Thursday, 28 April 2011

Off to the UK

We are leaving home this afternoon on our trip to the UK. Internet access will be a bit less regular. Espeically for those who are in the siggy swap - I am not ignoring you and will still be sending out siggies on my travels.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Hannah's jacket

My daughter Hannah has been designing herself a reversible jacket - Pieced on one side and plain on the other. Evidently  piecing the jacket was interesting ......... her sewing machine ended up having to be on the floor after the legs fell off the portable sewing machine table  in her college room. In order to avoid any additional thickness in the seams she has chosen to tailor the wadding pieces as well. So she is now hand tie quilting the three layers together.

Hannah is currently studying veterinary science and tells me that binge sewing is far healthier after exams than binge drinking.....

Friday, 22 April 2011

Functional doll house wall hanging - finished

I have now finished the wall hanging. (Except for buying 2  x 170cm dowel for hanging  - but that will wait till England)

The pockets are make with light weight clear vinyl that is sold as table cloth protector material. This material provides a few challenges for sewing - less holes is stronger than more - so I stitched with a large wide zigzag.
Also where I needed to attach the vinyl to vinyl I used super glue.

Tips: only use OLD scissors and rotary cutting blades on the vinyl - they will not be as good after wards.

The flying fox and hang glider frame  are cord attached to large buttons with rubber bands to hold the dolls - all chosen for easy replacement if broken. The swing is a piece of elastic with a loop on the end. In each case the buttons have a second button on the back and they are sewn through the hanging together - this distributes the stress on the cloth if the buttons are pulled hard.

This project had many technical challenges - sewing the vinyl was not that easy and did not feed through the sewing machine very well - so the stitching is uneven. But I am sure a 2 year old will not mind.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Naracoorte Convent Quilt

The Naracoorte Convent quilt was made during 2008/9. It was this project that initially spurred my interest in using photographs in quilts. In this case I was given the photos already on fabric to use. Because many of the photos were antique I felt that it was important to have the style in keeping so I chose a Victorian front hall table as inspiration. Hence the addition of doilies, buttons, and little pictures to enhance the feel.

The buttons in this picture as genuine buttons of military uniforms. The lace around the central photo came from a period wedding dress.

Oh... the reason for this post today is that I have been following a discussion on old buttons and realized i did not have a picture on my blog of this quilt. I feel the best way to "store"old buttons and other bits is to use them in something that will be valued by others.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Siggy swap - Block instructions (Dear Jane D13)

I checked the first batch of siggy's that  I had made and discovered that they were all about 1/8" too big across the diamond... Obviously a systematic error. Unfortunately when I tried to take in  the edges of the diamond they were not 5" around the edge.

So I have chosen a better method for me. Each time I make 1 siggy square and 4 half square triangles (HST) that I will use in a later project.

Step 1. Cut 5" Cream square, and 4    3" squares in feature fabric.

Step 2. Mark diamond from the center of each side - with lead pencil on the wrong side. This will be the cutting line but DO NOT cut now.  The sandpaper board is great here. (see instructions in post

Step 3. Mark inner diamond within the first so that the diagonal is 4 1/2" across I find this is a scant 1/4" in from the first diamond. This will be the sewing line

Step 4. Line up feature fabric square so that the corners are in line with the sewing line... the edge will be a bit out side the cream. Stitch. Repeat with the opposite corner.

Step 5. Sew a second line of stitching 1/4" outside the cutting line - the makes the HST

Step 6 Cut on cutting line and iron.

Step 7  Repeat steps 4,5,6 using the other 2 corners of the cream square.

Step 8 Trim of any excess feature fabric remembering the square has a minimum size of 5"

Step 9. Decorate, Sign, date and place on the siggy swap. i have tried several type of decorating - try to find something that said something about me.The 2 samples below are decorated from my large collection of vintage buttons and laces.I will make most of my siggies with lace as this is less heavy and less likely to be inconvenient during piecing. If you are in the swap and would like the buttons please let me know.

Step 10 Store HST for another project.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Siggy swap

Annelies of has a really cool on going international siggy swap ... I have just joined and here are my first few to ready to go - providing they are right when I get the official instructions.

Annelies's swap arrived today - beautifully hand stitched - I am glad machine made ones are also acceptable. So I am off the check mine before posting one off in return.

The card she sent is also lovely I will have to find a special place to keep it especially as I really like the design.

Postscript: I have written up my way of making this block in the next post:  Siggy swap  - Block instructions (Dear Jane D13)

Johnville - finished at last

I have finished my grandson's quilt which can also be a play mat.The photos are orientated so that a child sitting on the edge has the nearest photos upright - but this dos make the hung quilt look a bit odd.

I was glad that I had not over filled the quilt as there was a last minute reminder that airplanes were required - added 4.   These has to be added after quilting - but I don't suppose a 4 year old will mind that the stitching is different.
On the back I placed a dinosaur panel so that when the quilt is on the bed it can be folded down smaller and still look complete.

Technical issues - I realized, while quilting, that a better result would have been achieved if the photos had been applied to the pieces before sewing them together because the applique process caused some "shrinkage" of the underlying fabric and hence slight rippling in the final result.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Need to balance - easy and complex sewing

I have come to realize that one of the reasons I have multiple projects ... UFOs (unfinished objects) ... on the go is the need to balance easy and more complex sewing.

There are times when I feel like the "Muddle headed wombat" a classic of Australian children's literature and then I a much better and less frustrated if I stick to sewing simple things - like piano keys. Also because I am easily distracted I tend to  start some thing new rather than finish something I have already begun.

While having many projects can help one be efficient in the production side in that some ideas are half planned - I discussed this in a previous post.

I need to be careful about the shear number have and make sure that I organise some of them so that they are simple sewing for those off days.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Hanging quilts for photographing

This week I have had to repair my quilt hanging arrangements - the original plastic clamps had lost their spring. So my latest arrangement is metal spring clamps attached to out pergola by movable "s" hooks. The metal ones are far stronger than the plastic and allow the quilt to be held up easily and firmly.

Thanks to Tony for coming up with this design - it means that i can get my photographs when the light is at its best not just when he is home.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

A spiral - My first - Orange monochromatic challege - April

I have been working on a spiral block - my first one. I am gradually getting the hang of it thanks to a book "simply amazing spirals" by RaNae Merrill. It even comes with a CD of the templates. I want to make my son a spiral based quilt but I decided it was wiser to start on a smaller project so this will be a cushion...

As the monochromatic challenge is supposed to stretch ones boundaries I thought that this was a great incentive to try this block out with my limited collection of oranges. - they are orange (not brown) even though they don't look it in this photo.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Functional Doll House wall hanging - Stage 1

I have decided to try to make a dolls house for my granddaughter which hangs on  the wall due to limited floor space. I considered various options but eventually came up with the idea of a painted scene/doll house with clear pockets so that the dolls can go to bed etc.

The reason for painting it is the time factor before we travel to England to see them.  The clear pockets are because she loves posting things - I felt that the rest of the family might be grateful to be able to see quickly what she had "posted today".

Tony (my husband) helped me come up with a design in the correct scale of the small dolls I had acquired. To day I drew it onto the fabric and began the process of painting it. I am using Shiva paint sticks which are n oil pastel that becomes permanent on fabric. This is actually the first time I have used them so I have also been climbing a steep learning curve.

The picture are the current stage of progress - also with the pockets i will add detail such as a swing in the tree and a harness on the Hang-glider.

Johnville - progress

I have finished the top - however I have had to vary it from the original plan as it got too big. The collage of Australian animals is going to be a cushion instead. The photos are looking good and there are still spaces in between where he can park his cars etc.

 obviously there is still some thread trimming still to Do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Roses Quilt

 This is a quilt that I have designed for our church's mother's day raffle. Several ladies asked for pink - a color that i am relatively low on because of my stash busting efforts. However looking through my fabrics I did find some small rose panels.

The first challenge of this quilt was coming up with a design that would work with a set of 8 small rose blocks - in  a queen size quilt.  A design with 9 would have been far more obvious as that would make a 3 x 3 grid. The rose garden panel is obviously far bigger than the individual rose blocks - but as it fitted the theme of roses I decided to make this the  ninth block. The differences in the sizes of these actually was the catalyst for the design.

I decide that a traditional English design would be in keeping with the fabrics and therefore chose a medallion layout.  The large one need to be put in the middle. The sizes of the subsequent borders was planned to make the layout look balanced.

The rose garden panel is far less pink than the other parts of the quilt. In order to highlight the pink in this panel and help the quilt bond to together I beaded the panel with mainly clear beads stitched with a deep pink thread.To me this helps bring out the pinks without dominating the picture.