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

Monday, August 26, 2013

Embroiderers Guild Annual Exhibition.

Yesterday I delivered two of my finished projects to the Embroiderers Guild, to be displayed in the annual exhibition of EGV members' work.  I entered Ken's Retirement Quilt (the motorcycle quilted throw) and "Time For Tea", the table runner I made for Ken's cousin.  Poor Rosemary hasn't seen this yet; in fact she doesn't even know of its existence!  I want to put it in the Lilydale Show in November too, so she might get it by Christmas, lol!

Ken's cousin D. and his wife Yaso came over here for afternoon tea yesterday.  Yaso was keen to see the baby quilts that have been donated to me for her, and she had a close look at each one, delighted by all the work put into them, and very touched to think that so many people would do this for the babies of the PNG tribes she helps.  She told me more about the background of her work (she is a lecturer on International Development at RMIT) and travels to third world countries with her students to teach them how to help disadvantaged people there.  She is going to Africa for three weeks later this year, and back to PNG in January.  She promised to provide more background information for me to post on my blog, so all the people who are making baby quilts for the PNG babies will understand more about her work. 
Yaso asked me if it would be possible to obtain a photograph of each person who has made one or more quilts for her, as she plans to put on an exhibition next year at RMIT (University) about her work in PNG, and she wants to include photos of the native people accepting our quilts, as well as photos of the people who made the quilts.  I will be emailing all the donors direct in the future about this, but if you are one of them, and reading this now, please feel free to email me a photo of yourself any time!   (It would be nice if you are photographed holding any quilt that you have made).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Apologies to NOTY members.

I was invited by NOTY (North Of The Yarra Quilters) to give a show and tell talk on my linens today, but I had to back out at the last minute.  Ken has been quite ill this past week with a cold (with COPD it becomes more than 'just a cold'), but I usually manage to avoid catching viruses from him.  This time I was out of luck.  On Friday night I was feeling a bit tight in the chest, but I determinedly selected the linens I planned to show, and packed them in my car ready for the morning.  I woke up feeling awful, to put it plainly, and took two cold and flu tablets, which usually see me through a few hours.   But after phoning Christine from NOTY and telling her I would be late, I had to call her again and say I wouldn't be able to come at all, as I ended up feeling quite sick, and as well as that my throat was on fire, so I knew I wouldn't be able to do much speaking.

I've NEVER had to back out of a speaking engagement before, and I feel very bad about letting down the organisers and members who were looking forward to seeing me.  Still, apart from that, it would not have done the NOTY ladies any good to be exposed to my germs if I had to cough and sneeze my way through a presentation, so I am hoping they will understand, and perhaps invite me back again at a later date.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fabric journal.

I have read a lot of books on making journals, both paper and textile.  I've even bought a book or two on the subject, but until now I've not done much from them - a couple of small projects, but not a journal.  Like most craft lovers, I've got bits and pieces that are experiments with fabric and paper that I've seen in books and online, and thought "I must try that!"  So I tried, maybe liked the result, maybe not, but either way, it ends up in a container of some kind with all the other experiments - not good enough to do anything with, but too good to discard, because 'you might do it again one day'.

A few months ago I was reading Mary Mac's blog, and she mentioned a project she was intending to do, something called "Travellers' Blanket".  When I read about this, I thought it was a kind of rug or blanket with individual textile pieces fastened to it.  That was not really correct, but it  got me thinking about my fabric experiments, and what I could do with them.  Then at the Quilt Convention this year,  one of our Guild members showed me something she had made, and there it was - perfect solution for my bits!  I feel such a fool because I can't remember this lady's name, and she is quite well known in the Guild for her innovative sewing style.  She had made up a large book from calico, and sewn various experimental pieces on each page.
So when I was looking for something completely unrelated to the above, I discovered my little learning projects in a basket of stuff, and decided that I had to do something with them TODAY, otherwise they'd get lost in the depths of my stash again.  I have a huge stash of calico and a tin full of bias binding, and lots of buttons, so I got everything out on to my work table....

Cut the calico into 12" x 24" pieces, used the bias binding to neaten the edges of each piece, and made this journal by laying the pieces on top of each other and machining a line of stitching down the centre to make this:

Above: The front is a layered collage of patchwork fabric, laces, ric rac, buttons, etc.

Above:  On the top left is a trial 'reverse applique'.  I had never heard of it before I saw it described in a book, and wanted to try it.   The green piece is Aida with stitching in ribbon and thread, with sequins.  This  was a challenge project in an online forum many years ago.  The item below these was in a library book and had to be done before the book was due back, otherwise I would forget it.  It involved laying ribbons out in a grid on top of a sheet of water soluble foundation, machining them to same, then soaking the whole piece in water until the backing dissolved.  I loved this idea!
On the right hand side is a completed cross stitch piece.  I saw this in a magazine and was inspired to make it because I love playing with colours, and this design is simply layers of coloured thread blended and matched in layers of cross stitch on Aida to make this gorgeous pattern. It isn't something you would frame and hang on a wall, so what else do you do with such a thing?  Experiments journal!

Above:  These pages are little patchwork samples that I made to see how they would look in a bigger project.  The one on the left is a 'brick wall' pattern, and the right hand side is my first attempt at joining triangles together to make a block.  I had a lot to learn before I got that technique right!
 Above: this is calico with fabric paint applied by various means.  The piece on the right has a stitchery of a mermaid started but I doubt if it will ever be finished.  Just another experiment.

 Above: These stitches in perle cotton on homespun were done in a series of workshops at the Embroiderers Guild.  Most of the other students were much neater and ended up displaying their work in nice books, but my learning attempts are always messy.

 Above: This was slightly less messy.  Sharon Boggon's TAST lessons on her blog were great fun to follow and I learnt a great deal, working on Aida with mostly stranded cotton, but using other items such as ribbon or cord as required.

 Above:  Another project seen in a book borrowed from the library, which had to be done before the book was due back.  Pieces of fabric sewn together at random over a length of calico, then ribbon, lace, ric rac, or any other trim is machined all the way across the whole thing.  You can then make something out of it, or decorate a tote bag, whatever.  As you can see, I didn't use mine for anything, but I liked doing it and keeping a sample to remind me of the technique.

Above: There are more blank 'pages' waiting for my future experiments!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Two quilts for PNG babies.

Ken stayed in bed all day today because he has caught a head cold and doesn't want it to get worse.  At least he doesn't have to go to work now, so he can stay in bed all week if he wants to!  It leaves me free to do my thing without him distracting me with requests for this and that..
The weather in Melbourne was very unpleasant, to put it mildly - extreme wind, rain and cold.  So it was a good day to stay indoors and get some sewing done.  I've nearly finished these baby quilts now - the first one has been quilted and just has to have the binding done.

I've used a different technique with this quilt - the 'envelope technique', so it doesn't need binding.  All I have to do is quilt it, and sew the last side up.  I love that fish fabric; it was an offcut from somewhere, maybe the opshop,  I can't remember.  But I knew I'd find a use for it one day!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hexies and half square triangles.

I have been admiring hexagons on blogs by Wendy, Mel and others, and last night I finally got around to starting my own collection.  I've been cutting all my scraps into various size squares for a while now, and decided to use up the 2.5" squares for my hexies.  It is the first time I've used the little rotary cutter and mat that I bought at a craft show a few years ago, and I had fun doing this!  I printed off two sheets of the paper piecing hexagons - what a time saver!

While I had the boxes of fabric squares out over the past few days, I cut the 5" squares into half diagonally and made lots of little half square triangle (is that what these are called?  It doesn't sound right) to be made up into a quilt.  I laid them all out together first...

Then I figured I could make two small quilts by splitting up this group into two lots, and using sashing and borders to get the size I want.

Yep, that's what I'll do.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Another baby quilt, and one half finished.

This lovely quilt arrived today from Sue W. in NSW, who emailed me to say she is not an expert quilter.  Hey!  Did I say I only wanted expert quilters to donate??  No - this is for anyone who is kind enough to use up some of their stash for a good cause!  I think Sue's quilt is just as charming as all the others that have been donated so far.

Talking of inexperienced quilters, this is one of two quilts that I'm working on.  I had these strips all stitched up ready to make a scrappy Chinese Coins design quilt, but I'd forgotten all about them until I was poking around in a corner yesterday and discovered them.  I didn't have to do anything except combine the strips with sashing and a border to get to this stage.  It is still a tad small, so I'll add another wider border before I put the filling and backing on. 
The other quilt I'm working on is all pinned up ready to stitch, so it can wait until that's done before I post a photo.
Tomorrow I'm off to the Guild with my Peacock cross stitch sampler which has been neglected over the past month.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

PNG Quilt drive update.

I have been emailing photos to Yaso every time I receive a donation of quilts, and today I received an email from her, part of which I am reproducing here so you can all see how much your work is appreciated:

The quilts encourage me constantly to carry with my work.  I am organizing to have the quilts and other things transported to PNG  end of year. This will work with me going there Jan 2014. The tribe is already so thrilled with knowing about the response to your quilts call. They are so overcome that so many people care and you are coordinating all this because of your own enormous care for them.  

So, thank you all again for your donations.  I know of many more that are on the way here, so by January, Yaso will have a veritable shipload!!