"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Friday, July 29, 2016

Linen washing and ironing in progress.

I have started sorting and cleaning my late friend's linens.  To be fair to Denise, nothing was grubby at all.  But a lot of it was damp, and I can only guess at the reason.  She might have washed everything but never got around to ironing it, but I just can't imagine that she would have left it in the boxes like that, as fabrics would quickly go mouldy.  The other thought is that they were in the boxes in her husband's shed, and got damp from being outside.  But again, there would have been mould.  Anyway, I'm cleaning it all just to be on the safe side.   It is a big job and will take at least a week to finish them all, but I am loving every minute!  Below are all the sandwich tray doilies ironed.
Today I washed and line dried all the smaller doilies, a few large ones, and the white work and lace/crocheted work.  They are waiting in a pile to be ironed.

I started on the tablecloths this afternoon.  As I only have a certain amount of line space, I only wash half a dozen cloths at one time.

The items below are the unfinished doilies in one box.  I don't recall Denise stitching, so she may have picked these up at an opshop with the intention of having a go at embroidering them.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Deceased estate linens.

Two dear friends of mine passed away last month within a week of each other.  They were both collectors of linens like me, and we spent many a happy day looking for linens in opshops and online, then having a cuppa at my place or theirs, drooling over our collections.   We used to kid each other about leaving our linens to each other when we die, but of course I had no idea that I would be the beneficiary of both lots quite so soon.  Denise was diagnosed with cancer 12 years ago, but spent the first 10 years pretty much as she always did, out with friends and enjoying herself.  It was only in the last year or so that her condition deteriorated to the point where she didn't leave the house, so it wasn't a shock when she finally passed away.

My other friend Helen had suffered a stroke years ago, but was still living a reasonable life with her hubby at home.  She died very unexpectedly.  Her husband isn't in a hurry to clear the family home of her belongings, but hinted that I might receive some of her linen collection if their sons and wives don't want it.  I'm really not fussed, I've got so much, but I hate the thought of her linens being sent to an opshop!

 Denise's darling husband phoned me last week to say that Denise  had instructed him to give her linen collection to me, and he arrived yesterday with three boxes in his car.  He said this is only the start - the boxes have been in his shed for some time, as Denise never got around to sorting them out and cleaning them.  So I've got a big job ahead, but I love doing it.  I phoned one of her other friends to tell her that I'd been given the linens, but would like to share them around with her other friends, and she was pleased.  We will get together when I have them all washed and ironed.

The boxes:

Tipped out on to the floor:

Sorted into groups: 9 runners, 2 guest towels, 3 pillowshams, 53 large doilies, 88 small doilies, 32 sandwich tray doilies, 14 whitework pieces, 6 tea cosies, 13 crochet/lace doilies, 4 unworked doilies, 21 napkins, 3 handkies, 2 cushions covers, 1 sauce bottle cover, 3 pincushions, and a bag of knitting wools and needles.

One box full of tablecloths.  I haven't counted these yet, but I think there are about 40.  There is one unfinished.

The second lot washed and hung out to dry under the patio because it has been raining non-stop.

Stitchery Roll Keeper

One of the girls at the Quilt Shop stitching group made herself a lovely roll wrap thingy to keep her quilting blocks flat to carry around while she is working on them.  Everybody wanted one, so the pattern was well-copied by the time we had all made ourselves a roll!  It starts off with a post office cardboard mailing cylinder, which is wrapped in padded fabric, which extends outward to keep your work on.  Difficult to explain, so here are the photos of mine:
Here it is, laid out.  I glued a circle of fabric on one end of the cylinder, which won't be pulled out.

Below you can see the other end which has a yo-yo over the stopper with a button.  Inside the cylinder are my scissors, threads, and pattern.  The stitchery on display is a very old UFO.

And here it is rolled up, ready to travel!
I have had a few people comment on the pretty fabric.  They are piece that I found at the De Stash event.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The De Stash Event

Last Saturday, I attended a very unique event.  I read about it on the Down To Earth Forum, from a member who saw it on Instagram.  The first De Stash event in Melbourne was held at the Fairfield Community Centre, and organised by three ladies who came up with the idea of getting people together in one place with their unwanted stash, and having a big swap.  I thought to myself I'll be in that!  I filled three bags with fabrics and cross stitch kits that I have had for years but know that I will never use, and I haven't been able to give them away for love nor money.

I got there way too early (1.30) because I wasn't sure where the place was, and didn't know about parking. As it turned out, it was very easy to find, and I got a parking spot right across the road. The organisers were just starting to set up but they didn't mind me hanging around. People started drifting in around 2 pm and kept coming and going until I left, about 3 pm. Wish I'd taken my camera! It was great fun - most girls brought fabrics of some kind - clothing, quilting, upholstery, curtain fabric, etc, but there were heaps of paper patterns, craft magazines, knitting yarn, buttons, ric rac, zips, and so on.  Everyone just wandered around picking up whatever took their fancy!

Most of mine was taken except the cross stitch kits.   We were told that anything left behind after people had helped themselves, was going to be given to a lady who makes things for needy people, and the rest is going to an opshop. I brought home some fabric that I have plans for, and a roll of red wide ric rac.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Elephant collage finished, and a lovely gift tote bag.

Today at the Quilt Shop morning stitching group, I finished the binding on my Elephant Collage.  This was an experimental project on two fronts.   It was the first time I had ever tried the fabric collage technique, and it was challenging, but a lot of fun, and I have already drafted my next collage project on to a sheet of interfacing.   The second 'first time' for me was that I used the Embroidery foot on my sewing machine to quilt this item.  I did a workshop with Linda Steele a few years ago, and learnt heaps but never got around to putting it into practice.  All the quilting I've done in the past has been ín the ditch or straight lines, using the walking foot on my Janome. 

But the elephant didn't deserve straight lines, so I threaded the machine with clear thread (not the first time for that, and it is tricky to get right), and off I went, meandering all over the elephant and background in swirls at random.  Is that called stippling?  Anyway, it looks okay to me but I would not want the Quilt Police to look too closely - LOL!   Now that I have had a go with the embroidery foot, I might book into a class at the Quilt Shop to do it properly. 

I can't remember where I found the fabric that I used for the back - a remnant at an opshop or somewhere like that...but it is a kind of Asian theme, so it goes with the elephant design.

In my previous post on this blog there is a photo of a quilted mat that I made for Kath in the USA for our exchange on the Down To Earth forum.  Yesterday I received the item she made for me - this gorgeous quilted tote bag, even with a G embroidered on the front!  Love it!  I used it to carry my stitching bits and bobs to the Quilt Shop this morning, and it was greatly admired.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Shabby Chic place mat

In the latest Down To Earth forum handmade swap, my partner is a lady in the USA who like me, didn't want any more dishcloths, teatowels or notebooks!   But she told me she loves anything in pastel colours, and in the shabby chic style.  I knew I had the right fabrics in my stash, so I searched through my magazines and files until I found something that I thought could work for her.  It is basically just a decorative mat that could be placed on a coffee table, or side table, anywhere really.  The front has strips of lace embellishing the squares.

  The back is plain, using a dainty strawberry patterned fabric.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mushroom cushion finished.

This cushion is not something I would have chosen to put anywhere around our house, and if it wasn't for a surprise email I received last week, I probably would have just finished doing the needleturn applique for the experience, then put it in my basket of UFOs to languish until someone took a liking to it!
The email was from Homespun Magazine.  They had seen my first photo of this project on my blog and asked if I would send them a photo when it was finished, so they can print it in the magazine!  You could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather : - o 
So I finished it today and will email this pic to the lady from Homespun who requested it.  Out of all the projects I have done over the years from Homespun mag, this one has to be my least favourite!  I suppose it is a bit different and not many of their readers made it? 

Saturday, June 04, 2016

One finished, one in progress.

Below is the mini quilt I have made for a friend of Ken's.  They are both members of the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club, and J has been very kind to Ken at times when he has been unwell at a bike meet, looking after him and taking charge of his bike when it broke down once.  Ken asked me if I would do something for J, so I scanned some vintage bikes from a calendar, printed them on to inkjet fabric, and made them up into this:

Back (used a panel of vintage poster prints):

Some of my regular blog readers might remember when I bought a panel of Japanese fabric with cranes flying across a landscape - a few years ago at a patchwork show.  I have been trying to decide what to do with it ever since, and had made up my mind to make it into an Attic Windows style wall hanging or quilt.  But I wasn't game to cut my fabric up until I had expert advice on how to go about it.  The expert advice came to me via Leanne at the Eltham Quilt Shop, who has guided me through several quilting projects now - she is my Quilting Goddess!  Last week she showed me how to cut the fabric, as well as the lengths for the window frames, and the border.   Then she showed me how to piece it together using a mitre technique for the corners, instead of a half square triangle corner.
The next day at home, I made up a sample block using scraps of fabric from my stash, and once I was confident, set about making up the cranes window.  Here it is:

I am wondering if I should have made the window frames wider, but we did discuss it last week, and thought if they were too wide, they would overpower the cranes fabric.  I'm certainly not going to pull it apart now in any case!  Just waiting until next month when I can show Leanne and see what she thinks.  I am in two minds about putting another border around it, but she advised to leave it with the black border, as any extra could detract attention from the picture.
At this stage I am thinking of handquilting this one, using gold thread to stitch around the cranes and the red and gold swirly bits.