Saturday, 24 May 2014

Finally - the 9th and final square in Learning Curves in 9 Squares

First of all I am going to start with a plea for help. A couple of years ago I bought a cotton backed gold foil fabric from a quilting shop - it was part of their Christmas range. This is not gold coloured, but a true metallic foil stuck to cotton. It cuts, stitches and FMQs beautifully. And I can't get hold of any more. The shop has sold out, can't remember which rep they have got it from and has no plans to get more. I have tried many shops in the UK, even big ones like Cotton Patch who can not help. I have searched on the internet and bought several things to try, but have not been able to find this cotton backed foil. I can't be the only person to have used this. If anyone could let me know of a source I would be VERY grateful!

I can't remember when I posted the first of the 9 squares from this piece, but there have been so many diversions to show quilts and bloggers festivals and other things. Sorry about that.

This is a long post - lots of photos - so get a cup of tea/coffee ready!!

Today we have arrived at the 9th and final Square 'How does your Garden Grow'

How does your Garden Grow form Learning Curves in 9 Squares

And looking at this photo, you might be forgiven for thinking how your garden grew was upside down! Or could it be the photo that is upside down? However, I think this motif works any way up and think of it as hanging flowers here. It is another design that you can stretch and squeeze at will giving short dumpy flowers to long thin ones and anything in between. It is what I call a 'there and back' design, meaning that it ends at the starting point. You need to travel along the guide lines to the next start point - or do an awful lot of stopping and starting. Guess which method I used!!

And now for the whole piece - all 9 squares together. I promised you a bit of a surprise with this. It is a very small surprise, and I think you will have guessed what I was planning before now. If not, just look at it for a moment or two before reading on.

Learning Curves in 9 Squares

I hope it is pretty obvious that the lines flow across the squares to form one continuous design. If not, let me know!!

The embryo of this piece was in a stitch sample that I did in orange thread with no other aim than to practise. I had some fabric dyed in the same orange and used it for a binding (and no, I don't usually put bindings on my practice pieces!). I really liked the look of thread and binding in the same colour. I had also wanted to vary/develop what I had done in Strata - my first show quilt.

So I thought I would experiment with similar organic flowing lines but this time divide the piece into squares, with one motif per square. The colour scheme was dictated by matching thread and dyed fabric that I already had.

Arrow Head and Cobbler's Nightmare from Learning Curves in 9 Squares

I call it 'Learning Curves' because it is a trial piece. So, what have I learnt?
Dividing it into squares certainly makes it a lot easier to quilt, and I do think the method works. I've slip stitched the squares together with double thread. The stitching isn't visible and it is strong enough to hold the weight of the quilt. Having one motif per square I think works well, as does the thread/binding colour link.

The importance of colour I have already touched upon. Paler colours just get lost at a distance.
For me, the biggest problem of the piece is a lack of focal point. Strata suffers from the same problem, (which is why I think it only got a 'satisfactory' in the show). Both pieces are an excuse for me to indulge in FMQ which I love so much, but I need to find a stronger design to carry it off. Humm. Back to the thinking board.

Oh, and one last lesson - don't take so many photos. I think this post has taken me almost as long to prepare as to quilt!! I hope you enjoy them.

All Aflame and Swirls from Learning Curves in 9 Squares

4 squares joining from Learning Curves in 9 Squares

4 squares joining from Learning Curves in 9 Squares

Fly away home and Sticks and Stones from Learning Curves in 9 Squares

4 squares joining from Learning Curves in 9 Squares

Arrow Head and How does your Garden Grow from Learning Curves in 9 Squares

Learning Curves in 9 Squares - detail

Hour Glass and All Aflame from Learning Curves in 9 Squares

4 squares joining from Learning Curves in 9 Squares

Learning Curves in 9 Squares - detail

Learning Curves in 9 Squares - detail

4 squares joining from Learning Curves in 9 Squares

Cobblers Nightmare and Not on my Parade from Learning Curves in 9 Squares

Thanks for dropping by

Hilary Florence

Please find below a list of linky parties. I may not link with all of the every week, but with some of them most weeks. Please go and have a look at some of the other wonderful quilts and quilters there.
Anything goes Mondays @
Linky Tuesday at Free motion by  the river­­­­ @
Fabric Tuesday @    
Sew cute Tuesday @ 
Show and tell Tuesday @
WIP Wednesday at freshly pieced   @
WOW = WIPs on Wednesdays  @  
WIP Wednesday at TN + TN  @
I Quilt Thursdays @
Really Random Thursdays @
Needle and Thread Thursday @
Off the wall Fridays @


  1. such a great way to have a sampler of stitch designs, and how they look in different sizes and orientations. I love how the curves flow through the piece. And whatever you do, do not stop taking pictures - love looking at the details!

  2. I love your FMQ work, you are such an inspiration to me! Do not try to guess what quilt show judges are going to like, make sure you make the quilts you love! And enter your work in more than one show! I entered 1 quilt in 2 distinct and very different shows and received 2 very different critiques. No, I didn't win anything, but I learned from this, and I love that quilt which is now hanging in my home!

  3. Love your quilting as well. Thank you for sharing so many examples. I have tried to match flows through pieces and know how challenging it can be!

  4. OMG just amazing FMQ! Love it,

  5. Amazing work, as usual! I love the way the curvy lines flow from one small quilt to the next. How big is Strata? Was it hard to keep those curves smooth on a big piece?

  6. Practice makes perfect. Amazing work and yes, it flows oh so beautifully together! Thanks for sharing.

  7. You are having so much fun!! I'm totally going to try some of this once I'm on summer break from teaching! Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Absolutely stunning!!! I LOVE it!! Great job, and thank you so much for the wonderful inspiration!

    ~ Jess ~
    Everything Is Coming Up Rosie

  9. This has been a fascinating journey. I'm so lucky I got to follow along. The fact that it ended with all the blocks, flowing into one another still has me speechless........or is it wordless? It's a stunning piece and I can't wait to see what you do next.

  10. This is awesome! I could just stare at it for hours, it's so interesting! Good job!

  11. What a clever project! This looks magnificent, I'm going to be doing more FMQ soon so I'll have to keep this type of individual piece project in mind!

  12. Your quilting is stunning, Hilary!! So intricate and delicate!! The pieces are all so different but coherent at the same time. Gorgeous!!!


  13. Absolutely gorgeous quilt! And what lovely inspiration for future endeavors!

  14. WOW! your quilting is fabulous!!

  15. Beautiful quilting, Hilary!!! I love it!!

  16. Having just started out longarming, I have enjoyed this series, Hilary, and it has my wheel spinning about tailoring how I want to attack practice. I love your finished piece! Thanks for sharing : )

  17. Great project! Your continues flow adds so much more interest to the whole thing. Well done!

  18. Please stop by tomorrow and grab yourself an "I was Highlighted" at Tuesday Archives! One of our themes this week is design (quilting) and work is inspirational! Val from