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!
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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.
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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!
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I’m not sure what border to add to it yet- I’ll leave that decision for later.
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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!

morning tea time

The month of May is usually the month of the Biggest Morning Tea- a fund raiser for the Cancer Council in Australia. At our monthly get together for Gatton Quilters, we set a theme for our May meeting to somehow echo the time-honoured tradition of morning tea. This May, the theme was tablecloths, so members were invited to bring along one of their tablecloths. It could be the oldest cloth they owned, or the most well-used, the ugliest cloth or the one with beautiful hand-stitched embroidery. While I didn’t take this one along on the day, I thought I would show you here a tablecloth that was my Mum’s.
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She made this back in the day when Hobbytex was all the rage. Do you remember the range of pens that could ‘paint’ on any fabric and you would colour in a pre-printed design? I think they are actually still available. Mum made quite a few things at the time, and us kids were always wanting to have a turn. Looking back at them now, I have a bit of a giggle at their ‘naive’ charm!
There were lots of lovely tablecloths brought in by the Gatton Quilters’ members- here’s a selection:
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Pam

Pam


The quilters have also been busy working on quilts to donate to charitable organisations, from mainly donated fabric. Dulcie showed this half-square triangle block quilttop that she has made in blues and creams:
Dulcie
The whole club is pitching in to make these quilts to give to those in the community that may need a little help.
Hope you are having a good week!

our quilt anniversary

30 years of quilts from scores of members throughout all those years- my local group- Gatton Quilters- had an Airing of the Quilts for our anniversary this past weekend.
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We were fortunate to have use of the local Historical Village for our setting, so our quilts were displayed in various locations throughout the village.
We hung them from the verandahs
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and we grouped them on verandahs
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we hung them amongst the trees
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and we flung them over church pews
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As well as our quilts the charms of the village were also on show…
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Gatherings like these are always great because we get to see what a lovely diverse group of quilters we are. There was such a display of beautiful quilts that everyone has made over a large part of the 30 years: varying methods and techniques, colour choices and styles. It was also interesting to see how the quilts of individuals had changed over the years- from the much-loved sampler quilts that so many of us start with to quilts of bright colours and combinations perhaps not so common 30 years ago!
Thankyou Gatton Quilters- it was a lovely weekend.

5 things… I’ve been up to this week

Apart from the cleaning and cooking and watching my son play sport and playing with the puppy, here is a list of the top 5 things I’ve done in the past week.
1. On Tuesday I spent the day with a group of friends for a sewing get-together. About once a month we take turns visiting at each other’s place. All of us did hand-sewing in between chatting and laughing, as well as a beautiful morning tea provided by our host, K. A bonus is that we get to see each other’s latest projects, and K had so many lovely quilts to show us that she has made over the recent year or two. This photo below is my little wool applique hanging that I started in Sue Spargo’s workshop a few weeks ago. I crocheted the little flowers with cotton and a large hook to make the open loopy look.

2. On the long-arm quilter: I have been working on this quilt for a client. She chose an all-over pattern for this small quilt. Only in the early stages yet so I can’t show much!

3. I have been enrolled in an online class through the Quilt University (www.quiltuniversity.com ) called Inspired to Design. I have done quite a few classes this way, and it does open you up to new ideas and inspiration. This particular class is run over about 5- 6 weeks, and is offered by Elizabeth Barton, herself a great quilter. I particularly love the quilts she has made of cityscapes and buildings. You can see her work here: elizabethbarton.blogspot.com.au

This course I’m doing at the moment is all about designing our own art quilt; learning the basics, working on designs, learning to recognise what makes an art quilt, and so on. So far, we have been sketching and playing around with shapes, line and texture. This photo just shows one of my earlier sketches where I tried to play around with spirit people shapes. I don’t know where this will go yet.
This course has actually been hard work, because this is a new area for me. The brain cells are rustily turning!

4. I have been doing some more work on the grandbaby quilt a group of us are making for a friend’s first grandchild. I finished quilting it and started on the binding. While sitting and hand-sewing down the binding, I contemplated about the merits of hand-sewing the binding as in the traditional way,

or machine-sewing binding, which I have done on a few quilts. This photo below shows one I recently did- you sew the binding down first to the wrong side, turn it over to the front and then top-stitch it down, with the sewing showing on the back along the edge of the binding join.
front side
bottom side
I think a lot of quilters wouldn’t dream of using this method, but it is a lot faster and in the end does it really matter? I did think about whether to fully machine sew this binding but was reluctant to do so. I haven’t even worked out why I decide to do it one way or another on any quilt yet!
5. TCB- taking care of business. Why does it feel good when you get a few jobs out of the way or get caught up on appointments and check-ups etc? I have been to the tax accountant to get our tax returns done and got some advice on what I need to do for my own business. Sorting through papers and receipts for that takes up lots of time away from sewing. Our little dog Haley has been to the Vet to be spayed and has recovered well, so she and Chloe are nice and healthy and up to date with all that is needed for them.
Here is another one of my postcards to show you:

This one was created to the theme of ‘scraps’. I randomly sewed lots of fabric scraps on top of some pellon, just slivers and scraps of mainly smaller sizes. I then free-hand ‘drew’ with the sewing machine an outline of a city skyline in a black thread to resemble a penline. I named it “Scraps in the City” Ha!
So, once again I don’t know where the week went, but I was busy. It’s all good.

Lots done

I had a lovely day today. You know, when sometimes you get to the end of a day and things just seem to have gone okay for everyone. I started back in a fitness class after having a break for about a month, and I think it’s true what they say about the feel good factor after doing some exercise. The only problem being the early start- having to get up at 6am is a bit hard! especially after snuggling in a bit later on these cold winter mornings in recent weeks.
This week I have had a couple of sewing sessions with some friends on a quilt that we are making for the first grand-baby for J. She is very excited about the soon-to-be addition to the family. We had 6 contributors make a block each and the task this week was to sew them together into the quilt top. We each had a piece of fabric that had a sea –theme happening and could use it any way we wished. This is my block:

The two sewing sessions we had this week got the blocks all trimmed up, some with borders to make up to the same size, and sashing strips cut. The blocks were arranged and re-arranged until we were happy with the look and then sewn together with borders all around.
This is the quilt top at end-of-play today, being held up by the grandma-to-be:

Next week I will be quilting it and then adding the binding, so it will be finished for the grandparents to take when they visit the new baby next month.
I’ve also been quilting a quilt on the long-arm machine for a client and made progress on that as well, and had play-time with the puppy outside on this beautiful day. It’s all good.

How to… use fusible web

I am in a group of friends who are collaborating on a baby quilt for one of us who is soon to be a first-time grandmother {maybe she would prefer ‘granny’?!}. We are each working on a block, even those who have never done any quilting or even a lot of sewing. To help those who are wanting to create a simple applique block, I have written these quick instructions for you on how to use paper-backed fusible webbing. This is sold under various trade names, such as Vliesofix, Wonder Under, Bondaweb etc and I’m not promoting any of these in particular. I will refer to them collectively as ‘web’ in this tutorial.

You will need:
* the base fabric which will form the background for the picture – mine is a cream with a small red print
* the fusible paper-backed web
* the feature fabric from which you will cut the shapes.

1. The low-down on fusible web The fusible web has two sides and you need to be familiar with each side. One side feels like paper; the other has a rough texture- this is the glue, or web, side. Never let your iron come into direct contact with this side!!!

The paper side is dull- on the left-hand folded over corner in the photo above; the glue side has a slight sheen if you hold it up to the light.
On the paper side of the web, use a pencil to draw the shape you want. You can also trace from a picture or access copyright-free drawings. If you are aiming for a picture, you will need to break it up into the individual shapes that make up the picture. For example, I am going for a row of beach huts on my block, so I will want some rectangles for the buildings and triangles for the roofs. {You are working with a reverse-image here at this stage- remember if you want something that is asymmetrical, draw it in reverse so that when it is fused onto the feature fabric and then turned over to fuse onto the background fabric it is the right way up. This might make more sense when you get down to Point 4 below}. Luckily here I just have shapes that appear the same back-to-front!
Trace the two shapes as separate objects on the paper side of the web. My photo shows the rectangles I’m using for the huts.

Cut out the shapes from the web- just outside the lines.

2. Take your feature fabric and work out where you want the shape to be cut from. I want the beach huts to be from striped fabric and have decided to use some fabric which has some sections of the design in stripes. You can see from the photo below I want to be able to get the rectangle from the corner with the stripes, avoiding the cat at the bottom of the square. I turn the feature fabric over so it is face down on the table. The wrong side of the feature fabric is now facing up.

I place the web shape with the glue side down onto this wrong side of the fabric in the spot that I’ve chosen. Feel the web paper- you should be able to feel the paper-side on top – remember, you don’t want to let the glue-side come into contact with your iron or you will have a sticky iron that the rest of the family will not appreciate! You can always use a pressing cloth or a piece of baking paper on top of it all before using the iron as a precautionary measure.
Press with a dry hot iron. You don’t have to keep the iron on it for more than a few seconds; just enough to melt the glue and the paper shape will be stuck to the wrong side of the feature fabric.

3. Cut out the shape. Allow to cool for a few seconds and then cut around the shape from the feature fabric: this time, cut directly out on the lines.

Peel off the paper from the shape.

4. Put your picture together The cut-out fabric shape will have a fine layer of glue on its wrong side. Place this piece, with the glue-side down, onto your background fabric in the position where you want it to be. The background fabric should be lying on the table with the right side facing up.
The shape can be moved around until you get it where you want it. When you are happy with it, press the shape onto the background fabric with the hot iron.

You can go onto adding whatever other shapes and pieces you need to make up your picture. The photo shows one of my beach huts. I’ll be adding more to complete the total picture. All that remains then is to stitch around the edges of each piece in your preferred method, e.g. blanket stitch or buttonhole stitch or machined running stitch or whatever!