Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ok, now where was I?

Whoops, time has flown by and I've been so busy that my poor blog has had very little attention. I do appreciate your visits on the occasions when I do pop in and have something to say.
Even my sewing time has been cut back a bit for the last couple of months. It's just as well I go to the monthly class at Quiltsmith so I can at least keep a pace going with the Aunty Green quilt.
I cant remember if I've shown this panel before but here it is anyway.
This one took a little longer because I couldn't decide what to do for the broderie perse. I'm pretty happy with it now but I do wish the manufacturers would bring out more broderie perse fabrics. 
I'm still working on the last panel that surrounds the center. I'm liking this one a lot for it's bigger shapes. I've done a bit more prep since I took this photo so I can stitch over the holidays.
This is how the sections look so far. There's lots of measuring and trimming to do before I can join them and then fill the corners with  more applique. Of course the applique will look pretty packed in there at that stage.
Every year it's a tradition of mine to give the grandchildren a Christmas decoration for the tree. This year I made knitted these stockings for them, a free pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits. They weren't as hard as I thought they'd be but sadly my attention span was too short to make myself some.
If I don't get back to blogging before Christmas, have a very happy and joyful time with loved ones.
Until next time, Janet

Sunday, October 6, 2013

It's been ages

We've been having major Internet issues here, it seems there was a voltage leak up the road that kept making the Internet drop out and go ultra slow. I'm sorry if you missed my posts but hopefully I can update more regularly now. I sure have missed visiting my favourite blogs.

I have been fabric bombing in the sewing cave, it seems I can't play with fabric in a tidier fashion and there's no point in folding it neatly until I'm done with it anyway.
I've been keeping myself busy with a ton of drawing. I had an idea for a quilt and spent a lot of time on that.
I even shopped for Japanese fabrics for it. I proceeded to hand piece one compass and then abandoned the whole project.
At some stage I came to my senses and decided not to start something new. Guilt made me pull out an old sleeping beauty that has to be finished or it might end up never being done.
I did draw some borders for the old Baltimore quilt which I showed back here. I knew I wasn't that happy with them and so I put pencil to paper and started again. It took days which is why I put it off.
This time I used one of Sue Garman's urns from her Friendship album with some adjustments and drew the floral arrangement using some of the flowers in the quilt.
Once the drawings were finished it was time to start colouring with fabric.
Here's a peek of the first section. The corners have to be done last after they are mitred and joined to the top plus I have some embroidered stems to do as I go. I've left plenty of space to do some quilted feathers later on which I'll most likely trapunto.
I'll be back next time with an update on how I'm going on my other applique project, the mighty Auntie Green.
Happy sewing, Janet

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wrangling with a travelling rabbit

Last week I made a bunny from some vintage chenille pieces for a grand daughter's 6th birthday and it turned out to be a bit of a saga. I used a commercial pattern for a twenty inch bear (that's big) and made up the ears myself. There was fluff spread from one end of the sewing room to the other.
During the stuffing part, there was a bit of an injury to the chest area due to a weak spot in that piece of chenille.
I managed to save the limbs and made a new body and carried on. Oh dear, the ears are way too long for this poor rabbit as you can see.
After sleeping on it, I decided to unstuff the head and try and extract the ears and do them again.
So here is the final result which turned out as good as it was going to get. It's very cute for a stuffed toy bigger than a newborn baby but it is light in weight.
And of course bunny has to have a tail. I wasn't sure how to do that so turned a seam allowance on a circle, gathered it, stuffed it and sewed it in place.
It's all squishy in the middle, I tested it with cuddles.
I just didn't get to the Post Office in time to send it across the ocean so it got packed in a suitcase and flew interstate to Queensland for photographing and posting the next day. It'll be well travelled by the time it gets to it's destination.
We had a wonderful four days away to see the V and A quilt exhibition and have a relaxing break and also catch up with my son. We got to celebrate his birthday and also David's while we were up there.
 What an absolutely wonderful thing it is to see these incredible works up close.  
The embroidery on the quilts was so incredibly fine, the stitching was superb and I was surprised to see the above coverlet had been done by the English paper piecing method. That whole center was stuffed like a pillow. Not sure if that was for display. No photos were allowed so these are off the net. I also loved seeing a very old needlework casket stitched with Stump work, some sewing paraphernalia and other items of interest. It was well worth seeing.
The weather in Queensland was perfect, warm and sunny during the days cooling at night. This is their winter!. 
The locals were very friendly where we stayed in Surfer's Paradise.
These ladies dressed in gold sequined bikinis put coins in the meters along the beach front as a courtesy to the public. Not a job I would qualify for ;-)
Even the police were dressed for the weather.
Until next time, Janet

Monday, July 29, 2013

Stitching pillow take 2

This time, I know what I want, a 14" square pillow is just right for my needs. Pattern is chosen, now to make it happen.
Take some  aquas, add a little blue and pink for highlights. Cut into triangles and add some of those modern text fabrics.
After finding the block on my Blockbase programme, I printed some off ready for paper foundation piecing. This was going to be the most accurate way to sew the parts. The blocks will finish at a mere 2", now that's small.
I love my new light pad that I picked up at the quilt show. It's like an ipad, so thin, light and portable plus I have the option of changing the brightness on it. It was perfect for sitting on the table next to the sewing machine to check my seams were aligned correctly.
There were only three bits of paper to tear off each block which didn't take long and there wasn't mush fabric waste since I'd pre-cut the shapes.
Voila, all forty nine blocks are sewn together. I love it but then I knew I would when I saw this one and did a big copy cat.
I decided I'd like to handle these fabrics a bit more and hand quilt it simply with this thread I found in the stash. It's Valdani variegated 35 wt cotton.
Until next time, Janet

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A wee bit of fun

I did say I had taken a little detour from what I normally sew and I had a need for something fast. My poor stitching pillow which I use when I'm hand piecing or appliqueing has seen better days. It looks so shabby that I'm ashamed to show it. Time for a new one.
I found a great tutorial at Cluck Cluck Sew here. It's called a sprocket pillow and wow, it is fast, easy and fun. Only trouble is that I put the text fabric on wrong way round.
I was always put off making a round pillow when it doesn't have an opening for an insert. How do you wash them? I really need to know and just in case I have to put the whole thing in the wash, I used a large self covered button that is all plastic because metal would probably rust.
The back looks as fun as the front with an old  Auntie Cookie linen I had in the stash. Now the text fabric on the side is the right way up. Honestly, I have more trouble choosing fabrics for wee things like pillows, bags and pouches than I do for quilts. I made the 14 inch version.
There was one big glitch after I made this, it's too thick for to stitch with on my lap and I prefer a square shape so I'll just wait until the urge to make another pillow comes along.
I recently bought a small book from Pam Holland called The Adventures Of The Amazing Alphabet. It's a great book to read to little ones plus it has all the instructions and patterns for doing each letter of the alphabet.

Well, what letter should I choose but the "J" for my name. I just happened to find the Fabrico pens I needed on sale, I love it when that happens. Tracing and colouring it in was like going back to my childhood. Now what to do with it. It could be a wall hanging, the front of a tote or bag of some sort or maybe a pillow front for that square one I need.
Until next time, Janet

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

More applique

I've been a very slack blogger for awhile now. I keep meaning to do it sooner but I'm getting so darn frustrated with our slow Internet service which sometimes runs at a third less than normal speed. That's a downside of living in a small town I think.

Now that I've had my whinge, I better get on with giving an update with what I've been up to.
I'm caught up enough on the Auntie Green quilt so as not to feel too ashamed when I go to class this week. The centre is all done and it gets put away now until it's time to trim it when the first borders are finished.
And the first border strip is hot off the ironing board. I'm just organising the prep for the second of the four strips.
I'm trying to keep to a reproduction feel with the colours and fabrics. It's hard to tell from a photo what the true colours are but I'm happy with how it's looking so far.
I'm way behind in my block of the month for the Jane Pizar but I did get this one done which took a really, really long time.  I actually had to do it twice because I mucked up the measurements the first time. This is a small block it's only going to be seven and a half inches square once it's trimmed down by another quarter inch all the way around. Some of the other blocks for this quilt are on my header.
I better get a move on with some more homework, I'll be back next time with something totally different to show.
Until next time,  Janet

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Red and green antique quilt

Thanks to everyone that commented and congratulated me on my quilt "Rings and Roses" doing so well in the Sydney show. I had trouble with some emails bouncing when I tried to reply so if you didn't hear from me, thank you so very much once again. Other prize winners can be seen on the guild site here. Click on the top tabs to see the winners in each category. I picked up another ribbon for 2nd in viewers choice, it can't get better!
Now that I'm getting back into routine again, I thought I'd show you my very first antique quilt purchase. Of course it had to be a red and green and what a beauty.
I thought you'd like to see some close up photos of the quilting. I just adore feathers.
You can see that the green has faded with light over time. I have an AQS certified valuation which estimates the date of the quilt to be 1860. The maker is unknown and it most likely came from Pennsylvania. 
There are no holes or tears in the quilt but it does have some stains and general yellowed out areas mostly on the borders. I exagerated a stained area by editing the photo, it doesn't look as bad as this but it does show that maybe it needs a clean.
One interesting feature is how the serpentine feather quilting at the corners were handled. No need to worry about how to turn the corner, just stop and start at the seams. You gotta love that!
If you clicked on this photo, you may see that there are still sharp pencil marks still visible which indicates that quilt hasn't been washed and that is on the appraisal form.
Not all points are sharp but it doesn't detract one bit from the effect the feathered star blocks gives.
The stitching in the hand piecing is very close together and check out that puckering. So that's what they mean when they say that you can quilt it out. The quilting is very expertly done.
I need some expert advice about whether the quilt should be washed, if you have any thoughts, please let me know what you advise.
Last week I picked up this beauty from Bernina, the sponsors of best of show. It's unpacked and ready to go.  It's the new 750QE with the new hook system.
I also wanted to share this stunning crystal trophy with you, the Narelle Grieve award for excellence in hand quilting.  I'm very proud of this because I had to teach myself to hand quilt.
Here I am with some of my sewing friends at the presentation for the Bernina sewing machine this week held at Pegs Pieces.. I'm the one in the middle. Unfortunately there are two missing from the photo. We meet every Tuesday evening to stitch and they are some of the nicest people you could meet.
Until next time, Janet


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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Can you see my smile from there?
I'm floating on a quilty cloud but here's a quick late night post to share with you my dear friends in stitching.

I've been honoured and humbled by the awards from the Sydney quilt show today. I can't think of words to describe my absolute joy and thrill at wining so many accolades from my peers and fellow lovers of quilts. My quilt was very decorated by the six ribbons. Whoooo, Hoooo!!
Hangers prize, Judges choice, 1st traditional hand quilted (amateur), the Narelle Grieve award for excellence in hand quilting for which I have a trophy for. Best of Show.

I'm afraid I only had my phone and little point and shoot to take pics so I'll have to go back on Saturday for better photos.
Many many thanks for the encouragement and for cheering me on from you all and I sincerely mean that from deep in my heart!!
I'll be back when I've come back to earth and had some sleep.
Love Janet