I fell for the Merrow Croft pattern at the Festival of Quilts in 2019, where I met Margaret Mew and was enchanted by her work. My wonderful friend Michelle very kindly (and sneakily) bought me the pattern and gifted it to me later, just when I really needed something to smile about. It's taken me some time to start working on it but my plan was to finish a couple of other things first - they're getting there! With everything that's going on though I decided I really needed something that was no pressure, that I would enjoy making and that was a bit of a challenge. For those reasons, I have chosen to work on the Merrow Croft pattern for The 100 Day Project and you can follow my progress at #100daysofmerrowcroft. Obviously there's a lot of hand sewing in this quilt so I don't expect to be anywhere close to a finish after 100 days, all progress is good though and I'm excited to spend a little time each day working on it. It's mostly hand piecing and hand appliqué, I have looked at how Margaret stitches and preps her work so that I can try and do things in the way she does, much of which I have never done before. Learning is my love, I get excited about new information and trying different techniques... more on that shortly. 

I have chosen some fabrics for the quilt (see the first picture), however it may be subject to change and additions! I have no plan, I'm working on each section or round at a time and choosing the fabrics as I go. These were my choices for the central part of the quilt:

I had to fussy cut the clouds, I'm not always a fan of too much fussy cutting but those faces are too cute not to!  

Fabrics: Gale Clouds, Zephyr by Rashida Coleman-Hale & Leopard grid, Gleaned by Carolyn Friedlander.

The next pieces form a frame to applique the central circle on to. I had the templates for this pieces and I am glad of it as they are unusual shapes and it made the prep quicker. 

Fabrics: Gale Clouds, Zephyr by Rashida Coleman-Hale and Shirt Tales by Rosie Brown for South Sea Imports

Fabrics: Griswold Plaid in Cranberry, Greenfield Hill by Denyse Schmidt & Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Denim.

This was my first challenge, I have never appliqued anything onto a 'frame', where it's not a solid background fabric. This was weird, filling a hole! And yet it worked out pretty well. One of the things I love about hand piecing is the accuracy and I'm sure that helped with the alignment of these two sections. I always use 50 weight Aurifil for hand piecing and I switch to 80 weight for hand applique, it's so fine and makes for perfect applique stitches. 

The next part is another frame, for the section above. This time though you reverse the applique and position the central part underneath the frame and then applique the edges on top. 

Fabric for the outer frame: Aerial in silver, Friedlander by Carolyn Friedlander.

I don't think I did this so well, it's not perfectly curvy but it was fun to stitch and I'm not aiming for perfection. Also I'm super happy with how it looks overall so I'm good with it being a bit flat in places. The grid prints and plaid look so cool together - I'm realising that the rest of the quilt may not coordinate perfectly with the central panel - which almost looks neutral to me now I've started picking fabrics for the next bits. But I can make it work, I think.

The next round was borders, I full on 'cheated' (I know, it's not cheating... it feels like that a bit though... but not enough to stop me) and machine pieced these. Straight lines do not excite me (unless it's hand quilting), I rotary cut the pieces and whizzed them through the machine. Then there are leaf shapes and circles to hand applique. These stripes add such a nice pop! I've started stitching the leaves - they will look like the middle top one when finished. 

Fabrics for borders: Aerial in silver, Friedlander by Carolyn Friedlander & On The Grid in Citron, Moonlit, Rashida Coleman-Hale.
Fabrics for applique: Belonging, Passion Flower by Anna Maria Horner & unknown bias stripe print purchased from Amitie (if anyone can identify it, please let me know in a comment below!).

Last week I spent three days in Cardiff with my family, visiting my sister and her beautiful family. I wanted to prep some sewing to take with me (I actually do sew every day for my 100 day project and try not to skip a day, even when I don't post about it on social media). The central panel was getting too bulky so I moved on to another border, which has applique. For this section, Margaret Mew back basted the applique, again I've never done this before. I watched a couple of YouTube videos and read some blog posts, I think I know what I'm doing. I prepped all the squares and have been back basting, it actually is pretty quick and now they're all done, so sure hope I like doing applique this way. It does make sense to me. I'm going to wait until I am up to this bit of the pattern before continuing but I will let you know how it goes!

Do you enjoy a challenge, learning new techniques? What's a sewing/quilting technique you'd like to try? Share in the comments below, maybe I have never tried it either and it would be fun to give it a go!