Saturday, April 30, 2011

In a Bind

My current project requires 800" of bias binding.  No, it's not a stained glass pattern or celtic  designs.  But it is a secret.  Sssh.

However, I thought I'd share with you my favourite method for making bias.  I've tried the bias maker, but I get nasty little creases.  800" is too long for using "Bias Bars" even though  I have both the plastic and the metal variety.  My method is quite basic, no fancy tools required.

First cut off the selvedge.

Then fold a large square piece of fabric on the diagonal so it resembles a triangle.  Place the horizontal line of your ruler against the long edge of the triangle and make your first cut from the base of the triangle through to the tip.

Remove the cut left hand side of the fabric to use later.

Now place your ruler against the left hand edge of the right side of the triangle and cut a 3/4" strip, the length of the fold.   Sorry, southpaws, these instructions are for righties, but I imagine you are used to turning instructions upside down to accommodate your left handedness.

Cut as many 3/4" wide strips as required.

To join them, first check that they will fit together.  If they don't look like the photo below,  try the other end.  They  should match correctly.

Now place the two strips together right sides facing

If you look closely you can see that the two strips are offset by 1/4" .  Pin in place and stitch a 1/4" seam.  Press the seam open.

Cut the little bunny ears off.

Here you get to see my dirty ironing board cover.  It's actually quite new but I use a hot iron and the cover  gets that scorched colour  quickly.  Honest.

Use an iron to press a 1/4" fold on the bottom edge of the bias.  Eyeball it.  As quilters, we use 1/4" so frequently, it's not hard.  Press about 20" at a time before turning your attention to the top half of the bias.

Before pressing  use a spray starch.  Don't be dismayed if the bottom bit you just pressed pops open.  It will press down easily  the next time the iron comes into contact with it.

 Now fold the top edge down and press.

Finally roll the bias up 20" at a time.  It is a handy way to store the bias and if you roll it up firmly it keeps its memory and stays just like you pressed it indefinitely.

Secure the roll of bias with a pin.

I use this technique because it works for me.  I know there are other techniques and if you are comfortable with them there is no reason to try this.  But if, like me, you found other methods unsatisfactory, give this one a try.

Now all that I need is another royal wedding to entertain me while I stitch my bias on.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Block Therapy

Sometimes, when life takes over, it is difficult to spend much time on a large, demanding design.  It's times like these that I'm grateful for projects that you can dive into, spend an hour  and then switch off.  I have two such ongoing patterns - both samplers.

 This pattern is from Lori Smith of "From my heart to your hands" fame.  I bought it in 2008 and have added blocks whenever a quick respite from real world issues was required.  It's not too demanding because Lori did the hard work, draughting all the blocks to be the same size of 7.5" finished.  Here is a picture of Lori's quilt.

I have only managed 19 blocks out of 85, so I can see that I'll have plenty of chances to do more satisfying blocks.  I don't intend to do all the blocks, just the ones that take my fancy.

The other sampler is from Barbara Brackman's civil war blog where she posts weekly stories relating to the American civil war along with an 8" finished block.  I have done a few of these too, having had my arm twisted to join in a group thing

It's a pity that the block size is different because they look like they could have gone into the same quilt. 

Still, I do enjoy them when I pull them out.  No pressure there.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Here are a few more photos from the Antique Quilt Big Day Out:

a red and white signature quilt from one town in the US.  I believe money was raised by charging for the honour of your name appearing on it.

The lady on the right is Dr Annette Gero.   She is a well known Australian quilt historian, who is a keen collector without actually being a quilter herself.

Annette is standing in front of a typical Australian version of hexagon quilt, where the hexagons are not  in a grandmother's garden path but just placed in a less organised scrappy fashion.

Presenting "Coco's Midnight Garden" in close up so you can see the great quilting Adri did.   And finally a gorgeous little present from Janet.

No, we are not formally engaged.  Instead I now have somewhere handy to put my pins.  More appropriate than sticking them in my decollatage.  Thank you, Janet.  She must have noticed that I frequently end up leaving the house covered in threads and pins.  Does that ever happen to you?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm a Cover Girl

I've been prancing around my home announcing my new status.  And my family has been spluttering and guffawing.  But it's true.  The latest publication from Australian Quilters Companion "Quilts from Precut Fabrics" has a quilt designed and made by me and machine quilted by Adri on its front cover!

It is made from a jelly roll of the "Botany" range by Lauren and Jessi Jung and almost 3 metres of "A Day in the Country" background fabric.

It is called "Coco's Midnight Garden" after our dog who was ill at the time.  She is now happily lying on the couch sniggering along with the rest of my family.

Have a look at the magazine.  It's full of great designs from precuts.  I'll post an actual picture of my quilt later because from these photos I don't think you can see what a fabulous quilting design Adri has sewn into it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Red and White and Crazy

Everywhere you look there is a reference to the Red and White Quilt Exhibition in NYC.  I like to refer to it as the Exhibition of the Century.

Only a generation ago, this exhibition would have been the stuff of myths and legends.  We would have heard about it and perhaps, seen a reference to it  in a  magazine.  Back then, people wouldn't haven't climbed on board buses and planes and travelled across the planet all to meet for a few glorious days at the Park Avenue Armory.

There certainly wouldn't have been beautiful, perfectly focused images of the 651 quilts floating across space.  So many pictures, it's hard to recall them all.  With the permission of the photographers I have listed links to many of the blogs that shared their fabulous experience with us all so generously.

Click on the links to the left and below quilterie's blog header.  Some of the links have more than one post related to the show, so keep on looking beyond the first post  in each link.  One is a virtual red and white show held on line only.  Here is a link to a blog where instructions are being posted on how to make some of the red and white quilts we've been lucky enough to see.  Bravo.

The word on quilt street is that a book will be published by the end of 2012.  It would be lovely if the book were to have images of all 651  quilts, but that is unlikely.  Today we have the opportunity of close up views of quilts that probably won't make it to print.

The links will remain up until the book reaches the market, and then they  will be removed.  Feel free to let me know of other good links you have come across.

 I have some red and white ideas slow cooking in the oven.

The crazy in the post title is related to a crazy quilt I saw this week.  It was made by Mayleen who left a comment on the last quilterie post.  When pressed about her lovely quilt, she modestly admitted that it has won a blue ribbon and a best of class.  You better check it out because it changed my opinion on crazy quilts.

Someone please help me out with batik.  Come on.  I am ready and  willing to be persuaded that batiks are fabulous and I should start collecting them!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's Your Style?

While I am fairly diverse in my taste there are some quilting destinations to where I just won't buy a ticket.   Crazy Patchwork is given plenty of space in the historical quilt books but it is a design that doesn't seem to feature much in the modern day quilter's vernacular.

Flannel hasn't made it into my stash...yet.  Never say never when it comes to fabric.  Thirties fabric was not on my radar until I discovered that it makes a quilt with a bright and sunny demeanour.  I still won't use it willy nilly but it well may make an appearance into a cross period scrap quilt.

I'm a big fan of reproduction fabric, but not all of it.  Toiles don't feature heavily in my stash.  Neither do conversational prints.

I will have to confess to many of my  friends that batiks make my eyes roll.  I am at a loss to understand their appeal but obviously many people love them.  I am open to being persuaded to look at them again, so if you're a batik fan, please educate me!

I've just made a foray into African fabric.

  The quality of the basecloth is unreliable but the colours, patterns and textures are interesting.  Just as an aside,  it seems that some fabric manufacturers are using a cheaper, thinner basecloth and I don't like it!

Over time my taste for patterns has altered too.  For instance,  once I would have been dreaming of making a "wedding ring" pattern.

Now my dream has altered slightly to the "pickle dish".

 If that doesn't satisfy your desire for beautiful quilts, go and visit a few of the  sites that I regularly pop in  to see fascinating and thoughtful and downright beautiful quilts in progress:
and here is an interesting, useful and timely series of posts regarding blog etiquette.

Thanks to all of the above for investing so much time into entertaining and thought provoking blogposts.  I'd love to hear about your likes and dislikes, what fabrics feature most heavily in your stash, what you avoid  and how your  quilt taste has altered.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Wrap Up

    For those of you unable to make it to the antique quilt's big day out I have a few photos you may enjoy

    I can't tell you too much about these quilts except that they were gorgeous and most of them were in pretty good condition for their age.  The crowd enjoyed many more and I will share them with you at another time.

    Below is a quilt that has been almost complete for some years.  The last hurdle is the binding.  I chose to make a scallop edge but probably made the scallops too pronounced.  The binding (which is on the bias) has been sewn on and removed half a dozen times.  I've read every piece of advice on the subject, and believe me there are numerous different ways to put a binding on a scalloped edge.  None have worked for me. 

    The worst part is that early on in my quilting life I finished another  quilt off successfully in a similar fashion without even a moment's hesitation.  My quilt is slowly getting an antique status without ever being finished.