Longbourne at Castlemaine

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a class with Katrina Hadjimichael. http://katrinahadjimichael.blogspot.com.au/

The class was hosted by Corliss of Threadbear Patchwork and Quilting in Castlemaine. http://www.threadbear.com.au/

I have been an admirer of Katrina’s work for a number of years, so when I heard that she was to teach here in Victoria, I knew I had to be there! The quilt being taught was “Longbourne”,  number 3 in Katrina’s Jane Austen series, which currently numbers eight. It’s a feast of applique, fussy cutting and English Paper Piecing. Bliss!

Longbourne class 017-crop

Katrina and “Longbourne”.

Twenty eager ladies gathered in the light and cosy venue for a day filled with lots of learning, inspiration, friendship, laughter and delicious food (that I didn’t have to prepare!!)

When we arrived and found a spot to park our bags, belongings and bodies, we received a lovely little gift bag from Corliss, complete with chocolate sustenance and fabric treasures.

Longbourne class 018 edit

What’s inside?

Longbourne class 019 edit

Treasures!

Katrina also came armed with a gift: a copy of the recent Quilters Companion magazine which included a DVD featuring Katrina and her tips for Jelly Roll quilts.

Longbourne class 027 edit

Then to the real work of the day! Katrina is a very organised and meticulous teacher and led us through the various techniques and processes required to make our own version of Longbourne. All the extensive notes, beautifully drawn pattern sheets, and a collection of photos showing in detail various elements of the quilt, were presented in a display folder for each participant.

Longbourne class 020

Pattern sheets and detailed instructions in a display folder.

Most participants chose to use reproduction fabrics for their quilts as in Katrina’s original, but one other brave soul and yours truly ventured into the realm of brights. I have decided this presents an additional challenge: many of the fabrics in bright modern fabric ranges have larger scale designs on them. For some elements of the quilt, especially the centre panel, small scale designs are also necessary. I found I had to go shopping for some additional fabric. (Oh dear, such a hardship)

At the beginning of the class one lady asked Katrina what her secret is for such accurate and neat work? In short, the answer is attention to detail.  All applique components are tacked onto paper first. Katrina takes great care when tracing and cutting out her pattern pieces. No sloppy workmanship here!

Longbourne class 021-crop

Tacking onto cartridge paper for fussy cut components.

 

Longbourne class 024 edit

More tacking.

Here’s Katrina demonstrating how she makes tiny (3/8″) hexagons. And the thread of choice… Aurifil of course!! (Here she is using 50 weight).

Longbourne class 013-crop

And so, to sew. The bias stems come first.

Longbourne class 022 edit

Ready to applique the bias stems.

I have not done a great deal of actual sewing as yet, but I have done a little playing with various fabric combinations, and lots of thinking about my creation.

Longbourne class 026-crop

Playing and thinking.

And when Longbourne is finished, there may be another of Katina’s Jane Austen quilts calling me.

Longbourne class 003-crop

Lambton, the latest in Katrina’s Jane Austen collection.

Thank you Katrina and Corliss for a most enjoyable and inspirational day.

 

Advertisements

Hoopla!!

The staff at Always Quilting recently discussed using embroidery and quilting frames to display textile work. Embroidery and stitcheries, applique, pieced items and quilting, even a pretty piece of fabric can all be displayed this way. A quick internet search gives you lots of inspiration! Indeed, I was inspired and have since made a couple of items which are displayed in inexpensive embroidery hoops.

For my first piece, I decided to engage in some English paper piecing and fussy cutting and make a small companion piece for a mini quilt made last year and which I blogged about in a previous post. https://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/always-playing…-fussy-cutting/  You might recall that there was not much fabric left, but certainly sufficient for my purpose.

sewing- blog Nov 2014 058

Plenty of holes, but still enough fabric for my project!

I used 4x 2-inch clamshells and fussy-cut my fabric, with a small circle as the centre. There are many methods of preparing your English paper pieces, from tacking, to glue-basting, to fusible papers. I discuss one method here. https://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/english-paper-…agons-and-more/  When using clamshells, I prefer to tack the paper in place as this gives me greatest control over the curve, ensuring it is nice and smooth. When it is tacked into place I give it a good press.

Hoopla blog 015-crop

Tacking the fabric onto the clamshell paper.

Once I had made my clamshells I appliqued them onto my background fabric using Aurifil Cotton Mako 50. As you can see in the photo, I left plenty of fabric around the edges. I then took my little hoop, in this case 5 inches in diameter, and centred my design in it. When I was happy with its placement I tightened the screw so that the work was tensioned with no wrinkles.

 

Hoopla blog 004

Ensure the item is centred in the hoop.

I trimmed the background fabric to a border of about 1 1/2 inches.

Hoopla blog 005-crop

Trimming excess fabric to 1 1/2 inches.

I took a strong thread (Aurifil Cotton Mako 28) and ran a gathering stitch around the perimeter. To make this job easier I did not cut my thread off the spool, but used it directly from the spool. This way could adjust it as required, and I didn’t run the risk of miscalculating the length of cotton I needed, or of accidentally pulling the gathers out. When I had the gathers sitting as I wanted, I cut the threads leaving a tail, then tied them in a reef knot to secure them.

page

Gathering the background fabric behind the hoop.

To cover the back of the hoop I cut a circle of felt, using the hoop as a template for the circle. I wanted the felt to fit just to the edge of the blue background fabric, but inside hoop. Finally I stitched the felt in place again using a strong thread, Aurifil Cotton Mako 28. I used an overstitch going from the felt out towards the edge of the hoop as shown in the photo, and I ensured that each bite into the felt was about 3mm and went into the blue background fabric each time.

Hoopla blog 011-crop

Stitching the felt back into place.

And my little project is finished and ready to hang on the wall!

Hoopla blog 016-crop

My little hanging all ready to display on the wall.

In a future post, I will write about another project framed in this way.

 

Quilter on Vacation

I have just returned home to Melbourne after three wonderful warm weeks in Queensland.  While the weather was not always sunny and dry, we always found things to occupy ourselves: a mixture of sight-seeing, exploring new places and revisiting familiar haunts, picnicking (almost every day), and most importantly relaxing!

Whenever I head off on holiday I am always accompanied by my good friends, my collection of handcraft projects, and this time was no exception.  ( The count this time was something like three applique items, one embroidery and four knitting projects).  I know some would be horrified by this, but this is the way I enjoy myself.. and that’s what a holiday is all about.

Stitching begins on the plane.

Qld 2014 021

Blunt-tipped scissors are great for use when flying.

 

I am sure that members of the public find my activity quite strange… but I don’t care as I’m happily doing what I love.

 

Qld 2014 033

Stitching by the sea.

In the photo above (taken by the marina at Yorkey’s Knob) I am the little green blob sitting beneath the rock, right in the centre of the shot.  On this occasion I was working on my embroidery.

A local resident provided some entertainment by bogging his ute in the sand in spectacular fashion.

While I stitch, hubby does this.

Qld 2014 032

Taken in the same spot before the cloud cleared.

No bites on this occasion.  Bites are not always what you want…. this was waiting on the bank, 50 metres from a popular fishing spot on the Mowbray River,  just south of Port Douglas.

Qld 2014 059

Three metre croc waiting for dinner.

We visited a number of markets on our travels.  I purchased a second-hand quilt book at one of them.

Qld 2014 005

Second-hand book in as -new condition.

I can’t read Japanese so I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s full of interesting quilts and patterns.

Qld 2014 006

We drove up the range to the Atherton Tablelands several times. A favourite place to visit is the quaint town of Yungaburra where we walked along the river in the hope of spotting a platypus.  We think we did, but it was such a fleeting flash in the water,  it’s hard to be sure.  We also inspected the new Avenue of Honour, recently established to honour Australian service personnel who have given their lives in Afghanistan. We thought this has been very tastefully done and provides a peaceful place to reflect and be thankful for all that we have in Australia.  It’s worth a visit.

Qld 2014 073

Avenue of Honour at Yungaburra.

One of my holiday projects was to make clamshells for a quilt border. However I discovered I’d left most of my spare papers behind. GRRR!!  Well one has to be resourceful in such circumstances and so a used cracker packet came in handy (being careful not to enlarge the size as I went!)  Later I discovered a tourist brochure was even more suitable.  The papers in my project tell a story!

Qld 2014 015

Tracing and cutting more clamshell shapes.

The tools in my sewing box came in handy for more than I’d planned.  In addition to sewing a button on hubby’s trousers and repairing a hole which mysteriously appeared in my cardigan, a pin was required to unblock a fishing sinker. It obviously pays to be prepared!!

Qld 2014 085

Not your usual sewing project!

Hope springs eternal in the heart of all fishermen and here we are at another fishing spot, this time near Bramston Beach.  You can see my book and knitting on the rock…. so no prizes for guessing what I did here.

 

Qld 2014 109

 

 

Qld 2014 105

Some fish were biting, but they were too small to keep.  Meanwhile, as I enjoyed the view, I too was getting lots of bites… of the sandfly variety. Despite repellent, I was soon covered in bites which stayed with me for many days. Thank goodness for anti-histamines.

 

Qld 2014 108

The perfect view (not so perfect sandflies).

All too soon our holiday ended, but we returned home relaxed and refreshed (and itchy).

 

Qld 2014 113

Flying out of Cairns.

Another hexagon bag (or two)

I must confess a real weakness for bag patterns. When I buy them I am full of enthusiasm and good intentions, but I am not very good at actually making/completing the bags.  Last year I bought a pattern, “Mill Girls Tote”,  from Sewn and Quilted. http://sewnandquilted.com.au   It is designed by Vicki Bellino of Bloom Creek  http://www.bloomcreek.com

another hexagon bag 009

“Mill Girl Tote” pattern.

I purchased a lovely piece of border print fabric for the top and bottom borders.

another hexagon bag

Border print fabric “Pride and Purpose” by Kaye England for Wilmington.

I found some jazzy red handles which are perfect!!

another hexagon bag 010

The perfect handles.

I was able to utilise many fabrics from my stash to construct the hexagons for the centre feature. The hexagons are quite small, only 1/2 an inch.

Sewing bag 143

Fussy cutting some of the hexagons.

Sewing bag 144

The collection of hexagon “flowers” grows.

154 hexagons are required to make this panel.  I’m nearly there!

another hexagon bag 008

Hexagon panel progressing well.

While I was beavering away on this project, my friends in a friendship group decided to make a bag, using this pattern, for one of our members celebrating a “big O” birthday. A group of us shopped together to select fabric.  Our choice this time was quite different from the fabrics I’ve used.

hexagon bag

Hexagon panel taking shape.

Various members of the group completed different sections of the bag.

wedding and aqc 002

Bag outer constructed.

After much furtive activity and secret conversations, the birthday bag was completed and presented to our birthday girl.

another hexagon bag 005

The completed birthday bag.

As for my bag….well I did confess at the outset that I am not good at completing bags.  And the decision to make another hexagon panel for the bag back  (rather than using a plain panel as in the pattern) will slow me down.  However,  I’m now re-enthused and keen to add this to my list of completed projects for 2014!

Time to fussy cut some more hexagons…..

 

 

 

Tuesday Treats-The Hexagon Bug Has Bitten

I fought the Hexagons as long as I could.

When knitsnquilts wrote about her lovely Quilt-As-You-Go hexagons back in July,

I was tempted to join the ‘hexi-harem’ then, but I fought the urge. But then, I began seeing hexagons EVERYWHERE.

Patchwork Papers from Busy Fingers

Patchwork Papers from Busy Fingers

It seemed the little, pretty, multi-sided papers were all around me.

If I wasn’t seeing paper hexagons, I was seeing them tiled on walls and floors and THEN

in that Swedish furniture store that uses hexagon shaped tools to fit hexagon hardware!

Hexagons Everywhere

Hexagons Everywhere

Back to that in a moment…..

My stitching friendship group had produced two beautiful versions of Anne Sommerlad’s Hanazono quilt. This quilt is made of 25 blocks, each using hexagons as flowers. After getting this pattern, I began to ‘see’ hexagons in every piece of fabric I owned.

Fabric for Block 1

Fabric for Block 1

Fabric for Block 2

Fabric for Block 2

So far I have finished 2 blocks.

Aurifil Cotton Mako 50wt for joining hexagons and applique

Aurifil Cotton Mako 50wt for joining hexagons and appliqué

I am doing the appliqué and joining of hexagons with the fine Aurifil Mako 50wt thread.

Aurifil Cotton Mako 12 wt for embroidery

Aurifil Cotton Mako 12 wt for embroidery

I am doing the embroidered stems with gorgeous Aurifil Mako 12wt thread.

Block 1 with thread and fabric

Block 1 with thread and fabric

Block 2 finished

Block 2 finished

And then I saw this in that Swedish Furniture Store.

It will be displayed in my sewing room…

where time always flies….’cause I’m having fun!

Piecing Hexagons without Needle and Thread
Piecing Hexagons without Needle and Thread          
Time to Stitch my Hexagons

Time to Stitch my Hexagons

Follow our Blog to keep up with all the great projects my colleagues work on…… as I convince them all to become members of the ‘Hexagon Harem’.

A Reproduction WIP (Work in Progress)

Some time ago, I purchased the pattern Queen Square by Sue Ambrose. (A Somerset Patchwork pattern  www.somersetpatchwork.com.au )

I thought this would be an excellent design to use for all the reproduction fabrics I had been collecting.

Queen Square pattern

Queen Square pattern

As you can see from the photo, there are 20 main blocks, comprising three different designs, and two borders.  While some quilters like a totally scrappy look, I prefer a bit of uniformity, which you will notice in my colour/fabric selection.

To construct the blocks I have used a combination of different techniques, including English paper piecing, needle turn applique and tacking over freezer paper. Aurifil Cotton Mako Ne40 and Ne50 threads are suitable for these tasks and enable me to stitch with (almost) invisible stitches. I have used my light-box to trace designs as well as using a placement overlay. You can read a description of the overlay method in my earlier post  http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/design-transfer-dilemma/ 

Queen Square 001

Tracing the design using my light-box.

Queen Square

Placing the applique pieces using a design overlay.

The first block looks like this.

Qld July 2013 057

Block one in construction.

…..and this.

Qld July 2013 056

The first block completed.

The second block design  has twelve blocks, four each of three different colourways.

Queen Square 005

Preparing the hearts by tacking onto freezer paper

The finished blocks look like this…

Queen Square 008

Second block version one.

And this…

Queen Square 002

Second block version two.

And this…

Queen Square 010

Second block version three.

I have not yet completely made the third block, but have prepared all the components by tacking them onto freezer paper and joining them together.  In the picture you can see that I have placed them on the background fabric.  As I sew I will remove the tacking and papers.

Queen Square 001

Third block. The outer ring is pinned ready to sew,. The inner ring is just sitting in place so that I could see how it would look.

This kind of project is a lot of work, but I really enjoy the hand sewing, and it is certainly satisfying seeing it all come together.

Keep watching this blog and I will post more pictures of my Reproduction WIP as I work towards its completion.

Tuesday Treats: Quilt as you go hexagons.

I have had a number of requests for instructions to quilt -as -you -go hexagons so here they are!

You can apply theses instructions to any size hexagon you wish to make.

You need backing fabric, a contrasting feature fabric (or fabrics), fusible wadding (or non-fusible wadding and basting spray), and thread to match your backing fabric (Aurifil of course!!).  Scraps of fabric and wadding are ideal.

You use 2 hexagons, one smaller than the other.  The smaller one is the finished size. The smaller hexagon should have sides which measure 3/4 to 1 inch smaller than the large one.  Many different companies produce perspex templates for drawing hexagons, or if you’re confident you can draw your own using a compass. There are lots of instructions online.  Here is one http://www.wikihow.com/Draw-a-Hexagon

Mark and cut smaller hexagons from your featured fabric and your larger hexagons from your backing fabric.

Marking the large hexagon.

Marking the large hexagon.

For each hexagon, you also need to mark and cut small hexagons from fusible wadding and fuse onto the back of the feature fabric hexagons.

Ironing fusible wadding to small hexagons.

Ironing fusible wadding to small hexagons.

I like to use a quilting ruler and mark 3/4” from the edge on the top side of the backing hexagon.  This helps me to centre the small hexagon and have even seam allowances.

Marking the position of the small hexagon.

Marking the position of the small hexagon.

Place the small hexagon and the large hexagon together, wrong sides together with the fused wadding between, making sure that the small hexagon is centred.

Finger press a 1/4” seam towards the centre, all around the edge of the large hexagon , then fold over and pin in place.

Ready to sew.

Ready to sew.

Be careful to make neat corners – I like to ensure my corner seams all face in one direction (either clockwise or anti-clockwise).

Turning over the corners.

Turning over the corners.

Now sew all the seams in place from the front.  To do this I use the same stitch I use to sew down quilt bindings, making sure to add a couple of stitches into each corner to secure.  I use Aurifil Cotton Mako 40 for this task.

Stitching the edge.

Stitching the edge.

Securing the corner.

Securing the corner.

Make as many hexagons as you require in this way.  To join them together, place two hexagons right sides facing, making sure corners are exactly matched and whip stitch together using very small stitches and trying to take only a small “bite” into each hexagon.  Small stitches and small bites mean that you have a very neat appearance on the right side, with your stitches hardly visible!

Whip stitching hexagons together.

Whip stitching hexagons together.

This is all you need to do to make your quilt or item, but there are additional embellishments for those who are keen!!

You can add a row of quilting around the edge as I have done in the photo, or indeed quilt an appropriately sized motif in the centre.  My thread of choice here is Aurifil Cotton Mako 12.

Quilt as you go hexagonsblog post 008

Quilting stitch around the edge.

You can also embroider along the joins if you wish.

Adding embroidery.

Adding embroidery.

When joining  hexagons together to make a quilt you can leave the edges as they are or make half-hexagons to fill in the spaces.  In the scrappy quilt  in the photo I have left the edges as they are.

Scrappy hexagon quilt.

Scrappy hexagon quilt.

There are many other possibilities for quilt as you go hexagons.  I have made a couple of hexagon bags using a Patchwork with Busyfingers pattern.

A friend is making small quilt as you go hexagons into mug bags.

The finished hexagon bag.

A hexagon bag.

If you haven’t tried this technique have a go! It’s a great way to use your scraps of fabric and batting.