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Monday, February 24, 2014

Another Birthday Nightdress

Brigid's birthday is in February, and since the winter nightdress I made for her has been a hit, I wanted to make a summer one for her birthday. I have a bit of fabric in my stash bought with nightdresses in mind but most of it more suited to either older or younger ages. I dug out a large piece of white seersucker that I inherited in my mother's stash, washed it and pleated it up, using my old favourite pattern, Victorian Dreams for Girls by Primrose Lane.

I really liked the pattern Kaleidescope, a white dress smocked in clear, bright colours in AS&E 71. I had resisted making it because no mother would thank me for a white dress! The smocking, however, could be easily adapted to a nightdress.

I selected eight rows from the smocking design for the front of the nightdress. These have flowers on tall stems embroidered between the smocked rows.

 Although the pattern doesn't smock the back, I usually do. I like smocking, and I think the smocking serves a good purpose in holding the gathers. For the back I chose another eight rows from Kaleidoscope, this time with embroidered pistil stitch flowers.

The seersucker washed and stitched up beautifully. It should also wash and wear really well. I am very pleased to have used Kaleidoscope at last and to have made a cool, simple nightdress.

My mother would also have been very pleased with this use of the fabric and Brigid was pleased to have it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Patchwork Progress

I have now struck a rhythm of stitching up and adding two rows of hexagons at a time to my quilt. I have a pattern of stitching one full row of 16 coloured hexie "flowers", then one full row of 17 black hexie "jewels". Then, as a reward, I embroider the centres of the coloured ones.

Finally, I stitch the two rows together and then stitch the two to the quilt.

I now have 13 rows finished - 6 coloured and 7 black. Two rows ago, I thought I might only need 27 rows in all, rather than the original 29 planned. After 13 rows I tried the work the other way around on the bed, placing it where I'd like it to end up.

I discovered I have already reached half-way. It will only need 25 rows, not 27 or 29.

I am, of course, overjoyed by this discovery - even though it means I have two spare rows of coloured hexies cut! It gives me a bit more flexibility in mixing my fabrics - and I am not even beginning to think what I can do with spare hexies!

This is a big incentive to keep my rhythm going as I go away for a few days break (with a supply of papers and fabric squares!).

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hexagon Centres: Inside out wheel flowers

In between updates on the progress of the long rows of my hexagon quilt, I will put together a few of the hexagons centre embroidery motifs I have added. The embroidered centres are a little treat to keep me going on the long journey to join the hexagons.

The hexagon centres in this post are embroidered with variations of Mary Corbet's inside out button-hole wheel flowers. I have not added her inside row of buttonhole stitch in these examples.

Again, I like the flexibility of this stitch. It allows for considerable colour variation and also adds texture without bulk or likelihood of catching. It is very relaxing and a lot of fun to match the colours and variations to the fabric.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hexagon patchwork quilt progress

When I calculated and bought the black fabric I am going to need to finish my patchwork quilt I decided to cut from the black fabric the borders I would need for the quilt. This means I can have borders on the quilt without unnecessary joins and can then cut 2" black squares from the rest for the remaining hexies.

Having cut the borders, I decided to applique the first row of the quilt to its border now. This gives me an idea of what it will look like, and also means I can remove the papers from the first row.

Since then, I have added two black rows and a coloured row, bringing the total number of rows completed to 11 - out of a planned total of 29.

I am trying to work two rows at a time - to give myself a bit of variety as the black stitching is less interesting than the coloured stitching!  I am now in a position where I can keep adding two rows at a time without the thought of one more black row at the end.

I think there is a chance I will find that I only need another 16 rows (a total of 27). I don't want to fold the quilt over at the top to sleep under it - so we will see how it looks as I get closer to the top.

While snow and ice may make for good stitching in the Northern hemisphere, the weeks of temperatures well over 100F in southern parts of Australia have also meant staying inside and stitching. Stitching two rows together before adding to them to the quilt minimises the amount of time needed to hold the whole piece - much cooler!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Further hexagon centre embellishments

I haven't embroidered all the hexagon centres with a specific motif. For some I have made up the embellishment as I went along.

This one, for example, is a buttonhole flower using variegated thread in shades similar to the surrounding fabric.

This one is a whipped chain stitch circle.

Mostly the embroidery is flat, but I did succomb to small bullion buds for one.

I managed a whipped chain stitch wheel with button hole spokes on the fabric left  from Fionn's snack bag.

In some, I just continued the lines of the fabric.

Some are more successful than others, but it is a lot of fun just playing around with such small motifs and breaks the long sessions of stitching he hexagons together.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Birthday gifts from the children

My birthday is in January and I wanted to record and share the gifts that my four grandchildren made and gave me for my birthday, with a little help from their parents.

Brigid made me a set of hairclips and brooches in polymer, using a tiny mould she has of a rose. Once out of the mould, the roses are baked in the oven, then attached to pins.

The hairclips are really easy to use and the tiny brooches will be perfect for those tops that need a pin to hold a strap in place.

Fionn made me a brooch from some of his lego! The lego is glued to the base, and a pin is attached to the back.

It looks really amazing.

Niamh stitched me a pincushion and a needlebook.  They are both strong and secure - great stitching and really useful. I have been using them in making the quilt.

Veronica used fabric paint, a paper doiley and calico to create a stencil  that her mother stitched to a backing fabric to make a placemat. At the moment I have this on the wall behind my desk so I can look at it.

How lucky am I?