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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Skill Builder sampler block.

Last week, Leila wanted her online students to make a block at random, a picture of a house or other scene. I scribbled a few designs on paper, but nothing looked any good, so I chose this design from Susan Briscoe's book "Japanese Quilt Blocks". The colours are all wrong in this photo, but hopefully you get the gist of it: A house on a base of flowers, with a background of earthy colour, then blue mountains and sky. It didn't take long to do, and has inspired me to have a closer look at this book, which I've had for a while, but not yet made anything from it. Only lack of spare time has prevented me! So this little House was the perfect opportunity to play.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Owls Wall hanging.

A couple of years ago, my generous buddy Sharon gave me a beautiful Japanese style piece of fabric with owls on it, knowing how much I love the little critters. I've had plans for it ever since, but as we all know, when you have too many projects to do, some get overlooked in the passage of time. Yesterday I was searching for some material to make the border for my Oz Comfort quilt top, and found a nice shade of red in my stash, that I thought might suit. When I put it against the browns, it didn't really 'go', so I put it aside. Later I was fossicking among my Japanese fabric stash and pulled out the owl fabric to think about it again. It sat on top of the red fabric and 'spoke to me' - perfect for the inner border! The next wide border will be squares of various Japanese fabrics joined together in a row, and that in turn will be edged by another red tone for the binding.
So here it is with the red border, which will be narrower than this once I add the next border. I was busy with other things today - putting my name and rod sleeves on two of my wall hangings, which are going to the Guild on Thursday, to be hung in the October display of members' work. But I still had time to put this red border on my Owls!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Skill Builder Block Sampler No.11

This isn't really what I wanted to learn when I joined Leila's group, as it is more like a version of crazy patchwork cut into triangles and rejoined. Interesting but not terribly educational. Leila called it "Beacon Light", whatever that means.
I've added another three rows of blocks to my Brown charity quilt, and am satisfied that it will be big enough to cover a single bed. All I have to do now is sew a border, but I haven't got enough of the right colour fabric to do that, so it will have to wait for a few days to be finished.

Some old fancy work completed.

Today was the final day of the Embroiderers' Guild annual exhibition. I should have posted something here earlier to remind Melbourne readers of this blog to visit the exhibition if they could, as it was a fabulous display this year. Sadly they have a policy of 'no photos allowed', otherwise I would have taken a heap of pictures to post here. My favourite exhibit was a spectacular Crazy Patchwork quilt - one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.
I worked in the Gift Shop two days last week, and today I was on duty as a 'demonstrator'. The Guild asks members to spend half a day (or a full day) in the Gallery, stitching one of their projects, so visitors to the exhibition can see how some of the works on show are actually created. Before the exhibition opened a few weeks ago, I noticed on the roster that there was no Demonstration stitcher on the last day, so I offered my time. I said that it would only be 'ordinary traditional embroidery' - not anything special like hardanger, drawn thread work, tatting, etc. and the person I spoke to said it would be a nice change for visitors to see someone working on 'ordinary stuff' that they would more likely to have done themselves.
So I brought along Ken's mum's 70 year old Semco stamped linen tablecloth, and assorted UFO vintage 'fancy work' which I thought would appeal to the old ladies (80+) who attend the exhibition every year. I was right! Most of the people my age and younger smiled politely at me and moved on, but the older ladies came up and said things like "Oh I did so much of that when I was young" and "I've still got all my unfinished doilies and cloths!" One lady who looked to be in her 40's came over and chatted for a while, saying she had her grandmother's UFOs in a cupboard, and had intended finishing them one day, but decided she probably never would as her eyesight wasn't as good as it used to be. I showed her the magnifing glass I have hanging around my neck, to magnify my work while stitching, and she thought that was a great idea. She wandered off to look at the rest of the display, but came back some time later, and said "You've inspired me. I'm going to buy one of those magnifying glass things, and get out Grandma's embroidery and start working on it. Thank you so much!" Isn't that lovely?
Here is what I achieved today. It doesn't look like much, but I was chatting to people inbetween stitching, so it wasn't non-stop work. I've had these pieces for so long, and they only needed about 10 or 15 minutes of work on each to finish them off. I can't remember if this was one of MIL's, or one of my former Home Care clients' work. It is very old, and has obviously been well used, as the fabric is soft from washing, and the colours faded. The original pattern stamped on it has faded to almost nothing, so I had to improvise and stitch where I thought flowers etc. might have been. It's finished for me now - not going to search for any more faded marks! This art deco style linen tea cosy attracted a few comments today. I can't remember where I got this one either - could have been eBay, an opshop find, or somebody at the Guild may have given it to me. It only need some stem stitching and satin stitch in black thread to complete it on both sides, so it is now ready for a soak in Napisan to get rid of the stains, and then I'll find someone to crochet around the edge. This is one of a pair of doilies that I have been carting around with me to hospital waiting rooms for years! I finished the other one last year, so I was pleased to get this one done today. This peacock duchess set centrepiece is another one I've been working on for years. I've been determined to finish it for once and for all, but didn't quite get there today either. But there's not much to do now, and it will be great to clean it up and display it on my dressing table with the matching doilies!
These two doilies (pictures above and below) came along for the ride today, but I didn't do anything on them because I didn't have the appropriate stranded cottons with me. So they just sat on the table to be commented on by the passing parade!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quilt top in brown tones.

Here is what I've done so far with those brown tone fabrics. I haven't had enough experience yet to work out accurately how much fabric I need to make a whole (single bed) quilt, so I just made up a bunch of four patch squares, cut an equal number of the dark pattern fabric and joined them up. Looks like I'll need to make the same again to be big enough for a bed, but at least this time I've been making notes as I go, so if I want to do this again, I've got it all written down. Great learning curve, I really enjoyed doing this.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's non stop sewing here lately!

Between kitten blocks, skill builder sample blocks, and other WIPs, my dear old sewing machine has been getting quite a work out. By the way, I took Doreen's advice and bought some Jeans needles to replace the Universal needle in my machine. The Singer is now singing much more smoothly, lol! Jan from Oz Comfort Quilts has been overseas on a well-deserved holiday, and I promised her I would have another quilt top for her to make into a quilt by the time she got back. She's back home now, and looking for work (ha ha!) so I spent today making four patch blocks in three shades of brown plus white, to match this fabric I found at the opshop recently. All I need to do now is to cut enough squares of that to match the number of four patch blocks, sew them together, add a border, and voila! another quilt top for Jan to play with.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Skill Builder Sampler, Block No.10

Taking a break from the rainbow kittens, I caught up with the weekly Skill Builder Sampler blocks and completed an Ohio Star tonight within about 2 hours. I'm still not keen on triangles, but my blocks are now neater, and I'm quicker than I was a month ago.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Progress on Rainbow Kittens, quickie patchwork mat.

I've been working almost non stop on these kittens. These two are now completely finished with the blanket stitch done, which can be seen more clearly if you click on the photo to enlarge it. These three still need the blanket stitch done, and there is one more block with a darker blue face and paws still to be finished off.
The Mystery Quilt project turned out to be a bit of a fizzer as far as I was concerned. It didn't really lead up to anything major; nothing that I could build on. After the four patch blocks had been cut diagonally and sewn together again, the instructions were to just "join the blocks together any way you like and make it into anything you like!" To get it done and off my list of WIPs, I simply added interfacing, backing and a binding, and it will be placed around the house anywhere I see fit to put it from time to time. The backing fabric is a piece from the length I found in the opshop recently. I knew it would come in handy soon!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

More about my Rainbow Kittens.

I grinned to myself when I saw all the comments on my last post, knowing how many cat lovers are also quilters! It really is a simple pattern - I would never have been able to do it so quickly otherwise. The pattern provides templates of the cat's body, head, paws, etc. and all you do is trace the pattern on to fusible webbing, iron them onto the appropriate fabrics, and fuse them to the background. Just the usual applique! The cats bodies are the striped fabric that I mentioned, and the paws and head are solid colour fabrics.

Rainbow Kittens.

When I first saw this project a year or so ago in Patchwork & Stitching magazine, I knew I just had to do it. I've been searching for multistriped fabric ever since, and finally found what I wanted on eBay. I bid for and won a fat quarter for $5.50 and it arrived yesterday. Everything else was immediately put on hold until I'd made up four blocks of this cute design! It only took me about 2 hours. I'm not going to make any more blocks because I don't have enough fabric, but at least I've satisfied my yearnings to make this pattern. I still have to hand stitch the details whiskers etc. on their faces, and put a yellow sashing and border around them.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Quilt shows galore!

It must be the onset of Spring - there are quilt shows all over the place this weekend and last weekend! Today I visited Quilts In The Barn at Wonga Park, which is about 20 minutes drive from home. Ken had to go to Ringwood, and on the way there we passed the turn-off to Wonga Park. I dropped a hint about the quilt show, and darling man that he is, on the way home he said "I suppose you want to go to that quilt show?" so off we went.
Quilts In The Barn is an annual event, and although I'd heard of it before, this year is the first time I've been. It is only a small exhibition compared to most others around, but a very high standard of quilting, and worth seeing. The quilts were all based on traditional American vintage quilts, which doesn't appeal to me, as I prefer bright colours to browns, but they were still gorgeous. Ken loved them and kept saying how good they would look in our house, because our house was built in the seventies, all brick and mission brown, and we haven't changed anything!
There was one 'shop' at the exhibition, selling those 'vintage look' fabrics, so I wasn't tempted to buy any of those, but I did buy this: Sharon had one of these (not sure if it was the same brand) last time we did some stitching together, and at the time, I thought "I'd rather stitch than glue fabrics" but now I'm working on my 'found at the opshop' wall hanging, and all the embroideries have a black border which has to be hemmed before I sew them to the backing. I was just looking at them this morning thinking 'that's going to take quite a while to hem those', but when I saw this glue stick I immediately decided it was a much better way to go! (Thanks Sharon!)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

More done with the Mystery Monday project.

Today I continued working with the scrappy squares and triangles that I'm keeping up with for this Mystery Monday project. Here are some of my scrap squares sewn together in little 4 patch blocks. And here they are, after they have all been sewn together diagonally then cut in half to make new squares. By now they are looking really scrappy, but I'm not going to trim any of them until I see next week's instructions.