Sunday 29 April 2012

To Bead or not to Bead?

When designing my quilts I prefer not to have every step worked out in the beginning. I usually have a rough idea of what I want and have a few sketches worked out and just get started. This means that I am never quite sure how it will look in the end and I think that it keeps the project fresh for me but this approach can also create more work
I am finishing off my quilt named Holiday Waltz and because of the looming deadlines for this quilt, I am under pressure and time starved.

When I first started designing this quilt I was going to add some blanket stitch around the peach flowers. By the time I had finished quilting the quilt I was starting to lose enthusiasm for the idea. I did the blanket stitch around one of the flowers and asked my daughter Alison which one she liked best, the plain or the blanket stitch.

She liked the blanket stitch, so off I went stitching a blanket stitch in a single strand of embroidery floss around 42 peach flowers.

After I had finished I didn’t like the result at all. Some of the flowers looked too messy. It’s hard to embroider on a quilt that has already been quilted. I preferred it plain. I pulled out all the stitches and had the idea of putting some Mill Hill miniature beads around the flower centres instead.

I liked that much better. I managed to bead 5 flowers in an hour and so it ended up taking 8½ hours!! The blanket stitching took longer than that, it’s too depressing to add up that time.

I even ran out of beads and my local shop was out of stock as well. I rang up Bustle and Bows and they had one packet left. They put them away for me and I was so happy to collect that packet of beads the next day.

So, my free form approach to designing does have its drawbacks and can make extra work for me, but it keeps the project interesting. Whenever I have a problem with a quilt and have to work out how to solve it, the result always makes the quilt better than it would have been.

The good news is that I love the quilt now and I am nearly finished, just the binding, rod pocket and label to go.

I am honoured to be invited to enter my quilt in the Master Class Category in the Sydney Quilt Show in June. It is the NSW Guild’s 30th birthday and they have invited 30 quilters from all over Australia to be part of the Celebration.

Bye for now,


Saturday 28 April 2012

Happy Anniversary

I am celebrating my first anniversary of blogging. I started my blog on the 28th of April 2011. It was a very scary start because I had no idea what to do.

I remember sitting down at the computer one night and somehow managed to do the set-up. It must have been pretty simple for me to follow but it still took about 3 hours.

I didn’t go near it again until July when I made my second post.

Why did I start blogging?

1.      Because people kept asking me if I had one

2.      I wanted to keep track of what I have been doing

I seem to be so busy all the time and yet when people ask me what I have been doing, I hardly know how to answer because I have forgotten. I am too busy getting onto the next thing.

My blog has helped me to slow down a bit and reflect on what I have been up to.

Last week I happened upon an on-line blogging course. It goes for 4 weeks and I thought I would sign up for it. I still know so little about all the gadgets and what is possible and after 12 months I think I am ready for the next step.

I found the course through Alyson B Stanfield’s Newsletter 
and our teacher is Cynthia Morris
So, who knows what the next 12 months will bring!! Sort of exciting isn’t it?
Bye for now,

Wednesday 18 April 2012

CQJP 2012 April Block

Here is my April block for the CQJP 2012 (Crazy Quilt Journal Project).

This block is a bit larger than my previous blocks. It’s a 9" block and I have mainly used green silk fabrics as the base.

This is what it looked like before the embroidery.

I had already started the block when I realised that I hadn’t taken a photo of it. I used a satin stitch for the holly leaves and the berries. I like to do the centre first because it’s much easier to use a hoop if you haven’t got all the embroidery in the way.

In the bottom right corner I did some spider web roses in yellow ribbon.

In the top left corner I made some back stitched spider web roses in red embroidery floss.

The main difference between the two roses apart from the obvious of one in ribbon and the other in embroidery thread is that the spider web rose has 5 spokes for the base and the back stitched rose has 6 spokes and that gives the ribbed look.

Seeing that little yellow stitch in the bottom of that close up photo reminds me that I also used a crown stitch.

I have never used this stitch before and it is quite nice, I must remember to do this stitch again. I have to use a stitch a few times before I can commit it to memory.
I keep meaning to make a book of stitches to have near me to jog my memory when doing my crazy quilt blocks. I have lots of embroidery books but they are often also full of stitches that I don’t use and my own book would be better.

Another thing for me to add to my to-do list, I fear that list is quite long!

Bye for now,

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Inspiration from Image

Our latest challenge in the Waverley Art Quilters Group was called Inspiration from Image.

Last month we all brought photos that we thought would be suitable and then had to decide which one to use. We put it to a vote and it was fairly unanimous that we use a photo taken by a fellow Waverley member named Ronnie Heagney.

I decided to simplify the photo and just focus on the red leaves.

I drew out a few thumbnail sketches and finally decided to piece some green batik fabrics vertically to represent the green leaves in the background.

I don’t like fusing onto pieced fabric because you can see the seams through the image, so I thought I would go 3 dimensional.

I fused some vliesofix onto the back of some red batik fabric and then cut the fabric in half, placed the vliesofixed sides together and ironed then.

I was left with red fabric on both sides and cut out 5 leaf shapes to arrange on the green background. I satin stitched around the edges of the leaves and attached them to the pre-quilted background by stitching the leaf veins.

I knew that the leaves had to be able to be attached to some sort of branch, so I got two strands of wool thread and satin stitched over the top of them with a brown variegated thread. I hand stitched the branch in place.

I think that it worked quite well and it didn’t take long to do.

Next month we are studying Florence Broadhurst who was an Australian wallpaper designer in the 60’s and 70’s. She had a very interesting life and her designs have become trendy again. I am looking forward to the challenge.

Bye for now,


Thursday 5 April 2012

Crazy Quilted Block Holder

I am teaching my Crazy Quilted Block Holder class at MissyMoo next term. Missy Moo is a patchwork shop in Croydon, Victoria.

This is an unusual colour palette for me. I had some Asian themed fabric and used red, gold and black fabric. Of course you can do any colours that you like.

The class will run for 4 lessons but there will be a week in between each class so there will be enough time to complete the work.

I always think that it is so interesting to see what the block looked like before I added the embroidery.

I have another block holder in pink and I use it all the time to keep my blocks clean and flat while I am completing the next block.

This is what the block holder looks like on the inside.

The class will run on Monday afternoons from 1pm to 3pm.

The dates are 24th April, 8th May, 22nd May and 5th June.

Bye for now,