Summer Garden Cushion with City Sampler Blocks

Hey, Happy Sunday!  Bit late in the week for my blog I know, but its been pretty busy around here.  Preparations for the move back to England are underway and two of my three are home for the holidays.   I did finish off my garden cushion though and I think there will be more to follow. I like the idea of a jumble of brightly coloured cushions to use in our new garden and I suspect there may be a quilt in there too.  Yorkshire is not reknowned for its tropical weather, so a cosy, bright quilt will be just the thing to wrap up in, on days that are bright enough to sit outside with a morning cuppa, but not quite.... if you know what I mean.

So where was I exactly... ah yes.... here....

I finished the last block and put in some sashing. 

The piece of fabric that I used reminded me of those lovely wrought iron balconies in Paris and the benches and lamp posts that line the parks and  pathways in the city.  I think it pulled it all together pretty well - keeping the sort of frenzied jumble of colour in a semblance of order.    One thing I did see was how difficult it was to keep all my little blocks exactly the same size.  I am a fairly precise cutter as I know how crucial this is - but still my blocks were not consistent.    With pieces as tiny as these, it is difficult to keep them straight in the machine all the time, especially when you are chain piecing.  Probably without even realising,  I am consciously lining up the next piece while unconsciously not watching the final few stitches in the last one.   It is easy for tiny pieces such as 1 inch squares to get distorted.  For sure when I looked closely I can see where my quarter inch seam has wavered towards the ends of the block.  Next time I will pay more attention to this as it clearly makes a huge difference, and there will be next time as I love these little blocks.

When it came to making this little piece of patchwork into a cushion - I turned back to a class on with Amanda Murphy in which I saw the idea of quilting the cushion cover and so making it firmer and reinforcing the piecing.  I had thought to do more blocks for the back, but decided instead to opt for a complete constrast on the other side, so it became not so much of a 'back' but rather a two way cushion.  I stuck with the black and added in the last remnant of sashing as well as a strip of print fabric that I thought worked well.   The strip piecing divided the square into sections and this lends itself to a bit of free motion experimentation.  When I see all these pictures of really modern quilts and how different quilting patterns are used in different sections, I think its amazing, so let's try it on a small scale.  I also added in some running stitches, which are a bit my thing at the moment.   Using coloured threads enabled it to be sub-divided again and I was happy with the look of it when I had finished. 

  I only needed to 'stitch in the ditch' around the city blocks just to stabilise them and actually didn't use wadding on this side just a peice of muslin backing.  There were so many seams in the blocks that it was almost like a double layered square already.  I made a traditional envelope style top and stitched some tassels into this as I fixed the inner flap.  Then I simply stitched the remaining three sides of the square right sides together inserting my tassels as I went along.  When I turned it right sides out the tassels danced about joyfully around the edges - love it.  I did find that I needed a little velcro through along the top edge to pinch it together.  Its not perfect.... but as such.... its perfect for the garden. 

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I shall make some more when we get to England and I am sure I will get better at them - I want them all to be different, but using Tula Pink's modern little blocks.  I already have some ideas.  The combination of patchwork, free motion quilting designs, hand embroidery and wool tassels has endless possibilities - let's hope we have an english summer to go with such bright and beautiful plans!!!

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