We managed to find a few sewing and quilting-related shops on our recent trip to France & England. It was handy to have looked them up before we went so we had a list of possibles to try and find. While we didn’t get to all of them, we enjoyed the ones we did!
This little Mercerie in Paris, called “Ultramod” was just a beautiful little old shop- which I know doesn’t seem so from its name!
We found it in a little side road, with a relatively unassuming exterior. It was like stepping into a treasure trove. It still used original wooden fixtures and cardboard boxes. It had a huge assortment of buttons…
and laces and trims…
some lovelies to just look at…
And on another note, Gatton Quilters’ new monthly quilt art challenge is to create a quilted or mixed-media postcard. The first month was…. Paris!
Here is my little postcard: a map quilt created with bits of fabric, some embellishment and hand stitching to top it off.
Top: Marilyn, Karen, Helen S; Row 2: Trish, Jan M, Marg; Row 3: Helen H, Shirley, Lyn
And some other works that were shown at the meeting:
Kaye C- sashiko table runner
Marilyn- table runners
And on another another Note!: I will be taking a break from my long-arm quilting business. I have a number of clients’s quilts to finish off by the end of the year, but won’t be taking in any new business after that. I hope to spend more time to do some of my own sewing and quilting, and creating some new things. But you never know what the future holds- I may change my mind and come back to it at some stage! I’ll keep you updated
Have a lovely week quilting!
I have this desire to re-create a textile version of a close-up picture of a flower. I’ve tried a few times with varying levels of success. I love to take macro photos of flowers, to show the detail of those beautiful petals and the way they fold and layer in and around each other. So for this month’s sinchies challenge with my quilt group, and the last in this series, I had another try using just two colours of red and purple.
Karen Mundt- red and purple challenge
This was the photo I used as my inspiration:
My version is made with just two layers of fabric, the purple on top of the red. I first traced around the purple petals onto paper and lay that drawing on top of the 2 pieces. I stitched around the outlines of the purple parts and then cut away where I wanted the red to show through. I then started to draw with some Inktense water colour pencils:
I kept the picture near me to use for reference.
It took a lot of shading with the pencils to be able to get that illusion of the petals. I did a few layers, dampening the fabric first then colouring with the pencils.
The last step was then to do lots of top-stitching with purple thread- free-motion stitching to embellish just the purple petals.
When I look at the final picture up close I’m not convinced that it’s turned out as good as I would like, but to look at photos of it, the shading with the pencils does seem to give a realistic interpretation.
Karen Mundt- red and purple challenge
The rest of the quilt group also had their sinchie challenge pieces to show at our recent meeting day- we could use any two colours this month:
Row 1: me (Karen), Trish, Jan K, Helen S
Row 2: Meryl, Marilyn, Lyn, Shirley
Isn’t that little bird by Trish so cute- she has been learning to make hand-made lace:
Also at the meeting we saw this marvellous quilt by Kaye:
This month at Gatton Quilters’ monthly get together, there was a lot on show. Those of us in the Art Quilt group had our 6″ square in the colours of red and blue to show and tell. I decided to do a little bird, and picked a Crimson Rosella to portray.
I firstly found a photo of the bird that I liked and traced it and then enlarged it, doing it the old-fashioned way using a grid and free-hand drawing it square by square.
I traced each of the pieces off to make little paper pattern pieces, and placed them on the red and blue wool felt to cut each of them out.
By using the felt, I didn’t have to worry about seam allowances, except those sections which overlapped, and also didn’t have to turn edges under. I stitched each of the pieces in to place on the background fabric. I used a small overcast stitch in matching thread.I then just had to do some further embellishment- I added some red braid and stitching down his chest, straight stitch on his wings and a little cross -stitch near his head. His legs are done with long bullion stitches in charcoal wool. I then sandwiched the piece with some backing and did some free-motion ‘scribbling’ to quilt it together.
He was initially too big to fit on the sinchie so I had intended trimming off his tail once I had him in place, but then didn’t have the heart to! so I left that to hang out over the side.
Here are a few of the sinchies completed by other members of the group:
Top row: Helen S, Marg Y, Trish K; Row 2: Helen H, Marilyn, me; Row 3: Shirley.
A little quilted 6inch square, in colours of orange and green and depicting something from the theme of flora and fauna. This is my contribution to that challenge.
Karen Mundt- Orange & Green Challenge
I really enjoy stitching more and more these days, so I look for the opportunity to incorporate it where I can. I also wanted to utilise fabrics that I coloured myself in hand-dye classes, so these factors were the starting points in creating this piece.
I arranged pieces of hand-dyed fabric on a backing piece of scrap cotton. When they seemed to be in just the right position, I used a drop of glue to keep them in place before taking the piece to the machine and sewing them down.
I just used a normal straight stitch with some clear thread. Because there was effectively a couple of layers of fabric there, I didn’t have to use any stabiliser so could start straight in with the hand-stitching.
I used 2 strands of green cotton thread and mainly running or back stitch and some knots. I stitched these free-hand, without drawing any outlines first. I try to avoid marking where ever possible, mainly because I worry about getting rid of the lines afterwards, especially if I don’t sew exactly on top of any marks. I also prefer a slightly rugged or naive look to stitching
These are various weeds and grasses, sewn against the landscape-y backdrop. To finish it off, I added another piece of fabric as a backing, then hand-stitched around the edge in a big running stitch using a couple of different threads. I knotted them on the top side and also left the raw edges.
I first ‘created’ this fabric in a workshop on printing, painting, enhancing and embellishing fabric. We used leaves and sticks and various surfaces for mono-prints and transferring images and rubbings. This fabric had various green paints and leaf shapes, so I decided to use it for this month’s green and white Sinchie challenge with Gatton Quilters.
I added further rubbing using a crayon to transfer extra leaf outlines and fill in some spaces.
After cutting out a smaller-sized piece, I started hand-stitching large running stitches across its surface. I used 3 strands of DMC cotton, starting with 3 dark green colour on one side and gradually introducing varying shades of green, changing to a light green by the time I got to the other side.
I also cut out some little pieces of lace from a discarded remnant and incorporated them on the surface with the stitching.
I then added some iron-on pellon to the back, cut out a piece of another fabric and sewed them, right-sides together to make a little quilt.
We often produce lots of pieces of fabric in workshops and classes which can sit in our cupboards for ages before being put to good use. I’m working on trying to incorporate my various bits and pieces in art quilt projects- after all, we can always make more! This is a look at some of the other pieces created by members in our group:
Top row: Marilyn, Marg, Helen H, me Bottom row: Meryl, Lyn, Jan K, Shirley
A quilted runner made by Marilyn:
… and a quilt I recently quilted on the long-arm for a special niece’s birthday!
I’ve been working on my little stitch sampler- a project that a group of us began last year under the very capable tutelage of Jan Knight. We had all professed a desire to practice our hand stitching and agreed that we could make a little stitch sampler book- something that was very popular in days gone by.
Karen- Stitch Sampler
The design of the sampler was up to the individual, as was the materials to be used. We also wanted it to be a means of exploration and ‘stretching’ the stitch. Jan would show us the basic stitches and then we could copy them and re-interpret them how we wished. I decided to make my pages out of pre-loved linens and soft fabrics. Each page would therefore be different, and probably a different size to each other. These are some of my pages.
I’m still finishing the pages so I’ll keep some to show you when all complete!
I’ve done each page in a wide horizontal shape which I then plan to fold in half into its own little ‘signature’, and put the next page back-to-back with it. I still have to work out how I will stitch the pages into the cover.
I have this old piece of a linen tablecloth which will be the cover, and which also needs some stitching on it.
At the recent quilters meeting, Marilyn showed the group her finished stitch sampler and its beautiful cover –
Marilyn- stitch sampler
…such an effective use of the bullion stitch.
I need to get back to stitching… see you next week!
The challenge for the art quilt group I belong to was to make a 6inch quiltlet using only two colours- for January it was purple and yellow, and for February it was purple and white.This is the first one:
Karen –purple lotus
These small pieces are an excellent way of playing and experimenting- not just with a design restricted to two colours, but also techniques and materials. I’ve tried to vary all of these in each month’s piece that I’ve made. I had use of a needle felting machine over the Christmas period so thought I would have a play with it. I used scraps of jewel-coloured sari silk and wool roving which I tore up into bits and laid over a piece of soft wool felt as the background. It probably doesn’t look overly recognisable, but the look I was going for was a lotus flower (!).
Varieties of purple pieces were felted down over an outline of petals, with yellow silk for the middle. I did try to do some shading, making some petal edges a different shade, but then added on afterwards some small pieces of torn cotton fabric to the edges for further emphasis. I did lots of free-motion stitching over the flower itself, and some scribble-stitching around the whole flower.
To finish it off, I sewed it down onto a piece of hand-dyed purple cotton, sewing roughly around the edges numerous times, not wanting it to look too neat! I then trimmed that down (we are making them all at 6″ square),added a back on to it and turned it through, pillow-case style.
For the next one, using only purple and white, I decided to do a foundation-pieced butterfly.
I found a pattern somewhere in one of my books and made it using a variety of purples and whites, and some of my own painted fabric for the background pieces. I then added a striped border with mitred corners-
At the monthly meeting we all got to see everyone else’s interpretation of the flora and fauna theme with those colours:
Clockwise from TL: Helen H, Marg Y, Cornelia, Shirley, Marilyn, Helen S, Jan K, Lyn
Clockwise from TL-Shirley, JanK, me, Helen S, HelenH, Lyn, Marg, Meryl
It seems everywhere around my part of the world is baking hot at the moment. With temperatures in the upper 30’s (C) for day after day, in fact over 40′ today, and no relief at night-time, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying it does get a little wearying! If you are lucky enough to have air conditioning or cooling of some type, then I think the best place to be is inside doing some sewing!
Over the last month or two, in between my long-arm quilting jobs, I’ve been trying to get this quilt top together. My local quilt group has been working on a number of quilts that we plan to give away to various charity or community groups. We were fortunate to have a lot of fabric donated to us, so it was just a matter of everyone picking a pattern, choosing the fabric from the pile and start sewing. I chose to make a children’s quilt, with lots of colour. I picked this pattern from a 2015 issue of Homespun:
The featured quilt has an applique block which I’ve replaced with more of the smaller oblong blocks, and enlarged the quilt slightly to make it single-bed-size. There was lots and lots of cutting involved to start with, but once that was done the sewing is pretty straight forward.
Once I had the little blocks made, I laid them out to look for an arrangement. I started off thinking to make an all-over scrappy quilt, but then changed my mind and put the blocks in gradated colour change from corner to corner.
It looks nice and bright, and hopefully will appeal to some of the younger recipients of these quilts.
Once I had the layout, I had to carefully pick the squares up in order and keep each row together. I’ve been chain-piecing the blocks into rows in between other jobs. Hope I keep them all in the chosen order!
I’m not sure what border to add to it yet- I’ll leave that decision for later.
I thought I would include here annual photos of my three family pets. This week is the 5th birthday of our lovely girl Hayley, she of the awesome catching skills and lightening speed:
Hayley aged 5
Her big little sister is Chloe, who -even though she is the littlest- is the matriarch:
Chloe- aged 14
And Dublin, who has them all bluffed and likes you to think he is the big tough cat:
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
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!