Sunday 19 February 2012

Swoon-Along-a-Weekend - updated

OK - this was a foolish endeavour in anyone's book.  Try a Swoon block with no pattern - and try to make it gigantic and in a weekend!  But I wanted to be one of the gals and join the (over) 800 swooners that Katy @ Monkey Do gathered together for the Swoon-Along on Flickr.

I originally wanted this to be made with 9" finished blocks, but I simply didn't have the stash for it, and I'm on a strict fabric budget as I'm trying to save pennies for the FQ Sewing Retreat in London this summer ..

This was my original sketch …

Swoon-along Sketch

and this was my original stack

Swoon-along Stack

… Along with Sketch crosshatches from Timeless Treasures, and the Dahlia and Aster prints from Kate Spain's Terrain, I had wanted to use the Pezzy Prints that I got just before Christmas, but once I cut the mahusive squares they just got lost … so I had to swap them out pdq and find something else … 

Luckily I received some FQs of the Half Moon Modern leaf print for my birthday last month … so I went with them instead …


So, after much measuring and measuring again and finally cutting …. This weekend I got started on the HSTs … I also veered from the-pattern-I-don't-have and used jumbo squares for the Half Moon Modern leaf print, so as not to break it up (although it was a right royal pain working out the 7/8ths of an inch-ness for the flying geese!)

The best thing about this big block is that as I played with sizes so much before ending up here, I know the construction of the block INSIDE OUT!!  I can even count in 7/8ths of an inch now …  I also took plenty of advice from the discussions on Flickr.

I plumped for a lovely but infinitely slippery turquoise/white crossweave linen for the background … and threw in some Michael Miller Ta-Dots to bring in the Aster and Dahlia prints a bit ...


Have any of you used these Pilot Frixion pens for fabric yet?  A totally brilliant thing for marking the centres of HSTs for stitching …


The ink disappears when you rub it out with the rubber end (not like a traditional eraser, just literally a rubber end).   They're a boon for a teacher - means I can erase my marking and crap maths when converting to percentages! Also blurry brill for typing on my tablet!


… And for us stitchers, it also means that the line disappears when you press or iron (and doesn't return)!  Miraculous!!  I can't wait to have some fun with these pens …

stitched but not pressed on top … stitched and pressed underneath!

So …. this was where I was up to this afternoon  … after a LOT of trimming!


I find it really useful to draw a little sketch of the block I'm piecing on a post-it, so I don't go all upsideydownsidey at the machine …

(AHEM! of course it should say Top RIGHT! - lucky I noticed before I started stitching!!)

So, we're nearly there …  I used a tremendous amount of starch on this baby - I make my own - a good dollop of extra strong cornflour to about a pint of water ... This linen really really really needed it, as it is incredibly fine and terrifically slippery ...

Each square is 6" unfinished … so not as giant as I wanted but I have another plan …


I have some amazing pink linen from my linen man which I might use to complement the turquoise linen  background …  I may do some sashing and postage stamp /pinwheel stuff with the remaining prints, and maybe even bring in the Pezzy again … who knows ... I may just fold it all up and get on with something else!

I have to say that once I started using my Aurifil 50wt for the final block piecing, things went a lot more smoothly.  To say that my Brother Innovis has no oomph is a wild understatement.  Even with all seams pressed open, it struggles over any seam junction and just makes fur balls while marking time ...

It's amazing how accurately you can sew when you have TOTALLY LOST all three of your seam rippers!! I blame a certain four legged member of the Pings household ...  

who me?

So here she is ... in all her Swooniness ...  I'm sorry about the gloomy pic, but it's dark dark dark outside now, so no chance of a washing line shot!  *edited to add some washing line shots at the end of this post!!

That's me done with the Swoon Block for now.

I like it a lot.  I'll like it even more when I've sashed it and added some more business to it ... But I won't be making another one for a while ... I still think the block looks best with only two or three fabrics ... but then I'd have had to make at least four!!  If you haven't had a gander, some of the blocks on the Flickr Group are stunning!

I always imagine that making blocks on a large scale will be easier but, now I remember from making my giant Lynne Bob Square Pants block from Lynne@LilysQuilts ...  mistakes are even easier to see when it's big like this ... Let's not look too close, eh? ... some of those seams are a bit mismatchy, and the Ta Dots went a bit grrrr ... but all in all, not bad for that much linen.

Finished size of block: 46" square.  Huzzah!

Off to have a bath and to warm up ... Oh, it's nearly bedtime.  Goodbye weekend!

... and thank you to Jess, Linda and Nina for being the first three to comment on my last post ... I shall be PIFing something for you in the next few months ....

*edited to add ... here are some washing line shots!


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