Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Colors of Today

Having spent the week quilting the Hourglass Quilt (pictures to follow soon), I have taken some time away from the sewing machine to go to the Australasian Quilt Convention and Expo in Melbourne, set in the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building in the Carlton Gardens.

The Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne is one of my favorite quilt shows and is highly anticipated.  It has again proven to be a wonderful day.   Spent with my mum and sister, chatting with friends, like minded quilters and  bloggers, it doesn't get any better than that.  

I thought I would share with you the colors of my day:

Inside Out - Fruit Juice by Jane Rowland

Dreamline #3 by Brenda Gael Smith

Happy Magic by Naomi Miyake

Olive Tree (The Tree of Life) by Susanne Cody

There were many beautiful and inspiring quilts, however these snippets in particular caught my eye because of their bold color or striking design. 

Textile Tantrums
I Know it's There - Somewhere! by Lyn Brown (WA)

Textile Tantrums was a special mini quilt challenge exhibition and Lyn's entry was my favorite.  This is Lyn's interpretation of when you need that something special  and you know it is in your stash but you just can't find it.  I've been there often.

Of course there were also many Exhibitors with booths overflowing with patterns, notions, and fabric bundles. Today was my lucky day:

My heart skipped a beat, and then they were mine!  Bundles of 34 different Flea Market Fancy prints. 

The Australasian Quilt Convention is on in Melbourne until May 2, 2010.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Stash #48

April is Quilting Month over at Sew Mama Sew, and this week they featured my article:  All about Fabric - A Quilter's Medium.

This article goes a long way in answering many often asked questions regarding stashing, storing, choosing and buying fabric.  If you have not already read it, be sure to head on over.

I also scored my very first Wollmeise yarn this week (from a Ravelry destash)!  Finally. This particular Wollmeise yarn has been stashed more than 23 000 times on Ravelry, however, there never seems to be any stock in the Wollmeise Store when I ckeck.  Is there a secret to purchasing this yarn?  Anyone wish to share?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Did you know ...

"There are 12 hours during the day and above fifty in the night" - Marie de Rabutin- Chantal

Although it is not unusual for me to burn the midnight oil, this week has seen me stay up late to create every night.  And I mean really late - I think I may have found those 50 hours.  It was worth it.

Finished Quilt measures 51 inches x 65.5 inches

I have finished the Little Folks Quilt and am super pleased with it.  It is so soft and dreamy, and drapes so beautifully.  Even when you fold it, the creases just fall out.  

 Piecing with the voile fabrics was daunting at first, but my fears were very much unfounded.  I used a little spray starch to settle the edges when piecing together the long strips of fabric.  (Remember Little Folks Voile is extra wide at 55 inches).  This ensured that the strips did not stretch or curve.  

I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that machine quilting voile fabrics was a not as difficult as anticipated.  As the fabrics are smooth and slippery they cause less friction and move through the sewing machine easily, gliding effortlessly.  What I did do was change to a thinner needle, using a Microtex 60/8 needle.  This is a sharp needle suitable for lightweight and fine fibers.  No broken needles to report.

This quilt was inspired by a quilt made by Debbie from Calico and Ivy.  Debbie used some perle cottons to feature some colorful hand quilting, and I was easily tempted to do so as well.  My experience with anything hand sewing is limited indeed, but  I was very pleased with how my stitches looked.  I might have to start stashing some Perle cottons ...

The back of the quilt is also a voile fabric from the Little Folks range by Anna Maria Horner.  I think having used all lightweight voile fabrics for both the front and back of the quilt certainly helped make the decorative hand stitching a little easier, with the needle gliding through quite happily.

The binding fabric is again more voile, and similar to the inspiration quilt, I used perle cotton to blanket stitch around the top and bottom edge of the binding (although I think I may have done it upside down?).  It adds a touch of interest and a feel of luxury.  

Lots of pictures here today, but my words alone are insufficient in describing this quilt.

All the colors of Little Folks by Anna Maria Horner

As you can see I have enjoyed every single quiet moment late into the night. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Supplies and Basting

Yesterday was a day of chores (just the usual - post office, bank, groceries).  I no sooner decided that I deserved to treat myself than I found myself at my local fabric store.

Backing and binding fabric have been chosen, all Anna Maria Horner Little Folks.  A whole quilt made from voile fabrics!  Supersoft.  I am all set to go now.

Today I have basted the quilt, and I can't wait to start quilting.  Hopefully the voile fabrics will cooperate nicely with my sewing machine.  As a little side note - masking tape and voile fabrics don't mix well.  I used tape upon tape to keep the backing fabric firmly tacked to the floor.  Mind you not all masking tapes are created equal either, some are just more sticky than others, even if they all say "High Tack".

More soon.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sneak Peek

The weekend was delightful - beautiful Autumn sunshine combined with some relaxing sewing time.  I've put to good use my leftover Anna Maria Horner fabrics.

 Little Folks by Anna Maria Horner
So much for using up my leftover fabrics, I now think I need more.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Stash #47

Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Solid are delicious and it was there that the suggestion of having a color card would help round out my own stash of Kona solids.

 How did I end up with so many yellows?

I was easily convinced that I "needed" my own color chart and a quick search of the net led to a chart jumping into the shopping cart, and no sooner than a week later it landed on my veranda.  Thanks Jackie.

It's big!  Kona Cotton now comes in 221 different colors.  My most frequently used Kona Cotton color is obviously WHITE, and I order it in lots of 5 yards.  Often.  

Originally uploaded by TrueUp.

 It seems I have a penchant for yellow, blue and green.

I have already spent time with my color card and have discovered some new favorites.  What's your favorite color? And do you prefer WHITE or SNOW?  

Enjoy Sunday.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bee Imaginative - April 2010

Can you believe it is April already?

This month it was Ashley's (from Film in the Fridge) turn to send out fabrics for the Bee Imaginative block swap.

Ashely asked for blocks inspired by the Drunk Love Quilt by Denyse Schmidt.

I absolutely love all things Denyse Schmidt - books, fabrics, patterns, quilts, all of it!  (Be sure to check out if you haven't already done so for more inspiration).  The Drunk Love quilt features as the screen saver on my phone, so having a go at piecing blocks inspired by this quilt was fun.

I am looking forward to seeing this quilt come together.  More swap blocks here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Quilt in Progress II

I rarely add borders to my quilts.

Having said that, I have decided to add two borders to the Hour Glass Quilt top -  first a solid white border and then a pieced border using fabrics that have also been used in the Hour Glass blocks.

I do wish you could  actually see and touch this quilt top.  I am not sure if the pictures doing justice here.  Both the Liberty fabrics and the "Little Folks" fabrics are lightweight and make for a lovely flowing quilt top.  So soft.

I am enjoying seeing some of the other creations made with Little Folks fabrics and particularly love some of the quilts in the Flickr Little Folks Group.  Wonderful inspiration. (I already have plans for the remaining Little Folks fabrics in my stash!!)

The quilt top measures 64 inches x 73 inches, bigger than most of my quilts.  I am awaiting the arrival of both the backing fabric and quilting inspiration.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday - Parcel Day

I bet it is still Tuesday somewhere in the world!

We are still rolling with the punches this week. A plumber has now attended to some leakage issues (water trickling through the downlights!) which occurred after my husband changed the washers in the upstairs bathroom taps.  (A lesson learned - if you leave the plumbing to the plumber then the quilter can get on with her quilting : )
 Favorites - Rural Jardin - Vinette Woad  Bleu and Vinette Blue Clair

I thought I would also share with you a text I received whilst at work on Monday night from my son:

"Mum the toaster went on fire and I put it out in the sink"

Yep that made me feel better! Fifteen year old boys are not very communicative, and this was my fist ever text from him.  I guess we were very lucky, and I am looking upon this as a change in fortunes.

 Rural Jardin by French General for Moda

Of course, this fabric parcel cheered me up considerably also. 

I am back behind my sewing machine now. Ah ... Stitch stitch ...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hour Glass Block Tutorial

I have made good progress with my Hour Glass Quilt top, and have especially enjoyed the piecing.  I absolutely love the Half Square Triangle block, it is such a simple and versatile block with countless different layouts making endlessly different quilts.  Similarly, the Hour Glass block is an effective traditional block that is not difficult to piece.

The Hour Glass Block is really just an extension of the Half Square Triangle block in terms of piecing.  What follows is a short tutorial showing you how I have pieced the Hour Glass Blocks in this quilt top.

Hour Glass Block Tutorial

Step 1  -  Cut two 6 inch squares - one printed fabric, one solid fabric.

With a pencil mark a diagonal line on the solid fabric.

Step 2 -  Place fabrics right sides together.

With a 1/4 inch presser foot stitch on either side of the marked line from edge to edge.  I do suggest you use a  neutral thread (when using white solid fabric I suggest using white thread), having used blue thread just for better contrast in this image.

Step 3
Using a rotary cutter cut on the marked diagonal line.  Up to this point this tutorial is no different to piecing Half Square Triangles. 

Step 4

Without moving the fabrics on your cutting mat, swing your ruler or mat around to cut your fabric in the opposite diagonal direction.  You now have four separate units each one made up of a solids triangle and a printed triangle.

Step 5
Press all seams towards the darker (printed) fabric for all four units and match correct set of triangles together to form two Hour Glass blocks (as above). If using all printed fabrics be consistent with the direction you press the seam allowances for all units ~ press all seams towards the same fabric.

Step 6
Sew units together matching the center seams, stitching from edge to edge.  Press seams together in one direction.  

Step 7
Now for a little housekeeping and to ensure that your blocks are all square, use a ruler with a diagonal line (match diagonal line on your ruler with the diagonal line on your block), and  make sure you measure from the center intersecting point out (2 1/2" on your ruler) to square up your blocks.  Trim back each block to 5 inches exactly.

You will now have two Hour Glass blocks, each measuring 5 inches square.  Piece as many blocks as required.   For my quilt top I have made 120* Hour Glass blocks pieced together in 12 rows of 10 blocks each.  The quilt top measures 45.5 x 54.5 inches with borders still in the planning stages.

*  To piece 120 Hour Glass blocks, cut 60 solid fabric squares and 60 printed fabric squares.  I have used many different Liberty fabrics as well as fabrics from the Little Folks range by Anna Maria Horner.  The solid contrast fabric I have used is Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in White.

What's more, the Hour Glass block is ideal for using up all of your scrap fabric, as well as those charm packs you just could not resist stashing.  Happy piecing!

Hour Glass Quilt ~ A Finished Quilt
Tickled Pink - Another Hour Glass Quilt

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Stash #46

Still stashing ...

 Prints Charming - Follow Your Imagination in Black and Red purchased on Etsy.

Kiyohara - Puti De Pome Retro Dots in Green (linen blend, medium weight) from Kelani Fabric. .  Don't you love that selvage?