Thursday, 31 March 2011

Progress report 3 - 50 quilts from stash challenge

I am continuing to make good progress on the making quilts aspect of this challenge - but I have weakened and bought some special fabrics for my son's quilt. (When this is done it will of course not count in this challenge). I am now up to 32.

This quilt is for my daughter in law Juli. I was originally thinking of making a quillow. But I then realized that my granddaughter (nearly 2) loves posting things and thought that the pocket would end up with all sorts of things posted in it. So I have made a  cushion cover for a large cushion that could also be a case for the quilt.

The pin wheels in this quilt are made from the "discarded" triangles in the outer blocks. I used a 4.5" x 2.5" rectangle and a 2.5" square for each section of the outer block. After I matched the square to one end of the rectangle, I sewed on line along the diagonal and a 2nd line 3/8" further out before cutting off the triangles.  I like to do this as it the bias is less likely to stretch. If you try this block - note that the direction of the white triangle is different on the red and blue pieces... My orientation errors will go a considerable way to making another quilt!!!!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Gum Flower and wattle quilt - Instructions

 This is a quilt that I have just finished for German relatives

Here are some basic instructions on how this quilt came together - (Strip in this instruction refers to s full width 40" strip of fabric)

 The center of each block

5 strips 1.25" yellow
14 strips 1.5" green
9    4" squares  - i have 5 gum flower squares and 4 wattle

Add yellow strips to the 2 opposite sides of each square, repeat with the other two sides.
Add green strips to the 2 opposite sides of each square bordered in yellow, repeat with the other two sides.
The block continues to built up the same way with the other strips.

Piano key lengths.

Lots of cream and yellow scraps.

Piano keys are strips of fabric, with even length and variable width, sewn together to make longer sections of the block

Gum Flower (red flower) blocks 

3" length    10 strips  7.5 inches
                 10 strips 12.5 inches

Wattle flower blocks

4.5" length 8 strips 7.5 inches
                 8 strip 15.5 inches

Outer boarder

7.5" length  2 strips
                  2 strips

Block Boarders

Gum flower Block

1.5" green (remainder from the first dark green boarder)
10 strips      2.75" light green

Wattle blocks
8     2.5" Green

Check blocks are all the same size - trim if necessary.
Assemble to a 3 x 3 grid.

Outer borders
13     2" strip yellow
 10   4" green

The order of the outer boarders is yellow, piano keys, yellow, and finally green

If you are interested in seeing  a similar quilt "wedding quilt" is in white and red.

Adding labels before quilting.

I have tried an experiment with one of my latest quilts - I sewed the label to the quilt backing before machine quilting. this allowed me to sew it on by machine which I feel is a better "anti theft" method than my hand sewing. Has any one else tried this? Is this unacceptable for exhibition?

For a label where this would obviously not be appropriate see the 3D one on Cheryl's blog

Monday, 28 March 2011

Wearable quilts - or my favourite coat

Quilting gallery this coming week is having a competition of wearable quilts.Well this coat is certainly my most wearable - I've been wearing it for over 20 years.

This coat began life in the Island of Flores in Indonesia where it was hand woven as a bedspread. I bought it because i thought that i would use it as a table cloth.... At the time we were living in Nhulunbuy, Arnhem land, Northern territory, Australia. At the time the only way in or out of the town was to fly - or a 3 day, 4 wheel drive trip - which could only be attempted in the dry season.

Well I need a coat to travel south in - and this was in the days before the internet and hence eBay - so I looked around my house for something I could make into a coat. I thought that this would be both practical and smart (traveling with small children one did not want a plain colour that showed every mark or stain).

The technical challenges were that the fabric was loosely woven and when I tried to quilt it - distortion was rapid and marked. I almost gave up  but my patient husband unpicked it with me and I tie quilted the whole length of cloth with embroidery floss  and then strengthen it with machine stitching.

The front and back of the coat is cut in one piece to avoid bulky side seams - I bound the edges as I would a quilt.

Well over 20 years later I am still wearing my coat and it still does not seam to "notice" any thing that is spilled on it - so i think that it is going to be going on another international trip - to England this time to see the grandchildren - and they will be able to drop things on it just like my children did.   this is the link for the contest - i will be interested to see what other people submit - i am sure many will be far more dramatic but will they be more wearable?

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Fantastic quilt/ folk music clip

I have just seen this most fantastic clip - where blocks dance to music - it is really worth watching.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

One Hundred good wishes quilt for FCC Project.

Pink and purple Quilt - 9 nine patch quilt
Turtle beach - 25 nine patch quilt.

 FCC or Families with Children from China is an organization that supports the adoption community and also sends fund back to support children in need in the Chinese orphanages. I am going to make a 100 good wishes quilt as a fundraiser for the Australian branch.
When thinking about making a One hundred good wishes quilt I thought that I would look at the book of traditional  Taiwanese aboriginal textiles that I got during my time in Taiwan last December. Many of the traditional weavings and embroideries have a diamond pattern - some quite similar to the pattern of the above 2 quilts. If  I work on a 16  nine patch quilt  that would give me 80 special pieces in the 9 patch blocks, 9 in the feature blocks. and the other 11 could be incorporated into the boarders.

Using the Turtle beach quilt as the example - the light green will be replaced with a soft yellow; the white would remain white.

Pictures of Taiwanese textiles (Sorry about he camera flash flare).

Th reference for the book is Culture of clothing amount Taiwan Aboriginies Volume 2

. This work is in classical mandarin - which my daughter in law can read - I mainly look at the pictures.

Mei Tai Baby Carrier Text Link: Mei Tai Baby Carrier Image Link: Hyperlink: Mei Tai Baby Carrier

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Blocks made because the internet makes the world smaller.

I have just made 4 blocks for a fellow blogger 's friend who is trying to put together a quilt for her son's school's fundraiser.....  Why???  I suppose it is at least in part because of how grateful I am that the internet allows me to have an ongoing relationship with my grandchildren in England while I am here in Australia. I have just had a lovely time talking with them on skype  and because they can see me they are much more responsive than they would be it I was just a voice on the end of the phone. This is so different from when we emigrated to Australia and our grandparents and other relatives became very removed from us.

 Anyway I saw this request and thought why not?

The fabrics I have chosen are distinctly Australian. The koala and the kangaroo are easily recognized. The plant in the border is commonly known as  a bottlebrush because of the shape of its flowers. It has hard leathery leaves that are good are resisting evaporation.

The birds are cockatoos which is a large white and yellow parrot that are often on the move about large parts of Australia -  they squawk loudly, and their powerful beaks are good at cracking open the gum nuts (seed pods of the gum tree). These birds are often referred to as cockies - a name is also give the smaller farmers in Australia. The centers of these 2 blocks show: a farmer droving sheep,  and typical buildings in a country town.(the pub and a shop).

Update August 2011 First pictures of the quilt using these blocks  .

Monday, 7 March 2011

Johnville - collage border panels

I have begun work on the boarder sections of the Johnville quilt.

Each section as defined by the roads will have a theme and be constructed in one piece before adding the the quilt. The themes I have chosen are Ocean/beach, farm, Australian animals, New Zealand, Canada and Zoo.

Stages of construction:

1 Double sided fusible web:
Cut a length slightly bigger than the required panel. The ocean panel is 12" by 45" finished + 1/2" for seam allowances + 1" for potential shrinkage during sewing. I actually had the join mine to get a piece big enough i did this by pealing the web back, off the paper, about i/2 " from the edges which had to be joined, overlapping and then ironing them together with a sheet of non stick baking paper between the iron and web. DO NOT REMOVE THE MANUFACTURER'S PAPER BACKING.

2 Collage planning
First cut out main pictures pieces over the area. Then I filled in the gaps between the pictures with tone on tone prints - carefully making sure that the colours of the prints did not "kill" the adjacent pictures. From experience be generous with the overlaps as you don't want to have the collage pulling apart with vigorous play.

3. Photograph. This will give you something to refer to if the dog or cat or .... rearranges it for you..

4. Iron Collage onto fusible web. Pin any pieces that on top and not in contact with the fusible web.The reason for doing this stage before adding the backing fabric is it is easier to rearrange pieces within the collage if required.

5 Carefully remove paper backing - especially around pins. Iron onto light weight muslin.

6. Blanket stitch edges.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Naracoorte - my home town

While making my grandson's quilt I realized that there were many things that i has never Photographed. There re plenty of pictures of our caves and their Megaforna fossils and reasonable number the wineries but relatively few of the ordinary things which I wanted to include in my grandson's quilt So here are some of the ones i have taken....

Naracoorte St John's Ambulance Service

Bank SA

Car Wash

Country Fire Service


War Memorial

Smith Street shops

Police Station

Kincraig Hotel

NAB Bank

Johnville plan

Well I have finally worked out how to get this plan up on my blog.... I got very discouraged by the fact on the posting page it just looks like a string of computer code. However all I had to do was hit "publish post" and there it is on my blog.

The roads are 3 inches wide and the whole city was drawn up on a three inch grid.

I am currently working on a collage for the beach/Ocean section ... I will publish some pictures with how it is done once it is finished ( and I have finished working out how to do it!!!!!!)

Friday, 4 March 2011

Monochromatic - challenge March is Brown

Here is  my Brown monochromatic quilt. What is different from my other piano keys is that alternated a light and dark. This choice was at least in part because many of the brown bits are checked and personally I prefer not to have two conflicting checks together (I know that others can be very successful at this .... but not me).

Still working on my violet one for February its a bit more complex.   

Johnville - a child's quilt come play mat - Roads and train tracks

next bit of track
I am making a quilt come play mat for my grandson - who is now living a a small house in Oxford (England) where storage is a premium. For the roads I have been fortunate enough to find  a fabric with long lengths of rail track - so i decided to make roads Melbourne style with the tram tracks down the middle.

Once the background is together I am going to applique photos of the various places he has lived.

sewn to ground 1/4 free each end.

Picture one is the next piece to be added it is the length of the ground fabric plus a complete square at each end. this is so that the tracks can be joined up

Picture 2 Attached to the ground leaving the the first and last 1/4 inch free.

 After a couple of trials I decided to top stitch the angles as this allowed me to very carefully control the placement of the  gray rails and get them to meet up

Photo 3 Shows a T Junction. On the upright of the "T" I ironed the seam allowances in then carefully folded the top so that all the rails matched and then top stitched the edge onto the seam allowances below

Photo 4 I a mitered corner Again top-stitch for consistency with the stitching of the T Junctions.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Sandpaper board ( for marking squares ) and recutting pinwheels

20+ years ago, before I had been introduced to rotary cutters and mats, I made this board to hold fabric steady while marking out the pieces.  Recently I have been making a lot of Half square triangles (HST) where I sew the triangles before cutting them from the square. The square on the right was marked while on my ordinary cutting mat and the square on the left on the sandpaper board. With out the sandpaper board the fabric was moving and stretching and it was difficult to get a clear mark in the board it is a breeze.  The board was made by gluing the finest grade sandpaper available to Masonite - and this is still my original one.

Here are some of the pinwheels I have made which were looking rather dull so I decided to try cutting them up like a disappearing 4 patch block. - I am really please with the difference this has made.

Lucy like's playing at quilt design.

My daughter Lucy likes playing at quilt design it is interesting to watch her using  my left over piano key boarders in a different way to which I would.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Pieced medallion quilt top

I have just finished assembling as pieced medallion quilt top for my daughter in law Juli.

During this process I have realized that I have developed a few design tips to make the assembly easier. 

1. Make the central panel square . Here the inner light green boarder is wider on the sides than on the top so that the panel is square. Check this after sewing as any small variations at this stage will be multiplied as you go out though the concentric rows.

2. Have a design with some plain rows to make minor variations in piecing easier to compensate for. To explain : while I try to sew with 1/4 inch seams in a long run of blocks what should be 40 inches is actually 42 inches. So that the blocks meet up an match I increase the width of the previous plain boarder rather than restitching all the blocks.

Apple Recipies (not a quilting post)

A bit over a week ago we went apple picking on a friends farm and came home with 18 large shopping bags of apples. So The Fowler's bottling jars came out and the production line began.
About 1/2 the apples
Apple and Ginger sauce. - good way to use up those little apples  :)

6 kg Apples ( Chopped and cored)
2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup water
 200 gm crushed fresh ginger
Put sugar and water in pan, heat until sugar is dissolved. Add apples and cook till soft. Stir though ginger. Puree in food processor.

Apple Compote
(In France my daughter who was an au pair she discovered eating this on bread instead of jam.)

1/2 the finished jars
Apples peeled and cored. Simmer till soft. puree. 

Apple and Honey Jam
(I used Leatherwood honey that has a very strong flavor)

 5 cups Apple compote
1kg sugar
375ml honey

Cook together until set