An Easy Way to Label Your Quilt (And Some Useful Pens)

Season of Mists….

Hi Everybody,

We are into autumn proper now here in Scotland and we have had smattering of mist, rain, wind and glorious sunshine this week And although October began with a cold snap, it is surprising mild today, warm enough for gnats to be hovering about in clouds outside and my ducks to be enjoying a prolonged pond party

Our firewood all stacked and ready for winter

Today I want to talk a little about labels and ask, do you add a label to what you make? It seems to me that a surprising amount of people don’t. I have to confess that I don’t. Or haven’t until now. Why? I think it is because I am so relieved to have finally finished my project that the last thing I want to think about is yet another stage in the process. Does that sound like you, too? Or is a label not something you think about at all. Why is that?

An English Paper Pieced quilt (or any other hand stitched or embroidered project) takes takes many painstaking hours to complete, so why would we not want to add our name to our work? I love to think that in decades to come, someone will come across something that we are making now and love it. How much more wonderful would it be if they could turn it over and see an attached label that tells them the name of the maker; you, perhaps? And where it was made, and when.

I wonder if another reason (beside adding one more stage to the making) is that we are not sure how best to do it. There are several ways, some more fancy than others but this post is about just one way, an easy way as a starting point, with a few pointers as to what to look out for and perhaps avoid.

Ok, so all you need is a square, rectangle (or even a triangle), of plain white (or softly coloured) cotton fabric, large enough to hold a decent amount of information and small enough to fit discreetly into one corner of the back of your project.

NB: If you want to use a dark cotton fabric for your label, this chalk pen

made by Bohin makes clear lines on dark fabric and is worth adding to your EPP pen collection.

You can also buy labels from quilt sites and on eBay. I find that many of them, if pre-cut can be a little ragged and those printed onto fabric often have very little seam allowance between each of them. I used to worry about that. Take this one that I bought pre cut with a bunch of others of different sizes:

It’s quite large, much larger than I would use for my mini quilts (4 1/2″ x 3″) but will serve us fine as an example. There is also very little fold over space between the dotted line and the outside edge. But that’s ok in this particular case because the pattern will allow you to go in closer to the centre with your fold.

Now take a piece of iron on fusible interfacing – one that is suitable for stabilising lightweight cottons and is washable (like Vilene H250) – and cut it to a size slightly smaller than your label. Don’t panic if your stabiliser is creased for has a fold line on it like this piece. Lay the shiny side down on the back of your label and iron it on with a dry iron (no steam!). I ironed it on from the front of the label because the label was creased but if you want to iron it on from the back, to see what you are doing more clearly, place a piece of greaseproof paper over it to protect your iron.

It will now look like this:

The worrying fold in the centre has gone. Now turn each edge towards the centre around the stabiliser, like this:

You can use a glue pen to glue them down temporarily if you like this one:

A Sewline Glue PEN – Refills are available

There are several brands of glue pen on the market with different coloured glue ‘nibs’ (so you can see where you have glued) but they are much the same as each other, and all dry white.

Most of us are nervous about writing straight onto a label but there are ways to help with this. If your label is fairly see-through, you can draw lines on a piece of paper and slot it in behind your label. They may show through.

NB: If you are using thin cotton and want to embroider your words on, you can print out your words in a suitable size font, place the printout under your label, trace the words onto it and embroider over them. This is another option if you want fancier handwriting than your own.

If your label is not thin enough to see through, use a water erasable pen to draw lines across your label, like this:

To write, or trace words onto your label choose a permanent fine line ink pen, like one of these:

The numbers on these pens vary from 0.05 (very fine) upwards to about 0.8 (much thicker) I used 0.3 – I think you can also get them with coloured inks.

and the result will be something like this:

I favour the Pigma micron for writing on fabric but used the Staedtler pigment liner for this particular experiment.

When the ink is dry you can spritz the fabric with water to remove the lines.

Derwent spritzers are available from most art departments

Spritzers are invaluable for spraying erasable lines away in an instant. Remove the cap, fill the barrel with water and press down on button on top to release a fine spray. Dab with kitchen paper to absorb as much of the wetness as possible. Alternatively, spray water onto a corner of the kitchen paper and dab your fabric with that for small areas, or if it’s important not to wet your fabric too much.

The ink is permanent, washable, ink but you MUST wait a short while for it to dry completely. Let me show you what happens if you spritz it when it is not quite dry. The ink on the line that crossed the ‘t’ of Scotland was not quite dry and dabbing it with the paper towel smudged it..

When your label is finished, you can stitch it invisibly into the (usually) bottom left hand corner of your quilt, runner or other project. Some quilters believe that sewing the label into the corner before adding the binding makes the label close to impossible to remove.

I have decided it’s time I added labels to all the (dozens of!) quilts I have stored away (yikes), though I would normally choose something smaller and less obtrusive. I would probably add erasable marks at the top and bottom to help centre my writing, which I haven’t done here. And I like the idea of a triangular label that fits right into the corner. Why not join me and experiment a little with making some labels, until you find one that suits you. Practice on scrap pieces of paper and then fabric and next time you make something special, remember it deserves a label!

Till next time…..

The Much Loved ‘Little Red School House’

Hi Everybody,

An 1840 Restored Schoolhouse – image from Kathleen Tracy’s blog ‘A Sentimental Quilter’

 

If you have been following me for a while, you will know that I love houses and have spent the last few years making a LOT of house quilts, probably far too many. However, that is going to change in the near future. I think I have made enough houses. They will keep popping up for a while because I have some mini house quilts to finish and three or four large ones that I haven’t started yet. One is a hanging for the wall behind my bed, one a baby quilt size and the last one, the largest I will have ever made, is single bed size. The last one will be a way of working that I haven’t tried yet, creating pieced areas and then joining them with paths in a random way, rather like Gwen Marston’s Liberated Quilts. I am excited about getting started on that.

I can’t begin to leave houses behind, though, without a celebration of the charming little American School House, beloved of so many quilters. There are dozens of variations of the original now, in shape, size and overall design, from the old schoolhouse with a bell tower to a hut or log cabin design and from a simple one room house or cottage with a chimneys to something resembling a modern house.

School House design as modern townhouse: Readin’ and Writin’ and ‘Rithmetic Quilt Pattern by Roxie Wood of Thimble Creek Quilts.

Details vary enormously too: A longer roof, taller windows, shorter windows, more windows, one door, no door, one chimney or two, a path or strip of grass below, or none. And although most schoolhouses featured on traditional quilts were red, followed by a quite a number in indigo blue, today a whole variety of colours are used. It is fast becoming seen as a traditional ‘house block’ rather than the ‘Schoolhouse block’. I have been wondering when it all began. So I thought I would do some searching….

Apparently the house block began to proliferate in the late 1800’s (though I am sure there must have been quite a few made, here and there, before then because representational/pictorial blocks showing familiar things have always appealed to quilt makers.  Early house blocks depicting shapes not unlike the schoolhouse had a variety of names, such as Old Kentucky Home, The Old Homestead, Jack’s House, Old Folks at Home, Lincoln’s Log Cabin and Honeymoon Cottage. The red Schoolhouse, a variation of these, seems to have appeared between the 1870’s and 1890’s (though one or two antique school house quilts have been dated to the 1850’s and 1860’s.).

Honeymoon Cottage designed by Ruby McKim in 1935 (from 101 Patchwork Patterns by Ruby McKim)

I have found a few clues as to its first appearance, any or all of which could be a reason for how important it became in the lives of quilters. Settlers poured into the West for a better life, and part of that better life was education. The schoolhouse was probably one of the most important public buildings to be built in each community in the wake of compulsory education laws which made it mandatory for children to go to school. Moreover, For rural women of the time, teaching came to be both prestigious and lucrative work and the schoolhouse pattern may reflect the lives of the women who supported their families in this way.

Whatever the reasons for its first appearance, it was not until 1929 that the schoolhouse was officially named and immortalised in print by a woman called Ruth Finley who referred to it as the ‘Little Red Schoolhouse’ in her book ‘Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women who Made Them’.

Finley’s book followed a time of renewed interest in quilt making at the turn of the century and during the Colonial Revival (1910-1930), an interest which blossomed further with the coming of the Great Depression when making quilts from scraps seemed a prudent act of thriftiness. The trend continued well into the 1930’s and I imagine that it wasn’t much later before the old one room schoolhouses began to disappear from people’s lives and reappear in quilt blocks created by the mothers and daughters who remembered them with fondness.

Much later during the second World War, people paid to have their names embroidered on quilts that were then raffled as a way of raising funds for the Red Cross. The school house pattern was one of these. You can see that, by making a small separation between roof and walls, it could easily accommodate areas for stitching.

Little Red Schoolhouse quilt – image borrowed from Onpointquilter.com

What is especially interesting is that whereas almost all modern House blocks face to the front, the traditional schoolhouse and it variations always face to the side, often with the addition of a bell tower or steeple to turn it into a church or town hall.

image borrowed from quiltingcompany.com

I believe the depth of field suggested by this side view has added to its particular charm and, all these years later, has made it among the most loved of all the pictorial blocks and with the greatest number of variations.

I am told it that a schoolhouse block is challenging for quilters to create, since it means joining acute angles. It is also quite difficult to English Paper piece. I often use paper patterns printed off the internet when the shapes of paper pieces I need are not available for purchase. These can be flimsy and imprecise, making them difficult to use for piecing. This is particularly true of the Schoolhouse but as yet there are no English Paper Pieced papers available for this design.

One of my earliest house quilts ‘Hut on Butterfly Hill’ (schoolhouse design as hut)

However (and this is exciting news) yesterday I asked linapatchwork.com if she would make me an English Paper Pieced 4 x 12 inch schoolhouse blocks for a wall hanging I want to make, and she agreed. A short while ago she made an English Paper Pieced log cabin design at my request. A website where you can purchase English Paper Pieces custom made to our own designs – how wonderful is that? Do visit her website and ask question; she deserves to be more widely celebrated.

Modern takes on the Schoolhouse design can be made in all solids, all prints, or any combination of the two. It is a great pattern for using up your scraps. The background is often lighter but doesn’t need to be; navy blue and black make great back drops. There does, however, need to be enough contrast in value so that the house stands out against the background and the doors and windows stand out against the frame of the house itself.

I had intended to make several schoolhouses for this post but I have now decided to wait for my paper pieces which will, I hope, result in more accurate piecing and therefor more attractive blocks. This is where I am so far with my most recent one, and it’s not going well.

I have used a circus themed fabric for the house which will have a cream background and a border of stars.

Interestingly, Joen Wolfron once said, in ‘American Quilter’ magazine, “A finished quilt which has no imperfections, artistically or technically, is one that was created within the quilter’s comfort zone. No significant learning will take place when we stay in this safe place.”

That certainly makes me feel a little better about my unevenly pieced schoolhouse blocks, though I have decided that I am not a fan of the short roof top and closely placed chimneys and I want my next attempt to be something like this (below) without the patterned strips on the roof and wall.

A rough template for future use

So, it looks as if there will have to be a second post on the ‘Little Red Schoolhouse’ sometime in the future, when I have tried out my new paper pieced Schoolhouses and can how you how they turned out.

Whew, that was a l o n g post, so I hope you are still with me. Till next time….

 

 

 

 

Got Quilting Scraps ? Create Portraits for Fun!

Hello Everybody!

It’s been hectic here since early July and this is the main reason:

This is Bean (a Khaki Campbell) on the left and Angel (a Runner duck) on the right.

They are quite a bit bigger now but still need around the clock care and are not ready to go outside permanently until they are fully feathered. My previous ducklings were hatched in May but, because of Covid, these were hatched two months later when it was safer to go and collect them from the breeder. This means that they are facing cold weather before they are ready. Two to four weeks more and they should be have all the feathers they need to protect them and some decent sized wings. In the interim period they will have some playtimes outside for an hour or two when there is a bit of sunshine.

Bean is feathering up nicely while Angel is beginning to lose her yellow chick fluff and turning white.

I have a post on the American Schoolhouse in the pipeline but there is more sewing to do before it’s ready so, in the meantime, here is an idea for using some of your EPP scraps.

Begin by drawing a face with a soft coloured pencil or fineliner pen. I know that some of you will be saying “oh no, I can’t draw” (trust me, you can draw a simple face). It doesn’t have to be realistic, it can be a few lines, an abstract face if you like, and of course you can use a printed template of a face, dog, cat or armchair if you prefer, or even create your own quilting pattern. The point is to have fun and use up some fabric scraps at the same time.

I have been putting together a series of portraits over the last few days for my textile course and while I was choosing fabric scraps from my stash to create them, it occurred to me that this might be a great idea for quilters to try. We all have plenty of fabric scraps to spare, right?

So begin by drawing a rough face. Draw a large oval for the face, another oval for one eye, an eyebrow above the eye that extends into a straight line for the nose. Add a bow shape or straight line for the mouth, with a smaller straight line under it, like this. You can do this.

Add a second eye, and if you are worried that you can’t make them the same, stick a fabric patch over it, like this one:

Add some squiggles for hair like the ones above, or spikes like the one below. Add an ear or two.

Now you have a face. Begin decorating it with scraps of fabric or paper. Add cheeks, eye colour, eyebrows, lips, shadows, a scarf, earrings, whatever you like. It doesn’t have to look real. It’s a playful portrait. Think Picasso if you want to.

When you have finished adding fabric scraps, you can stitch over your portrait to add more depth of colour and texture. Simple running stitches and back stitches work, as well as stem stitch and chain stitch.

Try a whole series of different portraits, like I did. Try different looks. Add glasses:

Tissue paper for the glasses and clothing neckline. Stem and straight stitches for the hair.

Add a hat or a cap. Try faces from different parts of the world:

Three layers of fabric for the cap, green organza over one eye. French knots for earrings.

Try people of different ages:

A spotted paper bag for the hat, textured fabric for the lips, variegated grey/black/white embroidery thread for the hair.

Fantasy people:

Flowers cut from wrapping paper, Treasure Gold gilding on the body.

Or an exaggerated Selfie!

Straight stitch and colour pencil for the hair. Celtic patterned fabric for the ‘hat’

These A5 portraits have been done on handmade paper (Khadi paper) because it can be sewn through well, like fabric, but you can do the same thing on a fabric background. You can add fabric to paper and paper (as well as fabric) to fabric. Try both. Torn paper (tissue paper, old envelopes, patterned wrapping paper) and cut fabric (organza, cotton, thin textured fabrics etc) give different results and both can be either glued on, or stitched down. You can add water colour tints to the faces as I have, or try water soluble crayons, coloured pencils or even inks. Enjoy!

Until next time……

An EPP Keepsake – For Difficult Times

 

Hi Everybody,

My Siamese cat, Tay, is a comfort during long days.

This is a hard year. Events cancelled,  friendships put on hold, family kept at further than arms length, loved ones lost. It’s been a year of insecurities, of broken connections, of reflection; considering where our world is headed and what our place might be in it. It’s been a time of change, of changes of heart, of discovering what we need to stand up for, the things we want to say.

If you have a friend or loved one that you can’t be with right now, perhaps you’d like to send them a small English Paper Pieced gift that you have made. Something light enough to put in the post, something personal that you can’t buy in a shop or online, something that says what you want to say.

Or you could make it for yourself, to focus on what is important to you at this time; something you don’t want to lose sight of.

This post is about making a keepsake for a difficult time, a talisman if you like, for yourself, or for someone dear to you.

This keepsake is 3 inches (7 1/2 cm) square

For this you will need the following materials: 

  • Some white pillowcase cotton, or other solid colour cotton fabric, fine enough to be a little transparent, so you can trace words through it.
  • Some small scraps of printed fabric to cut out and attach like a collage.
  • A glue stick to temporarily hold the collaged pieces in place.
  • Strips of fabric, lace, trim or twine to hang your keepsake.
  • A EPP paper template in any shape you like but keep it fairly small, small enough to fit in a letter sized envelope. (Alternatively you can wrap your outer fabric, EPP style, around around some thin wadding, interfacing (fusible or not) or wash away appliqué sheet.  Anything goes as long as the shape inside is fairly firm but soft enough to stitch through easily.
  • A pair of small, sharp scissors
  • A  regular sewing needle as well as an embroidery needle
  • Ordinary sewing thread
  • Coloured embroidery thread – use 2 strands for the words – in cheerful colours that go well with your collaged pieces
  • A word or short message that expresses what you want to say.
  • A water erasable fabric drawing pen.
  • Something to back your shape: A piece of felt or thicker fabric cut to the same size as the shape, or another EPP pieced shape exactly the same to attach to the back. The front and back can be sewn together with a blanket stitch, or a less visible stitch like slip stitch around the edges of your shape, or secured with decorative embroidery stitches that show on the surface.

Make a start by choosing your words; You could have a single word like ‘Hugs’, or a short message like ‘Hold On’ or  ‘Miss You”. Keep it short so that it fits easily into the centre of your shape and is not too arduous for you to stitch over.

Print your words out in a hand writing style font, like Blackadder and select font size 48 pt, which is large enough to stitch. Alternatively write a word in your own handwriting and trace that.

Now you can trace your message by placing your printed out words under the fabric and using your fabric pen to trace them. (You can also trace the words, attach the tracing paper to the fabric and stitch through the tracing paper in the method I showed you in my last post).

Stitch your words using the stitch you prefer. Back stitch works well or stem stitch or even running stitch. If you don’t feel confident about stitching words you could cut words out of fabric or magazines and stick those on your fabric, securing them with some holding stitches.  Placing your fabric in a small 3″ (7 1/2 cm) hoop may make it easier to stitch the words.

When you have stitched your words, cut your fabric to have a seam allowance of about 1/2″ – 3/4″ larger than your template all the way around. I used a wash-away appliqué sheet as my template so that I wouldn’t have to remove it. I don’t plan to wash my keepsakes so it can stay in.  Fold the fabric around the template, making sure your words are placed correctly in front. Baste/tack or glue stick the fabric around the edges. If you have used a paper template inside, press your shape to keep the folds sharp, then remove the paper template and replace it with batting or other preferred material to give body to your shape.

Now you are ready for the collage. Cut out pieces of fabric to express what you are feeling. Fussy cut birds and butterflies, flowers – whatever you like – and arrange them around your shape. Glue stick them in place temporarily.

Each facet of this hexagon is 2 ins. It is 4 ins (10 cm) across the widest part, the centre.

Now add stitch to create texture and bring your little bits of collage to life. Your stitches will hold them in place on the background. Stitching around the edges tends to fray the pieces, so put some stitches in the centre, a few straight stitches or  French knots will be enough, or stitch right through the pattern.

Back your keepsake with another shape exactly the same and stitch all the way around,  closing both the folded in edges together, or add a piece of felt and blanket stitch all the way around. Remove your basting/tacking stitches once your edges are secured.

Decide on the function of your keepsake. Will you add a loop to the back so that it can be hung, or attach a pin so it can be worn, or is it to be sewn to a tote bag or book cover?  Or will you frame a series of them in tiny embroidery hoops to decorate a wall? Actually I think these would make wonderful little lavender sachets that can be put in a drawer to scent linen or underclothes.

The rectangle is 4″ x 2″ (10 x 5 cm), the small hexagon has 1″ (2 1/2 cm) facets all the way around, the circle has a diameter of 3″ (7 1/2 cm) and the star is 7″ (18 cm) across from point to point.

Why not make someone’s day?

Till next time…..

 

 

 

The Power of Three

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Hi Everybody,

It’s been cloudy in western Scotland these past two weeks, with a bit too much rain and wind for July but there is the promise of some sunshine this afternoon and tomorrow.

Three of my pretty duck eggs.

In the past I have written posts about American textile artist Deborah Boschert’s ‘Design Guides’, which are so useful for makers of small textile quilts and wallhangings like the ones you find in this blog. Her Guides offer a series of ideas for what we might do when faced with our blank piece of fabric, canvas or paper, and allow us to create simple but successful compositions – without worrying  too much about formal standards of design  – and to which we can then further surface detail or embellishment as we think fit.

Deborah offers useful information on eight Design Guides in this book

In earlier posts I looked at ‘One Amazing Line’ (See the post ‘Design Composition and Play’ on October 31st, 2017) and ‘Third Plus’ (A post of the same name on March 9, 2019). Today I want to say a little about the Design Guide she calls ‘Magic Three’ . You can see part of one of her examples of Magic Three called ‘River Gathering’, the three fishes on the front cover of her book in the photo here. In the book she tells us that “groups of three are pleasing to the eye”.  I have certainly always found that to be true. Whenever I am arranging groups of ornaments or pot plants around the house or even in the garden, a group of three (usually in varying size)s just look right together somehow: modern and interesting, not too busy or cluttered, not even and yet balanced. Pythagoras called three the perfect number.

It’s an interesting thing, the proliferation of threes within our culture and beyond: in the Holy Trinity and other biblical references, where the number three refers a to divine wholeness; in  the mathematical rule of three; in literature and children’s stories such as the three little pigs, or Goldilocks and the three bears, or the three witches in Macbeth; how good things come in threes; the three stages of life and the three act play. You can probably think of lots more. With regard to speaking, writing (whether literature, film scripts or advertising) as well as in music, the rule of three asserts that anything presented in threes is  liable to be more interesting, enjoyable and memorable. Three is the smallest number you need to create a pattern and patterns are easier to absorb and remember.  And then there is all that clever stuff about triangles…

The Three Billy Goats Gruff? Not quite

For her ‘Magic Three’ composition, Deborah Boschert suggests that we create our three shapes (of anything we like) in different sizes and arrange them at different levels within the space we are working in. And this arrangement applies to any format, horizontal or vertical, (portrait or landscape) and from a tiny composition to something quite large.

I thought I would try the Magic Three idea along with another experiment in Strip Weaving. Instead of embellishing my strip weaving project with English Paper Piecing motifs as I did last time, I wanted to try transferring a line drawing onto the woven background. (For more of the detail of the method of Strip Weaving, please see my earlier post on Strip Weaving  – June 2020)

I set myself the challenge of three different coloured fabrics, three different coloured threads, three different decorative stitches and an image made up of three shapes of different sizes. My shapes were joined in a single image but they needn’t have been. I could have spaced them individually across the background area if I wanted.

I chose two solid colours in different tones to add interest without looking overly busy and a piece of multicoloured striped Indian cotton,  and wove strips of varying widths of fabric together, vertically and horizontally to create my background.

I don’t like raw edges so I pinked the edges of the strips to discourage fraying. If you don’t like raw edges either, it has occurred to me that this project could be done, EPP  style, with the fabric wrapped around strips of paper which would give them neat, turned in, edges.  You wouldn’t need to do many, three to five horizontal and vertical strips would be plenty, and shouldn’t make them too long or the papers would get too floppy to work with.

I was careful to retain a decent sized square of solid colour which could accommodate my drawing and to make sure none of the horizontal strips would cover this area and interfere with the image. Then, once I had sewn down all edges and added a bit surface stitching, I was ready to transfer my line drawing.

The original sketch had a grandfather and a baby in it, so I had to remove them to have the group of three that I wanted (photos 1 and 2, below).

 

I transferred the image by tracing my drawing onto dressmakers tissue paper (photo 3, above), then pinning the traced drawing onto the fabric in the area where I wanted it to be,  pinning along the edges to keep it from moving, and stitching over all the traced lines.

When the drawing was completely covered by stitches, I gently tore away the tissue paper, leaving the stitched image on the fabric. Any tiny details like spaces between fingers or between waves in hair, are best added  in later, because it’s quite difficult to tear tissue away from tiny details like these, without pulling up the threads. It can however be accomplished quite successfully with a good pair of tweezers and a fair bit of patience. It’s a great technique.

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I wasn’t intending to write another post about strip weaving at first, so I haven’t photographed each of the stages but, as it was a development of my earlier strip weaving experiment, I realised that you may find aspects of it interesting.

This was how it turned out – at first:

Take One – not super successful.

Hmm. There was lots wrong. I had made a couple of mistakes filling in bits that shouldn’t be filled in and the checked strip under the image was not straight enough to match the one above. And I hated the long strips below the image that I originally thought would add interest if left dangling.

So, back to the drawing board.

I thought about turning all the bottom strips under, like the other three sides, which would put the image in a kind of square frame, but eventually I just shortened them.  I added some dark red to the women’s lips, gave her some gold earrings and straightened the wonky coloured strip as best I could without having to remove all the vertical stitches as well as the horizontal ones.

It looks a little better now:

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There’s still room for improvement and I know what I would do differently next time. It took just over half a day to finish, so it would be an easy project for you to try over a free weekend.

Till next time….

 

 

Gallery of Lockdown Quilts in Progress

 

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Swallow babies peeking out of their nest in our carport

 

Hello Everyone!

I don’t know where I got the idea that summer was going to be more relaxing than winter and that with Lockdown there would be stacks of time to finish things. Things are busier than ever, not just with sewing but all the other stuff going on. My husband is on holiday and painting the indoor window frames. Hmm, need I say more?  My Runner duck has sprained a leg and is  unable to walk, though she manages to hop around quite well. My Pekin duck, Lily,  (pictured) has cut her foot so she is confined to an indoor pen  until it heals.  She is quacking non stop, calling to the others outside. Both of them are on anti-inflammatory drugs so I can’t sell their eggs. I hate throwing them away.

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Lily, saying “Get me out of here!”

I had a similar ‘pen’ set up indoor when they were babies, so I could keep an eye on them but then they had only tiny, unfeathered scraps of wings to flap. Lily however, has managed to flap up a storm of sawdust all over the room. She is in here for just three days but it will take as long to clean it up when she is back outside.

On a happier note we have been getting lots of lovely fruit from the garden, strawberries, cherries and apricots  so far that seem especially fat and juicy this year

We had two pounds of cherries from the greenhouse this year. This was taken about a week before they were ready.

I mentioned, in an earlier post, that I have been doing two online textile art courses, sewing for various assignments in addition to my mini quilts for these blog posts. I did get behind for a while but I’ve had to catch up quickly as the first,  year-long, course (‘Exploring Texture and Pattern’ with Sue Stone) ends on July 15th. Only one last assignment to do for that one, now.

The second course, which is a ‘Stitch Club’ run by Textileartist.org has no deadline but we are given an assignment by different artist each week, (plus accompanying video and workbook)  for a period of three weeks. Then we have a rest week before it begins again with a new set of artists. I hope to tell you a little about the assignments and what I have learned, in future posts.

This post is mainly about the mini quilts that have reached the quilting stage during Lockdown but are not yet complete. They do look rather messy with temporary basting stitches in bright pink holding them together and ragged bits of batting sticking out the sides. However, once they are quilted and the binding is added, they should look a whole lot better. These are all intended as mini wall hangings and all but one feature the Scottish ‘bothy’ or small cottage.

The first is Thistle Jam:

‘Thistle Jam’

I’d like to work more with cotton tartans but as they are so hard to find in the right weight, I am settling for fabrics and scenes with a Scottish theme.

The next one is ‘Geese Flying Over’ This is a traditional American quilting block, of the same name, that I have altered to allow more room for the flying birds. I love to watch them flying over our house and if they are low enough you can hear their sound of their wings.

‘Geese Flying Over’

The third,  ‘Among the Daffodils’ was begun early in the year but wasn’t even pieced  in time for Spring. I have enjoyed using fabric that matches the theme in some of my recent quilts, because it reminds me of this area at different times of the year, but I intend to move away from that now and create my own backgrounds. I can’t decide whether I should add some windows to this little house or just let the honey bees stand in for windows. Does that work?

‘Among the Daffodils’

The fourth one, ‘Snowdrops in March’ is another one I had intended to have done by Spring. Conifer branches do grow low to the ground so the stump isn’t visible but I wonder if these trees would look better with a small stump, as in the Daffodil quilt above. What do you think?

‘Snowdrops in March’

The last one, below,  is another traditional American block called ‘Windblown’. I have included fabric that suggests thunder clouds, tossed blossoms and scattered showers and intend to add swirls of quilting to mimic the wind.  I do like black and white quilts with small pops of colour. Once again, a  pattern in the fabric stands in for windows in the house. This is something  I have not done previously and I can’t decide whether I like it enough to leave it that way.

‘Windblown’

In addition to the above ‘quilting ready’ projects I am continuing to piece two other quilts, which I will show you once all their rows are sewn together. And, annoyingly, I have sewn the borders on wrong in “Little Kitties’ below, so they will need to be unpicked and redone. You are supposed to sew them on in a particular order and for some reason, I didn’t. Lesson learned.

 

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‘Little Kitties’

 

Soon I hope to have a post on transferring an image onto your quilt and one on the American schoolhouse block, which I have always found so charming.

So, till next time….take care of yourselves as we move slowly out of lockdown.

 

Strip Weaving 2 – EPP Friendly?

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My Lupins have gone crazy this year!

Today’s post is to describe the last stage of the strip weaving experiment I began in my last post and share my results. It’s just a quick post this time. I am doing two online textile courses at the moment as well as my regular sewing for this blog, in addition to the stuff in the garden at this time of year, so my days are bit hectic right now.

Regarding the current situation with the pandemic, there has been some relaxing of the rules as to when we can go out, where and for how long but more so in England than here in Scotland where there is a much more caution. I don’t plan to be going anywhere just yet. It seems sensible to take it slowly. I am fortunate enough to be safe, happy and busy and to have a garden where the sun is shining right now, so I am not in a rush to be anywhere else. I must say I could do with a hair cut at some point though!

In my last post we had got to the point where some black and white fabric strips of random lengths were woven and stitched down to some background fabric with a rectangle of simple running stitches and a few cross stitches on the black and white striped strip. It looked like this:

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Now we have a base as a starting point for further embellishment, embroidery and/or English paper piecing motifs. I decided to add some embroidery stitches going in different directions, layer them in places and  add a few more cross stitches to echo the smaller ones I put in earlier. There are so many possibilities that I am sure you could come up with lots of other ideas.

After adding whatever decoration you have chosen to the strip woven surface, the next step is to deal with the edges:

Option One – You can turn your background fabric under at the edges, together with the strips, like a hem, and stitch it all down along the back using a thread that matches the fabric. You can then cut away the excess strips and background fabric sticking out beyond the hem, on the underside. This should a small edge of each strip showing on the front but you can cut these away completely to leave a raw edge if you prefer.

Option Two – Turn under the background fabric under and sew it down like a hem, as above, but leave some strips hanging for a different look. You can leave strips hanging on all four sides or just one or two of them. They can be all the same length or different lengths and you can cut into the strips to create slanting edges or V shapes.

Another option, which you would need to do ahead of time, would be to add paint to your strip weaving BEFORE you weave it and then pick up the same colours and patterns with your hand stitching and EPP piecing later.  This should work well on a neutral or solid base of strips.

This is how my first piece looked when I had finished it:

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‘Let’s Fly Away’

 

I kept the strips at the sides, cutting into them to make interesting shapes, but removed the ones at the top and bottom, though I did add a strip of narrow white ribbon from top to bottom which suggested the strips that might have been there.

I decorated either side of the centre with turquoise and gold thread mixed in the needle, some diagonal stitches and others crossing in the opposite direction. Then I added three English Paper Pieced 1 1/2 inch squares, on point, down the centre and put a cross stitch in the middle of each. I think with such a busy background, it was important that my English paper pieced additions would be simple and few and that the colour would be deep enough to pop away from all those patterns behind.

l made a second sample, which looked like this when I had woven the strips together:

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I chose one wide strip, some narrower and some very narrow this time, and repeated the prints on either side of the centre. I used some different embroidery stitches around the edges, running stitch, a wobbly stem stitch and an even more wobbly chain stitch!

I turned a hem under at the top and bottom, leaving some of the strips showing this time. You can still see the edges of the green strips I turned under on the completed item, because I am not a fan of raw edges.

If this experiment wasn’t about English Paper Piecing I probably would have hand stitched around those two green flowers in the centre, extending them out into neighbouring strips, maybe adding some leaves. But as it IS about EPP, I decided to add a ring of large flower petals and run a quilting stitch around the whole flower, with some cross hatching and French knots in the middle. This is how it looked when finished:

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I don’t think this sample is as successful as the first one. What do you think? I think the flower is probably larger than it needs to be and the base fabrics may be too busy for a print flower. I only had tiny pieces of solid fabric in my stash and none of the colours worked with this design.  I imagine that with a softer background and some solids you could go to town with EPP pieces, maybe add a small house among fields with a couple of trees, or a rash of small hexies.

If any of the process is not clear and you have questions, please ask. I will try and help.  I’d love to hear from you if you have tried strip weaving and what your conclusions were, or even if you haven’t and you have some comments to make. I have concluded that it IS EPP friendly, definitely, but could do with a bit of thought beforehand and some clever fabric choices.

Until next time….

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Our first blue poppy, just opened this week. So pretty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strip Weaving 1 – EPP Friendly?

Hello Everybody,

Camassia – We have a small bed of this in our garden. So pretty at this time of year. We have white ones, too.

I hope you are all feeling strong and well and finding ways to get through this strange period in our lives.

Today’s post is about creating a possible woven background for your textile art, embroidery work or English Paper Piecing.  The finished piece may look a little like patchwork but will be achieved quite differently and the technique, though simple, will give you the potential to create a variety of very  different compositions,  depending on your fabric choices.

It’s an experiment, something I have not tried before and I want to see what I can do with it and whether it is as EPP friendly as I hope it will be. I am going to create 2 samples and I invite you to give this a try, too:

You will need:

  • 2 pieces of fabric 7 inches/18 cm square for each of your background pieces. This can be linen, calico, a wool mix, or a piece of recycled fabric you may have in your stash.
  • A variety of plain and/or patterned fabric which you will cut (or tear if you like ragged edges) to make warp and weft strips. (Just a reminder: warp and weft are weaving terms. The warp refers to the threads (or in this case the fabrics) that hang vertically, while the weft refers to the threads (or fabrics) that run horizontally, in front of and behind the weft.
  • Scissors, pins, a needle and some sewing or embroidery thread in a colour that stands out against the background strips.

Let’s begin:

Choose your fabrics for each sample The fabrics can be soft tones or bold patterns, whatever takes your fancy.  Your strips can be thick or thin or a combination of both and your stitches can be any ordinary or decorative stitch that you like. Try to make the first sample completely different from the second.

Here are my fabric choices:  Long strips of black and whites and creams for the first sample….

and some some soft beiges, blues, greens and pinks for the second sample.

All of these are just odd pieces picked out of my scrap box but with some careful choices you could  achieve a particular outcome – like a monotone or three colour composition.

For my first sample I am using a background fabric of Zakka, a Japanese linen and cotton mix.

Sample 1 background fabric = 7 inches/18 cm square

Now tear or cut your strips-  any width will do – but keep them long for now, so you can decide  how much to cut them back later. You may want an uneven edge.

Lay 3 to 5 pieces of your warp strips next to each other, vertically, along the  background fabric of your first sample, arranging the colours or tones together in a way that pleases you.  There should still be some background fabric visible on either side of them. Pin the strips to the background fabric along the top.

My 3 warp strips, pinned

Then stitch them to the background fabric to secure them. I have used a simple running stitch in red Perle 8 thread. Don’t worry about your stitches being even. This just an experiment! One the pieces are stitched down, remove the pins.

Make sure your fabric strips are  smooth and flat and then pin the bottom end to the background fabric. There should be no wrinkles in your background fabric. When you have secured the bottom end of each strip, stitch across them to attach them to the fabric behind.

 

Now choose 5, or more, strips for the weft. Weave the first one under the first warp strip, over the second and under the third and so on.

Do the second one in reverse. Go over the fist warp strip, under the second, over the third and so on. You will end up with alternating rows, as in the picture below. Make sure you are happy with your arrangement of weft strips. If you want to change it around, this is the time to do it. Then pin your  weft  strips to the background fabric at each end and stitch them down on both outside edges of your warp strips to secure your weft strips.

I used a simple running stitch, with a few cross stitches over the centre black and white striped fabric, to add a bit of interest. If your cross stitches are often wonky, use the guide line in striped and checked fabrics to help you achieve more even crosses.

You now have the beginnings of an  interesting woven background,  ready to embellish in any way you like. You can add English Paper Pieced motifs and appliqué them on, add more embroidery, or add layers of transparent fabrics.

Lets see what I come up with – the second sample and more,  in the next post!

Till then….

Camassia in the garden where my son works (RHS Garden, Wisley). Quite a bit more more of a spectacle than in our garden!

EPP – Some Views on Tools, Books, Blogs and Patterns.

Hello Everyone!

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Lying under a red Acer, looking up to the sky

The sun is out in Scotland (at last!) and the garden is looking very fiery at the moment with red flowers on the Rhododendrons and my orange and red Acers looking spectacular. And for the first time I have a dark flower on my young Tree Peony. I have waited a few years for this but it has been worth the wait. There are two more flowers to come by the look of it.

Paeonia delavayi

In this post we are going to be looking at some potentially indespensible tools, consider whether books are telling us all we need to know and touch on what directions Modern EPP might take us.

I have listed, in my Pages section, some basic EPP tools that are useful to have when starting out. However, when you have been doing EPP for a while you tend to find additional tools that you wouldn’t want to be without. I am sure you will have several, different from mine, that you find indispensable. If so, please do tell us about them so that we have more to choose from. In the meantime these are:

My ‘Most Favourite and Indispensable!’

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From left to right, top row:

Appliqué pins – I love these tiny Clover appliqué pins because they never prick my fingers and  they don’t buckle fabric like that larger ones do. They are particularly useful when you are working with small fabric shapes or appliqué pieces.

Clover Wonder Clips – I use these for holding my fabric pieces onto their paper shapes until I have basted the first side, to stop the papers moving. I also use them for holding two shapes together at each end while whipstitching, leaving my fingers free to guide my needle. I am sure they have many more uses if you knit and crochet as well.

Magnetic Needle/Pin Holder – I find that my needles disappear into pincushions, never to be seen again, so I find this magnetic holder perfect for keeping my needles where I need to find them. Also, if I drop a needle or pin, I just skim the holder over the area where it dropped and the missing pin or needle jumps right onto it. This one is made by Prym and I found it on Ebay.

From left to right bottom Row:

Sewing or Hemming Gauge – This has so many uses aside from helping to measure hems (in inches and metric). It helps keep binding width even (super useful here!) and measures intervals between things such as embellishments (or pleats and buttonholes if you are person who sews clothing as well as pleats or buttonholes. And the ones with the horseshoe shape at the bottom, like mine, can be used to create a button shank). The point at the top can be used to poke out corners and the tiny circular opening at the top can be used to draw a circle.

Water Soluble Marker – My soluble marker is made by EZ but there are several on the market all as good as each other. If are new to these, try it out on a scrap piece of your fabric first, so that you feel happy with how it works. I use it to draw inside stencils, to rule on quilting lines, to draw patterns for embroidery, even for text.

Hera Marker or Finger Presser – The one shown in the photo above is a Clover finger presser and I find it great for making creases in fabric that are not as permanent as a pressed crease would be. Clover also make a version of the Japanese ‘Hera Marker’ for marking and creasing fabric which is a sort of S shape. I prefer the finger presser as it has a small indentation on the top which I find comfortable to use.

Water Spritzer – My water spritzer is made by Derwent that can be found in art departments and is fabulous for spritzing away the blue lines made by your water soluble marker. Just spritz along the blue line, dab with a pice of kitchen paper and allow to dry. Make sure you empty it after each use, or it will turn green in places like mine has done. Also, don’t put your fabric in a warm place to dry, or the lines will reappear and you will have to spritz them again.

Perle 8 thread  – I use this thread for Utility or Big Stitch quilting because it comes in a huge range of solid and variegated colours, it has a slight sheen to it which enhances the quilting and it just the right weight for quilting cottons.

Thread/Spool Huggers – These strange looking twirly things are for winding around thread spools to stop your thread unravelling. They are made in China and can be bought in different amounts. I found a small bag of just a few useful. I don’t use them for all my spools because they are quite bulky and awkward in the way they take up space when storing your threads but you could if you wanted to. My spools are tightly packed in a box and I use these only when I am working on a quilt using a couple of different coloured threads. While I use one thread the other is secured in one of these and if I get up to do something, I wind one around the spool I am currently using, so that if the cat knocks it off my desk it won’t unravel. 

My ‘Certainly Useful Extras!’

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Glue Pen – I sometimes use this when I am binding and then instantly regret it but I have included it here because I know some people find it preferable to glue baste rather than thread baste. There are several with different coloured glues, which dry to white. This one is by Sewline.

Small Ruler – especially useful if you quilt on the go

Tweeezers – Great for picking out basting stitches once they have been cut, without soiling your fabric or pulling at your design.

Fray Check – I find this most useful when I attaching applique pieces to a background, or when I have cut out a fussy cut design and there is very little space between my design and the next one, leaving me with a seam allowance that is much narrower than I would usually want to work with. I expect it has multiple uses. This one is made by Prym.

Silicone Thimble – I almost never use a thimble. I feel as if I am wearing armour on my finger (I suppose that is what it is really!). However, if I ever feel a need to protect my finger or grip a needle more firmly, I use a silicone thimble. They are so light, I hardly feel them.

Plastic/Acrylic Stencils – I love to use stencils on my quilts. I use them for quilting stitches and for embroidery. You can use even mix and match parts of them for decoration, like waves, or smoke from chimneys, a heart here or a leaf there. They are simple to use and the result is very effective. There are so many designs available. I would start off with a narrow I” one and try it out along your borders. Try Prym or The Stencil Co., or look on Amazon. They are fairly inexpensive until you get to the much larger designs.

NB – I have left out obvious things like needles, rulers and scissors but if it would be useful , we could talk about which ones might be most useful for EPP in a later post? And perhaps discuss useful online sources of EPP materials as well.

EPP Books – What they Don’t Tell You!

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Three popular EPP ‘Bibles’

Information on the contents of these books can be found in my Pages section. What is interesting to me though, is what they don’t contain i.e. detailed instructions about how to bind, either by hand or machine (preferably both); how to hang, display or frame anything; how to fix common problems that are not just to do with wrapping shapes;  how to embellish a quilt in various ways; how to do some simple Big Stitch quilting or even how to tie a quilt. How are new EPP’ers supposed to figure out how to confidently finish something that it has probably taken them ages to make, and display it? Not all quilts are for beds and new quilters often start smaller. Have you come across any EPP books that cover these things?

If not, maybe we can go into some of them in future posts. Would that be useful? If  you have a specific question that you haven’t found an answer to, please flag it up and if I don’t know I will try and find out.

EPP Blogs – Are Any Exclusively EPP?

I would love to find more blogs that are EPP only. Has anyone found one? I have come across several posts which are introductions to EPP, or include a series of small EPP projects (though these are almost always about hexies), and there of course posts about specific kits or patterns that have become really popular, like Lucy Boston and the fussy cut Passacaglia patterns. I am delighted to see that EPP has ventured further from the simple hexagon into fussy cut patterns that are so much more beautiful and sophisticated. The down side is that although no one’s quilt looks the same due to their fabric choices, the patterns are often the same or similar. Where are the people taking Modern EPP in totally different directions with their own designs and embellishments? Perhaps they are on Instagram? 

Many of the modern EPPers referred to in ‘Flossie Teacakes Guide to English Paper Piecing’ work mainly with hexagons of different sizes, which is no surprise since the hexagon has become almost synonymous with EPP, though it doesn’t have to be.  Dittany Mathews gravitates towards Arabic geometric patterns and reworks these to her liking, while Jodi Godrey is inspired by bathroom tiles, finding it useful to stick to 2 or 3 repeating shapes for maximum effect. Sandra Cassidy similarly uses limitations for effect, in her case by limiting her colour palette. However, it is Lorena Urierte that interests me most as she likes to mix techniques in a single piece.

EPP is based on tessellating shapes which can create an endless array of different patterns which is the reason why hexagons, diamonds triangles and squares are the most commonly used. But curves can be used too, as well as long strips and circles and a whole host of invented shapes.

I often find patterns stressful to look at, especially very busy ones which is why I gravitate more towards pictorial designs which are calmer, or ones with simple appliqué designs or stitch patterns on the surface; An embellished EPP quilt perhaps, on the way to a textile picture.

Sharon Blackman makes textile pictures with a very EPP’d-quilted-and-appliquéd look to them, though I don’t think they are quilted or EPP’d. It looks as if they are intended to be framed. I love them because they are so joyful. If you haven’t seen any of her work check it out at Sharonblackman.co.uk or https://www.facebook.com/SharonBlackmanTextiles. They are a great tonic if you need cheering up!

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‘The Best of Days’ by Sharon Blackman (borrowed from her Facebook page)

I’ve digressed a bit there, so back to EPP:

Why do people gravitate towards EPP?

I wonder. In fact, why hand sew a quilt at all. Once it was about necessity, or Community, but now? What is the motivation now? Is there still a desire to make an heirloom that can be passed down through generations?  I would imagine this is less the case in the UK than abroad. Could it be simply to try a new technique before moving on;  to connect with an old tradition; to create an ‘art’ rather than utility object; or is it about mindfulness, that slow stitching that is so good for the soul? I expect it could be quite a few, if not all of the above.

And how many EPP quilts does an EPP’er  go on to make make? Just a few? Dozens? And what do they do with them?  Are they given away to loved ones? Sold? Kept as satisfying records of accomplishment? I really would love to know these things.

Till next time….

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I recently found a white bluebell in my garden, a natural mutation that only happens once in every 10,000 flowers. Isn’t that amazing?

An Experiment in Flower Pounding

Hello Everyone!

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This is the first in what I hope will be a series of posts across the year, describing experiments with fabric that could be used for English Paper Piecing as well as other textile projects. As many of us are housebound at the moment I thought this particular experiment might be something you could enjoy doing now.  It’s fast, easy and a lot of fun. Will will need some access to flowers but you don’t need to have a garden. If you have a pot of flowers outside your front door, a window box, or can buy small a bunch of flowers from a supermarket while you are food shopping, that will be good enough.

In addition to a few flowers (about 3 will do, as varied in shape and colour as you can manage), you will need:

Two 100% cotton scraps of cloth in a pale colour, about 15 cm/6 ins square or a longer piece, double that size. This is what I used but of course you can make yours as big or as small, as you wish.  Any scraps will do but calico (this is called muslin in America) will absorb the flower dyes better.

A plastic craft board or hardwood artists board of some kind. You need to have a hard, flat and smooth surface to extract the maximum amount of pigment from the flowers. You can use the floor but make sure it is smooth.

An old towel to place beneath the board to soften the noise of pounding and to protect the surface of your desk or table.

A mini rolling pin, or small hammer. It can be wood, metal rubber or plastic as long as it is sturdy. Avoid one with any rough or sharp edge that might puncture your fabric.

Masking tape (optional) to stabilise the flowers and/or whole composition. I didn’t use this but the fabric does tend to move with the vibration of the pounding and I had to risk my fingers being caught by the rolling pin while trying to keep everything steady. I will probably try using masking tape if I tried this again, but, as you will see from the result, it’s not essential.

Scissors for cutting your flowers and the pieces of masking tape.

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My craft board is a bit flimsy, so I put a wood and cork place mat between it and the towel.

There are ways of fixing the results that make them permanent and also ways of preparing fabric beforehand, to absorb more pigment, but I have omitted these stages to keep things quick and simple. After all it is only an experiment. I had never tried this before so please don’t expect any super polished results. The idea is to learn a new technique, play around with it, and then if you want to take it further, you can find more information on Pinterest, or in craft books.

Even though you choose the colour and placement of your flowers, the way it turns out is somewhat beyond your control and that is part of the magic. So let’s begin:

  1. Gather your tools together.
  2. Choose a few flowers. Begonias, tulips and lilies are said to work well. For bulky flowers like marigolds, roses and carnations it might be best to remove petals. You can overlap the petals, or keep them separate.
  3. Place your towel down on your working surface.
  4. Place your board on top. Make sure everything is level.
  5. Lay one piece of your cotton fabric down on the board
  6. Lay your flowers down on the fabric in any pattern that pleases you. You could make a Mandala. Try starting from the centre and working outwards. You can place a whole flower down (but cut off green stems to stop their green pigment from mixing with the colour of the petals), separate the petals and pistils and add leaves if you want to. You can even cut the flowers so they open into fan shapes if you want to.
  7. Place your second piece of cotton on top of your flower arrangement. I used one long piece of fabric and folded it over the first one which gave me a mirror image, which you can do, too, if you prefer it. Use masking tape to keep it everything steady and in place, if you want to do that.
  8. Get your rolling pin or pounding tool and start pounding the flowers, around their edges and in the centre. You will see the flower juices coming through the cloth. When you don’t see any white fabric colour where the flowers are ie. all the pigment has been transferred to the fabric, you can remove the top piece of fabric and check out your design. The colour that ends up on the fabric isn’t necessarily the exact colours of the petals, so the result is a bit of a surprise.
  9. Remove any remnants of petals with your fingernail.

The flowers I used were red Rhododendron flowers,  (the red became purple) Daffodil petals (the yellow) and Berberis buds (the orange turned out to be ochre/brown). I later added some green stems but I don’t think they were very successful. I didn’t try leaves but I wish I had added a few.

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Here is my long piece of fabric. I folded the right hand side over the left, so you can see I ended up with a mirror image.

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Eventually I decided I didn’t really want a mirror image, so I cut the piece in half and continued with the square on the left.

I hemmed the edges roughly with a tacking stitch to tidy them up and added an image of a bird. You don’t need to be able to draw. This is just a stencil that I filled in with a water soluble marker.

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Alternatively, you can define the edges and lines of your flowers (and leaves if you use them) with a permanent fine line fabric marker (Micro Pigma pens in black or brown).

I decided to embroider my bird in stem stitch. I chose this stitch because I wanted the embroidery to stand out from the background, but a simple running stitch or back stitch would be a good choice, too. Here is the result (don’t expect anything too polished lol. It is only an experiment):

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Once I had followed the lines in stem stitch I gave the bird a little spritz with water and the blue lines disappeared, leaving me with just the embroidered lines.

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Derwent make a great little spritzer for water soluble pen marks

More embroidery, or other embellishments, can be added to the flowers. The finished pieces can then be used as appliqués or as English Paper Pieced blocks, you can add pieced borders, they can be quilted and they can be framed.

So, what do you think? Will you give Flower Pounding a try?…..

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A pale yellow Camellia at the bottom of my garden