Monday, 21 April 2014

Farm stay

I've been away - staying with my brother and SIL on their inland farm in northern NSW. They have suffered with the drought and seen paddocks reduced to dust bowls - so it was wonderful to have timed my visit soon after they finally had some rain. And what a difference it has made - lovely green everywhere! 

I got to make friends with some of these. They are all such personalities and have names to suit:

This quilt was folded on the end of their bed. I made it for them a couple of years ago - tumbling blocks in colours chosen to reflect the colours on the farm. Happily it could do with a bit more green in there at the moment! It was hand English Paper pieced and machine quilted in the ditch. Nice to see it has been so well looked after.

Some (but not a lot) of quilting progress to report. I have completed Block 4 of Benjamin Biggs wedding quilt BOM. It was fun to revisit the Carolina Lily block - after making a whole quilt of them last year. The construction was different this time - the flowers appliqued in one piece to the background. The other time I made the flowers out of EPP diamonds joined together and then appliqued to the background. Interesting to try another way....

So I can now show you four BB blocks lying together.  The poison green plain fabric in Block 2 stands out at this stage but I will add more of this fabric in other blocks and am hoping it will blend into the whole.

I have also finished and attached the pinwheel border in my Ann Randoll repro quilt (Rhonda Pearce's pattern). It is growing bit by challenging bit - well worth the effort though I think.

Hope you have all enjoyed a lovely Easter break - always good to catch up with family. My only daughter and her partner have just announced their engagement so there was much to celebrate and plan. The wedding won't be till next April so plenty of time to make a wedding quilt....yippee.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Clamshell capers

Since I discovered clamshell patchwork last year I have been rather obsessed with them ...and seem to have stitched them at every chance!

This was a first-attempt project last year - appliqued using Sue Daley's paper piecing method - with much reference to the Youtube video in the link.  Starting with this:

Clamshells stitched together
It became this,  using Sue's pattern

Since then I have made a clamshell gift pouch for my sister in March, adapting a great tutorial on Janet's blog "Quiltsallott" (thanks Janet!) Starting with a panel of appliqued clamshells, quilted and cut into this shape:

And added binding and zipper to become this:

Still found myself channeling clamshells last month - and made the same pouch for a friend's April birthday. I decided to use some squares of French souleiado that I thought might be her colours. 

Clamshells over papers

Applique row by row

Meanwhile ...I don't know if you remember all the clamshells I made at the end of last year  - to add to the design of my medallion quilt. Here are some pics from previous posts:

Top finished in January
Well, I have got this sandwiched and pinned on the floor ...

...and am quilting it - machine quilting on my domestic machine. I would dearly love to have it hand quilted but my arthritis does not allow this. I want to achieve as close as possible to a hand quilted vintage look so we'll see how it goes.

Quilting in the ditch around all the hand applique:

And now ...I am quilting around the clamshells:

I wonder if I might soon be "over clamshells". Hope not too soon because there is still a rather large border of clamshells to be added to my Ann Randoll quilt in the nearish future - hah! 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Threadbear's Applique School

That was last Saturday on my visit to Castlemaine in Victoria. 
Since then it's been a busy week what with work and life...but I've been keen to post about this great workshop. It was a very full day of mastering applique techniques  - half the day with Di Ford and half with Margaret McDonald. 

This is the very generous collection of goodies we each received in a bag on arrival. And there was chocolate and lollies, but that has vanished ...who knows where.

3.3 metres of fabric included
Both Di and Margaret have taken these same fabrics  and used many similar appliqued elements (broderie perse, chain borders, dresden plate, drunkard's path etc). But their quilt tops are distinctly different. Neither tops are completed - due to time constraints - but are wonderful samplers of many applique techniques. And don't they both have a gift for fabric selection!

Di's quilt

Margaret's quilt
There was a lot to cover and it was heads down frantically stitching technique samples. 

A busy class
Here is a compilation of my meagre samples ( finished them in the evening due to being a bit of a slow poke on the day - too much chat).

For me there was a bit of a 'light bulb' moment -  adding a border to a quilt does not need to be just a straight-edged strip of fabric (or even a pieced strip) stitched to another. With the use of fussy cut appliqued borders there are all sorts of interesting new possibilities to add charm and movement to the quilt. 
Looking at the close up of Di's pink border below - it is a  strip of fabric that has been fussy cut in a wave edge and appliqued on to a tiny printed stripe  - magic!   

Appliqued mitre corners

Margaret has similarly fussy cut the light green border (below) and appliqued it onto a mustard print. And what a stunning applique chain border! She devised her own special technique to construct this and it worked a treat.

Broderie perse flowers and leaves, and more fussy cutting.

Di's centre

Margaret's centre
So much inspiration, great teaching, delicious catering, and my 'quilting cred' has just gone way up because I can now say "I've had a class with Di Ford"!
There was a lot of  blogger meet-n-greet going on. I can now put a face to Ruth from Ruby's rhetoric. Do check out her projects - there is even a beautiful Morrell quilt if you look back through the posts.

By the way - I have finished my son's beanie well in time for his birthday. Here it is - nothing bright and beautiful, sigh, but just what he ordered . 

And here is some progress on the EPP pinwheels for my Ann Randoll marathon quilt. See - they do come together quite fast by this method - so portable and easy to do a little at a time. Almost all of this was stitched in my evenings on the 5 day trip to Castlemaine. One or two of the fabrics are new acquisitions from Threadbear.
Happy stitching :)

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Castlemaine Applique Exhibition

I have just arrived home from a wonderful visit to Castlemaine in Victoria. There were such treats in store - the inaugural exhibition of the Castlemaine Applique group, an Applique workshop organised by Threadbear, a visit (or three) to Threadbear quilt shop, meeting other bloggers/quilters, shopping and more...

On Sunday I visited the Exhibition. I discovered they were open at 9 am - earlier than advertised - so I got to have a good look around before the crowds...

and I'm in...
In the window on the way in ...beautiful!
The raffle quilt - amazing applique

What a great venue to highlight the quilts - and the morning light streaming in the windows made the quilts glow : 

I have only seen one blog post on the exhibition so far (no doubt there will be more!). Sue-Anne has posted lots of lovely photos of the displayed quilts - do have a look there. I took loads of photos too but am trying not to double up with her so here are some others...(I did get permission to post)

Not all quilts were hung - some treasures were folded or draped :

Beautiful red and white!

Lovely grouping looks quite antique in morning sunshine

I couldn't see a label on this folded quilt but isn't it striking? :

The lighting shows up the lovely quilting

Tiny quilt - I am guessing 18" but could be less...just perfect
From the tiny to the very large...

Stunning clamshells!

 Broderie perse centre

Gorgeous borders on Mrs Millers Journey by Meghan Leslie - somehow I forgot to photograph the whole quilt. I don't know about you, but I love that background...

Interesting to read the story on the card on this next quilt - the quilt looked perfect and the colours are magic IMHO : 

Sue Jones' Ann Daggs - love the fussy cut birds

So many quilts, so much talent, impossible to pick a favourite!

As if that wasn't overwhelming enough - there were also some great shopping opportunities.
That is Threadbear as it was rarely seen at the weekend  - a quiet moment before opening time. It was a different story later on! It was my first visit and I was quite taken with the repro fabric selection, wow - brought home some treasures to embellish the stash. 

and here...
A quilting friend led me to this discovery ( thanks Kelly) - Habadash - full of fascinating vintage haberdashery treasures. I couldn't resist the vintage peg bag, and the piece of linen toile. The velvet buttons and tape might not be vintage but I can see uses in making stitchery gifts: 

I'm all out of time - will post again soon about the Applique workshop.