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.
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.
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
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.
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…
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Holding it up I debated on how to add its backing and finish the edges…
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.
It was fun making this, and by using this method of raw-edged circles overlapping each other, really quick too.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
The little patchwork beasts resemble some friendly pets I know and love! and I added some old cheesecloth for some mountains.
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.
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.
I’ve named it the Three Wise Critters :)

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.
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.
I added these trees in. They were done in feather stitch, which is an excellent stitch for trees!
More stitching at the top is also needed, just more of the kantha-style stitching. But it’s close, nearly there.
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.
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.
I hope you are all getting lots of time to sit and stitch!