Very little

Very little quilting activity this week here at the Overseas Office – instead there has been lots of online stuff, Zoom, organising pictures, cameras and much more besides.  But the little bit of quilting that got done was to add a few more straight lines to the small square project –

I don’t think I can remember a week when so little stitching was done! Maybe this coming week will be a little more productive …

happy stitching

Adding a curve

A super simple little 4patch project came to the top of the “to be quilted” pile.  It’s been waiting several years for no particular reason and my plan was that simple piecing often requires simple quilting.  After my recent disappointment with not quilting in a hoop I decided that a hoop or frame would definitely be my choice for this project.

So quilting time this week has progressed from outline quilting on the main seams (Pass One) to easy straight lines crossing the 4patches (Pass Two) and on to pumpkin seed shapes in the open squares (Pass Three).

Pass Four will probably be further lines in the 4patches and the pumpkin seed squares and then Pass Five will be the two narrow borders – maybe a zigzag, maybe a single cable.  One thing is certain – the curves of the pumpkin seed motif really contrast well with all the straight lines.

Happy quilting!

Lines, lines and lines again

Lots of behind-the-scenes activity at the Overseas Office this week.  I’ve been laying quilts out and deciding whether more quilting is needed.  The answer in every case has been “Yes” so now I have to put them in some sort of order of priority and just get to it.  Over on Instagram Jeanna Kimball is hosting another of her 50days of quilting events – one hour of quilting a day for 50 days, posting pictures of progress along the way.  That may be the way to go to move these quilts along before they become classified as vintage in their own right.


This Sampler is really a favourite and at present Pass One is complete, Pass Two is required.  Probably more simple lines outlining, dividing and emphasising spaces.

This smaller Sampler is one regular readers will be all too familiar with!  And I did think this would be enough quilting, but now that it’s laid out on a bed I think it would be much improved by doubling the waving lines into finished single cables, doubling the zigzag border into squares on point and adding further simple dividing land character lines in the blocks.  All of which might take more than the 50 hours I was referring to above.

And in the spirit of Getting Things Done I pulled out this little quilt from the collection of projects which are kept at the Overseas Office –

This is really simple on all counts – simple piecing ready for some simple quilting.  Most likely quilting right next to all the main seams followed by more of those lines across the 4patches.

Happy stitching!

Lines and more diamonds …

Slow progress on the little hexagon/diamond project this week – not because it’s difficult or time-consuming, other projects have taken priority.  But most of the diamonds have been divided now with a line of quilting, just the border and fill in blue half diamonds to work on.

I’m not overly thrilled with the overall effect and texture and am somewhat regretting my decision to quilt this in my hand rather than using a frame.  I think the final result would have been crisper and clearer if I had used a frame.  But it is what it is, and it has been an easy piece to carry around from place to place.

My intrepid band of volunteer students are currently making their own version of this little quilt but at a fractionally larger scale.  The original piece has diamonds which measure 1 1/4inches per side, the revised version uses diamonds which measure 1 1/2inches per side.  Having sent out templates and instructions I thought it would be a good idea to make a sample block to demonstrate and discuss –

Unfortunately I liked the look of this so much that I will be ordering another large bag of 1 1/2inch diamond papers from Lina Patchwork and making good use of a recently-sorted scrap bag of similar fabrics to make many more blocks.  So another long-term, no-deadline project begins – and one of my sewing spots beckons .  Happy stitching!


Old stitches

It might be a laundry call soon for one of my favourite vintage quilts so I thought I’d share a few pics before rolling up my sleeves –

This is the “best” side, or the side you are meant to see.  Typical of 1930s for the colours of the Roman Sateen fabric, strippy style, well quilted with alternating feather and braid traditional patterns.

The reverse side is, however, another story – literally.  Instead of a pieced backing that is contemporary with the top we find a very well- worn and much-repaired quilt of earlier date.

Sleeves now rolled up and a good drying day in prospect!


Very modest progress on the project in hand, just 3 stars remain to have the first pass outline quilting (shown here at the lower edge ) –

– and a closer look, showing outlined diamonds and not-yet-outlined diamonds

I’ve also been busy with one or two projects for online classes and get togethers –

Onwards with another week!



It’s that quilt – again!

A quiet week at The Overseas Office, not a lot of stitching but worktables re-adjusted, projects unpacked and put in safe places and lists consulted.  Now that the binding is on I’ve spread the current quilt over an appropriate size bed and tried to come to a decision re the amount of quilting.


At the moment I think there’s just enough quilting but that it really would benefit from more, but perhaps not right now.  I am pleased with how the circle concept has worked so far –

The mindless quilt close to the seams  stitching has begun on the stars and diamond piece –

– quilted on the left, not quilted on the right.  It’s always fun to see the subtle changes that even a small amount of quilting can make.  This is a great size project to just pick up and put down again, so I’m quilting in my hand rather than with a hoop.  Different tension, softer texture and very satisfying.

The Overseas Office

Happy to report a safe and smooth transition to the Overseas Office – not yet fully unpacked quilting-wise but I’m looking forward to spending stitching time in one of my favourite spots here

This should be the perfect set up to finish the binding on the quilt you’ve been seeing here for the past few months

Two crates filled with project bags also made the journey so, even in the heat, I’ll never lack for something to stitch!  The difficulty will be deciding where to start ….  check back in next week when there should be some progress to report.

Just straight lines

Making the transition to the Overseas Office with a few boxes of quilting supplies, projects and paraphernalia.  I try and keep things as simple as possible with plenty of “just needs quilting” pieces that can be easily picked up and put down again, stitching in my hand rather than on a frame or even with a hoop.  Here’s a glimpse of one of the pieces I finished last year –

I used the “Pass” system that I described for the sampler quilt of previous posts – Pass One was to quilt very close to, or on, each seam.  This made very little visible difference but anchored everything evenly.  Pass Two might have been to quilt 1/4inch inside each shape but it looked too rigid and busy, so I opted to divide each diamond with a straight line from point to point.  This worked well and gave just enough texture without being distracting .   End result = reasonably happy.

In the travel bag for this year is this small piece (30inches x 20inches ) which will probably receive similar treatment, certainly for Pass One –

The hexagon star and triangle blocks are 3inches, and are a mix of two batches of scrap blocks made several years ago and put aside to mature.  Now seems a good time to let the quilting commence!

More vintage

Putting things away and sorting again – the transition to the Overseas Office always involves lists, bags, boxes and a lot of general put and take from one pile to another.  The delightful 1930s North Country quilt pictured below was on top of one of the piles and it seemed a good idea to share it with you.  Aqua cotton sateen on one side, rose pink cotton sateen on the reverse, cotton batting and bold motifs equally boldly stitched.  Not heirloom stuff by any means but packed full of texture and in good condition.

Here’s a quarter of the full design –

The aqua colour has proved hard to capture but I think you can get a feel for the quilt from the above pics.

Picking up on the unintentional aqua theme I brought out one of my design samples from a few years back – subdued aqua silk fabric (a one-off opportunity) from Oakshott, King Tut by Superior variegated quilting thread and Hobbs Polydown batting.  A very different “sandwich” to stitch through compared to the quilt above.