Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WOW: Now I can't stop!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 


Since last Wednesday, Patchwork of the Crosses has really ignited my imagination. It's been a good opportunity for me to use up some fabric without tiring my hands. I've done so much hand sewing lately, I need a break from active LE work. It's just so effortless to play around with fabric options and then slot them together. I'm cheating by using an easy method, I simply glue (lightly) the fabric directly down on top of the paper. I have created 15 blocks so far and am already thinking about what fabric to use between all the blocks as a joining colour. But first I'm trying to decide when to stop. 15? 21? 30?


I'm actually hoping to simply stitch over the blocks as is -and then tear the paper off afterwards.
 I'll let you know how it works out for me. 


It' such a versatile block and pattern and I love the idea of using the same fabrics over and over in different arrangements, which is what I would be doing right now on a dark background if I didn't have such a large stash. Mine will be a mix, a bit of everything.


What's Your WOW ? 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WOW: Patchwork of the Crosses

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 


I've been wanting to make my own Patchwork of the Crosses since 2009. You might know from this blog that I've been sidetracked and swamped with WIPs galore but this project is so charming that I always intended to get around to it one day. I think we all know how that is? Too many ideas, not enough time?

Luckily for me, on Sunday I had the opportunity to attended a workshop and had an enjoyable day making my own crosses. I say luckily because we have had a nasty virus at home and I didn't think I would be up to going (and certainly didn't want to be sitting there feeling miserable). But on Saturday I felt better and on Sunday I tool some tablets and got through the day just fine - not my usual self, but not sick. Then, on Monday I started feeling unwell again. It seems like this virus has come back for round 2. My DH is now recovered but I am unwell again. I intend to spend today taking it easy and tinkering around with my blocks when I feel up to it.

Although I am usually working on LE every spare minute I have, the fact is that it is an intense heirloom full of finicky pieces. I'm not complaining, but it does mean that I have to pace myself as its hard work on my hands and eyesight. Patchwork of the Crosses is an ideal in between project. Actually I've noticed that a few LE makers are also making other projects and I understand completely - it finds its own time. Another issue with LE is how addictive it is. I can work on it 9 hours straight and this puts strain on me- which I know I need to avoid. But what can I say? Its so addictive..

It's so popular and fun, I think almost everyone has made Patchwork of the Crosses by now - have you?


 What's Your WOW ? 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Love Entwined Part 14 & 15 is Launched

It's time for the double bow borders of Border 4
There's 4 to make in so it's a double month

The original was made in light and shady prints and I will be alternating light and dark also, as I have done for the zig zag border throughout.

  
If you observe the original quilt, you’ll notice that it is not as square as mine is. Up until this double bow border, which is border 4, the original and my own are drawn in the same (or as close to as possible) ratio and scale.

In the original however, the 4th border develops longer and narrower sides and the applique appears somewhat squashed. The bows are positioned to the seam and there is a visual embroidery line in between the bows to visually correct the size difference and disguise the difference between the top and bottom borders and the sides (which are all double bow borders).

Did the maker run out of fabric? Most probably, but she still managed to finish all the applique; although the last corner baskets appear to be out of alignment. You only see these differences on close examination and it in no way detracts from the beauty of the quilt. In fact, it’s these details which make the quilt so endearing.

Throughout the quilt design, I have purposefully tried to keep the stylistic lines of flowers and leaves, natural, imperfect and looking somewhat hand drawn—and this has been done to stay true to what I see as the elements of the quilt design.

This is a busy quilt which demands so much investment in time, embellishing and detail. Every corner is full of details and you can just feel the energy which was spent creating it.

Hopefully now, in border 4, your own quilt has absorbed your own style and is already reflecting the time and energy you have invested in making this interesting quilt your very own.

This is where we are up to
Part 16 will be released on September 15th, 2014

 Can't wait to see what you do this month...


‘Love Entwined 1790 Marriage Coverlet’ is a Free 18 Month Historic BOM
Each ‘block’ of the month is released monthly, on the 15th of each month.
All ‘blocks’ are available for download via my Yahoo BOM Group only


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WOW: At It Again

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

It's a gloomy Wednesday here in my corner of the world, its morning but dark outside and the light is gloomy. I'm relying on my 'natural daylight' lamp and thank goodness I have it - I would not be able to do a stitch of sewing today without it. It's really liberated my sewing. You don't realise how invaluable these lamps are until you own one and can sew any time you feel like it, regardless of the lighting conditions. I've had a sew free week since last WOW as we've had a virus in the house - the long lingering knockout type. First my husband and then when he was feeling better, I went down with it. It's been hard to shake off and yesterday was the first day I felt 'normal' again. This morning I've wasted no time getting started on my next shumper. It's a gorgeous tree of life style design which reminds me so much of Klimt's artwork and mixes beautiful greens and beiges, I'm going to get so much wear from it.


Thank you to everyone who commented on my last shumper post, just before I went down with the virus. You were all so supportive and helpful regarding my Bernina 820 issues. I am at an impasse with this machine and will have to do something. It's the something which troubles me. You see, its not like the 820 is a good machine with an actual fault that can be remedied. Its clear to me now that the 820 model itself should not have been manufactured to begin with. That makes it hard to remedy. If I trade it in, I lose a significant amount of value and money. And I feel that this is a further insult - to be punished for buying the machine in the first place. But if I keep it, I have an overpriced machine which is, in the truest meaning of the term; unfit for use, unfit for purpose and as far as I'm concerned, unfit to carry the Bernina label.

It was very hard for me to admit that this machine model is just dreadful but now that I have, I'm glad about it. I have been contacted by numerous 820 owners who are tearing their hair out and facing the same issue as I am - this machine should never have been produced. I would just love to spend an afternoon with the engineer who manufactured it and talk him through why this machine is not worthy of the Bernina name. But for now, I'll have to make do with dusting off my trusty 1950's Elna. It's true what they say: they just don't make them like that anymore.


What's Your WOW ?


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Houndstooth Shumper

Isn't this fabric fabulous? It just zings! I always love hounds-tooth, but these colours make me really happy and its doubly nice to use quilting fabric for shirting - or in this case, for a shumper which is my own hybrid of a shirt and jumper. 


And I have so many teals and yellowy acid greens, so its extra versatile in my wardrobe. I have a little bit left over and I'm wondering what to do with it. I'm thinking of hemming a scarf or creating a tote bag. Yes, you can tell I just love this fabric

I am trying to stash bust and minimize generally, but I'm always on the lookout for zingers to update my wardrobe like this one. It also takes care of the neckline problem. I am finding that a lot of otherwise good jumpers and tops have enormous necklines that just swoop down. I don't know why this trend is in, but it is. It doesn't sit right to have the neckline scooped like that and then I have the dilemma of wearing a shirt underneath (too hot and bulky) or just the top alone (too chilly on top). You can see I've been having wardrobe frustrations over this. Well, my whole new shumper sewing ethic has taken care of this problem, and I'm glad about it because I have some beautiful mohair and wool mix tops with lousy necklines which will now become fabulous wardrobe staples. 

Whenever I wear one of my shumpers (and I have quite a few now), I always get asked where I bought it. Whether I'm at the petrol station, or buying groceries or in the newsagents. I used to be taken aback when people came up to me to say something about the quilting fabric I was wearing, but now it happens so routinely that I almost expect it! It's so flattering to be complimented for wearing beautiful fabric and it's so nice to have it put to use instead of sitting on my fabric shelf. Do you compliment people when you're out and about? Its something I have to do more of myself - it really shouldn't be so usual or surprising to give or receive a compliment but I have to admit its something I don't do enough of and I think there needs to be more of it.

I made it on my Bernina 820. Well, let me re-phrase that. I tried making it on my Bernina 820, but after a few hours decided to shift back to my trusty 1950's Elna. Why would I do that? This is why. 


Regular readers of this blog will know that I've experienced great disappointment with the Bernina 820 which my husband purchased for me on our 40th Wedding Anniversary. Since my first posts reviewing this sewing machine, I've received lots of emails from quilters around the world who have themselves purchased the 820: all offered advice on how to handle this machine. Some of you were happy with the machine after a period of settling in and others of you were and still are unhappy with it, a year or two on. I have appreciated all comments and feedback on this issue because I've been faced with a difficult decision regarding the machine. 



I have given this machine every opportunity to perform and have taken countless hours trying to settle it in, all without results. This machine is one difficultly after another. Every sewing session that begins with such enthusiasm and ends in tears of frustration and another round of regret. What to do with this machine? I don't know. Trading it in is not an option because of the value loss - and that loss of value is a further insult - to be punished again for trusting the 820 in the first place. Sell it? No, I cannot, in good conscience, sell it on. I'm just not that type of person. The 820 needs to be put away, not passed on. Some people have suggested that the 820 is a sewing machine for people who think like a computer. I don't know what that means except to realize that if they're right, I obviously don't think like a computer. 

Lastly people have offered advice concerning me taking lessons on how to use a sewing machine. I take this advice with the good intention it is offered in, and I don't take offense. I would also recommend this myself if someone complained about a machine as much as I complain about the 820. However to be clear I do just want to point out that I am not a hobby sewer: I have been sewing for over 40 years and on a variety of machines. As well as being an accomplished sewer, I have been an award winning quilting for 13 years and was a tailor before that. I know my sewing machines. And that somehow makes living with the 820 worse

I regularly receive emails from readers who'd like to know if I've sorted out my 820 issues and the answer I'm afraid, is no, I have not. I hope things will improve somehow but I can't see how this will happen. It's my opinion that Bernina should recall the 820's but again, don't see this happening either. I have a very high opinion of Bernina and indeed trusted in that brand name, so it surprises me that the 820 was ever produced and manufactured. And I sincerely regret that it was.

These buttonholes are a serious mess- and as usual, no amount of tension adjustment or thread change or bobbin fiddling can remedy it. I've been here before and it just gets more frustrating to have beautifully prepared fabric damaged like this from a machine that should perform better. This standard is inexcusable. And so disheartening too. What a waste of fabric and time

So much for teaching my DDs how to sew by example, I don't let them near the 820 - not because its 'precious' but because I don't want them to be put off sewing. This really bothers me because I am one of those women who believes that even if you do no sewing, you should know the basics like hems, darts and buttonholes as a general life skill. Well, not on my Bernina 820 that's for sure. 


This is OK. And this is the best the Bernina 820 can do. 
Overall, one hole out of 5 is acceptable and I am not impressed. 
Maybe I'm too particular, but I can't live with this kind of sloppy work!


By the time I've re-created my collar, I've moved machines and feel better about getting my creation finished within the day. I love these buttons too, they're such a nice detail to finish on. Because of course, I have a button stash to rival my fabric stash too, but decide to stick with black on black.


After hours of struggling with my 820, its nice to look at my finished (or nearly finished, in this pic the buttons need to be sewn down) creation and realize that this is what its about - using what time I have to do what I love and with the materials I love. Its such a shame that I have a tool which doesn't benefit my work, or my creativity. It hinders both those things and fills me with such regret and indecision - because what can you do when you have spent so much on something so bad?


 Have you sewn anything for yourself to wear lately? I'd love to hear about it. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

WOW: Back to Shirt Collars

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

As I try to downsize and minimize, I keep finding things that are too good to throw away quality wise but too boring to keep in their present condition. This week I've been sorting through my wardrobe - and I found some excellent jumpers in need of some revival - so you know what that means? More collars of course! I don't know about you, but I just like collars - on everything! It seems like more and more collars are being neglected on garments and this is not a trend I'm a fan of. In fact, the last few tops I've tried on at the stores have had enormous necklines, really wide and low - I honestly don't know who's wearing them?!


I just love creating collars with my beautiful quilting fabrics. Most of you already know that I've been here before, I do it each winter, it's just fun and so practical as well and a good excuse to allow myself permission to buy extra fabrics - like these here: what do you think?


I know I just finished a set of shirts a few months ago, but its winter now and that means its time for a set of revived jumpers and I've decided that there's just too much black everywhere. Of course, I do love wearing black like so many women, but I'm going to ban it without some beautiful fabric pepping it up on the collar and cuffs. It's my compromise.


I waited years to find clothes that reflected my colouring and were practical as well as stylish - they were few and far between. So, now I just make my own. What about you? Have you been driven to revamp your wardrobe?

What's your WOW ?


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