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
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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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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:
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She could use it for make-up, or sewing or coloured pencils…..
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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!

how to make a Christmas gift

A recipe for a handmade book-mark:

Christmas Book-mark:   Karen Mundt

Christmas Book-mark: Karen Mundt


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.
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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.
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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….
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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.
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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’.
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Great to use for Christmas gifts!
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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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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!
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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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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.
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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.
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I added these trees in. They were done in feather stitch, which is an excellent stitch for trees!
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More stitching at the top is also needed, just more of the kantha-style stitching. But it’s close, nearly there.
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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!

Christmas 2014

It’s Christmas week already! the trees are up, the lights are on, presents are starting to gather. I just love Christmas!
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I made some little Christmas stars this year. They were made of a variety of fabric scraps, from re-purposed linen tea-towels, like this one I showed last week…
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to rusty cottons and linen scraps left over from past projects.
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I stitched random patterns on each of them, using blues and browns as my theme.
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Then beads were added to add a touch of sparkle. I sewed around them keeping the raw edges out, with some twine or cords to hang them with and filled with a little stuffing. Cute?!
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There’s something about a Christmas tree, so I did a little photo survey within my family:
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all different but all so nice!
And another thing nice about this time of year are the beautiful flowers that are blooming, like these irises from my brother-in-law’s garden:
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I hope you all have a joyful Christmas with your loved ones and look forward to a happy and healthy- and quilt-filled – New Year!
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Christmas party

We had a Christmas party with Gatton Quilters last week. No doubt, there are a lot of Christmas parties being held now! It’s a good time to catch up with everyone, to see the latest project they have been working on, as well as – in our case- the results of any challenges. We also had a lucky dip where we all had to bring along a Christmas ornament to swap with others. Here is the one I made to swap – a star made from an old linen teatowel, hand- embroidered and beaded:
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We have a bunch of talented ladies in Gatton Quilters, including a group of art quilters. The group had a challenge in this latter half of the year to produce a piece to the theme of ‘Recycled’- to interpret however we wanted, in whatever format and using whatever materials we wanted.
Here are a few of the challenge projects:

Marilyn

Marilyn


Meryl

Meryl


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This magnificent work below is by Shirley, using feathers to create the gentlemen: the work is mounted and framed. Really breathtaking.
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The party is also a chance to “show and tell”- here’s just a few:
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Helen- completed journal

Helen- completed journal


Jan K

Jan K


On another note, at long last we have rain! The grass is green, the dams are full, the frogs are croaking and the storms are fierce! Here is my brave companion Hayley, who has to come inside at the first rumble of thunder, then promptly hides under the desk:
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and checking out the window at a particularly large clap of thunder:
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So brave!

stitching a story

Some progress on my little Christmas cloth that I started last week.
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I’ve sewn down the tree and added another one.. I think this is going to be a “Twas the night before Christmas” story.
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Can you tell what this little patchwork animal is going to be?! It looks a lot like our lovely kelpieX dog Haley (I hope!). Only pinned in place at the moment and yet to work out the best way to sew her down, and then of course add her tail!
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Also I thought I’d show this quilt below, as I don’t think I have had it here on the blog before. It’s a pretty basic design I made some years ago for my daughter to take to Uni but it has recently made its way home again. It’s place has been taken by the Lollipop Trees quilt!
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It was made with a pattern published in a magazine about 5 or 6 years ago, and I can’t remember the name or who designed it.
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I used a large selection of mainly Kaffe Fassett fabrics and possibly a few others- I can’t remember exactly.
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I quilted it on my long-arm machine but decided to practise using a circular attachment which alows you to draw perfect circles. I quilted varying-sized circles randomly over the quilt.
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I’ve given it a wash so its even softer and crinkly now.

looking towards Christmas

At long last I’m starting to think about Christmas, and in particular what sewing-related projects I want to make – either as Christmas gifts or for our own home. I like to make something different each year to put up on the wall or on the tree. I should have started before now, but the last week or so I have been fairly productive and had a good start. I really love Christmas and all that goes with it, but by the same token its hard to get into gear!
I have started a little Christmas cloth, in which I’m utilising techniques I’ve learnt from following Jude Hill on Spiritcloth. The ground is a nine-patch, made out of two different fabrics.
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The dark blue is some cloth made when I did some bleach discharging earlier in the year. The top-left right corner looks like a moon, don’t you think?
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The light squares at the bottom are some fabric from our eco-dyeing workshop. As it is a fine knit, I’ve backed it with some light iron-on interfacing to give some body. The gauze, or cheesecloth, has been sewn on and resembles some hills.
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When I got to thinking about what else to do with it and started rummaging through my scraps bucket, a triangle-shaped piece just fell out. I picked it up and thought- hah! this resembles a tree. Put it on and spur-of-the-moment decision has given me a Christmas tree. Serendipity :) I’ll show you more as I work on it leading up to Christmas.

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I also have some photos here of a quilt-top I recently long-arm quilted for Alison. Alison left the quilting decision up to me so I experimented and made up some new designs. The lantern-shapes have large diamond-shapes quilted on them
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and there are some feather-like flourishes (don’t know what to call them!) up through the mid-sections- the negative-space parts of the quilt.
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Here are some pictures of the back which might show the quilting a little better.
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It is quite an unusual backing fabric. I’m always curious on what people choose for their backs!
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Overall, a lovely modern quilt in nice fresh colours.
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Talk to you next week!

Christmas wishes

Merry Christmas to everyone who might be reading this- I’m not sure how many there are, but thankyou all for visiting my site through the year! I wish you and all your family the very best for Christmas and the New Year.
I have a mini quilt here to show you that I made this Christmas. It is a design I made myself, using ‘wonky’ trees as the base blocks with splashes of colour strips thrown in here and there.
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Each tree block is made first by cutting triangle shapes and adding on side pieces at any odd angles. For the trunks, I cut and pieced 3 strips of fabric together then cross-cut into segments.
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I loved the bright blue Kaffe Fassett fabric so used that for the borders plus a contrasting fabric for strips down the middle. Even though I didn’t use traditional Christmas colours, the theme still comes through by using that tree shape. And anyway, I like its bright modern look with bright blues, pinks and oranges together :)
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My other love is text-style fabrics, so I used those for the background.
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I didn’t want the quilting to take away from the effect of the fabrics, so it was mainly in-the-ditch around the edges of each large section. I put little tabs in the top to be able to hang it up, and finished it off by sewing the back on ‘pillow-case style’ as I decided I didn’t want it to have a binding.
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Do you like it? I hope the recipient does!
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See you in the New Year!