Quilter's Academy - Volume 2 - Sophomore Year

Vol 3 - Junior Year

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vol 2 - Project 8 - Five Patch Chain - Quilting

Hi everyone.  First I'd like to say thank you to those who continue to support me.  After my brother's death I lost my sewing mojo and struggled a bit to get back into the swing of things.  The support and comments of the readers and followers of my blog have made a huge difference and now I am back with as much enthusiasm as ever.  Hugs to all of you!!

The Five Patch Chain - or the Red & White Birds quilt as I refer to it is now finished.  This is the one I had all the problems with by accidentally using polyester instead of cotton for the white fabric.  By quilting it rather heavily, I've managed to 'quilt out' a lot of the stretchy seams which plagued this top.

Keeping a promise to myself to get out of the quilting box and do some free-form practice on this quilt - I was surprised at how easy it actually was to do.  Keeping another promise to myself, I also tried silk thread - love, love, love it!  What a shame it's so expensive as it's such a delight to quilt with.  It makes a nice alternative to the invisible nylon I usually use.  I've used a wool batting and free motioned around all the applique first, so the birds puff up nicely

Some piccys of the silk, free form quilted blocks...... I played with simple designs - loops and swirls combined with my usual stipple and echo.

Echo, Swirl, Loop combo

For the side setting triangles, I went back to my comfort zone and used a stencil.
  and swirled the corner triangles..... (oops, missed a bit)!

The rest was simply gridded............ here's half the back.

Overall I'm very pleased with the result of what started out to be a disastrous project.

If free form quilting was scary for me, that's nothing compared to putting a red and white quilt in the washing machine.  I have a front loader, so once it's in there's no going back.  I threw in two Colour Catchers and crossed fingers.  The result was interesting.  The Colour Catchers did their job brilliantly, but for one single fabric.  Check this out..........

Before and after washing - one single fabric has run, but confined the pink to itself.  Disappointing, but I can live with it.  I should point out that the misbehaving fabric was a very cheap one - finding red spots on white proved difficult, so I had to go with what was available.  Lesson learned.

You may notice from the full quilt picture at the top, the blackbird has been quilted with red thread instead of white.  I echo quilted it, which looked awful then tried to improve the look with stippling.  That only made it worse.  I hate it but am too lazy to pull it out.


I finished the blocks for the next project, then decided to make it longer so I have another 6 chain blocks to do......... but it's coming along nicely.

I also made this dragon block.  It's designed by Australian quilter Eileen Campbell from her book Medieval Designs for Applique.  It was going to be the centre of a medallion quilt as part of a Round Robin project, where participants add borders to the central design.  Sadly I'll no longer be taking part in this fun project so am not sure what to do with this 20" block.

Ironic that now I have my sewing mojo back, I won't be able to sew for a while.  I'm off travelling, so the current projects will have to wait till I get back.  Meanwhile, I have taught myself to blanket stitch by hand and will take along something to work on while sitting in cars and trains.  Wonder how long that will last, as I'm not really patient enough for hand sewing!


  1. Your free motion quilting is great..... isn't it fun to do different things in the squares.... that chicken quilt is very good for that.... bon voyage and welcome back!

  2. I love the way you quilted the red bird quilt. It turned out very nicely. Glad to see you found your mojo again. I hope you have a great trip.

    Cheers, K

  3. Hi Lesley Glad you have your mojo back as your are creating some lovely work. Your Dragon is gorgeous.
    Hope you have a lovely holiday and enjoy yourself

  4. I'm glad to see you practicing free motion quilting, it really is fun when you just let go and relax and let the patterns develop. The more you do, the easier it becomes.
    Have a great time on your trip!

  5. thank you for posting! the pictures are beautiful, so glad you are back. I especially like the grinchy hearts on the red corners of your birdie quilt, I would love to do those on something. Enjoy your trip and look forward to your next post!

  6. Thanks for all the comments ladies. Brenda, I have to ask - what is a "grinchy" heart? I've never heard the term grinchy before.

  7. Hi! Greetings from Finland! I love your quilts!!! They are fantastic! Congratulations! Have a nice day!

  8. Those little birds are adorable - what a super quilt.

  9. So glad to see that you got your mojo back! Here's hoping it stays around and you whiz through those projects!