stretching the stitch

I’ve been working on my little stitch sampler- a project that a group of us began last year under the very capable tutelage of Jan Knight. We had all professed a desire to practice our hand stitching and agreed that we could make a little stitch sampler book- something that was very popular in days gone by.

Karen- Stitch Sampler

Karen- Stitch Sampler


The design of the sampler was up to the individual, as was the materials to be used. We also wanted it to be a means of exploration and ‘stretching’ the stitch. Jan would show us the basic stitches and then we could copy them and re-interpret them how we wished. I decided to make my pages out of pre-loved linens and soft fabrics. Each page would therefore be different, and probably a different size to each other. These are some of my pages.
Karen

Karen


I’m still finishing the pages so I’ll keep some to show you when all complete!
Karen

Karen


Karen

Karen


I’ve done each page in a wide horizontal shape which I then plan to fold in half into its own little ‘signature’, and put the next page back-to-back with it. I still have to work out how I will stitch the pages into the cover.
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I have this old piece of a linen tablecloth which will be the cover, and which also needs some stitching on it.
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At the recent quilters meeting, Marilyn showed the group her finished stitch sampler and its beautiful cover –
Marilyn- stitch sampler

Marilyn- stitch sampler


…such an effective use of the bullion stitch.
Marilyn

Marilyn

\
Jan K

Jan K


I need to get back to stitching… see you next week!

shades of purple

The challenge for the art quilt group I belong to was to make a 6inch quiltlet using only two colours- for January it was purple and yellow, and for February it was purple and white.This is the first one:

Karen --purple lotus

Karen –purple lotus


These small pieces are an excellent way of playing and experimenting- not just with a design restricted to two colours, but also techniques and materials. I’ve tried to vary all of these in each month’s piece that I’ve made. I had use of a needle felting machine over the Christmas period so thought I would have a play with it. I used scraps of jewel-coloured sari silk and wool roving which I tore up into bits and laid over a piece of soft wool felt as the background. It probably doesn’t look overly recognisable, but the look I was going for was a lotus flower (!).
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Varieties of purple pieces were felted down over an outline of petals, with yellow silk for the middle. I did try to do some shading, making some petal edges a different shade, but then added on afterwards some small pieces of torn cotton fabric to the edges for further emphasis. I did lots of free-motion stitching over the flower itself, and some scribble-stitching around the whole flower.
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To finish it off, I sewed it down onto a piece of hand-dyed purple cotton, sewing roughly around the edges numerous times, not wanting it to look too neat! I then trimmed that down (we are making them all at 6″ square),added a back on to it and turned it through, pillow-case style.
For the next one, using only purple and white, I decided to do a foundation-pieced butterfly.
Karen-purple flutterby

Karen-purple flutterby


I found a pattern somewhere in one of my books and made it using a variety of purples and whites, and some of my own painted fabric for the background pieces. I then added a striped border with mitred corners-
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At the monthly meeting we all got to see everyone else’s interpretation of the flora and fauna theme with those colours:
Clockwise from TL: Helen H, Marg Y, Cornelia, Shirley, Marilyn, Helen S, Jan K, Lyn

Clockwise from TL: Helen H, Marg Y, Cornelia, Shirley, Marilyn, Helen S, Jan K, Lyn


Clockwise from TL-Shirley, JanK, me, Helen S, HelenH, Lyn, Marg, Meryl

Clockwise from TL-Shirley, JanK, me, Helen S, HelenH, Lyn, Marg, Meryl

rows of colour

It seems everywhere around my part of the world is baking hot at the moment. With temperatures in the upper 30’s (C) for day after day, in fact over 40′ today, and no relief at night-time, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying it does get a little wearying! If you are lucky enough to have air conditioning or cooling of some type, then I think the best place to be is inside doing some sewing!
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Over the last month or two, in between my long-arm quilting jobs, I’ve been trying to get this quilt top together. My local quilt group has been working on a number of quilts that we plan to give away to various charity or community groups. We were fortunate to have a lot of fabric donated to us, so it was just a matter of everyone picking a pattern, choosing the fabric from the pile and start sewing. I chose to make a children’s quilt, with lots of colour. I picked this pattern from a 2015 issue of Homespun:
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The featured quilt has an applique block which I’ve replaced with more of the smaller oblong blocks, and enlarged the quilt slightly to make it single-bed-size. There was lots and lots of cutting involved to start with, but once that was done the sewing is pretty straight forward.
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Once I had the little blocks made, I laid them out to look for an arrangement. I started off thinking to make an all-over scrappy quilt, but then changed my mind and put the blocks in gradated colour change from corner to corner.
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It looks nice and bright, and hopefully will appeal to some of the younger recipients of these quilts.
Once I had the layout, I had to carefully pick the squares up in order and keep each row together. I’ve been chain-piecing the blocks into rows in between other jobs. Hope I keep them all in the chosen order!
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I’m not sure what border to add to it yet- I’ll leave that decision for later.
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I thought I would include here annual photos of my three family pets. This week is the 5th birthday of our lovely girl Hayley, she of the awesome catching skills and lightening speed:

Hayley aged 5

Hayley aged 5


Her big little sister is Chloe, who -even though she is the littlest- is the matriarch:
Chloe- aged 14

Chloe- aged 14


And Dublin, who has them all bluffed and likes you to think he is the big tough cat:
Dublin- 6 years

Dublin- 6 years

See you next week!

catching up

The Splendid Sampler quiltalong is still coming along! I have been completing a block whenever I can, but I’m not up to the number that have been released to date. I did catch up on quite a few of them over the holidays. There will be 100 blocks in total and I think they are up to about Block 96. Here are my blocks 56 -61:

Block 56 "At Home Anywhere"

Block 56 “At Home Anywhere”


Block 57 "Starting Point"

Block 57 “Starting Point”


Block 58 "Homeward Bound"

Block 58 “Homeward Bound”


Block 59 "Circle of Friendship"

Block 59 “Circle of Friendship”


Block 61 "Traveler"

Block 61 “Traveler”

The holidays were also good for catching up on sewing with friends. A small group of us get together when we can and bring our own sewing to work on…
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We have a chat and a read through some books or magazines, just for inspiration mind you..
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And of course we have to have a snack to keep the energy levels up…
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Hope you have had a chance to ‘catch up’- we are already a month into the year!

cotton rope bowl

I had seen these lovely cotton rope baskets, bowls and coasters in various places on the internet and really wanted to give them a go.
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They are made the same as the coiled shoulder bags that many quilters have made, me included, where the rope is covered with a strip of fabric before coiling it around in a spiral and sewing the layers together as you shape the bag. This is mine I made a few years ago.
Karen-bag
The little bowls and coasters are made in the same way except the rope isn’t covered in fabric, and left au naturel. You can add little pieces here and there to give them an organic look. So I got some rope and tried it out.
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For the bowl, I had to shape its curves with each rotation under the machine. Pull it tight and the bowl will have a narrower taller shape as it forms. I was aiming for somewhere in between that and a wide bowl but really, it just formed its own shape! Once you leave it to be wider you can’t really bring it back in so I think the trick is to pay close attention to the shape as you sew each coil down.
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I added some little pieces of fabric here and there, just wrapping a scrap around the cord just before sewing it.
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After the bowl, I had enough to make a little mat. For this one you just have to make sure it doesn’t coil up at all as you go around.
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I love them, I think they turned out really well! I have given these away as a gift, so I am going to have to make another one for myself. The tricky part will be to find the cotton rope or cord which isn’t easy for some reason. I happened across this one hank in a Spotlight store so I’m off to track down some more!
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coil7

Christmas wrap-up

So, here we are in the New Year and Christmas is over already! It’s no secret in my family that I love Christmas, so I’m always a little sad when it’s time to pack up all the Chrissy decorations and bits and pieces. But before I do that I hope you don’t mind that I show a last couple of pictures of various Christmas bits and bobs I found still up around the area
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xmas-page
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And my Christmas quilt that I showed in the last post: I have a few more photos here. The outer star border was made with random text fabrics, with the star points cut out of my scrappy fabric that I put together on the side, as I’ve shown before. I love these blocks in particular- just something about the use of the bright scraps against the black/white text pieces makes me happy!
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I quilted it in an all-over free-hand pattern and took it with me on our little Christmas break to finish hand-sewing the binding.
I did some other Christmas sewing as well- I made this little bag (using the Sew Together pattern by ‘Sew Demented’) for my daughter. These are fun little bags and so very useful with their zippered sections which you can make in different fabrics and coloured zips:
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She could use it for make-up, or sewing or coloured pencils…..
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I have a lot of long-arm quilting waiting for me so I’ll be busy catching up on that for the next little while. Have a good week!

Merry Christmas

Just a quick note to say Merry Christmas to everyone, and wishes for a happy, healthy and safe New Year. I’m taking a break from the blog for a couple of weeks but will be back in January.
Below is a picture of my Christmas quilt that I have been working on for the last month or two. I’m just finishing off the binding, so it will make it just in time for the big day!
I used some fabric I bought in New York for the background in the centre medallion- it has line drawings of the NY city skyline. The birds and leaves are a mixture of felt and cotton fabrics and I used ‘scrappy’ fabric for the wonky star border.

Karen Mundt- Oh Christmas tree , pattern by Wendy Williams

Karen Mundt- Oh Christmas tree , pattern by Wendy Williams


See you next year :)

more blocks

A progress report on my blocks for the Splendid Sampler quiltalong- here are five I have made recently:
I changed this first block from the original pattern by taking out the hexagon ‘flower’ and giving the bee some wings on both sides.

Block 51  Bee Happy

Block 51 Bee Happy


Block 52 Coneflower

Block 52 Coneflower


This next block has more of the indigo and blue colours in it:
Block 53 Whirling in Circles

Block 53 Whirling in Circles


You might pick a little error in the fabric placement in this next block- I wasn’t going to unpick it once I realised the mistake at the end!
Block 54 Shell

Block 54 Shell


I have machine-sewn most of the blocks, including this next one where I used the method of raw-edge machine applique:
Block 55 Dedication Rose

Block 55 Dedication Rose

how to make a Christmas gift

A recipe for a handmade book-mark:

Christmas Book-mark:   Karen Mundt

Christmas Book-mark: Karen Mundt


1. Take a piece of hand-painted and stencilled cloth and some sari ribbon of contrasting colours:
2. Lay out the sari ribbon silk strips and sew them down onto the painted cloth- I used a large zig-zag stitch in black thread.
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Then cut across that piece into short strips of varying widths – no ruler needed! Rearrange those short strips- I rearranged so that there would be red pieces of the ribbon popping up in random locations, and then sew them back together.
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3. The piece of re-constructed cloth I had at this stage was about 6″ wide. I then cross-cut that (you know I like to cut things up!) into the pieces that would become the book-mark- 6″ long and about 2.5″ wide. You can make them any size you want by sewing extra strips together or cutting wider or narrower….
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4. I tore up a page from an old book and together with a scrap of fabric attached them onto the top. I used little pieces of text fabric- any words or sayings to do with books or quilts, used black thread and left the thread ends showing on top.
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5. I then ironed onto the back of each of them some thin pellon- but in retrospect it would have been easier to iron that on to the back of the larger piece before cutting them up in Step 3 above :)
6. I used a piece of my hand-dyed cloth (dyed in a workshop quite a few years ago) as the backing- layered that and the top piece, wrong sides together, and sewed around the raw edges. I inserted a piece of ribbon or string as the loop for each one- leaving the cut edges out. Use whatever you have at hand, and they don’t all have to be the same. Sew around the edges at least twice free-style so the stitching looks uneven and ‘rustic’.
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Great to use for Christmas gifts!
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workshopping

A couple of weeks back, I mentioned about the workshop we had here at Gatton, run by Ali George. I realised that I didn’t show many of the pieces I made on the day, so thought I would do so now.
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All of the pieces needed the paints or oil stick or wax set in some way, so I have finally got around to doing that now. We produced quite a variety of different fabrics, and the challenge now is to use them in some way in our art quilts. That can be easier said than done- I find myself staring at all of them trying to come up with ideas on how best to make the most of them. That first picture above shows some leaves that were rolled with paint onto the fabric in a random arrangement, as with the one below:
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This piece started out as black fabric, which I then treated with some soy wax resist and bits of string, as well as gel bleach, to produce the design: I’m sure I can see a definite face.
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This one used fabric paint with a wood block stamp- I like it because it gives the appearance of an aerial view of city streets:
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I think I will probably cut that one up to use in smaller blocks within an art quilt.
This couple were done with oil crayons and rubbing over surfaces- whatever surface could be found at the time:
crayon-page
I used some stencils made with an old card and some gold paint to make the bauble-shapes on top of the blue and purple – it was actually a ‘clean-up’ cloth but now looks special- it might come in handy for some Christmas sewing:
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This next one was also a clean-up cloth until Ali grabbed it to use as a demonstration of the effect you will get when you tie string around a brayer and run it through some paint: those lovely green skinny lines made the cloth resemble scattered poppies. This has turned out to be my favourite piece of the day. I can see it being embellished with lots of hand-stitching:
poppies
This last one has an industrial look to it- produced with paint over a grid of masking tape and bubble-wrap:
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Any suggestions on how to utilise them?!