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 57 “Starting Point”
Block 58 “Homeward Bound”
Block 59 “Circle of Friendship”
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…
We have a chat and a read through some books or magazines, just for inspiration mind you..
And of course we have to have a snack to keep the energy levels up…
Hope you have had a chance to ‘catch up’- we are already a month into the year!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I added some little pieces of fabric here and there, just wrapping a scrap around the cord just before sewing it.
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.
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!
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
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!
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:
She could use it for make-up, or sewing or coloured pencils…..
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!
Just a quick note to say Merry Christmas to everyone, and wishes for a happy, healthy and safe New Year. I’m taking a break from the blog for a couple of weeks but will be back in January.
Below is a picture of my Christmas quilt that I have been working on for the last month or two. I’m just finishing off the binding, so it will make it just in time for the big day!
I used some fabric I bought in New York for the background in the centre medallion- it has line drawings of the NY city skyline. The birds and leaves are a mixture of felt and cotton fabrics and I used ‘scrappy’ fabric for the wonky star border.
Karen Mundt- Oh Christmas tree , pattern by Wendy Williams
A progress report on my blocks for the Splendid Sampler quiltalong- here are five I have made recently:
I changed this first block from the original pattern by taking out the hexagon ‘flower’ and giving the bee some wings on both sides.
Block 51 Bee Happy
Block 52 Coneflower
This next block has more of the indigo and blue colours in it:
Block 53 Whirling in Circles
You might pick a little error in the fabric placement in this next block- I wasn’t going to unpick it once I realised the mistake at the end!
Block 54 Shell
I have machine-sewn most of the blocks, including this next one where I used the method of raw-edge machine applique:
1. Take a piece of hand-painted and stencilled cloth and some sari ribbon of contrasting colours:
2. Lay out the sari ribbon silk strips and sew them down onto the painted cloth- I used a large zig-zag stitch in black thread.
Then cut across that piece into short strips of varying widths – no ruler needed! Rearrange those short strips- I rearranged so that there would be red pieces of the ribbon popping up in random locations, and then sew them back together.
3. The piece of re-constructed cloth I had at this stage was about 6″ wide. I then cross-cut that (you know I like to cut things up!) into the pieces that would become the book-mark- 6″ long and about 2.5″ wide. You can make them any size you want by sewing extra strips together or cutting wider or narrower….
4. I tore up a page from an old book and together with a scrap of fabric attached them onto the top. I used little pieces of text fabric- any words or sayings to do with books or quilts, used black thread and left the thread ends showing on top.
5. I then ironed onto the back of each of them some thin pellon- but in retrospect it would have been easier to iron that on to the back of the larger piece before cutting them up in Step 3 above
6. I used a piece of my hand-dyed cloth (dyed in a workshop quite a few years ago) as the backing- layered that and the top piece, wrong sides together, and sewed around the raw edges. I inserted a piece of ribbon or string as the loop for each one- leaving the cut edges out. Use whatever you have at hand, and they don’t all have to be the same. Sew around the edges at least twice free-style so the stitching looks uneven and ‘rustic’.
A couple of weeks back, I mentioned about the workshop we had here at Gatton, run by Ali George. I realised that I didn’t show many of the pieces I made on the day, so thought I would do so now.
All of the pieces needed the paints or oil stick or wax set in some way, so I have finally got around to doing that now. We produced quite a variety of different fabrics, and the challenge now is to use them in some way in our art quilts. That can be easier said than done- I find myself staring at all of them trying to come up with ideas on how best to make the most of them. That first picture above shows some leaves that were rolled with paint onto the fabric in a random arrangement, as with the one below:
This piece started out as black fabric, which I then treated with some soy wax resist and bits of string, as well as gel bleach, to produce the design: I’m sure I can see a definite face.
This one used fabric paint with a wood block stamp- I like it because it gives the appearance of an aerial view of city streets:
I think I will probably cut that one up to use in smaller blocks within an art quilt.
This couple were done with oil crayons and rubbing over surfaces- whatever surface could be found at the time:
I used some stencils made with an old card and some gold paint to make the bauble-shapes on top of the blue and purple – it was actually a ‘clean-up’ cloth but now looks special- it might come in handy for some Christmas sewing:
This next one was also a clean-up cloth until Ali grabbed it to use as a demonstration of the effect you will get when you tie string around a brayer and run it through some paint: those lovely green skinny lines made the cloth resemble scattered poppies. This has turned out to be my favourite piece of the day. I can see it being embellished with lots of hand-stitching:
This last one has an industrial look to it- produced with paint over a grid of masking tape and bubble-wrap:
This is a 6″square; a quilted close-up picture of a rose.
With the colours of this month’s challenge being white and yellow, I set myself a little challenge to see if I could recreate the picture using only shades of white. I found a photo of a white rose with the focus on its beautiful centre. I used a method of Upside Down Applique, which I learnt in an online course I did years ago with the now-defunct Quilt University. It’s the same method I used to create this flower picture, shown here on the blog back in August:
Frangipani- Karen Mundt
After taking a photocopy of the photo, I traced around all the little sections where the colour changed and worked out that I could create it with 4 shades of white, which I numbered 1 to 4. I used little bits of yellow for the darkest bits.
We always hear about lots of shades of white- winter white, warm white, bright white etc so when you line up a few against each other, it’s easy to be able to arrange them in order from ‘light’ to ‘dark.’
I traced the picture onto a piece of stabiliser and numbered all the pieces according to which shade of white was needed. I then used that to applique each little piece, sewing it down from the reverse side.
I started with the darkest pieces first, working on the rule that dark colours recede and lights advance. The darkest sections in the picture were in fact the deepest recesses of the curled petals. I added a piece of the darkest white fabric to all those spots, following the lines drawn on the stabiliser and therefore sewing from the back side – sort of like how we do foundation piecing. I used a clear monofilament thread in the bobbin and white thread in the needle, sewing exactly along the lines with an embroidery foot and dropped feed dogs.
Once each piece is sewn down it can be trimmed as close as possible to the sewing line, except those parts where one piece under-laps another piece yet to be added. I sewed all the Number 4 pieces and the yellow, then moved onto White #3, sewed all those, and so on down to White #2 and White #1.
As I sewed each piece, I coloured in that piece on my little drawing just to keep track of which bits had been sewn.
After all pieces are sewn down and the edges clipped,
I turned it around with the front facing up and then did lots of free-motion top-stitching with white thread around all the pieces. The little quilt was then backed and some last quilting done on top.
I added a little bit of dark pencil to create shadows and add dimension along some of the edges.
The flower-shape looks a little clearer when seen from a distance, as in the photo below taken with all of the quiltlets made by our quilt group at our recent meeting. One thing that I should have utilised more was the effect that was achieved in the white pieces that surroundered the small yellow pieces. The yellow created a shadow under the white, so in effect performed the role of another ‘colour’ to add to the variations.
You can see in the photo below the interpretations everyone came up with on the Flora & Fauna theme and only using white and yellow.
L-R, Row1: Helen H, Jan M, Meryl, Lyn; Row 2: Jan K, Shirley, Mine, Marilyn; Row 3(top) Cornelia, Trish, Helen S
Trish and Helen S
This next photo is a few quilts left from last month’s orange and white theme.
Clockwise from top left: Helen S, Shirley, Jan M, Meryl
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
It’s colourful and cute, with little birdies included!, and provides the opportunity to use colourful threads and stitches for embellishment.
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.
I’ve just about finished the centre panel and sewn the red triangle 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?
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.
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!
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.
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.:)
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!
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!
We had a workshop last weekend for a dozen or so of us in the Gatton Quilters who are interested in trying out new methods and techniques for perpetuating our memories with art quilts. The very talented and lovely Ali George travelled to us to guide us along the way for the two-day workshop.
We learnt so many different techniques and tried out a lot of products, samples of which Ali had brought along for us to try and experiment with.
We firstly used leaves and twigs; covering them with paint and taking a print. This expanded to stencils and masks and stamps, using acrylic paints and wax crayon. Ali showed us how easy it was to make our own stencils out of a piece of card and carve a stamp from an eraser. We tried wax crayons, or paintsticks, to make rubbings from random surfaces, and dipped fabric in rusting and tannin solutions to dye our fabrics.
On this little piece in the next photo, I used a small stencil I cut from card in what I thought was a teardrop shape. But after using some gold and blue paintsticks to rub around the edges, I realised that it actually looks like Christmas baubles! It’s given me some ideas- it might make great handmade Christmas cards!
We also used bleach with random objects to ‘take away’ the colour from black fabric in our own designs, as well as using soy wax as a resist and then spraying with bleach to extend the effects.
Ali had some great wood blocks and stencils for us to play with.
Workshops like these are fantastic in giving you time to play and experiment. I’m sure we had all heard of using stamps and paints and dyes etc. but it’s not until you take the time to experiment and play with repetition and variation that you really see what the possibilities are. Ali was a great tutor and very generous with her time and ‘allowing’ us to play. I think I can safely say on behalf of all of us that the weekend was really worthwhile and we’d highly recommend for anyone to invest their time. Go play!