Thursday, 9 October 2014

Project zero - A bit of English Plasma Piecing

I find myself at the beginning of autumn with the weather having taken a dramatic change in the cold direction, in the middle of many quilting projects which I started in the summer, hoping they would be in use for this exact weather! As with many crafters I find that things seem to take longer than I anticipate, mainly due to the excitement of starting new projects and getting new fabric.... I mean, of course I need new pretty fabric, I am starting to use it already....

I have, however, decided for my own sanity that I should try to complete one of these many exciting projects in the near term. It is one of my dear friend and esteemed colleague's 30th birthday next week, therefore I am determined to get his present finished in time for the actual day... something that I have not achieved for any of my other craft gifts to date :-/

This project is quite a geeky one. I wanted to make a cushion cover with a picture our plasma machine, MAST, on the front. It has a good iconic shape to those in fusion research and the real diagnostic pictures of it show the plasma as purple which really appeals to me! We are currently in an upgrade phase so I thought I would make the picture on the cushion of the new machine and what I imagine to be the new plasma we may be able to make in our experiment.

My favourite 'pic' of the MAST plasma
The Upgrade!

I decided to use English Paper Piecing to make it because some of the shapes are quite odd and I wasn't sure how easy it would be to make. It's been quite exciting as it is the first time I have made my own template rather than making blocks I have seen. Making the templates actually took a while as it is hard to get the shapes to line up, and as you can imagine it has been really simplified from the real MAST/MAST Upgrade!

I chose fabrics in keeping with the style of MAST pictures and hoping to keep the cushion suitable for a bachelor pad at the same time; tricky when you have a lot of really cute fabrics! Then I set about piecing the front.

I had a little helper....

This is Sherlock, or Sherley to us most of the time so she doesn't forget she is a little girl. She is ever so keen to help....

Another useful thing I found whilst EPPing my way through the cushion was that when you get larger parts of fabric attached together and start to struggle to line up the seams nicely, without giving yourself claw hand, is to use hair grips. I found if I used hair grips to hold the seam together every inch or so it was a lot easier to sew and I could even keep one eye on the Bake Off.

The batting I am waiting for should have been delivered today, but alas, it is waiting at the post office so I will have to collect on Saturday morning. With any luck I should have it ready for the special day next Wednesday. I know it isn't the prettiest design for a cushion but, trust me, us fusion geeks love this sort of thing!

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