Wednesday, 27 July 2016

WOW: WIP Busting

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
I've been in a mad dash to get my studio in order and have been labeling and sorting through the total chaos of my design folios so I can move on to new projects. I've found so many 'lost' patterns that I knew I'd stashed somewhere safe and I'm so glad to have recovered them along with lots of other WIPs I'd almost forgotten...but am completely in love with again. This is a good thing because it means I can plan my next year ahead, quilting wise.

I'm relieved to have found my original Nelke notes during this bog clean up and that means I can finally update the pattern as soon as I get a chance. I've received queries about Nelke and also have applique changes that I added afterwards as well as some border confusion which I couldn't deal with because I didn't know where I'd filed it! I did have it, but then I put it somewhere after I'd made some notes. And then I forgot about it. Oh well I'm getting there.

Luckily I found my other patterns at the same time too. You see, I have a new filing system where I catalog all my work to store it. This allows me to move on. The problem is, when I moved house 4 years ago now, I mixed up all my files and then just stashed new files wherever. I knew it would somehow sort itself all out one day and that day has finally arrived. Phew! I also found my completed Peony Pride pattern files and print outs (why did I ever stash that away??) along with my entire Vase series of wall hangings. It's been quite a treasure trove!

I'm looking forward to a week of organizing myself and that means getting almost finished patterns finished and clearing the decks for a month of wedding dress focus.

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Starting the Wedding Dress

Can you believe that I really never imagined I would sew my own DDs wedding dress one day? I really didn't. But now that I've started, there's just something so exciting about it all. I actually made my own wedding dress when I married and it was gorgeous. I didn't even use a pattern, I simply drafted it by eye and set to work. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of it. It was so long ago that the only photos from the day are from the shoulders up! That fact seems so strange nowadays with the technology bombardment we all live in and when I think about it that way, it's really staggering how much the world has changed since then. As for the dress itself? Well the less said about that the better. My own sister harvested it for the fabric years after I'd left home which left me with no dress to show off to my own DDs. Anyhow, it looks like I can make up for those lost bridal fabric, style and headdress moments now...from scratch.
Well almost. I naturally thought I'd be drafting the entire pattern myself, but after much shopping and trying on of dresses which just didn't meet the mark, my DD found the pattern she wanted and has been very particular about it all. As a professional designer in a previous life before quilting, I know there will be many changes and adjustments, however I'm happy to start with the pattern as the base dress to work from. With my first DD showing zero interest in wedding bells, I have seized the opportunity to relish every moment of this dress making adventure with my youngest.
The pattern is a Butterick one, and oh boy is the paper quality poor! I'd happily pay double for more manageable paper and I'm surprised these paper sheets pass quality control (if there is any?), it's been a pain to gently unfold, iron and construct the pattern. Was it always this bad? It's been over a decade since I even handled a commercial pattern (perhaps longer) and it may just be that I've grown old and fussy. What I had to do to make the pattern usable was adhere it to a backing support fabric. I didn't have any on hand and didn't want to leave the house and lose momentum so I used an expensive woven fusible manufactured for men's suiting I had in my studio. I probably shouldn't have but it is lovely to work with and I can't see that I'll use it for anything else.. so I just decided to use the whole bolt up. And that's the pattern constructed. Now the fun can begin..

As you can see from the skirt panel below, it's too large for even my desks and benches to handle so there will be a lot of cleaning going on once the real fabric makes it into the house. As for now, I'm just making the toile so am feeling relaxed about any dust.
Now, I'm off to tape up my wooden design bench to prevent any future snags when billowing the lace and fabrics and then I'm going to resume my search for a dress maker's dummy. I gave it away last year during a bout of downsizing and clearing out, I never imagined that I would need it again - so I'm off to buy an adjustable one. That's life, eh?

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

WOW: The Downsizing Lesson

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Little did I know when I happily gifted away my dress maker's dummy, that I would need it a year later. I thought I was being so practical. The only things I sew these days is shirts for myself and the occasional set of curtains when I find some really special fabrics. So it made sense, during my downsizing tidy out, to give it away. I mean, yes I do sometimes make myself shirts - but I don't need a dummy for that. I had no idea that one year on from my great big clear out I'd be online looking for a dummy to make my DDs wedding dress on.

In fact, I really don't think that I ever even considered making my DDs wedding dress. But there you are, life takes turns you don't expect. And when you can't find exactly what you want, mother knows best (and can sew) so here I go.... but first, my search a dummy continues. I don't want to own one, but there are no options to hire one and no one I know has one. So, wish me luck :)

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Hazel is Finished

That's it! The last installment of Hazel is up in the Group and there are already plenty of quilt top pics circulating to feast your eyes on. What a BOM it's been! When I designed it, I loved it, but I didn't know if anyone else would love it too. An all pieced BOM is a bit out of character for me, but sometimes  I do feel like I just need to shake things up a bit. Now all I have to do is wait around a bit longer to enjoy even more Hazels hit the finish mark. And finish my own top... which is completed and needs to be quilted.

The best bit (and I know I always say this, but it's true) is the scope of variety out there. Take this one, in stunning red, blue  (some tan) and white by Milla Machova. Now, when I first designed Hazel, I did do a mock up in this scheme and secretly hoped that someone somewhere would make this bold statement and I'm so glad Milla did because I'm thrilled with it. It might sound odd to be so delighted over someone elses quilt, but as a designer it's a very real emotion!

This Hazel is by Judy Hogg and the her use of colours is a dream, I just love the balance between the lavender and green, it's so harmonious

This one by Alice Means is splendid in red shades and you know red happens to be a weakness of mine..and the smattering of green just works so well, I am in love.
The best thing about the BOM Group over on Facebook is the ease of sharing images, it's been such a thrill to see everyone working at their own pace. For this post, I asked Milla, Judy and Alice for permission to post their quilt images here as examples of three very different quilts. The fact is, I could have listed 50 quilts here on this post right now - there's a Fassett one that has stolen my heart, a pastel one that is too charming and a very special shaded one that has managed to use all my favorite colours better than I have ever managed. Yes, it's true, I really do get to live through everyone elses colour schemes...which is lucky for me as I'm notoriously indecisive myself.

If only I could show them off here - but there's not enough blog space, you'll just have to join the Group and see for yourself.

As for me, I'm keenly following the results of the next Free BOM Poll over in the Group to see what members would like to make next.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

'The Pomegranate' Pattern is Launched!

 "Pomegranate", finished size 24 x 28 inches (61 x 71 cms)

It's here! I've finally managed to release the pattern for this quick little beauty and I'm delighted about it. It's been a long time coming - I've been asked for years when I would get around to releasing this wall quilt and now it's finally done. That's another WOW for me, another WIP completed. Phew!

So what do you think? are you in the mood for a weekend project? This wall hanging is perfect for those of you with a hankering for an applique project you can show off around the house or quilt as a heartfelt gift. I have mine in the lounge room and I've literally lost count of the compliments it's received over the years. 

Why a pomegranate? The pomegranate is steeped in a rich history of mythology. Traditionally representing abundance, fertility and luck, it has been depicted in countless textiles through the ages as a representational ‘charm’ motif. What better design for the home than a wall hanging featuring this fruit in abundance?

I opted to make my own in reds because it just appealed, however the design lends itself to a wide open interpretation (I’ve even got one in my WIP pile that is made up from newspaper print fabric, just for a bit of fun). 

Whatever scheme you go for, don’t be surprised if it turns out to be a new favorite—when I made this wall hanging, I had no idea how enamored people would be with my naïve little vase and it motivated me to go and design a a series of them (which I haven't created yet, they're WIPS).

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Sweet 2016, Part 6: Opera Cake

Go ahead and cut me a slice of this gorgeous cake that just happens to be my own personal favorite. Oh yes, it deserves it's own dome! Opera Cake is deservedly popular all over Europe, although I have great difficulty sourcing it myself so I mostly dream and drool! For those of you who haven't tried it, it's made with layers of almond sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup, layered with ganache and coffee buttercream, and covered in a chocolate glaze. Mmmmm. I've been known to go on entire day trips with my DH to source this elusive cake (on my last bday) without success so I'm delighted to add it to my permanent Sweet 2016 display.

Here's where we are up to, quilt wise:
You can see that I'm still pinning my applique pieces onto the constructed paper pattern because I have far too many backgrounds and the indecision is driving me crazy. I've purchased 8 backgrounds and I already 4 possibles from my stash, so I'll just wait and decide at the very end.

Here's how I made my Opera Cake this month: at this stage, the fabric requirements are scraps from your chosen range. Here's my range for making up this month.
There's no getting around the always essential prepping of each little piece (and numbering too)
 I'm not adding tray fringes on all my trays, but I am fringing all my smaller domes and I'm fussy cutting to get the effect I want. I might even go back in and add some bead embellishments later to add some shine. I saw a member adding some Swarovski elements and it really lifted the applique, it looked fabulous so I might even add some 'bling' myself (whoever thought I'd say that?!)
 and this is what my fringe looks like once sewn into the dome. This is the only sewing you will do, as the dome is not stitched onto the background until the very end.
 Looking good
 Sticking down my pieces and keeping it all very neat and tight to the pattern, you don't want your shapes to 'grow'
I keep the chocolate background in one larger unit and applique the 'layers' on top - breaking down each slice would just be too fussy, even for me.
 My Opera Cake!
Understanding the pattern release schedule: anyone can join Sweet 2016 at any time and when they do, they will receive a new block each month from that point onward. The day they receive each new block will depend on the date they signed up and made their first payment. Everyone who starts Sweet 2016, starts at the beginning, Part 1. Specific blocks cannot be purchased out of turn. 

Whenever you choose to start this BOM, be sure to keep us updated on your progress by sharing your work over in our Sweet 2016 BOM Facebook Group, see you there!

'Sweet 2016' is my current Mystery Applique BOM
It's just $3.95 per month
Delivered digitally, to your email inbox each month

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

WOW: Pomegranate Anyone?

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 
I've been taking many trips down memory lane this past week - you see I've been clearing out my sewing studio and making room to create the space I need to sew a wedding dress (but  more on that in another post!). It's been a good time for me to pull out those patterns that are three quarters finished and create a kind of priority list for my design WIPs. 

I found two Pomegranate wall hangings half completed (not counting the one above which is hanging in my lounge room) and they are really fabulous. I just love finding projects I am still in love with, it's a good sign. Anyhow, I will be releasing the pattern Pomegranate this week after WOW so if you've ever wanted to make it, don't forget to visit on Friday. Once again I will be allowing members to download new patterns to my online shop at the very reduced price of $4.80 for 48 hours - it's a small window that allows anyone who's interested to take part at a discounted price. 

And of course, today I'm working on a rose (what else?) themed wedding quilt which I expect to release next week. It's a busy time in my house and I can't wait to share more with you just as soon as I get to the next step.
What's Your WOW?