Mosiac Marquetry – My Artisan Spirit Sandscapes Challenge Quilt

When it comes to quilt design the inspiration comes from all manner of places. For one mini quilt I made lately it was an image I spied online that first inspired me. For some reason, now long forgotten, I was reading about St. Mark’s Bascillia in Venice and spotted some images of floor mosaics that I immediately thought would work wonderfully as EPP designs. One of the designs in particular really jumped out at me. Attributed to Paolo Uccello (1397-1475), it features a starred dodecahedron in a central circle. My first thought was to try making this with some Stonhenge fabrics as many have a gorgeous marble design to then. As chance would have it around the same time I saw a notice for the Northcott Artisan Spirit Sandscapes Challenge and as soon as I saw the Sandscapes fabrics I just knew that they would work beautifully in the design I wanted to make. Inspiration, a challenge and a deadline to work to, I didn’t need any other incentives to get working.

marble_floor_mosaic_basilica_of_st_mark_venciceThe first step was, of course, the design. I love to work in Inkscape when playing around with geometric quilt designs and after a little work it wasn’t long before I had a pattern completed and ready to work with.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsI decided I would use the Sunset-Coral colourway of the sandscapes fabrics for the wall-hanging. The colours and designs of the fabrics reminded me of a variety of woods and have such beautiful rich and vibrant colours. By colouring in a smaller version of the pattern I had drawn I was able to assess how the various fabrics in the line would best work in the design.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsAfter that it was time to cut out papers and fabric and simply start sewing. I started with the central polyhedron which came together quickly and easily.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsAs I completed each step/round of the quilt I found myself reassessing the colour choices I had made for the next step/round to be sure that the choices worked as I originally intended them to.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and Pins"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and Pins "Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsFor the most part most of the choices stayed as I had planned them, with the exception of one the skinny square outer borders which had to change when I decided that the deep wine fabric was the best choice for the overall background.

One thing I did discover as I pieced the central sections was that even with all of the labelling I had pre-printed onto my initial paper pieces, I still had to add notes to several of them to avoid confusion with regard to their placement.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsOnce all of the circular rounds had been completed I added a final “round” of background fabric to square off the design.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsUp to this point the wall hanging had been completely hand pieced but I moved to machine piecing for the final few borders as I felt more confident doing so for the long straight seams.

Once the top was quilted I moved on to the quilting. I used Quilter’s Dream wool batting, as I want plenty of loft to add dimension to the finished wallhanging. The central sections and borders were all quilted with stitch in the ditch quilting using Aurifil Brillo Dark Yellow #739 which picked up the gold veins running through the Sandscapes fabric wonderfully and added a little extra bling and sparkle to the finish. For the background sections I initially considered continuing with the Brillo thread and quilting some scroll work to imitate the original mosaic design, but I reckoned that would detract from and clash with the design in the fabric too much. As a result I decided to simply follow the grain lines in the fabric pattern to add dimension to those sections and enhance the fabric design. I used 50wt dark carmine red Aurifil in  #2460 and it worked beautifully to give the texture and result I had hoped for. The same thread was also used to add some satin stitch / dense zig zag quilting in the outer polyhedron ring so that the blocks would appear threaded on a ring, as per the original mosaic.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsBound in yellow to echo the inner borders the wall-hanging finished up at 24″ square. I decided to name it “Mosaic Marquetry” in reference to both its origin and the fact that the finished appearance looks like that of a marquetry table top.

And what about the challenge I hear you ask. Well with a final push I did manage to get the quilt finished just in time to enter and I sent off a photo of it not long before the deadline. A few days later I was delighted to hear that I had made it into the top ten and then I had to send my little quilt off on its travels to be judged. It made its way safely to the US and a couple of weeks later I heard the amazing news that my wall-hanging had placed third in the pieced category. I was beyond thrilled when I heard the news and a couple of weeks on am still celebrating. From start to finish making this quilted wallhanging and participating in the challenge has been a fun and exciting experience and I look forward to finding more challenges to inspire me in the future.

A huge thank you to Northcott for hosting such a fun challenge. It definitely inspired me to try something new and pushed me out of my comfort zone both in terms of designing and in having the faith in myself and my work to actually enter it in their challenge. Be sure to check out the other winners of the challenge, they have all made such beautiful pieces.

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Poinsettia Finished

Writing seems so hard these days. Sewing I can do, but lately when the time comes to write about it it’s another matter. I seem to have lost my writing mojo, and I think part of the problem is that I don’t read as many blogs as I used to. In the past I used my commute time to get online and do some reading but now my train time is all about EPP and, as the colder winter slowly makes an appearance, some knitting too. As a result I don’t seem to read as many blogs as I used and consequently, I think, don’t write as much. As the colder weather arrives, so too do the first snows. We’ve only had a little dusting at home, much to the boys’ disappointment, but the hills are a different matter. They have seen a little bit more and we hope this is just the start of a good winter to come. Myself and the boys took advantage of a free weekend to escape to the hills over the weekend and I finally got an opportunity to photograph the Poinsettia quilt that I finished a few weeks ago.

Zweisimmen in Switzerland | Mud, Pies and PinsYou may remember from my previous post that this quilt was made using the Poinsettia pattern that I had pattern tested for Alyce over at Blossom Heart Quilts and that the main stumbling block to my final finish of it was the quilting of the central square. Well in the end I decided to just keep going with the organic pebbling I had started there, and I was glad that I did. They give the quilt a lovely and sparkly, thanks to the Aurifil Brillo I used, central focal point and I think that it has finished off the floral center perfectly.

Pebbling with Aurifil Brillo | Mud, Pies and PinsThe quilt was finished during a late night binding session and has sat patiently on the back of the sofa, waiting for me to get it photographed ever since. With its wool batting I knew it was going to be the prefect quilt to bring with on our trip to the hills, when every little bit of extra warmth is much appreciated at night, and so I packed it up along with my camera so I could finally get it photographed.

Our initial efforts were none too successful as it was just the wrong time of day to get any photos with the view that I wanted. While we did get a few fun pictures, they don’t really show off the quilt in the best light as much of the detail is overshadowed (or should that be under-shadowed?) by the outline of my brother, who very kindly offered to do some quilt holding for me.Poinsettia Quilt| Mud, Pies and PinsI then decided to throw the quilt in the car and bring it with us as we headed out any about on our various errands and I was glad I did as in between visits to the local Christmas craft market, the ski rental store and the supermarket we managed to snap a few shots at the playground.

Poinsettia Quilt| Mud, Pies and PinsSo there is in all its glory. The original pattern by Blossom Heart Quilts was for a 52” square single block quilt. I added 10” borders all round so the quilt has finished up at 72” square, which is just perfect for myself or the boys to use as an extra layer at night. I love the finished quilt and I definitely think that this is a design I will have to revisit again some-time in the future.

Poinsettia Quilt| Mud, Pies and Pins

Poinsettia Pattern Testing

A couple of weeks ago Alyce over at Blossom Heart Quilts released Poinsettia, the latest pattern in her Making Merry series. I should have posted this then, but my slowly aging computer decided to become unworkable around that time and it has taken one quick rebuild and a full slow reinstall to get me back on track again. Anyway enough about computer problems and back to Poinsettia and how I got on with pattern testing this fun design.poinsettia-51inchI was delighted to be lucky enough to get to pattern test this latest design from Blossom Heart Quilts and I have to say that I am totally in love with it. The pattern is for a single block quilt as it comes with directions on how to make up the block in sizes ranging from 6” to 51” square it can be used for anything from a mug-rug to a lap quilt or baby quilt.

I tested the 51” block and it came together quickly and easily. The design is primarily composed of half square triangles (HSTs) and having invested in a Bloc Loc ruler earlier in the year I found these came together quickly and easily. Alyce provides instructions for making multiple HSTs at once in her pattern so it really couldn’t be quicker or easier to make.

There is no doubt that the finished block would have made a fabulous lap quilt but I already have quite a number of these, and, as a result, I decided to add 10” borders all round to bring the quilt up to 71” square which would allow me to still use it as a sofa throw but would also make it more practical as a bed quilt.

quilt-with-bordersI decided to mirror the outer leaves of the poinsettia with a larger flying goose centrally set in each border and I love how this focuses the view back into the central design. The quilt made its way to Patchwork in the Peaks with me recently where I got to play with Suki the Juki, a Juki QVP 2200 sit down long arm machine, and I used the opportunity to practice some stippling and to try my hand a ruler work. ruler-work

I also started to pebble the central section but I’m not sure if I’m happy with that decision so I haven’t yet completed it (or ripped it out to try something else).stippling

Although most of the quilting is finished the quilt is not yet finished, it’s the autumn school holidays here and between those, and time spent sorting out my computer, there has not been too much machine stitching over the past couple of weeks.

quilting Hopefully this week will see me finally decide how to finish the center of the poinsettia and then it’s just the small matter of binding the quilt, possibly my favourite part of the whole quilt making process, and burying the last of the threads. Here’s hoping there are no more distractions to keep me out of my sewing room!

If you too would like to try your hand at making a Poinsettia quilt, large or small, then you can now find the pattern over in Alyce’s shop along with the other great patterns in the Making Merry series.

My Sun Print Addiction

Hi, my name is Paula, and I have a Sun Print addiction. I am so totally in love with these fabrics from Alison Glass and find myself trying to use them as often as possible. As many of the projects that I work on are mini quilts or pillows I can thankfully stretch my little stash of Sun Print quite far.

Before my recent blogging break I had shown you a mini quilt and a pillow that I had begun working on for the Hand Pieced Mini Swap and the Big Stitch Swap respectively. I am sure that you are wondering how they both turned out so here they are in all vibrant glory.

mini-sp mini-labelpillow-spI have to admit finding it hard to send bother of their pieces on their respective journeys as I had fallen totally in love with the mix of Sun Print and texty fabrics in both, but send them I did and they were both delightfully received in their new homes.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in both of the aforementioned swaps and I was totally spoilt by the partners who made for me. In the Hand Pieced Mini Swap Kim (@kmj_creations) made me the most gorgeous mini featuring purples and aquas and it couldn’t be more perfect. handpieced-mini

These are my favourite colours and together they are just divine. The piecing on the mini is just exquisite and the design is set of beautifully by the hand quilting. Kim also made the most gorgeous little tweed basket for me, perfect for holding clover clips (or other sewing supplies) and if that wasn’t enough she filled up her package with some gorgeous purple fabric pieces and a package of shortbread. They are one of my favourite biscuits to enjoy with a cuppa and they was delicious!swap-extras

The package I received from Sarah of FairyFace Designs in the Big Stitch Swap contained a fun bundle of fabric scraps but the main star was the most stunning knitting needle case. kniotting-case

The design is so fun I just love the beautiful rainbow of fabrics that Sarah used to create it. Although I already had one needle case for the modern bamboo and wood needles that I have purchased myself of late, I was badly in need or a second as I also have a large collection of older knitting needles that I frequently use, many of which were inherited from grandmothers and great aunts. These poor needles had been living in some plastic bags till now and I am so delighted to finally have a good home for them. As autumn is finally making an appearance here I am slowly feeling the itch to knit again and I’m looking forward to really using my new needle case.

Since these swaps there have been a few more that I have completed. One of these was the Pillow Swap Four Seasons, which is a Flickr based swap. For the most recent Autumn round I found myself once more pulling out the Sun Print stash and working on some EPP. sp-pillow-epp

Unfortunately, I had to change track with the project when a minor finger injury meant I couldn’t do any hand sewing for a couple of weeks and wouldn’t be able to finish off the intended design in time for the swap. Thankfully I was able to machine sew a pillow that my partner was more than delighted with and the Sun Print EPP pillow, well that one is probably going to Patchwork in the Peaks with me this weekend to get finished, and then it’s off to live in the mountains where it will I will still be visiting it regularly and enjoying it every time I escape to the hills for some alpine fun with the boys.

Summer sewing

I am quite possibly the most uncommited blogger at the moment. My poor blog has languished over the past six months as I got to grips with finishing our move, unpacking the new house and then of course summer and all that goes with it. Despite feeling like it started late, summer did not disappoint this year and we have had plenty of sunshine and warmth. When it did arrive we pretty much took up residence in the garden and so the summer months have seen me work on lots of summer sewing, especially EPP projects.

EPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and PinsWhen I first took up EPP I was quite happy to work on smaller projects, mug rugs, mini quilts, pillows. Now I am in the process of trying to work on a couple of quilts. These are long term projects, pieces I can pick up as and when I have time. One will feature Alison Glass’s Sun Prints and has actually been a work in progress for about a year now. Because the individual blocks for that quilt finish at 10” square they are not the most portable, but are ideal if I want to pull out something at home.

EPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and Pins EPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and PinsThe newer project features Liberty lawns. Having participated in a couple of fabric clubs over the past couple of years my stash of Liberty fat sixteenths had gotten to the stage where I really needed to dive in and start making good use of it. And that’s what I have started doing. EPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and Pins

For my Liberty quilt I am using a Grunge background and making 6” EPP blocks, each of which will feature a different Liberty print. The blocks come together relatively quickly but I will need quite a few so I see me working on this project for quite some time – at least I can be sure that I will always have something to work on during my work commute. When the quilt is finally finished I think I may need to print up a photo book to accompany it so that I can really document all the different places it has been worked on.

EPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and Pins EPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and PinsAs my Instsgram feed can attest to it has been worked on in trains, planes and cars; on the sea shore while camping in Ireland, on top of Alps while on days out with the boys, poolside, in the garden, the playground, at the kids construction site and lake side. I’m sure that in the months ahead there will be plenty more out and about sewing and the finished quilt will definitely be able to tell a great story by the time it is completed.

Perfect seat to rest and sew - on Betelberg, Lenk, Switzerland | Mud, Pies and PinsEPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and PinsOther than EPP work I’ve participated in several swaps and have been working on finishing a few UFOs and PHDs, but more about those next time.

The one other task I have started in upon over the past couple of weeks is updating the blog. Having moved house earlier in the year and then office last month I’ve come to appreciate how much difference a new beginning/new surroundings can make and so I think the blog is in need of a new look and a spruce up to go with my new start back to blogging. Hopefully I’ll get that finished by the end of the month.