Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Secret Garden Two

Hi Everyone,
Has been a week where I haven't wanted to leave my sewing room. Esther's second block of Secret Garden is so pretty I couldn't wait to start. Knew straight away I wanted a soft yellow vase as again it reminded me of the old fashioned ceramic vases of my mother's. Had struggled to find the right yellows in my stash for the flowers in Block 1 so had purchased a fairy frost last week that I wished I had had at the time it was going to be perfect but first for the iside of the vase.

A toning batik with fairy frost edge.

Front of vase  lightly padded and placed on stabiliser to stitch the lower inner line before adding to my block as I don't want to flatten this edge.

Stitched in place with edge part unstitched for stems and leaves'

Stems and leaves stitched.
the fine Bleubell leaves were too narrow for applique so drew in with an air vanishing pen and stitched with two rows of triple stitch in a variegated thread for softness.
Used a heavy stabiliser behind my fabric to keep the stitches from pulling. 
Ink is meant to disappear in 3 to 5 days but with the temp and humidity at the moment could only draw one branch at a time as it fades so quickly.

Then 54 bluebells!!!, traced and cut them all out at the sit and sew group on thursday, Yay, no machine to lug in, Had a multi coloured batik which was perfect as could just trace  a group close together and pick a patch of fabric to fuse them to.

Thought stitching them all would be tedious but I found it really relaxing maybe it was the soft colour I was working with.

With my flowers I wanted to create a trumpet effect so decided to stitch my inner lines before ading to my block. Left ends at start and finish and after removing the stabiliser folded the ends to the back and secured them to my fusing with the tip of the iron.

No knots at the edges and no chance of them coming undone.
Added light padding and stitched to my block.

For my trumpet effect I stitched lines fanning out from the base .
With the padding behind there is slight vertical puff rather than the horizontal puff I would have got from stitching the inner applique edges at this stage.

Didn't plan to thread paint my bird so no progress photo's. 
 Worked from my image of a Javan Green magpie

Printed the photo then reversed it on my light box and traced the very well defined markings then enlarged my tracing to the size of my pattern, Amazingly the shape was very similar to Esther's bird so used a bit of both, ended up with a slightly plumper bird but he eats well in the secret Garden.

After making him I wanted stitch his eye and enhance just the wing and crest, so cut out his eye and put white behind to reverse applique it and add the burgundy ring around it.
Here's how I stitched him.
Put him onto heavy tearaway stabiliser,  no fusing or basting necessary,started to stitch and it was going so well I didn't stop. Had my photo alongside for reference.
It really is just follow the flow, I didn't do the normal free motion as I wasn't going to get carried away but I loosened my pressure foot so that the fabric could move easily for stitching curves and with the size it was easy to stop and turn the work for the next line of stitching.
Stayed just inside the outer edge of my fabric while stitching so that had no stitches were hanging loose or had to be cut when the stabiliser was removed.
To put him on my background I added some fusing to the back to help secure him then stitched the raw edges with matching threads blending in to the other stitches with shor tcurved lines of straight stitches a bit like darning along the edges, some parts I did with little blanket stitch but then stitching over it with straight stitches. 

Cheated and used a variegated thread for the body and it worked really well.
It's not as fully stitched as it should be as didn't want to push my luck with how well it was turning out.
Only thing left was the chain which was always going to be machine stitched. Tried to find embroidery stitches similar to what Esther had drawn and use my machines memory to link them together. it worked in practice and I thought I was all good to go so I stitched them onto my block.

Doesn't look bad in the photo but the bottom elements stitched out of proportion and
 it needed more length plus my thread was too light. It is my favourite soft gold metallic thread but it didn't show up. Was scared to unpick in case I damaged the fabric but it wasn't staying there.
With stitching safely removed I added a narrow strip of fusible behind where I had stitched and pressed it to my stabiliser to reinforce it for my next attempt.
Checked into the group before I started and Bunny had just posted some samples she had been playing with, one I loved so back to my machine and I found one very similar.
It had to be easier not mixing stitches and it was.

So much better.
Used a deeper shade of gold thread, made it longer and added a ring with eyelet stitch to the bottom  and am very happy with my chain.

Thrilled with how it looks and it's even better when the two blocks are together.

Am so happy to be making Esther's Secret garden Pattern

So how am I filling my days till the 15th, My friend in Auckland that I made Frog Song for last year would like a quilt for their Bach or "Luv Shack" as they have named it. She's thinking of hearts/ bright / fun so thats my brief and the name taken care of.

While at Sit and Sew last Thursday found this pack of 8 half metre lengths of bright Fusions fabrics plus the little all over hearts fabric so have all my fabrics. have ideas for the style but still playing.

Today though I have to take care of this.

Have been looking for this for months.
When we added our ensuite I had to pack away what was stored in my then sewing room cupboards and a lot went into storage bags including all these old embroderies, linens and doilies done by my late Aunt and Mum plus some of my early quilting. All the bags came out when the hall cupboards were finished a few months ago, but this one was missing. Yesterday Steve finally found it buried in the garage, inside a spa bath we haven't installed and covered with lengths of timber.
Nothing has suffered any damage so today I'll go through everything, find it all a new home and enjoy the memories along the way.

Enjoy your week everyone,
Cheers Jenny.
PS heres a photo of Frog Song for those who haven't seen it.


  1. So beautiful....... and love those frogs as well.

  2. Oh Jenny you are a gem thanks for the tutorial on how you built your SG block 2 WOW it sure is beautiful. Love love your bird and your soft blue bells such a lovely lovely design of Esther's. Lovely to see Frog Song again it sure is a beauty. Hugs Glenda

  3. Thanks for sharing! I may have to try some special stitching on my bird!

  4. Jenny an amazing insight on the way you work and how you put this block together. Thank you so much its a tremendous help to someone who sits there and plods away hand sewing, its become so much a habit that l had forgotten the benefits of sewing by machine. So my m/c is coming out today thank you for inspiring me. Hugs Ellie

  5. Oh Jenny! I love to hear the stories of how a block goes together. It's my favourite part of blogging.

    This is my quilting community - I miss getting together with other skilled quilters and learning from each other. I feel like I met up for a cuppa every day to see what you got up to on your quilt.

    Thank you.


  6. Jenny an amazing insight on the way you work and how you put this block together. Thank you so much its a tremendous help to someone who sits there and plods away hand sewing, its become so much a habit that l had forgotten the benefits of sewing by machine. So my m/c is coming out today thank you for inspiring me. Hugs Ellie

  7. Beautiful work! I love all the thread detailing you have added to the block

  8. Exquisite portrayal and beautiful work!

  9. What divine work! Absolutely lovely! Thanks for sharing your progress with us!

  10. Beautiful! Enchanted Garden is my first of Esther's quilt patterns. Is everyone padding and doing the embroidery on machine? I belong to a traditional hand applique guild in Florida, most of us do hand work not on machine. What batting/padding/fusible are you using? Thank you.

    1. hope you read this as you have come up as a no reply blogger.
      This is a beautiful BOM of Esther's to do so hope you enjoy it. Most people in the group are doing hand applique on this, stitching by machine os my preferred method of applique and here on my blog I share the making of my blocks/quilts. A few people are adding some batting to there flowers /vases but most are using Esther's techniques as she has some great tutorials of her methods. I am using Fuseline 630 for my padding as it is very lightweight. My advice would be do what you enjoy most and just enjoy this wonderful BOM. Cheers Jenny.