Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Our Mosaic Pathway ~ Work in Progress ~ Part Two

We just finished off another section of our mosaic pathway, so I thought it was time for another update.  We had to take a bit of a break from it over the winter, although Mr K has added a few sections since I last blogged about it.

I thought today I would share a few do's and don'ts that we've learnt along the way.

DO plan your design before you begin.  Even if you want a random pattern, you need to know what you want and have everything ready to go.  Once that concrete is mixed, there's no time for mucking around.

DON'T use quick set concrete mix!!!

DO accept help to get all those pieces into place before the concrete sets.

DON'T forget to explain your design to your helper before you begin, especially if your design is supposed to be symmetrical!

DO check the weather forecast.

DON'T try this if it is too hot or too cold!  If it's too hot, your concrete will set faster than ever.  If it's too cold, your concrete won't set, and this is the result:

(Yes, I'm picking the bits out with a screwdriver, but only because I didn't want to get dirt under my nails!)

DO put all pets and toddlers somewhere where they will stay out of your hair!  Preferably in their hutches (that's for the rabbits) or down for a nap (that's for the toddlers).

DON'T use shells.  They will break.

DO use your favourite plates that got a chip.  All those special pieces of broken china will make your path all  the more wonderful.  If you are even thinking about maybe making a mosaic path "one day" start saving your broken china now!

DON'T be too ambitious with your design.

DO have fun!!

There you have it!  Do give it a try some time ^_^

Monday, 4 February 2013

Quilting Tutorial 4 ~ Quilt backing from narrow fabric

Have you ever noticed that your finished quilt tops tend to be just that much wider than the backing fabric you want to buy?  When I first started quilting, I would have bought twice the length I needed so that I could add that narrow strip to make the backing wide enough.  But what do you know, you don't need to!

Here is a really clever trick for making wider quilt backings that save you fabric.

I just finished piecing a quilt for my husbands granddaughter.  I wanted to back it with a soft, cosy flannelette. As you can see, the flannelette is not quite wide enough.

In fact, the quilt is about 115cm square, the flannelette is about 110cm wide, and I only bought 1.5m, not 2.5m like I would have done in the past.  How could that be enough fabric??  I hear you ask.  Well, here's the trick...

So this is what you do:  Fold your fabric on a diagonal from top to bottom, and finger press to mark the crease.

Mark the crease

Unfold the fabric, and cut along the crease.

Cut the fabric

Slide one piece down until you have the width you need (remember to allow for the width of the seam), then stitch and press the seam open.

Remember to check the length before stitching!

And there you have it!  A backing wide enough for your quilt from a fraction of the fabric!  

Here's my quilt, sandwiched ready for quilting
(sorry about the blurry picture)

The finished width of my backing piece is about 118 cm, which is admittedly about the barest minimum, and I couldn't make it any wider or it would have been too short.  I perhaps could have done with a smidgen more fabric, but it worked out OK in the end.  There's probably some formula for working out how much fabric you actually need to make this work...but I'm not that mathematically minded!