I’m trying to work my way through my stash of quilting patterns at the moment, in particular my kits from Andrea Walpole of Raggedy Ruff Designs. I’m posting my progress on them every three weeks, so I keep at it! Three weeks ago I had just stitched a pheasant…
This time I decided to stitch a lampshade with two blackbirds on it. This was interesting as it’s the first one of these I’ve done that has been just the pattern and not a kit. Luckily I’ve made a point when I’ve stitched any of these kits previously I’ve kept every little scarp, some of the pieces are so little that a scrap is enough!
My first task was to make the background. Andrea has lovely interesting backgrounds with low volume batiks and a little pop of colour. I had a rummage in my batik scrap box and found quite a few suitable ones, mainly leftovers from the Humming bird quilt which I stitched a couple of years ago as it had a light background.
Anyway, I stitched the background, rearranging the order slightly so the colours would work…
What I didn’t realise was that the consequence of swopping two blocks was that the female blackbird’s head (with the eye and beak densely stitched) was right over the purple diamond with it’s thick seam junctions. I knew my machine wouldn’t manage it so I repositioned the design just a little further down.
The birds and flowers are all traced onto freezer paper, ironed on the fabric and then cut out. It took several attempts at laying it out before I was happy. Only the blackbird wasn’t from my scrap box, that is the only one that isn’t a batik, it’s one of the smudgy ones in almost black, it will be interesting to see how it fairs with machine embroidery as it’s not as close a weave as batik.
Once I was happy with the positions I had to start stitching…that’s the scary bit! Andrea does’t use any adhesive, just holds the piece in place. I’ve always used a spot of glue to keep things in place but this time I decided to try Andrea’s method and it did work, I only came a bit unstuck with the very tiny pieces. All the pieces are outlined in a soft brown to start with. This bit tends to look a bit messy (if you’re not a very neat free motion stitcher like me!) but I know from the other pieces I’ve done, once the embroidery is finished it won’t be noticeable.
So this is as far as I’ve got so far. I’ve all the embroidery left now. I ordered a lampshade kit the other day so then I’ll just need an assistant to help me make it into a lamp! I’m pretty pleased with it so far.
If you fancy trying one of Andreas patterns please follow the link in the first paragraph to the Raggedy Ruff website. They’re not as difficult as they look, the machine embroidery is actually quite forgiving.