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

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Calf for a Cows round robin.

I do hope Lynne will like this calf I've stitched for her Cross Stitchin Fingers round robin. She nominated Cows as the theme, and I thought this dear little calf was so cute!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Surprise package from a cyberspace friend!

It is such a delight to 'meet' people around the world via the internet, and share your interests with them on the various websites and forums dedicated to hobbies and crafts. I've made a whole lot of new friends through Stitchin Fingers, one of whom is Judy B. who lives in South Australia. Having discovered my passion for vintage linens of all kinds, she emailed me last week to say she was sending me some stuff that I might like. It is from a deceased estate of a lady who belonged to Judy's quilting group. Judy's parcel arrived today, and in addition to the items below, it contained three children's aprons which can be seen on my apron blog. A charming little blue bird in cross stitch. My first thought was to put it in a card to send someone, but then I decided I would rather keep it, so it may end up as part of something else, such as a Crazy patch block.
I believe this is an example of 'shadow work' - beautifully done, and it may also end up as part of something larger. I'm really not sure what this was going to be...it is hand stitched through several layers of cotton and padding.
Transfers!! This envelope contains several large sheets of a variety of transfer designs - what fun!
These three doilies will be passed on to somebody else who likes to embroider vintage linen; I already have so much in my stash, I cannot justify keeping these. If you are the first person to post a comment on here expressing interest in having these three to play with - they're yours! Judy used this cute card to write her explanation of how she got these items. Thanks again Judy - everything is much appreciated!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Second patchwork block completed.

Yesterday I attended my second Patchwork class. J. taught us how to make a pattern called "Churn Dash"(?). Here is mine:
I've continued my Tea Party theme with this one, but each week I'll decide whether to use another fabric unrelated to that theme. For instance, the third class we'll be learning the "Drunkards Path" (??) pattern, and I'm thinking of using some Aboriginal art fabric, because I think it would look fabulous in that design of swirls. I won't be at the class next Tuesday (it is my Guild day), so J. has given me the pattern so I can make my templates and cut out the fabrics ready for the following week, which will save a lot of time. Drunkards Path looks complicated, so if I can have the fabric ready, I can sail straight into learning how to put it together.
As well as doing Patchwork, I've been working on an ATC and a Round Robin - both in Cross stitch and both nearly finished, so I'll probably post photos of them in the next day or so.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Patchwork Class.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered a small advert. in the "What's New" section of our local paper. It was advertising Patchwork classes being held in Greensborough, a suburb near me. I called the number given, and spoke to J, a lady with a charming New Zealand accent. She explained that she conducted the classes from her home, during the day or at night, whichever was more convenient. J. said she only had four or five girls in a class at one time, so she could give more one-to-one help than if there were a lot of people. Her course goes for 10 weeks, during which time she teaches us a different technique each week, so by the end of 9 weeks, we should have 9 blocks with a variety of patterns, i.e. Dresden Plate, Fan, Amish, and so on. On the 10th week, she would show us how to apply the sashing, padding and backing. The beauty of her course is that she is very flexible; if you can't come for a class, you just pick it up the next time, so your 10 weeks might not run concurrent with the other students. She is planning to conduct another workshop in the future on how to quilt your patchwork.
I booked myself in for the Tuesday class for 10 weeks, starting this week. J. had given me a list of supplies, and I had great fun going through my stash of fabrics and deciding which ones to use! Over the time I've accumulated fabrics, I didn't have anything particular in mind - I just bought stuff because I liked it (or as S. would say, it "called to me"). Now it has a purpose!
On Tuesday afternoon I set out for J's house, and was introduced to the other three girls who were in varying stages of their blocks. There was one other beginner like me, so J. got us cutting out plastic templates for our first block - "Amish Diamond". She helped us select which fabrics to use from the ones we'd brought, and then we cut out the shapes. After that, she explained the order of piecing them together (hand piecing, no machining in this course), and showed us what to do. In the meantime, one of the other students had brought the block she'd started in the previous week, and asked J. why the fabric was distorted. J. pointed out what was wrong, and advised the girl to unpick it and start again, so that kept her busy for an hour!
J's method is to get her students to finish half of the block under her guidance, then take it home and finish it on our own - which I think is excellent teaching, as we have to think for ourselves instead of asking her help. If we mess it up, or don't finish the block, we just carry it over the next week. I finished mine, and am quite happy with it. The other girls loved the chocolate cake in the centre! Depending on what I do with it at the end, I may embroider or applique some small motif on the white homespun fabric, as it looks a bit empty. What do you think?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Patchwork cards

Apropos my post last week on the tutorials I found, I have just finished three cards using bits of the block of fabric scraps. The original idea was to iron fusible webbing on to each piece, and stick it on the front of a card. I did that with one piece, cut into a heart shape as the tutorial suggested. Here is my version, complete with dotted line around the heart in pen as she has done. Then I decided to play around with card stock that I have had for ages. I went mad a few years ago and bought heaps of them, thinking I would do lots of hand made cards and cross stitch motifs in the 'picture frame' ones, but I only do them occasionally. I stuck one of my mini patchworks inside a frame card as shown, and again, drew a line around the edge. The third card is using a slightly different technique. I ironed the fabric on to the plain card stock, then glued the frame over the top.

Aren't they neat? I'd like to make some for Christmas, as I have heaps of Christmas fabrics to choose from. Once the block is made, shapes like stars, Xmas trees, or other Christmas icons could be cut out from the block.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A new ATC and the Cat framed.

Juliette in the U.K. sent me this gorgeous ATC for our "Jade" Stitchin' Fingers exchange. Isn't that pretty? I found this handpainted frame in an opshop yesterday and decided it was perfect for my "Cat Stretching". A bit way out? Maybe, but I think it looks cute.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Playing with fabrics

The MOTH went out without me on Saturday night - to his chook club meeting. I'd been to the first three and was bored out of my mind, so I said he could go out in the cold on his own. I'm staying put! Was I sad and lonely? No way! I had my night planned, playing uninterrupted with my stash! For a start, I was itching to make some of the items I mentioned on the previous post, and I started with the pincushion. I pulled out my bags of fabric scraps, instead of cutting up fat quarters or larger pieces, and found some nicely co-ordinating pieces - two different floral, and one plain which matched them both. Here is the result: I even found buttons which matched each side, instead of using the same button on both sides. These are rather conservative colours, but I plan to do more of these and use brighter colours, and perhaps add lace or trim as well.
Next, again looking through my scrap bags, I pulled out all the really small bits and machine-stitched them together in rows at random. Then I stitched the rows together to make this block: Using a template of a heart from a magazine pattern, I drew hearts over this block and will eventually cut them out to use on cards as per the article in my previous post.
Finally, I extracted this apron from a pile of unfinished aprons, and finished it off with bias binding. That is all it needed when I bought it years ago, and it's taken me all this time to do that! However, it was not as easy as I thought it would be. I learnt several lessons while doing this. Distant memories flooded back, of my tech.school sewing teacher, insisting that we press the bias binding before we attach it. Now I remember why. Now I also know why she instructed us to tack it on to our calico aprons after we'd pinned it, before we machined it on. I didn't do any of these things, and now I know why I failed Needlecraft at school...don't look too closely at the edges of the apron in this photo!
Topsy didn't care that Ken was out either. She had something to eat, then curled up in front of the gas fire and went to sleep.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Terrific Tutorials!

One of the many things I love to do on the internet is browse through other blogs. OK, what's new - you all do that, right? But there are so many great things to be found, that I decided to post links to some of my latest finds, in case you haven't yet found them. Jocelyn at Happy Cottage Quilter has some excellent tutorials, including one for using up all your little scraps of fabric that just might come in handy one day. You machine them all together and made cards! True!! Go here for the tutorial.
Over at Quilts & ATCs, Helen has a beaut tutorial on "Disappearing Nine Patch Blocks" I don't know why they are called disappearing, but it's another great tutorial!
Now, this one is on a blog called paper.string.cloth which has since been superseded by Hyena In Petticoats. But the original is still out there in cyberspace, and you can still read it. I don't know how long that will continue though, so if you want to see a tute for a really neat little patchwork pincushion, go here very soon!
Go forth and have fun!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Caught up with my exchanges.

Like many of you, I enjoy participating in swaps/exchanges and other activities where you send your work to other people, and receive theirs in return. The "Stitchin' Fingers" site has many groups, and the members of some of the groups have individual swaps on the go. For instance, the Cross Stitchin' Fingers group present has a Round Robin in process. The Textile Artists Trading Cards Group has a monthly exchange, where someone chooses a theme, and members sign up to go in that month. This month the theme is the colour Jade, and my contribution to be posted to Marja in The Netherlands is this: I've taken a few liberties with this; the theme is actually Jade + 2, meaning we are supposed to stick to the theme colour, but add two more colours. There are more than two colours in the peacock fabric, but gosh, I don't think the ATC Police will hunt me down, do you?
This ATC is a one-to-one swap with Cobi, also in the Netherlands. She was offering to swap one of her ATCs with anyone who was interested, and as I liked what she had to offer, I emailed her, and we arranged to trade. She said she likes lace and embroidery among other things, so I'm hoping this will appeal to her. I used the corner of an old embroidered handkie, which was damaged beyond repair, and added the gingham fabric, lace, and pink beads.
Finally, the Fabric Postcard below is destined for Brazil. On the Stitchin Fingers Fabric Postcard Group, we are running a birthday exchange. I hold the list of nine people, with their birthdates and addresses. When someone has a birthday coming up, I email the other members on the first day of the month to remind them to do a FPC for the birthday person. My FPC for Heloise uses a piece of a necktie (the floral bit), surrounded by scraps in matching colours, with a button, sequins and beads on one space. The stitches I've used to embellish the seams are cretan (over the ricrac), buttonhole, fly, feather and herringbone. I really enjoy these little projects; they give me the opportunity to practice embroidery stitches that I would otherwise not be using on a day to day basis.