Sunday, 17 July 2016

Harrison Rose finished

I started Harrison Rose in June 2015 using a lovely reproduction pattern by Dawn Collector with a Needle. With relatively little piecing on the top, and a thin batting (Quilters Dream Request cotton) the hand quilting has been a breeze.


It measures 69 inches square as I only made nine blocks (instead of sixteen) - a great size for hanging or lap.



Then I machine washed it (with colour catchers just in case), and blocked it on the floor to dry. No colour runs - the catchers were clean - phew! 

It dried very quickly after a good spin, and has a nice soft and crinkly feel - just how I like it - am so pleased.

So where will we live? 
Could be here...

Or here...
Settled on here...

.

With that finished it was time to get another quilt prepped for hand quilting. I decided on Wheat and Woods and I'm using the same cotton batting again. 



Meanwhile I have decided to finish my SVBAQ BOM - at just nine blocks. Somehow it's not thrilling me any more - possibly because of my colour choices. Click on the link to see lots of beautiful versions in progress - like Wendy's with a gorgeous cheddar background.

We finally had a day without wind so I whipped the blocks outside for a photo together - the flowers do a little to cheer up the winter garden.


I'm thinking they might look better together with some pieced sashing ...but am not sure? I'll let them sit for a while hoping inspiration strikes. 

The Chapman Coverlet is an 1829 coverlet in the collection of the V&A museum in London. It has been on my "to do" list for a very long time. Finding plastic templates available from Susan Smith decided me - time to take it on! I've still not put away all the fabrics pulled for my Benjamin Biggs quilt top (waiting in the quilting queue) so am using the same reds and greens, and adding black, cheddar and yellows. The centre will be constructed around a red floral piece that has been in the stash a few years waiting for "the right moment".



I found that needleturn applique on the little 2 inch squares somehow aggravated the arthritis pain in my hands - the tight gripping of such small pieces perhaps. So I cut some card templates for the applique pieces and adapted the foil and iron method. 
It works beautifully! more time spent on prep but the applique is quick and requires less precision than needleturn, so is easier on the hands. 

 I found the perfect box to store my squares - can you believe it?! A couple of years ago I got the gift of a china mug from the V&A museum - in a presentation box. The box was too lovely to throw away...

If anyone's read this far -  well done! I've been a bad blogger and that's a two month round up. Must try to blog better...

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Posies and Plaid

I've been slightly obsessed by this quilt at the moment. But the motto has to be "While inspired, grab the moment!". So all other projects have been collecting dust (along with the house). As quilters we've all been there haven't we?!

Just a reminder here's the inspiration for my design. 
from Jane Lury's Meanderings of a quilt collector

Thinking it would be efficient to divide this sort of quilt into sections for ease of construction, I sketched a small plan on graph paper, worked out the sizes of each section and cut pieces of background fabric to match. It will go together like a jigsaw of 19 block pieces. Hmm now where to start? The the fabrics in the centre and in the baskets may dictate the colour/fabric choices for my whole quilt, so I'm working on those first.

I'd selected this urn as my quilt centre and was going to just cut a rectangle like this and plonk it in the middle. But I think the green is too dark for the look I want here and would dominate the quilt. 
So I 've given the urn a lighter background by appliquing ( broderie perse) onto a lighter plaid fabric. 

A little cut out and reverse applique on the urn to remove the initials that were on the print. I'll ink something on there later - maybe a date, maybe my initials? 


Still not sure I love the irregular outline but will leave it for now till more quilt grows around it. 

So that's a start to the centre and gives me a 'look' to work around for the rest of the quilt plan. 

I sketched some preliminary applique designs. Then, using my lightpad, traced the design onto the back of the background fabric - ready for back basting and needleturn applique:
I made oodles of 1/4 inch bias (with a Clover bias maker ) and pinned a basket. This was fun weaving all the unders and overs! 


I've been mixing some modern fabrics in amongst my repros and love the look of them - including oldish Kaffe Fassett's and a Liberty print. You might be able to pick them out in the close up flower pictures?



That's one basket done. There will be three more to go on my quilt but I'm moving on to work on another section now...
The antique quilt has a plaid border (with a strong, dark stripe through it) around the central design - and I particularly like that feature. Well, I searched high and low in the stash, and found quite a few little green pieces to use elsewhere on the quilt, but none seem quite right for my border! How often does that happen?! 

But I did find a stripe repro that will suit me very well - phew - crisis averted! There was just enough in the piece to cut the four borders - double phew!

More bias was made - 3/8inch this time. 

I pressed the creases at quarter spacing along the border strip to help with placement of the bias vine. No design drawing is needed this way - you just decide the spacing of the peaks/troughs and press the creases at those points. It's quite easy to wiggle the bias into a curve and pin it in place. 

These borders will forever be associated with the Giro D'Italia (bike race) - I have been watching hours of recorded replays while stitching. Wonderful scenery makes it hard to beat the 'armchair touring' through the Netherlands and Italy!




It is almost farewell to Autumn in the garden. With a series of very windy days  the colourful leaves are disappearing fast! Hopefully the red and green King Parrots will still visit to brighten things up through winter :)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Something new, something old

A new sewing bag


made using a new pattern (designed by L'Uccello  and bought on my April visit to Melbourne)
...and old fabric from the stash. The large floral is 'Bon Voyage' from French General - not that old really as it is still available online.

pattern from L'Uccello 

It was not a quick project but the trouble taken was well worth it in the detail and the finish. 

First there was the sandwiching and individual quilting of the panels - just using the machine walking foot. It's been a while since I've done any machine quilting but not difficult with these relatively small pieces.

Then preparing piping and binding

Something old - recycled belt loops for handle hardware. I didn't have four the same but two different pairs did the job fine:



Binding the seams for a neat finish - just like the edges of a quilt:

The pattern called for some ribbon to decorate internal pockets. I had nothing suitable, but I did have something that might do - something very old lurking in the sewing cabinet:

...so I finally put them to good use (it had to happen one day didn't it? ) - an old technique but a good one



I love the detail in this pattern - reminds me of the old days of dress making in my heady youth! 


The base is stiffened with template plastic so the whole thing is washable. That's if it ever gets dirty - and I'd have to use it first to get it dirty wouldn't I? At the moment it's far too 'good' to use haha! Give it a week or two and no doubt I'll have forgotten the pain of labour and be dragging it around like my old sewing bags...

Something else that is new and my most favourite book of the moment - 'Meanderings of a Quilt Collector' by Jane Lury. She had some of her collection on display at Pour L'Amour du Fil in Nantes this year - how wonderful it must have been to view them. But the book does not disappoint - so many superb quilts. In fact I'm convinced she had my taste in mind when she collected. 

I ordered the book from Quiltmania online and it arrived virtually overnight. How is that even possible to Australia? It is a large book and fairly pricey but is superb quality, includes three patterns, and is well worth it IMHO. 
  
And this is my favourite quilt in the whole book - and has inspired a quilt of my own. As you can see by the graph paper and sketches the planning has started.

What do I love about the quilt? 
  • the sense of movement in the wreaths and baskets
  • the rather random placement of lengths of vine and applique stars
  • the surprising element of a patched plaid border amongst a delicate design, and it works so well
  • the massive amount of applique (as you might know, I do love applique!)
The quilt in the planning won't be a copy or reproduction of this lovely 1840's English coverlet, but it will be inspired by it and borrow major elements. It needs a name so I'm going for Posies and Plaid since it is all about flowers and has that plaid border. 

And for something 'old' I am trying to use fabrics from my stash - some desperately need to be used before they reach antique status. Here's an idea I'm toying with -  cream background and green plaids with an old English-looking blowsy floral in the middle. And there's clearly room for some purple in there - not a colour I commonly use but doesn't it look lush in this old floral line by Windham (Remember Me by Mary Koval) ? 

On this quilt I'd like challenge myself to mix some modern fabric lines in with the reproductions but not sure how I'll go with that...hard to teach an old girl new tricks!
OK, back to the drawing board...