Tag Archives: hand piecing

Random-pieced machine embroidered scrap quilt in pink

The contents of my scrap box were starting to get a bit out of hand …. actually, I’ve got 4 scrap boxes, and they’re all overflowing! Time to do something about it!

I thought a little random-pieced scrap quilt might be just the job to reduce the levels a bit …. so I started pulling out bits and pieces, matching colours, textures and tones.

scrap quilt

I was lucky …. I had a little helper who was very definite about what went where, and knew what she liked and didn’t like! If you’re going to randomly piece a quilt, then you don’t get much more random than a 4 year old’s choices ….

I started hand-piecing it all together …. I decided fairly early on that I’d just take each piece as it came, and fit it on with the next piece …. it worked out fairly well, but did give me a lot of odd angles to work with. I put together this tutorial to show you how to piece curves and odd angles ….

Just keep piecing, just keep piecing, just keep piecing, piecing, piecing …

Until I ended up with a little over a metre square of pieced scraps.

I suppose it’s OK, but it’s not really what I was after … it’s a bit blocky, I think.

Scissors out!

I chopped the whole thing into strips roughly 10cm across, not worrying too much about keeping lines straight or where existing seam lines are. I rearranged the rows, switching them up, turning them round, swapping their positions, until I was fairly happy with what I’d got. Then I got the sewing machine out (gasp!) and zipped up and down to put it all back together again.

(Note: if you try this, don’t chop it until you’re ready to sew it back together, otherwise you’re going to end up with a lot of remedial stitching to do first!)

And then I switched it round sideways, and did the same thing again, and ended up with this:

That’s much more like it … but I wanted more from it. Time to get my quilt on ….

I’m not sure if it counts as machine quilting, or machine embroidery. It’s certainly free motion, and an awful lot of fun. A riot of flowers all over the quilt … in hot pink and vivid purple and lilac and pale minty green and the palest of baby pinks.

(Yes, I was using up all sorts of odd reels from my box).

(And yes, it did use up quite a few reels – I think probably the equivalent of 5 full reels).

(And yes, it took quite a while to do).

(But not as long as doing it by hand … and after Eve’s Garden I needed something a little less intense).

It was *so* worth doing …… I loved how it turned out, the way it disrupted the underlying blocks and helped pop those colours right out.

The back looks pretty cool, too, I think.

But I prefer the front.

Luscious as a bowl of cherries, and in my Etsy shop right now ….

Grandmothers Flower Garden

Although the ‘elemental quilt‘ is calling me to finish it, and I have been working the embroidery in my quiet moments, I enjoyed the first installment of my block project so much that I’ve launched straight into the next quilt block.

Still working with the very simple blocks at the beginning of the book, so it’s a traditional and straightforward ‘Grandmother’s Flower Garden’ hexagon block.

It’s pretty straightforward to draft – if you don’t have a hexagon template, then you can use a set of compasses (the geometrical kind rather than the navigational kind 😉 to create your hexagons. This little WIKI shows you how it’s done … because I had a pretty small block – it’s going to be another 30cm x 30cm cushion cover – I drafted the whole thing, resting on a cutting mat to secure the point of the compasses. The one thing you need to remember if you’re doing this is that ALL your circles MUST intersect through each of the points, otherwise you’re going to end up with wonky hexagons (which is really not a good look). When you’re finished, each hexagon will have a little flower shape in its centre … I had to really fight myself to stick to the brief and not piece based on the flowers! (That will doubtless be another project, later 😉

You have two options for the edges – you can either go all the way to the edge, and have the cut-off hexagon shapes around the edge as I have done, or you can stop at the outermost ring of complete hexagons and applique the finished piece onto a backing.

I’m still feeling warm with my colour choices at the moment, but these are a bit more muted than the last block, predominantly creams and golds, with coppery and red accents … these are all pieces of fabric that I had on hand, reclaimed and recycled.

Cut out your hexagon shapes, pin on the fabric, and cut the fabric, leaving approximately 1/2 – 1 cm seam allowance, depending on how thick the fabric is and how much it will fray. Fold it around the paper, remembering to do the nice mitreing in the corner …

And then sew the basted pieces right side together, with an overcast. The overcast wants to be pretty small, around 12 stitches to the inch ….

And keep on going, round and round … because it’s quite a simple block, it comes together quickly …. This block is a bit heavier than the last one, which was mostly light cottons and silks – here I’m using heavier curtain fabric, which I think works well with the bolder block pattern.

I am seriously loving the combination of colours and textures here!  I should have this finished up pretty soon ….

What’s your latest block? Do share ……