Happy Birthday to the United Kingdom Quilters United website, it has been a whole year since the website became live, with almost 553,000 hits – views for the period January 9th 2018 to January 9th 2019- over the first year, what a success. I have been blogging for them since the start and what a lovely journey it has been, both a cathartic and challenging one.
However, in my personal life we took some hits as a family, very glad it was not that many though. For those that have been following my blogs, you would have read about the battle we had with the Department of Work and Pensions -DWP -to get disability reinstated for my daughter and that we lived on food banks and the kindness of others for the first 6 months of the year. We won that battle thank goodness. Blog here for those wanting to read it: https://ukqu.co.uk/cheap-procrastinator-open-window-come-chat/ .
It was not all bad; we had our daughter’s graduation from the University of Trinity and St David’s in Wales. Due to winning the battle with the DWP it meant that we had some funds to have a little weekend holiday while there, it was the hottest summer, we have had in years, Costa Del Wales.
My operation and recovery time -had time to do a video tip https://ukqu.co.uk/cheap-procrastinator-hints-tips-hospital-bed-a4-presentation-portfolio-folder/ – took it out of me more than I expected. Then the trip to London Comic Convention and all the stress knocked me sideways. As well as fighting my own chronic health condition, my husband was dealing with his own health battles. His operation finally happened the week before Christmas. For those that are following my blogs you will know how much I hate that time of year. Blog here for those wanting to read it: https://ukqu.co.uk/the-cheap-procrastinator-bah-bah-humbug/ .
Last year is now behind us but alas the old weather here in the United Kingdom is still as cold, wet and windy as before. We are still in the throes of winter after all.
Nevertheless, let that not dampen our resolve as we start this new year, it may help if we cleared out last year’s unwanted items. For some, this may be debts built up over the seasonal period, gifts that were disliked or unusable and for some those extra calories. Please note the photos are for illustrative purposes only and do not show any unwanted gifts.
• A gift for your holiday
• A lovely set, but you don’t use two of them
• A movie to sit and relax with
• A box of biscuits to enjoy, with a hot beverage, while sewing
• The endless calories you wish you had not consumed
Charity shops are a great way to get rid of those unwanted Christmas gifts, but also a great time to find new ones that you do like or need. It is also a great time to start collecting the items required if you wish to partake in this new make. I would like, if possible that all those taking part, use items from a charity shop or second hand, as this is about reusing items as cheaply as possible. I decided this project on a whim; I did not have the colours I wanted so I am using from my stash. For my next block, I aim to source all the fabric from charity shops.
However, I was able to use shirt fabric for the base, which I had sourced for my blog -https://ukqu.co.uk/cheap-procrastinator-small-things-can-shirtless/ – All the small things you can do; Shirtless.
I also used the fabric I originally sourced for my blog – https://ukqu.co.uk/cheap-procrastinator-small-things-can-kantha-quilted-pincushion/ – All the small things you can do; Kantha Quilted Pincushion.
This is also a great time to look forward to the spring and summer and those lovely longer warmer summer nights. Of fields of green, sandy beaches, pebble beaches, mountain walks, river walks or your very own garden and the fresh air of the great outdoors.
So while it is still cold outside, why not start on a new project. For the next few blogs, I am going to be making a block for a mystery project that you may wish to sew along too.
The finished size will be roughly 60” x 72”, and I say roughly because some of you may not be working with a quilting ruler yet and I am not great at maths, or I may change my mind afterwards depending on time. You will need to make three or four blocks for each design.
Each block size will start at 11 inches by 11 inches and cut down to – not worked that out yet – inches squared once finished.
So what do you need?
• A walk around the charity shops
• A variety of coloured 100% Cotton fabric (found primarily in bedding and men’s shirts)
• Other fabric in a variety of colours (with at least 60% cotton if possible)
• Old buttons
• Needles, pins, threads and tailors chalk (items that you should already have in your sewing box)
• Paper or cardboard (used for templates)
• Rotary cutter or scissors
• Cutting mat
I am aware that some of you may not have a cutting mat; you can get them for under £15 online and a worthwhile investment. This is another item to add to your sewing kit.
Using the fabric you required please cut a square 11 inches by 11 inches. Put it to one side and start on the template.
You can either use mine – https://ukqu.co.uk/dashboard/product/edit/154451/?doing_wp_cron=1547154679.0043010711669921875000 – these are for block one only.
If making your own, first you will need to make the leaf shape.
You can do this by drawing around a round object, in this case a role of tape. Then fold the drawing in half to find the centre. Then with the outer edge of the role touching the centre fold re draw around the tape again. Thus, making two circles with a leaf shape in the middle alternatively draw a leaf shape.
Using anything you have to hand – I used a tin of spray – draw a smaller circle.
Next draw a petal shape if you are not good at drawing use something that looks like it will do the trick; I used the head of a wooden spoon.
For the stem, draw a long thin rectangle, 1 inch wide by 3 inches long.
Now you have your shapes make sure they fit on your base block and you have a 1.5 inch width around each of the edges. If you mark these out with tailor’s chalk, it will be easier to see the area you should have to play with; the area should be 8-inch square.
After making sure the paper templates fit within the area, then proceed to cutting out the fabric, you will need at least two leafs, one stem and one inner circle and the number of petals will depend on the size you have made them. If following my template you will need five. Remember whichever method you have chosen your pieces will each need tacking – basting – into place first.
The very first step would be to back all the fabric with interfacing, but as that adds to the cost, I have left this step out, although, if the item was to be a treasured quilt I would recommend using it.
The first way, known as raw edge appliqué, the shapes of fabric, with the raw edges showing are sewn directly onto the base fabric with a blanket stitch. The technique is further down my blog.
The second is folded edge appliqué, where the fabric edge is tucked under itself to neaten, and secured onto the base fabrics with tiny whipstitches.
The choice is yours; however, the design needs securely sewing into place. You can either hand or machine it on, again your choice subject to if you own a sewing machine.
If doing raw edge, I would recommend a blanket stitch if by hand or a zigzag if by machine.
I choose to do mine by hand and I added a few embroidery stitches to jazz it up.
How to do blanket stitch
Step one push the needle up from the bottom on the outer edge of the fabric you are attaching.
Then push the needle down the distance you want the stitch to go in from the edge, roughly a few millimetres. Inserting the needle back in the place the needle first came out and pulling it through. This makes a secure loop.
Next, move the needle diagonally to the right and insert the needle into the fabric, making sure that as you pull the needle through to come above the thread, as seen in picture. Pull through again.
Repeat the steps. This is blanket stitch.
Watch this space for another mystery block coming soon…