stretching the stitch

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

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.
Karen

Karen


I’m still finishing the pages so I’ll keep some to show you when all complete!
Karen

Karen


Karen

Karen


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.
sampler5
I have this old piece of a linen tablecloth which will be the cover, and which also needs some stitching on it.
sampler6
At the recent quilters meeting, Marilyn showed the group her finished stitch sampler and its beautiful cover –
Marilyn- stitch sampler

Marilyn- stitch sampler


…such an effective use of the bullion stitch.
Marilyn

Marilyn

\
Jan K

Jan K


I need to get back to stitching… see you next week!

shades of purple

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

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 (!).
felt4
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.
felt5
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.
Karen-purple flutterby

Karen-purple flutterby


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-
p-w3
p-w1
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: Helen H, Marg Y, Cornelia, Shirley, Marilyn, Helen S, Jan K, Lyn


Clockwise from TL-Shirley, JanK, me, Helen S, HelenH, Lyn, Marg, Meryl

Clockwise from TL-Shirley, JanK, me, Helen S, HelenH, Lyn, Marg, Meryl

rows of colour

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!
childrens quilt1
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:
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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.
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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.
cq4
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!
cq6
cq3
I’m not sure what border to add to it yet- I’ll leave that decision for later.
cq2
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

Hayley aged 5


Her big little sister is Chloe, who -even though she is the littlest- is the matriarch:
Chloe- aged 14

Chloe- aged 14


And Dublin, who has them all bluffed and likes you to think he is the big tough cat:
Dublin- 6 years

Dublin- 6 years

See you next week!

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.’
white5
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.
white4
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.
white2
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.
white3
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

art play

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.
wshop5
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.
wshop3
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!
wshop2
wshop1
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.
wshop4
Ali had some great wood blocks and stencils for us to play with.
wshop6
wshop7
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!

Ali George

Ali George

orange and white

Working with white can be a little tricky. It is very stark and bright-especially when combined with orange! Those were the two colours for this month’s art quilt group challenge. Once again, a 6″square using only two colours, and something to do with flora or fauna.
orangeandwhite1
I took quite awhile to decide on what to do with this one, as I usually do. More time is spent in the thinking and designing than there is on the actual creating. An orange when dissected, that is orange fruit, is actually just orange and white and no other colour. So I thought to depict a cut orange off-centred and partly off the square would fill the brief.
I first drew out the orange and the components I would need to get them well-proportioned and placed how I wanted them. I then used that as my ‘pattern’ and traced out the segments onto vliesofix.
orange2
I then ironed those parts onto some of my own hand-dyed orange fabric and then cut out and placed the pieces of orange fabric on a square of white felt as the background.
orange3
I free-motion stitched around the orange pieces, and did some stippling in white thread on the background to give some contrast in the texture.
orangeandwhite1
Here are the interpretations from other quilters in the group:

Top row, L-R: Marilyn, Jan K; Centre row: mine, Marg, Helen H; Bottom row: Cornelia,Trish, Lyn

Top row, L-R: Marilyn, Jan K; Centre row: mine, Marg, Helen H; Bottom row: Cornelia,Trish, Lyn


Such fun to see what they all come up with!

playing

I’ve just had a great weekend, especially with taking my lovely daughter to a pasta-making class in Brisbane. I had given the tickets to her for her birthday which was back in July, but this week was the first class vacancy they had. We had such a great time- it was held at Angelo’s Fresh Pasta, and they truly treated us very well.

I'm learning to roll the pasta

I’m learning to roll the pasta


We learnt how to first make the pasta dough and then roll it out on those nifty rolling machines- who knew there was an electric version?!- but also cut and roll into shapes or cut into ribbons for fettucine.
I so need to get one of these!

I so need to get one of these!


After the class we were treated to a 3-course lunch which was fantastic- fresh pasta is so much better than the packet dried version!
pasta3
My daughter mastering the roller

My daughter mastering the roller


pasta4
pasta1
In last week’s post I showed my small quilt that I made for the ‘Orange & Purple’ challenge. I also have some photos of some of the other group members’ 6in quilt to show you here.
This is a group photo, followed by a few close-ups.:
Top row, L-R: Helen H, Lyn, Jan M,Karen; Row 2: Marg, Jan K, Meryl, Marilyn; Row 3: Shirley, Helen S, Trish

Top row, L-R: Helen H, Lyn, Jan M,Karen; Row 2: Marg, Jan K, Meryl, Marilyn; Row 3: Shirley, Helen S, Trish


Marg

Marg


Shirley

Shirley


Trish

Trish


Plus, here are some other works by the group members:
Jan K

Jan K


helenh Helen H

Enjoy your quilting week!

quilted strata

This month’s two-colour challenge for the Art Quilt group I belong to, was purple and orange. We could do anything within the general theme of flora and fauna, using only the two colours of orange and purple. This is my final result.

Orange & purple challenge: 6 * 6 inches

Orange & purple challenge: 6 * 6 inches


I want to use these challenges to try out different techniques and different media, as I figure it’s an excellent opportunity to play and experiment. So therefore my approach in creating this month’s task was not to think about what could I depict using only those two colours, but instead to consider what method or materials I wanted to try out this month. I started off by deciding to use paper as the base. Using paper, I wanted something with up-and-down texture on the surface by manipulating the paper.
Who knows what mysterious paths the brain takes as it mulls things over, considers all the options and factors, discards this idea and that before settling on something. For some reason, the image of strata popped in my head, as well as a fossil. That would do- a fossil fits in the flora and fauna scheme?!
I then remembered I had some ‘Modelling Compound’ that I’d once bought but not yet used: using that could achieve the rough texture to resemble layers of strata. So I started.
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I used some hand-made paper and painted it with some purple ink. I stirred up the modelling compound, which has the texture of really thick white goop, and to that mixed in some orange acrylic paint.
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I traced a shape of a fossil onto some freezer paper and stuck it in the centre where I wanted the fossil to appear. This was just to act as a mask and stop the paste flowing over it, as well as allowing that circle to be indented with the strata edges rising around it, like a fossil would have.
op3
I then spread the orange paste over it all , putting lines and heavier bits in some sections, and digging some back out to reveal little glimpses of the purple. I then left it to dry.
orangepurple2
Taking off the freezer paper mask in the middle, I had smeared just a little colour over that centre circle. It set with a rubbery texture so I was able to then do free-motion stitching all over it to (attempt to) resemble strata lines. I also stitched the fossil shape. The needle went through the orange ridges and stitched easily enough, although I did have to experiment with the thread to find one which could resist being ‘cut’ or breaking on the fine edges of the strata.
op-close
I think it sort of looked how I envisaged! although the paper I originally wanted to utilise ended up being an under-layer and not a feature. The orange appears a little too intense, so it could have been toned down a little. In fact, I would even say it is a little ugly, but it was fun experimenting!
orangepurple1

the weekend

Weekends are what we all look forward to. Ah, the promise of it- all that time to do ‘other stuff’ – besides work! Last week we had a weekend in Brisbane. We had a night out, and of course I took some photos.

Brisbane- August 2016

Brisbane- August 2016


There’s something about city skylines and cityscapes that I love, and often a theme in my art quilts.
This was Brisbane at night…
Brisbane - August 2016

Brisbane – August 2016


just as impressive as New York at night- don’t you think?…
Karen Mundt  NYC- from the Empire State Building; October 2015

Karen Mundt NYC- from the Empire State Building; October 2015


We even had a steam train ride in and around the city. It got me thinking. We live about an hour from Brisbane and even though I visit Brisbane fairly regularly I don’t know it overly well as I mainly just go into the city. There is a lot about it that I haven’t seen so there is always lots to look at and investigate if you put your mind to it.
And I have a couple of photos from the recent Gatton Quilters meeting day. Kaye finished this quilt top that she was working on at our Coolum retreat, using the Grandmother’s Fan block:
Kaye

Kaye


This was Cornelia’s blue and green block from last month’s challenge- note the ‘banana hair’ in the centre that she made and dyed that beautiful blue:
Cornelia

Cornelia


Cornelia

Cornelia


and another one from Cornelia- she was catching up!:
Cornelia- Batik fabric challenge

Cornelia- Batik fabric challenge


Makes you want to just get in there and create!

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:
thistle2
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!