Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gone quilting and thoughts turn to batting

Summer is around the corner along with the hot weather so I've spent quite a few evenings this past month hand quilting that old thing that's been hanging around.
Round and round I go, echo quilting in the borders. I have two completed and the last two are half quilted. Don't clap yet, I have trapunto to do.
I've used a Quilter's Dream Request cotton, Request is the thinnest weight and I used the bleached one.
I used to think this batting was the be all and end all batting but I've since changed my mind.
I like cotton for the crinkly, thin antique look and I like the Dream Orient for Perle quilting that's got a better loft.
Having a natural material is important to me for two reasons. It's better from a fire safety view and a Polyester causes the sweats in bed because it doesn't breathe, it traps moisture.
I'm thinking of also going back to a wool for extra warmth and for showing the stitches in a different way. It's much lighter in weight than cotton but the last time I used one was years ago and showed fibres on the surface of the quilt otherwise known as bearding.
Wool batting has come along way and I decided for hand quilting, I'd give this one a go. It will quilt like butter and I'm looking forward to it. It's not needle punched and it doesn't have a scrim. The fibres are thermally bonded.

My only concern is how it will wash up so I'll be using it on a quilt for everyday use to test it before I use it for a lifetime quilt. I have done a google search to find some reviews and so far, I've only heard good things. I'm hoping the bugs won't like it too much
If you've had experience with this batting, I'd love to know your thoughts.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Coxcomb and Currants

I loved the coxcomb and Currents block I drew up and I love the solid fabrics which I've never done before in a quilt. I'm not one to churn out red and green quilts that will end up all looking similar using the same fabrics. A lifetime goal is to have a collection of red and green quilts that all look  different but with the same colour story. I'm interested to know if any of you have a specialty when it comes to making quilts.
The stuffed berries will add that little extra something I felt was needed when all the blocks are clones of each other with such a plain background.  The quilting plans are being formulated as I sit and stitch because I hate not having a quilting plan organised when it comes to that stage.
The block on the bottom has no place in my quilt and is going to be put aside as an orphan. That is the first one I did on very white fabric and I didn't like it so I switched to an antique white which I'm happier with.
Can you spy the mistake in the top left block? I'm leaving it as is, I kinda like knowing it's there and no, it wasn't deliberate.
Isn't this a happy photo? This is my step granddaughter. Beth is two and she lives not far from us so we get to see her quite often.
We had a visit on Saturday so I decided to keep her occupied with some painting. I put some food colouring with a bit of water in egg cups with a cotton bud in each and let her go on a large piece of paper. You can tell she had fun with that. I think she spent about half an hour rearranging pins in my pincushion and outside spraying plants with a sprayer. I better think of other activities for next time, I think she'll be expecting it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Making long stems for Trailing Vines and panel one is now available.

These instructions are  for the Trailing Vines quilt along.
First prepare your cut background panel by first pressing  it in half lengthwise and width wise.
Run basting stitches in the pressed lines by hand or by using a large stitch on the sewing machine.
I draw the lines for the edges 2 1/2" from the middle and the top and bottom so that you can be sure the leaves will be contained and not move into the seam allowance. I use a pen that washes out.
There are many methods to make bias stems and you may have your own way that you're comfortable with so go ahead with whatever method you prefer.
This is how I make mine. The stems are 1/4" for the branches and 3/8" for the main stem. I like to use the Clover bias makers.
First I starch and press the fabric.
Line up the 45 degree line on your long ruler at the bottom selvage edge.
I've butted up another ruler at the top end to give me more cutting length. Make the cut from selvage to selvage and realign rulers as you progress across to the other selvage edge.
Once the initial cut is made, fold the cut edge in half.
Cut strips 3/4" wide from the cut edge for 3/8" stems and cut strips 1/2" wide for 1/4" stems. I actually cut a smidgen over the 1/2" which gives me better results.
For the main wider stem, you'll need to make joins so that your strip will measure around 100" long.
Place strips as they are in the photo below. Draw or eyeball the bias seam and sew.
Open up the strips and trim excess fabric.
Press seam open. I secure the seam allowances down with a little basting glue or fabric glue stick so that they will move through the bias maker smoothly.
I put the pattern on my light table and place the stems with the tiniest dots of basting glue, being careful not to distort the background fabric. I try to aim the dots of glue between the leaves.
The last panel I did differently by drawing the pattern on the background and then placing the stems.

I thread baste in the middle of the main stem and the branches on one edge. (click photo to see)
This is so that as the leaves are sewn on, you can slip them under the stem so I would do one side of the branch, undo the basting and fill the other side with leaves.
Sew the edges of the stems as you complete adding the leaves to each branch.
It's your choice if you draw the pattern on panel or not. If you don't like to do that, I would suggest putting a dot on the bottom and top of each leaf placement and use those to guide you.

Panel one is now available for download. Click on the page under my header to go to the Trailing Vines page. I'm going to upload photos of each branch from panel one onto flickr.  Once I've done that, I'll add the link to the Trailing Vines page.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Experiences - priceless

Warning, no quilt content.
Mr Q and I did a photography course in Sydney last weekend and it was a consolation treat for me since missing out on going to the last quilt show there. We had held out hotel booking so used it for the weekend away which was sorely needed. Batteries are now charged.

                                                St Mary's Cathedral from Hyde Park., Sydney
The course was very good and aimed at beginners of DSLR photography. Learning about how to use the camera out of auto mode is a good thing. I think I forgot a lot of what I learnt on the day as it was very intensive. I was note keeper, Mr Q was memory keeper. Now it's all down to practice. Photos above and below are shots taken on the day using different modes and settings.

Panning, blurring backgrounds and water effects from the Archibald fountain, Hyde park.
On the way back to the hotel, we were going to stop for a coffee at the Lindt cafe but the queue was a bit long for us. Not to worry, Sydney has chocolate cafes popping up like mushrooms and down a bit is the newly opened Guylian chocolate cafe.
I can say that this was the best custard tart I have ever had in my life.
A couple of days ago we decided to head out to the Brasserie Bread cafe for brunch. I am mad about this place and it's a must to visit again. All their breads are made with GM free, organic ingredients and they set up a tasting table with baskets of bread to taste with olive oil and jams. There are glass doors where you can watch the cooking classes going on and since it's school holidays, they had 10 little rug rats making fruit pies and bread sticks.  All the kids classes are provided FREE and they all get their own masterchef aprons embroidered with their names.  You have to give them a big pat on the back for being an educational business as well as providing something to the community.
This is what I had, poached eggs with smoked trout and feta on sourdough. Low GI food I was told.
And I just had to have a plate of sourdough pancakes with berry couli and honeycomb cream. I have to make these at home sometime, what a taste sensation and quite different to normal pancakes.
Between dishes, I stood up, turned around and watched through the glass where the bakers were hard at work on the breads. That visit to the Artisan bakery fired up my enthusiasm for home made sourdough so out came the starter, a good recipe and a healthy dose of enthusiasm.
Dear bread, how I love thee, I nurtured you and handled you with gentle care and you have rewarded me with your thin crackly crust, your pretty little bubbles that I asked you for....
and your divine soft custard crumb. You rose to the challenge and gave me beautiful holes. I shall be making you again.
One’s own simple bread is much better than someone else’s pilaf. ~ Azerbaijani Proverb

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Learning curves and The Vine Quilt.

I've been away the last weekend and tied to the computer learning all sorts of new things I didn't know before now. I'm way behind on my emails and blog reading so I'm sorry and I promise I'll try to catch up this week.
The good news is that my DH and I did a photography class for a day to learn about our new Nikon DSLR D5100 and how to use it beyond the auto button. More on that at a later date.

My other big learning curve has been to work out how to make a blog button. Sorry if you came over yesterday thinking I had posted - false alarm.

The good news is that I now have a humble little blog button for you to grab (which is optional) if you are joining in on the Trailing Vines  quilt along. You'll find it on my sidebar.

I also have a new page called Trailing Vines under my header where you will be able to access the downloads and links to any information. The downloads will only be available though the links provided. The materials list and cutting information is now available.

Thank you so much for the overwhelming interest in my pattern and for all the encouraging comments. Please be kind to me because I've never done this before and if I've made any mistakes, let me know so that I can rectify them.