Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Rookie Mistake!

I was working away on my little Baptist Fan quilt, when I decided to give it a bit of a spray with water to get rid of the blue water erasable lines that I had in there.

Disaster! Forgot that I did not wash this panel beforehand. Cannot believe it, as I am a quilter who definitely always pre-washes her fabric. Well, not this time obviously...when I went to pick it up from the washing line, the colours had run to the back

These are photos of some of the minor runs...had all sorts of colours come through to the back, particularly red and blue blotches. And this was just from spraying it with some water!

Had to quickly finish this quilt. I do know from experience (!) that you have to deal with colour runs pretty swiftly to have any chance of getting rid of them. Finished this little quilt with a simple black binding.
The front also showed some signs of colour run, particularly around the reds.

So the other day I went to the shop and bought some colour run remover. Was not looking forward to this as the fabric obviously bled a lot just spraying it and I thought that I might spoil the quilt altogether. However, had to be done...happy to say that this worked very well. Even the remover had improved...smelled actually quite nice and did not seem as harsh as when I had to resort to using it some years ago.

Now for the is winter here, so drying is a bit of an issue, particularly this week as it was supposed to be raining for most of the week. This is were our little washing stand comes handy...chasing the sun!
Disaster averted!


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Baptist Fan Design

So I finished my 1000 Pyramid Quilt. In thinking about how to quilt this and working on my challenge piece for the local Handiquilter group using the circle rulers, I started to wonder whether I could try a Baptist fan for an overall design.

I bought the Handiquilter Circle Ruler set (Gold Set) for Christmas as a bit of a present to myself. Since then I have played a little bit with it and have done a few select circles, however have not had a chance to give it a really good workout.

There are 5 individual circle rings which gives you a variety of sizes to complete circles with both on the outside of the ring as well as the inside of the ring. The circles start at 2in and go right up to 11in. As I had only used a few of them to start with (and mainly the easier inside circles)  the first task was to put more Handigrips on them because just 2 on each ring was just not enough, particularly for the bigger circles.

I had a try out on a piece of calico
Baptist fan 5 1/2in
Yep, that was it, loved it and was hooked, however not convinced that I could actually do this over a quilt because obviously I had some shifting and mis-alignments. I did not really have a quilt top ready apart from the huge Pyramid quilt that I could use for practice and I definitely did not feel like trialling it on yet another practice sandwich. I remembered that I had a very old panel from a good 10 years ago - bought this to cut out the blocks and do something really amazing with, however this never happened! Dug up the panel, quickly pinned and basted it and used this for further practice.
This was really good fun to do. Initially I had difficulties holding the ruler, i.e. not sure exactly how to align it properly and where to touch it to hold it in place. I had seen a YouTube video by Lisa Calle where she was using full circles to do the Baptist fan design...this seemed somewhat easier. However as these were circles, I did think that it was just a matter of paying attention to the lines on the ruler and making a note of the different points of alignment (and of course, then not moving the ruler which at times proved difficult). Did the first row of fans without any hassle, however then in the second row got very disoriented with the different colours and blocks I was going over. Realised that I needed to mark in lines indicating the width and height of the fans, in fact needed a 90 degree angle at each starting point! This was really quite marking became fairly sloppy and not entirely correct and some of the fans were not the same width or height, however looking at it after each row, you did not notice this at all. The overall design is incredibly forgiving and unless you are obsessed with consistency and examine it with a ruler it really did not feature at all. All the eyes see is the overall pattern and if the distance between the lines is approximately right it continues to look great.
How good does this look! I am so impressed with this. Always have loved this design, particularly for colourful, scrappy type quilts where you just want the texture over the quilt.
The panel is about  a lap size quilt and did give me a fairly good idea how a small quilt would need to be handled, i.e. I had to be able to quilt away from myself as well as towards me as well as quilting from side to side. As you are doing many of them, I fairly quickly got the hang of it and must say, I did enjoy the slow, deliberate action of changing size by size...not quick, but almost therapeutic and on a small quilt entirely achievable.

So this would definitely work well for a small baby quilt. Am debating a bit with myself at the moment whether I could pull this off over a large quilt...would love to see this on the 1000 Pyramid quilt, but a bit unsure at the moment.

Apart from this, I am working on a challenge quilt using different rulers for the local Handiquilter group and also currently working on the Pink Project initiated by Helen Godden over FB, but more on that another time.


Wednesday, 23 May 2018


Labels are important however like many other quilters I only really make a label when I put one of my quilts into the local Quilt Show.

Part of the reason is that they can be a bit work the past few years I have been printing my labels which has meant that I only do labels every now and then as I need to wait in order to print out several labels at once as I am using an A4 sheet of printable fabric sheets. One of my pet hates has been that the label fabric is quite hard and sewing it in place is anything but enjoyable. Then I came across a tutorial the other day where they attach a border around the printed label (why didn't I think of this?). That made a lot of sense to me so I did do that for my last label and discovered some use for the pressed binding fabric.
Given that I usually have difficulties pressing the seam allowance over on my label, the binding leftovers seemed perfect...already pressed, so I only had to cut them to size (I left about 1/2in to fold over and also shortened the width of my border to about 1/2in) and attach.
And here is my label ready to be sewn on. With the pressed edges, this was very easy and came out dead straight with very tidy edges.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

1000 Pyramids Quilt Top Finished

I finally knuckled down to finish the 1000 Pyramids quilt top. Not sure what I was thinking when I started this...definitely were not thinking of all those points you had to match!

I did purchase an Accuquilt Equilateral Triangle Die last at the last quilt show or maybe even the one before that.
Don't know about you but I get a bit frustrated if I do not use what I purchase...over the years I have accumulated a lot of stuff, so I bought this with the 1000 Pyramids in mind. I thought ...great, I can get rid of all my scraps and I do love scrap quilts and their riot of colour.

So I started and pretty quickly realised that I had a lot (!) of points to match. I am not the greatest piecer and even with those little notches in the die I struggled somewhat as you are dealing with bias edges. So, I began to drag my feet and this project definitely was in danger of becoming yet another UFO. Also made it really big to cover the King Single bed in the spare room which meant that when I picked it up again the other day I had a good eight double rows to do. What happens to me with UFOs is that I forget how I exactly thought this through in terms of ironing the rows and as I had several starts and stops, I had the rows going in all sorts of directions! What a hassle!

I decided not to sweat the small imperfections at the points or the mismatched seams and started again to just get this done. It went pretty quickly, mind you, I was dreading to sew the rows together. As I expected the matching of the points got very tricky over the entire width of the rows as I had ironed seams sometimes left and sometimes idea what I was thinking. Anyway, I struggled along and about half way through I started using my glue stick for paper piecing to line up the points. What a great little trick!...I aligned my points, put a tiny dot of glue on the point in the 1/4in seam allowance and then pinned the rest. This worked fantastically...not perfect but a lot neater than some of my other rows. Given that I have handled the pieces for well over a year, some of the bias was definitely mis-shapen and getting the point stuck down with glue really helped with the alignment.

It is absolutely huge, coming in at about 66.5inx87in. Will nicely cover the bed but I am a bit worried re the quilting. Just sewing this together, I could feel the weight of all the material, so even without batting this is already heavy. Not sure how I am going to do this...pinning this will make this very heavy, I think. Also was looking at this today and thought that I have absolutely no idea on how to quilt this other than that it would have to be some sort of overall design. Was thinking of maybe doing Baptist fans with the rulers, however even with the Sweet 16 I would have over 2 m of pinned quilt in front of me starting at the bottom. Not sure this would work. Have my HQ group on the weekend and will have a bit of a talk about how people go about quilting this size. If all fails I can always do just wavy lines down the length.

Anyway, very pleased I finished this top!

Linking up to SEW FRESH Quilts for the Let's Bee Social Weekly Link Up


Thursday, 3 May 2018

I’m Back

So much so for all good intentions of posting more regularly...have let it slide again. Have a number of got a bit busy as usual and then we went on a holiday to New Zealand (which was great). Found a little fabric store in Auckland

Truth be known, I have struggled with motivation over the past month or so...

I was working away on my Wholecloth and actually got quite stressed with it as the deadline for our show here is the 1. June. Things just were not working properly and I reckon I made several ‘planning’ mistakes. On top of that I was getting tired with the amount of repetitive quilting. This is how far I got

I then had a bit of a moment where I thought ‘this is ridiculous...this is my hobby and should not become a stressor (got enough of that at work!). So I stopped...accepting that I will not enter a quilt in the show this year and the world will not come to an end! Went on my holiday, had a fantastic time and when I came back started on the Handiquilter challenge that my local group is currently working on. As I was running behind by a month I had to knuckle down, piece a quilt together and get back to ruler work. Almost caught up with the task for the second month now and must say that I am enjoying the ruler work immensely.

Also had another (refreshed) look at my Wholecloth...will continue with it, even though I now think that I should have thought that framework through a bit better, however it will still look great when it eventually gets finished. All good learning...will finish it in between other things as the repetition of that piece is seriously boring and the thing I struggle with most. Definitely finding out where my passion sits in terms of Wholecloth quilting.


Sunday, 25 March 2018

Wholecloth Quilting - Designing Your Own Motif

This is just an example of how you can quickly design a motif using the Ipad. I designed this motif using the Graphic App (formerly Idraw) which is an App you can purchase on the App Store for A$14.99.

This is a picture I found in a Dover publication '200 Victorian Fretwork Designs' by A. Sanguineti (I love fretwork!)
I took a photo of that little image and imported it into the Graphic App...does not look like much, but wait...

I then traced the photo with the Apple can set it so that it automatically smoothes out the lines as you go, in addition to going back into it to smooth out some of the individual nodes. Not too difficult at all as most of the smoothing is already done by the 'smoothing function'. Did this a bit quickly as this was just to show you how this works, so there are a few wobblies here and there.

After some general tidy up, I had the image of the motif drawn as a continuous line design leaving it open at one end as I was going to connect it to another copy of it (copying the image and flipping it over horizontally). I think I may have grouped them together as one unit at this point (should have taken some notes!)

I have played around with something a bit similar in the past and knew that it needed to be less horizontal, so I turned the unit by 45 degrees, copied again and aligned it. This looked a bit more promising. Love the ability to just play around with the arrangements at this point.

I then grouped this into one unit, copying once again and flipping it over vertically to get the second half of my unit.
Actually quite like this arrangement. Put another layer on to put it into a square to get the visual on how this would look in a quilting block. Instantly thought that I could extend this motif further by putting something into the corners as well, but I will stop here. This whole process took me about half an hour in front of the TV.  Now I could spend more time on this to make it absolutely perfect for tracing which is entirely do-able on the Ipad, but I think if I was going to use that I probably would import this into the computer drawing program to iron out some of the wobblies (mind you, have not explored all the drawing functions of this App as yet, i.e would like the stroke of the pen tool to be pointed...possibly has this in-build somewhere).

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little play session on the Ipad...I certainly did. There is a letter box around the corner from my house that has a really nice motif on there...I am planning to inconspicuously walk past and take a photo to draw that out...perfect quilting motif!


Friday, 23 March 2018

Wholecloth Quilting - Your Own Design

Designing your own wholecloth quilt is a lot of fun but also a lot of work. There are several good books that describe the process and/or give you some design ideas , like
- Make Your Own Quilting Designs & Patterns by Judy Woodworth (super excellent resource)
- Create Your Own Dream Feathers by Peggy Holt
- Custom Curves by Karen McTavish
- The Secrets of Elemental Quilting by Karen McTavish

First of all you do need a set of tools...rulers, templates, circles, French Curves, ovals and/or stencils. I should also mention Cindy Needham's Handbooks which I forgot to mention in the last post as the place to go to if you are looking for stencils and design ideas.

So, how do you start? You can use paper to draw 1/4 of your design, flip it over and mirror it. You could then make several copies of the motif and lay them out on the table to have a bit of a look what this will look like. This is a very laborious process that takes a long time! Alterntively you could use mirrors to audition your design (also see You Tube video with Sharon Schambler on how to do this)

I prefer using the computer to design, making use of drawing programs. I have tried Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and finally ended up buying the Serif Draw 8 program. These are drawing programs that are not geared towards quilting but together with the EQ8 program I usually can make something work for me. I am currently having my eye on the Pre-Design program which is a 'lesser' version of the Art and Stitch program that is especially designed for quilters and embroiderers.

Carla Barrett's blog is an excellent source if you want to further delve into the world of digital wholecloth designing. Carla uses a tablet and Photoshop Elements (I believe). She teaches her method and also offers eclasses. Her blog is full of great inspiration.

Also useful and becoming more and more manageable is the Ipad, particularly when coupled with the Apple Pencil. With the help of some good Apps like Graphic (formerly Idraw), Adobe Draw or Sketch, Adobe Capture and many other Apps to choose from, you can get a fairly decent design to look at.
BTW, also  useful to audition quilting designs! Having a bit of a look what my feather design will look like in the melon shape. This was done on the Graphic App
In terms of process then, you start to doodle...maybe you have seen something that sparked your imagination, you could trace a design or you could use stencils or part of stencils. This is where Cindy Needham's Ultimate Stencil Collection comes into play

When I first got the Ultimate Shape Stencil I was so inspired I designed a range of weird and wonderful designs (see post HERE). I did use one of those designs to develop last years' wholecloth.
With the help of the Ultimate Round Stencil I came up with this center motif
...drawn onto the trusted Ikea paper. I then took this design and imported it into the computer drawing program where I tidied it up and traced it off so that I had a neat and precise copy to play with. I took my design then into the Adobe App on the Ipad and tried different layouts and different arrangements to see what I liked. This is what I settled on

The actual wholecloth turned out a little bit different but this picture gave me a good starting point

Another example of a doodle I did, drawing a quarter of a design...very rudimentary and then duplicating it many times, arranging it into a square.  Here I did four quarters to make up one half of a design
Looks absolutely awful, however how good is this, I can wipe it and come up with a different arrangement. This was just to illustrate the process and to show you that it is possible to do some quite complex designs with the use of the computer or Ipad. If I liked this design, from here I would go and draw the design on paper properly, maybe then importing it into the computer to tidy it up before using it as a design to trace onto the quilt.

Next post I will show you how I traced a motif on the Ipad...need to split the post as this was just getting too lond

See ya'