Thursday, 17 April 2014

No calories in these Easter eggs

I spent part of the day making these eggs to use in an applique project, I only needed one but I couldn't decide which colour would work best.  I've made my choice, I'm still not 100% happy, but sometimes you can't judge the full effect until the project is almost complete.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Total lunar eclipse

As the sun was setting the Mister and I drove up our street to the top of the ridge to watch the total lunar eclipse.  The eclipsed moon was rising just as the sun set, and at first there was very little to see but then the merest sliver of moon became visible as the eclipsed moon slowly climbed into the evening sky.

There were quite a few other people who had also decided that the ridge line where we were was the best place to view the eclipse.  It was windy and cold and we hadn't really dressed for that so the Mister and I were both feeling the cold while we were standing around waiting for the moon to do it's thing.

We didn't stay for the end of the eclipse preferring instead to drive home and watch the moon from the relative comfort of the garage with our hands wrapped round a hot cup of tea.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

A slow stitching day

Earlier this week I enjoyed a nice slow day, stitching and chatting with a couple of quilting friends.   Cody also enjoyed himself, taking his ease on one of Chris's quilts that she had brought along for a show and tell, a quite lovely quilt inspired by the Sarah Evans applique quilt.

The flying geese are still breeding and they're getting bigger, I made migrating geese using an excellent tutorial by Jane Weston of Sew Create It.  I like the negative space created by this style of geese and I will be making more of this size as they don't take too long to make and even better they have almost doubled the amount of area I had previously.

and another gratuitious cat on a quilt photo.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A new bed for Cody?

Whenever we leave an empty box on the floor, chances are Cody will end up sleeping in it and this time was no exception, he spent half the day sleeping in this one.

That box was all that remained from the mountain of cardboard that surrounded the newest piece of technology in our house.  Yes, the Mister bought me a Handiquilter Sweet 16 sit-down quilting machine and I have been busy quilting up all those quilts I have made - in my dreams that is :)

For the moment I am just getting familiar with the machine, it seems quite noisy to me, and is a bit different from quilting on a domestic sewing machine, the amount of space available to move the fabric sandwich around is wonderful.

 front of sample
back of sample

My first attempt resulted in very long stitches but I seem to have that mostly under control now, I'm planning on spending at least 30 minutes a day practising my quilting, because practise makes perfect or so the saying goes, but I think I will be happy with almost perfect.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Waste not, want not

When I made the flying geese for the frame medallion quilt, I turned the trimmings into half square triangle (HST) blocks.  At the time I had no idea how I would use them, but I couldn't bear to toss them out. At our most recent guild meeting I purchased directions for a smaller version of the Rajah quilt  the original quilt measures a whopping 325 x 327 cm (128 x 129 inches) but the directions I purchased are for a smaller version (I think it is a quarter size of the original) measuring 160 x 160 cm (63 x 63 inches).

The Rajah quilt is probably one of Australia's most important textiles, it is quite fragile and is not usually kept out on display. You can read a bit more about the quilt here and also listen to the story of the quilt here. It was most recently displayed at the Queensland Art Gallery last year in their Quilts 1700-1945 exhibition, I would have loved to visit the exhibition but I had too much of my Flower Garden quilt left to finish :(

Today as I was pressing the HST blocks I glanced at the pattern and noticed there were two borders using HSTs, so I checked the pattern and YES, I will be able to trim my HSTs to the size required for the quilt,  I have just over 100 units and there are about 196 units in one border so now I have found a use for the HSTs and have yet another project to add to the evergrowing list, although there is no hope of this one being started for some time.  To read more about the pattern release pop over to Michelle Hill's blog.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Eeek, they're breeding ...

I made some more flying geese today, this time they were paper foundation pieced geese.  I had a few paper foundations left over from when I made the Just Takes 2 long quilt, so rather than put them straight into the paper recycling bin I made a few blocks and then put the used papers into the recycling.

I have only a vague idea of what these will become but no doubt once I've made a few more it will become clearer to me, at least I hope so :)

Monday, 7 April 2014

Making a quilted cover for an A5 notebook

Warning - a photo heavy post

I thought I would put together a bit of a photo guide for the A5 notebook cover I made plus some of my thoughts along the way.

The cover fabric can be any fabric you like, if you are going to do a lot of quilting (feathers etc) then a plain fabric will probably show your quilting off nicely.  Or you might just want to use a patterned fabric that you like, in which case your quilting may just be a grid or some curving lines.

The lining fabric is not really seen apart from when there is no notebook in it, so I just use a plain fabric for that, it could be a good way to use up fabrics you don't really like.

The sleeve pockets will be visible so a fabric that you like would be more suitable for them.

The measurements for the cover and the backing are approximate, you can get away with a bit smaller than I have used as the fabric does get trimmed back, just be aware that if you are doing more complex quilting then it is better to have some fabric to hold onto when you are moving everything around.

For an A5 notebook:

Batting - 20" x 15" approximately
Cover fabric - 15 1/2" x 12" approximate
Lining fabric - 13 3/4" x 9 1/4"
Fabric for sleeve pockets - 2 x 10" squares (I used 2 pieces from a layer cake)

 Lay the cover fabric on top of the batting,
I don't worry about basting it together
as I usually put a couple of quilting lines through the middle to
hold it all together, or just pin it.
Basting spray also works well.

 The white lining fabric and the sleeve pocket fabrics
to make the sleeve pocket just fold in half and press

 lay each sleeve pocket on the lining fabric, right sides together
 with the folded edge facing to the middle of the lining fabric. 
I usually pin top and bottom to hold it together 
and to make the next step easier.
If you want to add a label to the sleeve pocket
then now is the time to do it before you sew
it all together.
 Carefully flip it over and pin as shown,
don't forget to take out the pins on the other side if you used them

Stitch a 1/4" seam all the way around,
I backstitch at the start and finish and I also backstitch 
at the folded edge of the sleeve pockets for a bit of extra strength

 Trim off any overhanging fabric using the 
lining fabric as a guide

 Quilt the cover fabric and batting as desired.
As you can see there is no backing fabric used,  but
I think that if I was going to do complicated quilting
then I would put a thin backing fabric on as well.****
It is also worthwhile to lay the lining fabric on top 
of the cover fabric and mark the edges so you
have a rough guide for your quilting.

 If you want to add a ribbon or cord for a bookmark,
fold the lining fabric in half, give it a quick
press with the iron and glue the ribbon in the centre crease, 
leave a bit to overhang the top edge as I have done,
and make sure to curl the ribbon up so
it doesn't get caught up in the stitching.

 Lay the lining fabric and sleeve pocket component 
onto the quilted cover fabric, make sure they
are placed right sides together, then pin
as shown.  Mark an opening between the sleeve pockets
approximately three inches, this is for turning the 
cover once it is stitched.
(very important, ask me how I know)

Once again I backstitch at the start and finish for added security.
Stitch just inside the original 1/4" stitching line 
on the lining fabric and sleeve pocket component.
I used the edge of my machine foot as a guide
Don't forget to backstitch at the start and finish.
Don't forget to leave a turning gap :)

Trim the edges of the quilted cover fabric using
the lining fabric as a guide.
  Make sure to leave a little bit untrimmed at
the turning opening (I forgot this time)
A rotary cutter makes it nice and quick.
I trimmed the corners like this,
make sure you don't trim too much off.

This is where I forgot to leave the extra fabric,
if you forget (like I did,) it doesn't really matter,
it just makes it easier when you slip stitch the opening closed.

I also did an extra backstitch on the ribbon

I trimmed the batting back on the corners,
and also trimmed some of the fabric layers as well.
Careful when you do this as you don't want to
cut into the stitching.
You can turn the cover now, it looks quite a mess,
I usually put my fingers through and grab a bit
then gently pull it through, once there
is a fair bit through, you can use a chopstick or
something similar to poke the rest through.
Be gentle as you don't want to poke
it through the stitching.

 The journal cover will look like this now,
it doesn't look quite right does it?
Not to worry, you just need to flip the sleeve pockets
around to the other side.
 like this, now do the other one, 
you might like to gently poke the corners out a bit
and then give the whole thing a press with the iron.
 Nearly finished, you just need to slip stitch the
turning opening closed, the lining fabric
folds nicely over the stitching line and I usually
press the batting side down, and use
a bit of glue to hold it together, then slip stitch it.
You can use pins if you like.

The finished cover, all ready to put a notebook in

Some other covers I have made, these ones were not
quilted, I used iron-on interfacing instead of batting
 and used a few embroidery stitches from my machine.

Two quilted covers, if you wish to add
beads it is easier to add them after the cover
has been completed.

**** You will need to clean your sewing machine after the quilting as there can be a lot of lint
buildup from the quilting.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sunday is done and dusted

Daylight saving and the clocks have rolled back an hour, which means my body thinks it is time to get up before the clock says it is.  I made use of the extra time and caught up on blog reading - all 79 of them, by the time the sun rose the blog reading was done and I was ready for breakfast, a quick read of the paper and then time to finish off the notebook cover.

I decided to leave the cover as it was but added a ribbon when I stitched the front to the inside cover and sleeves, I may add a fabric bead to dangle off the end of the ribbon as a finishing touch.

After that effort I had a little break and moved a few bits of furniture around in the spare room and then started on the Barbara Brackman's Threads of Memory block.  It took me a little while to decide on fabrics, my initial choice for the centre block didn't work with the other fabrics so I had to rat through all my KFC fabrics to find something else.  This block is a smidgen too big so at some stage I will have to make another one, but I will need to get some more of the grey Rings fabric which I used on the small triangles, I have found it quite a versatile fabric as it is fairly neutral.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Not a productive day today

as I couldn't seem to concentrate enough to actually start on anything until late afternoon. 

I trialled a piece of the border fabric I bought on Thursday with a piece of the still unfinished chain/cable border and I think it looks quite good, the colours are more intense than the photo shows.  The border fabric is by French General from the La Belle Fleur range.  (I have added the fabric ranges to my previous blog post)

I started making a notebook cover, cut out all the pieces needed and then quilted the front.  I haven't done any quilting since last October when I finished Flower Garden so I am quite rusty, my hands were starting to cramp towards the end.  It will be finished off tomorrow and then I will catch up on the Threads of Memory star.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Slow Stitching Thursday

Last night was our monthly quilt guild meeting and as usual I had a lovely day beforehand chatting and stitching with Sheila at her house, interspersed with regular breaks to sustain ourselves -  Dutch Ginger Cake and Lunchbox Slice and salad. We also found time to slip down to the local  LQS (The Mallee Tree) to check out some fabric and I succumbed to the lure of these lovely textiles below, I think they may just work in with the Frame Medallion quilt that is just one of my current projects.

From the left the fabrics are: 
Collection for a Cause Mill Book Series by Howard Marcus,
 the next three are all French General fabrics - 
 La Belle Fleur (border print), and the other two are Chateau Rouge
all manufactured by Moda

Later at the guild meeting I couldn't resist buying this tin, inside is a large pair of scissors, a seam ripper and one of those handy retractable tape measures, how could I not buy it especially as it was a meagre $13.  Really, I only want the tin so the Mister will be the lucky recipient of the scissors as I have plenty of them and this way he will not need to ask to borrow mine :) 

I've also been making a few thread catchers as little gifts, they are quite handy as they fold/roll up nicely and can just be popped in with your sewing kit ready to take along to a sit and sew.