Saturday, 25 October 2014

LE: The Double Bow Border

The double bow border is actually the first thing I noticed about the original quilt in 'patchwork' so this border is very important to me. I've created a 'double bows' box, just like I did with the 'zig zags' and this is a box that has everything I need for just this section of the quilt. I know I've said it over and over, but this quilt is a practice in preparation, so here I am preparing. My favourite part of the quilt is when I reach those stages when I can just grab my 'section box' and pull out the prepared pieces, position and play around with them. But to reach that happy moment, there's work to do first. A lot of work. You can't make it as you go, or you'll fall into chaos. Step by step and prep by prep. It's the only way to keep your order when working on a once in a lifetime quilt like this.
bows and swags in alternating hues of light and dark
I mark my patterns with arrows to show me which way is 'up' when I position just in case I want to fussy cut. I have a few dewbies or 'triangles' from Part 8 floating around too (above) as I will incorporate the swag and bow fabrics elsewhere in the quilt in tiny areas throughout to keep the whole scrappy looking harmonised.
Here's my lights and darks double bow box with my selected fabrics at the ready for prepping 
I love all the fabrics
And I've even started fussy cutting. I learnt early on that you have to do the parts which appeal to you whilst they appeal to you. I can't schedule my available time ' to fussy cut for the bow border'. I wish I could be so disciplined, but I find that if I'm not in the mood, I won't do it or if I try it will look all wrong and that ends up being a waste of my precious sewing time. So I work on whatever takes my fancy that day. This is why I'm working at numerous sections 'at once' and why I'm working back and forth between all the parts that make the pattern. I have my own methods and this is what works for me. I think that if I did it any differently, I might never finish. 

Fiddling, sorting, working, enjoying...
How do you organize your preparation time?

Friday, 24 October 2014

BQF: Love Entwined: 1790 Marriage Coverlet



Many thanks to Amy for so generously hosting the Bloggers Quilt Festival once again and a warm welcome to any linky hoppers who might be here for the first time. Welcome to my blog! Please consider leaving me a comment and come back again soon. 

This is the first vase from the centre of my applique quilt, 'Love Entwined: 1790 Marriage Coverlet'. It is an heirloom applique design and is a homage in remembrance to the original coverlet of no name, known simply as a 'fine marriage coverlet dated 1790' in Averil Colby's publication 'Patchwork' of 1958.

This is a heritage quilt; completely and intensely devoted to applique. There's a lot of mystery and intrigue concerning the original coverlet - the unknown maker used motifs and elements not seen in her era and this has raised a lot of mysterious and intriguing questions regarding her place in society, the origins of the quilt design and her intention (and application) in making it. From the moment I saw this quilt, I recognized it as an extraordinary Georgian masterpiece and knew that it had to be revived and remembered for it's unique place in history. 

In 2013 it was all but forgotten. But not for long. I set about creating a pattern in remembrance to it and the unknown woman who made it. Once I had the pattern created, I wanted to ensure that this quilt and its motifs would be revived and recognized today - so I released it for free as a BOM over a period of 18 months. This month, October 2014, marked the final installment. Did you miss it? Don't worry, all the parts are now available for free download. Yes, this quilt pattern is available to anyone who is interested in making it, for free

Why? Because I want to see this quilt and elements of its design revived and remembered. 

This quilt is so intense and fussy that I couldn't possibly show you all my favorite details in one post. Of course I'm biased, but I think every detail is wonderful! So I'll just focus on a few details of the first vase.
What I really love about this quilt, is that it is so intricate and busy. That's not usually my style. But I have found that as I spend hours working on certain motifs and pattern details, my mind starts to wander and wonder about the original maker. What was she thinking? How creative she must have been! Surely this quilt would have been the talk of society in her circle! For its true, we know so little, but what we do know (or can at least be confident) that she must have been of a certain class and society in Georgian England to have access to this hobby, its design process or purchase, its mathematical elements and the fabrics used. It's such an intrigue!

And once you start devoting hours to this quilt, well, you just can't stop.

This quilt really has a personality all its own. And every block is so intricate, you can really dress it up with all your skills and interests. There's plenty of room for fussy cutting, embroidery, embellishment and broderie perse. I'm sure a few charms here and there wouldn't go amiss either.

Then, when you've selected an area to work on, you have the pleasure of reinventing it to suit yourself. Take this vase for instance - I fussy cut it from a wonderful fabric
And yet, that still wasn't enough - it wanted more attention. So I spent several days embroidering very simply around the main design lines for that something extra
and as you can see, it transformed my work from beautiful to heirloom. But what I really love is that when I make this quilt, I am a part of history, taking part in it and contributing to it. I wonder what our unknown maker, in 1790 would think if she could see me now... I can't even imagine!

What I do know is that this quilt really shines when you pay attention to it, the more the better, And I can see it being worked for hours, weeks, months and probably years - one hour at a time in the drawing rooms of fine estates in Georgian England. I really wonder how many fine homes the original 'visited' as it was being made. You can probably tell, this quilt is dear to my heart and I love sharing it with others.
Love Entwined:1790 Marriage Coverlet is a work of art, a piece of history and an epic applique masterpiece! I am hand sewing the whole quilt and using turn edge applique as my method alongside wash away fusible. Of course, it lends itself to raw edge applique too and from Averil Colby's description, there certainly is raw edge on the original.
 Thank you for visiting my blog today and for viewing my post on this very special quilt. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

WOW: LE Centre Done!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 

I have reached another WOW stage in the LE journey

I had no idea what I started when I released Love Entwined. It's been an epic journey for me and I'm really pleased to finally have the centre completed.Yes, there's a lot of work ahead, but for the first time, I can see the end in sight. With the centre done, I feel suddenly much more relaxed about this quilt. I am completely content now to just move ahead with my own version of LE and maybe even start thinking about releasing my next BOM.


Yes, my Love Entwined center is done. This image is a bit dark and moody, the lighting conditions aren't great at the moment but I couldn't resist taking a picture anyway. Although the colours aren't showing up as true, I still think its incredibly beautiful. So, now I have two weeks hand sewing (if I sew 8 hours a day, 5 days a week) or 4 - 6 weeks at a few hours a day in the evenings. I think what this means for me is that I will start moving ahead with the borders and prep work for the blocks ahead and keep the hand sewing task as my 'break' work. 

Love Entwined, I can't believe I'm finally here. It feels like just the other day that I was thinking of drawing you up as a pattern! This is my most intense and time consuming quilt, ever. What can I say? I love the adventure and mystery of this quilt. 

What's Your WOW ? 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Meeting the 1st Love Entwined!

Last week I blogged about Narelle Birchall and her LE - she is an extraordinarily talented quilter and the first person, as far as any of us know, to have finished Love Entwined. Am I serious?! Yes I am! Just thinking about it leaves me a little breathless. But Narelle isn't just talented, she's also generous and giving too. Last week we met up at Quilts in the Barn over in Wonga Park and I was able to see her work firsthand. This has been the first moment I've had to blog about the whole experience.

Oh my.
(L-R) Narelle, Brenda Papadakis and yes, that's me grinning in admiration and awe. It was cramped in there for a quilt as big as LE, but we were keen to unfold it and have a look at its beauty and it wasn't long before everyone present was desperate for a better look...
So it was taken outside and pegged to the tennis court fence. It was an incredibly bright day and the glare was overwhelming for me, all my photos turned out blank or washed out and I got one of those instant sun headaches, so I was very grateful to Linda who knew my camera better that I do and put it on the right setting so that I could capture a photo with Narelle in front of her majestic quilt. We are both somewhat stunned by the light in this image, but I think you can see how spectacular Narelle's Love Entwined is. Narelle, you are talented beyond words.
I can tell you that it truly is spectacular and that Narelle has accomplished years worth of work at a rapid pace. And yet, it's incredible in every way. Her fabrics, her workmanship, everything just left me speechless.

I'm already at that stage with Love Entwined, where I just don't know what to say about it anymore. It has been an epic and heartfelt journey for me and I feel in many ways that I have done what I felt I needed to when I started this project. With the last installment released this month, I feel somewhat 'finished' emotionally with the drive that was needed to release it. From this point onward, it belongs to whoever makes it and takes on its own character at each hand. Seeing Narelle's quilt made me fully 'realise' that this quilt is out there in the world now and this leaves me deeply contented.

Did I mention Narelle's excellent workmanship? She really is talented. This is perhaps the most difficult block in the entire quilt and she has made it look effortless and simple.
It's very difficult to photograph a quilt like LE because there is so much detail and these details are not distinguished in overall quilt front pics. So here is a close up shot. I can tell you first hand that every inch has been made extraordinarily well, this quilt is a masterpiece. 
My deep thanks and gratitude to Linda who allowed us to unfold LE and then peg it on the tennis courts, and for taking the images I am in when I couldn't manage my own camera (honestly, I'm hopeless with those things), and to Brenda Manges Papadakis (that's a whole other post!) and of course to Narelle Birchall - its incredibly generous to take the time to show your quilt and to have allowed me to see it in real life. Thank you so much for thinking of me.

Yes, Love Entwined is officially out there. What do you think?

Monday, 20 October 2014

LE: Vases 3 & 4, the yellow flowers

These last two vases just flew into being finished. 
I really loved working with the sunshiny yellow too.
I'm so glad I found this fabric for fussy cutting the flowers

and this cute print for a little bit of broderie perse
Here I am, auditioning the fabric for the best spots to pick. You can see that this print from my stash is actually a flower print, so the colour graduations are just lovely. 
 working from the pattern as a guide
 fussy cutting the tones I wanted to use
 creating blooms full of tone variation and 'life'
this one is so sweet
and overall, I love the look and it all balances with my compass and fabrics.

I've completed my four vases and I'm so pleased with how they look. My center is done now. It feels remarkable to have reached this point. It's been exhausting at times and when I hold this center square of fabric, I can't believe how much time, work and labour has gone into creating it. I have a bit of hand stitchery to do for embellishing and about a 2 weeks worth of hand sewing to stitch all the applique down into position. What you see here is mostly held into position with Elmer's Glue in disappearing purple. This is a starch based glue which simply washes away. I use it all the time - actually its the only glue I use for applique when quilting. That's the calm before my storm. Which storm? My creativity storm for the borders! I can't wait!
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