Friday, 16 May 2014

Double Irish Chain revisited

Nowhere near a finish this week but I am posting anyway: a few work-in-progress items.

Last weekend, whilst still feeling virtuous for having finished my scrappy Broken Dishes quilt, I decided to reward myself by cutting up 'new' fabric and starting something else.

I justify this because I am in the process of sorting out what classes I will be teaching in the autumn (at Patchwork Cabin).  Although I always try to offer classes based on quilts I  have already made, so that I have a sample ready to be photographed and go into the shop, I am then immediately convinced that I must make another sample in a different size and fabric style in case the people who might be interested in attending the class don't like the original....

So, having made and blogged about my Scrappy Double Irish Chain (Buttercup, here), this is Double Irish Chain the non-scrappy way:

To be honest, I had forgotten just how quick it is to make a quilt when you restrict yourself to just a few fabrics; the chain piecing is super-fast because you are not agonising about what goes where and the cutting is a breeze - three fabrics rather than three hundred.  So, in the spirit of using what I have, I found the soft pink floral and pale green plaid in the cupboard (approx. 1 metre and half a metre respectively) and used Kona Snow for my background: just enough to make 25 blocks, so that's the size it will be.

I wanted to make the blocks a little smaller that for the Buttercup version, as it's always good to show how different a quilt can be if you change the scale.  Here I worked with 2" cut strips so the blocks finish 7 1/2" (compared with the 10" blocks made with 2 1/2" strips).  This size is rather daintier, I think you'll agree.  Haven't quite finished as I ran out of Snow (now re-stocked): hope to show you a finish by end of next week.  Gosh, now I am committed...

[How annoying: I have just noticed from this photo that I have identical roses almost next to one another, right in the centre of the quilt.  That wouldn't have happened if it had been a scrappy version as I would have had the blocks up on the design wall for weeks, moving patches around!  Ho hum.]

Just enough floral fabric left for a narrow border.  It's some sort of linen, a bit grainy, which looks lovely but frays like mad, so I am keen to get the top layered and quilted without too much delay.

You'll see from the back view that I have split and pressed the seams in opposite directions: this is to try and distribute bulk because the linen is heavier and does not like to fold back on itself.  I hope this will help when I come to the quilting.

 Also started another project, again a second sample for a possible class: just a teaser for now.  More next week.

And on the hand stitching front, I have, rather to my surprise, been making quite good progress on my Giant Dahlia (which I don't think I have shown you before).  It began a while ago in a class with Paula Doyle so I could learn hand-piecing of curves.

I started to call it the Giant Dishcloth because it was so crumpled: no point in constantly ironing something you are handling so much.  Anyway, it sat around for ages because I decided I didn't like the dark grey tone-on-tone fabric I had chosen for the largest round of petals (I was aiming to use only stash fabric so my choices were restricted).

Having tried to find something else and making several bad purchases (what was that about using only stash?), I decided I could live with my original choice and should just get on and finish it.  So that's what I finally did a few weeks ago, and I am now really enjoying the hand quilting, probably because I am just following the piecing lines and don't have to squint at too faint markings...

I love the texture hand quilting gives, but I'm afraid it doesn't photograph all that well: the quilt still looks rather crumpled.  And I don't usually hand quilt with safety pins in place, but I was in a hurry and wanted to spray baste but wasn't sure it would stay together sufficiently, so I added the pins as a precaution.  In fact I think I can get rid of them now the main quilting lines are in place.

Not sure what I am going to do with this quilt when it is finished, but when was that ever a reason for making or not making a quilt?

Enjoy whatever you are working on this week, whether you have a finish or not; it's about the journey, which may take you in unexpected directions...

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