Wednesday 30 March 2016

Big Thank You To Aurifil and Fabri-Quilt

Had to wait for the fabric to arrive before posting about this. I was the winner of the Dryad Blog Hop Giveaway in February!

Won the Dryad Thread box and some fabric designed by Shannon Brinkley to go with it.
Woke up to the email on Valentine's Day and could not believe it. Entered this at a bit of a whim  thinking ...'well, you have to be in it, to win it'.  This was such a lovely surprise. The fabric from Fabri-Quilt arrived is absolutely gorgeous!

I did say in my comment that I would use it to make an owl quilt with the new Accuquilt die that I got for Xmas, however seeing that they are 2.5in strips that probably won't work. Need to think of something else a bit special...this will keep me awake at night!

A humongous Thank You to both Aurifil and Fabri-quilt for their generosity. Very much appreciated and definitely made my day. Why not head to to see more of this beautiful fabric or maybe join their Ocean Sunrise Blog Hop. You never know!

Monday 28 March 2016

Quiltshopgal's Bee Creative Fundraiser - Mandala Doodle Along

This month has been Quiltshopgal's Bee Creative #StitchAlong, #FMQAlong, #DoodleAlong and Charity Fundraiser to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. You can stitch along, doodle along, paint along, freemotionquilt along...the possibilities are endless. The only requirement is that it has to have a Mandala theme to it.

To help raise funds for  Cystic Fibrosis the option was there to purchase a set of Mandala templates from Maureen Russell of Beautiful Embroidery Designs. This also gave you the opportunity to be entered in the raffle.

I am working on a Mandala design anyway, so this was a great opportunity as well as benefiting a good cause. Our local Quilt Guild has thrown out a challenge to create a Mandala quilt of about 50 -60cm with any quilting technique allowed.
So, I did purchase Justin's Magical Mandalas from Beautiful Embroidery Designs, however did not use them as yet, as I had started doing my own Mandala design using Cindy Needham's Ultimate Stencil.

The stencil is 12.5in and I think Cindy is now selling it with a transparency to go with it so you can draw your designs on it and just wipe it off. I have a smaller paper master template that I could draw on but given that my Mandala had to be bigger that did not work for me that well. In the end I had to draw it out at the size that I wanted it, about 20in. For this I had to extend the stencil. I dreaded this a bit, but as it turned out this was very easy to do and works well. I use paper from Ikea for is nice and thick and comes in a big roll. I drew the stencil onto the paper and then extended the lines out to the desired width. As I did not want to get my brand new stencil dirty I used the blue marker to draw it which was easy to do as the marker pen fits right into the slots...this worked also well for me as the blue lines were not so distracting as I started to draw. When using the paper template I found that I sometimes just get overwhelmed with all the lines. I think everybody has to find their own way of what works best for them with these stencils and the more you use them the easier it gets. They are unbelievably useful and I was actually quite amazed at how easy it was to draw my design.

This is my Mandala design...rough doodle of what it may look like. Started off very disciplined in the beginning, but lost focus in the end and just doodled...
As you can see not totally worked out as yet...I have to find a template for the outer shape to make it consistent and pull it out a bit (at a consistent size!) but the overall theme is there. Maybe a few more lines that set individual sections off and I will also try to make the central flower slightly smaller, I think. 
Actually not that simple to make a design for freemotionquilting...while you are drawing it you also have to consider what areas do you want to recede and what areas do you want to stand out and what that might look like in relation to other elements. I was also thinking that I could use different colours to stitch, but we'll you can see I have started to fill in some areas with some stippling and very rudimentary grids...I think that will work really well. A little bit more work required but definitely stuck on the design.

Linking up to Quiltshopgal's Bee Creative Linky Party to show of my WIP. I hope that other bloggers will consider donating a small amount of money to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by purchasing the downloadable Mandala collection. Nice resource to have and endless opportunity to fill them in with FMQ designs as demonstrated by Wendy Sheppard this week.


Tuesday 22 March 2016

Some things take time

I have been noticeably absent from blogland in recent times. No particular reason, other than that I have been busy in general and have not had the peace and quiet to do anything too complicated.

Haha...and what I have been playing with has taken me three attempts to get down on fabric...and I am talking about tracing a simple stencil!! How hard can this be. I am finally getting around to doing this little project from Cindy Needham's class 'Wholecloth Quilts'. Highly recommended...very informative class and Cindy is a brilliant teacher. So I am following the steps in constructing a wholecloth...enlarged the stencil and got ready to trace it.

As the stencil left some options to either trace or not I thought I would make decisions about this as I went...too funny! First time around, I ended up tracing the whole thing (which measures about 19in), only to decide that I did not like the way it looked. As I was using a blue water soluble marker, no problem, I just rinsed it again.

Next time around, I decided that I wanted a particular section in the stencil, then changed my mind, then messed it up again and then drew different ideas all over the cloth. I should have taken a photo of that...a most liberating exercise. Another wash of the fabric. This time I had a bit of a think and decided that I liked the stencil as it was in the first place and went with that, only changing the middle section a bit.
A little bit messy as I am also using it for grid practice and one of the grids was too big so I ever so carefully wet it and redid the grid which left a fair bit of blue marker pen all over the place. But this is is marked and ready to go. I am going to go slowly on this and follow Cindy's advice from the class about the basting and quilting the main sections first. Looking forward to this, even though it is only a bit of a practice piece...actually any excuse will do to just sit down and do a bit of FMQ.

Also re-discovered my Sensormatic FMQ mode on the machine. Brilliant to quickly try out a design as the foot just clips on, so you don't have to muck around with set up too much. Need to use this more often...                                                  
Apart from this I am spending some time coming up with my own Mandala design for a smaller Wholecloth...but this is so far in its infancy stages...

So lots of ideas, lots of mucking around and very little to show for it.


Wednesday 9 March 2016

WIP: A Thousand Pyramids

Struggling to get going on anything much today...have my must do/should do list and struggled to focus in on anything. So I did some more chain-piecing of my WIP: A Thousand Pyramids.

As this project has absolutely no planning to it, I went on EQ7 to look at some approximate sizes. I am a bit undecided on how big I should make this quilt. For the time being I am aiming for a large single bed size. Spent several hours then, mucking around with one of my other quilts on EQ7, trying to decide what design to quilt over it!

This is how far I got today
Does not look like much but the amount of units I already have is getting slightly overwhelming. I am sewing them together in units of 4, alternating dark and light tones. As you can see there is a dark triangle in the middle that obviously has a darker value than I thought. I worked out today that I will need 18 units across and approximately 10.5 rows down...some 180 units of 4 triangles and then some more triangles to fill in the sides.

I have about 70 units so far...long way to go! As you can see I am just winging it, alternating making lighter and darker units without any real plan to it...I think I might start to sew the units together into rows to make this more manageable as I go along.

Apart from that I was going to mark my Wholecloth today, but now have run out of time...I continue to get side tracked with different projects and ideas. For example, our guild has put out a challenge to produce Mandalas by July so I have been looking into this...frustrating plus...for the life of me, I cannot draw them properly and going on the Internet is a nightmare as there are millions of ideas. Decided today that I will continue on my Wholecloth as originally planned and not participate in anything else I see. As for the Mandala...will re-visit this and start with a wreath and build some borders around it. As I am going to FMQ the Mandala I will have to keep it simple and pay attention to the open areas, I think...need to play around a little bit more with that.

Very frustrating day...probably does not help that it is humid and sticky in this neck of the woods.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social over at Lorna's blog


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