Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hive #11 - January Tutorial

What is your name?
Hi ya I'm Jo (TwinkleToesUK on Flickr).  I have to say it's quite daunting being the Hive Mama for this Bee, but I'm very honoured and here to help!  So just shout if you need anything!

Where do you live?
I live in the UK in a lovely little village in Warwickshire.  That's in the middle of the country not far from where Shakespeare was born for those not from the UK - which I think is everyone else in this Hive!  You can find more about Harbury here: 

Tell us about your family (Spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, etc.)
I have a wonderful Husband and two child substitutes (cats - Bilbo and Phoenix).  We've been together for 14.5 years, but only tied the knot formally 3 years ago! He's definitely long suffering, puts up with my foibles and loves it when I'm sewing as it keeps me quiet!

Tell us about how you got interested in quilting.
I've sewn all my life.  I still have the first piece of embroidery I did as a 3 year old with my Nan :)   My trusty sewing machine saw me clothed through Uni (engineering degree nothing to do with sewing). Has helped with all the soft furnishings in my houses (I think my Mom would disown me if I ever bought a pair of curtains!) and although it's often got put into a cupboard, it's always resurfaced when required.

I only got into quilting about 3 year ago.  I honestly have no idea why or how, just woke up one morning and thought I fancy having a go at that and the rest as they say is history!  I'm now well and truly hooked.  I'm a techniques person and all about the process(must be the engineer in me!), so I like to spend my time on small complicated project rather than big monster quilts!  Don't worry - this months block is not too difficult!   At the moment I do have a thing for appliqué...  little hint there!!!

How do you organize your fabric stash?
Gosh!  Where do I start!  I have a few OCD tendencies and these certainly come through to my storage!

My stash is organised dependant on type and then colour.

I have little drawers in my sideboard, this is where the scraps go, a drawer each for:  Charm squares. Solids and Patterned.     (Yes I class charm squares as scraps.  Not enough o them to be too useful, and I don't keep any scraps smaller than a charm square - life is just too short!)

Then for my major stash - gulp!

I love boxes by a company called "Really Useful Boxes" and oh boy are they aptly names!!  Their 18L is a God send for FQ storage!!!

I have a number of boxes (I am really showing you this!), for Solids Bright, Solid Neutrals, Blenders, Patterns, Christmas, Oakshotts (I love my Oakshott!! Sewing Material (x2), Nancy Halvorsen (yup like her stuff too), WIP Box and well.....  you get the idea!

Each is then sorted into colour!

Who is/are your favourite fabric designers?
I think the above may have indicated this already!  I love Oakshotts, I'm a fan of Nancy Halvorsen, I adore Lotta Jansdotters design and I LOVE SOLIDS!

Gosh this feels like a confessional!  The start of the year.  Should I be saying, My name is Jo and I'm a Fabric-o-holic?!?!?

What is one thing you have learned that you wish you knew when you first started quilting?
Don't buy cheap fabric!  There is a reason decent quilting fabric is SOOO expensive!  (Well here in the UK it's expensive!  Think yourself lucky over in the UK!  I buy from a lot from the US.  Even with shipping and duty it can come out at half price of the retail here!)

What is your favourite sewing/quilting tool and why should we all go out and buy it?
Oh......  so many.  I love my little snippers (I've had these 20 years!), they are a must have for me. BUT my biggest must have is a thimble.  I have no idea how people darn in ends, sewing with a needle etc without a thimble!

Who is your favourite fictional character and why? (Could be from a book, movie, TV show, etc.):
Oh that's a hard one!  I'm finding that a struggle,  It always used to be Pooh Bear, no idea why, but have to admit now in later life, no really.    Nowadays, I thinking more Sherlock Holmes, especially the Benedict Cumberpatch interpretation - rather enigmatic, mysterious, aloof and highly intelligent....  I like that.

January Block:

Right....  down to the nitty gritty.  My block....

Here it is:  Well two versions to give you an idea!!  

I'm hoping it's a nice gentle intro for the year, with some avenue for your own interpretation!

You will need:

  • Background Block:     Scraps enough to make a scrappy 10" block
  • Flower:       Contrasting scraps to the background.  circa 6" flower
  • Applique method of your choice:  I used bondaweb and blanket stitched
  • Threads:   Your choice for the blocks, and your choice for the flower.  I used a contras as I wanted to see the blanket sttich

Basic instructions:

I don't want to patronise so will not labour these too much!

Background Block

Please make a scrappy neutral background.  This can be bright, neutral, light or dark - as long as the flower you use stands out it doesn't matter.

Only two rules:
  • Finished block is 10" Sqaure
  • NO Crazy patch (please!), i.e. all nice squares and rectangles, no triangles, wonky lines!  Sorry this plays with my head, so nice regular blocks please  :)

I did two examples to show various methods:

First one:
  • Using complementing charm squares, cut into a mix of 2.5" squares and 5"x2.5" rectangles.
  • Place these into a random layout that "pleases the eye" and sew together
  • Trim back to 10" square  (If you want to leave unfinished this is fine.

Second One:

  • This was made from scraps in my scrap drawer.
  • Select a number of fabrics that work well as a neutral background.
  • Chop these into various rectangles and squares and place into a layout that "pleases the eye"
  • Sew together

Easy so far?

Now for the fun bit!

The Flower:

Feel free to appliqué a flower in whichever method you feel most comfortable, i.e. turned edge, raw edge etc.

As we are not trying to turn this into a mammoth time frame, the raw edge method is by far the quickest!

If you aren't familiar with this, I've done a brief tutorial below:

  • Select some fabric that will ensure this flower stands out from your background - you really don't want all this work to be lost and disappear into the background.
  • Work out how big you want you flower to be - mine are around 7"
  • Draw a petal shape you are happy with, and then transfer this your bondaweb (don't forget to draw on the non-sticky side, and that you get the opposite of what you draw!)
  • Draw however many petals you need for you design and cut out - NOT on the lines, but leaving a rough 1/8" - 1/4! around:

  • Iron this onto the WRONG side of you fabric
  • Cut out on the lines

  • Roughly position the petals on you background - Mine are all off centre.

  • When happy remove the backing from the petals.
  • Re-lay all petals and press in place.  I did mine all in one go on the ironing board.  Trying to do one at a time, often means the move and end up in a different place to what you want!  but it's you're block do what you want!
  • As this is raw edge appliqué you need to stitch around.  How you do this is your choice.  A running stich all around?  Blanket stitch?  Wide zigzag?  YOU decide!
  • I used blanket stitch in a contrast colour, this one also varigated!

If you are not confident or worried about a wavy line - have a practise on some scraps. A few wonky petals, really isn't an issue, BUT if you are really worried, leave this bit and I'll do this when I receive - but go on have a go!

Hopefully - you'll end up with something like these!  Enjoy!  Any questions, drop over to flickr and let me know!

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