a little quilt for the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival

I’m entering this little quilt in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, which is hosted by Amy’s Creative Side, over here. This is like an online quilt festival, where we can enter our quilts through our website. Go over and take a look, and vote for your favourites in the different categories.
wool1
I’m entering this quilt in two categories: Wall-hanging quilt and mini quilt. I finished it a month or two ago, after starting it in a Sue Spargo workshop.It was a great quilt for playing with a large variety of stitches, different textured fabrics and lots of little embellishments.
wool5
Even though it was started in a workshop, it was a great project to put a lot of our own input into, so no two quilts turn out the same. It also got me interested in working with wool, so I’m very keen to go further with these techniques.
I hope you have time to visit the Festival and check out all the quilts that will be on display!
wool4

update on the lollipop trees

An update on where I’m at with my Lollipop trees quilt. This quilt is also being progressed bit by bit- I tend to work a little on a few different projects so they all move along together. I never refer to them as a UFO- more like a Work in Progress because I don’t abandon them: I just give them all time equally, like a mother with lots of children!
I have finished all of the large blocks for the quilt- here is another couple to show you:
block1
block2
Now I’ve started on the little blocks that form a border around the outside of the large centre section. And I have a few of them to show as well:
lollipop-extra2
I have used a machine-applique method for these, as I outlined in a previous post. I’ve varied it slightly by not using the washable fusible. I just cut the shapes out utilising freezer-paper templates, folded over the edges and pressed down with starch – much like I do when hand-appliqueing. I then used a couple of dots of glue to keep them in place and then sewed them down by machine. Really quick and easy.
lollipop-extra3
lollipop-extra4
So, even though it ain’t gonna happen over night, this quilt will be finished- soon.

improvising quilt design

I’ve been doing a little more on the medallion quilt I started in the Gwen Marston workshop in July. This is as far as I got at the time:
medallion2
I’m wanting to use this project as a chance to play and improvise, make it up as I go along. Which is harder than it sounds! I spend so much time looking at it, holding up fabrics next to it
medallion1
making different shaped blocks- because it’s not only the colours and values of fabrics to use, but also what each successive round may have in the way of block design and size.
medallion2
I added another border all round of different width strips and then decided on some wonky star blocks, so had some fun making a few of them..
wonkystar1
using some recently-purchased fabrics and mixing with some that have been patiently waiting on my shelves for their turn..
wonkystar2
wonkystar3
wonkystar4
I might put them in as the corner stones of the strip-pieced border..

photos I took in September

A selection of my daily photos taken during September:

September 2 Lines… from a small art quilt
#fmsphotoaday {lines}

September 8 Made by me… a little stitchery made for my mother many years ago
#fmsphotoaday {made by me} for my mum many years ago

September 10 Sweet… a little day lily that just popped out (wish they lasted longer than a day!) and so sweet
#fmsphotoaday {sweet} just popped out this morning :)

September 12 Shadow… from a early morning stroll on the beach on a weekend trip to the Coast
#fmsphotoaday {shadow}

September 15 Season… beautiful strawberries in season
#fmsphotoaday {season} strawberries are in!

September 26 Curve… I’ve always loved the shape of an egg, and this one was so cute with its speckles!
#fmsphotoaday {curve} of a speckled egg!

age

This little quiltlet was made as part of an ongoing challenge with my local quilt group. It is another of the fabric journal pages that we have been working on all year.
agefinal
The theme for September was ‘Age’. Loooking at my little piece, you may not immediately be able to identify how I used Age as my inspiration- yes? no?
agepart2
It represents the different ages of mankind- from stone age on the left through the bronze age and up to the iron age on the right. Each of the little embellishments were sewn on to represent each of those Ages.
The backing is a piece of linen with torn edges and I started by adding some hand stitches. The embellishments were all sorts of bits and pieces I’ve gathered or found here and there..
age1a
in the middle I added some bronze foil highlights
age3
Before I went too far, I got the idea to paint some gesso onto the background to add some visual texture
age2
age1
on the side couched some stones in amongst the stone-coloured buttons and other pieces, then added scraps of fabric and some random hand-stitches amongst the folds of coloured cheesecloth
agepart1
The last step was to do some free-motion quilting over the top half with a cream-coloured thread.
agepart3
So, that’s my interpretation of ‘age’!
agefinal

how to do invisible machine applique

The Lollipop Trees quilt has a lot of applique to do- a LOT of applique. In the early days I thought I might give a try to machine applique, so I started one of the blocks using a method I distilled from lots of reading in books and the ‘net. I didn’t actually end up using it on many blocks- mainly because I found it more convenient to hand sew them all and be able to take them with me or do in front of the television at night etc., like this one :
lollipop1
However, machine applique was an effective method so I thought I would show it here and see what you think. This is a close-up:
lollypopma2
It is just about ‘invisible’ isn’t it?!
lollypopma3
machineapp4
So anyway, this is how I did it. I used a product called Floriani Stitch’n Wash Fusible. As its name suggests, it can be fused, stitched through and then will wash out later so it can be left in. You can cut it out in the shapes of the pieces that you need and then iron it to the back side of the fabric. Cut out the pieces leaving a quarter inch allowance, just like you might do using freezer paper.
machinaapp8
You then turn over the edges to the wrong side, using little tiny dots of fabric glue to keep them in place- I used Roxanne’s Baste-It glue because it has a long thin nozzle to enable little micro-dots, but any similar glue will do. Most of themn also wash out in water. Then give a quick press to the edges.
You place the applique piece on the block background using a couple of dots of glue to keep it in place. Then go to your sewing machine.
This is where some playing and experimenting might come in, as all machines are different. I worked out the ideal settings for me (using a Bernina 440QE) as these: I used Stitch #3, but you might like one of the other stitches or a zig zag better…
machinaapp5
and changed the stitch length to .9 and the width as .7
machineapp2
I used a #10 microtex needle and Wonder Invisible thread in both the top and the bottom threads. Not many of the clear threads behave when used in the bobbin but I found this one really good. I also put the tension at 3.
You sew along the edge of the piece, with the straight part of the stitch right along the edge, and the little side ‘zag’ just comes across onto the applique. You don’t have to be too fussy about that though! I went crooked many a time, but the invisible thread hides it all.
machinaapp7
It’s a method that makes the pieces have a nice crisp edge. You may want to just go slowly to begin with, and you do have to work out how to pivot at corners or going around curves.
However, I wasn’t happy with the edges of the circles, so I used a hybrid method for them. I prepared them like I did for the hand-sewn blocks, see here, using circular shapes to cut the piece out, put a gathering thread around it and pull up tight. Using those plastic shapes meant there was something to pull the fabric against. I just pressed them with a little spray starch and the edges stayed crisp enough to then machine sew them down invisibly.
lollypop-ma
Voila: a machine-sewn applique block. :)