Working with Lawn…

BTS 14 Cath Hall

The Back to School Blog Hop is back and participating again this year along with 31 other sewists to bring you advice on everything from batting to ins and outs of starching.  This month of information downloading has been organized by Sam Hunter  and you will find links to all the blogs playing along at the end of this post.

This year I wanted to talk a little about working with lawn and share some of the things I have learned this last 12 months as I made my first lawn projects.   Lawn is a plain weave textile, which was originally made of linen but now is now chiefly cotton. Lawn is designed using fine, high count yarns, which results in a silky, untextured feel.  Its hand is much lighter and softer than quilting cotton and it is sheerer than most cottons.  I have worked predominantly with Liberty Lawn but stash also includes some Cotton & Steel lawn and some Heather Ross lawn.

liberty lawn

My first exposure to lawn was a couple of fat eights of Liberty of London Tania lawn which was given to me a couple of years ago.  Those little pieces of precious fabric have grown into quite a stash… including an growing collection of my favorite print Betsy…

betsy stack

Last year I decided to stop hoarding my Liberty and started using it… making a bevy of butterflies…

paper pieced quilt

and a couple of Liberty hexagon pillows…

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While making these projects I learnt a bit including:

To wash or not?  There is a quite a bit online about pre-washing your lawn fabric to help with shrinkage.  As I was working with small pieces (some just 5 inch squares) I decided not to pre wash.  If I was going to pre-wash it would be a very gentle hand wash and NOT a washing machine job… unless of course I was working with yardage.

Paper piecing and lawn are a match made in heaven.  Because lawn is so fine I have found that paper piecing is wonderful technique to use – the paper pattern gives the light weight cotton a stability which makes piecing so much easier.  I have used English paper piecing and standard foundation piecing with Liberty and have loved both techniques.  I am able to get really precise piecing with this thin, sometimes slippery fabric.

mini Liberty dresden plates

Starch is lawn’s best friend.  Whether you pre-wash or not starch is an invaluable tool when working with lawn.  Starch stiffens the fine cotton lawn and makes for easier cutting and piecing.    For my butterfly project I starched my blocks after I had removed the paper pattern… and with my hexagons I starch and iron the hexagons with the cardboard template still in place to help keep the hexagon shape when the paper is removed.  If you are using traditional piecing to make a lawn quilt you will find starch is a vital tool to give some weight and body to cotton…and remember to use a dry iron when pressing lawn.

Make sure your tools are sharp.  When I am sewing my lawn I make sure I have a new sharp needle in my machine and when pinning I use fine sharp pins.  The lawn is more delicate than quilting cotton and a little bit of sharpness helps avoid snags or tears.

Cotton thread is preferable.  When working with lawn in particular a fine 100% cotton thread is the best option… my choice is a Aurifil 50wt.

Do not be afraid to mix your fabrics.  Although lawn is lightweight do not be afraid to mix it with quilting cottons or other fabrics.  Liberty in particular plays really nicely, both visually and physically, with Essex linen.

And last but not least I have learnt that you can never have too much Liberty fabric.  If you are interested in starting a collection or adding to your stash a Liberty bundle subscription is a fabulous way to go.  I had a subscription last year to Ava & Neve’s Liberty Society and every month for a year I got a wonderfully curated bundle of Liberty.  It really was a fabulous way to round out my stash, as I got fabrics I would not necessarily have chosen myself but which I loved.

I hope you follow the rest of the hop as there’s some fantastic content coming your way! BTW, the contributors are from all over the world, so please be patient is everything is not posted bright and early in your exact timezone! 

Day 1 – August 15 – Sam Hunter: How to spray baste a BIG quilt – www.huntersdesignstudio.com

Day 2 – August 16 – Mandy Leins: Thread Dread: removing stray bits after quilting – www.mandalei.com

Day 3 – August 17 – Nancy Stovall: The Sweet Creamy Filling – www.justquiltingpdx.com

Day 4 – August 18 – Ebony Love: 7 Indispensible feet for your sewing machine – www.LoveBugStudios.com

Day 5 – August 19 – Michelle Freedman: Machine throat plates – www.designcamppdx.blogspot.com

Day 6 – August 20 – Teresa Coates: Edge/Under/Top stitching – www.crinkledreams.com

Day 7 – August 21 – Kelly Cole: Ten ways to regain your sew-jo – www.vintagefabricstudio.com

Day 8 – August 22 – Megan Dougherty: Choose to Fuse: tips for working with fusibles for applique – www.thebitchystitcher.com

Day 9 – August 23 – Kim Lapacek: Tricks to being productive while hauling your kids around – www.persimondreams.blogspot.com

Day 10 – August 24 – Yvonne Fuchs: Circuitboard quilting on Domestic and Longarm Machines – www.quiltingjetgirl.com

Day 11 – August 25 – Sandi Hazlewood: Chain Piecing Quilt Blocks Tips – www.craftyplanner.com

Day 12 – August 26 – Juliet van der Heijden: Paper-piecing with children – www.thetartankiwi.com

Day 13 – August 27 – Maddie Kertay: Fabric folding for any storage solution – www.badassquilterssociety.com

Day 14 – August 28 – Cath Hall: Working with Lawn fabric – www.wombatquilts.com

Day 15 – August 29 – Tracy Mooney: Tips for the perfect seam – www.sewmuchcosplay.com

Day 16 – August 30 – Teri Lucas: How to bury thread – www.terificreations.com

Day 17 – August 31 – Debby Brown: Securing machine quilting knots – www. higheredhands.blogspot.com

Day 18 – September 1 – Flaun Cline: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 1) – www.ipleadquilty.com

Day 19 – September 2 – Jessica Darling: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 2) – www.jessicakdarling.com

Day 20 – September 3 – Trish Frankland: A bigger blade really IS better?! – www.persimondreams.blogspot.com

Day 21 – September 4 – Lynn Krawczyk: Build a simple design with hand stitching – www.smudgeddesignstudio.com

Day 22 – September 5 – Jane Davidson: How to make scrappy HSTs – www.quiltjane.com

Day 23 – September 6 – Linda Pearl: Low cost tips for organizing your sewing room – www.onequiltingcircle.com

Day 24 – September 7 – Christa Watson – Top 10 tips for quilting on a domestic machine – www.christaquilts.com

Day 25 – September 8 – Sarah Nunes: To Starch or Not to Starch – www.berrybarndesigns.com

Day 26 – September 9 – Suzy Webster: Testing fabric for bleeding – www.websterquilt.blogspot.com

Day 27 – September 10 – Sarah Goer: Machine bind your quilts like a pro – www.sarahgoerquilts.com

Day 28 – September 11 – Vanda Chittenden: Beginner paper-piecing tips – www.chittenden.co.za

Day 29 – September 12 – Cheryl Sleboda: Needle threading tips – www.muppin.com

Day 30 – September 13 – Kim Niedzwiecki – Different thread weights and when to use them – www.gogokim.com

Day 31 – September 14 – Sandra Healy: Conquer Your Fear of Machine Appliqué – www.sandrahealydesigns.com

Day 32 – September 15 – Sandra Starley: The Basics of Antique Quilt Collecting – www.utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com

 

WIP Wednesday…Quilt Block Cookbook

This year I have been teaching a year long class at my local quilt store, Modern Domestic from Amy Gibson’s “Quilt Block Cookbook“.  It has been a fun year of teaching new techniques and getting my students excited in thinking outside the box.

wooded blockThe book has patterns for a 50 different blocks and uses a grid system which encourages you to experiment and get creative with different elements…and make your own blocks.

starboard block

For my class I have also been providing colouring sheets so my students can play with how the blocks in the book look with different colour placements.  The block below is called Cheerio Darling and block in the book looks very different from the block I have created…

cheerio darling block.The book uses traditional piecing, paper piecing, curved piecing and applique and it has been fun to teach my students lots of different techniques…

zinnia block

By the time I am finished this class I will have enough blocks to make at least 2 quilts… which is exciting for me as one of the things I love most about this book is the layouts it has for Sampler quilts.  They even have gorgeous layouts that use as few as 6 blocks.

Flag day block

If you are using this book there is one caveat… there are quite a few mistakes in the book.  You can find an addendum here listing all the mistakes plus all the blocks that use the 5 x 5 grid you need to double check the quilt maths as they are off every so slightly.

All that said I have loved working from this book and I am excited to get some quilts finished.  And Amy has a great Quilt Along with tips and tricks on her blog… Stitchery Dickory Dock.

Charity Quilt catch up….

It has been a while since I shared some of the wonderful quilts that our Portland Modern Quilt Guild has made for our charity program… so lets start with this stunner….

andreas quilt

One of our wonderful members, Andrea, made this quilt for our local Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  We constantly struggle to get quilts that are appropriate for boys and particularly older boys but Andrea hit this one out of the park.

curved quilt detail

I love this pattern so much but I look at it a realise that it is a little beyond my skills… all that curved piecing would drive me crazy I think.

andreas quilt detail.And lets be honest…I would be tempted to sneak some pink in there somewhere…. Another of our Guild quilts was this interesting one…

Elsas quilt

It is another quilt that is more gender neutral and it was made using orphan blocks donated to the Guild by another of our fabulous members Elsa.

patchwork quilt

Elsa does give us the best orpan blocks.  I have another bundle of her blocks that are just waiting to be made into a quilt.

The guild has also recently made a number of simpler quilts from fabric kits.  Quick and easy patterns and matching fabric has meant we could get a number of quilts made in no time…

For this quilt we pulled fat quarters and scraps that matched…

floral quilt

And for this quilt we used some fabric headers that we had been donated to the Guild…

easy simple kids quilt

This is just a selection of the quilts donated recently by the Guild….and as always thanks to everyone who helped make these beauties – fabric donators, piecers, quilters and binders all.

A little work in progress…

Last week I woke to the news that Wombat Quilts had made it onto the “100 Best Quilting Blogs on the Planet”.  Feedspot, a blog reader, had put together this list by looking at site traffic, followers etc.  I came in at number 39.  To say I was pleasantly shocked is an understatement.

While I was looking through the list I noticed they had marked my blog as posting about once a month…. had I really slipped off schedule that much!  The answer is yes, kind of.  So in the spirit of sharing more I thought I would show you what I am working on this week…

lizzy house quilt block

A couple of months ago I borrowed a friends Baby Go cutter and went to work cutting some of my scraps into small circles (check out this quilt wip….) and small half square triangles (HST).

hst-blocks

Last week while I was attempting to clear some space in my spare bedroom I stumbled across the shoe box with my Lizzy House HST in it.  Inspired by a block I saw on Instagram I started making these crazy but fun 10 1/2 inch blocks.

Now I was working with 3 inch unfinished squares but if you wanted to do a bigger block you could use 3 1/2 inch squares for a 12 inch finished block…

hst block layout

Last night I finished making the last of the blocks (20 in total).  Today I just have to put the top together.

design-wall-layout

This will be my first quilt for 100 Quilts for Kids 2016, a drive that is held annual to encourage quilters to make and give quilts to children in need.  This is my 4th year of playing along and I love the emphasis on giving leading up the holiday season.  Between now and December 1st you can make and donate a quilt to a children’s charity in your local area to play along… and maybe win a prize.

Quilts bring such comfort….

For the last couple of months the Portland Modern Quilt Guild has been donating quilts to a local Children’s hospital for use in the Intensive Care unit.  Just before I went on holiday I dropped off another 20+ quilts to one of the nurses at the PICU that had been made by Guild members and at Guild Charity sew days.

Most of the time when we make quilts for charity we send them off into the world not knowing who gets them.  We take a leap of faith that our hand made treasures will bring comfort.   I must admit that I have loved dropping the blankets off to the nursing staff at the hospital the last couple of months…this simple exercise in driving across town with a trunk full of quilts reminds me why I make charity quilts.  The nurses are so excited and grateful for the donations… they know first hand how much comfort will come from the quilts.

The latest collection of quilts dropped off included these lovelies…

green-cross-quilts

This quilt was made at the April Charity Sew Day by a wonderful bunch of quilters.  It was a fun, easy block to make and was came together really quickly.

cross-detail

Also included in the September quilt delivery was this orphan block beauty…

orphan-block-quilt

This quilt started as a lovely pile of orphan blocks from one of our members, Elsa… she really does give me the best stuff.  I found some wonderful stripped fabric in my stash that worked wonderfully with the blocks and voila I had a quilt top…

quilt-detail

Add some wonderful quilting by one of our talented long armers, some scrappy black binding and you have a wonderful quilt.

quilt-block-detail

I was originally given 11 blocks and used the last two blocks on the back of the quilt, along with the last of the stripped fabric…

quilt-back

By now these quilts are somewhere in world giving comfort and warmth.  Thank you so much to all the PMQG members who have helped make these quilts, and the others that were donated.   Your hard work and talent really does make such a difference….

September adventures…

So September has come and gone way to quickly…and with almost no posts from me.  I did intend to share some more of my finished quilts but instead I took a holiday and went gallivanting in Europe.

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I instead of posting I unplugged and enjoyed London, Lyon and Reykjavik.   I have returned with new energy and with a new commitment to get back on track with posting on the blog.  I have been struggling with getting back into regular posting this year and I am not sure why.

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen a smattering of butterflies pop up in my feed while I was away and I must admit I have been slightly obsessed with Liberty fabric and making the butterflies….I have 42 finished so far…

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Two of my butterflies are currently on holiday in Australia, with Ava & Neve at the Brisbane Quilt and Craft Fair.  The rest are up on my design wall, while I select the colours and fabric for the last 20 or  so.

I managed to bring back from London a decent stash of Liberty fabric and I am giving away a “Butterfly making Kit” on Instagram at the moment – 60 different 5 inch charm squares of Liberty fabric so you can make your own butterflies.  Pop on over and leave a comment on my photo for a chance to win.

So October is for new beginnings, new habits and new fabric.  See you tomorrow for a finished quilt reveal.