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.:)

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!

blue and green should be seen

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.
Octagon-Cherish
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

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.
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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.
G&B2
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.
AllG&B2
L-R Row 1: Shirley, Marilyn, Helen H; Row 2: mine, Lyn, Trish; Row 3: Helen S, Jan K, Meryl
AllG&B3 Helen H and Trish
AllG&B4 Lyn and Jan K

Looking forward to seeing what next month’s blocks using green and purple will look like!

neighbourhood watch- slow cloth

I have a small project that is actually finished! I don’t feel like I get to say that often enough- an actual finish, yay! This is a little story cloth, stitched over quite a long while. I probably started it about 2 years ago, just working slowly and enjoying the process.
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It is a stitched piece utilising re-purposed cloth and scraps, torn little bits from here and there. It has raw edges and loose threads…
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…bits saved from here and there just added where they looked to fit. There was no plan- I would add one piece then stop and look before adding something else. I guess you could call it an improv cloth! Lots of hand-stitching was added to the top. Its title is Neighbourhood Watch.
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It was enjoyable and comforting to work on; the feel of the cloth soft in my hands. I cut up one of my mum’s old pillow-cases, that must have been washed a thousand times in its life, to use as the background. My original inspiration for it was from following Jude Hill on Spirit Cloth, both on her blog and various online classes I’ve taken. I so love her work, and while mine doesn’t look anything like hers, I use her techniques and the inspiration she provides.
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I bound it by using strips from fabric left over from the days of sewing my clothes; the frayed selvedges turned to the front and running stitches with perle cotton to keep them in place. I also lightly hand quilted, using the same thread with big stitches.
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Truth be told, I’m a little sad it’s actually finished! I guess I’ll have to start another one….

orange is the new….

A few challenge quilts to show you, from our recent Gatton Quilters meeting and sewing day. Our ongoing monthly challenge, where we have to use just the one colour to produce a small art quilt, certainly brings out the ideas and puts the thinking caps in over-drive! The colour for July was orange. This is what I made for that challenge:

Karen M-bits and bobs

Karen M-bits and bobs


I used as my inspiration the work of a quilter named Diane Savona, whose work I had read about. This technique is a way of embellishing your quilt, but instead of adding bits to the surface of the quilt, you add the pieces under the top layer. So yes, those shapes you can see are the actual item-including the scissors and the buttons, and press studs etc, basted onto the layer of batting.
orange-close1
The whole piece of fabric is then pinned on top and you proceed to pull it really tight over the items while doing little stitches all around the outline edge to keep them in place, as well as around any other edges like inside the scissor handles and blades. I used some (purchased) orange hand-dyed, and a variety of orange threads for the stitching.
orange-starting
orange-close2
Once I outlined everything, I then did rows and rows of running stitch in and around it all. This serves to connect all the pieces together visually and make a cohesive work.
orange-close3
Holding it up I debated on how to add its backing and finish the edges…
orange2
I decided to damp-stretch it overnight, pinned out on a cork board which helped to pull it all smooth, and then mounted it onto a large board, wrapping the edges around and stapling in place, before adding a piece of fabric over the back to cover that. The picture at the top of the post was the final product.
Some other members of the group showed their quilts: Jan K also had her orange quilt-
Jan K-Orange

Jan K-Orange


and some red quilts made their appearance:
Clockwise- Lyn, Meryl, Trish & Jan K. Red quilts.

Clockwise- Lyn, Meryl, Trish & Jan K. Red quilts.


I’m still finishing off my red quilt- I’ll show it here soon!

shells, dear

The little clamshell quilt I mentioned back here is now finished.
clamshells5
It was fun making this, and by using this method of raw-edged circles overlapping each other, really quick too.
clamshells3
I used the Sizzix die-cutting machine to cut out perfect circles all at 4″ wide. By not repeating any fabric, it was another way to use up some fabrics sitting in my stash. All the circles were placed with a couple of dots of glue then machine sewn a row at a time.
clamshells4
I decided to sew really closely to the edge of each circle, and used a light grey Invisifil thread which blended into all the colours. Choosing that thread colour was probably the hardest part of the whole thing! because I didn’t want to be changing threads all the time I wanted to use one that would fit in with all the colours of the circles. I even used up some more fabric left over from a past project to make the backing.
clamshells2 Very bright, hmmm?
I decided not to bind it and instead stitched the top and backing right-sides together all the way round leaving a little gap to turn it through, and then just closed up that gap with some hand-stitches. I also put some little loops in to use for hanging.
clamshells6
It was at this stage that I considered leaving it as it was, wondering if I could get away with not quilting it at all. After all, it’s only smallish??…. But no, it didn’t look right. It needed something to highlight the shell shapes, so I’m going to hand-quilt with big stitches along the tops of each curve, across in rows. I’ll use a crimson-coloured 12wt thread called Spagetti by Wonderfil.
clamshells1
Other things I’ve been up to: I thought I would get caught up with photos of the quilts I’ve made over the last year or two and put them in my album.
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Do you do that too? I think it’s good to have a record of them, even if for no other reason than to look through them every now and then. It seems a lot when they are all together.

I haven’t mentioned about this next quilt before on here, but it is one I have been making, or not, for some years. I’m sure you’ve probably heard of the Dear Jane quilt, made by hundreds of people all over the world. I started it with a couple of lessons and have been making a block every now and then. But it was also a project that got put on the back burner when I was trying to finish last year’s Lollipop Trees quilt. So I thought I would start to show a block every week on here (that I’ve already completed), as a motivation to keep going with it! I am making it in batiks, which are more my style than the traditional reproduction fabrics most often used.
This block is E8- Mama’s Maze.

E8 Mama's Maze

E8 Mama’s Maze


Hope you have a good week quilting!

three wise critters

I have a little story cloth to show, that even though it was started as a Christmas cloth, I’ve only just finished. At least it will be ready for this December!
critters1
I showed some progress photos of this along the way, the most recent time being here. I am very inspired by Jude Hill on Spirit Cloth, and while mine doesn’t look nearly as good as her work, I can keep trying!
I started with some bleach-discharged fabric for the night sky, which conveniently had a moon-shape in one corner. That was sewed into a nine-patch background with the addition of some eco-dyed cloth for the lower third. Both of these were done in some of our Art Group workshops last year.
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The little patchwork beasts resemble some friendly pets I know and love! and I added some old cheesecloth for some mountains.
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critters4
I also did lots of hand sewing all over. As it’s made from these soft pieces of cloth, it was enjoyable to sit and stitch with it in my lap.
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To finish it off, I added some fabric to the back and then attached an old pre-loved zip as a border around all edges.
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I’ve named it the Three Wise Critters :)
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holiday stitching on a story cloth

I am on a few weeks leave from work at the moment, so in between catching up on house-related chores and acting as a chauffeur I’ve been able to fit in some more sewing. It’s also been good to catch up with friends and family, especially when the visits can be combined with a little stitching here and there!
I have some hand-sewing handy in a little bag that I can take whenever I think I might be able to fit some in. The project that I’m working on can vary. Last year it was always the latest block I was working on for the Lollipop Trees quilt.
I’m working on a couple of things at the moment. I have been trying to get this little story cloth finished that I started back here, before Christmas.
story3
While it is essentially one I am making as a Christmas cloth, I still want to keep working on it to get it finished, and at least then it will be ready for next Christmas! I’m not sure about what story I’m trying to tell with it though, which is why I’m still lingering over it.
The lowest third has the three animals in it, which closely resemble the four-legged animals of our family!, and I feel like I need to do something more to tie them in together. The little seed stitches and knots that I’ve started to add in around them is a start, but still not there yet.
story4
I added these trees in. They were done in feather stitch, which is an excellent stitch for trees!
story2
More stitching at the top is also needed, just more of the kantha-style stitching. But it’s close, nearly there.
story1
Last weekend I had a day to fill in while my son was playing indoor cricket at Caboolture, so I took myself over to Bribie Island for a look around. I eventually found myself at one of the beaches, so I even got to sit and sew under the trees! A beautiful day, although warm and muggy, but not having been to Bribie before I really enjoyed it. A nice place to relax and enjoy some beach-time.

I also recently had a lovely time sewing with my sister.
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She was working on this Japanese-designed bag, and with a few hours of dedicated sewing nearly had it finished.
day5I love how she has her sewing corner set up, a nice place to be in.
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I hope you are all getting lots of time to sit and stitch!