Tuesday Treats: Playing with Colour

This post is a day late but I’ve been playing with colour.

What am I going to do with fabrics in these colour combinations?

Following on from my last post, I really did have a great quilty day on Saturday as I went fabric shopping on the way home from the friendship meeting.

If I wanted to pass the blame for the spend up, it would be to the two friends who had arrived late after having been shopping on the way to the meeting. Their purchases were just so tempting … well I am sure that you know the rest of the story.

I  told myself I would just go to “have a look” as I really didn’t need any more fabric at the moment.  Well as often happens, I fell in love with this big bold flower print. I know it has been around for a while but I still love it.

I love this big bold print “Sakura” for Red Rooster

Then of course, I had to buy some coordinating colours.

The coordinating colours that I chose are mish mash of styles & print sizes

I just picked out lights, mediums & darks in colour families from the print, but I know that people often use the colour dots along the selvedge as a guide.

The information along the selvedge can be a handy tool for picking coordinating colours

This is a handy hint if you want extra fabrics to coordinate with something purchased earlier … you only need to carry a small strip to the shop rather than the meterage.

I have no particular plans for this purchase, but I do have some ideas playing in my head. The prints are a bit of a mish mash … bold floral, little flower prints & modern geometrics all mixed together but I’ve always enjoyed mixing it up by colour value.

Which brings me to the link that I want to share today:

Sorting your stash is a very helpful post on the Martingale blog. It includes a great workshop lesson from the “Color for the Terrified Quilter” by the authors  Sharon Pederson and Ionne McCauley.

Please join in the fun and leave a comment to share your best hint for sorting fabrics by colour.

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Catching up with like minded friends is a treat

I’ve missed catching up with my patchwork groups for the past three months or more.

We meet twice a month and, although I rarely manage to go to a weekday meeting, I do try to go to the Saturday meetings, but it has just not been possible for the past few months … I’ve either been out of town, or working, …. and I’ve missed the company.

One year we cut up a piece of wrapping paper and each member had to translate her piece into a textile representation. We were very pleased with the way the finished pieces came back together in fabric.

Over the years we have made quilts for each other, shared workshops, gone on shop hop road trips and had weekends away but just spending a day together relaxing and sharing ideas and stitching is so refreshing.

Some years we hold our Christmas lunch at someone’s home and others we go out to a cafe.

We do have our own private blog, where we can share photos of our stitching, or family events, in between meetings but there is nothing quite as good as sitting with a group of women over a cup of tea (or coffee in my case), enjoying a cake while stitching and talking.

My quilt, made by the members during our “row by row” challenge.

So Saturday was a treat for me!

I got to catch up on the news in person, meet a new member to our group and generally relax with like minded company. Bliss!

Do you have a patchwork friendship group?

Have you, like us, set yourselves challenges or made share quilts and round robins?

I would love to hear about your experiences.

Tuesday Treats: Simple as 1, 2, 3 …. editing photos for your blog

I’ve just spent several days cataloging my father’s photography gear and it reminded me that I had started a thread about taking photos of quilts but had never written the follow-up post, so here it is … my ideas on how to edit photos for use on your blog.

I often struggle to get a good photo for the blog.

The photography either  happens in a rush,  without a lot of planning, or in the poor lighting in the shop. So I have been trying to learn how to edit my photos.

A pattern for this bag, embroidered with Cotton Mako’ 12, will soon be available for downloading.

I know that some editing can be done when the photo is uploaded into WordPress, but I seem to get better results if I edit it in my own photo management program.

My basic editing plan for quilt & thread photos is as simple as 1  __ 2 __ 3

One: Solving Colour Caste

Once photos have been taken, and downloaded to your computer, you may decide that the colours are not truly accurate and have a blue or yellow caste.

This photo has a greyish-greenish colour caste

This can be fixed by adjusting the “white balance” with photo editing software, but it is very useful to have something included in the photo that is a true white.

The white balance has been adjusted to bring the colour closer to reality.

The “true white” item does not have to remain as part of the finished image, and can be cropped out later.  It simply acts a reference point when you are tweaking the colour balance on the edited photo.

Even the most basic photo editing programs will allow some colour adjustment, so read through the “How to” documents that came with the program.

Two:  Cropping to adjusting the position of the focal point of the photo

You may not have noticed some of the distractions in the background  when taking the photo, but they become very obvious when you look at the photo on the computer.

Cropping the photo may solve this problem.

I cropped this photo so that only a hint of the background remained allowing the Cotton Mako’ threads to be the focal point.

Or maybe you want to crop a close up view out of the larger image.

This hand embroidered leaf has been stitched with a single strand of Aurifil Cotton Mako’ 28.

Start with a high quality photo, with a good pixel size, to get a good cropped image

I cropped out a portion of the above image to show a close up view of the Cross Stitch & Blackwork that has been stitched with a single strand of Cotton Mako’ 28

Three: Resizing the photo to help the web page load fast

The third step is to edit the size of the photo before it is uploaded to the blog.

To speed up the page loading time it is a good idea to resize photos for blogs

Large photos are essential for making prints, but using large photos on your blog can make the web page extremely slow to open and cause impatient readers to leave.

The original photo was 1.9MB and after editing it was 67kb

The secret is to take the photo at the best setting and then reduce the pixel size before using the photo on the internet.

This is the finished image after re-sizing for use in the blog

Don’t forget to always keep the original photo and save any changes with a new name!

More reading, and lessons, for taking and editing quilt photos:

Andy & Holly have put together some great information that ranges from choosing your camera, to ideas for taking close up photos for use in tutorials:

http://www.hollyknott.com/stq/index.htm

Some great ideas for styling your quilt photos:

http://travelingbehindtheseams.com/category/photo-styling/

http://www.carolspinski.com/?p=425

This article talks about taking photos of your quilt for use when entering your quilt into a juried exhibition. The clue here is:

“The first thing to remember is this is not about the scenery surrounding your quilt, it is about the quilt itself.”

http://themodernquiltguild.com/2012/07/24/photographing-your-quilt/

Please comment,  and share the way you take, edit & use photos on your blog.

Sewing On The Go…

During my recent travels I fell behind on my Aurifil Designer of the Month stitching. I was able to do some stitching in the evening but seeing new places and having new experiences (a gondola ride at the San Diego Zoo for example) can be quite exhausting!

Birds Eye View of the San Diego Zoo

The September and October blocks were calling to me almost as soon as I walked in the door.

The northern hemisphere is just entering their autumn and the leaves are beginning to change in many places. I decided to use a wonderful variegated thread that represented the warm yellows and burnt orange hues of these leaves in the September design by Amy Ellis.

The collection of fabrics I am using for this project contains some delightful shades of orange and red to really bring out my thread colours.

MY Autumn Colours

The October BOO! Block designed by Amanda Woodward-Jennings brought back happy memories of the many pumpkins I carved for our Halloween “Jack-o-Lanterns”.

October Fun

I realized I trimmed my block in the ‘wrong direction’.

Up to Date!

I will use that tiny mistake to be creative when I put all my blocks together. What fun!

Tuesday Treats: Ideas for working with Wool Applique

Following on from the mention of the Quilted Crow , a shop that specialises in wool fabrics and applique, in our last post I thought it was worth mentioning a few other sites that have great information for starting applique with wool fabrics.

Wool applique can be fun, especially if you use Aurifil Lana for the stitching

Paula, from Quiltmaker magazine, has put together a great tutorial about wool applique that can be found on the, “Quiltmaker Blog“.

The instructions are well illustrated, and easy to follow, and include valuable tips about using paper backed fusibles.

There are some more interesting ideas for holding the applique pieces to the backgound fabric on the “Quilt with Us” blog.

To finish, if you want to make your own quick wool project watch the “Quilty” video below to make a heart with Marianne Fons

And of course, don’t forget that the Lana thread from Aurifil is a perfect compliment to wool fabric.

Happy stitching!

I love finding, & sharing, well written tutorials for textile techniques.

A feast for the senses!

Each year in October, Linda Collins hosts “Quilts in the Barn”  (http://quiltsinthebarnaus.blogspot.com.au/) at her lovely property in Wonga Park, on the north-eastern edge of Melbourne.  I have been going to these quilting exhibitions for a number of years and am always impressed and delighted.

Linda and her group of helpers work extremely hard to run an event which is very well organised.  From the time you drive along her road, marked by signs and colour  balloons, to parking your vehicle as directed by friendly husbands/sons and other men pressed into service, and to the yummy food served so efficiently, you feel that attention has been paid to every possible detail.

Entry to “Quilts in the Barn”.

Each year has a particular theme, this year’s being  “Infinite Variety Revisited – an Exhibition of Red and White Quilts” and the variety of styles and fabrics was certainly extensive.  Whether or not you are particularly drawn to red and white quilts,  the display was stunning.

A pattern is available for this eye-catching quilt.

I was particularly drawn to this quilt because of the fine applique and the hand-quilting.

Hand applique and hand quilting.

Close up showing hand quilting.

More lovely applique.

It is interesting to see how quilters find inspiration from various fabrics.

This quilt was designed around the pattern on the fabric.

The quilt displays are always arranged very artistically.  Some of the props are as much admired as the quilts!

This miniature furniture was coveted by many visitors.

And speaking of miniatures… there were many small quilts on display too.

Lots of little quilts too.

I loved this miniature hexagon quilt with fussy-cut centres.

Don’t forget to look up too.

To satisfy our urge to stash-build, there is also a visiting shop.  This year, as in 2011, the “Quilted Crow” came over from Hobart.  www.thequiltedcrow.com.au/ 

Deidre and Leonie from the Quilted Crow serve eager customers.

The Quilted Crow specialises in applique designs featuring felted wool, although you can also create the designs using cotton fabrics if that is your preference.  Of course if you are using wool, Aurifil Lana (50% Australian wool and 50% polyester) makes a good choice for sewing thread.  It is available in 192 colours, including some variegated shades, and is suitable for hand and machine work.  To check out all the details and see some examples of Lana in use, check out the Always Quilting website www.alwaysquilting.com.au/ (Click on Thread on the left hand side, then Lana).

Another  draw card to Quilts in the Barn this year was the inclusion of a number of antique quilts from the collection of Mary Koval from Pennsylvania, some of which were for sale alongside some fabrics. Mary designs for Windham fabrics.

More beautiful quilts.

The only disappointing feature of Quilts in the Barn was that I did not get a phone call to say I had won one of the raffle prizes.  All money raised from the exhibition, refreshments and raffles goes to support breast cancer research.  It’s such a worthy cause even without the incentive of a beautiful prize.  Never mind, better luck next year.  I’m looking forward to it already!!

Tuesday Treats: Only two years until the next AMQF!

Our blog has been sadly neglected over the past few weeks. You have probably noticed that we have four authors here, so we can normally post a message at least once a week.

However, it has been my turn to write the last few posts, but family & business events had me travelling around the country. To my dismay I found that my extremely elderly computer would no longer link to the internet, so any plans that I had to post on the blog had to be put on hold until I was back in the office.

I had planned to write about the Australian Machine Quilting Festival while it was happening but all I can do now is give you a summary of my impressions.

Judging by the excited chatter at each break, the delegates all had a great time in their classes, the Ricky Tims day long event was a huge success and the Quilt Exhibition had some stunning work on display!

This is a close up of the centre of a wholecloth quilt by Sharon of Morning Star Quilting.

My eye was caught by the clever wholecloth quilt (above & Below), stitched by Sharon of Morning Star Quilting.  She has made a reversible quilt by using a red fabric on one side and a green fabric on the other. It is quilted in a red Aurifil Cotton Mako’ 40 thread so that the stitching blends to the fabric on one side and shows as a feature on the other. Just stunning!

More detail of the side of Sharon’s quilt, “Rhapsody avec Rouge” (The variation in fabric colour is due to my taking the photos with & without the flash)

Always Quilting had a booth in the vendor mall working in conjunction with Hettie’s Patch, the largest Aurifil retail outlet in Adelaide, and I presented a “Thread Matters” talk on the main stage each day.

The Aurifil display was adjacent to Hettie’s Patch, in the vendor mall, at the Australian Machine Quilting Festival

The vendor mall, main stage talking spots and quilt exhibition were all open to the general public each day, without the need to sign up to any of the Festival workshop classes, so there really was something for every textile lover to enjoy.

The venue, in the Adelaide Convention Centre on North Terrace, was ideally situated for easy access by car & public transport and was beautifully setup for the delegates, with good classroom signage & catering.

It is always amazing how quickly a long-awaited event can come & go, the 2012 Festival may be over but there is no reason why you can’t start planning to attend the next one in two years.

So I recommend that you plan to be in, or near, Adelaide in  October in 2014, so that you don’t miss the opportunity to visit the next Australian Machine Quilting Festival.