Holiday Dreaming

I’ve been back at work for less than three weeks and already my holiday is a distant dream, so I browsed through my photos to re-live some of the memories.

We drove 10,000 kilometres, over many gravel & dusty roads, saw lots of bush and wild life and very few towns.

Women-of-West-QuiltHowever, what I did notice is that in nearly every one of those towns, regardless of the size, there was always a mention of a community quilt to commemorate something special.

The quilt above, hangs in the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame & Outback Heritage Centre in Longreach, Queensland.

I could not find any reference to the makers, but the quilt captured the stories that were displayed around the museum, of women’s lives in isolation in the outback in the past.

Other quilts told stories of settlement anniversaries, mining and local interests and all were hanging in community halls, libraries, council offices and other public places.

It was obvious that the making of these quilts had brought people together to share their love of stitching and their community.

So long live the sharing of patchwork, quilting and embroidery!

 

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Ensure the item is centred in the hoop.

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

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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.

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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.

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Stitching the felt back into place.

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

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My little hanging all ready to display on the wall.

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

 

Sewing holiday

I’ve been away over January.  I wonder if you can guess where  from the photos?
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Is it an English Country Garden?005
I think not – given the time of the year and the season!

Perhaps it is another country with this magnificent gum tree in flower?
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Or maybe it is a tropical island?
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No – none of the above. I attended the New Zealand Quilt Symposium Manawatu held in Palmerston North.146

I had a wonderful time and was able to do a two day classes with Karen Stone from the USA in “Clam Session – the decorative one-patch”.  Just so much fun and so many inspirational ideas to go away with.

Part of Karen’s quilt:

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and the colour combination of fabrics I worked on:

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A long way to go with this quilt!
I also had a workshop for two days with Adrienne Walker of New Zealand called “Wind Fall” making an autumnal wall quilt.

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and my leaf being constructed under machine.  It was a very steep learning curve!
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I loved the week I spent at the Symposium, and next month I’ll ‘bore’ you with more photos from my time away and perhaps some photos of my “works in progress”.

Well done to the amazing Manawatu Symposium committee – all volunteers – who work extremely hard and so ‘professionally’ to make the symposium so successful.

Wednesday Wonder: Thread Painting

How time flies!  This time last month I was frantically packing threads into the van to drive to the Australian Machine Quilting Festival in Adelaide.

Ten hours, and 800 km,  later it was time to set up the vendor stand in association with Hettie’s Patch, one of the Aurifil retail outlets in Adelaide.

AMQF-2014-Aurifil-stand

It is the third time Lorraine, the owner of Hettie’s Patch, & I have collaborated to take Aurifil threads to the Australian Machine Quilting Festival and it is always a fun weekend helping people choose threads for their classes.

Aurifil-at-AMQF-2014

This year, the highlight class was a two day workshop learning to thread paint with Pam Holland and, at the Hettie’s Patch stand, we took great pleasure in helping students colour match the Cotton Mako’ 50 threads to their images in order to reproduce them in stitches.

It was great to see the projects developing over the two days and I was sorry to miss seeing them all at completion but Jill W did bring her finished stitching back to show us how well the threads worked on the photo of her pet.

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And a close up view of Jill’s dog to show the realistic light & dark, 3D effect, that she achieved with the stitching, I keep expecting him to bark.

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AMQF was a wonderful experience as, as the wholesaler/distributor of Aurifil in Australia, I don’t always have an opportunity to be so closely involved in helping textile artists match their thread choices to a particular project.

If you missed the Australian Machine Quilting Festival in 2014 be sure to watch for the next event in 2016.

As to our next venture into collaborative marketing with a local Aurifil retailer, we are just waiting for the invitation. So come on retailers contact us.

 

Tuesday Treat: Creative E-book from Lisa Walton

Even if, like me, you don’t think of yourself as an “Art Quilter” you will find some wonderful inspiring ideas in this new e-book by Lisa Walton, released earlier this month.

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The book description says:

This book guides you through the ways in which you can turn beautiful patterns and textures into stunning textiles.

The first in a series of books titled ‘Creative Journeys’, Lisa Walton imparts expert guidance, tips and techniques coupled with over 140 illustrations to help inspire and encourage you to turn your ideas into creative textiles.

With a focus on fabric painting, stamping, decorative rubbings, metallic foils, simple screen printing, stencilling, creative stitchwork, textural quilting, Lisa shows how these can be used to create stunning textile art.

You can preview, and purchase, the book:   Creative Journeys: Fun & Easy Textile Surface Design Techniques

It is Lisa’s second book, and is only available in the digital book format.

Visit Lisa’s blog to find out how this book came to be, and follow the story as the next book in the Creative Journeys series is developed.

PS:  Her first book, “Beautiful Building Block Quilts”,  is available in both print and digital format and shows you how to start with an easy quilt block like Four Patch or Flying Geese, stitch it up in several different sizes, then build your blocks into striking improvised quilts.

They make a great set to get you started on your free wheeling creative journey.

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If you have been doing creative things with Aurifil send us some information so that we can feature your work in a Tuesday Treat or Wednesday Wonder

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Bits and Bobs or Dis and Dat

I haven’t got any major projects to ‘flaunt’ this blog post.  Just chipping away at all the things I should be finishing and the list grows.  I have to report that I have finished my 21st Century Round Robin Modern Quilt borders.

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I was undecided on what to do with the borders – to bag them out – or put a traditional border in various colours matching the  quilt.  In the end I went with a two colour border, and I ‘m very happy with it.   Looking at the photo, it seems to show the border is slightly wobbly – it isn’t! and that it varies in width – it doesn’t!!

The next project I have finished, is one for my patchwork guild’s ‘art quilt group’.  One of our clever members Marion, demonstrated how to monotype print.  It was the first time I had done anything like this, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Such luck if you managed to get something looking good!! You had no control over what the end product would be – though with time, and experience this would not be the case.    We were asked to make something with our samples – and here is my result using two prints and some of my hand dyed fabrics. I have ’embellished’ them with straight line quilting or crosses  in Ne 12.

Monotype Printing

Threads Monotype printing

Finally, I was lucky enough to do a workshop with Amanda Daly, a patchwork tutor from New South Wales.  We spent a weekend making “Ocean Jewels”.  It was relaxed fun class and some speedy sewers managed to get theirs nearly completed in the weekend. However, I am still to put mine together – but will enjoy working on it slowly.   It is a bit like a puzzle – some components need to be  placed together to make up the final wall quilt.

"Folded" square

“Folded” square

 

Another  - just like the other!

Another – just like the other!

Strip Side Bar

‘Seaweed strips” and side stripe bar

Oh for some more hours in the day – and time just to sew!

Twenty First Century Quilting Plan

A few weeks ago we were treated to the first of four 21st Century Round Robin quilts. The quilting always changes the look of a quilt and these little gems are no exception.

I wanted to do something very modern and edgy. Using the idea of Twitter communication for inspiration, I thought I would quilt my ‘Tweet’. I drew my Tweet on non-fusible interfacing;  quilted through the interfacing on the drawn lines; then removed the interfacing to reveal the message.

Quilting design drawn on interfacing

Quilting design drawn on interfacing

 

I changed the thread colour to match the fabric colour. I have used Aurifil Mako 40wt cotton AND Aurifil Mako 50wt cotton.

Aurifil has a colour for every fabric

Aurifil has a colour for every fabric

Aurifil Cotton Mako 40wt and 50wt thread

Aurifil Cotton Mako 40wt and 50wt thread

 

The Hash-tag and letters needed to ‘pop’ and the ‘matchstick’ quilting was easy to complete with FMQ (free motion quilting).

Hash-Tag symbol 'pops' when left unquilted

Hash-Tag symbol ‘pops’

Free Motion Quilting

Free Motion Quilting around ‘U’

I have photographed this little quilt at an angle so the message can be seen in relief.

Twitter Message

Twitter Message

This little quilt says it all about creating with Aurifil….#FUN.

Round Robin Blocks for the 21st Century

This year we have been “Taking the Round Robin into the 21st Century” as a challenge at our work.  In February each staff member had to bring a 6 inch starter block in a designated colour from the colour wheel.  This week we took possession of ‘our’ block and now we have to  feature Aurifil threads on it to make it into a mini quilt with quilting and/or embellishments.

Back in February, I had to work with the colour Violet and make a 6 inch block.

Starting block

Then every two months we were  to add borders of different sizes to each relevant quilt block.  Round two of mine was made by Judy using  a red-orange colour to create an asymmetrical border on four sides.

RR Block 2

Then Yellow was choice of colour for Jenny, with an even size border on four sides ( no more than 3 inch wide) added.

Round Robin block 3

Finally, a border on two sides, no more than 3 inches wide was added by Denise in Blue Green

Round Robin Block 4

Here are all the quilts (hung over some of the batting in the shop) showing the results.  It will be fascinating to see what everyone chooses to do with their individual quilts.

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 no.1

And a closer look of them (Jenny and Judy’s):

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 Jenny and Judy

and the other two (mine and Denise’s):

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 Heather and Denise

We have been given some time to finish the quilts as they will be displayed at the Melbourne Wholesale Quilt Market in November – and if we are really keen and finish them before hand, someone may even blog about them earlier!!

A Happy New Year? Starting AND Finishing a Project in January

I have never finished a brand new project in January before but this one was irresistible. I received a beautiful Jinny Beyer Pixie Runner kit as a Christmas present.

Jinny Beyer border fabrics are always fun to use and this one was no exception. I used my Marti Michell Magic Mirror to “see” what my design would look like before I cut a single piece.

Marti Michell's Magic Mirror

Marti Michell’s Magic Mirror

The centre result cutting 4 triangles from the same design on the fabric

The centre result cutting 4 triangles from the same design on the fabric

The top went together in an evening and I machine quilted a simple 1/8″ outline using Aurifil 40wt Cotton Mako. I used my sewing machine’s walking foot as a guide so there was no need to mark the fabric at all.

My Pixie Runner fits the cupboard perfectly

My Pixie Runner fits the cupboard perfectly

Pixie Runner makes plain pottery look good

Pixie Runner makes plain pottery look good

TA-DA!

The perfect start to 2014.

Tell us about your first finished project for 2014?

Tuesday Treats: One Aurifil size does NOT have to fit all (part 3)

I’ve already written about Cotton Mako’ 40 & Cotton Mako 28 so now it is time to feature Cotton Mako’ 12

A selection of Cotton Mako' 12 threads

A selection of Cotton Mako’ 12 threads

This is the thickest thread in the Cotton Mako’ range.

Cotton Mako' 12 is the thickest thread in the range

Cotton Mako’ 12 is the thickest thread in the range

It works beautifully as a substitute for traditional hand embroidery stranded floss or pearl threads as:

  • It does not require splitting and re-aligning before use
  • The threads do not split when the stitches are formed
  • The thread has a smoother twist when compared to a pearl thread so it is easy to pull through the fabric
Zoe Clifton's beautiful embroidery design stitched in Cotton Mako' 12

Zoe Clifton’s beautiful embroidery design stitched in Cotton Mako’ 12

Try it for stress free modern hand quilting

Cushions using Cotton Mako' Ne 12 for the hand stitching detail

Cushions using Cotton Mako’ Ne 12 for the hand stitching detail

or for bold machine quilting

Bold machine quilting looks good when stitched in Cotton Mako' 12

Bold machine quilting looks good when stitched in Cotton Mako’ 12

Cotton Mako’ 12 also gives great results when used for crochet

Try your hand at crocheting with Cotton Mako' 12

Try your hand at crocheting with Cotton Mako’ 12

or Punchneedle embroidery

Punchneedle embroidery with Cotton Mako' 12

More Cotton Mako’ 12 delights to be found on these pages: