Saturday, 28 May 2016

Posies and Plaid

I've been slightly obsessed by this quilt at the moment. But the motto has to be "While inspired, grab the moment!". So all other projects have been collecting dust (along with the house). As quilters we've all been there haven't we?!

Just a reminder here's the inspiration for my design. 
from Jane Lury's Meanderings of a quilt collector

Thinking it would be efficient to divide this sort of quilt into sections for ease of construction, I sketched a small plan on graph paper, worked out the sizes of each section and cut pieces of background fabric to match. It will go together like a jigsaw of 19 block pieces. Hmm now where to start? The the fabrics in the centre and in the baskets may dictate the colour/fabric choices for my whole quilt, so I'm working on those first.

I'd selected this urn as my quilt centre and was going to just cut a rectangle like this and plonk it in the middle. But I think the green is too dark for the look I want here and would dominate the quilt. 
So I 've given the urn a lighter background by appliquing ( broderie perse) onto a lighter plaid fabric. 

A little cut out and reverse applique on the urn to remove the initials that were on the print. I'll ink something on there later - maybe a date, maybe my initials? 

Still not sure I love the irregular outline but will leave it for now till more quilt grows around it. 

So that's a start to the centre and gives me a 'look' to work around for the rest of the quilt plan. 

I sketched some preliminary applique designs. Then, using my lightpad, traced the design onto the back of the background fabric - ready for back basting and needleturn applique:
I made oodles of 1/4 inch bias (with a Clover bias maker ) and pinned a basket. This was fun weaving all the unders and overs! 

I've been mixing some modern fabrics in amongst my repros and love the look of them - including oldish Kaffe Fassett's and a Liberty print. You might be able to pick them out in the close up flower pictures?

That's one basket done. There will be three more to go on my quilt but I'm moving on to work on another section now...
The antique quilt has a plaid border (with a strong, dark stripe through it) around the central design - and I particularly like that feature. Well, I searched high and low in the stash, and found quite a few little green pieces to use elsewhere on the quilt, but none seem quite right for my border! How often does that happen?! 

But I did find a stripe repro that will suit me very well - phew - crisis averted! There was just enough in the piece to cut the four borders - double phew!

More bias was made - 3/8inch this time. 

I pressed the creases at quarter spacing along the border strip to help with placement of the bias vine. No design drawing is needed this way - you just decide the spacing of the peaks/troughs and press the creases at those points. It's quite easy to wiggle the bias into a curve and pin it in place. 

These borders will forever be associated with the Giro D'Italia (bike race) - I have been watching hours of recorded replays while stitching. Wonderful scenery makes it hard to beat the 'armchair touring' through the Netherlands and Italy!

It is almost farewell to Autumn in the garden. With a series of very windy days  the colourful leaves are disappearing fast! Hopefully the red and green King Parrots will still visit to brighten things up through winter :)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Something new, something old

A new sewing bag

made using a new pattern (designed by L'Uccello  and bought on my April visit to Melbourne)
...and old fabric from the stash. The large floral is 'Bon Voyage' from French General - not that old really as it is still available online.

pattern from L'Uccello 

It was not a quick project but the trouble taken was well worth it in the detail and the finish. 

First there was the sandwiching and individual quilting of the panels - just using the machine walking foot. It's been a while since I've done any machine quilting but not difficult with these relatively small pieces.

Then preparing piping and binding

Something old - recycled belt loops for handle hardware. I didn't have four the same but two different pairs did the job fine:

Binding the seams for a neat finish - just like the edges of a quilt:

The pattern called for some ribbon to decorate internal pockets. I had nothing suitable, but I did have something that might do - something very old lurking in the sewing cabinet: I finally put them to good use (it had to happen one day didn't it? ) - an old technique but a good one

I love the detail in this pattern - reminds me of the old days of dress making in my heady youth! 

The base is stiffened with template plastic so the whole thing is washable. That's if it ever gets dirty - and I'd have to use it first to get it dirty wouldn't I? At the moment it's far too 'good' to use haha! Give it a week or two and no doubt I'll have forgotten the pain of labour and be dragging it around like my old sewing bags...

Something else that is new and my most favourite book of the moment - 'Meanderings of a Quilt Collector' by Jane Lury. She had some of her collection on display at Pour L'Amour du Fil in Nantes this year - how wonderful it must have been to view them. But the book does not disappoint - so many superb quilts. In fact I'm convinced she had my taste in mind when she collected. 

I ordered the book from Quiltmania online and it arrived virtually overnight. How is that even possible to Australia? It is a large book and fairly pricey but is superb quality, includes three patterns, and is well worth it IMHO. 
And this is my favourite quilt in the whole book - and has inspired a quilt of my own. As you can see by the graph paper and sketches the planning has started.

What do I love about the quilt? 
  • the sense of movement in the wreaths and baskets
  • the rather random placement of lengths of vine and applique stars
  • the surprising element of a patched plaid border amongst a delicate design, and it works so well
  • the massive amount of applique (as you might know, I do love applique!)
The quilt in the planning won't be a copy or reproduction of this lovely 1840's English coverlet, but it will be inspired by it and borrow major elements. It needs a name so I'm going for Posies and Plaid since it is all about flowers and has that plaid border. 

And for something 'old' I am trying to use fabrics from my stash - some desperately need to be used before they reach antique status. Here's an idea I'm toying with -  cream background and green plaids with an old English-looking blowsy floral in the middle. And there's clearly room for some purple in there - not a colour I commonly use but doesn't it look lush in this old floral line by Windham (Remember Me by Mary Koval) ? 

On this quilt I'd like challenge myself to mix some modern fabric lines in with the reproductions but not sure how I'll go with that...hard to teach an old girl new tricks!
OK, back to the drawing board...

Saturday, 14 May 2016

A stitching month in pictures

How's this for a lazy quick progress post...
SVBAQ Bouquet block

Sarah Fielke BOM - hand pieced

Sarah Fielke BOM

Sarah Fielke BOM

needle turn with back basting prep

Harrison Rose hand quilting 

...and a Mother's Day gift that has drawn me back to this table far too often - so addictive! 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Adventures in Melbourne

Just back from a little trip interstate to Melbourne 

When I say "little" - it took 6 hours travel to get there and nearly 8 hours back - with all the waiting and connecting between trains, shuttles, planes and taxis! So I crammed in as much sight seeing as I could while there...including the Australasian Quilt Convention of course. Unfortunately we cannot share photos taken of the many inspiring quilts. Annette Gero's collection of War Quilts was the most outstanding for me and a google search found these links for pics here and here and here

I finally got to shop at L'Uccello - they had a lovely stall at the AQC - a new pattern and a tin from there, and pretty toile (Mas D'ousvan) and stitchy supplies from other stallholders.

I followed that up with a visit to the shop itself. It is well hidden (no shop front) in this building...
image from Design Files
...enter through this arcade - a bit dark and mysterious but beautiful

image from Nicholas Building blog

up two flights of stairs... the suspense was building!

then this burst of colour at the doorway to welcome visitors! 

Some chat and some more shopping. These threads are new to me - fine waxed French thread for applique (Fil a Gant) in gorgeous colours and not expensive  - looking forward to trying them out.  

Melbourne's streets in the CBD are great fun to walk around - lots of history and character and colourful trams. Wandering down one narrow street (Flinders Lane - historically the centre of Melbourne's rag trade) I spotted a sign - couldn't go past of course! 

image from Tessuti website
It is a dress fabric shop but does include some gorgeous linens and Liberty fabrics. I "rescued" this piece from a table of half price roll ends - labelled "silk cotton" (feels like a very fine lawn) and if nothing else might make a pretty scarf? 

Some stitching updates: 
Hexagon Star - the centre star came together quite quickly as half inch hexagons don't take long to sew together once the prep in done - and I had been prepping obsessively! 

Travel can provide a lot of opportunities for stitching (all that sitting around waiting) and I had some EPP supplies with me. I got loads of hexagons prepped in little bags - grouped by colour...

... and more stitching has been done and so it grows...

My Quilt group holds a Mother's Day stall fundraiser each year and members are asked to provide/donate some stitched items. I thought I'd make a few mug rugs. Now don't look if you are squeamish as this involved some sacrifice of doilies - all in a good cause mind you! And they were pre-damaged doilies...
I machine pieced some fabric scraps in a random crazy-quilted style around the embroidered doilie pieces.

A little wadding, backing, machine quilting with walking foot, and binding. Attaching the binding strip took the longest of course lol! So I tried Self Binding (the rug on the right) - it was a quicker method but not such a nice plump finish to the edges. I later found a Youtube video on binding a mug rug - looks like a good method and I might just try that next time.

Sarah Fielke BOM - two more blocks and they are applique this time - a large Bird block and a Hearts/tulip block. But I dithered getting started as I was getting that itchy feeling that I needed to mess with them - will I/won't I? And in the end I did make changes because I felt the bird was not in keeping with the style of fabrics and look I had in mind. Sarah's bird is lovely for a modern quilt and certainly a great choice for an applique beginner: 
small pic from pattern notes - 12 inch bird block
I came up with this sketch - same branch but with a more classic bird to suit my fabric choices - especially in view of the bird toiles I have used in the star centres: 

my version - 12inch block
I also changed the Hearts/tulip block because I am a fuss pot and not keen on heart motifs

Sarah's block

my version - 12 inch block

Here's a look at some of the blocks together - not the final layout but gives an impression

Oh dear - it has been another long post. If I posted more often this wouldn't happen of course! Catch22 because then I'd not get the sewing done...
Anzac Day long weekend coming up - hope you all get extra sewing time too :)