Christmas 2014

It’s Christmas week already! the trees are up, the lights are on, presents are starting to gather. I just love Christmas!
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I made some little Christmas stars this year. They were made of a variety of fabric scraps, from re-purposed linen tea-towels, like this one I showed last week…
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to rusty cottons and linen scraps left over from past projects.
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I stitched random patterns on each of them, using blues and browns as my theme.
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Then beads were added to add a touch of sparkle. I sewed around them keeping the raw edges out, with some twine or cords to hang them with and filled with a little stuffing. Cute?!
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There’s something about a Christmas tree, so I did a little photo survey within my family:
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all different but all so nice!
And another thing nice about this time of year are the beautiful flowers that are blooming, like these irises from my brother-in-law’s garden:
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I hope you all have a joyful Christmas with your loved ones and look forward to a happy and healthy- and quilt-filled – New Year!
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Christmas party

We had a Christmas party with Gatton Quilters last week. No doubt, there are a lot of Christmas parties being held now! It’s a good time to catch up with everyone, to see the latest project they have been working on, as well as – in our case- the results of any challenges. We also had a lucky dip where we all had to bring along a Christmas ornament to swap with others. Here is the one I made to swap – a star made from an old linen teatowel, hand- embroidered and beaded:
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We have a bunch of talented ladies in Gatton Quilters, including a group of art quilters. The group had a challenge in this latter half of the year to produce a piece to the theme of ‘Recycled’- to interpret however we wanted, in whatever format and using whatever materials we wanted.
Here are a few of the challenge projects:

Marilyn

Marilyn


Meryl

Meryl


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This magnificent work below is by Shirley, using feathers to create the gentlemen: the work is mounted and framed. Really breathtaking.
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The party is also a chance to “show and tell”- here’s just a few:
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Helen- completed journal

Helen- completed journal


Jan K

Jan K


On another note, at long last we have rain! The grass is green, the dams are full, the frogs are croaking and the storms are fierce! Here is my brave companion Hayley, who has to come inside at the first rumble of thunder, then promptly hides under the desk:
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and checking out the window at a particularly large clap of thunder:
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So brave!

spiders and butterflies

Another couple of quilts that I recently long-arm quilted.
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Meryl made these two lovely quilts with jars of bugs and butterflies and asked me to quilt them. As both quilts were the same- same design and same colours, I wanted to be able to quilt them differently to each other.
This first quilt has some spiderwebs all over it:
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and this is the back which shows up the quilting a little better:
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The second quilt has a sort-of echoing curvy design with some leaves and critters and dragon-flies here and there!
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The only thing with the black fabric was that it attracted a lot of fluff which you can see in the photos. I think I brushed these quilts numerous times!
meryl2 A little quilt writing as well!
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I’m busy sewing some Christmas gifts at the moment, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise so I can’t show them to you just yet! Are you also busy preparing for Christmas?
Hope you have a good week.:)

stitching a story

Some progress on my little Christmas cloth that I started last week.
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I’ve sewn down the tree and added another one.. I think this is going to be a “Twas the night before Christmas” story.
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Can you tell what this little patchwork animal is going to be?! It looks a lot like our lovely kelpieX dog Haley (I hope!). Only pinned in place at the moment and yet to work out the best way to sew her down, and then of course add her tail!
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Also I thought I’d show this quilt below, as I don’t think I have had it here on the blog before. It’s a pretty basic design I made some years ago for my daughter to take to Uni but it has recently made its way home again. It’s place has been taken by the Lollipop Trees quilt!
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It was made with a pattern published in a magazine about 5 or 6 years ago, and I can’t remember the name or who designed it.
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I used a large selection of mainly Kaffe Fassett fabrics and possibly a few others- I can’t remember exactly.
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I quilted it on my long-arm machine but decided to practise using a circular attachment which alows you to draw perfect circles. I quilted varying-sized circles randomly over the quilt.
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I’ve given it a wash so its even softer and crinkly now.

looking towards Christmas

At long last I’m starting to think about Christmas, and in particular what sewing-related projects I want to make – either as Christmas gifts or for our own home. I like to make something different each year to put up on the wall or on the tree. I should have started before now, but the last week or so I have been fairly productive and had a good start. I really love Christmas and all that goes with it, but by the same token its hard to get into gear!
I have started a little Christmas cloth, in which I’m utilising techniques I’ve learnt from following Jude Hill on Spiritcloth. The ground is a nine-patch, made out of two different fabrics.
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The dark blue is some cloth made when I did some bleach discharging earlier in the year. The top-left right corner looks like a moon, don’t you think?
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The light squares at the bottom are some fabric from our eco-dyeing workshop. As it is a fine knit, I’ve backed it with some light iron-on interfacing to give some body. The gauze, or cheesecloth, has been sewn on and resembles some hills.
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When I got to thinking about what else to do with it and started rummaging through my scraps bucket, a triangle-shaped piece just fell out. I picked it up and thought- hah! this resembles a tree. Put it on and spur-of-the-moment decision has given me a Christmas tree. Serendipity :) I’ll show you more as I work on it leading up to Christmas.

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I also have some photos here of a quilt-top I recently long-arm quilted for Alison. Alison left the quilting decision up to me so I experimented and made up some new designs. The lantern-shapes have large diamond-shapes quilted on them
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and there are some feather-like flourishes (don’t know what to call them!) up through the mid-sections- the negative-space parts of the quilt.
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Here are some pictures of the back which might show the quilting a little better.
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It is quite an unusual backing fabric. I’m always curious on what people choose for their backs!
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Overall, a lovely modern quilt in nice fresh colours.
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Talk to you next week!

some sashiko play

We just recently had a visit to Gatton from the ladies from Indigo Niche, Sue and Colleen. They came to give a workshop to our quilt group on the traditional Japanese art of Sashiko stitching. This is one of their samples- not mine!
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Sashiko is deceptively simple but there are little tricks to get the best from your stitching, and like everything practise makes perfect.
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We’ve learnt that the more stitching we do, the more consistent we get with stitch length and the straighter our stitches are! We were also lucky to have a trunk show where Sue and Colleen showed us some beautiful quilts and runners which had utilised sashiko in them.
IN3This next one showcased some lovely quilting as well.
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It was really interesting to see how a panel of sashiko stitching could be incorporated into a quilt design; the following was one of my favourites. It joined both aboriginal fabrics and a sashiko panel very effectively.
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As Sue explained, you can also vary how you do the sashiko as well- vary the design using some of the elements, leave some parts unstitched altogether and feature some negative space, or vary the colours of the threads and fabric. It doesn’t all have to be on the traditional indigo or dark coloured fabric ground.
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And this jacket- everyone wanted to take it home! Sue had found it in Japan. It is made in the ‘boro’ style, utilising lots of little scraps sewn on top of each other to patch the worn parts, fixed in pace with large hand stitches. Just a really beautiful garment to keep and treasure.
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The workshop left us all nicely motivated to keep going with our Sashiko. Indigo Niche were very generous with their time and provided for a great day for us all.
We also had our usual Show and Tell where members showed their completed projects. Jeanette O had made this colourful quilt “Oriental Refelctions”
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and this cat-flavoured hanging was made by the group for Pearl who recently celebrated her 80th birthday!
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Hope you have a good week!

some art and quilting

Some photos to show you today. The first few were taken yesterday when I visited the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane with my lovely daughter. We had a look at a few different galleries, and even though I didn’t get the artist’s names here are a couple that I really loved:
when I was checking these photos I realised that I wasn’t even sure which was the correct way up for this one from a Japanese artist: it was suspended in mid-air and crafted so that the top half was ‘reflected’ underneath it, just like it would be on a lake:
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and there was a gallery of aboriginal art, my most favourite of all art:
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All those dots!
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If you ever get a chance to visit the museums or art galleries in Brisbane, you’ll find they have fantastic displays.
I’ve also been very busy with quilting quilts for clients on my long-arm machine. These two were done for Barb, this first one is a large quilt with the name ‘Chopsticks’:
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Barb has used some really nice and different fabrics in this one. The quilting design is one that she chose, with various sized triangles in the blocks and small pebbles in the triangle sashings:
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The backing:
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The second quilt is a baby quilt with a pinwheel design and so cute!
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Barb wanted an all-over large stipple on this one, allowing the little prairie points to stay free, with straight lines in the first border.
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I hope the lucky recipients like them!

artscape

Remember my little art quilt I started last week on a whim? Well, this is part two- it’s now finished.
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I added some backing and a thin iron-on batting before quilting. I only quilted those areas which had no piecing, such as the red squares and the smaller taupe squares. The other blocks had their own thing going on with the micro-piecing.
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I quilted it with a walking foot and a variegated thread in the red squares and a matching thread in the other squares. Close lines of stitches, deliberately putting in slight curves here and there for a more ‘organic’ look. I then bound it with a skinny red binding by machine.
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A tiny art quilt, but a good size to try out some techniques and play with colour. I especially love the little tiny bits of yellow, which weren’t originally planned but just add something extra to it.
And I couldn’t resist adding these two photos below of a day lilly we have that has been putting forth lots of flowers in the last week or so. They come out in the morning and then are gone that night, but oh so pretty while they are around!
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making a little art quilt

I had a ‘play day’ today and decided to leave aside other projects to instead make a little art quilt. The large improvisational medallion quilt I’ve been making has been taking awhile and has been on my design wall for what seems like a very long time, plus I’ve also been busy quilting quilts for other people on my long-arm machine. It was time to just do something different.
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Last year, I did a workshop with Gwen Marston when she was over here in Australia. Part of that workshop was about experimenting and improvising, and playing with colour. I made lots of little parts, like those pictured above, but didn’t get back to do anything further with them. Today, I got all those parts out and played with them; rearranging here and there, cutting some bits up and joining others together to see if I could make a little art quilt.
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It started to come together a bit like this:
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I liked the idea of keeping the colour palette to taupe, teal, red and purple, so I picked out those pieces to start with. But one piece had some yellow in it, and that just seemed to give it a little spark, so I added another sliver.
The final arrangement is this:
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This is the pieced top only- next step is to quilt it with close echoing lines, mainly in those areas of solid colour, and then bind it. It will measure about 9×10″ : a mini art quilt that I’m naming Artscape 1 ( I plan to make lots more!)
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Hope you can find somewhere out of the heat to keep on sewing!

what’s happening…

Just a few photos today to show what the members of my local quilt group, Gatton Quilters, have been up to. Quite a mixed bag, with gifts for friends and quilts getting ready for Christmas.
Jan M made this cushion cover for a gift swap:
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Jean made this quilt, which was very effective using a different colour palette to most quilts around at the moment, with cat and dog shapes appliqued on top:
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Jan K made this Christmas Hearts quilt (with her pattern appearing in AP&Q):
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and continuing the Christmas theme, Marilyn made this little hand-stitched ornament (sorry for the blurry photos!):
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As for me, I don’t have any finished projects to show, but I can give this sneak peek at a client’s quilt I’m currently machine-quilting: I just love the fabrics used in this quilt so had to show it!
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Hope you are having a good week!