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!
bigcity3
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.
bigcity9
I showed some pictures of its progress back here and here. It started with foundation-piecing the arcs, all 72 of them…
bigcity1
I made it in a completely scrappy-style trying to use as many fabrics from my stash as possible…
bigcity1
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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bigcity8
I used all reds for the large centre pieces, to bring some order to this bright multi-coloured quilt..
bigcity4
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.
bigcity2
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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msw8
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.
msw2
I backed it with a white and brown stripe, which I also used for the binding.
msw3
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.
Karen1
I made it in some lovely fabric given to me by a friend, and lined it with a blue and white spot.
Karen2
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…
watch2
…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…
black3
..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.
white3
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…

for the jet plane…

We will be leaving on our USA trip on Monday, and I’m all packed (nearly) and ready to go(almost). I thought I’d show you a couple of little things I made for my trip to inject a little colour into the proceedings.
A week or two ago I showed you this little sewing bag, which I’ll be taking with my sewing supplies- I can’t go anywhere without taking something to do, idle hands and all that…
stbag3
My suitcase is a pretty standard colour of charcoal, so to be able to pick it out of the sea of bags on the luggage carousel I also made a luggage tag.
This was from a pattern found online, here. Once I made one up, I thought it needed pepping up a bit though, so I made some changes to it in size and shape. This was the original:
tag1
The ‘fabric’ I decided to use on the next one was actually some of the made-up fabric I’ve been putting together recently from lots of random colourful scraps..
tag-choosing_fab
I used a cardboard template to get the shape I wanted,
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and cut out the fabric and batting and adjusted the piece of plastic which goes on the front to form a little pocket.
tag-cutting_out
The pieces are all sewn together then turned out, and top-stitched all around, inserting a loop at the top.
tag-ready_to_sew
I used some ribbon for the loop, and a little piece of Kaffe Fassett ribbon as the trim on the plastic (which frays very easily so get it sewn quickly!)
Tag-ready_to_sew2
These were really quick to make, and so cute!
tags
And, I also made this travel wallet for my tickets and passport etc. This was from a pattern by Natalie Bird in the July Homespun magazine, which just by chance I happened to find when looking back through it the other day.
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For the main part of the wallet I used some hand-dyed fabric I bought from Ali George, the dark print on the quilted pocket is a V & A special reproduction fabric, and some Tim Holz travel document-themed fabric was used for the inside lining.
wallet2
The original pattern did have a little applique picture on the front, but I left that off and just included the back-stitched text labels. Also another quick make and the pattern was easy to follow.
Hope you all have a lovely week, and keep on the lookout for some photos I’ll post on here ….

mini quilt swap

This little mini quilt is finished.

Karen Mundt

Karen Mundt


I showed it in its earlier stages here.
It was made with half-square triangles of warm and cool colours, using Kaffe Fassett fabrics like these:
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The small blocks were placed alternating to form an offset diamond pattern.
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I decided to quilt it with straight-line stitching along the warm colour ‘stripes’, emphasising the diamond shapes, and leaving the cooler sections unquilted.
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mini5
I used a pink and white spot for the backing and bound it with a hot pink solid.
mini2
So that’s finished and now ready to send to my Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap partner and hope that she likes it!
mini4
This time next week I will be on my way to the USA with a group of friends. We will be going to the Houston International Quilt Festival which was the prime motivator for the trip, but also visiting a few other places on the way. I’ll try and post some photos on here, because I’m sure it’s going to be the best time ever!
Today though a little colour in your day, fresh from our garden:
roses

in the pink..

I’ve been catching up on a few different projects lately, and trying to cross off a few on my list that I want to get finished in the next couple of weeks. One of them was this little bag- its called the Sew Together Bag. The pattern is by ‘Sew Demented’ and you have no doubt seen many versions on the net or Instagram. I plan to use it for a little sewing bag- it is a handy size to take travelling…
stbag3
I made mine with different fabrics for each of the parts, so that it would be easier to remember what each pocket held. The zips were all random colours…
stbag2
I have seen so many different versions, with people experimenting with all manner of fabrics and embellishment on the outside of the bag. I can see how it can become addictive to make more than one, although the pattern takes a bit of studying to work it out in places.
stbag1
I have also been working on this month’s colour challenge for the Gatton Quilters- pink. This was a little hard because while I don’t dislike pink, I didn’t want a 14″ square of just pink staring up at me! So my challenge was to devise something that was pink all over but that the ‘expanse’ of the colour was broken up in some way, or diluted, but so that the block was still pink to look at. This is the result:
pink1
I started with a background made up of pink scraps all sewn together. I then got an old sewing pattern tissue and tore it up into pieces and placed on top of that. I did think of painting the pattern tissue with some gel medium in the hope of making it more transparent but it didn’t really do that on the sample piece I tried. So instead I added some open weave raw silk on top which still let the colour show through.
pink3
Then I pinned it and got stuck into some all-over free motion quilting. After stitching it, I then used some water-colour pastels to colour in a few highlights, using darker shades of pink to give some dimension.
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I stitched lots of dresses and bows, all connected together in a continuous line, using a variegated thread. There were some torn bits of paper and holes in the silk to let some pink show through. This is the back…
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It’s not my favourite piece I’ve ever made, but it’s good enough!

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.
orange-close1
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.
orange-starting
orange-close2
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.
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Holding it up I debated on how to add its backing and finish the edges…
orange2
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!

little frangipani quilt

Have you ever tried an online quilting course? There are so many out there, although one that I started with quite a few years ago actually no longer exists. ‘Quilt University’ gave me an introduction into techniques and patterns and basic quilting knowledge that I couldn’t get elsewhere, so I did quite a few different classes with them. This little quilted piece is one that I started in a class called Flower Power.

Frangipani- Karen Mundt

Frangipani- Karen Mundt


The goal was to be able to create a realistic portrayal of a photo image. We used a technique called upside-down applique. It was achieved by tracing the photo carefully, marking in all the areas that had a change in colour, or hue. I used a photo I had taken years ago of my daughter’s little flower crown she had made from frangipanis in our garden.
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The tracing was placed on the back of the background fabric and you placed the pieces of fabric underneath, then sewed around the edges, which made it a raw-edge on the right side. I used batik fabrics, cottons, hand-dyes, silk- whatever I could find to replicate the fragile colouring of the frangipani blooms.
fran_detail3
After all fabric pieces are in place, lots of stitching is needed with decorative threads to outline and emphasize the shapes. It was at this stage that I had stopped, so I decided to finish it earlier this year.
fran-threads
frangipani_detail4-Karen_Mundt
Actually, what prompted me to finish it was to enter it in to a Reader Challenge in the Quilting Arts magazine. They had called for small art quilts on the theme of ‘Blossoms, Buds and Blooms’. This was the first time I had tried entering something like this, but unfortunately wasn’t successful in having my piece chosen. Oh, well- next time! You can see the results of the challenge in the June edition of the magazine.
Frangipani-Karen_Mundt
Dear Jane block:
This week’s block is A1 Pinwheel gone awry- it’s the first block in the first row of the quilt.
A1- Pinwheel gone awry

A1- Pinwheel gone awry

(Block is untrimmed, with seam allowances.)