Friday, 26 February 2016

Patchworking...Part 2

If you read the earlier post on patchworking, you'll know I'm not new to patchworking; I just haven't done any for literally years, and I did what I did then, by hand. Until a couple of weeks ago.

Inspired by the sewing bee where I made a quilt square - on a machine! - I went down to one of our local craft shops (Quorn Country Crafts) to browse the quilting courses. There was one that caught my eye because it used pre-cut squares of material, sold in what's known as a 'charm pack'. I figured that, having managed to sew straight lines at the sewing bee, I'd be able to manage making a quilt if all the hard work of cutting was done for me.

I enquired about said course...and ended up as first reserve on it. The course was unfortunately already full, but there was a question mark next to one name, so they'd let me know in due course.

A week after putting my name down, and having researched quilt making on the web, I thought 'what the heck' and decided I'd buy a charm pack and have a play at home, regardless of whether I was on the course or not. (I've since discovered I AM on the course, so now I can do all the backing and binding and quilting bit under expert tuition which means I can be a bit more adventurous!)

Am I back to hand stitching the squares, then? No. Y'see, the Squidges do possess a sewing machine, rarely used, that belonged to Mr Squidge's mum.

Here it is, in all its beige, late 1950's or early 1960's glory; a Singer 201K. Apparently they stopped making these machines in 1963, so it's definitely older than me and, I found when researching it, classed as a vintage machine. What does that make me, I wonder? Anyhow - you can tell it's probably 50's more than 60's because of the instruction booklet - just look at that typeface and the clothes the women are wearing!

Betty died when Mr Squidge was young, but there is a legacy in photographs and slides of her dressmaking skills; both she and her sister made their own clothes in the 50's and Mr Squidge and his older brother are often found as toddlers in the late 60's wearing matching jacket and shorts combos, lovingly sewn by Betty...

I had my charm pack - 42 5"squares of fabric in co-ordinating colours and designs. Can't say it was 100% the colours I'd have chosen for myself, but it was the selection I liked the most of what was on offer.

Turquoise, orange, brown and cream, peppered
with hearts and flowers

It took a while to lay them out into a pattern I was happy with. To begin with, I had grand plans of cutting these 5" squares into four and repeating the 'thrifty' design, but with 42 squares you end up with a 6x7 grid which doesn't lend itself to the 3x3 grid pattern I needed. In the end I wimped out and kept them all complete...

I stacked the rows; left to right, from top to bottom, and started to sew.

I worked on each 'across' strip first, laying the finished ones out on the floor in the right 'top to bottom' order.

The first 'across' strip

All seven strips completed and laid out top to bottom

Then I worked from the bottom up, pinning the strips on the seams before sewing (I didn't do that on the first strip joining, so my seams didn't line up quite right)

And I ended up with this:


At the moment I have a piece of patchwork with the potential to be a quilt. But in getting it to this stage, I have at least mastered the sewing machine enough to be able to operate it comfortably. Although I do have to keep checking the bobbin, as the thread's jumping out which upsets the tension on the needle thread. Ooh - get me! Sounds like I know what I'm doing!

Result - one rather chuffed Squidge.

Patchwork Part 3 might be all about my adventures in the world of batting and backing...

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