Monday, April 21, 2014

Australian Quilt Convention

Regular readers may remember that my quilt Rings and Roses was selected as the New South Wales Best Of Show quilt last year. All the State winners then get judged at the AQC in Melbourne for the Best of Australia award. Bernina who is the main sponsor sends these quilts and their makers to Melbourne and that's where I was last week.
 
This is the World Heritage building where the show is held and I was very excited to see it at last. It was my first visit to Melbourne and the city turned on some lovely sunny weather for us.
My face book friends already know that my quilt was announced as Australia's best quilt. My feet haven't touched the ground yet and its one of the most incredible moments I've experienced, such a joy for me to say the least.

The award was presented by Mr HP Ueltschi, the owner of Bernina international.
What an amazing honour and privilege to have my quilt selected as the other state quilts were very special and you can see them here.
I'm looking as gobsmacked as I felt in the photo below. It was scary making a speech but I got through it without blubbering or sounding like a complete idiot. I'm most proud of the fact that my quilt was the only hand quilted one judged.
My quilt got a lovely beauty queen sash, pretty exciting to see.
I recieved this gorgeous glass trophy which I take care of for a year. It's large and really heavy. It still needs engraving and Bernina apparently gift me with a smaller one. In addition I recieved a generous cash prize.
At the Gala dinner, there was a gift from Bernina at each place setting. I stole my husbands one since he doesnt need a pincushion.
Take the time to read the label, its such a wonderful story and a treasured gift.
There were other awards presented throughout the night as well as some great entertainment. Michelle Hill has a wonderful blog post here where you can read more.
 
Lastly, thank you to my readers who talked me into putting my quilt in the Sydney show, I may not have done so without your input and wouldn't have had such an incredible experience to treasure.
 
Yours in quilting, Janet

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

One finished and one started

When the mum of our new grandson asked me to make a quilt for him, I held my breath wondering what she would ask for. Lucky for me she had a photo and it was going to be a quick no fuss one that would fit into the nursery.
I quilted in the ditch by machine and then by hand with Perle cotton #8 which made for a very light and soft quilt. For the next quilt that has Perle thread for quilting, I'm going to aim for bigger stitches which is hard for me to do.
My friend and I went to Quiltsmith last Friday for our monthly Aunty Green class and admired all the Kaffe quilts displayed around the shop. It was pretty inspiring and since I didn't sign up for a class with the boys, I decided to have a workshop of my own, all by myself.
I wanted something quick and easy so what's better than going back to basics with squares?
Here's what's on my design wall so far. Hopefully I can play with it some more this coming weekend.
until next time, Janet
 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Applique and other things

I had a couple of free afternoons to work some more on the Aunty Green quilt and gathered up some courage to trim the last four borders of the quilt. Its always a bit nerve wracking for me because I'm always afraid I'll make some humungous mistake with the measurements and cutting.
If you've done applique, you would know all about the distortion that occurs after stitching. When it's a border it seems to compound. I folded each applique border in half and found that my center basting line no longer marked the true center.
I get around it by folding the border in half, pressing and remarking the center lines.
Once I had done that to all four borders and joined them to the center of the medallion, it was time to add the additional applique to the corners.
 There was some negative space that was a bit obvious that I didn't like so I've added a leaf here, a bud there to make the corners look a bit more balanced.
See the center bloom in the photo above?  That's been prepped using the freezer paper and starch method so even though its been glue basted in position, it still needs stitching.
 The stem, leaves and plaid bloom at the bottom above are extra additions to fill negative space. 

Here's a close up of a flower that was done with the same method, yet to be stitched.
The class starts up again at Quiltsmith next week so I want to get a start on the next border before then.
 I forgot to tell you that we had a new addition to the family. This cute little guy was born on Christmas eve to my stepson and his partner. Since they live in another state, we've only just met him last week when they came to visit family and friends.It's nice to be a Nana again.
Here's another addition to the Quiltsalott house. Meet Tully, a four year old Jack Russell.
We're providing a home for her for the next year as a favour to a family that has had to move interstate. They have a paid for rental for the next year that doesn't allow pets.

The challenge is on, she comes totally spoilt, untrained, barks, likes to dig for an escape, doesn't respond to her name but she's very affectionate. She's making me do my walks, a good thing.

I saw an ad in the vets window today that looks promising. Training for adult dogs. I'll find out more, it could be faster than me doing it on my own. This dog is going to learn who is in charge and it ain't her.
We've had two of our own Jack Russells and a Doberman in this house so we knew what we were taking on. 
Until next time, Janet 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Giving applique a bath

I got busy doing some prep for two applique borders before Christmas so I could sit and relax with some stitching. I feel like I've been productive now that two are done. The first is for my Baltimore and the second is for the Aunty Green.
The Baltimore border has lots of embroidered stems which I did using a wrapped stem stitch. You might be able to see if you click on the photo above.
I draw the pattern on the background with my special pens and I do use basting glue so my applique needs a good bath when I'm done.
I generally fill a sink with warm water, not too hot and leave the piece to soak for anything from 15 minutes to half an hour depending what else I'm busy with. I do swish it around in the water a couple of times and I'll only add a dye catcher sheet if I'm concerned about some of the fabrics bleeding. I don't need to use them to catch the ink in the pens. I pre-wash most fabrics but sometimes those reds bleed regardless. 
You can see how the water has changed colour from the ink,it's suspended in the water and has never affected my fabrics or run onto them. They are acid free and non toxic. Sometimes I steam press my applique with a hot iron and that doesn't even affect how effectively it washes out. I have left ink in a quilt for a couple of years and it still washes out beautifully. For more information, see this post.
I rinse a couple of times in cold water and then squeeze, not wring the excess out. I then flatten it out on a towel as in the photo above, roll it up inside the towel to get more water out and leave it flat to dry.
Once it's dry, I'll double a towel on the ironing board and give it a good press with steam. The soft surface stops the applique from pressing too flat and it helps to get the wrinkles out between the applique shapes.
 It's hard to get a good photo of long borders but you get the idea. I've left quite a bit of negative space to fit some nice quilting in and I also didn't want the border to be too busy looking. There's still more to do to turn the corners at each end but I can't do that until later when sides are joined.
I finished another border for the Aunty Green quilt and thought I'd show you more close up photos so you can see the fabrics. The above is the center section.
The right side
And lastly, the left. I have to do some math now and do some trimming before I join the last four borders to the center medallion. After that I guess I have to get on and fill the corner applique parts in. That could take awhile.
Until next time, happy stitching, Janet

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A new old quilt and little cotton rabbits

Happy New Year to you all!
Now that Christmas gifts have been unwrapped, I'd like to share with you this red and green antique quilt that my husband gave to me.
It's one of my favourite patterns in my favourite quilt colours. I know it as Whigs Rose but I'm sure it has other names depending on the political affiliations back in the day.
It was made around 1860 and was definitely pre-loved as the red fabrics and binding are looking pretty worn.
No worries about how to turn the corners on the borders, it looks like they were just placed at whim, I love that but I'm not brave enough to do it to my own quilts.
There are feathered wreaths quilted between the blocks and in a couple of other places. They don't show up very well because of the shrinkage and cotton batting. It's pretty expertly quilted with triple lines going through all the applique. Who quilts like that now?
The applique stitches are tiny and even, done with beige thread stitched in an overcast manner. I think this quilter must have been an accomplished sewer.
I put my hand in the photo to show just how tiny those berries are. This will be a quilt for display every Christmas now.
 
I can show you what I had been busy making for the grand children for Christmas now they've received them. I think they have a competitive streak when it comes to soft toys and cushions on their beds so these were well received.
It started off with this wee fella. The patterns are from Little Cotton Rabbits. I've always secretly coveted the rabbits Julie makes to sell so I was very happy when she started releasing the patterns which you can find here.
It didn't take much to talk me into making one for each of the kids despite never having made a kniited soft toy in my life. Every one came out looking a bit different depending on the wool used for the rabbit and that also seemed to determine the size and shape of each one.
 
Until next time, Janet