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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What does one do with damaged linens?

I would never dream of cutting up any of my precious linen collection to make something else!  But people do, and they can be very creative too.  I even find it hard to part with finely embroidered items that have substantial damage to them, and I have had a stack of them in a bag for some years, waiting for inspiration.  Enter Pinterest :-)  After finding dozens of ideas there, I printed off some examples, and decided on one style.  It meant cutting the best embroidered bits off my linens, into pieces all the same size.  Sometimes the remaining stitching was too small, so I joined two bits together to come up with the size I wanted (4" x 5.5'").   Next, I pulled out some fabrics from my stash of small pieces, and cut 1.5 inch strips to match the embroidery patches.  I sewed the strips at the bottom, then along one side of each piece, to give me these:

I have since sewn them together and put a pale blue border around it, which looks very sweet.  Once I put a back on it and bind it with a darker blue material, I will post another photo.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Updated photo of finished table runners in Japanese fabric.

Just remembered that the previous photo of the table runner didn't have the binding done on it.  So there they are together, and the second photo of course is the back of them.

Strippy block quilt top.

Remember those strips I was making into blocks last month?  Well, I finally ran out of strips which was such a good feeling to see the scraps bin reduced in size!  I took the blocks to the Quilt Shop and moved them around on the design wall in several configurations before I decided to make them up like this.  Our tutor said it was boring and I should have mixed them up, but when I tried doing that, I wasn't happy with the result, so boring it is!   (she wasn't being rude by the way - she is is very creative and helpful - and honest!).  Now, what to use for a border....I saw a similar quilt on Pinterest, and it had no border at all, just made up as a quilt as it was.
Any suggestions?

Rabbit cushion

My friend Glenda gave me a length of rabbit fabric some time ago when she was having a cleanout.  She said she had intended to use it but never got around to it, so I may as well have it.  I offered to make something for her using the fabric, and she was delighted when I presented her with this cushion for her birthday yesterday!  I used a dark pink for the first narrow border, and a light green for the outside border, as both colours are in the background of the rabbits.  I used a paler pink fabric for the back of the cushion.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Using up leftover Japanese fabrics

I really should make more of an effort to keep this blog up to date!  I will be picking up some vintage linens from a friend next week, all going well, so there may be something worth posting here then.  In the meantime, I have made two table runners, or mats, with the fabric left over after I made my Japanese quilt.
This one will be going to Aiko, my friend in Japan who sent me the fabric last year.

These photos were taken on different days, hence the difference in tones.  The second photo shows the colours of the fabrics much better.  It will be a runner for the coffee table in our lounge room, and will complement the quilt which is on the couch nearby.  I still have to put the backing on it and bind it, and plan to use the same binding as in the first photo, as I have just enough fabric left to do it!

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Scrap Strippy blocks

In between decluttering and tidying up my stash, I browsed Pinterest to see what other quilters do with the scraps left over from finished quilt projects.  I have a box of scraps cut into squares and rectangles simply because it is easier to keep them tidy, and a tub of strips.  The squares I can always find a use for, and I kept thinking I could use the strips to bind a new project but of course the reality is that whenever you bind a quilted project of any size, you don't use leftovers - you cut a whole new length of binding to suit the project!  So what was I to do with this tub of strips?

Make a strippy quilt!  I found many ways of utilising strips, but I liked this one best.  Sew strips on a background of interfacing.

When all the strips in one colour range have been used up on squares of interfacing...

Trim them all to the same size, and put aside until a decision is made what to do with them :-)

Now I am working on squares using all the red/red patterned strips in my bucket.

Japanese quilt and more.

My Japanese quilt has been beautifully quilted by Jenny Jameson at Sunrise Quilting in Diamond Creek, and is now on show over the back of our couch in the lounge room.

Even Tiger seems impressed, checking out the back of it as I flipped it over.  The backing fabric is from The Quilt Shop in Eltham, where Alison and Sharon are always ready to provide advice and suggestions, as well as selling fabric from their incredible range!

But it looks like this won't be the last Japanese fabric quilt I make.  My generous friend Aiko in Tokyo has just sent me another parcel of materials - completely different from the above.  Traditional day Kimono fabrics in indigo, stripes and browns.  At first glance I thought What????  but after going through my Japanese quilting books, I can see the potential.  Watch this space, but don't hold your breath - LOL!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Table runner and Mat completed.

My Japanese quilt is at Sunrise Quilting in Diamond Creek, with Jenny Jameson, who did such a superb job with my Handkerchief quilt, I have no hesitation in going back to her with a second quilting job.  Can't wait to get it back - hopefully next week!

In the meantime, I finished two small projects this weekend.  The table runner and the bear mat that I mentioned in the previous post.
I think my friend Glenda will be very happy with her Bear mat, and she will be able to flip it over and use the other more colourful side as well.

If my hairdresser doesn't want this runner for her holiday house, I will be happy to keep it!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Projects waiting in the wings.

Now that I have the majority of my fabric stash  sorted out, I can get on with sewing some items that have been waiting for me to find suitable bits to complete them.   Looking back at my post in April, I made an experimental block in scrap fabrics to see what the design I had chosen for the Japanese quilt might look like.  Today I added a navy blue border to match the sashing, and pulled out a dark blue and aqua fish fabric to use as the backing.  This is going to be a coffee table runner for a friend who has recently bought a holiday house near the sea, and as she doesn't sew,  I think she will like this.  If not, I'll keep it for myself - LOL!

I made a throw and two cushions for myself a while ago, and used another piece of the same animal fabric to make a rabbit cushion for a friend.  She loved it, and also liked the bear in the same design.  I'm not into bears at all really, so I am going to make this last piece into a place mat for her.

Can't remember where I got this cat fabric from - possibly the opshop, but could have been given to me by a catloving friend.  I've been meaning to do something with it for ages, and tonight I pulled some fabrics from my scraps box to preview with the cats, prior to making a table mat or runner.

So!  What is everyone else up to?


It is nice to have my missing mojo back.  When I was so indecisive about what to do with the Japanese materials, everything else went on hold too.  One of the things that was really bugging me was the mess my little craft room had got into.  It is only a small bedroom, but I have four bookcases, a filing cabinet, a cabinet holding art stuff, a desk and a cutting table crammed into it, along with boxes of fabric and other craft on the floor because the wardrobe (which has shelves added into it) is crammed with fabrics and sewing notions.

Fabric was spilling out of boxes and the cupboard bulged.  I completely lost track of what I had, and instead of searching for a suitable material for a project, I would simply buy more (great for the Quilt Shop, not so good for my credit card...).  So I decided it was time to declutter.  When surfing Pinterest one day I found a great way of folding any size fabric so it all ended up the same size and could be stacked into a neat pile.  You just cut a template out of cardboard, the size of the box or shelf where you store your fabric, and wind each piece of fabric around it until it fits the template.  I spent nearly a week unfolding, ironing, and trimming boxes of fabrics, and refolding them, and what a difference!  I think I've deleted the "before"photos, but this is what two of  my boxes look like now.
The reason the first lot are in plastic bags is because they are different 'themed' fabrics, ie chooks, cats, teacups, Australiana, etc. and I want to keep them separated so I can pull out a collection without disturbing the rest.

I am so pleased to have my solid colours sorted out!  I didn't realise how many different colours I had, they were in such a mess!

I have two more tidy boxes as well as these, but still have the wardrobe stash to sort out, which is going to be a big job, as the fabrics in there are yardage, not small pieces like fat quarters or half yards.

Japanese fabric Quilt top

Back in April, I wrote a post here about my plans for the fabric my Japanese friend sent me last year.  I had finally got around to cutting them into the sizes I needed to make the blocks, and last Thursday night I took them to the Quilt Shop class, and with the help of our tutor Leanne, and the other people who were there, I moved the pieces around on the design wall until we were all satisfied with the way it looked.  When I got home I couldn't wait to start joining them up, but had to cut the black sashing first, so contented myself with doing that, otherwise I would have been up all night!   The next day I sewed it all together, and am delighted with the result :-)

My next question was whether or not to add a border using the scraps left over from the coloured fabrics, but after discussing it with Ken, several quilter friends, and looking on Pinterest at what others have done, I decided to leave it as it is.  I bought some backing fabric at the Quilt Shop today, and phoned Jenny at Sunrise Quilts, the lady who did such a wonderful job quilting my handkerchief quilt.  I am taking it to her on Thursday, and am looking forward to seeing what she does, as my limited quilting skills (mostly ''in the ditch") won't do those beautiful fabrics justice.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Folded Patchwork coasters

There is a new forum up and running on the internet, called The Home Makers' Forum.  It is basically  about making our houses homely, via cooking, sewing, gardening, and looking after our health.  The members post ideas and opinions on the various categories so we can all share in each other's knowledge and tips.  One of the members challenged us to make these folded patchwork coasters, and posted this link to get us started:
Craft Genie's coasters
We were only supposed to make the initial square coaster, but when I looked further in to the Youtube site and saw all those cute coasters, I had to try them all, didn't I?!
They've been around a long time; in fact I've had some given to me in the past and wondered how they were made.  Well, now that I know, guess what I will be making closer to Christmas?
These are the front:

And this is the back.

Making a start on Japanese fabric quilt.

No, I haven't actually started it yet.  But with the help of my tutor Leanne at The Quilt Shop here in Eltham, I've decided on the pattern I will use to cut out and make up my beautiful fabrics.  It is based on a photo I saved on my Pinterest account, and Leanne spent a lot of time trying to figure out the measurements based on the photo, as of course, there was no pattern!  She concluded that it would be easier if we adjusted the pattern slightly to  suit what I wanted to do with my fabrics, then she worked out the measurements.  She suggested that I make templates, and cut out the shapes from other fabric in my stash, then sew them together to make sure I've got it right, rather than cut the Japanese fabrics and risk making a mistake. I'm so glad I did this, because even though I cut the square and rectangles correctly, I cut the sashing too narrow (1" instead of 1.5"), which meant  I had to cut the whole lot back half an inch all round to make it work!  There will be four blocks like this, although depending on how they look when I line them up, if I have enough fabric, I might make a fifth block to make the quilt a bit longer.

I think it looks good, and am now looking forward to cutting the "real thing"  next week at the Quilt Shop. I could do it at home, but there is so much more room to spread everything out there, instead of the small folding table I use at home.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mini quilt and mini cross stitch finished.

I haven't done much at all this year really.  Not as much as I'd like to have, considering the amount of fabric and embroidery kits etc. in my stash.  But I got around to finishing my Owl Tree mini quilt, which may end up hanging on a wall some day.  For the moment it is tucked away in the cabinet where I now keep all my finished patchwork projects.  At least they have a home and I can find them quickly if I want to show anyone.

My friend Val suggested recently that we should get together and do some cross stitching, as it has been ages since either of us did that.  So I rummaged around in my UFO cross stitches box and found something that I figured I would be able to complete.  I will be showing Val this when we meet up next week, and I have made her promise to show me the cross stitch item she started :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Gallery of photos blog.

I have long wanted to have a blog or website of some kind with photos of my patchwork and stitching.  No comments or anything else, just a gallery.  Kathleen at Yesteryear Embroideries  recently started a gallery blog of her own work and when I emailed her she explained how she set it up on Blogger.  So I have started one for my work, but it isn't quite what I want yet, as I want to put captions on each photo and haven't been able to figure out how to do that yet.  I thought I had, but when I'd finished typing, I refreshed the page and it still appeared with no text..grrr.
Anyway if you want to have a look, here is the link.
 There is nothing there that you haven't seen before on this blog, but it is condensed down to simple pictures.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Stitching sampler started.

On Thursday it was so hot, it was impossible to get anything done outside apart from hanging a load of washing on the line (sheets) which were dry in about an hour!  So I decided it was the perfect day to sit inside in airconditioned comfort, and got all my supplies together to start my basic stitching sampler.   Funny to think that I did a very similar project at the Embroiderers Guild just a few years ago, and have the sample pieces in a neat folder, but barely look at them...

I have a number of hardback books on embroidery stitches, but I love these vintage leaflets put out by Semco, Anchor and Clarks so long ago, and decided to make use of them. Scissors, needles, and floss, and I cut five pieces of fabric into 10" squares - one Aida and the rest evenweave.  Then I marked a border and lines half an inch apart with removable blue pencil.  However after I had done four rows of stitching on the evenweave, it just wasn't working, so I pulled it out, and re did it on calico, which was much more suitable to those particular stitches.  I will use the evenweave for the stitches that suit that counted thread type fabric.

On the calico I worked Stem stitch, straight stitch, looped straight stitch, back stitch and whipped back stitch.

On the evenweave, I did Back stitch with twists, which was easier to do on that as I could count the threads to make the stitches even.  I've never done that with back stitch before, so I learnt something from this.
The second stitch is cable stitch, one that I have never done before, and found that it was better done in six strands of floss instead of two because the cable effect was more visible.  And again, much easier on the even weave.

So there we are.  Surprised?  I am!  Given that I am allowing myself to do one row of a new stitch per week, I have completed the first six weeks of this year :-)

Thursday, February 09, 2017

My 2017 Challenge.

I don't usually make new year resolutions, strive to achieve goals, or set challenges for myself.   I just go with the flow most of the time, because I know that life can get in the way, or sometimes I just lose my mojo for a while.   Ä few years ago I did set myself a goal - to work exclusively on my UFOs all year, and I was very pleased with myself at the end of that year to have finished most of the UFOs that I had lying around.  The exercise proved to me that I was capable of finishing projects if I set my mind to it, and since then, I have strived to keep working on my projects until they are finished, without getting sidetracked on other things.  There are still a few large cross stitch projects unfinished, but I will do them in time.  And a few patchwork projects that are barely started, but again, long term items that I am happy to pick up now and then and play with.

One of my long time favourite bloggers, Lyn at The Little Red Hen - wrote a post on her blog in January, saying that she and her daughter are going to try to learn a new stitch every day, from one of Lyn's embroidery books.  I thought this was an admirable challenge, but knew that I would fall short of stitching something 365 days in a row!  But as Lyn says, when you do a lot of embroidery, you tend to fall back on the same old half a dozen stitches because you know them so well.  When I was actively involved with the Embroiderers Guild (attending classes) I learnt an enormous amount of different ways to use stitches, but as I've done more patchwork in recent years, my stitching skills have fallen by the wayside.

So I have been thinking about Lyn's challenge, and how I can suit it to myself.  Instead of a stitch a day, which I know I would NOT be able to keep up with! I am going to attempt one stitch per week.  I looked through all my books and booklets on stitching tutorials, and decided to use one that has 50 stitches in it, which I think is more than enough for the average stitcher.  I will do one a week, and by the end of the year, I should have worked my way through that book and have something to show for it! I have found some even weave fabric in my stash, got out floss, needles, and scissors, and have put them all in a needlework roll so I don't have to go looking for anything when I want to work on my stitches.  So I have six weeks to catch up on, and hope to have them done tomorrow, as realistically a line of basic stitching doesn't take that long...we'll see!  I will post photos of my progress here.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Vintage Semco design embroidery patterns

Sometimes I get emails completely out of the blue about linens, and I am careful to check that they are not spam or other sinister stuff. Most times they have been genuine inquiries from people who have read my stitching and linens blog, and want my advice on a vintage pattern, or have something they want to get rid of, but don't want to throw in a bin. A few weeks ago, I received such an email, from a lady whose mum did a lot of embroidery, and had kept all the patterns that came with the linens. She was reluctant to throw them away, thinking that somebody might be able to use them, and when she read my blog she thought I might be able to use the patterns or pass them on to someone else. I emailed back, saying I would be delighted to take them off her hands, and if I didn't have a use for them, I knew people who would. I offered to pay her but she said no, she was just happy they wouldn't be thrown out. So last week, this is what arrived in my mail box - a padded envelope with 35 Semco embroidery pattern sheets! I was gobsmacked to say the least!

Oh I wish I'd had these a few years ago...I have had many emails from ladies around Australia, who have inherited unfinished doilies and cloths from decease
d relatives, or found linens in opshops with no instructions, and they have asked me if it was possible to find the patterns anywhere.  I usually suggest they contact the Embroiderers Guild in their state, because the Guilds sometimes have a collection of patterns in their possession.  I thought about donating these to the Vic. Guild, but I'm not sure if they would want them, as when I was a volunteer there, I remember they already had a lot.  So I have decided to keep them, and I'm going to make up some kind of file or folder to keep them in, along with the patterns that I have done myself, and been unwilling to throw away.

Friday, January 20, 2017

First finish for the year.

 The finished throw using all four animal prints.

 For the back, I used an idea I'd seen on Pinterest where someone had made a table runner from strips and I have been wanting to do the same thing with all the black and white offcuts I have from previous projects, and some that have been given to me (waving at Cheryl).  So instead of a runner, I used them for the back, and threw in a turquoise strip to make it pop :-)

I had just enough turquoise fabric left to make random borders for two cushions, so in a very random way, I have a small fox cushion, a larger owl cushion, and a piece of fabric with a bear that has gone into the stash until I meet someone who likes bears!

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Happy New Year - what are your goals this year?

My goals haven't changed much in the past few years - I just want to try and use up my stash!  And now I have more...is that good or bad?
My penpal in Japan sent me these stunning fat quarters in Japanese fabrics, for Christmas.  They arrived last Friday and I have been fondling them ever since :-)   in between surfing Google and Pinterest for ideas on how to use them.

Here are some photos from Pinterest that I have in mind for my fabrics.  I don't do complex designs as my readers know!  Especially when each piece of fabric deserves to be showcased, and not cut up into small bits.  Some people can do that extremely well, but I'm not one of them.