Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Blog 2 Print

At the beginning of every year I make all the blog posts that I have done for the previous year into a book. Well, I don't make the book, I use a company called Blog 2 Print. They make it so easy, you just write in your blog address and give them the start and end dates, choose a cover and order. A couple of weeks later a book arrives.

Here is my blog book for 2015.

It is a beautiful hard cover book containing all my blog posts and photos in date order, with an index in the front.

The quality is very nice; Here is one of the pages open.

They are almost like a diary that documents my life and although I don't post day to day personal information on my blog, I have posted major events like weddings and births. My sewing and those major events are the most important things that happen in my life so it is a bit like a diary.

I have actually looked up these books to check on information sometimes. I use the Blogspot platform and you never know, it might close one day or something might happen and all that information that I write could be lost forever. One day my children or grandchildren might like to look at them and get a bit of an idea of how I lived my life.

Here is a photo of all my blog books.

It's hard to believe that I have been writing blog posts for 5 years now! How quickly the years fly by. All the more reason to get the blog posts printed I guess.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Making Life on the Reef

I am still so excited to find out that my latest quilt Life on the Reef was chosen to be in the A Matter of Time  exhibition which has been curated by Benda Gael Smith.

As I mentioned in my last post I only had 3 weeks to make this quilt and so I spent every spare minute on it. It did help that I had made a quilt with an underwater theme before so I wasn't starting completely from scratch.

I started by placing some rock fabrics over a suitable water fabric.

I didn't take a lot of progress photos because I had so little time to make the quilt but after I had my rocks in place I started to make the coral using hand embroidery and machine thread painting.

When I thought I had made enough coral I started placing it on the rocks.

I realised that I would have to make a lot more coral to fill the space.

When I had most of the coral in place I started to make the fish but the quilt wasn't working and it took me a couple of days to realise that my fish were too big for the quilt. Reef fish are usually tiny little things flitting in and out of the coral.
The next photo shows you how the big the Blue Tang fish were in the beginning and how much smaller I had to make them.

Here is a photo of how I made the small Blue Tang. I cut out the fish shape in a blue batik and then used a black Fabrico marking pen for the detail.

I stitched around the outside of all the shapes to hold them onto the background and then I had to start adding all the hand embroidery.

You can see what a difference the embroidery makes by comparing the next two photos.

Without embroidery

With Embroidery

At least I did finish the quilt the day before the deadline and cannot wait to see the exhibition when it comes to Melbourne in April. I have seen a few of the other quilts that were selected and they are so different to mine and so creative and there are so many different interpretations of the Time theme.

The A matter of Time exhibition also has a Facebook page and an Instagram page.

Here is a photo of the entire quilt, remember to click on the photo for a larger view.

The quilt measures 40cm x 100cm or 16" x 39".

Bye for now,

Sunday, 24 January 2016

A Great Start to 2016

Well here it is nearly at the end of January and I am finally doing a blog post for 2016. Believe it or not I have not been away on holiday or just putting my feet up doing nothing. I have been working flat out on a new art quilt.

About 18 months ago Brenda Gael Smith announced the theme for her upcoming exhibition and the theme was A Matter of Time- exploring the fourth dimension. As the months went by I thought of all sorts of ideas of quilts I could make that explored the theme. Some ideas were too obvious and others seemed too hard to tackle. I even spent a week working on an idea last October but it didn't work out and certainly didn't look anything like the idea I had in my head. To my disappointment I decided that I would not be making a quilt for the exhibition.

On Christmas Eve I thought of making a quilt about how old the coral reefs were. Bear in mind that this was 3 weeks before the deadline. The only way I could possibly try and get it done on time was because I had made an underwater quilt earlier in the year. I had still kept all my inspirational photos and fabrics in a box on their own. You can read all about my quilt Under the Sea here.

Once the idea took hold I was off and running. The size was the same as my previous quilt but I didn't want to make the same quilt, in fact there were lots of things I didn't like about the first one.

Here is my quilt named Life on the Reef and I finished it the day before the deadline! If you click on the photo it enlarges.

I was so busy trying to get it done that at times I thought I would run out of time, which was ironic seeing as that was the theme.

Here are a couple of detail photos.

The entire time I was making the quilt I was wondering why I put myself under all the pressure, but even though it was a lot of pressure I was also having fun. That's why we do it I suppose, it's because we love it.

Last week I found out that my quilt was selected to be in the exhibition!! I was absolutely thrilled because it is an art quilt exhibition and even though I dabble in art quilts I am known as a traditional quilter. There were 104 quilts entered and only 32 were selected. I have seen some of the quilts that were not accepted and they are fantastic. Brenda must have had such a difficult job to choose the quilts that went together to make a cohesive display.

You can see the other people who were selected by clicking onto Brenda's A Matter of Time Blog, she also has a dedicated Facebook and Instagram page for the exhibition.

The quilts will first be displayed at the Stitches and Craft Show in Sydney and Brisbane and then they will come to the Quilt Convention in Melbourne (AQC) before travelling to other locations. I can't wait to see the exhibition.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

It's the end of another year and what a year it was.

Last week I had the last day of minding my dear little granddaughter Savannah.

Last Day with Savannah 13 months
I have been minding her during the week since April when she was only 5 months old. It's been a very busy year, sometimes so tiring and other times such a delight.

I had forgotten how much babies learn in the first 12 months. I have seen her roll over, sit up, start solid food, crawl, talk and walk in those 8 months. I am very lucky to have been given the chance to get to know her so well.

Here is the photo I took of her on the first day of minding her.

First Day with Savannah, 5 months
That first week was particularly difficult but we got into a routine and somehow got through the year together. Even though I had four children of my own, it was a long time ago and I had forgotten how much constant work babies are.

I felt quite emotional on that last day.

My daughter arrived with a thank you present for me; a beautiful Pandora bracelet.

Pandora Bracelet

Here is a close up photo of the charms and they all have special meanings to us.

Mickey Mouse has been Savannah's favourite since she was 3 months old. The two little bears are Savannah and I and the present is to say thank you.

I will treasure that bracelet always and will remember this special year.

Next year all will be different, Savannah is going off to a childcare centre at the school where my daughter teaches. I am allowed to have her occasionally though.

Next year I will be getting back to my sewing and will hopefully get some quilts made again. I will also be busy with my duties as President of Waverley Patchworkers and Coordinator of the Waverley Art Quilters group. There's always plenty to do.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you to the people who have read my blog and taken the time to comment, I really appreciated hearing from you.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Vietnam Veteran's 50th Anniversary Quilt

Earlier this year I was approached by the President of the Victorian Vietnam Veterans. They were going to be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in 2016 and they had decided to make a quilt.

All 27 branches of the Victorian Veterans were going to make a block and they wanted me to make the centre logo and the lettering on the top and bottom borders.

Bob gave me a card with the logo and I had to make it to fit a 60cm square of fabric. Here is a photo of the finished block and the little card that I had to use.

Vietnam Veteran's Logo

I had to photocopy the card and then increase the size on the printer. It was quite a time consuming logo to make. I appliqued the circles and fused and satin stitched the lettering, crown and the pictures in the centre. I think that I made 3 rising sun badges and 2 or 3 flags until I was happy with them.

Here is a photo of me cutting out the text for the borders.

Cutting out the lettering

Here is a photo of the finished top and bottom border.

Top and bottom border
Last week was the official unveiling of the quilt and I went along to Anzac House in Collins Street Melbourne for the event.

I met Alma Elliot, the wife of one of the Vietnam Veteran's for the first time, she took on the daunting task of coordinating the quilt, contacting all the branches and putting the quilt together.

Alma (in red)  and I
Here are some detail shots of some of the blocks.

As well as the Australian flag there was also the Vietnamese Freedom flag on the quilt.

Vietnam Freedom Flag
The flag represents freedom and human rights to the Vietnamese who fled to Australia to escape communism.

A lovely lady named Chi came over and spoke to me about it and she was in tears after all these years because that flag was all they could take from their homeland.

Here is a photo of some of the Vietnamese at the opening, they loved the quilt.

I also got a photo of the State President, Bob Elworthy and I because he was the one that I was in contact with when I was doing my bit for the quilt.

Bob Elworthy and I
The quilt will travel around Victoria next year before it will reside at the Vietnam Veteran's Headquarters in Phillip Island.

Finally a photo of the finished quilt.

Victorian Vietnam Veterans 50th year Quilt.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Windows and Walls Challenge

This year the Waverley Art Quilters have been studying the book Connecting Design to Stitch by Sandra Meech.

We decided to take it slowing and really study the book properly and so we spent the year gathering images on the various topics that were set by Sandra. The idea behind gathering images was that no one can create in a vacuum and it was a chance to look at things that we would normally not take any notice of and find out what really inspires us.
We finished off the year by doing the Windows and Walls design class that was at the end of the section on gathering images. The idea was to cut out windows on paper or fabric and place images behind the open spaces to find an interesting composition.

Just by chance the latest Quilting Arts magazine for October/November issue 77 came out with an article by Susan Purney Mark that was on a similar idea and I decided to follow Susan's instructions.

Luckily I already had some fabric strips sewn together that were left over from a previous project; they were mainly dark and batiks which was just perfect for this project.

I traced some leaf shapes onto a piece of fusible web and ironed them to the back of the striped fabric. Then I cut out the shapes.

I tried some plain gold fabric behind the cut outs but it looked too plain.

Next I tried a spotty batik but I didn't like the effect at all, it was far too busy.

I had some left over pieces of mono printed fabric that I sewed together.

When I put this fabric behind the stripes I really liked the effect; subtle but still with interest.

I satin stitched around the edges of the cut outs and then added a branch and some leaves over the top for some added interest.

Finally I quilted it with some leaf shapes.

Here is a close up of the quilting.

So another year is over and we have already had our break-up dinner. We went to a local Chinese Restaurant and we had such a good time that I forgot to take any photos.

We usually have a holiday challenge and this year might be more of a challenge than usual. Everyone received two reels of fine shiny thread in various colours and we can do whatever we like with it. The trouble is that it is not normal thread, it is the very fine thread that is used in fabric production and woven into fabric to give a shimmer and shine.

I have no idea what I will do. I could try it in the machine but it won't show up very easily. I could make tassels or something I suppose. Mmm, it is a challenge!

I feel so lucky to have found this supportive group of women and next year we are going to continue studying Sandra Meech's book. We will be going through the Elements of Design. I am looking forward to it.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Colour Run Disaster Avoided!

I have been busy sewing some applique for my latest quilt. In all my other applique quilts I have always used freezer paper as the templates and tacked the fabric over the freezer paper pattern. It is easy to slit the back of the applique and remove the freezer paper.

Some of the applique in my latest quilt has some very small pieces and so I thought I would try another technique that is very popular at the moment. The latest trend is to use water soluble paper as the template and glue the edges of the fabric around the paper.  This gives a nice edge but the resulting applique is a bit stiff.

Here is a photo of some prepared templates.

Prepared Applique pieces

Apparently you do not have to wash away the paper because it will soften in time but I have a few layers of applique and thought it was too stiff.

I placed the applique in water with a couple of colour catcher sheets and crossed my fingers that the colour wouldn't run. It seemed to be all right and after a rinse and a spin, I put the fabric out to dry.

Unfortunately one section of red fabric did run a bit. It's hard to see in the
photo so I put a circle around it.

It looked worse in real life. I have had trouble with this particular red before even though it has been pre-washed a couple of times. It's such a great colour though so I continue to use it.

Luckily I always keep a box of Dylon SOS Colour run in the cupboard. It's a bit scary to use because you must add the solution to hot water.

Here is the applique soaking in the solution for an hour.

It was a nervous wait.

After an hour I rinsed the fabric and gave it a gentle spin in the washing machine.

Luckily the excess dye came out and I could breathe again.

In the next section of applique I am using a very dark pink and I am looking very suspiciously at it!

Bye for now,