Posts Tagged ‘sewing machine’

My Travelling Book page was quick, easy and finished a full day before the Guild meeting, which is virtually unheard of!


My Frister and Rossmann rose to the occasion yet again, stitching happily through a sandwich of cotton calico and crinkle rayon with cotton in the bobbin and golden coloured rayon in the top to define the edges of the fish.

Seeing how well it coped with the rayon, I thought I’d try metallic Gutermann thread to just highlight the inside of the fins and the main body. Metallic thread? Piece of cake.


Silver sequins and pale blue beads for the eyes and they were finished!


I know they are gold but they made me think of the herrings – the ‘silver darlings’  – which were such an important part of the economy of East Anglia and in the lives of my dad’s side of the family, who were trawlermen. And then it was a short step to the words of a folk song I grew up with: Windy Old Weather.


So on Saturday off the silver darlings went on the next round of the Travelling Book project!

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I’ve never been a quilter for several reasons – use of a sewing machine, length of the project, lack of small fiddly hand embroidery etc. But I do love looking at other people’s quilts and I adore beautiful fabric.

It was while visiting my son in London two years ago that I discovered an amazing quilting shop in East Molesley, just across the road from Hampton Court Palace, and I fell in love with a little charm pack of oriental themed squares in black, white and grey with touches of red. I experimented using them for a few potential layouts but they finally disappeared into the cupboard, appearing occasionally to be admired. That is until I came back from holiday at the end of August and decided that I was going to make them into a lap quilt for my middle one who is going away very shortly to Bangor University to study Archaeology.

My 90yr old Frister and Rossman was pressed into service and using black silk dupion for the alternating squares, I began to piece my first ever quilt top.

Strips first.


And then I sewed them into a rectangle for the quilt top.


I was determined to use fabric I already had for the backing and the binding, which for the back meant that I had to insert a strip of kimono fabric scraps into the black silk skirt gore I was using to make it large enough.


Then I sandwiched the front, back and the batting together and the Frister and Rossman rose happily to the occasion, stitching through thick layers of cotton, batting and silk to quilt the top. I went for a very simple option – just following the line of the fabric pieces to create a grid effect on the back.

DSCN2196.JPGNext was binding the quilt and as this is something I’ve never done before I went to YouTube and thanks to a very clear tutorial managed to add some cotton kimono fabric for the binding. The Frister and Rossman whirred gently and made short work of four layers of cotton/silk and the batting. I love that machine so much!


The tutorial actually showed how to do the binding with a continuous piece but I wasn’t sure if I was going to have enough fabric to join all the pieces so I did each edge separately and then cobbled some sort of hand stitched mitre at the front…

DSCN2205.JPG…and something neat but not a mitre on the back when I hand stitched the binding to the reverse.

So pleased with the lovely neat finish.


DSCN2210.JPGFinally a label embroidered in floss silk to add to the back.


Unfortunately I forgot to photograph it once I’d appliqued it onto the back though! And the time taken for this project? Five days. Now to be fair, apart from cooking, washing and shopping I didn’t do much else for five days but it’s been lovely to see this project work up so quickly and turn out so well. I have a feeling it won’t be my last quilt.

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Having picked out a selection of  blue fabrics for the backing I laid them out on some blue muslin to see how they looked together. An all blue background was just too much but I remembered I had some lovely hand-dyed yellow heavy weight cotton from when I was sorting out the ribbon roses kits.  

From left to right –  lovely patterned cotton (not sure if it’s a commercial print or a hand dye but the colours and shapes are perfect), hand-dyed heavy weight cotton, commercial cotton batik print, more blue cotton, more yellow hand-dye and a piece of silk dupion.

The newly serviced Frister and Rossmann was pressed into service to sew them together and using it was a pleasure.

It purred.

Truly. The mechanism actually purrs like a very happy cat. Not only is it a delight to look at but it is wonderful to use. (By the way the stripes are not supposed to be straight or even – honestly!)

The colours, on my monitor certainly, aren’t true. The batik is actually turquoise and the swirly patterned blue much more of a true sky/sea blue. But I love the colour combination.

Then it was time to scatter the blocks onto the background to have some first thoughts about where they might go.

I quite like this arrangement but may do a bit of tweaking when I come to pin them down.

One thing that really struck me when I was viewing the thumbnails was how much the blocks look like postcards, which in a way they are; holiday snapshots but with the memories woven into the stitches.

The next thing I have to decide is whether to stitch the blocks down as invisibly as possible or to make a feature of the stitching by feather stitch them down like the ribbon borders are feather stitched onto the blocks.

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I’m prevaricating. I don’t enjoy finishing things off. The process, the journey, is the most enjoyable part of any project for me and the finishing for this involves a sewing machine…  

So I fiddled around with a sort of felt dreadlock I’d made a while ago, rolled it up, liked it and stitched it into a spiral. I really needed to get on with the alliums so… I sat and beaded a trim for it.

When I can lay my hands on a brooch back I’m planning to turn it into a brooch.  Then I started knitting a new pair of socks (lovely dark plum silk/wool mix) and after a night actually dreaming about sewing machines throwing wobblies faced with soluble fabric and chiffon/organza and with Saturday getting closer I got on with it.

Apologies for the photos, taken indoors. This is the final layout – some of the apparently empty areas are in fact covered with a very pale pink chiffon. Waiting to be pinned.

The pinked circles are a mixture of vintage dark and pale pink chiffon, silk organza, silk chiffon, hand-dyed net and crystal organza.

Still not a brilliant picture but after the rain we had I didn’t fancy taking soluble fabric outside to photograph!

It’s all now pinned and tacked in place. I can’t avoid getting the machine(s) out any longer but I have taken the precaution of making a practice piece so if the machines won’t take it at least it won’t mess up the main piece. Going to get them out now. Really. Honestly. Right this minute…

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