Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Mini break

I'm back from a fun mini break in Sydney - visiting the Quilt Show followed by a Sydney city hotel stay with my daughter, meals out and shopping. So many exciting experiences crammed into a short stay! 

I took 101 photos of the Quilt Show but due to the strict publishing rules cannot show individual quilts without permission. The collection of red and white quilts were so pretty en mass. There are pics on the Quilt Guild blog  and Instagram (sydneyquiltshow2015) and here is one of mine.

There was so much inspiring work among the general entries too.  I got permission from Wendy to post photos of her stunning quilt - just love it. Hand quilted beautifully - well done Wendy! 

The quilting adds so much and it was exciting to see how many of the quilts that I loved at the Show were hand quilted - loads of them. It was interesting to see the variation in size of stitches, thread weight, density of quilting - great to study up close. The quilting was just as effective and attractive with larger stitches - especially when it suited the style and scale of the quilt, and was even in size and spread. I have made two collages of tiny quilt snippets from the Show (so small as not to give anything away re design I think)  but they are all different quilts, and different styles, all I admired, and all hand quilted. 

I know not everyone can manage to hand quilt - and I was one of those for many years. And sometimes you just need to finish a quilt quick! But just saying ...how lovely it looks and feels. 

Talking of which - I have made a start to hand quilting Ann Randoll. I meant to use larger quilt stitches but the smaller looked better against the scale of the saw tooth border so I think I am stuck with it now.

I forget how exciting Sydney can be ..in small doses. 
Here we are heading out from our hotel for the night - me getting a crash course in 'selfies'
We had an entertaining and truly delicious dinner out at Chef's Gallery near Town Hall - where all the talented chefs are on view in a glass gallery kitchen - amazing. We could have reached over and literally had a hand in the cooking ..if there wasn't the glass wall!
Modern Chinese - best beans I've ever tasted.

Oh and I might just have bought a Mother-of-the-bride outfit - thanks to David Jones, Anthea Crawford  and my daughter's keen eye. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Harrison Rose first block

A start to Harrison RoseDawn's pattern ) - one block down. It's a large block at 17 inches square and I chose to construct it in solids and all needleturn applique, with back basting prep. The pattern helpfully gives a suggested order of placement for back basting. Of course, being so keen to start,  I only noticed those instructions once I was half way through - haha. So my order of attack was different but it worked just fine. Nancy has put together her blocks here - so beautiful! Scroll down here for her alternative prep method. I say "whatever works for you" to get those points under control!

My Civil War Bride border is coming along  - the two side vine borders went along quite quickly and I stitched them to the top. 
Then to work on the top and bottom borders. This was a little more complex as it would include the ends where the vine turns the corner. 

I wanted to have a bird on the vine in each corner but discovered that I am really useless at drawing vintage/naive looking birds! So I borrowed a bird from one of the blocks and with a few minor adjustments decided he would do. 

Here are a couple of progress pics
Centre of bottom border

A bird at a corner
All in all I had a very productive Queen's Birthday long weekend on the quilting front - not that I am a monarchist but they clearly have their uses! 
So I also managed to pin baste my Ann Randoll quilt top.

I'm planning on a narrow brown binding to finish the quilt along the saw tooth edge. That edge is quite fragile as all hand appliqued - very vulnerable to fraying and damage during the tug and pull of hand quilting in a hoop. I thought about trimming the layers and adding the binding right now and so protect that edge. But I have never before added binding before quilting, and am not confident how good a finish it will produce. Would the straightness of the edge be compromised? not sure and even more, not brave enough to try! 
So my solution was to add a broad but purely temporary border strip. It serves two purposes while quilting - to protect the applique edge and to enclose the pesky fluff of the batting. I cut up strips of ugly or poor quality fabric that has been languishing in the cupboard. This I stitched into a broad, very crude casing along the outer edge. I used the largest basting stitch on my machine - easily removed after quilting is finished.
What would the Quilt Police think of my border attachment do you think? Actually it might win awards for making a statement perhaps? ...in fact I'm rather afraid it might!

Speaking of which..I'm really looking forward to visiting the Sydney Quilt Show this week - with the special Red and White display. The  Quilters Guild of NSW is posting photos, and encouraging others to post pics, on Instagram so maybe the 'publishing' constraints of previous years are being relaxed...would be lovely to be able to share more of these. 
...in fact a new post on their blog has just popped up with a lovely photo here - exciting!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Civil War Bride borders

I've been meddling with the Civil War Bride pattern again (yes I know - never satisfied). I've kept the winding vine, added some curls, a few pears and loads more leaves. 

I'll show you my method - just what I do but there are always other ways of going about it.
Trying my paper sketch out for size against the quilt:
Cutting a strip of background, placing it over my pattern, and tracing it on to the back of the fabric ready for back basting applique) with the help of a light pad. Thank goodness for a long kitchen bench - just another surface clearly designed for quilting! 

Then I made some 1/4 inch bias using the iron and a little Clover bias gadget. I think we've all tried this method but here is a link to a tutorial just in case. Then I pinned it to the fabric. I have tried glue in the past to hold the bias in place, but I prefer pins as I can make little adjustments as I stitch it down, and there is no risk of glue stains. I pinned the bias down with my light pad underneath - so I could see the placement lines that I drew on the back of the background fabric. 
Once the bias was all stitched down I used back basting to prepare all the rest of the applique and needle turned it. 
One border complete  -  three more to go, and some corners!

It's time to put another quilt in the hoop. There's no one so keen as the recently converted - and that's me with hand quilting! Remember this one? Ann Randoll - my verson of Rhonda Pearce's reproduction. 
The top was finished in October last year and put on the quilting queue while I revisited hand quilting. I think am sure I can tackle it now.  It was complex to piece this quilt but I'm hoping the quilting will be relatively simple - mostly outlining and highlighting the shapes. But maybe some fill in places...will see as it goes. 
Here is the backing prepared and I'm just waiting for delivery of the wool batting - can't wait to get it in the hoop!

(In case anyone asks...yes, this does mean I have finished hand quilting my Auntie Green -  but shhh - secret sewing - all to be revealed at the end of the year.)

Seeing as my CWB top is nearly finished I've been rummaging among the stash planning the next quilt to start. I bought Dawn's pattern Harrison Rose a little while ago and it has been waiting patiently. 

Nancy  is making her version in pink and green prints and I love it. But I'm going to take this chance to make something that has been on the 'one day' list for a long time - a quilt in solids. I've used plenty of red solid in quilts before but have not touched my little collection of cheddar. Each of these fabrics, from different manufacturers,  is called "cheddar"  and yet so different..
In deciding on my colour scheme I spotted some quilt images on Pinterest  - in colours that appeal to me - and printed them on a page to take to the stash. I love the way the greens in some antique quilts have washed/ aged to a taupe. So I thought I'd bypass the aging and go straight for the taupe in this quilt. 
The reds that are faded in antiques are so lovely too - as in this cutter scrap (that I showed a couple of posts ago). So I'll carry on the aged appeal by selecting reds in these old tones.
How about these colours for a start? 

While I was fossicking for fabric in the cupboards I ventured on a little tidying - had seen some of this going on in blogs and was inspired to try it! The tidying developed into a re arrangement  which then steam rolled into a full on clean out. I am now relatively back in control (phew) but have many boxes full of books and bobs for donation in the garage, clearer shelves, and have my 35 odd quilts in better order.
A Spring clean at the beginning of winter...that's what comes of reading blogs the other side of the world!