is if I made anything!  This last week I have finished hand piecing the Dutch Rose block,

dutch rose

made the twist using 1/4 square triangles for a quick to machine piece block (something I will be trying with a number of other quilt blocks to make them easier and much quicker to put together), 

twist paper pieced

The twist paper pieced.

Twist quick machine pieced

The Twist made using 1/4 square triangles machine pieced

cut out ready for assembly a quilt using a few of the many charm squares I have

Next project cut ready to piece

and framed two scrap blocks so they measure 15” square.

framed block 1framed block 2


Restocking my stash of hand dyed fabrics

After many months of using up my stash of fabrics I thought it was about time to start restocking with hand dyed fabric. This has also made me think about the fabrics I actually use – do I really need to buy the considerably more expensive patterned fabrics anymore?  No I’ll try to just use those I dye myself.  Thank goodness for my washing machine as it does all the hard work of rinsing the fabric once they have been in the dye bath for a while and my hands stay relatively dye free – I can’t get on with wearing gloves.

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To dye my fabrics I use a combination of techniques from all over the place but basically it is 2 teaspoons of dye mixed with a small amount of water, which after mixing I added further water to about 400ml.  To dye the above I divided this mixture in half and then half again until all the dye solution was used.

  1. 200ml of dye solution, topped up to 400ml with water and 400ml of salt solution.
  2. 100ml dye solution topped up to 400ml with water and 200ml of salt solution topped up to 400ml with water.
  3. 50ml of dye solution, topped up to 400ml with water and 100ml of salt solution topped up to 400ml with water.
  4. 25ml of dye solution topped up to 400ml with water and 50ml of salt solution topped up to 400ml with water.
  5. whatever is left topped up to 400ml with water and whatever is left of the initial 1 litre of salt solution topped up to 400ml with water.

All measurements are approximate.  I add the above solutions to zip lock bags with a piece of cotton fabric which measures approximately 50cm by half the width of the fabric.  Give the bag a squeeze and a mash around as much or as little as required to distribute the dye solution and leave – I leave mine overnight before rinsing and washing with a mild detergent and fabric softener.  I iron my pieces dry as I can’t wait to see what they look like and I can get all the creases out much more easily.

The salt solution I use is 200g of salt dissolved in boiling water to make 1 litre of solution.

All my fabrics have been soaked in a solution of soda ash and water for at least 20 minutes before wringing out and used for dyeing.  This can be left to dry and will be ready to use as and when but one thing I have learnt the hard way that soda soaked fabric should NOT be ironed until it has been thoroughly washed, as the soda seems to stain the fabric yellow which will not come out.

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Kaffe Fassett Quilt finally completely finished!

Hurray, it has taken me nearly a year to do but it is finally completely finished, although not to the size it was originally designed to be.  I am really pleased that I have made this quilt, it took me out of my comfort zone by forcing me to work with pastel colours and floral fabric both of which are not in my usual range (this choice was my own, I decided to work with these parameters).  I just hope the recipient loves it as much as I do.


Would I follow a pattern from Kaffe Fassett again?  Hmmm……..probably not, but what I would do, would be to read the pattern through thoroughly then work out how I would put it together rather than follow the instructions given.

Will I re-create this quilt in the future? ……….. Maybe because I like the idea of framing a larger scale pattern within the smaller scale print framing fabrics.

Would I use striped fabric again?…… Yes, of course but with thought this time rather than doing as I was told!  I’m not sure I like the higgledy piggledy way the stripes lay within the borders.  I don’t know whether I would piece the borders again either, I think I would applique the on-point squares to the sashing fabrics for speed rather than anything else.

If I’d had more time, this is a present for a really lovely, bubbly person, I would have quilted by hand around the blooms within the frames to give them more definition. 

The back was made from all the little left over bits and the sashing fabric, I did enjoy making the back and although the fabrics are pastel they do have a vibrancy that I hadn’t expected! 

Will I use pastels again?…….. Yes, certainly.

Will I use floral fabrics again?………..Hmmm………Perhaps, but they would have to be really special or different from the normal.  Stylised floral, yes definitely.

I really enjoyed the workshop at the Festival of Quilts last Year, where this quilt was started.  As I probably said at the time, it was amazing to see how many different interpretations of the same pattern came be produced just by using fabrics chosen by personal choice, rather than slavishly following the design.


Aprons and the latest quilt top finished

The 3 aprons I made from fabric bought at Jo-Ann’s are finally finished, I have another one cut out but am waiting to go shopping for some more ric-rac or for the time to make some trim out of the left over fabric from the other aprons.  I don’t know which will come first.

I have also finished another quilt top this week too, just waiting for the border, backing and binding fabric to arrive, this will be completely finished within the next week or two.

The pattern was so easy to do, the fabric was from a jelly roll bought from the bramble patch ( )

batik quilt

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And for my next project–Aprons!

This fabric was purchased from Jo-Ann’s in Spainish Fork (I think) Utah, it was our second trip there of the day!  My aunt kindly gave me the pattern book as we were unable to find it in the store nor on the UK Amazon site, so she bought another one for herself from the US Amazon website.  So this afternoon I will be making one of these up the purple one I think for the first one.

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Latest Quilt is finished!

The quilt I made with some of the fabrics I brought back from America is finished.  I used the fabrics pictured in a previous post ( )

I made the simple pattern up as I went along; the quilting is even simpler as I just followed the lines of the piecing.  All that’s left to do is attach the quilt label.

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Applique Cushion Finished

cushion finished 1 002

I know I have said in the past I do not follow patterns well this is an exception – I bought the kit in the Corn Wagon whilst I was staying with my Aunt and Uncle in Utah.  I was like a child in a candy store in this place, everywhere I turned was glorious colour, I can’t wait to go back but I don’t think my husband will be too pleased, it might cost too much money!

Now on to the next project using the fabrics in a previous post…..

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Another Quilt Find

Having the house turned upside down over the last month or so (feels like much longer), and being almost housebound waiting around for people, has given me an opportunity to go through things, chucking stuff away and rediscover other interesting items – see photos.

I unearthed this beauty at the weekend and found the fabric I need to finish the top.  I have to cut some more paper squares as well as the fabric then all it will need is layering up, quilting and binding, when I say all it involves all the yukky bits like crawling around on the floor layering the thing up and the hand basting ready for quilting but I may give spray basting a go if the weather gets a bit better and I can get outside.  Sadly this won’t happen until the dining room is fully repaired as I don’t have access to my sewing machine for the quilting until then but I can do the rest.

This quilt was started many years ago, it must be at least 10, supposedly to go on the wall at the back of our bed in the, then newly created, loft conversion.  The wall is still bare and waiting!

I chose the Carpenter’s Wheel as it is one of my most favourite blocks and can be grown outwards as large as is needed.  I originally used some fat quarters I had but obviously have added to these.  Thank goodness for John Lewis who had a stock of the pansy fabric long after the Cotton patch had sold out!

It is, what the American’s call English piecing, but it is just paper piecing really.  I thoroughly enjoyed cutting these out, attaching the paper templates and the hand sewing; all very relaxing and something for in front of the TV.  I have still left all of the papers in and they will remain until the top is finished.

I think I will machine quilt it but I have yet to decide how – any suggestions will be gratefully received.

It measures 82” x 82” so far without any borders – the biggest quilt I have ever made.

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Paper Piecing

Paper piecing is something I have not tried before and was quite surprized at just how easy it is to do.  With the method I used there is no cutting of shapes just strips and away you go.  Below are the first two blocks I have made, the fabric was bought for me by my little son as a Christmas present – he also bought a piece with cartoon whales on it but I don’t quite know how I will use those yet.

paper piecing 08022012 

I have very nearly matched all the points too!  I have to go to the shops now to buy some more of these fabrics so I can make a larger quilt, perhaps I could use his whales in the border, we’ll have to wait and see.

I feel much better having now achieved something creative rather than writing assignments as they don’t feel like achievements somehow.