Category Archives: Quilting

Golden Wedding Ring Quilt Block Digitised

SewWitty's Golden Wedding Ring Block

SewWitty’s Golden Wedding Ring Block

This is another block that is only 1/4 of the final block. Check out a whole one here. It came together quite easily – I’m starting to feel more confident using Embird. As you can see in the image, I had a bit of difficulty cutting my pieces big enough, but this is just a practice run to determine whether my digitised design is OK.

I think I now have eight blocks: Log Cabin, Pineapple, Flying Geese, Courthouse Steps, Snail Trail, Iowa Star, Golden Wedding Ring, Hour Glass. My plan was to make 12 blocks for my sampler quilt, so only four more to go. Although at some stage I changed my template, so I need to double check the earlier blocks.

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Quilts 1700 – 2010 Redux

Quilts 1700-2010 Hidden Histories, Untold Stories

Quilts 1700-2010 Hidden Histories, Untold Stories

I know I have written about this book before, but I have finally finished reading it. This book is a textile lover’s dream – the illustrations are beautiful and it is full of fascinating information. It is not the type of book to read all at once, but just dip into every now and then (even to just look at the pictures and be awed by the skill, patience and dedication of the maker).

The book consists of four chapters; Making and using quilts in eighteenth century Britain, Complexity and context:nineteenth century British quilts, Maintaining the craft:British quilt-making 1900-45 and Negotiating space:fabric and the feminine 1945-2010.

Here are some of my favourites …

Unfinished Patchwork of Silks, c1860-70

Unfinished Patchwork of Silks, c 1860-70


Pieced Wool, c 1863-77


‘Sanderson Star’ quilt in cotton sateens,            c 1910-1920


Sara Impey, ‘Punctuation’. Machine stitched Silk,     c 2009


Janey Forgan, ‘Liberty Jack’, c 2008


Coverlet, patchwork of printed cottons,                c 1803-1805

As I love liberty fabrics, Liberty Jack is probably my favourite, but Sara Impey’s Punctuation is brilliant to, and then the amount of work involved in the earlier quilts is mind-boggling.

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Pineapple Quilt Block

Pineapple Block being digitised

Pineapple Block being digitised

I’ve started work on the Pineapple Block and it has proven to be a little bit tricky, but on the plus side I’ve learnt a few things about Embird.

This little magic tool

Transformation Tool in Embird Studio

Transformation Tool in Embird Studio

allows you to specify the length and width (exactly) of objects – no more using the grid to create the right size.

And you can use Guide Lines to split objects that is how I chopped the top off the outer most triangles.

Using Guide Lines

Using Guide Lines

That way I just created one triangle and copy, pasted and rotated as required – much more accurate.

My one concern is the non-straight seams and how easy they will be to stitch and flip.

Is this going to be too tricky?

Is this going to be too tricky?

I have another design in mind that only has straight seams it might  be worth changing now before I have committed too much time.

On a completely different note, it is Australia Day and my pavlova is cooling in the oven. I think I am prepared.

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Courthouse Steps Quilt Block

Courthouse Steps Version 1

Courthouse Steps Version 1

This is the first attempt at the Courthouse Steps block. One of the seams isn’t quite right and I think I can fit another step in on the flowery steps.

It came together easily, so easily I might try a Pineapple Quilt Block next (like one of the ones below) …

Pineapple Quilt Block from

Pineapple Quilt Block from

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Snail Trail is Moving at a Snail’s Pace

Snail Trail in Progress - Pieced in the hoop using an embroidery machine

Snail Trail in Progress – Pieced in the hoop using an embroidery machine

I’m back onto foundation piecing using my embroidery machine, but it is progressing very slowly. It usually takes about half an hour to make one block, but today I started at 9:30 am and it is now 1pm and I’m only half way through – we did walk to the library (and booked into some school holiday activities) and buy groceries. My plan of getting two blocks finished today might be unreachable.

My aim is to make 12 traditional blocks (each one consisting of 4 smaller blocks) and then to make a sampler quilt. So far I have Hour Glass, Flying Geese and Snail Trail. I have also made a log cabin block, but it might not be the standard size (must remember to check that). Next up is Courthouse steps (just a fancy Log Cabin).

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Project Update


Fussy Cutting Baby Clothes

This project (making a quilt from the girls’ baby clothes) seemed like such a good idea. What could go wrong? Baby clothes are cute therefore the quilt would be cute. The clothes are cute, but they don’t necessarily mix well together. And then there is the cutting! Oh the cutting. I’m 2/3 of the way through the cutting and then comes the designing, the sewing, making a back and the quilting. There is a long way to go!

I have almost finished this cardigan – Miss A wanted a bolero cardigan who am I to complain!



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Jekyll and Hyde Cushion

Flying Geese Side of Cushion


Hour Glass Side of Cushion

I finished my cushion. I’m calling it my ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ cushion because the fabrics on each side are so different.

In the end it came together quite easily. I wondered how easy it would be to put a zip into two quilted pieces of fabric, but that was fine. Now I have to decide what block to do next.

You can find the machine embroidery designs here.





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Flying Geese Cushion

I’ve been busy (if not actively blogging) working on my quilt blocks. Above is a new flying geese block (which you can find here). I am going to make this sample into a cushion cover (hence the straight line quilting).

Once I have finished my block designs – I will write a tutorial – I’m working on an hour glass design at the moment.

The fabric is from here.

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Quilts 1700 – 2010 Book Review

I knew I would never make it to this exhibition so I bought the book from here – I’ve had it for a while and I’ve looked at the pictures, but I’ve only just started reading it properly.

The first chapter is on Making and Using Quilts in 18th Century Britain. I found it quite interesting that often the bed coverings were worth more than the bed – there was a lot of coverings – quilts, under quilts, bed curtains etc. Bed coverings were so valuable they were listed in inventories.

Not many quilts survive from this period. We know of their existence from the previous mentioned inventories and from quilts that have been adapted to another use – quilted suit anyone? Also, the terminology is tricky – how do we distinguish between eiderdowns and quilts? We can look to contemporary texts for information on terminology. Swift mentions patchwork in Gulliver’s Travels.

 Two hundred sempstresses were employed to make me shirts, and linen for my bed and table, all of the strongest and coarsest kind they could get; which, however, they were forced to quilt together in several folds, for the thickest was some degrees finer than lawn. Their linen is usually three inches wide, and three feet make a piece. The sempstresses took my measure as I lay on the ground, one standing at my neck, and another at my mid-leg, with a strong cord extended, that each held by the end, while a third measured the length of the cord with a rule of an inch long. Then they measured my right thumb, and desired no more; for by a mathematical computation, that twice round the thumb is once round the wrist, and so on to the neck and the waist, and by the help of my old shirt, which I displayed on the ground before them for a pattern, they fitted me exactly. Three hundred tailors were employed in the same manner to make me clothes; but they had another contrivance for taking my measure. I kneeled down, and they raised a ladder from the ground to my neck; upon this ladder one of them mounted, and let fall a plumb-line from my collar to the floor, which just answered the length of my coat: but my waist and arms I measured myself. When my clothes were finished, which was done in my house (for the largest of theirs would not have been able to hold them), they looked like the patch-work made by the ladies in England, only that mine were all of a colour.

The early part of the century quilts seemed to be made from silk fabrics whereas the latter half of the century the quilts were made from cotton fabrics (and these fabrics seemed to be datable to a shorter time span). Was this shift from silk to cotton because the ban on printing cotton fabrics for domestic use was lifted in 1774? Also in the early part of the century there were professional quilt makers (you could order quilting by the yard), however, it seemed to be a domestic industry by the end of century.

Another question was the purpose of quilting – to reuse valuable textiles or to celebrate a specific fabric?

There is also beautiful images …

Bed Curtain 1730 -1750 (Mostly made of printed cottons)

Look at all of those semi-circular shapes.


Cot Cover Quilted Linen (Early 18th Century)

The thing that amazes me about this piece – is that it must have been done by hand!


Bed Cover (Linen embroidered in coloured silks and metal thread)

You probably can’t tell from this image, but this is embroidered!

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We’ve been struck down by what felt like the plague, but was just gastro. The whole house was sick for a week – we just resurfacing now.

I did manage to knit a bit more (while sitting on the couch with sick children) while watching ABC3 – I’ve seen a lot of ABC3 in the last week.

I’ve returned to my baby clothes quilt – still cutting, but the end is in sight…

Also, Jane Austen Knits is out.

I think I will have a go at some of the socks.

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