oldies but goodies

Old and vintage fabrics, stitcheries and embroideries, old cloth and linen- I love all of these and love to work with them when I can. I have various bits and pieces that I’ve been lucky enough to be given or have found in op shops or craft stalls etc. The rider is, of course, that I always say that I will probably be cutting it up or tearing into pieces to make something ‘new’, so as long as everyone is happy with that, I’ll take whatever I’m given!
Some years ago, I went shopping with my daughter in a second-hand shop and we came across a beautiful powder-blue dress which probably dated from the sixties. It was a short close-fitting sheaf, with a satin lining and lace overlay. It fit my daughter’s slim figure perfectly, so I just had to take the length up a little and she wore it to a race day. The strip of lace and fabric I had to cut off didn’t get thrown away- I kept it and just recently found a use for it.
I’be been experimenting with stitching paper and cloth and laces etc. as part of an online course with Karen Ruane. We are experimenting and making little bits and pieces that can be attached to pages in an ‘artist book’, or a little journal if you like. I used the lace scrap to stitch onto some tracing paper.
Using free-motion machine stitching, I stitched round and round in a random fashion. The tissue paper can then be torn off, leaving little paper scraps left behind, or leave it on as you wish.
It can then be enhanced with further stitching including hand-stitching and embellished, as I did below. I cut off one section of th elace, removed the tissue paper from the middle part, and hand-stitched it onto some cream hand-made khadi paper.The little wooden beads are from an old necklace of mine that broke years ago.

Karen Mundt- artist book scrap

Karen Mundt- artist book scrap

Little pieces of loveliness!

quilters meeting

At our recent meeting for Gatton Quilters we had a visit from the Mountain Creek Quilt Group. Just a get-together but it gave us the chance to show and tell a lot of our works, past and current. Besides meeting another group of fine quilters, it was great to talk with others with like-minded interests, to discuss the projects we have been working on, pick up a few tips here and there and of course have a cuppa and a chat!
Some of our members brought along some completed projects that none of us have seen, such as this beautifil quilt by Jean:
Marilyn had some small mini quilts in delicious shades of chocolate!
Kay made this warm snuggly flannel quilt:
and Lyn and Pearl both had bags to show:

Lyn's bag- utilising the  embellisher machine

Lyn’s bag- utilising the embellisher machine

Pearl's bag
Some of our ladies have been doing an embroidery class with Jan Knight, who we are very lucky to have as a member in our club. Lyn’s picture, with such lovely meticulous stitches:
and Meryl’s picture of a bird showing a range of different techniques- just spectacular!
Both embroideries were professionally framed which just added to their presentation.

And there were also some more of the fabric journals to show from some of the Art Quilters: Lyn’s with some more needle-felted work on the front
and Meryl, who made her journal with an underwater theme, but maybe also a little on-top-of-the-water!?
Just goes to show that Quilters are a versatile bunch!

fabric journal- a finish

The journal pages that I’ve been working on for the last year are all finished, the cover is complete and they have all been assembled together into the final product: a fabric journal.
I know I’ve shown the individual parts on here before, but I now can show its final presentation- at last! The method I used to bind the individual pages together was to use two wooden rulers, drilled with holes and then threaded through from back to front with a strong wax-coated polyester thread.
Each of the pages had extra ‘space’ at the left-hand side to give the room needed for when the book was opened up. I think I could have made that wider though, or maybe used narrower sticks than the rulers.
Each page has its own label, printed on hand-made paper then hand-sewn to the back of the previous page.
Below is the inside back cover, and the back of the last page. I used a lot of ‘old’ fabric and scraps on this journal, probably about 90% of it was re-used, including this old soft teatowel used as the backing.
These are just some of the pages: we did ten altogether, plus the covers. I also used some hand-dyed fabric for the covers, which had cardboard inserts and sewn up in a ‘pillowcase’ style.
So nice to see it all together!

printing on fabric… or not

I’m working on finishing my fabric journal and am finally getting to the final stages of putting it all together.
One of the last steps is to make the little labels that I wanted to put on each page that included a little description of what each page was about and how I made it. My intention is to attach the label for each page on the back of the previous page, so that when the pages are open you can read it right there facing it.
However, it has not gone so well! I wanted to print from the computer onto fabric, which is something I have done before. See the blue fabric in this wallhanging with the black ‘smudges’ on it: I ‘painted’ the splotches using my computer’s Paint program and printed it onto the blue fabric which had been backed with freezer paper. It fed through the printer and printed perfectly.
This time it didn’t go so well. Using Word, I typed the text for each label into a table so all labels would be the same size. I ironed the freezer paper to the back of some linen fabric, but it just didn’t feed through very well. It started to print but then it stopped and bunched up and jammed the printer.
So, I thought the linen itself wasn’t conducive to being picked up by the printer’s rollers. I then cut some plain cotton and ironed the freezer paper to it – it didn’t work either.
Maybe, I needed more freezer paper to make it firmer, so I ironed 2 more pieces onto the back ( this was a type of freezer paper that was thinner or finer than the first piece I used, so I figured two layers of it would equate to one of the other). It didn’t work either.
I’m thinking that the previous time when I had success with printing, I must have been using a different printer. We have had this current printer about 2 years, so maybe the older printer was just better at feeding through?
I decided to try and use the Transfer Artists Paper, which I have also used with success before, as shown here, but to use that I needed to reverse image the text so when it is ironed onto the fabric the words are back the right way. But when I tried to work out how to do that in my version of Word, it proved too difficult and required more patience than I had!

So now I am considering writing it by hand on the freezer paper-backed cotton with a fabric pen, which will take such a long time. Phooey! Any hints?

works in progress and completed

This completed stitched “city scene” is one I’ve been working on for awhile, for the cover of my fabric journal.
The journal was a project that my local art quilt groups worked on last year and is now at the stage of compiling and finishing off. I have shown pictures of this cover page here before in its various stages of completion, but now it is finally finished…
and I can now make it into the front cover by giving it a backing and some sort of stability to support it in its role as the cover.
It was made with lots of re-purposed scraps of fabric and bits and pieces, and
rough edges and lots of hand stitching
I can now put all the pages of the journal together and work out what type of binding I’ll use.

What else I’ve been working on: some more little blocks for the border section of the Lollipop Trees quilt top:
And as a sort of Postscript to last week’s blog post of the bleach dyeing that we experimented with, here is an interesting effect that has shown itself over time… I used some “Discolourant” on one piece of fabric that was hand-dyed in a dark plum colour. I brushed some of it on the fabric with an old toothbrush and left it to dry as per the instructions. This was the result later that afternoon after it had dried: the brushed marks are a golden colour-
and then the next day, this was what that same piece of fabric looked like:
The brushed marks have turned to a green (while the rest is still a plum colour, which perhaps doesn’t show that well in this photo)
Now that’s cool!
I’m linking up here to Works In Progress Wednesday- lots of good projects to look at over there!


Choices. I am a people-watcher. I love to sit and observe people; think about why they chose to wear what they have; look at their family dynamics; the people they surround themselves with; the things they do; the books they might be reading on the beach….
It all comes back to choices. The same with our quilting, but sometimes we struggle with the choices and it can be harder than it should be! I’ve been working on this little piece ….
which I hope will be the cover page of my fabric journal, which my Art Quilt group has been working on as our personal challenge for the past year. I’ve shown these pages here on the blog in the past:

using only one shape

using only one shape



and talked about the journal here
We have now finished the pages, so the current task is to create a cover page. I don’t have a theme for the cover so I have been working on a cityscape, which is one of my favourite themes. Although this is more like a ‘small town’ than a city..
just sewing little scraps on here and there, all by hand, while experimenting with different stitches…
It is not finished by a long way, so these are just progress photos. After each bit of stitching I have another choice to make- which scrap of fabric, which stitch, which thread…
Sometimes it can seem as though I take longer and longer to decide on what to do next. I’m currently working on the stitched ‘road’ that runs through the middle…
How about you- how is your decision-making coming along on your current project?

astro beauty

The last page in our fabric journal had a theme which was a difficult one for me to work with. Astrology could give you a choice of 12 different symbols to interpret, from a number of different countries of origin; but then if I chose one of them, which do I choose- or which selection? None of these appealed to me so I instead went with a block which would represent the astrological chart with all 12 signs,or points.
I thought I would do a 12-pointed star, but couldn’t find a pattern for one (is there such a thing? I found 6-pointed stars, 8-pointed stars etc) So I turned to the block which is my favourite of all quilt blocks- the New York Beauty block. I drew up some foundation paper with 4 identical blocks, each with 2 full points and 2 half points.
Foundation piecing is ideal for making nice sharp, accurate points and I love the contrast between a lighter background and bright coloured fabric points.
I cut the outer piece out of the same neutral background fabric and made the centre from a mottled gold.
After each of the 4 corner blocks were made, they were then joined together to make the complete star.
I placed the star block on some natural linen which I have been using for most of my fabric pages for this journal; sewing it down by machine with a raw-edge.
I then hand-quilted around each star point,
and did concentric circles in the middle with matching thread.
I found this theme tricky to start with, but am happy with the final result- love those sharp little points!

famous saying without saying it….

For my latest art quilt group challenge, I made a fabric journal page under the theme of using a famous saying or line of verse as inspiration.
I decided I wanted to try and make a small piece that would reflect a saying that was recognisable without actually using any words on the page. So it had to be something very well known, and that could be easily be reproduced in an illustrative way. Of course, it took me a week or two mulling it over but eventually did come up with something. What message do you think these guys are trying to get across?
I used a technique of making some ‘paper fabric’ for the background- I blogged about the process here.
As part of that, I used newspaper scraps which reflected bad news that the monkeys are trying to avoid…
…and then surroundered them with ‘nice’ things, like, flowers and cupcakes, and hearts and lace.

The three wise monkeys are made out of black felt that I first placed in position on the paper fabric with a few drops of glue, and then machine-sewed on with free-motion stitches around the very edge. I sewed a strip of cupcake fabric across the bottom edge and some colourful buttons on top of that. The row of flowers were also machine-sewn with a fine black thread- you can see the holes created by the needles so it has a real ‘sketchy’ look.
I used bobbin-sewing to attach the paper fabric onto a backing of cotton wadding, using a thick, textured thread in the bobbin and sewing from the wrong side. To back all of that I used a piece of natural-coloured linen, fixed by large running stitch.
So, that’s my interpretation of the saying ” see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.