Monday, 29 June 2015

Broderie Perse Musings

I'm having musings about creating a broderie perse style applique wall hanging. I just adore the Tree of Life panel and it's really popular at the moment. I purchased it to use as a wall hanging - I was going to simply add batting and put it up on the wall. But then, I decided that just wasn't me. I think I'm going to do things quite differently with the panel.
 Like fuse and cut out these birds
 I can use these border scenes on a matching cushion or table runner when I change the room decor around (I'm thinking of a Tree of Life room theme for my lounge room).
 This is what the panel looks like when it is hung. You can get an idea of the size here
My plan is to fuse and cut up the tree too
 and broderie perse some of the branches into a new kind of (abstract?) tree
 I was thinking of appliqueing my chosen cut out shapes onto a new background and had thought about using this one, but it looks a bit dull and I don't think it will work
I had considered appliqueing my new design onto a black background, but I don't like the idea of living with a large black wall hanging in my lounge room - especially as these colours are quite rich and will sink in rather than stand out against such a backdrop. I think I will go with a warm woody tone or maybe even an unexpected blue.

Do I have the time? No. But I've discovered that if I only did the things I had time for, I wouldn't get anything done. So, I'll just do what I can as the opportunity arises. This is one of those projects I've been brewing in the back of my mind for over a year, well before I even purchased the panel. When I have a full free day, I'm just going to dive in and get it done on a whim, When I do, I'll share the results here and consider this my "before" post. 

Wish me luck !

Friday, 26 June 2015

Nifty Sewing Machine Tool

I don't actually know what this nifty little tool is called, but it is a great help to many sewers so I thought I would share it here. Whenever its spotted at workshops, everyone always wants one! Well, it's cheap at about $6 when I purchased mine and I found it in Spotlight.
It has a magnet on the back and you use it alongside your sewing foot to jut the fabric along evenly at the spacing you desire. This is especially helpful for new sewers.
So you just pop it into position and as you sew, you know that you fabric is allocated the same margin as you feed it under the foot.
Nifty, isn't it? I have many sewing machines and not one came with a tool like this, which really makes me wonder why not?

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

WOW: Apple Core Quilt Progress

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

How sweetly is this little quilt coming along? I love the apple core pattern! The fabrics are gorgeous. I didn't know when they selected these fabrics if they would work, according to my own taste. But I've changed my mind. In fact, I'm really glad I'm making 2x at once. The real one with them in class and an extra one for myself. I think its perfectly charming so far and I'm looking forward to calling it finished in the next 3 weeks. 
Have you made an apple core quilt yourself? This is my first and I'm really taken by the charm of it.

What's Your WOW? 

Monday, 22 June 2015

Oma's Blues: Creating the Centre Plate

There's really no question about it now: the members of my Yahoo BOM Group know my patterns better than I do. When I planned, suggested and released Oma's Blues, I had every intention that I would applique the centre round plate. Of course I would! It is, after all, an applique quilt.

But my Group Members? They knew better. 
They ignored my instructions and started piecing the centre plate. As I watched their perfectly formed plates emerge, I realized that they were right. And so smart. And so generous to share their logic with everyone else. Naturally I too realized that piecing the centre plate was the way to go. Of course you CAN applique it, but now I don't want to as I can see this as a faster and dare I admit it, easier way to get the beautiful round shape with accuracy.
And so here I am, sat at my machine and sewing as I go. What was I thinking when I planned on appliqueing all those points? I think I was in LE overdrive! I thought millions of applique shapes was some kind of normal.
 Pinning and stitching...
Looking good
Lovely...


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Oma's Blues: Making A Start

 Of course I just discovered that I promptly packed away my original designs sheets and just as  promptly archived them before I'd even made the quilt! It's such a hassle to unpack my design packages once I've set them, that it's just easier for me to print out the pattern like everyone else!
My Toshiba copier is officially finished. It died and its much too expensive to fix. I'm really annoyed about it as it was a professional grade copier and I got so used to having it around. The downside was the expense of the thing - which was huge. But the fact is, it was a serious part of my creative process. The other problem I have is that I had taught myself to create my patterns according to its processes - I had a system that made sense to me. Now I have to find a way to do the same thing on two different machines and via software which is all too much and so time consuming. I'm so glad I finished Oma's Blues 6 months ago because I really wouldn't have finished it if the Toshiba had died back then. I feel that I am too old to learn new ways on technology. I just don't know what to do about it. I'm still thinking about whether to get it replaced ....? Or not. I don't know at the moment. 

Anyway, this also means that  I have to construct the pattern like everyone else and just get on with the job. I'm so glad I added a reverse option to the pattern because I can no longer simply reverse on my copier and going out to do it would be such a hassle. I must admit, I am somewhat set in my ways and change irritates me!
Unfortunately, my little domestic printer print the pattern wrong and set the print paper to 'letter', which I only noticed after 20 minutes of cutting out and gluing. So I forgot to take my own advice and had to re-print the whole thing in A4 and no re-sizing!
Finally, I'm making a start!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Oma's Blues: Showing Off My New Blues

Surely I don't need a reason to show you my new blue fabrics? This is a quilters blog after all...
 How perfect are these fabrics for my BOM Oma's Blues?
They are the most charming tiles. I purchased them specifically for Oma's Blues and maybe even an easy sofa throw quilt if there's any left over. In the very real event that they prove too cute to cut, I justified the purchase by reasoning that these tiles were ideal for my wardrobe sachets. I always have herb stuffed sachets in all my drawers and cabinets. I made my last batch 10 years ago and its time to make a whole new set ...and the Delft inspired tiles here called out to me, they're so classic they're neutral. If you know what I mean. And there's so little work to be done, simply cut and stuff...
Unless I use them all up first. 
It will depend on whether they are too dark for the quilt once it starts coming together. 
Now I have all the ingredients, I simply need to make a start!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

WOW: Washing The Blues

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

There's nothing for it, it's time to wash my blues. I learnt my lesson with Lily Rose and the dreaded colour run disaster afternoon, so with my Oma's Blues I am taking no chances. Every fabric is getting stitched down next to white and tested as per my testing technique tutorial here. It's true I used to be somewhat relaxed about colour testing fabrics I trusted, but after my brush with potential ruination of a nearly completely quilt - I trust no fabrics! ALL must get tested.
Yes, this means it's full steam ahead for Oma's Blues and hopefully I'll have some real progress to blog about real soon. Remember, if you haven't joined us yet, all parts are still available for free download over in my Yahoo BOM Group. Oma's Blues is my current free BOM.

What's YOUR WOW?

Monday, 15 June 2015

Oma's Blues: Part 6 is Launched

Well I didn't sleep through the alarm, so to speak, this month! Part 6 is launched today! Can you believe Oma's Blues has been around for six months now? My goodness, I feel like time is speeding up on me. I've been so busy lately that I realise Oma's Blues hasn't received as much love or attention as it deserves. It's hard to express a pattern with a digital image only- it's just so flat, isn't it?

So I've decided to make a start on Oma's Blues and do her proud because if I don't, at this rate, she'll get forgotten on my BOM list - just like my poor Forget Me Not BOM which is so beautiful but which I have also neglected. In fact, when people ask me what it looks like, I direct them to my Yahoo BOM Group because I don't have any photo's of my own quilt top! Terrible, I know.

No, I don't have the time. No, I have no idea how I'll fit it in, but I will make a start and just do what I can. Here is my blue basket of fabrics I'm looking forward to using in Oma's Blues.


Oma's Blues is my current free BOM. You can download all parts up until Part 6 right now for free in my Yahoo BOM Group. If you've missed the beginning, don't worry. You can still download missed parts for free. You're welcome to join in today.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Quilting With Calipers

A few weeks ago I was excited to receive a package from Jinny Beyer's studio. I had ordered some red fabrics in hopes of matching up my LE2 border and also splurged on a new fabric pallette swatch tool and these calipers. The point of these calipers is to find the golden ratio in your quilting which should have the effect of being visually satisfying.
The first thing I did was pull them out and try them against my existing pattern. Did I have a natural eye for the ratio? Had I created Love Entwined according to it? The answer looks like a definitive yes. Phew! I was so delighted to find that the scale was correct that I checked it against all of my unpacked quilts and they too, corresponded with the ratio. I think this means that as quilters, we have an innate sense of value, balance and harmony which we 'naturally' apply in our patterns and designs. I don't think I would have followed any 'scale' when actually designing or drafting my quilts as it would get so tedious, but its nice to know it 'just happens' without me thinking about it.
Another benefit of the calipers is that they make knowing how wide the next border should be so easy. I have completed my centre now and just need to add a final border on LE2. I hadn't decided firmly on what the width should be - but the calipers indicate a good balance so I'll go with that measure.
 These are the fabrics I purchased from Jinny Beyer. I always love her fabrics (I even made a shirt out of a green one last year). When I shop with her, I always know the fabric colours will have a certain quality and saturation that I like so much. I'm really struggling to find the right borders for my original Love Entwined coverlet and this quilt which is LE2. Finding the right red is tough. It really hurts to shop online from US retailers at the moment because of the dropping dollar rate here in Australia and because of International shipping fees. Luckily Jinny Beyer offers the most economical postage possible so I somehow always manage to justify 'finding' something in her range.
I do love all of these, but none of them grab me. I was hoping for an instant love match but that hasn't happened. The first is too modern swirly, I don't really know what I was thinking. The next along is too dark, the one above is too red-orange and the one below just doesn't feel right in real life, although photographed here it does look like the best match.
I think that at this point I will stop looking for my red border fabric. I've had to do this with my original coverlet as the tones in that quilt are hard to match. I'm waiting to serendipitously find the right border fabric whenever that happens. With my red issue here, well I'm in two minds! Yesterday I thought I would create a HST scrappy border made up from applique swatch scraps used throughout the centre...and I just might. Or maybe not. I don't know. Right now, I'm keeping an open mind.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

WOW: A Pink Baby WIP

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Well this is a WIP I'll definitely have to finish in time! One of the women in my beginner's sewing circle is expecting a baby girl. Now they're suddenly interested in quilting for the first time and I'm delighted as it gives me an excuse to introduce them to this art I love so much. Also, I have a huge stash and I love knowing that it's about to be put to use. I've donated my pinks for group use and I think we'll make a quilt, a sleeping bag and some cute accessories like bibs and short little over dresses and a few pram throws too. There's nothing secret about this cot quilt, we're all in it together and I'll show you our progress as the weeks go on.

This beginners sewing circle has been really good for my stash busting aspirations. Instead of shopping at their local Spotlight, these ladies have been shopping via my shelf. They can't believe how much fabric I have amassed. I can't believe it either.

It's hard to let good fabric go so cheaply, but I reason that it will be thrown out when I die and it's better to sell it now and use the proceeds on new project specific fabric that I can actually use in a quilt. It seems that I have so much beautiful fabric and so little of it is ever suitable for what I'm currently doing. In the last few years I've decided that building a stash is a bad idea, I need to free myself of the stash mentality and only buy what I need for what I am currently creating. A tough discipline but one I am determined to master. Eventually.

It's been decided that an apple core pattern is the way to go with this baby quilt and these women have decided that a new baby is the perfect reason to explore quilting. That makes sense. Interestingly, my first ever quilted project was a table runner.

Do you remember your first ever quilting project?
What's Your WOW?

Friday, 5 June 2015

Love Entwined: An Update

 I love this quilt. Today I unpacked my Love Entwined centre to take a good look at it. I haven't had it in my eyesight for a few weeks since I went looking for a border fabric to take me into the next stage. I still haven't found the right fabric but I'm not worried, I know it will show up when I'm not looking for it. This morning I pinned it up on the wall to remind myself just how far I've come with my own heirloom version of this quilt (because I forget) and how lucky I am to be able to enjoy seeing the hundreds of LE's floating around out there (because it's time to pause and take stock). Love Entwined is an extraordinary quilt and I am more in love with it today than I was when I first started this project.

I've been meaning to post an update on this quilt in response to queries and emails I keep receiving (and which I love receiving, thank you), so here it is:

  • I have completed my centre and will aim to complete it when I find the right fabric
  • I'm almost finished on my Love Entwined 2 (variation pattern) and that one is in red and white
  • I have decided that I will release a Love Entwined Coffee Table Book (because this quilt wants to be seen) and it will be published for members on a not for profit basis. I will put all the details up here on my blog as well as over in my group and will create a submission process whereby you can contribute your own quilt images once you're ready. With a quilt this epic, I think I'll wait another 12-18 months before launching this, although it depends on the finish rate. I might open submissions soon and allow quilters to add their entries as and when they finish. I've been shocked by how quickly quilters are actually getting it made, so I will likely get onto it this year
  • Yes, I agree that a LE Exhibition would be a wonderful idea, but I haven't given it much more thought other than that at the moment. I think it is something we would do to coincide with the release of our book. And I envision it happening in the UK (or not? who knows?) and possibly the Netherlands as there are so many LE's there. This is something I will throw open over in the group for discussion when the time arises.
  • Love Entwined was released and available for free, for over 18 months. It will not be released again. I'm sorry to disappoint but I don't re-release BOMs. 
  • I have no update regarding the original coverlet. I attempted to contact the owners to ask them to share images of the original with us all and they have declined to respond. This is disappointing for everyone, but I respect their right to do what they like. I have always felt that the original coverlet was an article of historical importance, and wanted it investigated and preserved as an important piece of history. This has not happened and there's really nothing more I can do about it. I did what I could by reviving this pattern and that is my part in this story. Every quilter who has gone on to make LE or a project based on LE becomes a part of this story themselves in their own special way. And I'm proud that we all joined forces to give this pattern a life beyond the pages of a book where it was long forgotten. We did what we could. Who knows what tomorrow brings?
  • Love Entwined touched my heart, that's why I released my own homage as a pattern to the wonderful and mysterious original; but I could have never foreseen the friendship, generosity and community of women who have come together to share their work over in my Yahoo BOM Group. When I look over the photo albums, I am struck by just how generous and friendly our group is. And so talented too. It really brings me joy to see LE made in so many different ways and in so many styles. I really love them all. I think this has been the best thing about the whole experience -connecting with other quilters. 
Thank you for making that possible. 
We still have so much LE joy ahead of us and I personally can't wait to get there with you.


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

WOW: Esther's Alterations

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Thanks everyone, I loved your replies to last weeks post, its good to know that I'm not the only one with the means (sewing machine, tools and time) to do home sewing but completely lacking the motivation to do so. Well, last Wednesday was a turning point for me, I decided to get down and do ALL the alterations: cushion zip replacements, loose curtain hem re-stitching, woolen jumper loose thread fixing, pill ball shaving and even button replacing. Oh yes, I had a whole heap of buttons to replace. I have a habit where I like to stitch new buttons on store bought clothes because store bought clothes often have rather ugly buttons on them. All in all it was a production line. I decided that in order to get stuck into my quilting (and goodness, there's so much I'm planning before this year is out) that I knew I had to get my house in order first. Just so I could have some peace during quilting time. Otherwise I'm always being reminded about the things that need doing.

With the domestic WIP pile sewing mostly done, I have reclaimed the chair beneath and the end is in sight. Today is the last of my domestic front. I'm doing to my last few things that need fixing.

This top is the main thing. I bought it because I fell in love with the fabric, but the neckline was always terrible. In the fitting room I reasoned that I would fix it to suit me. Like a lot of tops these days, it was gaping at the neck line and completely unwearable. So here I am trying to create a whole new collar neckline fix. With this stretchy fabric, it's really hit and miss. I hope I can save this top, today will tell. I have a clothes collection in my street tomorrow so I'm bagging up and letting go of any clothes I no longer need. I'm going to feel so much better with everything altered, ironed and my sewing room dedicated once again to quilting.

What's Your WOW?