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Patchwork & Cross Stitch

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I have been over at friends today and was talking about buying some covers for my guest room beds.  Anyway - basically, I have decided to have a go at making my own in patchwork.  Never done it before, so if anyone has any tips, please pass them on.

I think I'll go for the hexagonal design in deep autumnal colours (then you won't see the blood I've spilt after stabbing myself with the needle.  My grandmother was a milliner and dressmaker, but I certainly didn't inhererit the gene!!!!!!!!  LOL

I did think about crochet, but I've never done that before and I think patchwork will be more practical.

As for cross-stitch, I did say on the the Elizabeth Bradley thread that I would photograph the work I had done.  I haven't done it yet, but all the pieces are on a delicate wash in the washing machine at the moment and when they are dried and ironed, I will photograph them and post them.


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Are you thinking of patchwork, quilting - or both?  There are also different types of patchwork - hexagonal shapes tend to be traditional English patchwork (which is done by hand and uses papers) - in contrast with American patchwork which is done either by hand or machine (depending on how easy the block is to piece by machine / patience of the sewer!).  Convention is that templates for hand piecing are cut without a seam allowance, templates for machine piecing are cut with a seam allowance .  (Seam allowance is usually 1/4").  If you are machine piecing a good tip is to place a piece of sticky tape (or, indeed several layers to create a 'ridge') at the 1/4 " mark as a guide.

If you are quilting then you need a large frame and (depending on whether you plan to quilt by hand or by machine) a sewng machine with a walking or even feed foot, a darning foot and a means of covering or dropping the dog feeds.

A good book for more information is 'Quiltmaking for Beginners' by Lynn G Kough.  A good reference book for blocks is 'The Quilter's Block Bible' by Celia Eddy.

Happy quilting!


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Why not try joining a local group? - patchwork is quite popular in France at the moment - "le patchwork" and a practical interest like that is good for learning/improving French in a relaxed way (sorry, you may be totally fluent in French).  Your local Mairie, or the Mairie for a larger commune, should have details.

I make lace with a group of locals and it's great for catching up on local gossip, planning applications, recent births/marriages/deaths etc etc.  (And I certainly make them laugh with my silly mistakes![:D])

Chrissie (81)

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Hi Kathie & Chrissie

I'm off to Limoges this afternoon to look at some material and see if I can buy some templates.  I think I'll do a small practice piece first to see how I get on as I've never done it before.

Joining a group sounds like a good idea too.  I am having French lessons at the moment, so it would do me good to mix more with the local people (a) to learn patchwork and (b) improve my French.

Thanks for the ideas.


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There does seem to be a lot of patchwork going on in France.   Every group is different though, so if you don't like the first one you try, go to another one.   Some are very structured, and everyone does the same thing at the same time.   Ours is more anarchic, everyone does their own thing, but everyone is willing to help.   Once a term we do a whole day, and we all bring food along, and that's nice too!  [:-))]    

Anyway, this hexagon quilt.   Some people can run up a quilt in a day or two.  I can't!   If you've never done patchwork before, and you really want the hexagons, I would recommend trying something smaller first, like a cushion cover, especially if you're going to do it by hand.  If you enjoy it, just carry on and make it bigger.   Or use very large hexagons!   Or a mixture.....  

There are usually a few patchwork magazines on the tabac shelves to give you ideas, and of course there are a million ideas on the internet.   With clever use of colours, you could get an equally lovely quilt with just squares, which don't need templates, and which will be much quicker.

Having said that, there is a technique to "just squares", to make sure that the corners all join up nicely.   But there are loads of people to help!

Post a photo when you've finished.  [:)]



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Many people started doing patchwork with the hexagon design, as others have said it can be a long process. I would definitely start with a cushion, try the method and see how you get on.

Sound advice from the others. I believe there is a  shop in Limoges which stocks a good supply of fabric. They may well have details of groups. The French patchwork society will also have contacts.(will try and post details of their website later)

If it is a quilt for a guest bed be warned that even the nicest guests can be prone to putting their grubby suitcases on your heirloom quilt![:(]

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Thanks all - you've been very helpful.

Went to Mondial Tissus in Limoges today and was overwhelmed by the amount of different materials.  We were just about to leave and spotted some packs of 8 different colours in half metre lengths, so I've brought 2 packs and plan to do a small piece to start off with to see if I like doing it.  I can always use it as a table centre if it goes well.  All I need now are some templates.

Funnily enough, a friend came over this morning to drop something off and I mentioned it to her.  She does patchwork herself and has offered to teach me, so I'm going over later on this week for a few lessons.

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Kathie said

"If you are quilting then you need a large frame and (depending on whether you plan to quilt by hand or by machine) a sewng machine with a walking or even feed foot, a darning foot and a means of covering or dropping the dog feeds. "

The quilting doesn't have to be done on a large frame, a quilting hoop could be used. There are people / shops etc. who own large quilting machines who will do the quilting for you, at a price of course.


Good Luck, glad you have found the shop in Limoges and a friend to help you get started.

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I don't know anyone who uses a large frame for quilting.

In our group, if someone has a full-size quilt to be done, it's a communal effort to do the sandwiching part on the big tables, and we all help to do the basting with the curved needles to hold the layers together.

Many people do the quilting with no frame or hoop at all.   The most common frame is the one made of plastic tubes that you can take apart when you're not using it and pack it away.   Or a circular wooden one that's a more costaud version of an embroidery one.  http://home.howstuffworks.com/selecting-tools-for-quilting.htm

But all that's for later - get the top done first! [:)]    Oh, and you can make your own templates too!

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I've been patchworking for probably nearly two years now, mum and I started as we wanted to join a group to learn french.  The ladies are so nice (although older) and are helping us with our language and especially my mum as she is getting more confident to talk to people who she knows will try very hard to understand her and correct her where she's wrong.  At first it was exhausting learning a new skill and trying to talk/listen in french but it's getting easier.

There are so many sites on the internet and forum's.  If I was you, to be honest I wouldn't start with hexagons, we did do a single flower for a sampler on our first project and I enjoyed it but this was something like 20 odd hexagons not the 2000 odd you'd need for a quilt. My first quilt though was a kingsize 16 patch with 4 patch's too and that was a challenge enough. 

I'm glad you found mondial tissues I haven't been in there yet, my ds tantrums too much and wants to go in king jouet !! but be advised if you get into the patchwork, fabric in the us is soooooo much cheaper and postage is usually 10$ for 8 or 9 yards

I only tend to buy  fabric in france if i've run out and want to get something finished.

Good luck and let us see your results !

Take care


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Excellent way to learn and improve your language skills.


After 20 plus years you too may end up with  a collection like this![:)]


"Blanche Neige has had an exhibition at a vineyard in Surrey, (the quilts are not for sale so it is not an ad, before anyone asks)

The rag rugs are by Gills friend, Jackie."


Blanche Neige who has a large frame (!!) and several hoops as well! LOL

If you spend too long sitting and quilting you too may achieve a large frame of a different nature![Www]

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Suninfrance, I made a note of this advert which I saw in a shop window today.

An Exhibtion of of cross stitch, patchwork, traditional embroidery and other needlework

6th to 15 April - Salle St Martin, Office de Tourisme, Souillac

Opening hours 10.00 to 12.00 and 15.00 to 19.00.

Trouble is I have no idea of what the standard is going to be.

I'm thinking of going along myself, but I'm much nearer to Souillac than you are.


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Hi Hoddy

That looks like it could be worth a visit.  I'll see if a couple of friends want to come along too.  Souillac is about and hour and a half away from us - we drive through it on our trips to the place we go canoeing in the summer.

I've got my material now and have just ordered some templates, so hopefully I can get started in the next week or so.

I went over to a friend this morning to look at hers and it's absolutely gorgeous.  It's given me some ideas and she also gave me some tips.  I've got a couple of other friends who are interested in learning too, so we may all get together over coffee/wine and start our projects together.

Thanks everyone for all the tips and advice.  I'll let you know how I get on.


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