Friday, July 31, 2009

In my Head

Do you have projects floating around in your head? Some that just float and you dismiss, and others that you just can't seem to shake? I do. Projects that you just can't help but start pulling fabrics out for, even though you have more unfinished projects on the go than you can handle?

That's what is happening here.

It happens all too frequently I am afraid.

I really would like to make a quilt with fabrics that are designed by vastly different designers. I have gathered together some Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, and Valori Wells, but also some classic stripes, toile, Echino double gauze by Etsuko Furuya, and Mrs March 1930's collection.

Some of these fabrics are way out of my comfort zone, and I am not even sure if they will all work well together. I am surely going to give it my best shot, but not until the binding is on those baby quilts! Maintain focus!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Three Baby Quilts

Progress has been made on the baby quilts I have been working on this week. There has been a lot of quilting going on around here and some late nights.

I did encounter a few tension problems, which is fairly unusual. A quick consultation with my sewing sister revealed that I was turning the tension knob the wrong way, of course! I can't get my head around tension, even after studying the sewing machine manual, I get it wrong. Yawn...

These baby quilts are now awaiting their binding. Aargh, not the binding. Once again I have encountered much indecision. But I will insist on finishing these this week.

Triplets anyone?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Well almost ....

Three Baby Quilt Tops
Made from printed cotton fabrics and Handkerchief Linen (Linen/Cotton Blend)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lila's Quilt

Today I want to feature a quilt I made in March 2007. This is Lila's Quilt, made from reproduction prints and therefore somewhat out of my comfort zone in terms of color.

Lila's Quilt - 49" x 56" - March 2007

This quilt is pieced using just two templates.

The traditional name of this block is Kansas Dugout, but is also known as Lattice Block, Church Windows and Ogden Corners. The block first appeared in the 1930's and is often seen made in prints from that era.

Kansas Dugout - Martha Dellasega Gray, 2003
hand pieced, hand quilted 70″ x 80″

The fabrics I used are also predominantly reproduction prints, but also some stripes, ticking, and Liberty prints. Although these are not normally my fabrics of choice to work with, I really do love the overall tone of this quilt.

This quilt can be hand or machine pieced. I machine pieced and by the end of the quilt mastered those nasty Y-seams. They really are not as hard as you imagine them to be!

In an attempt to use the many scraps leftover from the quilt top I pieced the back of Lila's Quilt.

Lila's Quilt - the back

I pieced 9 blocks each measuring 13.5 inches, joined the blocks together with some sashing and added borders to ensure the backing was large enough. I pieced some of these blocks at random, and others using the Quick and Easy Block Tool as a guide.

Professionally machine quilted by:
Karen Terrens from Quilts on Bastings

I thoroughly enjoyed making this backing, and even got a little carried away with the intricate piecing. As a result this quilt is truly reversible!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Moving Forward

After the excitement of last week's Craft and Quilt Fair and playing with and stashing the new fabrics, it is finally time to settle back into the quiet rhythm of playing with fabrics, cutting and piecing.

I am re-stocking some of my favorite quilts that have sold recently. I really enjoy making these baby quilts because despite the fact that the pattern and layout is to simple, they are bold, modern and very striking.

As you can see from the fabric selection, the colors of choice are green and blue, with a splash of red, yellow and grey. Pulling out fabrics is one of my favorite parts of putting a quilt together, but I always manage to mess up my stash in the most disrespectful way.

As Fresh as a Daisy - Robert Kaufman

After a busy week and even busier weekend, I am warmly welcoming the chain-piecing, the pressing of seam allowances and trimming back blocks. I am quietly enjoying the solitude; it's just me and the machine today.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Stash #13

Today's Sunday Stash features more fabrics from wonderful Melbourne based freelance designer Shannon Lamden who has created her own label Aunty Cookie. Shannon specialises in fabric design and illustration.

Paper Cuts - Red on White printed on Linen/Cotton blend fabric

Cookies - Black on White

Trims - Drips (Brown on Birch) and Chickens (Red on White)

These fabrics are all new additions purchased from Kelani Fabrics at the Craft and Quilt Fair this week.

I also have a copy of Fall 2009 Class Catalogue for the International Quilt Festival in Houston. If anyone is interested in browsing through the details of the 800+ classes and lectures, or if you are going/thinking of going to this amazing quilt festival, please email me and I would be more than happy to send it to you (within Australia only). Unfortunately I won't be needing it!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Show Loot

Well you asked for it. Here are some of my favorite Craft and Quilt Show purchases.

Japanese Honeycomb Dots in Aqua, Banana, and Tangerine
Kei Fabric Honeycomb comes in many colorways

And then there is this fabric which was just way too cute to resist (it comes in other colorways as well), it is hand screen printed on a linen/cotton basecloth. There is a small amount of text on the fabric, including "craft is the new black", and "who are you calling a fat-quarter?"

Cookies by Shannon Lamden - Cherry on White

And some fat quarters because I "needed" them:

I also promised to show you the winning quilt that my sister, Karen Terrens, made. Karen is a professional long-arm machine quilter. She entered this quilt, named Zigue Zague, in the Custom Quilting section of the Machine Quilters' Competition, and came 2nd in the category.

The free motion quilting on this quilt is just so detailed and so perfect. Her quilting work is truly inspirational, particularly when I am still having difficulty mastering the basics of stippling.

The quilting runs from top edge to the bottom edge of the quilt in one continuous line. Karen did not mark the quilt top nor did she used a laser guide to follow a pattern. It was quilted entirely freehand.

A deserving winner; her work is always perfect and so beautiful. Well done, Karen!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Show Review

Wow! I had a blast at the Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair, a truly memorable day. Not only was I able to enhance my fabric stash, but I also met some very friendly bloggers.

The quilts on show were all amazing, and the variety outstanding. From embellished quilts,

Fabric Frenzy by Fran Batrouncy

to traditional quilts;

Hexagon Quilt by Flora Eggers - c 1950

And there was also an award winning quilt in the Custom Quilting section:

But more about that tomorrow, together with the new stash!

Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair

Don't forget! Today is the start of the Craft and Quilt Fair in Melbourne.

The Melbourne Craft & Quilt Fair

Entry includes: the Melbourne Bead Fair and the 2009 Victorian Quilt Showcase.

Thursday to Sunday
July 23 - 26, 2009
Open 9am to 5pm daily
& late 'til 8pm on Saturday


Melbourne Exhibition Centre

2 Clarendon Street

Hope you can be there!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another Finished Project

Yay! I finished the Nine-Patch Quilt. I really enjoyed being part of this Quilt-Along. Even though I did not finish the 70+ blocks, seeing all the other nine-patch quilts being made, certainly encouraged me to keep going.

Finished quilt top measures 42.5" x 54.5"

I pieced the back of this quilt (of course!), and again used all Amy Butler fabrics. I must say I really love how the back of this quilt turned out. I think I like it just as much as the front and I intend to use this layout more often for quilt backs.

I again quilted with straight lines without any problems. It is a time consuming process, one that I always look forward to, but I am equally glad when it is over!

The binding fabric is from Amy Butler's Daisy Chain collection. It is called Water Garden - Forest. It is my favorite print from this range, and it is also the center fabric featured in the all the white squares in the quilt top. I again chose to machine stitch the binding with great success. Oh what a revelation!

I have decided to sell this quilt and it is now available from my Etsy Store.  SOLD

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's a Family Thing (Part 2)

Two years ago my daughter Steph, then aged 14, was bored during the July school holidays and asked if she could sew with my scraps. I joyfully handed her all my scrap pieces of fabric, showed her how to be careful with the rotary cutter, and how to use the sewing machine.

Quietly, and with much purpose and concentration, she leisurely pieced all day for more than a week, asking only for help when the "blocks" she had made could not be pieced together without a Y-seam. She really enjoyed the free-form piecing and whimsical construction.

"Holiday Mischief" by Steph July 2007

Steph pieced this top and I quilted it for her after repairing some seams that had almost no seam allowance.

It is puffy, the borders are wavy and the quilt edges curve in and out, some of the piecing leaves a lot to be desired, but to me this quilt is a masterpiece. It also reminds me of the improvised piecing often found in the quilts from Gee's Bend.

Gee’s Bend is a small rural and isolated community neatly tucked away in the curve in the Alabama River southwest of Selma, Alabama. The town’s women developed a distinctive, bold, and sophisticated quilting style based on traditional American (and African American) quilts, but with a geometric simplicity reminiscent of Amish quilts and modern art. They passed their quilting skills down through at least six generations to the present. Women with large families often made dozens upon dozens of quilts over the course of their lives.

Quilts made by the Quilters' Collective of Gee's Bend

1.) Allie Pettway | Housetop, 1970-1975 2.) Annie Mae Young | Bars, 2003 3.) Annie Mae Young | Blocks, 2003 4.) Annie Mae Young | Housetop, 2002 5.) Annie Mae Young | Housetop Center Medalion, 1970-1979 6.) Katie Mae Pettway | Housetop Variation, 2002 7.) Linda Pettway | Blocks and Strips, 2003 8.) Lola Pettway | Housetop Variation, 2002 9.) Louisiana Bendolph | Blocks and Strips Medallion, 2003 10.) Lucy Witherspoon | Housetop, 1985 11.) Mary Lee Bendolph | Bars and Blocks, 2003 12.) Mary Lee Bendolph and Ruth P. Mosely | Bricklayer

The Gee's Bend Quilts are so inspiring, their simplicity in design and color again a really striking combination. Stephanie pieced her quilt without prior knowledge of the Gee's Bend or improvisational quilts. I too have tried to make a free form quilt but without much success. I am an inhibited quilter, preferring structure, pattern, and tidy workmanship with 1/4 inch seam allowances, but need to work on stepping outside of the square.

There are some great books that showcase quilts from the Women of Gee's Bend. Or better still, these quilts are still exhibited, and can be seen at venues according to this schedule.

Pin It!

Monday, July 20, 2009

It's a Family Thing (Part 1)

I am lucky enough to have family members with whom I share my love for sewing, patchwork and quilting. My mum is an avid crafter of all mediums; she had made wardrobes full of clothes, many quilts, completed countless masterpieces of counted cross-stitch, knits, crochets, dabbles in mosaic, folkart, painting, pottery etc etc.

My sister (Karen Terrens) is a professional long-arm machine quilter and makes show winning quilts. (I hope to show you a quilt she has entered in the Melbourne Craft and Quilt Show later this week!). We have also encouraged our own children to make quilts.

Way back in January 2005 (Summer Holidays) my sister and I ran an informal one-day quilt making workshop for our children. We planned a simple quilt for them to machine piece. We had three children(two boys, one girl), two sewing machines, and a whole lot of concentration.

My sister and I did all the rotary cutting and the pinning, however, each child chose their own fabrics, prepared their own layout of blocks and completed all of their own sewing.

January 2005

The day ended with a completed quilt top made by each child. These quilt tops were subsequently machine quilted by my sister. They are much loved quilts, and I am sure one day they will look back upon these pictures fondly. (Apparently it isn't all that cool for teenagers to sew - permission to post these photos required some negotiation!)

Nine-Patch Quilt Top

I have finished piecing together the Nine-Patch Quilt top and it came together without any problems.

Finished quilt top measures 42.5" x 54.5"

I made a total of 63 blocks, 32 of which are nine-patch blocks. The finished size of each block is 6 inches.

Of course, I also pieced the quilt backing. It is made from more pieces of Amy Butler's latest fabric ranges ~ Daisy Chain and Midwest Modern.

The quilt is basted and ready for quilting. I am looking forward to endless rows of stitching, passing time as I count down towards this week's main event: The Craft and Quilt Fair in Melbourne!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Stash #12

Some sunny orange to brighten our winter days.

Honeycomb Dot in Tangerine (Japanese import)
Mod Beads from Bijoux by Heather Bailey in Tangerine
Roman Glass by Kaffe Fassett in Circus (orange)

This week's color choice was inspired by this quilt seen on Flickr:

Made by Georgia McDonald and her mother
as a wedding present for a cousin

I love the overall simplicity of this quilt, the choice of two fabrics to make just the one block, with a scattering of floral prints. A really effective use of fabrics, inspiring work! Georgia, thank you for allowing me to share this image.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Nine-Patch Quilt-Along

I have been spending some time with my Nine-Patch Blocks from Crazy Mom's One A Day Quilt-Along. As part of this Quilt-Along I set out to make one nine-patch block a day, and although I was not able to commit myself to this task, I have still ended up with almost 40 blocks.

After much deliberation (read procrastination!) about the quilt layout I have decided to take a different tack.

The initial plan for these Nine-Patches included white sashing strips in between the blocks. Instead I have made some alternating blocks.

Above is a sneak peek of the Nine-Patches and the other block. More pictures when the quilt top is ready.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Binding without Hand Stitching

Yesterday was a busy day, with too many things scheduled that did not relate to sewing/quilting. However, I promised myself I would be more than happy if I only managed to prepare and attach the binding to the otherwise finished Half Hexagon Quilt.

Binding a quilt is not one of my favorite tasks and I tend to defer it. I audition way to many fabrics, and then procrastinate. I think the real reason is that I don't always enjoy the slip stitching by hand, I am not good at it. I therefore decided that instead I would try stitch the binding down by machine.

I attached the binding to the front of the quilt as normal and pinned the binding down at the back of the quilt. I then matched top and bobbin threads to the top and back of the quilt, and from the front of the quilt, stitched in the ditch along the binding just catching the binding edge at the back of the quilt also. It worked like a charm, and it is probably the neatest binding I have ever done, including neat mitered corners. (This is by no means the only way to stitch binding by machine, or even the right way, but it worked well for me).

Half Hexagon Quilt - 53 inches x 43 inches

This quilt has been lying around way to long without the binding (and there just might be a few more awaiting binding!). Now that I know I can stitch the binding down by machine perhaps this process might occur in a more timely manner! Maybe.