Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Have you ever been to a Patchwork Party?

Now I’m not suggesting we all get together and dance around our sewing machines to the sound of The Ramones' “Needles and Pins”!

Patchwork Party is a different take on the block of the month concept. Instead of one shop sending you a different block each month, you buy a different block from 12 different shops.

The patchwork party runs twice a year - spring and autumn - and using an agreed fabric range each shop designs its own 12” block. Each shop also designs a finished quilt that uses the complete set of 12 blocks in a setting of their own choice and using whatever techniques they fancy.

Along comes yours truly and after much ooh-ing and aah-ing decides to take part, I visit the websites of the participating shops and order their block. I then decide which if any of the settings I like the best and order the finishing kit from that shop as well. With me so far? Well so far I have succumbed twice - to the spring parties in 2007 and 2008.

Spring 2007

The Spring 2007 Party used the Moda Sanctuary range - a beautiful range of gentle pastel florals - and caught me during my romance period (see previous message). The guidelines on the PP website said that it recommended using a Marti Michell’s template set so I ordered this as well. I did try using them but must admit that I couldn't get the hang of them and struggled to rotary cut around the small acrylic templates. I ended up drawing around them and cutting them out with scissors. Could have saved myself some money and just made some cardboard templates but never mind.

I went for a beautiful finishing kit from the Fat Quarter Shop. I do love their online shop, the service is second to none with same day shipping and packages often arrive from the US faster that if I had ordered from a UK-based company. I know that I should support my local quilt shop (and believe me I do) but if I’m ordering large quantities of fabrics it is so much more economical buying from the US as long as you keep an eye on the customs limits. Of course the falling exchange rate has affected this and it’s sometimes not such as good value these days.

So how far did I get? All the blocks are complete and the setting squares and triangles are all cut as per the instructions. But I then hit on a problem with the pattern. I had cut the pieces to the stated size but there appears to be no seam allowance so that when I add a border on to these pieces it will chop the top off my triangle. I'll post a photo soon as this is difficult to explain properly. The quilt was going to be so beautiful and I was having so much fun that this soured the experience for me and I put the top away. You know I’m starting to see a pattern here - I hit a rough patch (excuse the pun) and instead of working through it I stop and put it away. There’s a lesson to be learned here I think.

I have everything I need to complete this quilt - blocks, setting fabrics, wadding and backing - so it’s a shame that it’s still sitting in a box unfinished. I think I will be making this one a priority on my UFO list. Even just typing about it here has reminded me how much I liked the fabrics and the quilt.

Look out for more Patchwork Party in a future posting ….