Tuesday 31 March 2015

Celebrating needlework

A couple of week's ago I visited a needlework show at a local village  - and am so glad I did. There was a wonderful display of vintage sewing from the collections of local people - many with photos of their history and stories to tell.

Vintage sewing equipment and haberdashery...

Beautiful wedding dresses ...I especially love this beaded pink one..

Gorgeous stitching...

A variety of quilts...from vintage to more recent finishes...

All very inspiring! 
And a little retail therapy  - 'very little' actually. From a craft stall I bought a pincushion as a gift for a friend. Here it is front and back  - only tiny but isn't it sweet?

And what news is there on my sewing front? doesn't feel like a lot to show...

I have finished the two Civil War Bride blocks from the last post:

But most of my sewing time has been spent hand quilting Auntie Green. I finished quilting around every bit of applique and it felt good to have the last pin removed! I could have left it there ... maybe just a little more in the open spaces, and it could have been a finish. But, no ... after visiting the Art of Needlework display and being inspired by the exquisite heritage work on display I felt I should and would make more of an effort here. 
I've started double parallel lines on the narrow outer vine border...

and a start to echo quilting on the large outer floral border...

Once you start intensive quilting there is no going back! I was quite uncertain about the echo quilting as I have never done this before and was afraid it might make the quilt stiff to the touch.  From my machine quilting experience I am sure it would be quite stiff if I had machine quilted so intensively. But I am amazed and thrilled by how soft/flexible it still is with the hand quilting.

Say hello to my my new sofas - selected with hand sewing in mind of course - "hand sewing in to old age" you might say! I hung on to my previous fabric Parker lounge as long as possible since it felt so well "broken in" for sewing but it was truly threadbare and had to go. As I break in the new ones I'm appreciating two great features for hand quilting - the recliner function to get just the right leg/back support, and the leather makes the quilt more manoeuvrable  - slipping easily when yanked  adjusted on the lap. 

It's a favourite time for seasonal change in gardens around the world - Spring in the north and Autumn Downunder. Loads of wind flowers have found their way in from the garden.

We took advantage of a perfect autumn day for a family gathering on the coast - where cousins (and their parents too) had fun paddle boarding. This beautiful beach is Bonnie Vale in the Sydney Royal National Park - about 1 1/2 hours drive from here but well worth the trip.

 son and nephew claiming boards
...and they're off

 daughter gives the "royal wave"
Enjoy the Season - wherever you are :)

Saturday 14 March 2015


Auntie Green  hand quilting started..

So far so very good ... and "harmonious" really is the word of the moment while quilting this one. 

I forgot to take photos of the prep for quilting, sorry, but it was sandwiched on the floor with wool batting and a plain cream homespun for backing. I decided to try just pin basting. I find it a lot easier to do than stitch basting and have seen other hand quilters on blogs use this method successfully. 

I left a generous edge of backing fabric and tacked it over the edges of the front . It provides cover for the pesky fluffy batting edges and is also a handy extension to the quilt - to aid in the hoop quilting of the edges. It will be undone and trimmed once quilting is finished.

I'm just quilting around all the applique to begin with, getting rid of all the pins as I go, and then will probably add lines and grid in the background later when I see how it looks. I expect to mark by scoring at that point, as this worked so well for my last (Four Block applique quilt). I've been experimenting with different size 10 hand quilting needles - broken a couple, lost a couple (flicked them away somewhere, never to be found again). But it has been comfortable on the hands so far and I'm thrilled with that...and so enjoyable.

I had started another couple of Civil War Bride blocks (back basted prep for needle turn applique), in case I tired of the quilting.  So far they've not had a lot of attention ...

Have a lovely weekend with as much stitching as possible!