Monday, 23 May 2011

Try Stenciling For Free





Have you tried stenciling yet?
I have to admit, I do love stenciling. It's a rewarding technique that allows you to be creative and in control. Once you have mastered the process, it will change the way you look at quilt designing - I have always enjoyed turning my sketches into a design and knowing that it's completely my own.

Stenciling can be including a single stenciled block in your next quilt or creating a whole cloth masterpiece.
If you've ever thought about stenciling...but wasn't sure, why not give it a go? I am offering my Tulip Delight Table Runner Pattern for free via my website. Why not print it out and see if it suits you?


Why not  visit my Original Stencil Quilt Gallery to see how creative and diverse stenciling can be?

The snap shots above are taken from my gallery, click on an image below to link directly to it

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

My Production Process

OR...
How I Create Multiple Blocks

Having looked over the 4 blocks in Block 4, you may be feeling daunted with the task ahead of you.
I’d like to take a moment now and share with you what I think is the most time effective way to create multiple blocks.
I spend the most time actually selecting fabrics, so if you have your fabrics chosen - the time saving right there shouldn't be underestimated!
I look at the block, pull out some fabrics that I think would work and I start there.
I first dissect the pattern in easy shapes. So, for instance, I think leaves are an easy shape - I usually start with them, and I trace and number all the leaves.
I then decide on light and darkness contrasts in the leaf (or shape) and immediately sort the shapes by colour choice.

Then I cut them out and position / iron them onto fabric with freezer paper.

Then I trace all the stems, and so on.

Basically I create production lines based on shapes – all the leaves, all the stems, etc.

I multiply freezer paper sheets x 4, staple the sheets together and then cut 4x of everything in one cutting.


My routine starts off with spending a day on just leaves and stems and getting them cut out and assembled.

Lastly, I will tackle the flowers. I mark my pattern piece with dotted lines to determine which areas will over ‘over’ and which areas will be ‘under’ so I don’t have to think which is an under tucked shaped or a top lying shape.

Then I sort the shapes by numbers: fabric 1, fabric 2. Fabric 3, etc and put these shapes into envelopes. I stitch a swatch of the fabric on the envelope for easy viewing.


I always photocopy the block and colour in or number each segment,. That way when it comes to assembling, I can glance at my block and glance at my envelopes and know very quickly, what belongs where.  As I cut in multiples of 4, as I am cutting the fabric I position numbers straight into envelopes.

Everything is done in this kind of assembly line.

Once everything is cut out and prepared into x4’s, then I place a base pattern of the block on my light box. Over this I place my background fabric. Then I start putting the block together like a puzzle. I use light dabs of Roxanne Glue and I start with the stems and thorns first, then the vase and blooms last. The visibility is so clear that there is no guessing, everything simply slots into place.

This stage is the most satisfying as all the pieces come out of their envelopes come together.

Basically, it takes preparation and attention to detail along the way. You don’t want to waste time during the last stage of putting the puzzle together to decide to re-do a leaf or bloom because it isn’t up to standard.

Once you have positioned and glued the pieces into place, you can then hand or machine stitch into place. When this is completed, I usually add embellishments or embroidery if needed.

If I’m productive enough, creating all 4 blocks takes me a week, working 6-8 hours a day. Obviously I get distracted, have to cook, you know, the usual housewife /mother stuff I get to around here. I am one of those people, when something has to be done, I get really focused and don’t want to stop until it is completed. The great thing about this process is that whether you have a day to work nonstop or whether you work in small consistent segments, this method of producing the block lends itself well.
 

Of course, if you do it differently and it works for you, I’d love to hear how you do it.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Flowers For Me

Introducing: Hearts Desire: Block 4

This month I’ve purposefully included some sharp points to my design, since life is not always a sun dappled garden of needle- turned circles.

Those little thorns do creep into the stem and I feel that, as in life, the thorny details needed to be represented.

I do always try to think: bigger the thorn, more beautiful the rose





This month my desire is Flowers For Me... and for me alone. For that reason this bloom is not a rose of any identifiable genus, but a flower from some other long forgotten time, blooming in only my garden.






OK! Onto Details….
Isn’t it sad to think our journey together will be finished in just 2 months? I know, I know, you’re all thinking arghh, enough applique already! But can a quilter have too much of a good thing?

This month sees us making 8 sashings to add to our 4 remaining background squares, which when done - we will go on to applique.

There are no further clues about placement this month – that will come together next month. This month concludes the four remaining blocks.

But where each block goes? Nobody will know for sure this month….We are all well versed on our raw edge and needle turn applique by now – you might think that this month is the last final applique hurdle before a breezy ending as we approach the last 2 months.



Well, let me tell you now – I don’t think anyone will guess what’s coming up next month, so if you’re having thoughts of resting or putting aside your applique – resist – because when next month comes, you’re going to be eager to finish your quilt  and invigorated when you see what’s in store to finish this design off.

We are nearly approaching the end of this heartfelt and emotionally charged applique quilt: so many of you have truly made this design your own with personalized fabrics and added small but significant changes that tell your own unique story.
I love looking through the albums as each of you complete your blocks. I know how wonderful this month’s block will look as the next 4 weeks pass….

So, until next month BOM wise,
keep up if you can – it’ll be worth the finish!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Golden Rabbit Door Hanging




I’ve been a part of this Festival since its very first year and once again I have to start by saying a big Thank You Amy!

 
Introducing...
Golden Rabbit
(although, I know - he really is a hare)



This applique wall hanging was my Easter 2011 project. As well as my free BOMs, I like to share whatever little projects I make throughout the year. I know we all have mountains of fabric out there, so the more designs and uses to bring it out of the pile and into the open, the better!

Golden Rabbit is a stash busting applique piece. Basically, I wanted to create something versatile and fun. It’s an Easter Kitchen door hanging in my house, but it could easily be a wall-hanging, a table runner or a cushion. And I think he could even be incorporated into a quilt block.

   I make so many large quilts that it’s nice to relax and have some fun with smaller projects every now and then. This piece felt like playing around, I had a great time deciding on the fabrics, the backgrounds and his eyes (which are cut from a print).

I know this wall hanging will get so much use, especially as I love to have cherished family items that come out each year during special occasions.
 

As for Mr. Hare himself, well I just scribbled him into life in one of my journals….and whenever I look though that particular journal, his eyes were always looking at me. I knew I had to make him!

This little applique piece was an enjoyable afternoon – because that’s all it took to make up – a few lazy hours. I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at him here as much as I enjoyed bringing him alive.
Thank you for stopping by my blog,
enjoy the rest of the festival!

Friday, 13 May 2011

What is your favorite photo / image program?

I am looking for a program which I can download from my camera into, and once stored in that program, allows me to easily move, categorize and print images. I have been using Windows Image and also have the software which comes with Sony Cameras PMB as well as FINEPIX and I don’t like any of them. They all have their strengths, but none do the lot.

I am thinking of buying one to do everything – I mean really, who has time to juggle their photos around (like I presently do??) to get full use out of features required across other software functions.

I am after a program for your computer – not online storage like Picassa or Photobucket, etc.

I know most of you reading this post are more computer savvy than I am, so if you are using an image software program that you love, would you please let me know?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Tuesday - back to work!

Where has the last month got to? I’m still sorting myself out after a leisurely Easter and Sunday was Mother’s Day, so the last 4 weeks have been a bit of an overindulgent blur.

I still haven’t had a chance to sit down with a coffee and catch up on my favorite blogs (…yet…) but I will get there sometime this week.

Yesterday I think I found the last little brightly foiled chocolate egg which had rolled under the fruit bowl ….so it might be time to stop indulging! I have some pressing WIPs that are taking up all my time- you know how it is, you pass the bulk of the work and you don’t want to stop when you are so close to finishing. I’m sure we all know that feeling!


When my children were very young, they would loudly complain that there was no Kids Day for them on which to get presents and breakfast in bed - which I always thought was so funny. The truth is, I think Mother’s day and all those days are a bit of a marketing trick…but I still can’t help falling for it…it’s just so nice, isn’t it?
My DDs are all grown up now so I didn’t get breakfast in bed. Really though, I can’t complain, I don’t bake Sunday lunch on Sunday’s- they do, and I get away with endless hours of quilting whilst they help out around the house, so I am very fortunate. Lunch yesterday was wonderful and picture perfect – such a treat, and I did get a useful cup with a lid (which I’ve wanted for ages) for when I go to meetings, etc. I also enjoyed some unusual flowers. I don’t know why I love this decorative cabbage so much (I think its Kale), but I do. And on Saturday I treated myself to 2 Liberty Print Handkerchiefs.

So, yes...I did buy some fabric (even though I am trying to stash bust) but I don’t have to worry about my groaning fabric shelf taking any more as both squares are already useful before even being used!

Now in hindsight, I don't know if I ever will use them, but I like having them in my handbag just in case. I think I must be in the last hankerchief generation as neither DD was impressed with this purchase.

I couldnt help but take photos

I am determined to make this week a productive week. It feels like one festivity after another in my house and I need to get into ‘working mode’. Wish me luck, I’ll let you know if I get there.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

An Ordinary Moment in May

 This year is simply running past me! It feels an age since I last blogged, just before Easter actually. I hope you all had a restful and family focused time, and if you didn’t enjoy those things then I at least hope you enjoyed plenty of chocolate.

Today my DD caught me catching up on Hearts Desire in my standardly messy studio and took a snap.


I thought it was about time that I cleared my table for the next project as I have several coming up that I want to get finished.

Whilst cleaning up, I became distracted, changed my To Do List and decided to finish some blocks instead..

this is my applique leaf production line


For those of you who don’t already know, I have a ‘test’ sewer make my quilts before I launch my BOMs and at the moment she has completed more of my own work than I have. I have to sort that out immediately! But then the mail arrived…and I had to stop to admire Inspirations Magazine. It’s such an inspiring magazine that it gets me to wondering…when will I get the time to do some needlecraft?

How do you prioritize your interests? Is quilting what you do – or is it one of the things you do?

I’d love to know!

Ok, back to work with only the sneakiest peeks of an upcoming block visible in this photo.

At least once a week I get an email asking for a pic of Hearts Desire.
But remember: It's not a mystery if you know!