Gathering in the Barn

Last month I treated myself to a day at the Gathering in the Barn held at Linda Collin’s barn in Wonga Park, home of the Quilts in the Barn exhibitions held annually. Leonie Bateman of The Quilted Crow was the presenter for the day. http://thequiltedcrow.danemcoweb.com/

When we arrived our first task was to find our seats, meet friends old and new, and indulge in the yummy morning tea.

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As you can see, the barn was decorated with many of Leonie’s quilts and treasures and she had her pop-up shop there as well, so there was plenty of visual feasting too!  Leonie’s specialty is using felted wool applique.

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Leonie’s quilt “Betsy”, 54″ square.

 

At each place on the table were our gifts for the day, four new patterns designed by Leonie, and a kit wrapped up and temptingly labelled “no peeking”.

 

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I’ve already peeked!!

 

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Four new designs.

The kit we received is called “Cornflower Blue – Doorstop” and includes the pattern and materials required to make this cute little doorstop. The  background fabric is hanky linen, with felted wool applique. Leonie provided Aurifil Cotton Mako 28 on each table for the blanket stitch.

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Leonie’s Cornflower Blue Doorstop.

Before very long all participants were busily and happily engaged in the creative process. The felted wool and Aurifil thread are both beautiful to use and the stitching process is very soothing! I decided I preferred a thicker thread for the embellishment at the top of the flower.  This was easy: I just chose Cotton Mako 12 weight in the same colour.

 

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My doorstop underway.

Leonie’s technique involves the use of a water soluable gluestick to hold the components in place and then stapling (yes stapling!!) them until stitching is complete. The felted wool is not marked at all by this.  However I am quite happy to use a few tacking stitches and this works well too. (I don’t have a very big stapler).

The day went very quickly and by home time I had completed all the blanket stitching. At home it did not take me long to assemble the doorstop.

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Joining the doorstop components.

 

I enjoyed myself so much I immediately set out to make 2 more doorstops as gifts. This time I used wool felt rather than felted wool.  It has a firmer feel but works very well too. As an alternative thread, you could use Aurifil Lana (wool/acrylic) for the blanket stitching.

 

Extra doorstops

Two more doorstops, as yet unfilled.

And now I’m off to pack my bags so that I can catch a plane and deliver these gifts in person!

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Hearts for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is approaching and heart-shaped items are everywhere at present. Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, you can’t ignore the importance of the heart as a design shape and most of us would have used it at some point in our projects.

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Hearts feature in my quilt Baltimore Basket (designed by Sheri Wilkinson Lalk)

 

 

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One of the blocks in my Queen Square quilt (designed by Sue Ambrose)

 

I recently came across a sweet little pattern on the internet that I am currently making. Designed by Cheryl Fall, it is available to freely download. http://embroidery.about.com/od/Embroidery-Patterns-Projects/ss/Paisley-Hearts-3-Piece-Pattern-Set.htm#step-heading

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My pattern printed from the internet download.

Rather than the traditional red colourway used in the original embroidery, I am stitching mine in blue as this fits my decor. I am also using cotton fabric as my background in place of linen.
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Using Aurifil 12 weight thread for embroidery.

You are only limited by your imagination here. These designs would also look terrific made with wool felt using Aurifil Lana (wool/acrylic) thread.

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Stitching on wool felt with Lana for a different look.

 

I tried a number of different products to transfer the design, but had trouble seeing them. I required a mark I could clearly see, yet one which I could successfully remove at the end of the stitching.  I remembered a friend telling me about the “Frixion” pens, so I gave this a go and found it worked well.  This is a product by Pilot, available in a range of colours and nib sizes. Heat removes the marks, so ironing will take the marking out. If you don’t want to flatten your work with the iron, just hovering over it would probably work.  I did not try using warm- hot water. Marks can apparently reappear at below freezing point (I don’t plan to be in such an environment!) , so if you accidentally remove marks before you are ready, I imagine a short while in the freezer will restore them!  As with any marking item, use with discretion. This tool worked brilliantly for my purpose here, but I would probably be loath to use it on heirloom items, because I don’t know its long-term effects.

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I have a little way to go before I am finished, but the beauty of these small items is that they are easily achievable and I might even complete these in time for Valentine’s Day (this year!)

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Stitching progress so far.

 

Maybe a little stitching before dinner….?

 

 

Woolly Things for Winter

Here in Melbourne we are in the grip of winter, where the weather specialises in dull, dismal, damp and often draughty days.

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A typical wintery day in my back yard.

 

It’s the perfect time of year to indulge in some handcraft of the woolly sort!

Each year I usually knit several adult garments. This year I have made a jumper for hubby…

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8 ply jumper which is actually a darker purple than it appears here.

…and a jumper for me.

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This is much greener than it appears!

I have also just completed a cardigan for myself.  When sewing on the buttons, I always use cotton thread, not the wool in which the garment is made, as this is too thick for this purpose.  With 270 colours in the current Aurifil Cotton Mako range, I can find one that’s just right.

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Sewing on the buttons with Aurifil thread.

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The completed cardigan.

I always have a number of different knitting projects on the go (just like my sewing!!!).  One of the things I am currently working on is a jacket for a friend.  When her mum died a few years ago, she inherited some yarn which she asked me to make up for her.  It must be 70s-80s yarn, a wool, mohair and nylon mix, and although the band says 7 ply, I am knitting it to an 8 ply pattern. I had to do a bit of research and “trial and error knitting” to get the size right.

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Because this yarn is so fluffy and uneven in texture, it would be a nightmare to use for sewing the garment together, so I will use Aurifil Lana (50% Australian wool/50% acrylic blend) to sew it up.  The Lana slips through the seams effortlessly.

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Sewing up a sleeve with Lana.

Another current project is a beanie for my husband to use on the boat (the last beanie went west on a previous fishing excursion).  There was a bit of trial and error involved with this item too, as I had a request to make it a bit bigger than the pattern, so that it wouldn’t sit too tightly on the head.

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A friend showed me her current project, a scarf using some fabulously soft Alpaca yarn in a rich mulberry shade. Just beautiful!

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Another friend showed me her hat, made from knitting 2 strands of carpet wool together.

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In addition to my knitted woolly projects, I am also preparing for a couple of items using wool felt.

The first is using a Quilted Crow Girls pattern .  http://www.thequiltedcrow.com.au/

I’ve selected Cotton Mako 28 for use with this.

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 The other project will be a small 15 inch wallhanging using these materials.

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This time I will use Lana (wool blend) thread.

For more ideas about using wool and Lana see http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/tuesday-treats…-wool-applique/  and http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/the-flavour-of…-month-is-felt/

So while the temperature outside may be in low figures, the sun may be hidden and the wind whistling,  I’m snug indoors surrounded by my wonderful woolly things!!

 

Wednesday Wonder: Windflower Embroidery with Aurifil Lana

I love seeing projects that people have made using Aurifil threads, so it was a treat to have Janet Kerton call into the showroom today.

Janet is the owner of Windflower Embroidery, where she specialises in creating & teaching embroidery, particularly wool embroidery and applique.

Windflower-embroidery

This delightful folding book design can be used as an embroidery compendium, or as jewellery storage folder, and it is one of Janet’s current teaching projects.

The felted wool applique has been embroidered with Aurifil Lana, a wool blend thread that is ideal for hand embroidery, applique and embellishment.

A selection of the 180 colours available in the Aurifil Lana range

A selection of the 192 colours available in the Aurifil Lana range

With the wonderful colour range in the Lana wool blend there is plenty of choice for creating  beautiful projects.

Spools of Aurifil Lana, wool blend thread

Visit our online store to see the range in greater detail, or to purchase your own set of threads.

How to find Aurifil at the Australasian Quilt Convention

It is less than a week until the Australasian Quilt Convention opens so we have been madly packing threads for the various teachers, using Aurifil in their workshops, and the patchwork stores where it will be sold at the Expo.

Each exhibitor will stock the particular Aurifil thread weight that relates to their patchwork style and patterns, so take note of the retailer’s stand number, and the Aurifil product line, so that you will know where to find the thread weight that you wish to purchase.

The latest thread kit from the factory.... a set of 4 piecing colours in Cotton mako' 50

Cotton Mako’ 50 will be found at:

Stand No: 43      Cherry Pie Designs

Stand No: 23      Needles and Pins

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Cotton Mako’ 40 will be found at:

Stand No: 45       Elm Grove Patchwork

Stand No: 58       Somerset Patchwork & Quilting

Yummy flower colours for broderie perse

Cotton Mako’ 28 will be found at

Stand No: 21       Fifi’s Fabricology

Stand No: 55      The Quilted Crow

Aurifil Lana wool thread, in two spool sizes

Lana will be found at

Stand No: 181    Millrose Quilting & Gallery

Unfortunately none of the exhibitors will have the Cotton Mako’ 12 for sale this year, however you can always place a special order with us for collection at the Convention.

Cotton Mako' 12 is the thickest thread in the range

Cotton Mako’ 12 is the thickest thread in the range

PS:  Contact us before midday Tuesday 8th if you are wish to pre-order a particular thread weight or colour so that we have time to arrange for a collection point for your order.

 

Christmas Greetings

Christmas

from all of us at Always Quilting.  We have now ‘shut the shop’ and will be on a holiday until January 13, 2014.  Some of us are travelling far away from home, while others are just staying put.  We are all hoping that the temperatures won’t be as hot as 39  degrees, like we had this week, but knowing the fickle Melbourne climate, the weather is very changeable and we could be looking for our warm clothes by the time the new year arrives!

Christmas Star

We have planned some exciting projects to share with you in 2014 and we are working on them over the holiday period (well – some of us are – in between eating Christmas leftovers!).

We wish all our blog readers a very Happy Christmas, and a safe and healthy year ahead.  May the New Year bring time for completion of ‘old’ projects and some time to start some new ones – all using Aurifil threads of course!!

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Happy Birthday and other surprises

I thought you may be interested to see some new sewing I have done.  Well,  it isn’t that exciting – but it is supposed to be a secret – so that means I can only offer a glimpse of the yet to be completed project.  Any guesses???!

Secret Sewing

The staff at Always Quilting are getting ready for the wholesale quilt market held in Melbourne at the end of November.  Here we have a booth showing all the wonderful Aurifil threads, Kit Art boxes and other thread treasures.   My sewing is part of a ‘display’ we are creating – and I am hoping all the parts go together well.  I will reveal the actual creation once the market is over (make mental note to self to do this in blog late November).

Happy Birthday

The other exciting event is Aurifil celebrating their 30th birthday.   I remember where I celebrated mine – standing on the Artic Circle in Norway.  Now that is a place and date (and year) I can’t forget.

Birthdays are always fun, and if you want to celebrate Aurifil’s 30th with us at Always Quilting, visit our website and subscribe to our retail newsletter.   I won’t say anymore than that – but I am sure you will be delighted with our ‘present to you’.  And don’t be worried about being inundated with our newsletters, as we are soooo busy in the shop with our wonderful customers, we don’t get much time to write newsletters that often!!!