Busy, busy

I don’t know where the days go to! I truly have been busy with lots of sewing and quilting, mainly finishing off pieces for our quilt exhibition coming up next week here in Gatton. I have some photos here of one of the pieces I’m doing, but it just shows part of it- a landscape scene with lots of hand-sewing, hand-applique and raw-edge applique. I’m not sure if I should show the whole piece- seeing as it is going in an exhibition – maybe it’s not the done thing to show photos online first? or doesn’t that matter?! Anyway, for the time being it’s a work in progress, stray threads all over it and all.

I have about 5 or 6 pieces I will put on display, some done as a result of workshops or challenges I have taken part in with Gatton Quilters. No doubt, they will make their way onto this blog eventually.

I’m also thinking about a block I am going to make for a quilt that a group of us are collaborating on for a friend’s first grandbaby. The quilt is going to be in colours of blues, greens, turquoise, teal- anything along those lines. These are the pieces of fabric that I have been given to come up with a 10inch square block, using any method. There are 7 of us making a block each, possibly with a sea-side theme, but not necessarily. Thinking caps on…..

Joining in the Bloggers Quilt Festival

I thought I might join in the Bloggers Quilt Festival, which you can find over here
The quilt I’m sharing is one that I especially like – and I think that must be because it is one that I designed (sort of) myself. It was done as part of a challenge with my local quilt group, whereby each month we had a basic technique that we had to incorporate into our quilt. We had a choice of building up the quilt row by row, or starting with a medallion of our own choice, as I did.

All the participants wrote down a technique on a piece of paper which was then placed in a paper bag, and each month one piece was brought out. My preference has always been for pieced quilts, so I concentrated on that, but there were no ‘rules’ or ‘shoulds’ on how to incorporate each month’s instructions.
I started with a centre block that was a New York Beauty block, a la Valori Wells, and used batiks and hand-dyed fabrics throughout in bright and saturated colours.

The first round was Flowers, which I did with foundation-piecing. Next was 9-patch and on mine the diamond-shaped 9-patch blocks can be seen in the corner of the flower row. After that the themes were Drunkards Path, Traditional with a twist- which I did the log cabins with the variation in the corner blocks, then 3-dimensional, for which I did a round of triangle pieces that had alternate gathered pieces and embellished with beads. The stars in the corners were another theme.

I finished it off with lots of free motion quilting.
It was really enjoyable to do, although really challenging. Working out the sizes and dimensions of everything to keep it in proportion took some time, and then looking at it as a whole with regards to the colour scheme also took lots of eye-squinting and ‘humming and ha-ing’! But in the end, a sense of accomplishment.

Growing…

I fill my days with quilting-related activities, so much so that I still think to myself I didn’t get as much done today as I would have liked, but at least I have another day tomorrow to do it all again! Since being retrenched from my previous job, I have been fortunate to be able to stay at home and I have so loved being able to do what I like whenever I like.
I hope to develop my long-arm quilting business, but that is a long-term prospect, particularly in an environment where success depends very much on word-of-mouth, so I need to get more quilts quilted and build from there. I’m not one to easily self-promote so I find the aspect of looking for business the most difficult. So, it is a conundrum; how do people who don’t like promoting themselves drum up customers?!
In the meantime, I’m working on some quilt-art pieces for the exhibition that my local group, Gatton Quilters, will be having in June. All of the pieces have to be labelled and have a hanging sleeve – and that’s after they are actually finished! I’m planning to show 4 or 5 pieces, all with different techniques and end results. I’ll show some photos on here once I’m happy with them!
In the meantime, here is a photo of our baby- she is now 14 weeks old, growing lots and slowly learning how to be well-behaved – at least, most of the time!

And just for good measure, I have to include a photo of our little old lady Chloe, who so patiently (or not as the case may be) puts up with Hayley bounding all over her!

Beautiful day

We are having some beautiful weather here in Gatton, south-east Queensland. While the nights are quite cold, which makes it only cosier cuddled up in our quilts!, the days are so nice and warm in the sun. My photo below is from Sunday morning, Mother’s Day.

My lovely older son sent me these flowers- cyclamens in a round pot. I can plant them straight into the pot and they are a constant reminder of Phillip whenever they catch my eye. As with the teapot. That was given to me by my daughter along with peppermint tea leaves, which I love to drink every morning. So every time I make a pot I will think of Kelsey! The tea tastes so much better than tea made with teabags.
And on Sunday morning my youngest son, Sam, made me pancakes for breakfast, served up with the morning paper, for a leisurely lie in bed! I’m so lucky, and I love being a Mum.

Birthday bag

One of the many things I love about quilting, is that my sister has also joined the ranks of enthusiastic quilters. She has been quilting for maybe a year or two and has already produced a couple of quilts and other smaller items. We sometimes have a sewing afternoon, so we can sit and stitch together. It was her birthday recently (one of those big ones) and I made her a bag as one of her gifts. It is one of those fabric cord bags- there are a few different versions around. I used a pattern by Sally Miller

and this is one I made for me:

I’m not sure I will make any more of them! They take awhile to make- joining all the strips together first – I used a jelly roll for my sister’s bag and a Bali Pops (basically a jelly roll in batiks) for mine. The strips then have to be pressed and sewed with the cord to make what is essentially a thick piping. Then the piping is coiled and wrapped around and around while sewing in place with a zig-zag stitch. The bag gets its shape according to how much pressure you put on the cord as you stitch it together- if you pull on it a little tightly that makes the bag form a narrower shape as it grows; let it be a little little looser and the sides of the bag go out wider.
As you can see both bags turned out completely different shapes, not that I knew what I was aiming for! I also used a smaller cord for my bag, which I hadn’t thought about until I was nearly finished my sister’s bag and it seemed to be growing a lot bigger than mine!!

Art quilting pictures

The art quilting sub-group of my local quilting group, Gatton Quilters, has been working on a new challenge this year. Last year we each did a textile postcard, interpreting a theme each month. The final set of postcards that we produced will form part of our display to be held in June at the Lockyer Valley Regional Art Gallery. It was fascinating to see all completely unique versions of themes such as leaves, winter, fashion, found and circles.
This year, our challenge has been to take a photo and re-interpret that in whatever way we wish- using textiles, found objects, threads, beads, whatever. The photo was cut up into equal size pieces and each person was given one 2.5″ wide slice to re-produce as closely as possible. Each photo was divided into 6 pieces and as there were 12 people taking part, we had two groups doing the same photo. The only ‘rules’ that we had were that where a line – such as the horizon or tree-line entered from the side it had to match the original, so that all the pieces would match up when placed back together. Each piece had to have a quarter-inch seam allowance, and all pieces will be joined to make one large picture which can then be backed, quilted and bound.
I was given the end piece. This is my result!

This next photo shows the photo I had to woke with next to my version. I wasn’t sure where to start when I first saw the photo- there seemd to be a lot going on!

I’ve found if I let things go for awhile, it will swirl around in my head being subconsciously thought about ( and hopefully not getting lost) and then I can come back to it in a few days with some possible avenues to start with. I remembered I had some batik fabric that looked just like the sandy background so I pieced that so the textured lines in the fabric were resembling the lines in the sand. I used needle-felting for some of the foliage, silk sari scraps, threads, confetti-pieces for the leaves in the trees, water-colour pencils for some of the green areas in the sand, and lots of free-hand machine stitching.
Below is a photo of the two sets of pictures that the group produced. (Not all of the pieces are completely finished.)