ten things for 2015

I was reading an article in a magazine recently that asked a number of creative people what ten things they did over the past year. So it got me thinking on what I would add to such a list. Not counting the quilts I worked on during the year or those I finished (which weren’t that many) …

Karen Mundt- medallion quilt

Karen Mundt- medallion quilt

Here is my list:
1. I spent the very first days of 2015 on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria visiting with my son and his fiance.
2. I read this book:
#fmsphotoaday [currently reading..] Christmas gift from my daughter -great book!
3. I tried a tangello for the first time- very nice!
4. Went to Byron Bay for my niece’s beautiful boho-style wedding
5. What has to be a highlight of the year: my trip to America, which in itself included so many highlights, e.g. Visited the 911 Memorial in downtown Manhattan- a very moving experience; visited a number of museums and shops and Central Park, walked down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter in New Orleans, went on a submarine- toured the real one at Pearl Harbour, and went on a reef visit off Honolulu in the tourist-version.
911mem The 911 Memorial in New York

6. I got to go to the International Quilt Festival in Houston – amazing!

Victoria Findlay Wolfe talking about her quilts at Houston

Victoria Findlay Wolfe talking about her quilts at Houston

7. I went to Brisbane on a night in the week before Christmas to watch the parade with my daughter and do some late-night shopping in the city- another first!
8. Had my daughter home for a week recovering from her second knee reconstruction in 12 months.
9. Saw my youngest son finish high school, prepare for his formal and watch with pride as he graduated. The last of my children to go through school, so another end of an era!
10. Took part in a mini quilt swap- it was exciting to see who would be making a quilt for me and what it would look like, and hoping that the recipient of my quilt liked what I made!
Karen Mundt

Karen Mundt

mini-swap-quilt1 Made by Aylin

What ten things did you do in the past year- it’s a little hard to condense it down! I hope you have a wonderful New Year, filled with lots of quilting.

colouring in 5 ways

Want a little colour in your weekend? Here (south east Queensland) it is an overcast day, with lots of grey clouds threatening rain. So, I felt like playing with some colour. Have you seen this web site where you can create your own colour palettes: Palette Builder You just load one of your own photos and it instantly creates a colour palette for you of the colours contained in that photo.
I was prompted by this pretty photo I took yesterday of these roses:
I have always thought that deep red roses were my favourite, but I have to say the colour combinations we sometimes get from our rose garden often make me rethink that.
This is the colour palette from that photo:
Another couple I tried: a garden shot
and some tea leaves:
There are so many ways you could use this application, e.g. to determine what colours are in a fabric or quilt you like if you are looking for others to complement it:
And then I played around with some of the effects you can use in the photo-editing software I use (PhotoScape), which I’m sure is probably the same in most programs.
This shows that original photo with blurring around the edges:
this is called “crystallised”:
Has potential for designing a quilt from it?
Have fun and see what you can come up with!

5 colour combinations…

Do you ever wonder how fabric designers come up with the designs and colour combinations that they do? Or when looking at quilt designs, wonder how the designer thought to put particular fabric combinations together? I love scrappy quilts where lots and lots of fabrics are added in together, and the premise for making them is that you use any scraps you have and just add them all together. The end product always comes out looking great, without hours spent agonising over which fabric to add to others.
I contemplated such matters while sewing more of my spiderweb quilt blocks. When sewing the strips together I did not pay any attention to which strips I was picking up to sew together, I wanted it to be as random as possible. And it was while I was sewing the triangles together that I happened to notice some colour combinations that looked really great together; possibly ones that I may not have originally thought I would put together in another quilt- or maybe I like to think I would?!
Look at these two pieces of fabric.

These two wouldn’t have been fabrics that jump out as complementing each other, but when you see two strips together, (I think) they look great:

This next piece is a Kaffe Fassett fabric. I love it for what it is, but the fabrics that have ended up next to it in the triangles below really show how versatile it is:

the spotted fabric was the one that first caught my eye:

Even blues and greens, caramel and stripes:

Clever Kaffe!

5 inspirations for quilt designs

I got to thinking the other day- which is dangerous I know- about the myriad of ways people come up with inspiration for their quilt designs. I happened to be playing one of the games you can get with electronic devices these days- I blame my kids for introducing me to Tetris. For some reason I like the symmetry of it and the way the blocks all fit together; just like when people-watching I’m interested in why people choose certain seats at the movies or where they park their car in a large carpark and the patterns that are created. I know, weird? So, time for another list of 5 things…..

1. Anyway, while {procrastinating} playing Tetris, I wondered not for the first time why someone hadn’t designed a tetris-inspired quilt. After all, I’ve seen sudoku quilts. But silly me, of course someone has as I stumbled across the following website which has a Tetris Quiltalong.
2. I saw a Sudoku-inspired quilt a year or two ago at a quilt show but I can’t remember who would have made that, but I did find this one online from Lola Pink fabrics So, basically you use the same premiss of having squares of fabric that aren’t ever repeated in the same block or on the same horizontal or vertical line.
3. Backgammon quilt: this is from my old favourite Kaffe Fassett, the pattern for which is in his book “Simple Shapes, Spectaculer Quilts”.
4. This next quilt is also fantastic:
Tokyo Subway Map quilt
(from Elizabeth Fransson). There were quite a few people who made this as there were lots of images on blogs over the last year or two. I think there might have been variations like maps from other cities or train routes etc.

5. Quilts made from maps of cities. Check out these beautiful quilt maps: which are mainly whole-cloth quilts.
There are so many to be found, this is just skimming the surface! Lovely eye-candy. And to finish off, have a look at this little fellow hidden in the fern, the photo is not the clearest but hopefully you can see him.

5 things… I’ve been up to this week

Apart from the cleaning and cooking and watching my son play sport and playing with the puppy, here is a list of the top 5 things I’ve done in the past week.
1. On Tuesday I spent the day with a group of friends for a sewing get-together. About once a month we take turns visiting at each other’s place. All of us did hand-sewing in between chatting and laughing, as well as a beautiful morning tea provided by our host, K. A bonus is that we get to see each other’s latest projects, and K had so many lovely quilts to show us that she has made over the recent year or two. This photo below is my little wool applique hanging that I started in Sue Spargo’s workshop a few weeks ago. I crocheted the little flowers with cotton and a large hook to make the open loopy look.

2. On the long-arm quilter: I have been working on this quilt for a client. She chose an all-over pattern for this small quilt. Only in the early stages yet so I can’t show much!

3. I have been enrolled in an online class through the Quilt University (www.quiltuniversity.com ) called Inspired to Design. I have done quite a few classes this way, and it does open you up to new ideas and inspiration. This particular class is run over about 5- 6 weeks, and is offered by Elizabeth Barton, herself a great quilter. I particularly love the quilts she has made of cityscapes and buildings. You can see her work here: elizabethbarton.blogspot.com.au

This course I’m doing at the moment is all about designing our own art quilt; learning the basics, working on designs, learning to recognise what makes an art quilt, and so on. So far, we have been sketching and playing around with shapes, line and texture. This photo just shows one of my earlier sketches where I tried to play around with spirit people shapes. I don’t know where this will go yet.
This course has actually been hard work, because this is a new area for me. The brain cells are rustily turning!

4. I have been doing some more work on the grandbaby quilt a group of us are making for a friend’s first grandchild. I finished quilting it and started on the binding. While sitting and hand-sewing down the binding, I contemplated about the merits of hand-sewing the binding as in the traditional way,

or machine-sewing binding, which I have done on a few quilts. This photo below shows one I recently did- you sew the binding down first to the wrong side, turn it over to the front and then top-stitch it down, with the sewing showing on the back along the edge of the binding join.
front side
bottom side
I think a lot of quilters wouldn’t dream of using this method, but it is a lot faster and in the end does it really matter? I did think about whether to fully machine sew this binding but was reluctant to do so. I haven’t even worked out why I decide to do it one way or another on any quilt yet!
5. TCB- taking care of business. Why does it feel good when you get a few jobs out of the way or get caught up on appointments and check-ups etc? I have been to the tax accountant to get our tax returns done and got some advice on what I need to do for my own business. Sorting through papers and receipts for that takes up lots of time away from sewing. Our little dog Haley has been to the Vet to be spayed and has recovered well, so she and Chloe are nice and healthy and up to date with all that is needed for them.
Here is another one of my postcards to show you:

This one was created to the theme of ‘scraps’. I randomly sewed lots of fabric scraps on top of some pellon, just slivers and scraps of mainly smaller sizes. I then free-hand ‘drew’ with the sewing machine an outline of a city skyline in a black thread to resemble a penline. I named it “Scraps in the City” Ha!
So, once again I don’t know where the week went, but I was busy. It’s all good.

5 things….. on a Sunday afternoon

I generally like to people-watch; I look at people walking by and wonder what decisions they made to choose the clothes they are wearing that day, or wonder at the relationships between people in a group or just wonder what life has dealt to them that day. I expecially like it when I see someone reading a book, particularly children, as it reinforces the thought that books and reading are not dead! When I’m at the beach, sitting on the sand with a book in my hands I play a game to see who is reading and what book they have chosen to read. I also like it when I am out and about to see the variety of ways people choose to spend their Sunday afternoons. For some reason, it gladdens my heart to see people taking part in activities, which of course means they aren’t sitting inside in front of a screen.

I went for a drive yesterday to visit my sister, and came up with these five things that a person can do on their Sunday afternoon:
* a girl riding her horse around a paddock, weaving in and out, trotting, cantering, both of them with a smile on their face
* a bewhiskered grandpa sitting on a seat outside the local shop sharing an icecream with a baby in a stroller
* people out in their gardens, tending to their roses and mowing the lawn
* taking the time to do some sewing, or perhaps knitting, or perhaps snoozing on the verandah while enjoying some afternoon tea
* walking or running in the late afternoon sunshine; old, young, middle-aged, with or without dogs

I’m sure there’s probably a lot more you can think of; ain’t Sundays grand? (as long as you don’t have to work like my husband does!)

A spare 10 minutes

I read somewhere that time spent in a studio is never wasted. To take this in a very general sense, it means that any time spent in a place where you love to work or create is worth it, no matter if you ‘don’t feel like doing anything’. I think it is referring to the idea that if you just walk into your sewing room or studio or study or garden shed, and even if all you do is pick up something you have been working on to take another look, or put away a couple of bits of fabric left lying on the bench, it still gets the brain ticking over. You can easily find yourself stopping and thinking about what next step you may take in creating that quilt or artwork; you may decide to go to your stash and see what you have there as a possible border fabric or any other possible ideas; just being around it gets the thoughts moving and the time is never wasted.

I remember being told something very similar years ago when I was doing some postgraduate study, while also working and raising young children. I was often so tired of the work involved but I knew I had to just sit down and finish a paper I was writing- but it was so hard to go into my study and start working! I was told that even on the worst nights when the last thing I wanted to do was study, all I had to do was ‘allow’ myself only 15 minutes for work and after that time I could leave it with good conscience. Surely I can do just 10 or 15 minutes?
Usually, I would go and put some order into an untidy desk and perhaps take a look my timetable to see what deadlines I had coming up. That might prompt me to write some reminders on a few things to do for the next day, or perhaps jot down a couple of books to get from the library or papers to research on the internet. Perhaps I would pick up a draft of a report I was writing and start to read through it – invariably I would start to edit it, and maybe think of another topic I needed to add in, or check the bibliography was complete. Before I knew it one thing would lead onto the next, and even though I would be aware that the 15 minutes was long past, it was okay, I might just keep going for the time being. And even though, I might not always get anything written, the time spent organising things was well worth it, because at least my conscience felt better, I felt I had achieved something!

So, yes, I think that any time spent in the studio, even if I feel I am lacking in motivation, is worth it. Whenever I walk into my sewing room I‘m happy at the thought of the possibilities of what could be done – if I don’t feel like actually doing them at that time it doesn’t matter. While obviously sewing is a far reach from study, there are still days when I am lacking in a little motivation to get started. After a bit of a think, I’ve come up with a list of 5 things I often do when I either only have a spare 10 minutes or all I feel like spending is 10 minutes in the sewing room:
1. One of my current projects is an applique quilt that has lots of pieces. It’s a good project to have to work on at night time or to take with me, so it’s handy to have the applique pieces prepared and ready to go. I can spend 10 minutes tracing out a few shapes from freezer paper and ironing them down onto fabric.

2. for that same project, I use lots of different fabrics so spending the time actually choosing a selection for the next block takes time. This is one that often goes over the 10-minutes, but any time spent is a good start.
3. When I’m doing a quilt top that is lots of piecing, then in 10 minutes I can string-piece quite a few blocks.
4. Getting ready for the next sewing session is often worth 10 minutes, such as cutting some blocks ready for sewing, doing all the pressing of seams from the last session or even looking over what stage I’m up to and planning what comes next.

5. Looking for a pattern I’ve seen in a magazine somewhere and now just have to find again. I did this recently, looking for a bag pattern to make for my daughter. One thing leads to another, and this can also go over the 10 minutes, but it’s all good!
What can you do in a spare 10 minutes?