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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p-w1
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!

catching up

The Splendid Sampler quiltalong is still coming along! I have been completing a block whenever I can, but I’m not up to the number that have been released to date. I did catch up on quite a few of them over the holidays. There will be 100 blocks in total and I think they are up to about Block 96. Here are my blocks 56 -61:

Block 56 "At Home Anywhere"

Block 56 “At Home Anywhere”


Block 57 "Starting Point"

Block 57 “Starting Point”


Block 58 "Homeward Bound"

Block 58 “Homeward Bound”


Block 59 "Circle of Friendship"

Block 59 “Circle of Friendship”


Block 61 "Traveler"

Block 61 “Traveler”

The holidays were also good for catching up on sewing with friends. A small group of us get together when we can and bring our own sewing to work on…
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We have a chat and a read through some books or magazines, just for inspiration mind you..
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And of course we have to have a snack to keep the energy levels up…
friends1

Hope you have had a chance to ‘catch up’- we are already a month into the year!

cotton rope bowl

I had seen these lovely cotton rope baskets, bowls and coasters in various places on the internet and really wanted to give them a go.
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They are made the same as the coiled shoulder bags that many quilters have made, me included, where the rope is covered with a strip of fabric before coiling it around in a spiral and sewing the layers together as you shape the bag. This is mine I made a few years ago.
Karen-bag
The little bowls and coasters are made in the same way except the rope isn’t covered in fabric, and left au naturel. You can add little pieces here and there to give them an organic look. So I got some rope and tried it out.
coil2
For the bowl, I had to shape its curves with each rotation under the machine. Pull it tight and the bowl will have a narrower taller shape as it forms. I was aiming for somewhere in between that and a wide bowl but really, it just formed its own shape! Once you leave it to be wider you can’t really bring it back in so I think the trick is to pay close attention to the shape as you sew each coil down.
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I added some little pieces of fabric here and there, just wrapping a scrap around the cord just before sewing it.
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After the bowl, I had enough to make a little mat. For this one you just have to make sure it doesn’t coil up at all as you go around.
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I love them, I think they turned out really well! I have given these away as a gift, so I am going to have to make another one for myself. The tricky part will be to find the cotton rope or cord which isn’t easy for some reason. I happened across this one hank in a Spotlight store so I’m off to track down some more!
coil6
coil7

Christmas wrap-up

So, here we are in the New Year and Christmas is over already! It’s no secret in my family that I love Christmas, so I’m always a little sad when it’s time to pack up all the Chrissy decorations and bits and pieces. But before I do that I hope you don’t mind that I show a last couple of pictures of various Christmas bits and bobs I found still up around the area
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xmas-page
treek1
And my Christmas quilt that I showed in the last post: I have a few more photos here. The outer star border was made with random text fabrics, with the star points cut out of my scrappy fabric that I put together on the side, as I’ve shown before. I love these blocks in particular- just something about the use of the bright scraps against the black/white text pieces makes me happy!
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xmasquilt4
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I quilted it in an all-over free-hand pattern and took it with me on our little Christmas break to finish hand-sewing the binding.
I did some other Christmas sewing as well- I made this little bag (using the Sew Together pattern by ‘Sew Demented’) for my daughter. These are fun little bags and so very useful with their zippered sections which you can make in different fabrics and coloured zips:
bag2
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She could use it for make-up, or sewing or coloured pencils…..
bag1

I have a lot of long-arm quilting waiting for me so I’ll be busy catching up on that for the next little while. Have a good week!

a Christmas quilt

So, I’ve been working on a Christmas quilt. I’ve always wanted to make one, but this is actually the first one I’ve tried. I’m using a pattern by Wendy Williams called “Oh Christmas Tree”, with a combination of felt and cotton fabrics for the applique. I actually started it last year but left it too late to start and didn’t finish in time for Christmas, so now I’m aiming for this year!

Christmas Tree in progress- Karen Mundt

Christmas Tree in progress- Karen Mundt


It’s colourful and cute, with little birdies included!, and provides the opportunity to use colourful threads and stitches for embellishment.
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The fabric I’ve used for the background for the tree is some ‘NYC Line-by-Line Day’ that I bought in New York last year. It’s a fantastic ‘text’-type fabric and I thought this was an ideal project to use it for.
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I’ve just about finished the centre panel and sewn the red triangle border.
border
The outside border is made from wonky star blocks, and I decided to make the stars from my ‘scrappy’ fabric. Scrappy fabric is what I make up from stitching together all my scrappy bits and pieces, the left-over bits from everything else. Here is a block I’ve made as a trial. I think it looks okay?
wonkystar
I think I have probably shown my scrappy fabric method here on the blog before. It’s a great little ongoing process to do when you are doing some non-stop string piecing of blocks- you can just sew together a couple of scraps in between runs rather than end and cut the thread after each seam. Some people use a small piece of fabric when they start and end sewing- sometimes called leaders and enders- to stop the fabric getting sucked down into the bobbin when they start sewing, or sew off onto the end rather than waste thread by cutting it each time. Just sew some scraps together instead.
scraps2
By just sewing 2 scraps together every now and then, and then sewing that to another piece, and so on and so on, before you know it you have a large piece of scrappy fabric that can be used for another project, and you are actually working on two projects at once. Multi-tasking!
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I just keep joining scraps until I get a fairly large piece, which can also be joined together later if you need it to be bigger.
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I keep a bucket of scraps beside my machine, and occasionally swap that for a different bucket- I have a few of them in my cupboard.:)
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The uneven sides are just straightened up to add other bits to it; you can see the cuts I’ve made in this next photo. Those bits aren’t wasted- they become the start of the next piece!
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Anyway, I need to finish the centre tree panel as well as the star borders and then put it all together. I better get stuck into it or it may turn into a 3-year project!
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quilt alongs

I’ve been doing bits and pieces all over the place lately. Between longarm quilting quilts for clients and sewing blocks for challenges and quilt-alongs, my time has been well used.
The blocks for this month’s do.Good stitches charity quilting bee was a fairly quick and easy one:

do.Good Stitches- Cherish group

do.Good Stitches- Cherish group


The sewer who will put all these blocks together is planning on adding some cut-out silhouette-type figure of a runner on top. Should look very effective.
And then there are the blocks I’m doing for the Splendid Sampler Quiltalong. I’ve slowed down a fair bit on completing these blocks, but still trying to keep in touch and rolling them out slowly.
Block 46- Twirl Time

Block 46- Twirl Time


You’ll notice that with any of the blocks that require applique, I have chosen to use raw-edge machine applique, like in this next one. Of course, you can use any method you like.
Block 47- Circle of Love

Block 47- Circle of Love


I changed the next block a little by sewing some extra pieces of fabric into the pieces and also adding a little sashiko stitching to it.
Block 48- Whim

Block 48- Whim


Block 49 - Summer's Gift

Block 49 – Summer’s Gift


Block 50 - Flights of Fancy

Block 50 – Flights of Fancy


See you next week!

collections

I was reading an article the other day where a craft person was being interviewed, and one of the questions was about collections, and whether that person had ever collected anything. It got me thinking about what a collection is- how many similar items can be classed as a collection? I’m thinking more than 3- do you agree? I’m sure in that case, we would all have a collection of fabric, a collection of quilting books, a collection of scissors or collection of thimbles perhaps?
Besides those obvious ones though, I do have a few other collections. I have this little collection of teapots (which I know is not nearly as many as another local quilter I know ;)…
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teapots
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And then, there is my growing collection of giraffes:
giraffes1
giraffes3
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I am still working on the blocks for the Splendid sampler so I’ve got quite a collection of them:

Block 39 Splendid Sampler

Block 39 Splendid Sampler


Block 40

Block 40


Block 41

Block 41


Some of them I add my own extra touches, such as the sashiko stitching on the hexagons, but I’m still sticking to the Japanese fabrics, taupes and indigo and cream.
Block 42

Block 42


a collection of blocks

a collection of blocks

Have a great week!

building scraps

I’ve been playing with scraps lately. Cutting up lots of pieces and sewing them back together, as we do. I started making these pieces of improvisation a couple of months ago, just constructing blocks of no particular size or shape and no design in mind.
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When I got them back out again this weekend I put up on a board the bits I had already made, to get some ideas on how I want them to all be joined up together.
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A very favourite theme of mine is cityscapes, so it’s not surprising that I finally decided on building a quilt around that idea- a view of a city in a sort-of deconstructed way. I have some lop-sided flying geese blocks, triangles and log cabin blocks which when put together resemble houses and buildings. I like that idea, and I’m on my way!
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improv1
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I am using lots of white with pops of colour, some greens and blues, a little purple and brown spots. I want it to be a ‘modern’ style quilt, so the aim is to have lots of negative space.
I’ve also made this month’s blocks for the Cherish do.Good.Stitches charity quilt that I contribute to: these are the Delectable Mountain block, or sometimes known by a few different names like Mountain Majesties, in black, grey and white:
KarenM-August1
KarenM-August2
I’m off to put them in the post!