Sunday 30 December 2012

Applique gift

Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas?  Exhausted or Relaxed, or a bit of both?!

I can now show the applique project that was a secret birthday gift - the Michele Hill pattern from Australian Quilters Companion no 57. It is not a quilt - but a set of four reproduction quilt tiles! I chose to use neutrals/ creams to suit the recipient's decor.

Starting off...

Back basting and hand needleturn applique

One applique panel done - three more to sew!

I made four of these applique panels exactly the same. Then each panel was wrapped around a 10 inch art canvas and stapled on - to make four 'tiles'. I thought it would be a quick project but severely underestimated how much applique was involved!

As you can see below, they can be hung on the wall in different arrangements. Clever idea don't you think?

The original pattern was featured in the magazine in reds and blues, and machine appliqued using blanket stitch - stunning.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Some progress and some excuses...

Progress on the Baltimore Album has been slow. This is Block 14 so far:

Some leaves just pinned and some to come
Now for some excuses for the slow progress. 
  • I have finished a new applique project but, due to it being a top secret gift, I can only show a snippet at the moment (sorry it is very grainy due ? to zooming in ): 

Big hint ... It is a pattern of Michele Hill and features in the Australian Quilters Companion No 57. All will be revealed in the New Year. 

  • There has also been a lot of this happening - intense time of year in the garden...

Snaps of my spring garden 

  • Have had a great time at two days of  Gingerbread House baking lessons, with my daughter. Just look at the wonderful 'Aussie' gingerbread house she created! Can you smell that yummy?

I made a much less skilled attempt at a snowy-church-style-cobbled-together-house. It did a somersault or two in the boot of the car on the way home from the class ...oops... but still tastes and smells delicious all squashed up and broken!

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Baltimore block 13

Block 13 finished of my Baltimore Album applique quilt ...only 12 to go...gulp. But that means over half way which sounds OK doesn't it? (I won't mention the border...)

From this...

To this...

The pattern packs that I have used consist of collections of blocks copied from a variety of quilts. Some of the original blocks on these quilts had embroidery - to highlight or add detail - and I have been tempted to add some too - maybe eyes on the bird, that sort of thing. But on the other hand I rather like the simplicity of  the plain applique...not sure yet.

'Patchwork of the Crosses' - getting ready for machine quilting:

Taping down the backing

The "sandwich"

Ready to pin

All secure in a sea of pins

Ready to sew

I would love to have hand-appliqued this quilt but arthritis in my hands does not allow. I'm planning on something simple by machine, around the hexagons, to highlight/outline the blocks and fussy cut shapes.

And here is a future project - medallion quilt - starting the planning... mmm...gorgeous chintz for a centre !?

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Seeing red...

Last post I showed a finished border of red stars on my version of the Burnt quilt, and this time I have finished the red Baltimore basket block that I had started.

Not a great deal of progress since last post so I thought I'd show some more of my older work - along the theme of  "Red". 
This is my son's 18th birthday bed quilt, which I finished early this year. It is machine foundation-pieced (pineapple block) in his choice of fabrics, with a plain dark blue backing, and machine quilted in the ditch. 

This is the Mariner's Compass quilt that I also machine quilted, and have shown before - lots of red in that one!

This is a Crazy quilt that I made about 5 years ago aiming to feature much loved Liberty lawns, and some vintage doilies that I had collected. The doilies were all other people's lovely handwork, not mine, but a lot were stained/ damaged so it didn't feel too wicked to cut them up and give them a "new" life (not easy to make those cuts though!). There's a bit of a crazy mix of machine and hand quilting there too.

A few of the blocks up close

So - lots of different "Reds" covered there !? 

                 And now for this... 

"What on earth .." you may ask? That is the beginning of my next Baltimore applique block - and not looking like anything at all at the moment. Note there is not a bit of red on it ...not yet anyway!

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Seeing stars...

Have just finished the applique of all the stars on my inner Burnt Quilt border...hence am seeing stars!

 They were  English paper pieced first, pressed, papers removed, and appliqued down. I should have done the applique before adding the other borders - made it awkward to manage with armfuls of fabric to turn, but we live and learn! A few of the stars up close...

They are great fun to make and I enjoyed making dozens of them in the Folk Art Basket quilt (Karen Cunningham class ) shown in an earlier post. Here are some of the stars on it 

Thanks to some lovely, encouraging comments on my Baltimore post (no pressure though LOL) I have started another block and this is progress so far on a basket 


A bit messy but you can see how it gradually comes together with back basting, and marking only on the back of the fabric. I spend quite a while dithering about deciding on which green to use  - so have used a few different ones in these blocks , and am now trying to ensure there is a balance of the different greens across all the blocks, so they will look OK together. I don't seem to have the same trouble deciding on reds... maybe there are just less red choices?

Wednesday 7 November 2012

The Burnt Quilt

I have been working on The Burnt Quilt aka "Oh dear, Mrs Tompkins" (Di Ford's lovely reproduction pattern ) - using the Dutch chintz central panel in the centre. I am also using a small stash of Dutch chintz florals in the big stars, though I hate chopping them up.

 If you know the pattern, you might see I have avoided doing the tricky inner borders by replacing them with appliqued red stars (fun to do with English paper piecing) . That is what I am working on at the moment.

Below is the fabric for the outer border - sensing a theme here - Dutch chintz again. 

For the feature square blocks where applique or broderie perse is suggested in the pattern, I took the opportunity  to feature squares of favourite old florals  ( or, reading between the lines there, maybe I took the easier option!?). Here are some of them - seriously lovely fabrics...

Saturday 3 November 2012

Baltimore Album

I don't know about you but I never tire of looking at Baltimore Album quilts. A couple of years ago I bought these wonderful pattern packs from the US :

I admired them (and drooled over them) for quite a while before deciding I'd actually make one. 

The blocks in each pack are much the same size so I have pulled blocks from each and bit by bit stitched a few. Here they are so far on my 'design wall' (grand name for a bit of wadding pinned to a pine rod ?)  

Feeling a bit lot guilty that they look so wrinkly and neglected up there. So I got them down, gave them an iron, cropped some photos, and ...hey presto - here are a few of them looking a bit better now :

I have tried different ways to hand applique over the years and, like many others, have had some sad, sad experiences with markers. Nothing new to a lot of you I know, but the method I use now for fiddly work is the template-free Back-Basting. I love the fact there is no glue and no marking the front of the work, and that the pieces stay put for accuracy. A great tutorial is available at the link. It was a moment of enlightenment when I discovered this method when trawling blogs...thank you generous bloggers!