Weekends are what we all look forward to. Ah, the promise of it- all that time to do ‘other stuff’ – besides work! Last week we had a weekend in Brisbane. We had a night out, and of course I took some photos.
Brisbane- August 2016
There’s something about city skylines and cityscapes that I love, and often a theme in my art quilts.
This was Brisbane at night…
Brisbane – August 2016
just as impressive as New York at night- don’t you think?…
Karen Mundt NYC- from the Empire State Building; October 2015
We even had a steam train ride in and around the city. It got me thinking. We live about an hour from Brisbane and even though I visit Brisbane fairly regularly I don’t know it overly well as I mainly just go into the city. There is a lot about it that I haven’t seen so there is always lots to look at and investigate if you put your mind to it.
And I have a couple of photos from the recent Gatton Quilters meeting day. Kaye finished this quilt top that she was working on at our Coolum retreat, using the Grandmother’s Fan block:
This was Cornelia’s blue and green block from last month’s challenge- note the ‘banana hair’ in the centre that she made and dyed that beautiful blue:
and another one from Cornelia- she was catching up!:
I’ve had some fun thinking up a small quilt- 6″ square- for my quilter’s group monthly colour challenge. This month it was all about green and purple. We could create anything using any techniques and materials to the loose theme of flora and fauna, but we could only use the two colours of green and purple. This is my little thistle flower.
Karen -thistle flower
I did it as an exercise in thread painting. I started out with a photo of a thistle that I printed onto some inkjet printable fabric. I also had to choose some threads to use so pulled out all the green and purple threads I had!
I certainly didn’t use all of these, but I did need to have a variety of darks, mediums and lights to choose from. It was then a matter of just starting somewhere, so I started in the middle, primarily with some colour that I knew would be behind, or underneath, other more prominent colours on top. This next photo was just after I started, with dark olive green in the middle and lighter highlights:
That bright green was used in the middle and was later covered up to leave just little specks of it showing through. A close-up:
It took lots of free-motion stitching back and forth to get the coverage. I just wanted the main flower to be stitched and to leave the printed photo as the rest of the background.
Here is a photo of the ‘sinchies’ made by the rest of our talented group:
L-R Bottom row: Jan M, Cornelia, Lyn, Jan K; middle row: Meryl, Helen S, mine, Helen H; Top row: Shirley, Trish, Marilyn
The best part of these challenges is seeing what everyone else comes up with! Happy quilting!
I’d like you to meet my giraffe that I’ve named Gorgeous Georgie- cute, isn’t he!
Gorgeous Georgie- Karen Mundt
He is a little art quilt I made in response to a challenge within my local art quilt group. We were all given a piece of fabric that had to be used in whichever way we wanted to make a quilted piece with irregular edges. This is the fabric we were given- a batik in browns and yellows and green:
To begin with, I couldn’t think what to do with it so I pinned it on the wall for a couple of weeks just looking at it and waiting for inspiration. One day, when I walked into my sewing room, it occurred to me that the fabric looked very much like it could be an animal, and as my favourite animal is a giraffe, I thought – that’s it! I decided I would create it by using a fabric collage method. First I had to find a picture of a giraffe that I could use just for the outline and shapes. That took some time, because I wanted one with the head looking directly at me- I didn’t want the whole animal. I found this one on Shutterstock (royalty-free) images:
I photocopied the picture to the size I wanted, then used a plain piece of white cotton to trace the giraffe head and neck- just the main lines and features. My plan was to create the collaged piece first, then cut it out and applique to a final background. I could place it so that the horns on the top of his head protruded from the background, as well as leaves from a tree over to one side, and this would satisfy the criteria for irregular edges.
The fabric had within it different areas of predominant colour, so I cut it apart and divided it up so I had a mainly dark group, mainly lights and a green group. I could add in a tree with leaves that would use the green pieces.
I then added to these fabrics other assorted scraps in the right colour-tones and cut them up into smaller pieces. I started placing all the pieces, taking careful note of where the darker sections were on the picture I used as my guide. It was important to carefully look at every scrap I picked up for its value; darker pieces can be used to indicate curves in his face, along his nose and jaw etc. I have followed the techniques that Susan Carlson teaches on her blog and in books.
Each piece had a dab of glue on the back so it would stay when placed, the edges were left free so other pieces could be placed under and around where needed. Many pieces were added and taken away and moved here and there.The eyes were assembled as little parts on their own before placing down, and building around them.
As shown in the photos, I started at the top of the head and moved down. The long neck had darker pieces placed first with the large ‘spots’ in a lighter value added on top.
Once I was finished with placing all the pieces I added a little more glue to the edges of the pieces to make them secure. I then free-motion quilted all over as well as adding a backing to the horns that would be sticking up past the edge in the final piece. For his little mane, I used the selvedge edge of a piece of black fabric which had been treated with bleach discharge so it had a mix of dark brown and black along its edge. I made the background out of some blue hand-dyed fabric with a brown homespun. The tree was made in a collage fashion with some of the leaves made as separate pieces as they would be attached to the tree but not completely sewn down. They also had to be double-sided as they were sticking out past the edge.
I did more machine-quilting over all of it to secure the various parts down and create the background of the landscape and a little perspective. I probably haven’t got it all completely accurate, but I’m using artistic license here! I added the backing in the pillow-case method after most of the quilting had been done, and then just added the final stitching to secure the layers and finish it off.
I like him- I think he looks cute!
So, what do you think? What would you have made with the piece of batik fabric?
Here are some pictures of the pieces made by the other members in my group:
L- Shirley R-Allison
I really like this one by Trish- very clever I thought:
This block is for the Cherish do.Good.Stitches group quilt that I am contributing to this year. It is an Octagon block, very easy to make using paper foundation, piecing a large triangle unit then joining them together into squares.
I can see that once you have a whole lot of these blocks and assemble them together they would make an excellent colourful ‘scrappy’ quilt. The corner triangles would form a secondary octagon as well.
Speaking of colour, the Gatton Quilters Art group has started a small monthly challenge. We have to produce a 6″ block using whatever methods we like, but only two colours. The colours for our first month were blue and green.
Karen Mundt- blue and green
I had a beautiful piece of blue and green batik fabric that I thought would fit the bill, so decided I would just hand-stitch all over the batik, improvising as I went along.
I echoed some lines that were suggested by the shapes in the colour swirls and played with a few stitch variations. I also used a variety of thread weights to contrast the texture. I then just finished the block with a small facing finish.
Do you remember that old saying about blue and green should never be seen together? Rubbish- I think they look fantastic together!
These are the blocks produced by others in the group. The best part of such challenges is seeing the endless variations that can be produced by people expanding their imagination and having a play.
L-R Row 1: Shirley, Marilyn, Helen H; Row 2: mine, Lyn, Trish; Row 3: Helen S, Jan K, Meryl
Helen H and Trish
Lyn and Jan K
Looking forward to seeing what next month’s blocks using green and purple will look like!
I went to a quilting workshop recently. We all had to take our sewing machines, our irons and ironing boards, a cutting board…
a random pick of fabrics, including old blocks left from previous projects and sewing tools, but no rulers.
The day was spent playing with fabric, making free-form cuts in fabric and adding them to any other bits of fabric that your hand might fall on.
I decided to use a lighter colour scheme than I usually work with- some creams, whites, browns and muted colours. These blocks I’m showing here haven’t been trimmed yet.
I also took some old blocks left from a previous project and split them up, then added some slivers of hand-dyed colour.
Our tutor, Peggy Phelps, started us off with some ideas of blocks to start with using lots of techniques such as strip-piecing, wonky flying geese, chequerboard units and uneven log cabin blocks.
A few workshop participants took a little time to get used to ‘not being neat’ but soon got into the swing of it!
And Peggy showed us some of her quilts where she has used lots of lovely bright colour!
I find that any workshop you can do is worth spending the time to do it- there’s always something you pick up along the way- whether it be a new technique or even some inspiration to try something different of your own.
I started this art quilt last year. My Small World Quilt is made from a pattern by Jane Kingwell, and was featured in the Quiltmania magazine.
Karen Mundt- My Small World
It combines my loves of lots of different fabrics- the ‘scrappy look’- with the theme of buildings and houses. Of course, how you choose what fabrics to use is entirely an individual choice. At the time there was an online Quilt-Along and accompanying Instagram groups, so it was fun to check them out to see how others interpreted it.
I used only fabrics that I already had, and it was a chance to use some different little bits and pieces. Like this little doggy…
and this little girl at the window…
I used light low-volume fabrics for the sky area, some with text, some with spots or self-patterns. I started with some pale blues and pinks close to the skyline, fading them to lighter colours as it went higher.
I also made one little change. In place of the little Pisa tower block, I instead added in a little hand-embroidered block of the Statue of Liberty. That was to reflect my trip to the States, taken during the time I was making it.
It also took me a long time to decide on how to quilt it. I actually put the needle in at an arbitrary place, grabbed the ruler and decided to quilt first one line, then another, turned that into a diamond. Echoed that, did another diamond further across, repeat. That was for the top half- the sky. When I got to the lower half, I just quilted all over in an irregular grid about 2 inches apart.
I backed it with a white and brown stripe, which I also used for the binding.
I really enjoyed making this quilt. With all the different blocks and fabric choices to make, you don’t get bored with it and its fun to see what the next section will look like! I enjoyed it so much, I may even make another version some day!
This mini quilt top was created by using bias strips- brightly coloured strips on texty backgrounds.
Karen Mundt- Symbols
I used one of those little bias maker tools, where you feed in the strips of fabric cut on the bias and it turns over the edges so you can iron them down as it comes out the other end. Do you have one of those sitting in your drawer, not used for a long time, like me?!
I joined the Mighty Lucky club which is going to highlight some new methods and techniques each month. I thought it would be good to get me thinking about new things and to just have a play. The first month was about using bias strips to create a modern quilt.
For some reason these symbols popped into my head so I decided to try and make a few of them. I used a 3/4″ strip because I thought I would need it to be a bit on the thinner side to get it to curve how I needed.
However in retrospect I think wider strips might have looked a bit better- the symbols look a bit ‘spindly’ to my eyes- what do you think? I’m not over-pleased with it, but it’s okay!
It was fairly easy to do- I arranged the strips into the shapes and then used some glue to hold them in place while I sewed them down by machine. Using the Edgestitch foot (#10C on my Bernina) made that easy.
The instructions that were given included the use of iron-on adhesive which I didn’t have any of, so the Roxanne glue did a good job instead. I used a monofilament thread but of course you can use any coloured threads to make the stitching a feature.
Not sure what I will do with this now though- it may even end up being slashed and re-assembled for another modern quilt along the way!
I love Christmas, I love Christmas trees and I love families coming together at Christmas. There’s a real festive spirit when all the shops have Christmas trees and decorations. So, when I was away recently, the last leg of our trip was a stop in Hawaii and we did a spot of shopping- well, more looking than actual shopping! But, I couldn’t resist taking some photos of the Christmas trees that were all through Macy’s department store.
They didn’t just have trees trimmed with the same colour scheme on all the store levels as normally happens here, but each tree I saw in this one store was different!
They were all decorated so beautifully.
So cute and sparkly and colourful!
You can’t have Christmas without a Christmas party or year-end break-up, and Gatton Quilters was no exception. In addition to the gathering together we also bring along any ‘Show and Tell’ that may have been finished since last we met.
Meryl- White Challenge square
Lyn- Orange Challenge square
Jan M- Black colour challenge square
Marilyn- Red colour challenge block
Meryl- workshop with Robyn Christoffel
More of Meryl’s work, originating from the Robyn Christoffel workshop
We have lots of talented and creative people in our Quilting Group!
Happy Christmas to everyone
We’re getting to the end of the year and I’m sure everyone is busy finishing off lots of quilt projects and challenges. The challenge that my local quilt group worked on was to do a small art quilt each month to a different colour- using only that colour, or at least predominantly that colour. I’ve shown on here throughout the year the results of the challenge- both mine and some of the other group members. Coming back from my trip, I had to catch up on the last two months of black and white. This is the complete set of all of my little quilts for this challenge:
Karen- colour challenge 2015
The black challenge was a little hard- I tried to think of something that would use contrasts with texture or you wouldn’t be able to discern anything when looking at it. I did buy some trimming when shopping in New York that I thought I could use…
..but then changed my mind. I got some old black poly-silk taffeta out of my cupboard and pleated it by sewing rows of 1/4inch tucks.I then sewed across it, allowing some tucks to lay one direction, then the other- trying for a 3-D sort-of look to it.Then what to do next….
I thought of using reverse-applique so that you could see the pleated fabric through a star-shaped hole in the top fabric.
I drew out the star shape in two halves and sewed them together, then lay them under the prepared top piece for which I had used a star drawn on paper for a template. I used that to cut the star out of the top fabric, turned the edges under and hand-sewed around the inside edges.
After sewing that together, I damp-stretched it on a cork board over-night to stretch back into place, before sandwiching with the backing and then quilting with lines only 1/4inch apart. You might also be able to see a little piece of the black trimming that I slipped into some of the folds.
Sort of a modern quilting appraoch!
When approaching the last challenge, I made a little winter wonderland for my ‘white’ project- a scene about as far removed from my local environment as you can get!
I had a couple of little pieces I made years ago in a class- the tree and the star, so started with them and created some more shapes to add to them. They were made with wash away solvy, stitching down the outside trim first then the grid of interlocking rows of stitching.
When I ran out of the trim I crocheted a length of chain with No.8 cotton and used that for the outside edges. You then stitch across from side to side: I used a small zigzag stitch or a straight stitch would work also. As long as the stitching all connects with each other then it all stays together when you rinse it in water to remove the plastic solvy. I made some extra trees of varying sizes, and also made some ‘machine-lace’- just stitching allover with a swirly pattern all on top of each other, back and forth. I wasn’t sure what this would be for but liked the look of it. I ended up putting it on top of one of the hills, so it looked like a snow-capped mountain.
For the background, I used some pieces of old and re-purposed fabric and remnants cut into shapes to resemble a landscape with hills and valleys. This was just trial and error, arranging and re-arranging, trimming a bit here and there until it looked ‘right’.
Those pieces were backed with some iron-on adhesive and ironed in place. I top-stitched the hills and then free-motion quilted a tree-pattern all over it before adding the backing fabric. I arranged the little lacy pieces on top and free-motion stitched them down through all 3 layers. I just bound it as normal. Because it was all machine-sewn it really didn’t take too long at all.
Karen- colour challenge 2015
Challenges such as these are designed to make you think, to try out methods and techniques and experiment. For all of these little quilts, I used only what fabric and resources (except a small piece of black trim!) I already had at home. In the collage above, I think my favourite is the yellow one- you can see how I made it here, with the red square a close second, but then I also liked the orange one….. and the blue birds which was my own design, mmm…
This year, for the first time, I took part in a Mini Quilt Swap. It was run by a website but also via Instagram. I signed up to make a mini quilt for a partner assigned to me living in the USA. Back in early October I showed you my finished quilt:
I posted it to her while I was in New York, and she has since received it and by all accounts is very happy with it!
I also made a couple of extra little things to include in the package, because that’s apparently the thing to do! A little birdie….
and some quilted art pieces…
Last week, I received my mini quilt in the post- its lovely getting a surprise in the mail! This little quilt was made by a German quilter:
Lovely colours, and I think the design is her own. The quilter’s name is Aylin and she also has a blog.
In addition to the quilt, she sent me some fabric and this cute little pouch which will, I’m sure, be put to good use.
So, if you’re thinking of joining a Swap, go ahead and give it a try. It’s all good fun!
Some more pictures from my trip now – these ones taken in Hawaii. First, I saw this skirt when shopping at a huge shopping mall in Waikiki- don’t you love the quilting blocks fabric! It’s actually made by a big-name fashion designer (whose name escapes me at the moment), with a price tag to match, so needless to say it stayed where it was!
You can also design your own flip-flops in Hawaii:
and I came across this shop specialising in Hawaiian quilts:
This particular shop only sold ready-made quilts and smaller items-lovely to look around.