oldies but goodies

Old and vintage fabrics, stitcheries and embroideries, old cloth and linen- I love all of these and love to work with them when I can. I have various bits and pieces that I’ve been lucky enough to be given or have found in op shops or craft stalls etc. The rider is, of course, that I always say that I will probably be cutting it up or tearing into pieces to make something ‘new’, so as long as everyone is happy with that, I’ll take whatever I’m given!
Some years ago, I went shopping with my daughter in a second-hand shop and we came across a beautiful powder-blue dress which probably dated from the sixties. It was a short close-fitting sheaf, with a satin lining and lace overlay. It fit my daughter’s slim figure perfectly, so I just had to take the length up a little and she wore it to a race day. The strip of lace and fabric I had to cut off didn’t get thrown away- I kept it and just recently found a use for it.
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I’be been experimenting with stitching paper and cloth and laces etc. as part of an online course with Karen Ruane. We are experimenting and making little bits and pieces that can be attached to pages in an ‘artist book’, or a little journal if you like. I used the lace scrap to stitch onto some tracing paper.
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Using free-motion machine stitching, I stitched round and round in a random fashion. The tissue paper can then be torn off, leaving little paper scraps left behind, or leave it on as you wish.
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It can then be enhanced with further stitching including hand-stitching and embellished, as I did below. I cut off one section of th elace, removed the tissue paper from the middle part, and hand-stitched it onto some cream hand-made khadi paper.The little wooden beads are from an old necklace of mine that broke years ago.

Karen Mundt- artist book scrap

Karen Mundt- artist book scrap


Little pieces of loveliness!

quilt ideas

I often use a lot of text prints in my quilts- you know all those fabrics available in recent years that look like newspaper, or pages torn from a book, or random words, pictures of ticket stubs and maps, magazine ads etc. I like them for the background of blocks, or as the ‘neutral’ in a colour scheme. I can’t articulate what it is in particular I like about them- I just do. I think that also extends to my fondness for cityscapes and houses with the repetitive pattern of squares and rectangles, as well as stripes and other graphic elements. I have even incorporated some houses into my Year of Stitches piece- I’ve been doing at least one stitch a day, every day since January 1. I first mentioned it here.
This is a catch-up or progress photo for May:

Karen Mundt

Karen Mundt


I’m making it up as I go along, and I’ve noticed that it is turning into a little stitched ‘map’ of a community. On the one side I have the row of houses, there are some children skipping and their pet dog, and over on the other side there are some trees in a little area turning into a little country landscape.
trees-crop
I’m interested in making a quilted ‘map’, a quilt which will use the elements of a map, but not necessarily be a geographically-correct map. It would use the elements of a map in its design, with the lines and curves and images here and there. I’ve had this book by Valerie Goodwin for some time which shows some beautiful quilts and ideas on how to go about it- the ideas are brewing!map-book
Happy quilting :)

orange marmalade

A few updates on what I’ve been sewing lately. This month’s colour sinchie challenge(Gatton Quilters Art Group) was to use the two colours orange and red. This is what I decided to do.

May- Orange and Red Sinchie Challenge

May- Orange and Red Sinchie Challenge


I used a piece of hand-dyed orange cotton I did in a workshop quite a few years ago -which I still have lots of and comes in handy quite often!- as the backing. I hand-sewed a cat to put on top- an orange and red striped tabby. I only used variations of orange and red in the block, but quite a few different values of those colours. It’s great fun to see what effect you can have but still only keep the limit to 2 colours.
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I added a piece of silk sari ribbon scrap on the side and added more hand-sewn embellishment plus some hand-stitching to the right side. It was then finished off by just backing with some thin batting and zig-zagging around the edge. hence, Marmalade the cat!
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I also had a lovely weekend staying at the Bunya Mountains with a group of sewing & crafting ladies. It is a beautiful place up there in the Bunyas and we had an excellent house for the stay. Lots of wallabies visited us, including this youngster who, despite Mum’s encouragement, didn’t want to leave home!
Bunya wallaby

Bunya wallaby


I took along the makings of a baby quilt. I had found a lovely animal panel which i cut up into the individual blocks and my plan is to sew those into a quilt surroundered by coloured pices and strips. The colourful fabric I used was from the ‘Story Collection’ by Carrie Bllomston, which I had admired for some time and was happy to have something to use it for!
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I made some flying geese blocks and some quarter-square triangle blocks and cut strips and set about to put them altogether in a random fashion.
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That quilt top is about half-made now, so hopefully I can get stuck into it and finish it off in the next few weeks.
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And one last thing- this is the block for May for the do.Good.Stitches quilt that I am taking part in. This block was made by sewing together randomly-sized wedges of fabric to make a sort-of starburst block. Our instructions were to use bright colours which I think I did!
May-do.Good Stitches- Cherish group

May-do.Good Stitches- Cherish group


Have a great week!

colour, colour and more colour

Today’s post is all about colour. Just a few random shots of the colourful things I’ve got happening in my sewing room at the moment.
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I was rummaging around in this jar of silk sari strips looking for something in orange and red (the colours for this month’s sinchies challenge), and in the process, tipping it all out. The bright jewel colours of the scraps contrasted so beautifully with the little pile of blue fabrics I had lying on the table.bigcity1
On my longarm machine I am currently quilting this quilt of my own- this big Bright Lights, Big City quilt top that I actually finished some months ago. It certainly has lots of colour going on, with as many different fabrics as I could fit in it! I’m only just starting it, so still working out a quilting design for it.
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And I am currently working on a new quilt- another one with lots of piecing and making full advantage of colours playing with each other. The pattern is ‘Shimmer’ by Jenny Bowker. The image above shows the start of arranging the colour blocks and playing with placement. (The white spaces haven’t been filled in yet.) It has blocks of big patterns, interspersed with self-patterned blocks of colour and blocks of half-triangle squares which cause the colours to ‘shimmer’ into the surrounding blocks.
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These are some of the triangle blocks I’ve been sewing- more bright colours!
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And, if I’m talking about colour, it would be remiss of me not to include a shot of these beautiful perfectly-shaped roses from our garden!roses1
Hope you’re having a colourful week!

improv stitching

I started a stitching project this year, which was mentioned on Instagram. It’s called One Year of Stitches, with the idea being to do some hand-stitching every day. It can be as little as one stitch a day, or as much as you like, but by committing yourself to joining in you just have to do some every day. So far we are 16 weeks in, and this is where I am up to now:

Karen Mundt- One Year of Stitches 2017

Karen Mundt- One Year of Stitches 2017


I wanted to do a stitchery that was just made up as I went along with no theme, no playing by the rules with how you completed the stitches or worrying about producing a particular ‘picture’ at the end of it- an improvised piece of stitching!
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It has certainly worked in getting me to do some stitching every day- I wouldn’t have had this much done by now if I had given in to those thoughts of ‘I’m too tired/ or can’t be bothered today’. Some days I do only a few stitches, some days a whole element, such as the birdhouse or a flower.
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Here are a few photos to show the progress from the start of the year:
Karen - 9 Jan 2017

Karen – 9 Jan 2017


Karen - 25 Jan 2017

Karen – 25 Jan 2017


Karen - 21 Feb 2017

Karen – 21 Feb 2017


Karen - 25 Mar 2017

Karen – 25 Mar 2017


Karen - 10 Apr 2017

Karen – 10 Apr 2017


I’m using any stitches that I think of and playing with all my threads that I have bought over the years. Each day we are supposed to post a progress photo on Instagram (or other social media such as Facebook)- I changed that to posting every second day. If you are on Instagram do a search on #iyearofstitches and #iyearofstitches2017 to see images of all those taking part. My IG account name is littlebirdiequilting You’ll see all the different styles of stitching projects that people are doing- from cross-stitch to free-form to delicate silk embroideries.

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Now I’m off to do today’s stitching- don’t know what I’ll do but something will come to me!

orange and green

A little quilted 6inch square, in colours of orange and green and depicting something from the theme of flora and fauna. This is my contribution to that challenge.

Karen Mundt- Orange & Green Challenge

Karen Mundt- Orange & Green Challenge


I really enjoy stitching more and more these days, so I look for the opportunity to incorporate it where I can. I also wanted to utilise fabrics that I coloured myself in hand-dye classes, so these factors were the starting points in creating this piece.
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I arranged pieces of hand-dyed fabric on a backing piece of scrap cotton. When they seemed to be in just the right position, I used a drop of glue to keep them in place before taking the piece to the machine and sewing them down.
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I just used a normal straight stitch with some clear thread. Because there was effectively a couple of layers of fabric there, I didn’t have to use any stabiliser so could start straight in with the hand-stitching.
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I used 2 strands of green cotton thread and mainly running or back stitch and some knots. I stitched these free-hand, without drawing any outlines first. I try to avoid marking where ever possible, mainly because I worry about getting rid of the lines afterwards, especially if I don’t sew exactly on top of any marks. I also prefer a slightly rugged or naive look to stitching
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These are various weeds and grasses, sewn against the landscape-y backdrop. To finish it off, I added another piece of fabric as a backing, then hand-stitched around the edge in a big running stitch using a couple of different threads. I knotted them on the top side and also left the raw edges.
Karen Mundt- Orange & Green Challenge

Karen Mundt- Orange & Green Challenge


Hope you are having a good week.:)

doing my block

I’ve been absent from here for the last 2 weeks because I’ve had a few internet problems (through no fault of my own, but took a long time to get fixed!) Hopefully it is all sorted out now, but it really was strange not using my computer every day.
The blocks for the Splendid Sampler project that I’ve been showing on here for the last year have now finished. There were over a hundred blocks in total and I haven’t personally finished all mine yet. The organisers will be publishing a book with all the patterns sometime this year. All of my blocks have been done in a general colour scheme of Japanese taupes, cottons and indigo with a few other pieces thrown in. Here’s a look at some more:

Block 69 Full Circle by Holly de Groot

Block 69 Full Circle by Holly de Groot


Block 70-Bows by Jane Davidson

Block 70-Bows by Jane Davidson


Block 72-Full Circle Star by Victoria F Wolfe

Block 72-Full Circle Star by Victoria F Wolfe


From top left: Blocks 77, 73, 76

From top left: Blocks 77, 73, 76

And the block I did for the online charity quilt group Do.Good.Stitches for the month of February was this Bow Tie block in soft muted prints:

February block- Do.Good.Stitches

February block- Do.Good.Stitches

How is your quilting going? Getting more done than me I expect! See you next week.

stretching the stitch

I’ve been working on my little stitch sampler- a project that a group of us began last year under the very capable tutelage of Jan Knight. We had all professed a desire to practice our hand stitching and agreed that we could make a little stitch sampler book- something that was very popular in days gone by.

Karen- Stitch Sampler

Karen- Stitch Sampler


The design of the sampler was up to the individual, as was the materials to be used. We also wanted it to be a means of exploration and ‘stretching’ the stitch. Jan would show us the basic stitches and then we could copy them and re-interpret them how we wished. I decided to make my pages out of pre-loved linens and soft fabrics. Each page would therefore be different, and probably a different size to each other. These are some of my pages.
Karen

Karen


I’m still finishing the pages so I’ll keep some to show you when all complete!
Karen

Karen


Karen

Karen


I’ve done each page in a wide horizontal shape which I then plan to fold in half into its own little ‘signature’, and put the next page back-to-back with it. I still have to work out how I will stitch the pages into the cover.
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I have this old piece of a linen tablecloth which will be the cover, and which also needs some stitching on it.
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At the recent quilters meeting, Marilyn showed the group her finished stitch sampler and its beautiful cover –
Marilyn- stitch sampler

Marilyn- stitch sampler


…such an effective use of the bullion stitch.
Marilyn

Marilyn

\
Jan K

Jan K


I need to get back to stitching… see you next week!

shades of purple

The challenge for the art quilt group I belong to was to make a 6inch quiltlet using only two colours- for January it was purple and yellow, and for February it was purple and white.This is the first one:

Karen --purple lotus

Karen –purple lotus


These small pieces are an excellent way of playing and experimenting- not just with a design restricted to two colours, but also techniques and materials. I’ve tried to vary all of these in each month’s piece that I’ve made. I had use of a needle felting machine over the Christmas period so thought I would have a play with it. I used scraps of jewel-coloured sari silk and wool roving which I tore up into bits and laid over a piece of soft wool felt as the background. It probably doesn’t look overly recognisable, but the look I was going for was a lotus flower (!).
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Varieties of purple pieces were felted down over an outline of petals, with yellow silk for the middle. I did try to do some shading, making some petal edges a different shade, but then added on afterwards some small pieces of torn cotton fabric to the edges for further emphasis. I did lots of free-motion stitching over the flower itself, and some scribble-stitching around the whole flower.
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To finish it off, I sewed it down onto a piece of hand-dyed purple cotton, sewing roughly around the edges numerous times, not wanting it to look too neat! I then trimmed that down (we are making them all at 6″ square),added a back on to it and turned it through, pillow-case style.
For the next one, using only purple and white, I decided to do a foundation-pieced butterfly.
Karen-purple flutterby

Karen-purple flutterby


I found a pattern somewhere in one of my books and made it using a variety of purples and whites, and some of my own painted fabric for the background pieces. I then added a striped border with mitred corners-
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At the monthly meeting we all got to see everyone else’s interpretation of the flora and fauna theme with those colours:
Clockwise from TL: Helen H, Marg Y, Cornelia, Shirley, Marilyn, Helen S, Jan K, Lyn

Clockwise from TL: Helen H, Marg Y, Cornelia, Shirley, Marilyn, Helen S, Jan K, Lyn


Clockwise from TL-Shirley, JanK, me, Helen S, HelenH, Lyn, Marg, Meryl

Clockwise from TL-Shirley, JanK, me, Helen S, HelenH, Lyn, Marg, Meryl

rows of colour

It seems everywhere around my part of the world is baking hot at the moment. With temperatures in the upper 30’s (C) for day after day, in fact over 40′ today, and no relief at night-time, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying it does get a little wearying! If you are lucky enough to have air conditioning or cooling of some type, then I think the best place to be is inside doing some sewing!
childrens quilt1
Over the last month or two, in between my long-arm quilting jobs, I’ve been trying to get this quilt top together. My local quilt group has been working on a number of quilts that we plan to give away to various charity or community groups. We were fortunate to have a lot of fabric donated to us, so it was just a matter of everyone picking a pattern, choosing the fabric from the pile and start sewing. I chose to make a children’s quilt, with lots of colour. I picked this pattern from a 2015 issue of Homespun:
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The featured quilt has an applique block which I’ve replaced with more of the smaller oblong blocks, and enlarged the quilt slightly to make it single-bed-size. There was lots and lots of cutting involved to start with, but once that was done the sewing is pretty straight forward.
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Once I had the little blocks made, I laid them out to look for an arrangement. I started off thinking to make an all-over scrappy quilt, but then changed my mind and put the blocks in gradated colour change from corner to corner.
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It looks nice and bright, and hopefully will appeal to some of the younger recipients of these quilts.
Once I had the layout, I had to carefully pick the squares up in order and keep each row together. I’ve been chain-piecing the blocks into rows in between other jobs. Hope I keep them all in the chosen order!
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I’m not sure what border to add to it yet- I’ll leave that decision for later.
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I thought I would include here annual photos of my three family pets. This week is the 5th birthday of our lovely girl Hayley, she of the awesome catching skills and lightening speed:

Hayley aged 5

Hayley aged 5


Her big little sister is Chloe, who -even though she is the littlest- is the matriarch:
Chloe- aged 14

Chloe- aged 14


And Dublin, who has them all bluffed and likes you to think he is the big tough cat:
Dublin- 6 years

Dublin- 6 years

See you next week!