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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white, white and more white….

This is a 6″square; a quilted close-up picture of a rose.

Karen Mundt

Karen Mundt


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

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.’
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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.
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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.
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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.
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As I sewed each piece, I coloured in that piece on my little drawing just to keep track of which bits had been sewn.
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After all pieces are sewn down and the edges clipped,
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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.
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I added a little bit of dark pencil to create shadows and add dimension along some of the edges.
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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

L-R, Row1: Helen H, Jan M, Meryl, Lyn; Row 2: Jan K, Shirley, Mine, Marilyn; Row 3(top) Cornelia, Trish, Helen S


trishhelen
Trish and Helen S

Jan K

Jan K


Meryl, Lyn

Meryl, Lyn


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

Clockwise from top left: Helen S, Shirley, Jan M, Meryl

green and purple galore

I’ve had some fun thinking up a small quilt- 6″ square- for my quilter’s group monthly colour challenge. This month it was all about green and purple. We could create anything using any techniques and materials to the loose theme of flora and fauna, but we could only use the two colours of green and purple. This is my little thistle flower.

Karen -thistle flower

Karen -thistle flower


I did it as an exercise in thread painting. I started out with a photo of a thistle that I printed onto some inkjet printable fabric. I also had to choose some threads to use so pulled out all the green and purple threads I had!
thistle3
I certainly didn’t use all of these, but I did need to have a variety of darks, mediums and lights to choose from. It was then a matter of just starting somewhere, so I started in the middle, primarily with some colour that I knew would be behind, or underneath, other more prominent colours on top. This next photo was just after I started, with dark olive green in the middle and lighter highlights:
thistle1
That bright green was used in the middle and was later covered up to leave just little specks of it showing through. A close-up:
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It took lots of free-motion stitching back and forth to get the coverage. I just wanted the main flower to be stitched and to leave the printed photo as the rest of the background.
Karen

Karen


Here is a photo of the ‘sinchies’ made by the rest of our talented group:
L-R Bottom row: Jan M, Cornelia, Lyn, Jan K; middle row: Meryl, Helen S, mine, Helen H; Top row: Shirley, Trish, Marilyn

L-R Bottom row: Jan M, Cornelia, Lyn, Jan K; middle row: Meryl, Helen S, mine, Helen H; Top row: Shirley, Trish, Marilyn

The best part of these challenges is seeing what everyone else comes up with! Happy quilting!

gorgeous georgie

I’d like you to meet my giraffe that I’ve named Gorgeous Georgie- cute, isn’t he!

Gorgeous Georgie- Karen Mundt

Gorgeous Georgie- Karen Mundt


He is a little art quilt I made in response to a challenge within my local art quilt group. We were all given a piece of fabric that had to be used in whichever way we wanted to make a quilted piece with irregular edges. This is the fabric we were given- a batik in browns and yellows and green:
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To begin with, I couldn’t think what to do with it so I pinned it on the wall for a couple of weeks just looking at it and waiting for inspiration. One day, when I walked into my sewing room, it occurred to me that the fabric looked very much like it could be an animal, and as my favourite animal is a giraffe, I thought – that’s it! I decided I would create it by using a fabric collage method. First I had to find a picture of a giraffe that I could use just for the outline and shapes. That took some time, because I wanted one with the head looking directly at me- I didn’t want the whole animal. I found this one on Shutterstock (royalty-free) images:
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I photocopied the picture to the size I wanted, then used a plain piece of white cotton to trace the giraffe head and neck- just the main lines and features. My plan was to create the collaged piece first, then cut it out and applique to a final background. I could place it so that the horns on the top of his head protruded from the background, as well as leaves from a tree over to one side, and this would satisfy the criteria for irregular edges.
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The fabric had within it different areas of predominant colour, so I cut it apart and divided it up so I had a mainly dark group, mainly lights and a green group. I could add in a tree with leaves that would use the green pieces.
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I then added to these fabrics other assorted scraps in the right colour-tones and cut them up into smaller pieces. I started placing all the pieces, taking careful note of where the darker sections were on the picture I used as my guide. It was important to carefully look at every scrap I picked up for its value; darker pieces can be used to indicate curves in his face, along his nose and jaw etc. I have followed the techniques that Susan Carlson teaches on her blog and in books.
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Each piece had a dab of glue on the back so it would stay when placed, the edges were left free so other pieces could be placed under and around where needed. Many pieces were added and taken away and moved here and there.The eyes were assembled as little parts on their own before placing down, and building around them.
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As shown in the photos, I started at the top of the head and moved down. The long neck had darker pieces placed first with the large ‘spots’ in a lighter value added on top.
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Once I was finished with placing all the pieces I added a little more glue to the edges of the pieces to make them secure. I then free-motion quilted all over as well as adding a backing to the horns that would be sticking up past the edge in the final piece. For his little mane, I used the selvedge edge of a piece of black fabric which had been treated with bleach discharge so it had a mix of dark brown and black along its edge. I made the background out of some blue hand-dyed fabric with a brown homespun. The tree was made in a collage fashion with some of the leaves made as separate pieces as they would be attached to the tree but not completely sewn down. They also had to be double-sided as they were sticking out past the edge.
Georgie2
I did more machine-quilting over all of it to secure the various parts down and create the background of the landscape and a little perspective. I probably haven’t got it all completely accurate, but I’m using artistic license here! I added the backing in the pillow-case method after most of the quilting had been done, and then just added the final stitching to secure the layers and finish it off.
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I like him- I think he looks cute!
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So, what do you think? What would you have made with the piece of batik fabric?
Here are some pictures of the pieces made by the other members in my group:
Marilyn

Marilyn


Lyn

Lyn


Meryl

Meryl


Helen H

Helen H


Jan K

Jan K


L- Shirley R-Allison

L- Shirley R-Allison


I really like this one by Trish- very clever I thought:
Trish K

Trish K


Trish

Trish


Hope you’ve enjoyed these- have a good 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.
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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!

bright lights, big city- a finish

You might remember me mentioning my progress on this quilt top over previous months- Bright lights, big city. I have finally finished the quilt top- not quilted yet, but I will hopefully get to that soon!
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The pattern is by Victoria Findlay-Wolfe from her book Double Wedding Ring Quilts. It is just an over-sized DWR, with big pieced points to form the large arcs or ‘rings’. It measures 90″ square, so it was a little tricky for my trusty quilt holder out in the breeze last weekend! I don’t really have a good flat photo of the whole top just yet.
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I showed some pictures of its progress back here and here. It started with foundation-piecing the arcs, all 72 of them…
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I made it in a completely scrappy-style trying to use as many fabrics from my stash as possible…
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Once the arcs were pieced, I had to then assemble them with the little melon pieces in between two arcs and the square pieces at the end. Choosing the fabrics for them took some thought, because even though I wanted scrappy, I didn’t want it to look like a big jumbled mess! I decided to use various greens for the little melon centres.
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Laying all the blocks out and playing around with what would be their final position was fun for all…
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I used all reds for the large centre pieces, to bring some order to this bright multi-coloured quilt..
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Even though I had made that decision, I still had second thoughts about it. Some of the red fabrics I initially bought to use, because of course I didn’t have enough of them in my stash!, were too busy or loud, so I used fabrics that had a small print at most.
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Now that it’s finished, I can say I am happy with it, it’s just while you are putting together a quilt with so many different fabrics while working and looking at it close up, it can seem too much. Standing back and looking at it as a whole, I think it’s okay!

my small world quilt

I started this art quilt last year. My Small World Quilt is made from a pattern by Jane Kingwell, and was featured in the Quiltmania magazine.

Karen Mundt- My Small World

Karen Mundt- My Small World


It combines my loves of lots of different fabrics- the ‘scrappy look’- with the theme of buildings and houses. Of course, how you choose what fabrics to use is entirely an individual choice. At the time there was an online Quilt-Along and accompanying Instagram groups, so it was fun to check them out to see how others interpreted it.
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I used only fabrics that I already had, and it was a chance to use some different little bits and pieces. Like this little doggy…
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and this little girl at the window…
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I used light low-volume fabrics for the sky area, some with text, some with spots or self-patterns. I started with some pale blues and pinks close to the skyline, fading them to lighter colours as it went higher.
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I also made one little change. In place of the little Pisa tower block, I instead added in a little hand-embroidered block of the Statue of Liberty. That was to reflect my trip to the States, taken during the time I was making it.
It also took me a long time to decide on how to quilt it. I actually put the needle in at an arbitrary place, grabbed the ruler and decided to quilt first one line, then another, turned that into a diamond. Echoed that, did another diamond further across, repeat. That was for the top half- the sky. When I got to the lower half, I just quilted all over in an irregular grid about 2 inches apart.
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I backed it with a white and brown stripe, which I also used for the binding.
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I really enjoyed making this quilt. With all the different blocks and fabric choices to make, you don’t get bored with it and its fun to see what the next section will look like! I enjoyed it so much, I may even make another version some day!
Karen Mundt- My Small World

Karen Mundt- My Small World

splendid sampler blocks et al

I’m working on a few different things lately, so today’s post is a ‘progress report’ on where I am up to.
First up are the blocks for the Splendid Sampler.

Block 13 Splendid Sampler

Block 13 Splendid Sampler

Block 14 Splendid Sampler

Block 14 Splendid Sampler


For this block, called ‘Flying High’, I decided to cut the bird shapes out of wool felt and appliqued them down by free-motion sewing. Luckily I had a few scraps of suitable colours to mix in with my theme of using Japanese-taupe as inspiration.
Next up, I have made the two blocks for April’s do.Good Stitches quilting bee. These had to be a house block using bright colours and a pale ‘sky’.
Apr-do-good-stitches1-
Apr-do-good-stitches2
I also had a sewing day with some friends where we each had a few finished projects to show and tell. Mine was just a cute little pouch, made from a Studio Mio pattern.
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I made it in some lovely fabric given to me by a friend, and lined it with a blue and white spot.
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It even has birdies on it!
This next one was Barb’s little bag with handles; it has a French-style look about it, yes?
Barb
And this was Trudy’s shoulder bag in that great colour combination of blues and browns:
Trudy
Hope you are all having a lovely productive week!

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.
watch1
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….

stitch a white Christmas

We’re getting to the end of the year and I’m sure everyone is busy finishing off lots of quilt projects and challenges. The challenge that my local quilt group worked on was to do a small art quilt each month to a different colour- using only that colour, or at least predominantly that colour. I’ve shown on here throughout the year the results of the challenge- both mine and some of the other group members. Coming back from my trip, I had to catch up on the last two months of black and white. This is the complete set of all of my little quilts for this challenge:

Karen- colour challenge 2015

Karen- colour challenge 2015

The black challenge was a little hard- I tried to think of something that would use contrasts with texture or you wouldn’t be able to discern anything when looking at it. I did buy some trimming when shopping in New York that I thought I could use…
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..but then changed my mind. I got some old black poly-silk taffeta out of my cupboard and pleated it by sewing rows of 1/4inch tucks.I then sewed across it, allowing some tucks to lay one direction, then the other- trying for a 3-D sort-of look to it.Then what to do next….
black-pleats
I thought of using reverse-applique so that you could see the pleated fabric through a star-shaped hole in the top fabric.
I drew out the star shape in two halves and sewed them together, then lay them under the prepared top piece for which I had used a star drawn on paper for a template. I used that to cut the star out of the top fabric, turned the edges under and hand-sewed around the inside edges.
black-cutting star
After sewing that together, I damp-stretched it on a cork board over-night to stretch back into place, before sandwiching with the backing and then quilting with lines only 1/4inch apart. You might also be able to see a little piece of the black trimming that I slipped into some of the folds.
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Sort of a modern quilting appraoch!

Karen-black

Karen-black


When approaching the last challenge, I made a little winter wonderland for my ‘white’ project- a scene about as far removed from my local environment as you can get!
Karen-white

Karen-white


I had a couple of little pieces I made years ago in a class- the tree and the star, so started with them and created some more shapes to add to them. They were made with wash away solvy, stitching down the outside trim first then the grid of interlocking rows of stitching.
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When I ran out of the trim I crocheted a length of chain with No.8 cotton and used that for the outside edges. You then stitch across from side to side: I used a small zigzag stitch or a straight stitch would work also. As long as the stitching all connects with each other then it all stays together when you rinse it in water to remove the plastic solvy. I made some extra trees of varying sizes, and also made some ‘machine-lace’- just stitching allover with a swirly pattern all on top of each other, back and forth. I wasn’t sure what this would be for but liked the look of it. I ended up putting it on top of one of the hills, so it looked like a snow-capped mountain.
white2
For the background, I used some pieces of old and re-purposed fabric and remnants cut into shapes to resemble a landscape with hills and valleys. This was just trial and error, arranging and re-arranging, trimming a bit here and there until it looked ‘right’.
Those pieces were backed with some iron-on adhesive and ironed in place. I top-stitched the hills and then free-motion quilted a tree-pattern all over it before adding the backing fabric. I arranged the little lacy pieces on top and free-motion stitched them down through all 3 layers. I just bound it as normal. Because it was all machine-sewn it really didn’t take too long at all.
Karen- colour challenge 2015

Karen- colour challenge 2015


Challenges such as these are designed to make you think, to try out methods and techniques and experiment. For all of these little quilts, I used only what fabric and resources (except a small piece of black trim!) I already had at home. In the collage above, I think my favourite is the yellow one- you can see how I made it here, with the red square a close second, but then I also liked the orange one….. and the blue birds which was my own design, mmm…