Friday, 14 November 2014

Tiny Finish - Macaron

A succession of dreary wet days since November began reminds me that it will be hard to take decent outdoor photos for the next few months, so apologies for the poor light.

Too many other things going on for much actual sewing to report, but I did make a tiny hand sewn gift for a friend from a kit I bought at NEC in August.  This is my finish for Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts today.

Maria from Pinwheels visits us here in England for the Festival of Quilts and I have bought lovely kits from her several times over the past few years.  This time I bought her little kit, Macaron, and I have managed, even with my clumsy fingers, to make up both macarons, one for me and one for my new friend Helen, who so kindly recently showed me and my quilting buddies all of her treasured antique Japanese textiles (including some wonderful, worn and ancient Boro).

I thought that something in the Japanese style might suit her, though I am very sure that Japanese ladies with their nimble fingers would make a much better finished product.  The macarons are so tiny I don't think you could get much inside - maybe a £1 piece - but they are very cute and they really do look extraordinarily like posh French patisserie!

I also treated myself in August to Pinwheels' BOM, Quartet, but haven't started yet....  It will be fabulous and I promise to show you when I have made at least one block.  My clever friend Sylvia is storming through hers and I was green with envy when I saw what she had accomplished.

Sorry for the blurry image from the Pinwheels website but it will give you an idea of the lovely fabrics and miniature piecing that is in store for me!

My latest excuse however is that my tank steam iron has broken (I think I have worn it out these past two years), and I find that I don't like to use an ordinary steam iron any more, I do miss the fantastic crisp seams and flat blocks you get with the wonderful shot of steam.  So not only is the household laundry piling up but the piecing waiting to be pressed is holding back my progress on a variety of fronts.

However, the one and only advantage of having so many things on the go is that there is always something to do: I dug out this old UFO and have managed some hand piecing over the past couple of days.  It is called Rose Chain and I started it in a class with Sharon Chambers back in March 2004. Most of the time since then it has been gently resting in a cupboard; as with so many of my undertakings, it actually doesn't take all that long to make the blocks - I just got distracted by other projects.

I guess I am now about half way through the piecing of the blocks as it will only be 60" square when finished, but there is an applique border - and applique is not my strong suit.  It will need hand quilting too, I anticipate, so likely to be a work in progress for quite a while longer.
  • Tasks for next week: to get a new iron is top of the list.
  • Finish blocks for Thimbleberries 2 flower/star
  • Assemble Chandelier QAL (yes, I know that ship has long sailed, but I do like the blocks so will finish it in my own time).
  • any number of other things, too many to list
I have had lots of quilty fun without much actual sewing machine time since I last posted, so don't feel too sorry for me: I have taught one class  and am teaching again tomorrow, which I love, and I have done a demo/talk for a local quilt group which was also great fun.

I showed the group how to make really accurate HST's in bulk using papers (Easy Triangles on a Roll is my favourite product for this, though I also use Thangles).

I have always loved the 18th century Dutch Chintz quilts made entirely from HST's (all hand sewn of course) and I am gradually accumulating 2" HST's so that I can make my own one day.

I keep the HST's in a box and when I demo I get a few out and just start pinning them on a board.  One day I will stitch them together, but for now it is great fun to play with them.

I also demo'd how to square up HST's using Bloc_loc's brilliant rulers.  I actually enjoy trimming now that I have these rulers, and they are especially useful if you have a pile of bonus triangles after making flying geese by the stitch and flip method (I hate to throw away fabric, as you may have guessed).  If you don't know the rulers then visit the website where there is a helpful video.  

We are so lucky as quilters to have the benefit of really great products out there to make our lives easier and our work better.  What is your favourite tool/notion at the moment?

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