Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Marking Time

I enjoy applique.  After preparing the block it can be quite portable.  And it's nice to sit down under a good light in the evenings and sew.

Above is a block I started in 1996.  You can see  in the top right corner a pencil line of a bird that has yet to come alive.  That is the good thing about pencil lines.  They don't come out easily.

But that is also the bad thing about pencil.  It doesn't come out easily and it is always distressing to see a nicely stitched quilt with the pencil lines still visible.  Getting the pencil lines out is a topic for another post.

This post is about marking things onto quilts.  It is comparable to the holy grail, trying to find the perfect marker.  I have been searching for quite a while and have something of a collection to share with you. 

Quarter inch masking tape is a good way to mark 1/4" inside or outside the seam allowance.  It gives a straight line without the bother of having to rule a line.  Unless you leave the tape on for too long there is no residue and no difficulty in removing after use.  The tape can be reused a few times.  Wider than 1/4" is easily sourced.

Except I don't like using it.  I stitch close to the tape and the needle gets sticky.  Besides it is limited in its applications and only useful for straight line stitching.

The silver pencil can be difficult to remove and there are better options.

I was persuaded to buy the "Karisma" propelling pencil.  I can't find it any more.  Only the packet and some refills.  'Nuff said.

The Chacopy tracing paper behind the  empty packet seemed like a good idea at the time.  I don't remember why I no longer use it.  I might try it again today!

From the left, the pink Sewline pencil was bought because of the enthusiasm for it from a fellow blogger.  Not a successful option for me.

You probably know the blue washout pens next to it.  The cheap pen on the left is OK in an emergency but generally runs out quickly.  I am more likely to use blue pens on a block than to mark a top for quilting.  The finer points work well for me but I am always wary to use them.  There are too many sad stories of marks that refuse to disappear,  damaged cloth fibres etc.

On the right is an "hera" marking tool.  A friend swears by hers.  No permanent marks left behind and it's easy to use.  I haven't tested it adequately to comment.

The two tools on the left are chalk markers.  They are good for marking a quilt top.  They also make a cute sound as they go.  I like them.  You can get other colours than white.  The chalk rubs off  easily so only small parts can be marked at a time.  That suits my rhythm.

A recent discovery is the chalk pencil.  No cute whirry noise but it does come with lots of colours and that is useful for multi coloured quilts. The only disadvantage is the point needs sharpening quite frequently.  Not recommended to mark applique, but good for quilting.

Getting bored yet?  It's not my fault.  There are so many things on the market.  This post could be twice as long if  I reviewed everything.

My favourite all round marking tool is this

 Actually, it is the white pen.  Not the cotton reel it is sitting in.  I find that if I have it turned like this the ink lasts longer.  The white pen can be used on all but very light fabric.  It doesn't need to be washed out and if I accidentally iron it, it disappears.  The liquid is wax based.  Works for me.

I would love to find the perfect marking tool that doesn't damage fabric, no fuss to apply, comes out easily and works for  both applique and quilting.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Quilt Big Day Out

Would you like to support a charity
get something out of it for yourself? 

It's a win-win event happening this Sunday,  27th March from 2.30pm - 4.30pm

The Antique Quilt Big Day Out

Entry is only $15 and includes afternoon tea.  All of the proceeds from the door will go to support the charity  Merlin.

  • Dr Annette Gero,  author of "Fabric of Society" will be selling (and signing) her book

          as well as showing some of her highly acclaimed collection of antique quilts.  
  • Meet Kate Knight from empty field blog  who will be selling her collection of antique and vintage quilts and quilt tops.   
  • Some of the quilt shops have donated door prizes.  How much better can it get?!!
  •  If you have an old quilt or two you can get in on the act by pulling them out of the cupboard and  showing them off.  Otherwise, be like me and just come along and absorb all those beautiful old quilts.

I can't wait.  Only 3 more sleeps.  Meet me at the Northbridge Bowling Club  in Warners Park,  Northbridge (in Sydney).  Plenty of free parking.  Just let Bernadette know for catering purposes,  by emailing
bernadette.ramseys4@gmail.com or sms 0418 221 976

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Loose Threads

There are lots of loose ends that need tidying up


If I had just tidied up as I went things wouldn't look so bad.

So first off.  About the recent giveaway.  Thanks to everyone who entered.  In particular, to those who became followers, and especially to those who blogged about the giveaway in their posts.

I wish I could send a copy of the book to everyone who wanted it.

I got so much out of the giveaway, so I feel like a winner.  All those fantastic design tips were brilliant.  For every comment I got the opportunity to go and visit blogs  and see profiles of so many amazing quilters.  I saw lots of fantastic sites.  It was a HUGE and unexpected bonus for me.

Of course, when the sewing room is complete I will post some pictures.  Think early 2012 here.

The book was won by Janet from Canada and is on its way as I write.  Check out her blog.  From where I sit, her lifestyle is extremely exotic.

"Hexagonia" has not progressed much.


Kate and I were both wildly excited about the idea that she had a fat quarter of the required fabric in her stash.  Right fabric...wrong colourway.  But at least we could put a name to the fabric since I had so carelessly cut off the selvedge.  It is from Harriet Hargraves 1840s Birds and Basics range from 2004.

Now I am just waiting to see if Melinda can find any in her stash.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Just in case you missed out on reading about the giveaway "quilterie" is running, click here for  the details on how you can win a new copy of Kaffe Fassett's book "Quilt Romance".

Meanwhile, I can show you a cute project I have been working on recently. While in  San Diego  I bought  a little pile  of wool

that I used to make this

It is from a design by "Little Stitches".  If you were to turn the pincushion  over, you would see that the back is made from my challenge fabric.

I had to remind myself how to do blanket stitch.  The last time I sewed a blanket stitch was way back in my "country primitives" stage when I made this small dilly bag for sewing tools and small projects.

Don't forget, entry into the giveaway ends on Sunday at 9pm Sydney time. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Welcome to a giveaway post.  You can win a new copy of Kaffe Fasset's book "Quilt Romance".

"Quilt Romance" has lots of delicious photos and 20 designs.  For all you Glorious Applique afficionados there is an article on Kim McLean with photos, as well as the pattern to her Hearts and Flowers Quilt.

The  random draw will be on Sunday,  20th March at 9pm Sydney time.  I will send internationally.  To enter, follow these requirements:

1.  Leave a comment on this blog about a great design tip/idea for a sewing room.  This can be from your own experience or from some other source that you have seen.

2.  In the comment, explain why you like your tip/idea.

3.  Mention this giveaway in your next post if you have a blog,
OR if you don't have a blog, become a "follower" of this blog. 

Meanwhile,  I would like to show you how I am managing my resolution for the New Year.  If you are confused about this just go to the sidebar to see my 2011 challenge.

Just a smidgin that I slipped into "Morse Code" at the last minute.

 It didn't take too much to get me to join in Barbara Brackman's civil war quilts  block of the week.  I am only a couple of weeks behind.

Here it is again in a  project I am currently working on but haven't posted about.

Above is block #16 from the Beyond the Cherry Trees Album quilt.  I wondered how I was going to include blue in a fundamentally red and green quilt.  When the pattern for this block was published, there was some online discussion where it was felt the vine could have been blue instead of green.  I leapt at the opportunity.   It is not quite finished.  If you want to have a sticky beak at the blog about this quilt go to the sidebar and press on the Beyond the Cherry Trees Album button.

Finally,  during the week,  my 50th follower joined.  Being a follower does not obligate you in any way and sometimes it's a bonus.  Winging its way towards Rochelle from this blog is a gift.

So,  good luck to all who enter the giveaway.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Uh Oh

My quilt is called "Hexagonia"  and it may well have a hex on it.  The pattern is evolving as I go.  Its principle rule is that it must be symmetrical.

I need another 84 background hexagons (5/8").  So many background hexies weren't in the plan, but then I decided to do some fussy cutting and ... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Now I have well and truly placed myself in category Type II because all the fabric I have left is pictured below

Will I make it?  I don't know but stayed tuned for the result and a giveaway.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spots or Polka Dots

Those little round things on fabric - aren't they appealing!  They add surprise to some designs and even make up projects on their own.  I can't get enough of them.

 I've noticed that Australians called them "spots" and North Americans label them "polka dots" (apologies to other English speaking regions), just like Aussies talk about taps, bonnets, holidays, foundation piecing etc and North Americans refer to faucets, hoods, vacations and paper piecing.

No problem, just a minor cultural difference.

Until I happened to look in the dictionary.  While I was in the 'p' section I noticed

polka dot  (n)  one of a pattern of small circular regularly spaced spots on a fabric

so I immediately went to the 's' section and looked up spots.  Well there are 25 interpretations of spots but none of them described spots the way I refer to them.  I didn't get too excited until I closed the dictionary and discovered it is the Collins AUSTRALIAN Concise dictionary!!!  So Aussies don't call them spots either.  How did Australian quilters claim that word?

A brief respite from this wordiness, for another photo

Some of my bolts of dotted fabric - notice the roll of dots, 1.5m wide and only (!) 10m long shyly standing in the corner.  "Dots"  is a good compromise:

dot (n) a small round mark; spot; point.

Seems like I have lost my muse, so I have been busy tidying up my fabrics and pondering language.  I hope to find my sewing self somewhere in my stash.