My local quilting group often runs workshops and invites other quilters and artists to come along and teach us new techniques and ideas to broaden our skills. We have done a few on dyeing and eco-dyeing, painting fabric and using stencils and stamps to create ‘new’ fabric. We therefore end up with quite a few bits of fabric that we then have to utilise in our projects in some way.
Another challenge that I have completed this year was to use fabric from one of these workshops and produce a completed work for display in our current exhibition. After much deliberation, I picked this piece:
When I stencilled and painted it, I did so with no thought on what it could be used for- it was basically just experimenting and playing. The first thing that came to mind was to just cut it up because there wasn’t any cohesion between the different areas. But then I decided that I could make it into a sampler of sorts, a piece to incorporate little bits of stitching I had experimented with over the years. Pieces I had stitched when experimenting with stitches and threads and scraps…
I decided to add them all with large visible stitching.
Once all the scraps were on, I stitched the whole piece with parallel lines of sashiko-style stitching in different directions using all manners of thread.
…contemplating how to finish it off…
and here is the finished piece:
A little progress report on my year-long hand-stitching project- One Year of Stitches. I’ve been continuing to do a few stitches every day on this and it has been slowly building and growing. A little bit each day can make a difference!
I have no plan and no specific end-product in mind. Just a free-form improv type of thing. I’ve included some pictures of the piece below showing how it has progressed through the year.
I recently finished this baby quilt as a gift for a recipient that likes lots of bright colours! I first spotted the fabric with the black and white animals- the owl, the bear and fox, and bought a length of it to play with.
I thought it might look good to cut the animal squares out into separate pieces and put together with improv-pieced blocks, some coloured accents and some black and white diamond print fabric which I already had- it fitted in perfectly!
I think the little fox is my favourite..
I also quilted it myself on the long-arm and added the label on the back, and it’s all done!
I’m going away soon to visit the UK Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, so my posting on here may be a little erratic! But I’ll have lots of photos to show you of what we see and do while we are there.
I often use a lot of text prints in my quilts- you know all those fabrics available in recent years that look like newspaper, or pages torn from a book, or random words, pictures of ticket stubs and maps, magazine ads etc. I like them for the background of blocks, or as the ‘neutral’ in a colour scheme. I can’t articulate what it is in particular I like about them- I just do. I think that also extends to my fondness for cityscapes and houses with the repetitive pattern of squares and rectangles, as well as stripes and other graphic elements. I have even incorporated some houses into my Year of Stitches piece- I’ve been doing at least one stitch a day, every day since January 1. I first mentioned it here.
This is a catch-up or progress photo for May:
I’m making it up as I go along, and I’ve noticed that it is turning into a little stitched ‘map’ of a community. On the one side I have the row of houses, there are some children skipping and their pet dog, and over on the other side there are some trees in a little area turning into a little country landscape.
I’m interested in making a quilted ‘map’, a quilt which will use the elements of a map, but not necessarily be a geographically-correct map. It would use the elements of a map in its design, with the lines and curves and images here and there. I’ve had this book by Valerie Goodwin for some time which shows some beautiful quilts and ideas on how to go about it- the ideas are brewing!
I started a stitching project this year, which was mentioned on Instagram. It’s called One Year of Stitches, with the idea being to do some hand-stitching every day. It can be as little as one stitch a day, or as much as you like, but by committing yourself to joining in you just have to do some every day. So far we are 16 weeks in, and this is where I am up to now:
I wanted to do a stitchery that was just made up as I went along with no theme, no playing by the rules with how you completed the stitches or worrying about producing a particular ‘picture’ at the end of it- an improvised piece of stitching!
It has certainly worked in getting me to do some stitching every day- I wouldn’t have had this much done by now if I had given in to those thoughts of ‘I’m too tired/ or can’t be bothered today’. Some days I do only a few stitches, some days a whole element, such as the birdhouse or a flower.
Here are a few photos to show the progress from the start of the year:
I’m using any stitches that I think of and playing with all my threads that I have bought over the years. Each day we are supposed to post a progress photo on Instagram (or other social media such as Facebook)- I changed that to posting every second day. If you are on Instagram do a search on #iyearofstitches and #iyearofstitches2017 to see images of all those taking part. My IG account name is littlebirdiequilting You’ll see all the different styles of stitching projects that people are doing- from cross-stitch to free-form to delicate silk embroideries.
Now I’m off to do today’s stitching- don’t know what I’ll do but something will come to me!
I made this quilt towards the end of last year but I don’t think I have shown it on here before. I call it Urban Sprawl and it is of my own design.
I made it in the improv style; starting with lots of little pieces cut and joined in all manner of ways. It was fun to just play and experiment with putting together building blocks which were then joined with others to gradually make larger pieces of the quilt top.
I had always wanted to make a quilt that was mainly white, or off-white, and little pops of colour. My preference has always been for pieced quilts, so I pieced together wonky flying geese blocks, inserted narrow strips here and there, deliberately didn’t line things up and eschewed the use of a ruler in most cases.
The main theme I had in mind was a play on a cityscape. There are narrow buildings and structures in amongst rooflines of houses.
Probably the hardest part was actually putting it all together at the end; making the pieces fit together with odd-shaped coping, or sashing, strips to put some order into it all. This is where a design wall comes in handy!
I backed it with a white backing and faced it, instead of binding. I quilted it with straight and angled lines, some of which echoed the house and building shapes.
If you are in Brisbane between 27 to 29 April, go along to a quilt display being held by Queensland Quilters, called Quilt Connect. This quilt will be hanging there, along with the quilts of 4 others from my local quilt group, and many others from groups across Queensland, all affiliated with Queensland Quilters. The details are:
Mt Gravatt Show Grounds
1644 Logan Rd Mt Gravatt
(best entrance via Broadwater Rd)
Thurs 27 to Sat 29 April 2017.
I’ve been playing with scraps lately. Cutting up lots of pieces and sewing them back together, as we do. I started making these pieces of improvisation a couple of months ago, just constructing blocks of no particular size or shape and no design in mind.
When I got them back out again this weekend I put up on a board the bits I had already made, to get some ideas on how I want them to all be joined up together.
A very favourite theme of mine is cityscapes, so it’s not surprising that I finally decided on building a quilt around that idea- a view of a city in a sort-of deconstructed way. I have some lop-sided flying geese blocks, triangles and log cabin blocks which when put together resemble houses and buildings. I like that idea, and I’m on my way!
I am using lots of white with pops of colour, some greens and blues, a little purple and brown spots. I want it to be a ‘modern’ style quilt, so the aim is to have lots of negative space.
I’ve also made this month’s blocks for the Cherish do.Good.Stitches charity quilt that I contribute to: these are the Delectable Mountain block, or sometimes known by a few different names like Mountain Majesties, in black, grey and white:
I’m off to put them in the post!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
L-R Row 1: Shirley, Marilyn, Helen H; Row 2: mine, Lyn, Trish; Row 3: Helen S, Jan K, Meryl
Helen H and Trish
Lyn and Jan K
Looking forward to seeing what next month’s blocks using green and purple will look like!
I went to a quilting workshop recently. We all had to take our sewing machines, our irons and ironing boards, a cutting board…
a random pick of fabrics, including old blocks left from previous projects and sewing tools, but no rulers.
The day was spent playing with fabric, making free-form cuts in fabric and adding them to any other bits of fabric that your hand might fall on.
I decided to use a lighter colour scheme than I usually work with- some creams, whites, browns and muted colours. These blocks I’m showing here haven’t been trimmed yet.
I also took some old blocks left from a previous project and split them up, then added some slivers of hand-dyed colour.
Our tutor, Peggy Phelps, started us off with some ideas of blocks to start with using lots of techniques such as strip-piecing, wonky flying geese, chequerboard units and uneven log cabin blocks.
A few workshop participants took a little time to get used to ‘not being neat’ but soon got into the swing of it!
And Peggy showed us some of her quilts where she has used lots of lovely bright colour!
I find that any workshop you can do is worth spending the time to do it- there’s always something you pick up along the way- whether it be a new technique or even some inspiration to try something different of your own.
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.
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…
…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.
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.
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.
Truth be told, I’m a little sad it’s actually finished! I guess I’ll have to start another one….