Monday, August 30, 2010

what do you see?

Last week, when I was meant to be sewing I was out and about.  This is what I saw.  After reading some books with design suggestions I remembered  to take my camera around with me to capture images and patterns that appealed to me.  I don't know if it is the colour, the horizontal stripes or the quirkiness of the arrangement that spoke to me most.  Can you guess what it is? Here is a different angle.

That's right.  Prawns, or,  as our American friends call them, shrimp.  They were beautifully arranged at the fish markets.   Here is another photo from the same counter.

The arrangement of oysters was also attractive.  Perhaps I just like the symmetry, or perhaps the fact that none of the above is kosher.  Somehow the salmon didn't appeal, although I did go home with some.

It was a big weekend but not in a  needle and thread kind of way.  On Sunday afternoon I attended a Becky Goldsmith lecture at Quiltsmith  Becky is part of the  Piece O'Cake legend and lucky, us she is currently in Australia.   She was a most generous speaker and gave us insight into her design process.
Here she is after the lecture discussing her new fabric designs due out in  January, 2011.

 Finally, Becky turned and was kind enough to pose for this photo.  Hope you like it Becky!
Come back soon, Becky!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Two Types of Quilters

We all know there are two types of Quilters:
the practical, methodical self-controlled variety
the haphazard, procrastinating and perpetually disorganised.
No prizes for guessing which group I belong to.  I want to be part of the first group but I am genetically programmed to belong to the second.  I blame my mother (just because that is what people do).  My only satisfaction is that I believe my group is bigger.

Here  is a quilt I am almost finished.  All that is required is two more edges of binding to be sewn down and a label.  For your interest, it is a quilt started in a class with Jenny Rosalky at Quiltsmith from a Melbourne design.

So close to being finished,  yet it is numbered amongst my 38 plus unfinished quilts.  Some will never be snuggled under or gazed at fondly with satisfaction.
Hopefully this blog will encourage me to be more the first type of quilter than the second.

So, the first group finishes their quilts before embarking on new projects; never buys fat quarters "just in case"; have their patterns nicely filed; always know where their scissors, pins glasses etc are.  That is all I can say about the first group because I have never belonged.

The second group hatches new projects randomly (often with a feeling of self disgust); forever lose their scissors, pins, glasses and that special fussy cut whatever; buys more fabric than can be reasonably expected to be used in a lifetime.  I could go on and on but I feel more and more ashamed as I write.

Instead I am off to start project 39 - a quick quilt for a young friend who is expecting her first child (no we don't know what sex) in November.  I am thinking cot size but with my history I might make it big enough for a single bed.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Big stitches

So this is some of what I have been doing over the weekend.  This quilt is from Kaffe Fassett's book "Country Garden Quilts".  It is actually designed by Roberta Horton (p 104).  It's a great quilt, very simple in construction but tremendous eye catching appeal with its rainbow of colours.  I have been using 4 different thread colours  because I thought more colour won't harm but I worry that it may distract from the background.

My problem with previous attempts at big stitches was trying to put too many stitches on the needle at a time.  Now, I put one stitch on at a time and it seems to be going OK.  Of course, it is slower but the back of the quilt looks uniform, though unfortunately, the stitches are smaller.

It's ironic.  I have spent the best part of my quilting life trying to get small stitches and now, here I am trying to get big stitches.  The first day, the pad of my left  index finger just became a human pincushion.  I bought some oval plastic removeable protection that worked well...until I tried to remove it. Ouch!!! I swear some skins cells came off as well and since my finger was already tender I was not happy.  Luckily, after 4 more blocks of quilting my finger has toughened up somewhat and I no longer need extra protection. 

I think there may just some time for more quilting before dinner...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Batting and stitching

I have ventured into big stitches using Perle 8 thread once before about a year ago.  Not very successfully.  However, I thought this modern quilt deserved that type of embellishment.

I'm not usually very patient and have never really been cautious with my projects.  This time though, I really want to finish the project in one go.  So I felt it was important to get the right batting and needle.
After trying 4 different battings using fat quarters as samples I made a decision to go with a smooth polyester that has a low loft.

The others that I tried after discussion with quilting buddies were:
a polyester with scrim that is often used with machine quilting

Still not happy so I tried wool batting with only a tiny amount of polyester that a veteran swore by.  This one didn't "needle like butter".  Even better, it was like "sewing air".  Now that appealed to me!

Sure, it did feel easy to sew, probably just like sewing air, but... I didn't like the loft.  Too high.  I like flat.  So it was on to my final sample.  The last one I tried was a woollen batting from Hobbs.  In the end I went for the first photo, the polyester.

Next blog I'll show you my big stitches.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hello World!

Are there many feelings as good as finally basting a quilt top?
Like most quilters I have far too much fabric, far too many unfinished quilt tops as well as  quite a few unbasted  quilts - and that's not counting half quilted, unbound and even semi-bound quilts.
I often wish that when I go into a quilt shop I could buy a few fat quarters , some thread and "three hours".  Wouldn't it be grand to have 3 hours where no one expects a lift somewhere, dinner or to be taken for a walk.
Here is a photo of my latest basting, done courtesy of the Sharon Schamber U-Tube link.  It made my day even better