Wadding Woes

I’ve had a ‘hrumph’ moment this morning! As with most of these moments I do (eventually) have to take (much) of the responsibility for the cause. I’m finally getting on with the I-Spy quilt I started making last month – you know, the one of which I so confidently said there would be a tutorial…  In the pipeline, in the pipeline…

img_2247Anyway back to the ‘hrumph’. As the quilt is intended for a child’s play quilt I decided to use 100% polyester wadding. On opening the packaging I found the outer layers of the wadding had become really badly distorted. Not having a tumble dryer, I decided to hang the pieces I cut on the washing line and hope the damp air and light breeze might help to open out the fibres and smooth out the bumps. Two hours later, I’m not convinced the really bumpy piece will ever lie flat enough to be used in a quilt.


Lumpy, bumpy wadding on the washing line

So, some lessons:

  • Unpack wadding from it’s packaging as soon as purchased  and store flat or in a much looser roll (but don’t shake it out near to son’s Airfix models – a Lancaster Bomber took a nosedive off it’s shelf this morning -oops, I have sent an apologetic e-mail to Son)
  • Purchase more expensive, better quality wadding – my favourite polyester wadding is made by Quilters Dream but it’s not so easy to find in the UK.
  • Buy wadding on larger rolls rather than in small packs – again unroll and re-roll checking that the centre is not creased and lumpy.

If you have any more advice on how to overcome wadding woes please do share in a comment. Thank you!


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Quilting: fancy stitches and curves


Using variegated thread and a tight zig-zag stitch to create an interesting applique edge

Hurrah! Another start/stop project has wound up finished! In fact rewind to July (not that long ago in the parallel universe where UFOs move in and out of sight like trains rolling through a stationand revisit my attendance at a Christine Porter workshop entitled ‘Flying Around in Circles’ (what an appropriate title for a factory where UFOs are produced!). Christine was a great tutor and by the end of the day had us all creating beautifully formed applique circles.



My completed version of ‘Flying Around in Circles’

Of course making the blocks is only one stage in the production of a finished quilt. Christine Porter utilises lots of coloured threads and the ‘fancy’ stitches her sewing machine can produce to bring variety to her quilting especially on any areas of plain fabric within the design. In the past I’ve used some of my machine’s fancy stitches when quilting crazy patchwork pieces or table runners where the stitching might be seen close up. This little quilt was definitely experimental for me – with it’s modern look and colouring and the use of new-to-me applique techniques. So why not keep the quilting with the style of it’s designer? PLUS I’ve recently taken advantage of a discounted Craftsy class, Susan Cleveland’s ‘Creative Quilting – alternatives to free motion’, actually watching it all (does this count as a ‘finish’ too?). Susan gives lots of great tips right from putting together the quilt sandwich, stabilising the layers with in-the-ditch quilting through to using thicker threads and bigger stitches in walking foot and hand quilting.


Experimenting with ‘fancy’ machine stitches and variegated threads.

It wouldn’t be fair to Christine or Susan to share all of their tips I put into practice whilst quilting, so here’s just one of that I found worked really well, bringing a considerable improvement in the accuracy of my in-the-ditch quilting:


For more accurate in-the-ditch stitches: Use an an opentoe applique foot; move the needle away from the centre, right to one side; use the edge of the foot as a guide. Simple but effective!

I bought all but one of the fabrics for the quilt top while we were on holiday in Derbyshire from a fabulous shop, Quiltessential, Cromford.




What can I say? A perfect shop for quiltaholics with a great range of fabrics including loads of novelty/children’s prints and all 303 Kona Solids!





Linking my FINISH🙂 with Amanda Jean for Finish It Up Friday and Myra for Finished or Not Friday.


Oh! And here’s a view of the quilting from the back – I deliberately used plain blue thread in the bobbin, allowing it to show through on the front to add more to the texture and appearance of the stitching.




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Back to the design wall

It’s very exciting having a design wall. I’m busy making a second version of a table runner I designed back in the summer. As I was working away at it on Saturday evening I kept having to move the completed centre panel off the cutting mat, then out of the way of the table top ironing board and then off my seat on the ‘thinking sofa’. Finally it dawned on me that behind the sofa is the newly hung design wall… I’ll get there one day… And so the panel found it’s handy resting place! It was fun adding the other panels around it as they were completed – now I’m feeling very professional🙂


The runner taking shape and out of the way on the design wall!

The original table runner was designed and put together back in July/August. I couldn’t bring myself to share it at the time as *GASP* it is a Christmas project!


The original star runner made in Christmas fabrics.

I will be teaching it as a class at Purple Stitches over the next couple of Saturdays. Hence the push to make a second top in a different colour way. This is also serving as a means of reminding myself how it all goes together whilst writing up some class notes.


The original design plans and some draft information for class notes

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in the south of the UK. Hope the sun is shining where you are and your projects are keeping you happy.

Linking with Judy for Design Wall Monday (seemed very appropriate today!).




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Bumping along gets results :-)

Yes! Autumn Stars is a FINISH!


I really enjoyed the final stage of hand stitching the binding. I found sitting in an armchair manufacturing a finish very restful, in fact it was just what I needed🙂


My first use of extra wide backing. This is ‘Spiced Pomegranate’ by Kim Diehl for Henry Glass & Co

With reference to my previous post, I am bouncing a little higher with the bumps and obviously it has been beneficial to keep doing stuff even when the little voice in my head is shouting rather loudly, ‘Can’t be bothered’.


I used a walking foot to quilt in-the-ditch around each of the on-point blocks and then quilted lines across the top of the quilt intersecting corners and the centre of each of the Ohio Stars.


The completed quilt – phew!

I have kept to my principles and made a label – another excuse to go sit in that armchair and do some hand stitching as the label needs to be attached to the back of the quilt. And already there are other projects making their way onto the cutting mat…

Very happy to be able to link with Amanda Jean For Finish It Up Friday and with Myra for Finished Or Not Friday.   Incidentally, did you see Amanda Jean’s post sharing information about her new book called ‘No Scrap Left Behind’ to be launched in February 2017? If you’d like a round up of news from quilty blogs you are very welcome to check the links on my Pinterest boards, ‘Pins of the Week‘ or ‘Last Week’s Pins of the Week‘🙂



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Bumping along and design wall update

Before I begin in earnest I’m very pleased to be able to share some good practical advice from Colleen re. cutting the cable of the IKEA Dignitet hanging system. We got into difficulties when we cut the cable and the ends frayed. Go to my post about creating a design wall and read Colleen’s advice in the comment section🙂


Here is the design wall in action – I’ve used a 2m length of felt backed table protector cloth as the ‘wall’.

A Tigger I am not, nor ever have been! I don’t see myself as an Eeyore either but others may be more ready to give me that label! So not being known for bouncing along I have to admit that at the moment I am bumping along. I don’t feel low or anywhere near depressed just at a state of tiredness that has me thinking too often, ‘I’ll do that later’ or more flatly, ‘I can’t be bothered’. And of course, the whole house now looks tired too, with little mounds of ‘do that later’ all over the place and as the necessary and urgent get done the underlying tasks that add sparkle to the finish are lost in the dust.


The Autumn Star quilt under the needle! (Amazingly half the width of the quilt is squished into the throat of the machine).

I know one thing that would help me get nearer a bounce and further from the bumps is to actually finish something – anything – but preferably a quilt. The Autumn Star quilt has been the running project for the last 6 or 7 weeks and every stage has taken longer than I’d estimated. Last night I finally finished quilting the heavy, unwieldy mass – that was a week’s work – and this morning I’ve squared it up, trimmed the edges (discovering along the way that I’d not once but twice flipped back the excess backing fabric and caught it with the quilting stitches – grrr!).


The backing accidentally flipped back and caught by the end of a row of quilting stitches – doh!

I did have the presence of mind to make the binding before beginning quilting so that is all ready to sew on – oh! but then there’ll be 292 inches of hand stitching to do… Yes! I did the math on a scrap of paper earlier this morning, 4 x 73″ = 292″ – how sad and demotivating is that? Rewind – what an exciting challenge is that?😀

If you’ve managed to drag your eyes over the above, thank you and I apologise if you feel like you’ve arrived at a ‘pity party’. I  just felt the need to share the reality in order to keep a balance – wouldn’t do for this blog to become like a never ending, ever up-beat, Christmas newsletter! ‘Cos that’s not life is it? But I promise I’m not having a pity party. I will get some jobs done through the day and continue to derive pleasure and satisfaction from little things. In fact, writing this post is already lifting me as it is satisfying to write down some of the running commentary in my head rather than keep thinking, ‘That will have to wait ’til later’.

On Saturday we took a break from tidying our little garden and drove out to Church Crookham to visit Nature’s Threads on the occasion of the quilt shop’s 7th birthday. Sue keeps a wide selection of fabrics (including several shelves of brushed cotton prints) and has a programme of classes for beginners and improvers.


A collection of fat quarters and a bargain metre of fabric from Nature’s Threads

Back track: A few days before our boys set off on their university and training adventures we visited Granny and had a restful stroll around the peaceful gardens of Sissinghurst Castle. The 1930s gardens were created in the shadow of the Tudor house and tower by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson. The hedges and walls with little archways and gates provide wonderful surprises as each section of the garden features different types of planting.







Glimpse of the Kent countryside through the barn doorway at Sissinghurst.

The day at Sissinghurst holds lots of happy memories. It just happened to be the last of the unseasonal hot days we enjoyed earlier this month. That night there was the most terrific storm and daytime temperatures immediately dropped by 10°C.


Linking with Em’s Scrapbag for Moving It Forward Monday

(The image of Tigger is from http://www.disneyclips.com/index.html)




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