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.
magcover
I’ve also done the Aurifil block-of-the month for September:
aurifilblock2
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.
aurifilblock1
aurifilblock3
The two smaller blocks will fit in better with my scrappy medallion quilt that is also still crawling along!
aurifilblocks
And I am also working on some customer quilts on my long-arm machine. The latest is this little baby quilt:
babyquilt4
I quilted it in an all-over swirly pattern as well as around the appliqued shapes.
babyquilt2
babyquilt3
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!

long arm machine quilting

This little fellow likes to think he runs the place, and he probably does, but with such a cute face how could you resist it?!
dublin2
He likes to keep an eye on me while I am working on the long-arm machone: quilting lovely quilts like this beauty I recently finished for Lyn:
lyn6
This is such a stunning quilt that Lyn has made, showcasing her sashiko stitching.
lyn4
Using the thread colours of golds, orange and reds has also made it a very different colour palette from what you normally might see with sashiko. For quilting it, I used a charcoal thread so it wouldn’t be too obtrusive on the coloured blocks and kept the quilting to a minimum on the sashiko blocks.
lyn2
The quilting on the main body of the quilt was free-hand in a design to match some of the fabric with a few dragon flies here and there, while I did a fan design on the borders.
lyn3
lyn1
I can’t wait to see it when Lyn has trimmed and added the binding!

eco dyeing

We had a great workshop on eco-dyeing here in Gatton on the weekend, with Nat Billing. Nat is an eco-dyer, using leaves and fruit and vegetables and, well anything really, to make beautifull naturally-dyed and printed fabric. You can find out a little bit about her here and she is also on Facebook.
We were able to dye a number of pieces using a variety of methods, all utilising naturally-found ‘dyes’. We used leaves – each tree leaf with its own properties and resultant effects, onion skins, grapes, purple carrots and seeds.
The fabrics we used were a wool knit, raw silk, silk satin and paper. The leaves were placed on the fabric and then rolled around pieces of pipe, sticks, rusted metal, seed pods etc
batch1-wrapped_around_pipesv2-crop
and placed in a brew – this first one used iron as the mordant, set at a high simmer.
into-the-pot
My first two pieces: wool with leaves wrapped around a rusted pipe which gave the dimpled look through the middle but you can also clearly notice the outlines of the leaves:
rusted pipe iron water
wool on rusted pipe
This is raw silk with a softer look, but still showing the leaves with muted greens:
raw silk iron
This silk satin had leaves, and red onions for the pink and grapes to give the purple colour:
silksatin-red-onion-grapes-leaves
Meryl showing one of her pieces:
meryl
I also tried using some watercolour paper- folded and layered with leaves and onion skins and carrot then clamped between tiles like this:
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When I first opened it, with the leaves still on it – such beautiful rich colours:
leaves-on-paper-crop
The paper once it had dried:
IMG_20140906_175009
Opening up each piece to see what had happened was just like Christmas morning- a surprise when you saw what was there!
We had a great time, and I think there are a few converts amongst us who will be trying it again in future. Thanks Nat for a fantastic day. :)

bit by bit

I’ve been making a little progress on this improvised quilt. I’ve written about it here and here before, and it may seem to onlookers that I’m not making much headway! Making up this quilt as I go along is harder than it seems, really hard. I think it is probably the most difficult quilt top I’ve made!
improv1
I have it up on my design wall with all the extra blocks I’ve made so far arranged around it.

The last week or two have been spent looking, re-arranging, looking, sewing bits together, changing my mind and so on. I’ve started worrying that it’s all too busy and will just look chaotic, instead of looking like its meant to be: colourful and scrappy but still just right.
I know that once I have worked out a rough arrangement of the little blocks that are going around the medallion centre, I then will be adding filler strips to make them fit together. Those filler strips will be in the light green that I used in those wide strips top and bottom of the centre, as well as red and some of the stripe. So I’m hoping they will help to pull it together and also give some places for the eye to rest.
Herre are a couple of sections I’ve put together:
improv2
improv3
It’s been fun making all the extra blocks. Some unexpected pairings of fabrics have revealed some new favourites, like this block:
improvblock1
These are some of my ‘extras’ – little parts to fill in spots where needed.
parts1
parts2
and lastly, I can’t complain because I have had some help from Dublin the supervisor
dublin