Tuesday 30 August 2016

Updating the process

One of the best things about blogging is the record it keeps of what we quilt, how we do it and ..ahem...how long it takes us. There are a lot of us out there who like to make/start a lot of quilts - award carrying members of QUADDA (Quilter's ADD anonymous). I made that up but you know what I mean! My blog helps me remember the process - useful in looking back. The details can be so easily forgotten when you just look at the finished product. It's a great record for me ...so excuse the waffle. You can always skim the waffle though and just look at the pics?!

Wheat and Woods - the hand quilting update:
Last post I was outline quilting around all the applique - and removing pins as I went.

Then what to quilt over the broderie perse centre? I decided on a half inch grid - easy to mark on my largest coffee table with the Hera marker. Note that I have a cutting mat under the quilt as the Hera will mark a table top - not a good look! And no - I did not cut out the background under the broderie perse - decided it looked too fragile and needed the stability of the background fabric. As it turned out the quilting was easy over the top - maybe due to having only a thin batting (Quilters Dream Request cotton)?

Once the grid was quilted, then the trees in the corners around the centre looked quite loose and flappy so some intense quilting was needed. I love echo quilting so that was the go here - and no marking needed. I'm still using a TJ quilting spoon under the quilt (left hand) and a half thimble and needle puller (right hand) - and have found that the perfect combination for my arthritic fingers - comfortable and quick. The thread I favour is YLI hand quilting thread (here in 'Natural'). I'm quite keen on these needles too - size 10 Piecemaker quilting betweens - short and strong.

Next I added half inch parallel lines to the outer broderie perse border. Simple to mark again with the Hera marker.
The border quilted very quickly. Maybe it helped to be watching track racing on recorded Olympics TV coverage!
Next step is to add some more quilting on the main part of the quilt - not too intense but just to get more balance across the whole. I dithered a lot here - trying to decide on possible motifs (and how much marking I was willing to do). In the end I liked a simple grid that also absorbs/masks some seam lines. 

...and that's what I'm working on now

Some progress on Hexagon Star: started in March and has been a useful portable project to take to Quilt Group Sit and Sew meetings, and even in the suitcase travelling. 

They're half inch hexagons - English paper pieced. The little top measures 31" by 35" and I could finish the quilt at this point (that was the plan). 
But after seeing all the unbelievably inspiring antique quilts at the Making of the Australian Quilt exhibition in Melbourne (see last post) I'm motivated shamed into to add more to this. So I'm starting a border. 

Indigo Stars is a quilt I have been making since November last year - in Audrey's Quilty365 - hand appliqued onto squares of 2 and 4 inches. 
I've not been the best follower since there was supposed to be one circle appliqued each day for a year. I constantly played catch up and then have let it linger for a while on the design wall. Not wanting to be beaten I decided to finish at 288 circles and make it into a quilt. I cut some border and corner triangles and had a machine stitching marathon to make them into a top (about 55"). 

I'm not entirely thrilled with it  - am not sure why exactly.  It's calling out for some quilting to add definition but will wait in the queue for now. 

Here's something I am thrilled with - my iron tote/caddy. 
It was quick and super easy to make (I downsized a large pattern to suit my mini quilting iron). Google search for "iron caddy" to find a pattern from various sources - very clever and cute. 
And I'm also thrilled that I didn't need to buy anything to make it! The fabrics and battings were left overs in the stash, the vintage buttons and elastic were in my sewing cabinet and the ironing fabric was a recycled ironing board cover. 

Aren't these lovely fabrics? I was so surprised to win this generous collection from Margaret through her Instagram feed. We have the same taste in fabrics - lucky for me :)

It's been fairly quiet (and cold) in the garden so more time to quilt....no watering and no mowing - but that is about to change. We've had a relatively wet winter and the plants are showing they love it. 

It's a gorgeous day - a balmy 18 deg C -  I'm off for a walk. Enjoy the start to Spring ( or Autumn)!

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Melbourne magic

Last week my daughter and I met up at Sydney airport and zoomed interstate for a few days to Melbourne. A highlight for me was to be a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria, to their exhibition  The Making of the Australian Quilt. It did not disappoint - exquisite antique quilts, beautifully displayed!

The Mary Tolman quilt 
And here's what I'm gazing at ...divine fabrics and tiny stitches!

No I don't know the lady - she looks mesmerised
Have a look at Miriam's post for her favourite quilt. I couldn't pick one I liked best - loved so many of them! There are also some great pics at The History Blog. If you click on their photos the detail is amazing. It was a great opportunity to get up close and examine the detail of the quilters' work. 

We had fun reading all the 'words of wisdom' on The Westbury quilt: 

Wonderful fussy cut paper piecing (above) in an unfinished hexagon quilt made by the wife of the Governor of NSW around 1846. Sadly she never completed it as she was killed in a carriage accident in 1847.

The old recycled printed papers still in unfinished work makes for a history study in itself - and there's me squinting to read them. 

Inspirational borders that caught my eye:
Quilt by Mary Jane Hannaford


It was very exciting for DD and I to see the original Auntie Green coverlet 

Such a variety of beautiful colours. Quite a masterpiece - especially considering the limitations of lighting at the time.

This was the version I made as a wedding gift for DD in her choice of neutral shades. It was made from the pattern by Irene Blanck (with some little variations).

I do love it and the colours she chose ...but now I am seriously tempted to make a more colourful version for myself. Add that to the 'To Do' list ...

Some momentos from the NGV - including a beautifully illustrated, heavy publication, a cloth tote bag, magnet, book mark and card.  

Sadly the Auntie Green does not feature in the book.  Good thing I took a lot of photos!

And what else did we do in Melbourne? We also enjoyed the exhibition of Australian Fashion through the Ages (also at the NGV) 
I was fascinated by the hand stitched detail in some of the older pieces - so many buttonholes stitched by hand! No sewing machines till 1850's. 

And then there were a lot of more colourful modern creations. Which would you rather be wearing, given a choice?! 
The pant suit looks comfortable and she must be a busy sewer - just look how many threads she's picked up!

I popped in to the Melbourne Quilt Show to see the Victorian Quilt Showcase. There were some lovely quilts - especially some expert broderie perse and hand quilting. Unfortunately no photo sharing allowed - sorry. If you click on the link there are pictures of a few of the quilts that won ribbons. One of them is a lovely machine quilted Caswell quilt (Threadbear pattern by Corliss Searcey) but there was also another Caswell that was beautifully hand appliqued and hand quilted - just gorgeous. 

We caught up with Melbourne friends, caught a musical (Mathilda), a movie (the new Ghostbusters), a few delicious meals at little eateries, and explored the shops - perfect!
Now back to quilting with renewed energy...