Friday, January 28, 2011

Suburban rainbow

Well, I had to come up with a name for my newest finished quilt.  The colours remind me of the rainbow and the quilting pattern is reminiscent of blocks of houses with roads and streets running around them.  The name doesn't feel quite right but it will have to do

This is a quilt from the Kaffe Fassett book "A Country Garden" but it was actually designed by Roberta Horton.  After I had finished the quilt top I saw another version, probably made earlier, that Roberta had published in the Quilters Newsletter Magazine.  I loved both quilts.  In the book, Roberta used stripes where  I used the aboriginal dots fabric.

It was finished after midnight last night.  The photos were taken quickly.  It does actually hang straight but I couldn't bring myself to keep on adjusting for the camera.  Too many late nights spent trying to meet my deadline.  Originally I had planned to put the label on the front of the quilt

It was quilted with 2 different coloured perle 8 threads. When I took the quilt out of the hoop I was disappointed to see how much the top had scrunched up compared with the rest of the quilt.  It was so much more heavily quilted that the edge 'shrank' more in that corner.  So I had to pull it out.  Pity, because I thought it looked OK.

Here are some more pictures of the quilting

the house blocks are quilted in the aboriginal dots fabric and the roads are quilted in lines along the other Kaffe fabric. 

Sydney has been suffering from high humidity over the last few days and I really felt it under the quilt.  So it was with relief that I finished the quilt and handed it over.

I think I'll turn my hand to some piecing and applique for a while.  From tomorrow  I will be away for a while but I am going to try to post away from home.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I have been furiously working on quilting my bright Kaffe Fassett fabric laden quilt.  It doesn't have a name yet although a few have been swirling around in my head.

It is the first time I have used perle 8 thread to quilt.  I started in August.  Between then and now I have quilted "Muffet's Way", a 66" square spiderweb quilt in perle 8 thread as well.  This top is almost finished

except for the final border.  I need to have it complete with binding and hanging sleeve by Friday.  It is Wednesday  morning Sydney time.  I love deadlines, don't you.  I normally wouldn't have posted an almost finished quilt but I wanted the opportunity to greet my fellow Aussies on Australia Day.  G'day.
I believe it is also Indian Republic Day, so if you are reading from India, have a good day, too.

Back to the quilt.

It is going to be hung in a local quilt shop.  Kaffe Fassett is making a quick tour of the east coast of Australia in February and he is apparently going to call in at a few quilting shops.  So Quiltsmith's owner would like to turn her shop into  a veritable "Kaffe's cave" for a brief period.

Back to the quilting!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Learning Curves

No.  Not curved piecing!  Mastering-a-new-technique learning curves.

My latest quilt is called "Morse Code".  You may have noticed I like to play with words as well as fabric.  I was trying hard to think of a name connecting the spots and the stripes and then I realised they were really dots and dashes.

You can see a bit of quilting happening.  I am NOT a machine quilter, but since joining blogland I have seen ordinary mortals managing this amazing feat.  After dipping my feet in a couple of times with two recent baby quilts, I thought  all the straight seams in "Morse Code" lend themselves to walking foot quilting.  A larger quilt presents a greater degree of difficulty than baby quilts, particularly in fitting its bulkiness under the arm of the machine.

I am only up to straight lines, but as the saying goes, "baby steps first".  Having watched from a distance I know a few things, such as get the chair up high, stop for regular breaks (this post comes to you courtesy of a break), have a large area to rest the bulk of the quilt on etc.

So I took over the dining room.

It has been a real journey of discovery.  Now I understand a little more of things other quilters discuss.  For instance, this is a cotton batting with a scrim.  Boy does it pill. I have hardly quilted much on it and already there is evidence of pilling.

I am using the same cotton thread that I use for applique and for machine sewing, but I don't think it's the best one for machine quilting.  It seems to shred on removal.  Yes, there has been some removal, but not as much as I expected, so I still have a smile on my face.

My husband, who could be described as quilt non-sympathetic, got involved and helped me to design a pattern that doesn't require much  of the dreaded starting and stopping.

I would appreciate comments and tips from any experienced machine quilters.  To my long arm quilters, Adri, Kate and Verna I don't think you'll be losing too much business from me. Altogether it has been a positive experience, but now my break is over and I have some serious work to do!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spotty Outcomes

I do love a spot.

Ever since I saw Becky Golsdsmith's "Everyday Best" from "Quilts in a Spin" written by her and Linda Jenkins in 2005 I wanted to make a scrap quilt using only spotted fabric.

I knew it would be bright since the market is flooded with saturated coloured spots currently so it seemed like a good time to do it.   I now have a drawer especially for spots.

I drew up what I hope is an original design.  So far so good.  Then I realised I couldn't be as single-minded as I had planned.  I had to let stripes into the club.  I wish I had taken a photo of my first few blocks.  It was  a turbulent combination, it would have made you dizzy.

Then I decided to use only warm stripes and cool spots.  Things were starting to look up.  A few more blocks down the road they still felt chaotic and would have produced a grade 3 headache.  The club needed a dress code and eventually the quilt calmed down.  Well relatively so, to the point where only sunglasses are required.

According to my new challenge, (see sidebar if you haven't been following) a small amount of the blue fabric was added after the blocks were complete.  I didn't feel like any more stitch unpicking on this quilt.

This quilt was meant to be 64 blocks, not 36.  Partly because I didn't have enough of the first sashing I spent days auditioning a second sashing.  In my mind it was going to be red and white, or black and white.  See what I got.  Maybe I will add a border.  It was never in the design though.

The final product is not what I envisioned when I started out.  The outcome was not what I had planned...

...a little like life.

By the way, if there is anyone out there who can give simple step1, step2 type instructions on how to move my sidebar gadgets into a nicer order, please take pity on me and send some advice.  My latest gadget just wants to star in the show.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Quilterie's Law

That's right!  I have pondered over a common quilting conundrum and come up with my own mathematical relationship.  It goes like this:

"Especially on holidays, opportunity to sew is inversely proportional to prepared work taken."

In other words, if you plan and prepare work to take along on holiday, you are unlikely to do it.  The corollary is that the more opportunity you have to sew, the less work you have prepared.

I prepared lots.  You guessed it.  More than 2 weeks away from home, with hand projects galore, I barely sewed anything.    I can present to you the sum total of my holiday sewing

Not a lot to show for so much opportunity!  And to top it  off, I missed all my favourite blogs.  But now I have the pleasure of catching up on my blog reading.

I have foregone the usual new year resolutions although the perennial "I won't buy more fabric till I've used up my stash" did briefly flit across my conscience. Not wishing to set myself up for failure, I've just forgotten the whole 'change for good' idea.

Perhaps a challenge would be more interesting.  For example, every quilt made (not just started) in 2011 must have some of this fabric in it:

Nothing too fancy, nothing too flash.  There goes my idea of starting an Amish quilt in 2011.   I'd love to hear about it if you think this may be an interesting challenge.  If you want to join in, let everyone know what fabric you have chosen.

I did manage to finish a Cherry tree quilt block on holidays.    Check it out over here.