Friday, 23 July 2021

Update and New Project

Have not posted for a while because all sorts of things are going a bit haywire at the moment. My midarm has developed a fault and a time had been set for possible repairs...then we went into lockdown due to the Covid Delta strain. On top of that I developed a migraine which always takes me a few days to get over. Our lockdown is hopefully only for a week, but of course I had all sorts of appointments which all had to be cancelled and re-scheduled which left me somewhat 'out of sorts'. Structure, plans...all gone out of the window, not something I cope with very well at all.

So, all in all, a very unproductive week. In the end I started on a new pattern for my Etsy shop which should be quite fun to put together.

My test blocks
Even with that I made a mistake with my migraine brain. Cut out all my fabric needed for the pattern and then did several test blocks to work out how to best press the seams and check on accuracy, meaning I then had not enough to actually do all the blocks, then mis-cut some of the red fabric...the list goes on. You have to laugh sometimes. Today I have a clearer head and we are back on track. Found some more red fabric in my 'bitses box' which saved the pattern and in thinking this through realised that I can make do with what I have. Was able to knock off the Woven Ribbon blocks and am starting on the other block. Should come out nice and colourful. Even made some notes as I went along so the write up of the pattern should not take that long.

Hopefully things will start to settle down and our lockdown will finish next week so that I can get back on track.


Thursday, 8 July 2021

Bits and Pieces

Finally finished the Charity quilt. Just now have the binding to go on that one and another one. Had some machine issues so this was a bit of 'stop and go'.
Did a simple wavy feather border which looks quite nice. 

When I went to the dealer the other day, they had Amanda Murphy rulers in the shop. Could not believe my luck as I have been looking at them for some time, but could find nowhere in Australia where I could buy them. I was after her circle ruler set. I have a Handiquilter circle ruler that I got last year via the Internet however that one is rather large measuring about 10 1/2in x 4in. It has a number of circles in there which I thought was great, however it is awkward to hold on a sitdown machine when doing just one size circle in a row. Ever since then I have been on the lookout for something different. When I saw a video of Amanda Murphy demonstrating her circles, I thought that that would be easier as the circles come in individual sizes.

So took them for a spin the last two days

These rulers have a non-slip backing and are very easy to hold. Apart from a number of alignment lines they also have the finished circle drawn on in four directions. When doing a row of circles I found this particularly useful as it helps to align them without much effort as you can see your stitched circle overlapped by the drawn one on one side and another drawn circle on the other side that you can line up with the space to be filled. I stitched a row of different sized circles a number of times on these samples, each in their measurements (which you probably would not do as it needs to fit exactly) and found it very accurate.
The only drawback of these circles is that you need to be able to lift your presser foot to get in there and if you are planning to use two different sizes in a row you would need to tie off to get out of them. I was aware of that and it is not an issue for me, as I wanted them mainly to do rows of circles in sashings and the outside of course is hassle free to use like any other ruler. Did some arcs, overlapping designs, orange peel designs and some scallops. Easy peasy...


Sunday, 4 July 2021

A Year of Stars with Natalia Bonner - Spider Star

And another month has gone by...

This is the Spider Star all dressed up

Head over to Piece N Quilt if you want to find out more about this monthly quiltalong.


Friday, 2 July 2021

Lucky I Like Quilting

I developed a sort of love/hate relationship with the quilt I am currently quilting. This is one of the charity quilts I am doing for the Orange Tree Quilters group. Initially I thought...great, will put some feathers in the open worries!

Well, wrong...The little blocks are merely 3in and arranged in an somewhat unusual way. While I could have done one feather display in the white space around the center elements, that idea fell to bits when I looked at the surrounding areas. Repeating a similar feather would have been difficult in the next space and in any case they would have ended up a bit small in places. Then looked at different feather designs, different ways to arrange them, but nothing really worked. I think after that I looked at alternating feather surrounds, i.e. some feather work in the white spaces alternated with some sort of filler. Drew that out but still did not like it. 

I think after all that I just kept looking at this quilt. Quite like it, the fabric is really cute and I like that dusty pink colour. This would have taken ages to construct and I did want to honour the maker by chosing something that would suit and highlight the design. The day before yesterday I thought I might echo around the dusty pink shapes...great idea on paper, however in reality none of the curves are exact, so following that with a circle would have meant a lot of fudging, aligning and would then highlight some of those little imperfections.

Yesterday then I thought that this is ridiculous...there has to be a solution! I needed something that I could put into those spaces which was flexible enough to be extended or shrunk as needed and fitted in the repeating spaces while at the same creating some unity. In addition it needed to be a quasi standalone design that could end in a pleasing manner in all three spaces.

This is what I have come up with

Photo is a bit's cloudy and rainy over here.

Well, decided on a scroll. Did the center motif first. This is a stencil from Cindy Needham's Border stencil package. Particularly like that one and was fixated on using it. So I repeated that in the semi border around the main design. The scroll is a very old stencil that I forgot that I had. Fitted perfectly into the white space surrounding the center and was flexible enough to be massaged into the second and third white space. Having it in the middle also meant that differences in the available space did not become that noticeable and given its odd spaces it was easy to align because nothing really matched (hard to explain but there were some surprising discrepancies). The only thing that could have been done better is that I did not stitch every seam down...I went around the pink bits to secure the quilt rather than do every single seam (because initially I thought that all the white bits would be stitched down with feathers).

Almost done...will do a simple feather border and then it is done.

This certainly gave my brain a workout and a half!


Wednesday, 30 June 2021

New Listing in Etsy Shop

Just listed another handmade quilt in my Etsy shop. The pattern for this rather colourful and bold quilt is already up in the shop, however I now decided to let the quilt go. I rather like this is so bold and cheerful and I think it would make an ideal playroom floor quilt or a 'drag along' comforter blanket for a baby or toddler. 

The quilt measures 36 1/2in x 45 1/2in. 
It is made off 100% tone-on-tone cotton prints, constructed with coordinating cotton thread and quilted in a variegated Superior Fantastico Polyester thread. The batting is a 80/20 Cotton/Polyester blend. The quilt is quilted with an edge-to-edge floral design for added durability.

It is hard to price these quilts. I always go by what the materials have cost me to make the quilt. I obviously cannot put a value on the hours I worked on it as that would drive the price up exponentially, so I try to keep it as affordable as I can without cutting myself completely short. In looking at my quilts, I do look at level of difficulty in putting it together, whether it is just straight piecing or some applique and then I also look at the degree of quilting as some more dense quilting obviously takes more time than straight in the ditch quilting. Postage of course is an absolute killer. I would love to offer free postage to people but that is just not feasible for overseas. I do offer it for Australia in the hope that I can just get rid of some of these quilts.

Anyway, I digress as per usual...if you are in need of a quilt I have got a few to look at in my Etsy shop.


Monday, 28 June 2021

Quilting Away

On my third charity quilt for the Orange Tree Quilters group. Certainly getting a lot of practice for stitching in the ditch!

Now there is this one

This is giving me a bit of a headache in terms of how to quilt this. The brief is not to over-quilt...easier said than done. The quilt top itself is not entirely straight and bows in the middle so an allover design would have pushed all that to the sides and down which would then give me problems in stitching down those borders.

In the absence of any great ideas started to ditch this along the dark pink Drunkard Path shapes. This is working out nice and does exactly what I was hoping for. It lifts the dark pink fabric and puffs them up a bit which instantly makes this look much nicer than just the flat quilt top (and bonus, it eats up some of the bulky bits). Stitching in the ditch around the curved bits is actually a lot of fun. I am using my Handiquilter Versa tool for that aligning the longer curve around the Drunkard Path curves. While not an exact match it is relatively easy to massage this into place and go in a tidy manner around the curve.

What to do with this? I am thinking of putting a simple feather flower in the middle and then started looking at all the other white space. Feathers would go well in the white spaces but upon closer inspection I realised that this is put together in a very odd way. While I could frame the center with a feather running all around, the next white space would need a feather starting in the middle running out to both sides. Looking further ahead then, the next row of white would be incredibly awkward as it is just a portion of the previous row...putting feathers in there would just look weird. In fact, looking closely at this, I then realised that the maker put two borders of semi-circles around the center and that this was the reason I got so confused about what was going on with this design. 

Currently I am thinking of filling the white spaces with alternating feathers and some sort of loose filler, then repeat half the feather flower of the center in each of the white semi circles  next to the thin border.
Then do a simple wavy feather in the reddish border. Not sure whether this would be too much. Alternatively one could just leave it, but that then leaves a lot of blocks not stitched down.

Will need to do some more drawings to figure out what to do. Let me know if anyone out there has any great ideas. There probably is something I have not thought about yet.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Cassowary is Finished

Wow...I worked for most of last week on this to get him done and today I finished him.
I am just a little bit proud of this...nothing about this project came easy to me. Each section had its own challenging little things and some of them I did get right and some of them I did not.

In general, I think I thread painted a bit heavily in parts and some of the shading is a bit wonky, but I am more than happy with it. Actually cannot believe I managed to do this.

And here he is...the finished Cassowary done in an online workshop with Sophie Standing...must say I now know this bird intimately...looked at every little hair, every shading, the way the funny red tubular things run...

Can't tell you how impressed I am with my handiwork. Learned a lot about thread painting and how important tiny detail is (and how easy it is to get things wrong). 

Close up

Now it's back to quilting for me!


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