Round and Round

As I sit and stare out the window, wondering how to begin this week’s post, I see that the jasmine creeper is in bud. The first sign in this part of the world that spring is on the way. This harbinger of seasonal change and new growth echoes the powerful image of a flower growing from blackened ashes that I have just seen in a well-considered post about the looting and rioting in parts of South Africa.

The country is reeling and I don’t know what to say. Or what to do. So I continue to stitch. It seems crass to write about my quilting projects. The other option is to forego my weekly routine of posting something from my sewing space. To be honest, I am glad that I had a project to finish and something to take my mind off the terrifying news broadcasts.

Round the Garden. 97 x 97 cm.

If it looks familiar it is because I have been posting progress photographs of my participation in the Bernina round robin challenge, called Quilt for All. The sixth and final challenge was to machine quilt the piece. The rules forbade edge to edge quilting and so I could not use my preferred method of lines of machine quilting with the walking foot. I am not brave enough to free motion a piece as large as this, so what was a girl to do?

First I pinned the three layers and then tension quilted the piece by hand, by stitching it in the ditch. And then I began at the edge of the central block and machine quilted it in square rounds (if you know what I mean), using the quarter inch mark on the walking foot as a guide to stitch evenly spaced lines. For a bit of variation in the central border, I set my machine to the wavy zig zag stitch (with the length at 2 and the width at 4) and continued going around stitching in a straight line and getting a wavy effect (if you know what I mean!).

Here are some progress shots.

Once again I was pleasantly surprised at how the walking foot gracefully smooths out the undulations in the fabric. The flying geese in the final border were very wavy and so, while I was hand-quilt-tacking the work, I added a few discreet tucks to get rid of the worst of the waves. Even so, the piece does not hang perfectly flat now that it is finished. Do others also have this problem with machine quilted pieces? In my humble opinion, hand quilting is gentler on the eye and the finished effect.

Shall I show you the back? Why not, seeing as I took a photograph of it.

I bound the quilt in the same green fabric that was used as a background for the bright flowers.

Finishing line

Hand stitching hexagons is also a good calming activity. One of my kind quilting friends gave me the kit to make this sweet hexie pouch. It measures about 4 inches by 4 inches. I am busy making a second pouch, this time with silk thread so that my stitching won’t show.

23 thoughts on “Round and Round

  1. It seems so much of our world is in upheaval these days. We’ve certainly felt it here in Minnesota, with all the unrest due to everything that has happened over the last year. Having blog posts to read with lovely quilts like yours is a nice respite from the discouraging news. Your quilt turned out just lovely!


  2. Lovely to see your work, as always Mazzie!
    Love how those blue lollipop flowers pop 🌀

    I think the best thing to do is to keep steady and keep doing things that matter to us — that give our lives their unique shape and meaning.

    The only power we have in this turmoil (i think) is to be kind.


  3. Our world is reeling. My sewing room provides respite from all the craziness. Reading blogs like yours gives me hope. I love this garden piece. I have made a hexie basket, and now I want to try a pouch like the one you made.


  4. Not crass at all, Mariss…rather a necessary component to navigating our higher level of sustained ‘stress’ (to use a neutral term). Kind of like stopping to smell the roses while the sky is falling – only in your case you’re **creating** flowers!
    BTW-I like Asta’s referencing them as lollipop flowers
    Stay vigilant!


  5. I love the look of the wavy quilting – but also send you gentle hugs as SA is battered by the human race. Here in NZ of late it has been the battering of weather that often targets just one region but then whips up and around the country with a sting in it’s tail. Me, I just want to hide under the blankets – maybe I should tackle some of my own WIP mainly handmade books again, before I forget how to put them together…


    1. Thank you, Catherine. Appreciate your thoughts and hugs. It’s a good idea to batten down the hatches in bad weather. Hope you do get out those handmade books and continue to work on them. It helps!


  6. The bursts of colour on this piece are cheerful and fun, a particular comfort at this time. Thanks for sharing, Mariss, and well done too, on the closely quilted lines on this large piece! Please bring this lovely quilt to show ‘n tell at QUOGS on Wed.


  7. Looks like that Bernina piece was quite a quilting adventure. And I expect Chela to make one of those darling little pouches any minute now. I’m sorry for your stress; it’s so frustrating to see a big mess without having much ability to do anything about it.


    1. It was indeed a quilting adventure.
      The hexi pouch is charming, isn’t it. Am thinking of trying it with half inch hexies, just to see if I can.
      Thank you for your thoughts on the state of SA. It’s quieter now

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I read the link you attached and it is heartbreaking that most of what was looted was food. Sorry your country is struggling right now.
    Thank you for sharing some beautiful art and I love the background color in that medallion piece.
    I agree that stitching hexagons is a peaceful activity. I am about to embark on another trip (to visit my brother on the Eastern Coast of the US) and I have my hexies with me.


  9. Hi Mariss – your quilt is exceptionally beautiful both in its design and colour. Doing intricate patchwork is a great sanity saver during these stressful times. Thank you for linking to my post. We are just so grateful that things are calmer now. I think that as a country – definitely as a province – we are traumatized, and we need to try to forge a new trust in a new future that we need to figure out how to build.


    1. I hope that looking at the quilt was a momentary distraction from the trauma around you. I keep seeing that white flower in the ashes in your photograph and must believe it symbolises possibilities for our country’s future.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes it was – it really is so lovely.
        The situation seems to be remaining calm, but the extreme cold is so unusual. I hope that you are warm enough – I believe you have even had some rain?
        I also hope that the white flower emerging through the ashes proves to be an apt symbol for a better future. Thanks Mariss.


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