Sunday, April 25, 2010

Little finishes

When I was young, my mother told me not to start any new projects until I had finished what I had started. I think it stifles me to do that now and my abilities wouldn't grow without tryng new things.
However, the time comes when I really need to finish the annoying little things hanging around like this yarn bag I started last year. It didn't take long, I only had one handle and some flowers and leaves to do. I love it and now I have a special yarn project bag. The pattern is from Attic 24, be warned, once you start looking around, your fingers will start itching to crochet something colourful.
It hold so much and it's squishy and soft.
My other little finish was the pincushion kit I got from Ma Mercerie. I love how it turned out but I have to say when I looked at the macro photo, I can see areas for improvement, just little ones. My tension is a lot better than on the thimble ring I did. I found a lot of information on Ma Mercerie and on Temari Train that helped a lot.

For those who asked how the thimble is used, go to this post. 
After being a slacker last week, I did get to make 28 klosjes this week,
Please don't mind the ones turned the wrong way.
I have them stored by colour so I can see which piles need more. I think I'll start assembling soon. Total now is 129.
Just a little tidbit to finish off because I have to get ready, I'm off to a one year olds 1st birthday party.

I recieved a lovely gracious email from Rannveig about my little purse tutorial being the same as hers. Click here to see hers. It's purely coincidental as can happen and I applaud bloggers who keep an eye on these things.
Her one has the same shape and size and the zip is machine sewn in whereas mine is hand sewn. Her pattern is from a purse she had bought I think and mine came from a Japanese book but with changes made. I'll add a little note about this on the tutorial as soon as I have time. It's a very common purse and there are a lot of patterns out there the same or similar as we now realise.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A pause from quilting, I've been sidetracked.

What a mail week I've had, remember this toile I fell in love with? Cathy from Cabbage Quilts sent a wonderful RAK to me. I adore it and she sent some favourite chocolates and a beautiful wee card. How lucky can a quilter get?
And then I nearly had a tear in my eye because she sent me this fabric. I remember seeing it a very long time ago but it was too late, it was all gone. What a special treasure. Bloggers are among the most sharing and generous, and inspirational  people and Cathy sure is one of them, thank you heaps my  friend!
When I went shopping last, I picked up some Japanese products. I've been wanting these leather thimbles for my hand piecing of the klosje blocks. You wear them on the first knuckle of the middle finger to hold the eye of the needle while you do the running stitch.
After I paid for my goodies, I spied these cuties in a cabinet, they're going to be great for zipper pulls. Actually, do they look a bit South Park to you? I'll call them babies in hooded jackets thank you!
And that's not all, there's more I wanted to share with you. Do I sound like an infomercial? Oh sorry but I'm a bit excited about the next lot of stuff.

I'm channelling the half of me that's Japanese I think. Darn shame my mother never taught us all the language , then I'd be able to read, I could have been an interpreter, I would have loved that. Imagine working with Japanese quilters, sigh.

Anyhow, I got mail from Japan, I might not be able to read or write it but I sure know how to order it on the internet. ( now I have to go on a silly budget)
The book on the right is a pattern book for making Kubinuki, translated it means Japanese thimble.
Here's a photo from the book which shows what looks to be some antique thimbles. These were made from paper, silk padding and fabric. The author's Grandmother (or mother, don't know which but she looked like Grandmother) taught her the art to pass it on. They were used to hand sew the silk Kimono because the metal or leather thimbles were too wearing and damaging for the delicate silk.
They reminded me of Temari in their intricate stitching designs.
Step by step photos and diagrams mean that I can understand what the method is.
So being the sort of person that sees something gorgeous that involves needles and thread, I have to have a go. That's how I started with quilting, Hardanger embroidery, Temari etc. I think I'm stitching my way around the world with my needle. I ordered this kit from Chloe Patricia of Ma Mercierie. It was only $US8 so I bought two. I have to justify the postage you know.

You get the instructions along with the base already made up with two rows of stitching done for you and then you just carry on.
So here it is, my very first Japanese silk thimble stitched with very fine silk thread. Not too shabby for a first timer. I can see the pitfalls, the room for improvement but I loved doing it.
Here's the second kit I bought which is a more intricate design, I can understand how to do  it even though there are no instructions with this one. This is all that's included in the kit. The silk thread is very fine. The black wool felt form is to insert  to make it into a mini pincushion. I'll let you know how it goes.
As you can imagine, there's not a lot of quilting going on while I just satisfy this need to embroider.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Missing in action

I stepped away from the computer, I sewed and it was great!
I finally got this quilt top sewn up, it's been in sections on the wall and off the wall. Thank goodness I'd taken a photo so I could put the jigsaw back together. I can tell you, this one is a load off my mind, It had been the cause of stalling on other projects I'd rather play with.
I've resisted starting any new projects all year but when the need strikes, I give in to temptation. I've been in the doldrums, nothing major but a new project cures that so I've found out.

I wanted something quick and fresh looking and I knew I wanted to use white. After a false start on something else, I started on nine patches and snowball blocks and then I just kept making them. I love the black and white prints scattered in these. You know I love red and white!
Here's the inspiration. The blocks in the book are only 9cm, about 3 1/2" but I made mine 6" finished. It'll end up as a small quilt, maybe lap size.
The book is one I've shown before by Suzuko Koseki
So now I have the two projects on my design wall that I really want to keep working on and it's a happy sight walking into the sewing room now.
I'm sorry to report that the klosje blocks took a back seat this week and the total number of blocks is... zero, that's right, nothing, none, nada, zip, zilch. I have some catching up to do.

P.S. I nearly forgot to tell you that Pam from Piecefully has set up a Flickr group for anyone who has made or is making a Kim McLean pattern as well as those who are just interested in them.  It's called Kim McLean quilt love and you can go visit or join here where you can even see my unfinished works in progress.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Some show and tell

Finally, after a lot of procrastination, I finished the cot quilt for my dear grandson, I wish I had made it bigger but I was using what I had on hand. I ran out of the orange stripe in the inner border that I wanted to use for the binding but found an orange check that seemed good. I'm very pleased it's finished.
I have to show off some delicious fabrics that arrived this week. The two toiles are from a Jennifer Paganelli line from way back, I was really wanting the purple version but I don't think any could be found now.
These are a mix of Tanya Whelan fabrics, some of which may end up as pillowcases.
Wonderful mail again today. I can't say enough great things about Patsy Thompson's machine quilting DVD's, I've been meaning to get this one since last year. It only arrived today so I haven't watched it all yet. Patsy has a way of taking the fear out of machine quilting and making it seem do-able.
Tuesday nights are quilting nights for a small group I belong to that meet in each other's homes, there are nine of us. My friend Connie from the group kindly gave permission for me to photograph the quilt on her wall while we were there last night. Unfortunately, the photos don't do it justice and these were taken with a flash.
Connie hadn't been quilting for long when she did the class for a reversable log cabin quilt done with Asian fabrics. It's more of a coverlet since it doesn't contain any batting, nor is it tied. It really is quite stunning in real life.
We lifted the quilt up to turn it a little so I could give you an idea of how the other side looks. Every block has a different Sashiko stitching design.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Big stitching

I promised myself that I would finish the quilting on this cot quilt that I've been very, very tardy about finishing. In my defense, it is a very warm puffy wool batting, too hot for summer and my GS has just gone into a cot after being in a baby hammock. It's done now but I need to bind it with some orange and I've run out of the stripe I used. Maybe if I got all different oranges and did a scrappy binding? The whole quilt was made entirely from stash in the cupboard and that feels good.
My reward for doing the cot quilt was to get some stitches into this one. I'm using varigated perle cottons, (number 8) and just picking up whichever one takes my fancy.
I'm doing all the straight lines and outline quilting by eye without any marking.
It was hard to come up with something in these bigger spaces, I got there in the end.
I'm loving the quilt even more now it has quilting added. Just a note to those of you who want to give big stitching a go, make sure the knot you pull through is small and be careful, too hard of a tug and you may tear the fabric. Sometimes it helps to press your finger down on the fabric behind the knot to create some tension.
I raced to get some klosje blocks done in time for today, these fifteen were hurriedly stitched last night and added to the pile makes for a total of 
Happy stitching, Janet

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Hands up if you love basting quilts. That's definitely not my favourite job. I've searched high and low for a method that saves my back and my knees and doesn't involve weird yoga like positions on the floor that cripples me for a couple of weeks and requires Chiropractic care.

A few years ago Mr Q built me this basting frame which I might add, can also double as a quilting frame if I so desire. At the time I thought it was brillaint but it had a major disadvantage. I won't go into great detail but the setting up of it and the rolling, unrolling needing two people  got to me.
I paid for the last big quilt to get basted but here the longarmers charge the same price as doing an all over quilting pattern and thats out of my range.

I have been wanting to try Sharon Schamber's method and so I spent an afternoon this Easter doing just that.
Here are the U Tube links so you can watch the videos.

 I had the slats of wood off the basting frame so it cost me nothing. It involves starching the backing, rolling that and the top on slats and as they get unrolled with the batting inbetween, you thread baste using a tailors tack stitch. I used the dining table and went surprisingly quickly. This method can be used if you intend to machine quilt or hand quilt.
I've used a new batting for this quilt. It's Quilters Dream Orient. It's a mix of cotton, silk and tencel which is a plant material.
My favourite batting is Quilters Dream Request, the thinnest 100% cotton batting. I was keen to compare the two. The Orient is super smooth and a thicker batt than the Request cotton but very soft and drapeable. I'd think it would be beautiful for machine quilting and big stitch hand quilting but not for fine traditional stitching.
The basting stitches are removed as you quilt which is a plus. I'm not sure how I'll go with the hand quilting though as it seems to me that the big stitches on the front may be finger catchers. I will let you know.
I had to think hard over whether I would hand quilt or machine quilt since I have so much on the go, it looked like machine quilting would win. That is until I pulled out these perle cottons. I'm a sucker for these varigated threads and big stitching, sigh.
In case you didn't know, the quilt being basted is the pattern from the Quilt Romance book by Kaffe Fassett and is shown on the cover.
We had to go to the mall today, which by the way I hate doing. I feel like malls suck the life blood out of me. Good thing is the threads I got and  the glasses Mr Q organised. The best part is having coffee and a macaroon at the Lindt chocolate Cafe and I had to get these blocks of chocolate. Look Amy! Look Cathy!
The Caramel is my new favourite and the sea salt has finally hit the shores of Australia.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Party of five

I've got the bad bunnies in line now that I bought in reinforcements. Meet alpha male bunny who likes to take charge.
The lure of some fresh, crunchy carrots did the trick.
A feast for the bunnies.
They have to sit nicely and wait patiently while we set up the party.
Happy bunnies.
Thanks Cath for the pattern in the Homespun magazine, I had a ball making these.
Thanks Clare for the free tutorial for the carrots. I reduced the pattern by 60% to make them more manageable for the bunnies.
Thanks Jeanette for making bunnies too and pointing me to the carrots.

Since I've been so busy rabbiting, not so many klosjes but I'll get going and  prep a whole lot more today.
Wishing you a very happy Easter weekend, Janet