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Hello everyone. I do hope that you’ve been enjoying the glorious sunshine. It is amazing how a little bit of sun can improve your overall wellbeing. Indeed, my energy levels are much improved of late and I’ve been feeling quite creative. In the past couple of weeks, I have written a blog-post for another blog (which will hopefully appear on littlebigday.ie very soon) and I’ve also learned two new sewing techniques.

A few weeks ago I attended another sewing workshop run by Hilary Adams at Artworks: a crafting and arty shop that is quite near to our little house. During the workshop, Hilary taught us how to create stained-glass effect patchwork. It’s a technique that I had never tried before and, although I did find it a little bit fiddly, I was actually quite pleased with my finished picture.

Most of the other women in the workshop chose to create a Glasgow Rose. I, however, decided that it was highly unlikely that I would complete this design during the time given so I went for a much simpler tulip. This was my finished block:

Stained-glass Tulip

To create this effect, you first need to copy the design onto paper to create a template. Once copied, you use this to cut out your fabric then tack the pieces onto your backing-fabric. When you have sewn on all of your pieces, you then use bias-binding to create the effect of the lead borders. Bias-binding is particularly good for curves as it is sturdy enough to create the curve but flexible enough to allow you to create beautiful designs. If you are interested in attempting this technique, there are plenty of designs to be found online.

For some time now, I have been pondering over the intricacies of foundation paper-piecing. I mentioned this to Hilary but sadly the technique had already been covered in a previous class. On my return home however, I was extremely pleased to be greeted by the arrival of not one but two issues of Love Patchwork and Quilting (Issue 19 had been a little delayed). Rather fortuitously, Issue 20 was accompanied by a guide to Foundation piecing and also included the templates for these rather funky designs.

I wasn’t certain whether I would use the designs in a project. However, I thought that the star-block could be incorporated into a future make so I decided to use some of the leftover fabric from the workshop and have a go. I had a look at a Youtube tutorial by Karen Johnson of Connecting Threads. Foundation-piecing has always seemed a little bit tricky but I was determined to conquer my fears. I traced the template onto baking paper (which is surprisingly good for this sort of thing) then set about cutting out the bits of fabric. Naively, I thought that I could piece the whole block in a couple of hours. However, I quickly became confused between the front and back of the template and it took several evenings before I managed to complete it (definitely not one to attempt when you’re a bit tired after work!):

FPP star sunny day

I experienced a real feeling of satisfaction when I managed to complete this. The block of the month at the end of each issue of LPAQ often includes patterns for foundation-pieced blocks so I’m definitely going to have another go. I also quite like the idea of completing a quilt that’s been made with FPP blocks.

I’m back to commuting to work by train and I can’t help noticing just how much time we seem to spend tapping away on our mobile-phones. I’m just as guilty and often use the time to check personal emails, Facebook and Twitter. However, I’ve consciously tried to spend a little bit less time on my mobile this week. To keep my fingers busy with an alternative activity, I’ve been sewing little hexies instead. I even managed to find a bit of time to sit in the sunshine sewing on Wednesday afternoon:

Purple hexies

The town-hall square in Leicester is particularly lovely in the sunshine. Just before I finish today’s post, here is a picture of the lovely fountain. You could almost imagine that you were in a European city rather than the UK!

Fountain - Leicester

April x

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