Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the cot quilt, labels and links

Notice the new banner? Oh right how could you miss it. That's Lindsay the rabbit there, he was made for the GD's when they visited but he couldn't find any room in the suitcases to go home with them. The pattern is from Natalie Ross.

The panel I had shown in the last post for the cot quilt was frustrating to work with. It was 26 letters by Moda and it was not a square, it was wider than the length. That, plus it was rather small and so it needed to have more width and even more length. The quilt top was a build as you go, no planning and that means I didn't have to over think it.
Don't you hate it when that happens!
I was restricted on using what was on hand and so I have just enough of the blue for the binding.
It felt very good to not have to buy anything, it justifies the stash.
I sent off a quilt to hang in a small village quilt exhibition for a friend. It only took three years to put a label on it. :(
I was ignoring my own advice and deserve a rollicking for that. I have a few labels to attach yet. Silly thing is I already have them printed up.

Now I must tell you to go and visit Jean at Linen and Raspberry. She has just started blogging and does the most elegant work. Go and have a look for yourself.

You may already know Kellie from Don't Look Now. She's another Australian who oozes creativity. She's just started selling her designs and has released another one. To celebrate, there's a giveaway so go on, take a look now! You will be amazed.

Last business for the last day of March is to thank Ranette from Ranette's Daily Stitch, she has given me the sisterhood award. I don't pass on awards but I thank her for thinking of me. Trouble is I couldn't choose a few people, I'd have to give it to everyone who leaves wonderful comments on my blog!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

One of those weeks

I haven't had a lot of sewing time this week, life happened. I did get another small compass finished and feel really comfortable doing these now so I may just get all the small ones done before doing any more big ones.
I also managed to get started onto some tarts for the the pies and tarts BOM and one pie in the background. Good to do in front of the telly. And, I did mange to do another string star, this time to finish 20" That's a better size for me. I took out the stitch and tear once the star was together and that made the set in seams a breeze to do.
This week, I asked my DD if she would like me to make a cot quilt and she jumped at that. Her time is pretty limited. I thought for a baby this cheater panel by Moda would be great, after all it is in the stash to be used. I'll need to put a border on so the blue spot looks good.
I could use your opinion as to which stripe would be the better binding. The orange lifts it and the blue/green softens it.
Possible backing options. I could use both.
And finally I did get some over ripe bananas used up, part of this to go in the freezer, part to go to two of DH's boys, oops I mean men!

Good news, DH's #2 son had a baby boy last night, a month early and a bit of drama surrounding the birth but all is well even if the little one is only a bit over 4 pound.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Books and magazines

In the last six months or so it seems like I've been on a personal crusade to add to my library of books. I'm very much into the historic quilt books ever since I've realised what a wealth of inspiration they can be. Thanks to a post by Lene at fine stitches, I found out about the book below. She likens it to the one I am doing here.
Of course I had to get it. You can find it at Amazon.
While I was out today I also had a browse at the newsagents and found this issue of Fon's and Porter magazine. Now being from the States, it was quite expensive but I justified the cost by what was inside.
I am besotted not just by the quilt (note the colour scheme people) but especially with the trees. Aren't they amazing? No pattern but a very good article by Gerald Roy where he discusses the machine quilted works he judges at shows verses the quilting on antique quilts. He voices what I have long thought.
The quilt below is a reproduction of an antique in the same magazine so you could see how easily the first quilt could be reproduced by using this pattern and drawing your own trees.
I highly recommend when you are making a pattern that you haven't done before, to first make a test block which I did for the string pieced star in my last post.
Gwen's pattern is for a 19 1/2" star but it floats on the background. In reality it's more like 17"
I want a bigger star so re-did the pattern for a 20" star.
The only downside is the set in seams, not my favourite but in the photos below you can see how I mark and pin one of the set in sections.

Slow and steady gets me there but I can't pivot at the intersection because of the bulk of the stitch 'n tear I've used on the back. I have to back stitch, take it out and start at the exact intersection again.
It works for me!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I had good intentions

of making some small compass blocks when I went into the sewing room, but these scraps were calling out to me to play with them. It's true, they were just lying around begging to be used. Out came Gwen's book, Liberated String Quilting and what fun to randomly sew strips together!
Voila! One string pieced star on red, and oh I love it! I thought the background could have been cheddar or blue or red but the red won hands down. The block will finish at 18 inches.
I often do this, get distracted by something I've seen that plays on my mind and I tell myself that I'll just make a block to see if I like it enough to do more of them. Who am I kidding, I knew I'd want to do more after being totally inspired by Pamina. she makes the most wonderful quilts. Thank you Pamina!
I have managed to make a couple more of these blocks and only have two to do before I can put that quilt top together. There's also been a fair bit of hand quilting going on as well which I really want to get finished.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Back to colour

I just feel like injecting a bit of colour on the page. This is a Freddy Moran design, it's shown in her book she co-wrote with Gwen Marston called Collaborative Quilting. There's no pattern so I drafted it. Every single fabric is a dot or spot of some kind so I called the quilt "bubble Blowout"
I made it in 2006.
It was an ideal quilt to practice machine quilting on so I did anything and everything I could think of at the time to make it fun and relaxing. It's still fairly soft and cuddly because most of the stitching was done with a fine cotton, the same Mettler I use for applique.
And what better use is there for a quilt ?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The vine quilt, panel 2

Woopeeee!!! Another one done, It's the one on the right. There are more leaves on the second panel of this quilt, more than 200 in fact. Believe it or not, I'm not sick of appliqueing leaves yet. It's just as well because it's two down, eleven to go.
I have a thread roll that I made in a class quite a few years back just for applique threads. It was before silk threads came out but to tell you the truth, I love cotton better.
A rainbow of colours! It has zipped sections with Ultrasuede that you sew the thread through, when you want a thread, thread the needle and pull it out through the Ultrasuede. These are Mettler 60 weight embroidery cottons. Nice and fine. There is also a pocket at one end and a zipped see through section on the other.
And where would I be without a small soft cushion to rest on my lap while appliqueing. It saves muscle fatigue in my arms and shoulders. Try it if you haven't already.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mariners Compass

After a mini sewing marathon yesterday afternoon I managed to finish one main compass block which measures around 23" Total time spent on this, at a guess around ten hours!
Piecing is not my strongest forte but my philosophy with this is "pretty is better than perfect" and believe me this had to be ironed into submission. I still have some issues to resolve but when I look at the antique version what do I see? Distortion and inaccuracies and it endears me more to the quilt and connects me to the quilt maker. That's what puts the soul into the quilt.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Remember this from a couple of posts back? I did say I would have to redraft the large compass because it wasn't accurate enough and no I don't have EQ 6. I prefer to try and draw it. After a lot of frustration and quite a while later, I discovered that my protractor was not accurate. Yup, I blame the tools. I had a print out of a circle with angles which helped me to proceed. The next step is to try out the piecing to see if it works and will sit flat. I'm foundation piecing these divided diamonds in strips, I know, I know, now you're probably thinking I'm a bit mad to bother! The large compass will be about 21 1/2"

So far so good, here's a partial block with a couple of sections that shows how I'm going to fit the puzzle together. The green, yellow and background have freezer paper on the back to stabilise and help me pin and piece accurately. I've already done the center which will finish at 8" and that is foundation pieced on stitch 'n tear with the center appliqued on. It's a looong process.Have you seen the rainbow quiz doing the rounds on blogs at the moment? Well I did it cause I'm a sucker! Click here if you want to do it. I will say that it says I am patient and I will keep trying to understand something until I've mastered it. Hey I knew that, just look at the compass!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One lonely block

I made this block for fun and it's not intended for a quilt so it may just get put away for a pillow or maybe to put in a sampler quilt one day. It's done using the cutaway method of applique which I really enjoy doing. The block as you see it is about 17 1/2 inches.I found the photo of this antique beauty for sale on an antique dealer's site. the blocks are paper cuts done in the scherenschnitte method. I cut a square of freezer paper the size of the block, folded it into eighths , stapled it together, drew the tulip pattern and then cut it out. I ironed the paper pattern onto the red fabric, drew around it and removed the freezer paper. I basted it and proceeded to applique, cutting out just ahead of my stitching.
The block is my version of the one on the second to last row, second from the left. I must add some circles to it one of these days.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Welcoming in Autumn

I love Autumn and Spring here in Australia., they are my favourite seasons weather wise. The only down side is that we don't have the gorgeous colour of the deciduous trees because it just isn't cold enough here.
To celebrate Autumn, I have changed the quilt on my lounge wall. This is Indian wedding ring from a Karen Stone pattern and is my first paper foundation piecing project made in 1997 for a guild challenge. I won first prize for it. It's machine quilted in that nylon thread which I wouldn't use again.

Friday, March 6, 2009

This is Elspeth

Isn't she a hoot! Elspeth and her dog sit on the treadle I have in my sewing room. My DH bought her for me a few years back on a trip to New Zealand. She was made by Doll artist, Jill Maas. You can click on the photo for more detail. She's such a lady with her accessories and her stockings. She looks so much like a woman I worked with, the resemblance is uncanny. She always makes me smile, unlike the woman I worked with!
I spent quite a lot of time working out how I was going to go about piecing the small blocks for that quilt I showed last post. As you can see I got there in the end after trying three different ways.

I switched the red to a lighter one which looks much better than the red on the section on the right. It was just too dark.
I need to draft the large compass again, I'm not happy with it, it's just not accurate enough for me. After I make a large compass, I can put the project on hold to attend to a few other things that are calling my name.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I've been productive

If you read my blog, you'd be aware that I have a love of red and green quilts and that I have a goal of producing a series of them.
I am waiting for a chrome yellow to join this group of fabrics I got in the mail today. The background is a really beautiful quality quilters muslin called Emma Louise in vanilla.
Out came the drafting tools, the set is my husband's from high school that he gave me. As you can see this one is going to be pieced not appliqued.
And TAH DAH.. here it is. The picture is out of The Ultimate Quilting Book by Maggie McCormick Gordon that I got for Christmas.
The challenge for me is in working out how to go about setting these compasses because as you see it's not a block format and the large compasses are offset. I'm not sure yet how big this will be, to do it as in the picture or to go a 3x3 setting. This photo shows the quilt on it's side so it's actually a rectangular one. No sizes given in the book.
And yes it's another long term project but I really don't care about numbers of quilts produced, I care more about doing whatever I want.
Here's an in progress shot of the vine quilt just so you know I am moving on it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

spoon quilting

There's been some interest and curiosity expressed in my using TJ's quick quilter to spoon quilt so I thought I'd try and explain a few things about it here. I don't consider myself an expert by any means but I can tell you how I manage it.
This is how I hold the spoon underneath the quilt sandwich which is not taught in the hoop.The purpose of the spoon is to create a ridge for the needle to glance off.
Here you see it being pushed up in front of the needle to create that ridge. The spoon is moved back towards the needle. The tip of the needle hits the spoon, you can feel it.
The needle is balanced back as in rocker quilting to push the needle forward off the ridge of the spoon. Once the needle comes through to the front, the spoon is relaxed and moving forward in the same moment to put the needle back into the quilt sandwich. The spoon is again moved back and up to create the ridge again.
Essentially, the spoon moves forwards and back, forwards and back while rocker quilting. The spoon is the substitute for the index finger underneath. There is a rhythm to it and like anything I guess it's practice. It didn't take me too long because I was already using a substitute for my finger underneath. All these photos are able to be clicked on for the close ups.
Jinny Beyer has some information here as well.