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!


Sunday, 13 June 2021

Enjoyable Afternoon

I have been super busy, but finally got around to start quilting one of the charity quilts I collected from the Orange Tree Quilters Group.

The Orange Tree Quilter's group is a charity quilting group that provides quilts and other associated craft products for people in need in the community. They are an incredibly busy and productive group.  They donated some 300 quilts last year to varies good causes and do need help to have the many quilt tops that they produce, quilted. I have been wanting to help out for a while but other things have always got in the way. I did finally venture out and visited the group on one of the days they meet. I picked up three quilts that had been selected for me, already pinned and ready to go. This was a number of weeks ago...

I love scrap quilts. I did quilt a quilt top for this group before some years ago..a scrappy happy little quilt. This time I got a quilt with some crazy blocks...

Started the ditching
As I was ditching I was looking around at the fabric. This quilt seems to have some very old fabric in there...maybe the blocks got I started to look a bit closer and found this...aunty acid😆
How funny is that? Can't imagine what that fabric line looked like. Maybe a fabric that had laundry tips? Acid?
Wow...I laughed at that.

Stitching in the ditch is always good practice and I am certainly finding it easier the more I do it. Once I had finished that I decided to put a simple line design in the solid blocks with the Pro Echo 8 ruler (yep, still my favourite curve rulers).

I was actually amazed at how much better I had become at doing this design. Still remember when I could not hit the centre point consistently and the curves looked all a bit inconsistent within a block. No problem with that anymore, it seems...went very smoothly and looks really quite nice. I am now wondering whether I need to do some ditch stitching in the crazy blocks. Maybe just the main seams...the fabric looks puffy and somewhat fragile. I think I prefer this stitched down a bit so that laundering this will not become a problem in the future.

Apart from this I might just do a simple line design in the border just to stitch that down. The brief is not to over-do the quilting.

Really enjoying this...two more to go after this, but for next week I will have to continue working on my Cassowary. Want to get that done to free up the sewing machine.


Thursday, 3 June 2021

A Year of Stars with Natalia Bonner - Joyce's Star

This month star is Joyce's Star.

This star was a bit more involved so I did it in sections, slowly but surely. Very enjoyable if you don't do all the pebbles at once. Not sure about you but I quilt pebbles relatively slowly. I have to concentrate otherwise I do wonky shapes and loose my way, so I took my time with this one.

Again, really enjoyed this one, although I am not sure I would quilt something as densely as that. Makes the block fairly stiff...however looks great quilted out.


Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Progress on WIPs

Had my second day of the Elizabeth Hartman workshop. Had not done any more work on the blocks other than cutting my pieces out for the owl block.

Well, the owl did take the whole session from 9.30am to 2.30pm. It had so many tiny pieces and was a bit challenging for my brain in terms of getting them oriented the right way around. Worked very slowly as I did not want to mess it up. I only need one owl for the wall hanging and I definitely did not want to do another one.

Here it is...the owl
Came out rather nice although I think I should have chosen more muted colours for the middle section. My colours just seem to blend together. Good to know though, will remember this if I have to do another one. Now I only got the thistles, hedgehog and another fox to go.

This will have to wait a bit though, as I am also doing the Cassowary project run by Sophie Standing in an online workshop and it is taking forever to advance from one section to the next. I think since last time I managed to complete the beak and chin and am now halfway up the horn. Well, I wanted a challenge and I must say, this is very challenging for me as I never done thread painting before.

So my thread painting looks much more like thread stitching tends to become very build up very quickly. Probably because I am making lots of mistakes so I always have to go over things again until I feel that I got it right. You have no idea of what this is like for a seasoned freemotion quilter with a healthy perfectionist streak. Looking at my scribbling it is almost torturous! Mind you there were a few moments when I thought that I was getting the hang of it, particularly when doing the chin area...that jelled really well with me for some reason and I am really proud of how that turned out with the yellow markings in it. Today I did the left half of the horn and I must say that was extraordinarily tricky...still not completely happy with it but sometimes it is easier to just step back for a while and try again another day.

Enjoying the challenge though, it's good to push yourself to do something completely out of your comfort zone once in a while.

One thing is for sure, this is going to take a while... 

Linking up to Midweek Makers over at Quilt Fabrication.


Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Work in Progress

My blog posts are going to be all over the place for a little while as I am working on several things all at once. Bit of bad planning on my part...

I am doing two workshops at the moment...the Cassowary one with Sophie Standing online and then also an Elizabeth Hartman workshop in person at our local sewing shop.

The Elizabeth Hartman workshop started Monday and only has two sessions, one occurred  this week and another one next week. We are doing a wall hanging from the Fancy Forest pattern. Thought that this would be great practice to tackle the Fancy Forest quilt towards the end of the year.

I only managed to do two animals on Monday...

 The fox which I am familiar with and then the rabbit which was a tad more challenging. In fact I had to do some sections several times as I kept forgetting some pieces. Not used to working in a group setting.
I am making this wall hanging out of the leftover fabrics from the Shannon Brinkley fabric range. Should come out nice. I chose a dark chocolate brown as the background which I already had in my stash,  which is a bit lighter than the photo depicts.

Then today I continued on the Cassowary project. Almost had performance anxieties over this...never thread painted before and we started with the eye, of all things! So today, I just went for it, hoping for the best...

Not too bad...still have some fine tuning to do but managed to somehow make my way around the eye. Got completely lost under the eye and now have a rather dark patch sitting there...I am hoping that I can go over this with some blue meander to made that less obvious. Very interesting actually...I will have to watch this getting lost on your piece. I think it had to do with the tiny piece of fabric that I had sitting around the eye. As soon as that was covered with thread, I lost all orientation and the way it was drawn. Another completely new thing to me is stitching in a hoop. Very different from FMQ. In FMQ I have my fingers very close to where I am stitching and with the hoop I found that my hand forever wanted to go inside the hoop which then made moving around very awkward. Will have to work on that. Otherwise all good...I think I can make my way through this somehow. In general I think that my stitching might be a bit dense but as I have no experience to compare this with, I am just running with it.

Should all be very interesting!


Friday, 21 May 2021

Cassowary Online Workshop with Sophie Standing

I have been busy...the Cassowary Workshop started on the 14 May. Many firsts for me in this one. I dyed my background fabric! Never ventured out into dyeing anything, so together with my daughter we had some fun getting some colour onto this background. Would have liked to experiment a bit more now that my interest has been sparked, but that would have taken another few weeks of researching and trying it out. There is always next time. Got lots of ideas from this workshop.

Also, correction from my last post - Sophie Standing lives in Kenya rather than S.Africa which I mentioned in my last post about the workshop. Not entirely sure where I got that from. Anyway, the workshop is run over a private FB group and we had an introductory live session with Sophie which was just lovely. Lots to learn and lots of opportunity to ask questions and support each other. 

I made a start this week and managed to get the bird down on the background (look at my fun background).
Next comes the thread painting...
I have never done thread painting before. While I can freemotion quilt, I am beginning to wonder whether I actually can do this. Have a general idea on how that works but feel a tad intimidated by the whole thing. No idea whether this will come naturally to me and am hoping for the best.

Planning to do some practicing over the weekend to get a bit of a feel for it. Luckily Sophie has included many enlarged still photos in the FB group which I find really helpful to see how she filled in particular sections. I am going to be a complete copycat and do exactly what she does...this is too new to me to start experimenting with. Maybe on the next project. I am hoping that once I get the hang of this it will become self-explanatory on how to move over the bird.

Challenge plus, but should be so worth it once it is finished.
Should also mention that this workshop has been brought to us by Lesley Mays from Patchwork & Craft Mildura. If you get a chance check them out - lots of very interesting workshops available through the shop.


Wednesday, 12 May 2021

New Rulers

Updated my rulers. Easy enough you would think, but not so. I searched a very long time for decent rulers. There is just so much out there and rulers seem to be a very individual thing.

First I invested in a set of Bloc Loc rulers to cut my half square triangles to size with a bit more ease. I always seem to be doing a fair amount of half square triangles, so that seemed a good idea. They arrived a while back and trying them out, I am very impressed. Definitely gives you more accuracy. Then I started searching for just normal rulers...

Not so easy...lots of rulers have thicker lines which I definitely did not want as that means I forget where exactly I aligned my ruler from one minute to the next (I got one of those). Then there are rulers with numbers in thick coloured circles...also did not like that as it detracted from the measurements. Another requirement for me was 1/8in markings all the way through. For some reason I seem to be needing that.

Initially I was going to order overseas but then found an Australian shop at Pauline's Quilters World. Knew of the shop as the lady usually attends the quilt shows...she has a range of sashing tools for Quilt-As-You-Go projects but I had not seen her rulers. Well, she had a video of her rulers on her site as they had just added a range of rulers to their existing products. She highlighted a few things in her video which were just what I was looking for, so I ordered two of her rulers. Was a bit curious for them to arrive...

Here are my new tools...the Blocloc rulers and the two rulers from Pauline's Quilters World.

Bit hard to photograph because of the colour. Definitely does not glow in real life. I bought a 6in x 12in and a 9-1/2in square.

The rulers are a nice thickness (I had looked at our recent quilt show and the few different brands that I saw were definitely thinner) and like Pauline said her rulers have the lines engraved a bit deeper on the back so that they have added grip. In trying them out, I can confirm that they definitely grip better than my other rulers which is a huge plus.

Here is the 9-1/2in  one closer up. Realise not everyone will love all those markings but that is exactly what I was after!
I bought the 9-1/2in one so that I have a larger range to square up differently sized squares. If you look on the diagonal of the ruler you can see that it has extra lines to indicate 1/2in squares all the way down which I find particularly handy. The lines on the ruler are exquisitely thin which is just great. So, no excuse any more not to get my blocks to the right size.

Who would have thought that looking for new tools would become that involved. If you are in Australia and looking for new rulers I can highly recommend these...great rulers, postage was ok (they come from Queensland) and great service...they arrived in a couple of weeks.


Sunday, 9 May 2021

New Pattern in ETSY Shop

Finished the write up of the table runner pattern for my Etsy shop. This is a variation of the traditional Maple Leaf block which gives the appearance of leaves gently falling to the ground. Turned out really nice in the autumn colours of Shannon Brinkley's Dryad fabric range.

The table runner measures 18-1/2in x 48-1/2in and is quilted with an overall woodgrain design. I used cotton battting so the quilting made it come out nice and flat, perfect for the dining table or as a wall hanging.

A few more pictures
Close up of the quilting

The backing was a perfect match for this project

I think I might do a few more table runners. They are so fun to make, take very little time and are a great little project to practice particular freemotion-quilting designs on.

If you are interested in the pattern, head over to my Etsy shop to see a bit more detail. And here is a bit of fun...I obviously got a bit bored when doing the photos for my listing and started playing around with various videos apps ending up with a 15 sec process slideshow. 


Monday, 3 May 2021

Cassowary Online Workshop with Sofie Standing

Have received my kit for the Cassowary Online Workshop with Textile Artist Sofie Standing from South Africa (have a look at her FB profile HERE ...she does some amazing work).

Was going to do one of her courses last year. The course is offered through Lesley Mays Patchwork & Craft at Mildura, so this year I made the jump.

This is a thread painting project and I am highly intimidated by it. Cannot really imagine being able to produce this weird looking animal in fabric (look at those eyes!). Never done thread painting before and I literally have no idea what is involved. Sofie will be available for 3 months over a private FB group to teach us what to do. Very curious about how this will work and looking forward to it. The course is starting on 14th May with an introductory talk. So, still time to join if someone is interested.

Very excited!


Sunday, 2 May 2021

A Year of Stars with Natalia Bonner - Morning Star/New Project Coming Up

Just a quick post to show you the quilted Morning Star Block for the month of April.

Loved doing this block. Particularly like the centre motif. Still have the sashings to do, but waiting for an opportunity to change the thread as I am quilting the pebbles in that dusty pink colour. Given that this is a year long quiltalong, there's plenty of time to pebble along. Have a few other things on the go at the moment.

Apart from this, we had our first Quilt Show after the isolation of 2020. Went the other day to have a bit of a was brilliant, of course! Just nice to mix with like minded people and look at beautiful quilts and fabric. 

Found something very special

A fabric panel from Denise Burkitt called Fancy Free. How beautiful is that...sparked my creative juices straight away only hindered today by not having enough red fabric for a bit of a border to go around it  - otherwise I would have made a start on it. Just love the colours and the possibilities.

Planning to freemotion-quilt this with dense background fillers, outlining the flowers and filling in the spaces with different designs. A bit like the Big Dream Panel, except on a smaller scale and for the skinny petals obviously only following the outlines. Not sure yet, have not got a plan as yet, but itching to get going on that.


Sunday, 25 April 2021

Fearless Quilting

After all that practicing of the woodgrain design it was time for me to go on my actual project.
First though I basted my table runner. I did this in a loose grid following the seam lines where I could in order to keep it straight. I thought that this might help me to keep my design straight.
This time I used red thread for the basting so I could actually see the stitch line well enough not to get confused with my stitching. 

Thread choice! I was going to quilt this with a grey-ish thread, however during my trials did not really like this over my leaves that much. Also, the grey was much lighter than the background so every little imperfection was going to be a feature. Tried all sorts of different thread ideas...from different colours down to Invisafil and finally ended up with monofilament thread. This was not the original idea but I thought  that I did not really wanted the quilting to take over the project, rather the quilting was to go into the background and just give me the texture. The star of the quilt was supposed to be the falling leaves.

So, I made a start with Monofilament thread. I chose Superior Monopoly thread for this rather than the Aurifil Monofilament thread. Maybe I imagined it but I thought that the Monopoly thread just looked that little bit more matte than the Aurifil thread. So, I made a start...

You know that stupid feeling when you are starting something not that familiar...this fear of totally stuffing it up and for a moment then you are hesitant to start. Well, I still get that after all those years...however, I did make a start and it started to look quite decent. 
Mind you, came across another issue...skipped stitches! Not a lot, but one or two per row...enough to be annoying. Changed my needle to a Microtex Sharp 80/12 needle and also reduced my stitch length and that fixed the issue, except for one or two seams which seemed particularly bulky where the thread just did not grab. Noticed that when I went slower and more deliberate I could largely avoid this. For Bernina Q20 users:
Stitch length: 12 in BSR1
Tension: 1.25
Bobbin Thread: Aurifil 50/2

So, I kept going and going, the design going pretty much out of shape as soon as I started. You can see above that I did my first wavy line with a wave ruler to get off to a good start. I did echo this once and then started on the knots, then echoed again and slowly but surely got a bit out of shape. Must say that I did not mind my lines a bit flatlining here and there...with a bit of concentration and looking (and thinking) ahead this fixed itself up after a few rows.

Almost can see that I lost a bit of straightness going towards the edge of the quilt and also managed to put some bigger, ugly spaces in...was not really too worried about it as you cannot really see the stitching...was actually glad that I chose the monofilament after all...I think it would have looked totally overwhelming in a slightly different grey colour. Like this you only notice lots of texture which is what I wanted for this quilt.

And here is the finish

Very organic looking...happy with the result. If I was to do this again, I think I might choose a different background, the contrast is quite strong on this piece. If I had a rusty brown for example, I could have matched the thread to that colour and it would have still looked ok over the leaves...or maybe even a somewhat faded green background. 

Well, this was good fun and I might do another one of these with a different background. But for now, I'll do the binding and then get going on writing up the pattern. 


Monday, 19 April 2021

Practice, Practice and more Practice

The Woodgrain design

So I practiced this design on the weekend. As I had to also do some testing re a thread issue, I went through 2.5 bobbins for the afternoon... 

I deliberately had a largish area to fill wanting to test how hard it would be to keep relatively straight. As I found out, the straightness was not so much an issue. What featured more was the issue of the lines flattening out somewhat...something Angela Walters had talked about in her recent Flora and Foliage Quiltalong. Yep, that was definitely happening to me as well and it was very hard to get back to a gently curving line. Angela Walters then shows leaving a gap and starting again a bit further down, coming back to the unfilled area and filling it in after. That was difficult as the spacing then got very wonky but probably better than trying to put your knot against flattening lines. Still undecided about that.

Here are some of my trials
I used a largish piece of calico...not too bad but as I went along it was getting quite wonky

The second piece was similar... now on the next bobbin and getting very tired.
Given that I was trialing some issue with my thread, I then went on just a normal cotton piece

 Not too bad... I am thinking that putting this over my table runner should somehow work. While I had some flattening of the lines and some ugly spaces in between, I did manage to muddle my way through it. It seems that I tend to loose the design a bit after the first few lines and then try to get back to getting my lines a bit more curvy to again fit in the knots. By that time I have forgotten my structure (i.e. a knot every second curve, for example) and just try to fit them in where ever they fit. Maybe need to do a bit more work on that.

I did this for a few hours and must say I was absolutely exhausted after that. Happy to say though, I resolved my thread issue which actually was not a thread issue but an issue with the speed of the bobbin winding. For some reason I had my bobbin winder down at about 50% which caused some tension issues half way through the bobbin. I was thinking about this for a while as I was convinced it was not the machine playing up but rather something that I was doing. So finally I recognised the speed issue and wound my bobbin at a higher speed and just like that the tension issue disappeared altogether. None of the bobbins played up during this afternoon and thinking this through it made perfect sense. Always amazes me what tiny detail can throw your freemotion-quilting out of kilt.

I now have about five rather largish practice samples with that lovely texture all over it...ideal for the cat to lie on ( we have that ongoing issue in the sewing room with the cat consistently going for the quilts in progress and not taking 'no' for an answer. Maybe I can entice her with this.


Friday, 16 April 2021

Maple Leaf Table Runner

Did some more work on my Maple leaves...this is going to be a table runner.

I did a Maple Leaf quilt some years was published in the Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine, Vol 21, No3 and was titled Autumn Leaves.
I don't have this quilt anymore. It went with me all the way to Germany in 2013 as a gift to my sister-in-law. Had to dig around to find the magazine to have a bit of a look how I tackled this quilt because this is now quite a while back. This was really interesting because I remember the effect I wanted to achieve when putting this together...thinking about it now, I realised that I could have achieved quite a different look (and closer to what I actually wanted to achieve) if I had changed the setting of the blocks a bit by using a custom setting rather than the straight horizontal placement of the blocks in rows. No idea why I did not do that. Never mind, still a very nice quilt.

Have completed all my favourite colouring below
Also played some more with the camera and did a sort of stylised take on the blocks
Will need that for my Etsy shop as the pattern for the table runner will be added hopefully by the beginning of next month. 

Interesting also how the original ideas get changed in the quilting process. I was pretty sure that I wanted to outline the blocks, then do some gridwork in the empty spaces, but no...when I put it together it screamed woodgrain pattern! I will have to do some practice for that as I am not sure whether I can pull this off over the entire area in a consistent and well spaced manner. Will need to think about some sort of structure to guide my quilting...not entirely sure how I am going to tackle that. Last time I did a woodgrain pattern, I had a woodgrain patterned backing which I used to quilt from the back to the front, just following the lines. That, of course, was super easy and came out great.

A bit of work to do!


Monday, 12 April 2021

Quilt Photography

I have had to spent some time re-visiting my new Camera manual. I have a smallish Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90. While you can just point and shoot, I have become increasingly confused about all the features that this camera has to offer. In addition, I have little knowledge about photography and what is involved. Reading about it is like learning a new language which is made complicated (being a migrant) as I do not have the English words for some of what they are talking about. I very rarely use the dictionary and rely on picking up the meaning of words by association.  This is a process which takes a bit of time and patience. Of late I have been watching some FB videos by a photographer who offers a video master class (Mark Hemmings - Take your Digital Camera Off Auto). Really like this guy as he speaks in plain English that I can understand. Also like it that he is posting these little videos for free on FB which has been really interesting to watch. Very generous indeed. At some point I might consider doing that master class as I am sure that you learn a lot about your camera judging from the tips and hints I already picked up from those free videos.
It also helps that my husband is a keen photographer, so I can ask lots of questions...however if you don't understand the subject matter it is very hard to work out what to ask. Embarrasingly, I only just worked out that you can adjust the viewfinder to make it more clear. When looking through the viewfinder of this little camera, I thought...gee, my eyes are getting bad...can't see properly, hence I used the screen. Then I discovered the diopter adjustment dial and I said to my husband...why did you not tell me about this?... which of course was funny as he assumed I knew this very basic thing.

Anyway, I took some pictures this weekend and want to see how they look on the blog as I adjusted some settings to pull them over as well. Hopefully this is not too boring.

My camera does nice little 'point and shoot' photos
This is outside, so lots of light...(easy to do on automatic setting). Quilt photography is different though. Often done inside with lower light, tilting the screen to get shots from above...different altogether and in my case, the room I work in is slighter darker than anywhere else in the house. 
So, now I have been bitten with the photography bug, I wanted to put my new knowledge to the test, wanting to achieve a blurred background
Fail...another discussion with my husband about the f-stop again and what this does to photos, so tried again
Nice, nailed it!

Then went inside in my sewing room and tried to shoot photos using the Manual mode and how I understood that to work

Not too bad but difficult to photograph. I am photographing this on the extension table of the Q20 which is sitting beside the window, so I am getting the light sideways.
Another blurry background
Could be sharper, but in principle not too bad..lost some quality in putting this on the blog.

More quilting shots
This is pretty much what the room looks like in the afternoon without the light switched on. Taking this picture in Manual and adjusting for the lack of light gives me a much more realistic shot. Texture is really nice to see, but the colours become very stark. As you can see I have pressed ahead with my 'Year of Stars' quilt.

With the light switched on
Got my shadow in the way now and the texture is much harder to see.

...and a shot of my sewing table in the corner where I used a filter to overcome the yellowish light (now I am just playing with the many different options of the camera).
All done in Manual...pretty impressed with myself. Also spent more time reading the Manual with the camera in my hand to work out some of the functions. Drives me crazy when I cannot work out what all those little symbols mean on the touch screen. Assigned some action to the empty function button (preview...did not even know I had this!) and worked out what some of the others mean and how I can operate this little thing quicker by using the touch screen. There is just so much in this camera and I will have to go over this a number of times to retain the information, I think.  Actually quite surprising and almost a bit too much, but we will press on with the learning.

But back to quilting now...just discovered from one of the photos that I sewed one of the leaves together wrongly.


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