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!

blessings

It was a beautiful weekend, especially so because my beautiful niece had her baby shower – a.k.a. belly blessing. We all went to the park with lovely offerings of yummy treats and full of well wishes for the expectant mum.
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We played some games, added our wishes to the wishing tree…
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and decorated candles for use at the impending birth. The mum-to-be had asked her guests, instead of gifts, to bring along a positive little story about a birthing or childhood memory. It was a lovely experience, shared amongst all of us- young ladies just starting out with motherhood and some of us perhaps a little more seasoned in those fantastic times of being a mother, which none of us would give up for anything.
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some stitching and sketching

I’ve been doing a little more work on a hand-stitched piece. This is in response to classes I have taken online with Jude Hill of Spirit Cloth.
I love her work and have followed many classes over the years. This week I made this little woven patch:

wovenpatch1I’ll add it to a larger piece which is going to have a few assorted pieces and lots of stitching. You might remember this little piece I showed last week which is for the same project:
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This week’s woven patch is added to resemble a city building. I created it first as a small piece by weaving strips into a a larger piece of printed fabric.
I then inserted the woven piece into the larger project and did some extra stitching on top:
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As I work through it I’ll show some more on here, but as I am basically making it up as I go along there’s not a lot to show just yet!
I’ve also been doing some more drawing and sketching, so I drew this little page so illustrate the steps I took to create the woven patch:
patchpict
Hope you are having a good week!

inspiration from “Quilting Arts”

I’ve been dividing myself between a few different projects lately, not getting far in any of them but just keeping them rolling along. Since finishing the Lollipop trees quilt in July, I don’t feel I have done much hand-work at all- not deliberately avoiding it but perhaps subconsciously needing a break from it.
I am working on a little piece that has a mix of hand-work and machining. These little flowers:
flowers
are done as an abstract collage using torn strips of fabric, haphazardly arranged and sewn down with random free-motion stitching on top. I got the idea from this article by Constance Grayson in the August-September issue of “Quilting Arts” magazine, one of my favourites.
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I’ve also done the Aurifil block-of-the month for September:
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I didn’t make it exactly like the original as that would have made a 12″ block, so I did just the corner of the block twice over into two smaller blocks.
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The two smaller blocks will fit in better with my scrappy medallion quilt that is also still crawling along!
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And I am also working on some customer quilts on my long-arm machine. The latest is this little baby quilt:
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I quilted it in an all-over swirly pattern as well as around the appliqued shapes.
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How are all your projects coming along?

photo-a-day

I took a little break from taking a photo a day but have recently joined back in. While I don’t always take one every day, or stick to each day’s prescribed theme, I take them when I can. I use it as a way of keeping family members up to date with what might be happening at home!
Here’s a sample of photos I’ve taken over the last month or so:

this theme was [mix}: a mix of fabrics on my sewing bench:

[give] I was waiting for Child #3 to ‘give’ me a call when he was away on a sporting trip (he was stingy with his phone calls…. just saying)

[nearby] I was wishing this pair was nearby….they did actually come up to visit this past weekend, yay!!!

[style] or not as the case may be…but so warm for the feet!

[DIY] home-printed paper from our recent eco-dyeing class

What about you- do you take photos of the day’s little moments? Have a good week!