Wednesday, 31 May 2023

To Do Tuesday #22

Forgot to make a list last week! Never mind...I do know what I had in mind of finishing.

Very productive week for me...really knuckled down and got a lot of things done that have been on my 'mental' list.

But first of all, let me show you my little knitting adventure. Bought a beanie the week before and thought I could really knit that myself. Although a bit rusty in my knitting, I did find a number of patterns on the internet that seemed do-able and so I proceeded to knit up this little hat. Bit of a rocky start as I had forgotten quite a few things and reading the English patterns was a struggle (I knitted way back when I was still living in Germany and all the knitting terminology was obviously in German). After a bit of research and looking at a lot of pictures I got going...funny how quickly things come back to you. My only problem was that I needed to re-calculate my casting on stitches as I did not have the corresponding wool to the patterns I found. The hat took me about 2 days to knit. Loved it as I had some fun variegated yarn.

Here it is
Not perfect, but very cute. The next one I do I will need to cast on my stitches a bit firmer though, this one got a bit loose, however if you fold that over it fits perfectly. The decrease towards the top was an adventure as I did not have the right needles and had to improvise. Knitting this was a real pleasure and send me right back to those times when I was a very serious knitter. Will knit another one and then may attempt some socks, however will have to watch some YouTube videos before attempting that. I think I got the bug!

After this it was back to my quilting tasks.
Currently sewing on the binding on the table runner which is destined for a workshop in September. 

Had a lovely little surprise when Auribuzz featured part of my table runner in their Showcase Sunday post.
Nearly missed it as I did not read this post this time which actually was unusual as I normally read them. However I was alerted to it via Instagram where Aurifil had tagged me. That was really nice. The photo they took from IG was really clear and close up, so it looks really nice. Was a bit chuffed.

Also finished my charity quilts. Yah! Definintely was dragging my feet with this, but got the last one done in about a day.
A very brown quilt in country style fabrics. Initially I was going to do some ruler work in there, however decided against it as I needed to get these quilts out of the house. Had this lot for about three months by now and the charity quilters group only meets certain times, so I needed to get this done by the end of the month. So I meandered over this in a brown thread (which you actually can't even see in this photo). Felt that this suited this quilt as the brown pinwheels are very striking and I think ruler work in the cream parts would have been too much. Anyway, it's done.

Also basted my panel (and another little quilt which will showcase a new pattern).
For this panel I will probably do an edge-to-edge design over it using my trusted Golden Threads paper. Find that very relaxing and so rewarding. Just need to make a decision on what design to use.

A bit off topic, but last not least, I made another bread...this time following a definite recipe!
This is a Marbled Rye bread. Very yummy! If you are interested in bread making, I can highly recommend the following Craftsy class: "Artisan Bread Making"  with Peter Reinhart. This is just one of the breads that he is teaching. I have had this class for a while now and have made the beginner's bread a number of times and now moved on to the Rye bread. Still heaps more to explore. Peter is an excellent teacher and the recipes seem to work out great every time.

Now, my list for next week:
- start on an edge-to-edge design for the baby quilt panel; this will take some time as I need to trace the design a number of times on to the Golden Threads paper. Also I am a bit undecided about which design to use...feel like something new and have been exploring designs over at Urban Elementz (always dangerous as I end up spending money!)
- if time allows, start quilting in the ditch around my other small baby quilt and maybe even working on the draft for the pattern. We shall see.
- start knitting another the right needles now for the decrease of the top of the hat, so that should come together quickly.
- finish sewing on the binding on the table runner.

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #22 over at Quilt Schmilt


Friday, 26 May 2023

To Do Tuesday #21 (On A Friday!)

Busy over here as usual and I am running behind all sorts of things. However I thought that I will post on my To Do Tuesday list so as to not lose momentum.

My list from two weeks ago was as follows:
- completing the quilt top for the new pattern (fingers crossed, nothing else goes wrong)
- making a start on the new table runner, i.e. minimal marking, probably just with some chalk and trialing a new thread (Robinson-Anton). Planning to have elements in there that will be stitched with variegated thread.
- cut and sew some borders to the panel
- not hopeful but let's put it on...baste a charity quilt.

Well, completed my quilt top for a new pattern. Very cute, 'just' need to do the write up
Then I made a start on the new table runner and actually finished it, except for the binding which I will put on tomorrow.

A truly improvisional little project. While I had my drawn out design, getting this on the actual fabric proofed different. Keeping as close to the measurements as I could, however bending the curves ever so slightly distinct from the picture gave me a few variations. Most notably, my feather section proofed too large to fill with just lines, so I pebbled around that to reduce the space. Will need to change that a bit to make it more stitching-friendly and easier to execute for a class. Apart from that worked out really well and came together quite easily. Lots of options for a class to put their own spin on it or use different designs to fill. I stitched this with Aurifil 50/2 thread on a cotton batting. I think I will repeat this on a light background using wool/poly batting to see what that looks like. Like this, it is truly flat as a pancake. 

Next was the panel...finished this by now just putting some borders on and will complete with an edge-to-edge design to go in my Etsy shop. Love those bright and happy!
After all this I got majorly sidetracked. Bought a slouched knitted hat in one of the galleries out of town.
Really nice little hat and best of all, covers your ears really well. In looking at it, I thought that I should knit my own. I used to be quite a prolific knitter when I was young living in Germany. Obviously in Australia the need for handknitted jumpers that keep you warm is not as great and over the years quilting replaced my hobby. I did knit a fair few jumpers and vests for my children when they were growing up but that eventually stopped. So over the last few days I have been researching these little plenty of wool still lying around and found a number of patterns (feeling a bit rusty to just work it out on my own). Let's see whether I still can get this together.

Also attempted bread-making earlier in the fail as I went with intuition rather than a solid recipe. Bread turned out hard as rock! Will try again over the weekend following a Craftsy class on bread-making, hopefully making a marbled rye bread πŸ˜….

Linking up to To-Do-Tuesday over at Quilt to look at what other people are working on.


Wednesday, 10 May 2023

To Do Tuesday #19 - Nothing Going To Plan

I am having a bit of an interesting week.

My tasks for the last two weeks were:
- sew some blocks together for the new pattern, actually start with the 10 easy four patch ones!
- continue stitching out the formal table runner
- discuss the organic table runner with the shop
- baste the last charity quilt.

I had a bit of a disaster with my 'formal' table runner. As posted earlier, several of my blue water erasable lines did not come out and left a faint brownish line behind. This has never happened to me before! To make matters worse, I tried to get that out with a stain removal soap product and this took out some of the dye from the fabric, so I got a bit of a faded spot instead of the brown line.

Disappointing, I think this did look quite nice
Nothing much I can do about reader suggested dying the whole thing. Not a bad idea, but would need to investigate this as I have never dyed anything before. For the moment though that project was put on hold as there was no point continuing. I might finish it off for myself, but not sure yet.

So I made a start on my next pattern...sewed some simple four patch blocks together and started on the alternate block the other day, merrily piecing along. I am piecing the Fancy Foot block which is an old fashioned type of block, but I think it looks great in bright colours.
Made 3 of those blocks yesterday...took me a while as I am a bit out of practice with my piecing.
Towards the late afternoon, I discovered what I thought was a slightly discoloured piece (in the photo above it is the white background in the yellow half square rectangle. Pays to have good lighting in your sewing room, as I only saw that when I took my block into the kitchen area to take a photo. Initially I thought that I had burnt the fabric...went ahead and replaced that section...only to find that the other cut pieces looked exactly the same! Then it dawned on me...I had cut those rectangles from different lots of what I thought was the same fabric. When I bought this, obviously thought they were exactly the same, but when you hold them against each other in daylight, one is slightly more on the cream side. Inspecting my three blocks, they all had one or two of the more creamy fabric in there which looked awful as the other white background is really white.

So today, I cut new rectangles from the bit of the snow white fabric that I had left (just enough!) and undid all 3 blocks and replaced the offending sections. As you are working on the bias with those rectangles, this was annoyingly tricky but I got there in the end. Now have a total of four have to laugh really...this should not have taken more than one afternoon to piece together!

Apart from this, I did discuss another table runner for a workshop with the sewing shop and will need to get stitching on that shortly. Also bought a new panel while I was there. Too cute!
Just needs some borders and some quilting and then this can go in the Etsy shop. Love doing those panels.

So, all in all, not the bestest of weeks, but I am hoping that I am now on my way to get some things finished.

For the coming week I am planning on:
- completing the quilt top for the new pattern (fingers crossed, nothing else goes wrong)
- making a start on the new table runner, i.e. minimal marking, probably just with some chalk and trialing a new thread (Robinson-Anton). Planning to have elements in there that will be stitched with variegated thread.
- cut and sew some borders to the panel
- not hopeful but let's put it on...baste a charity quilt.
Hopefully things are starting to look up. LInking up to Quilt Schmilt for the To Do Tuesday #19 Linky Party


Monday, 8 May 2023

Win Some, Lose Some

Well, I had an interesting two weeks. I have been working steadily away on my 'formal' table runner. It took ages to do the grid on there and I decided to take out the markings closer to the end as I found the blue lines were starting to be very distracting in terms of deciding whether to fill more or leave it.

It looked great so far. So I took the markings out by rinsing it in cold water as I always do. This time though I noticed that I had some brownish lines left, particularly on the center lines πŸ˜’. What happened?

This has never happened to me before in all the years of quilting using the blue water erasable markers. Tried to get this out with a bit of stain remover soap...bad mistake, as it also whitened the fabric a touch.

Can you believe it? I tried to think whether I did anything differently this time, but can't really come up with anything. I washed my fabric before quilting as I always do, I used the same old markers...too weird. The only thing I could come up with was that I usually go through my draws and get a handful of markers out and then see which one has the most colour left rather than take a brand-new marker out of a packet. I remember I did mark the center lines in parts with one of the older markers which also happened to be a different brand. As it turned out too weak I then used my normal, newer marker to finish off the lines. Could it be that these markers have a shelf life and somehow chemically change after a while? I certainly have heard people talking about having brown lines left but this was usually in the context of having left the marker on the fabric for some time. This certainly was not the case for my project. The marking and quilting happened in the last two weeks.

Well, so it is spoilt...I was going to sell it but this is obviously not going to happen now. On the positive side, it freed me up to start the next table runner as I am not going to fill in any other areas on this one now. Bit of a pity but what can you do. Just glad that I did not start my larger wholecloth and have this happen...that would have been terrible and I would have been beside myself. Definitely will buy all new markers when I am ready to quilt that one! 

My new table runner should be interesting...less formal with a lot of fun elements which does not require any tracing.
Something similar to this...again, designed in Affinity Designer 2 this should be a bit more versatile than my 'formal' table runner was and should be a lot more fun to do. Thinking of quilting this out on a grey fabric with a light-green thread. 

Never boring over here!


Thursday, 27 April 2023

To Do Tuesday #17 - Working Away

The weeks are going so fast!

My tasks from last week:
- cut out the fabric for a new pattern for my Etsy shop (sewing machine has been for a service and is working well again)✅
- work on another table runner pattern, i.e. draw out the main elements and think about proportions✅
- transfer my 'formal' table runner to fabric and make a start in stitching this out (fabric is already washed and ready to go)✅
- maybe baste the last charity quilt?

A productive week, even though it did not feel like it.

I made a start on my 'formal' table runner.
Felt great to be quilting something again. I am using cotton batting which I have not used for a while. It is like stitching on almost nothing. I am stitching with Aurifil 50/2 with a 70/10 needle in a wine red colour to make life a bit more interesting as I usually stitch in lighter colours. The darker colour makes it very hard to see what my stitching looks like, so I am getting a bit excited for the time I can take the blue marker out. I am stitching in manual mode and yes, this table runner is a bit tedious. I literally stitched heirloom feathers for hours...very therapeutic though and thoroughly enjoyable to me. Have not done this for a while and it almost feels like therapy. There is something incredibly calming about just slowly stitching the same shape 100 plus times.
It is also interesting to stitch this to see how my drawing on the Ipad went in terms of size, shape and some of the angling of the plumes. As I went along I could see where I did squash my feathers  up a bit when I needed to adjust the wave in the outer feather. Also, it is a good idea to draw all the feathers on the same day...or make a mental note on how tall and wide you want your feathers to be. I noticed that my top motif had slightly different feathers...they were slightly slimmer and actually better drawn out which made sense as that motif came from my other wholecloth drawing. On the tablet they did look the same, or so I though, but stitching them out I did notice that slight difference. Something to watch out for in the future. Overall I am really happy with how this is turning out though.
Started outlining the motif and the feathers and then moved onto the grid. Still debating whether to fill the center or leave this plain. Time will tell.

Apart from this I did design another, more organic table runner and will see what the sewing shop thinks of that for a workshop. Also managed to cut out the fabric for another quilt for the Etsy shop. Did a few trials of half square rectangles as I had forgotten how to do them properly. Thank God for the internet! There are some very good tutorials out there. Nothing to show yet though as I have not put any blocks together. That will be next week's task.

So for next week this is on the list
- sew some blocks together for the new pattern, actually start with the 10 easy four patch ones!
- continue stitching out the formal table runner
- discuss the organic table runner with the shop
- baste the last charity quilt.

That's it, realistically I will not get more done as I also got a few other things on this week still. Nevertheless, I am happy with my progress and feel I am getting back into the swing of things after a few weeks of just floundering.

Linking up to To Do Tuesday#17 over at Quilt Schmilt


Tuesday, 18 April 2023

To Do Tuesday #16 - Going Down the Rabbit Hole

This was my list from two weeks ago!

- start tracing my design onto the fabric
- baste another little charity quilt.

Definitely got side tracked again πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

I continued with my new fantastic rulers from Michael Quilts and did another little charity quilt with Baptist fans, this time concentrating a bit more on accuracy. 

and a bit closer

This time I ensured that my starting edge was a bit straighter and I also took more care in actually stitching this out. Again, as I am on a sitdown machine there were some discrepancies when moving up but with the markings on the ruler I was able to fudge that back in position. By the time I had to turn my quilt around and quilt from top down, I was in almost perfect alignment. Too good! I reckon lots of those charity quilts will now get a Baptist fan over them. Love doing it, it's very relaxing and at those sizes goes relatively quick (the biggest ruler is half of an 11in circle).

After that I went down the rabbit hole of designing as only I can do. I mentioned before that I got a new drawing program for the Ipad...Affinity Designer 2. I went ahead and designed a table runner with mainly feathers. I still had not watched all the tutorials of the program and muddled my way through. It's quite an involved program and I was becoming more and more aware that I was missing some basics and really had not explored all that you can do with this program. I persevered on my table runner and came up with his very formalised piece (which printed out beautifully)
Probably not everybody's cup of tea but I like the formality of the feathers. The oval alone took me almost a whole day to draw out precisely. Never realised how stylized feathers need to be in an oval. The designs on the side are taken from my other wholecloth design. Altered them slightly and just whacked them in there. The border was horrendous...I drew maybe a 1/3 piece of the border and then constructed it copying and pasting. That seemed to work until I had to flip and rotate it for the other side. My curves were not lining up! So I spent another few days fixing that, shifting and correcting and generally cursing a lot. But it got done...not 100% but good enough.  Inititally I was going to put a background filler in there but now I am thinking that I will finish this off with just a simple grid to keep with the formality of the design. While this was originally planned for another workshop I now think that this might be simply too boring to do. Not a lot of learning in there unless you just want to increase your muscle memory on how to do formal feathers. Not sure how useful this is. I will stitch this out and see what I think. Also got another idea for a more 'organic' looking table runner that has more elements to practice in it. 
Since then I have watched all the tutorials on the program! Wow, there is a lot you can do with this program and I figured out a few new things that would have been a bit helpful in drawing this. Never mind, I now know and hopefully will remember some of the things I read about next time. While mucking around for an entire week, I produced many elements and shapes that you can store in a library ready to be used. Very handy!

Really happy with this program and currently debating whether to invest in the desktop version which of course is much dearer than the Ipad version but could be very useful in writing my patterns. I am still using an older drawing program (Serif Draw) on the desktop to create diagrams for the patterns in my Etsy shop  and have struggled at times when having to draw more involved shapes (like a piece of fabric strip where you flip the strip over a bit to show how something aligns for example). Will ponder on this.

I was so distracted for the last two weeks that I had to make a list of what I need to work on. So, for this week I am thinking that I will work on the following
- cut out the fabric for a new pattern for my Etsy shop (sewing machine has been for a service and is working well again)
- work on another table runner pattern, i.e. draw out the main elements and think about proportions
- transfer my 'formal' table runner to fabric and make a start in stitching this out (fabric is already washed and ready to go)
- maybe baste the last charity quilt?

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #16 over at Quilt Schmilt.


Friday, 31 March 2023

My New Rulers Have Arrived!

I have been waiting patiently for my new rulers from Michael Quilts. I ordered them about mid-March and they arrived a few days ago which was incredibly fast considering the distance. Had one of the charity quilts ready to go...a cute little Nine Patch quilt in brown tones.
The rulers were packaged well and came with a page of instructions on how to use them. I have got the original Fab5 Fan set consisting of 3,5,7,9 and 11in half circle (Michael Quilts also sells an expansion set with the even numbers now).
I have done several quilts with a Baptist Fan design in the past. My issue was with the awkwardness of using full circles. In the past I have used Amanda Murphy's circles up to the 7in circle and then switched to the Handiquilter circle rings for the 9 and 11in. As you can imagine this was rather awkward to hold and inaccuracies were unavoidable. Nevertheless the Baptist Fan design is a forgiving design and the quilts that I did do looked ok. However when I first saw the Baptist Fan rulers from Michael Quilts I saw that he had additional lines on the rulers for alignment as well as half circles and thought that this might be easier to manage on a sitdown machine.

So, I went to work on the little charity quilt.
This is the largest ruler which just about fills in my hand. As you can see I put some stable tape behind it to prevent the ruler from sliding, however noticed in the second row that that was not enough. I took some of that off and put the more grippy Handiquilter sticky grips on there as well as using a large strip of that white gripper material you use for lining draws to stabilise the ruler. Quilting a Baptist Fan design on a sitdown machine is harder than doing it on a frame, I believe. On a sitdown everything are holding a large ruler that begins to slide, your quilt is shifting or dragging and your movement in itself might shift the ruler. Add the compaction that is occurring, it can be really quite tricky and you do need to adjust your expectations a bit in terms of how perfect you are going to quilt this out. I noticed in the second row that I was sliding and adjusted the grippy material, however once you are out by a bit you are out of alignment and will have to make a decision on whether to continue or not. As I have done this a few times, I was used to this and continued...the rows looked even across and my fans were looking good in terms of consistency.
Of the five rulers most of the times they were in (almost) alignment, in fact the 5in ruler was always in alignment but across the quilt the upper rulers were sometimes out by as much as a 1/4in. When I had done half of the quilt I also noticed that my fans had shrunk ever so slightly in width...again, a consequence of doing this on a sitdown machine by probably pushing too much against the ruler and thereby inadvertently also slightly shifting the quilt over. Half way through then I had to turn the quilt over to avoid having all this material in my lap which then meant I was doing the fans top down. I found this actually a bit easier and was happy with my alignment, in fact by that stage it seemed to have improved as I did do a bit of fudging here and there.
The completed quilt
The back
I love the Baptist Fan design...looks really nice and my fans appear very consistent. Actually comparing it to a previous quilt I can definitely see the difference that the rulers have made. The spacing of the fans looks so much better.

In critically examining the quilt though I saw that my fans seemed to have sunk on one side. Now that made absolutely no sense as they do look perfectly straight on the back. After a while though I realised that the quilt had a slight bow on the bottom and aligning my first row to this I carried that through all the way to the top...something to watch out for next time! But the design is very forgiving as I said before and that little mishap is hardly noticeable as your eye is drawn to the consistency of the fans.

Really impressed with these rulers. They are as great as I thought they would be. Apart from three points of alignment that you use for doing your fans, there are also little tick marks of 1in for advancing to the next fan and then there is this little mark for when you have to start a new Baptist fan.
See that little mark on the ruler...that is how far you travel up again to start your next fan with the small 3in ruler. I really appreciated this being there as I stitched this quilt with a light brown thread, so backtracking in a haphazard way was highly noticeable on the white sashing and this little mark ensured that you don't go too far and awkwardly backtrack back where you need to start. Made for a really clean start of the little fan.
Overall, really happy with the rulers and will do the next charity quilt with them as well.

In terms of linking up to To Do Tuesday which I am a bit late for as I did get carried away with the new rulers: I did put my design together for my wholecloth, washed the fabric and am ready to start the tracing...waiting for some thread now to see what colour I am going to stitch this out.

For the remaining few days I will
- start tracing my design onto the fabric
- baste another little charity quilt.

Lots of other things to do , but as my machine has finally gone for a spa treatment, that's it...I am off the hook in terms of piecing anything, so that will have to wait. 

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #13 over at Quilt Schmilt and the Favorite Finish Monthly Link Up at Meadow Mist Designs.


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