improv stitching

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:

Karen Mundt- One Year of Stitches 2017

Karen Mundt- One Year of Stitches 2017


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!
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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.
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Here are a few photos to show the progress from the start of the year:
Karen - 9 Jan 2017

Karen – 9 Jan 2017


Karen - 25 Jan 2017

Karen – 25 Jan 2017


Karen - 21 Feb 2017

Karen – 21 Feb 2017


Karen - 25 Mar 2017

Karen – 25 Mar 2017


Karen - 10 Apr 2017

Karen – 10 Apr 2017


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.

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Now I’m off to do today’s stitching- don’t know what I’ll do but something will come to me!

orange and green

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

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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
Karen Mundt- Orange & Green Challenge

Karen Mundt- Orange & Green Challenge


Hope you are having a good week.:)

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.
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I have this old piece of a linen tablecloth which will be the cover, and which also needs some stitching on it.
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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!

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.’
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

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.
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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…
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…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….

visiting the French General shop

My trip to rhe USA has so far been busy, full of movement and colours and neck-turning moments. We look like the typical tourists, heads looking up, laden sown with cameras and maps- but who cares!
In Los Angeles we visited the French General shop. Such beautiful things to look at-
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Apart from the actual fabrics, there were lovely little haberdashery items..
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Vintage linens…
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Paper crafts
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Needless to say, we spent a but of time there!
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fun with colour

My quilting group recently had a visit from Ann Mitchell of Genesis Creations. Ann held a small workshop on the use of these pure pigment colours called Liquid Radiance and we had great fun in playing around with various fabrics and techniques.

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These were some of the colours we tried out, rolling the fabric up to create lines in its surface. The colour pigments are diluted with water which are then sprayed or squirmed or brushed on. I tried the orange which wasn’t a strong mixture-below is my piece after it has dried and been pressed. Not quite as successful as others….
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This next one had yellow, orange and purple and although not much orange has shown up the result is still beautiful! You can see one half where I sprinkled some salt, which has the effect of drawing the moisture up and creating spots:
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This last one is my favourite:using yellow, magenta and blue and all scrunched up and left to dry:
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Quite a few of us are very excited at further trying these colours- a lot quicker than normal dyeing. Her website is genesiscreations.com.au
Some quilters also had some finished projects for display. Lyn had her quilt for our monthly colour challenge:

Lyn-yellow

Lyn-yellow


likewise with Jan:
Jan K - yellow

Jan K – yellow


Dulcie has finished her Crazy Patch quilt which she said she had been working on for about 3 or 4 years but for which she had been collecting bits and pieces for many years. She has made such a beautiful quilt:
Dulcie

Dulcie


There is so much to look at on this magnificent quilt…
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dulcie4dulcie5dulcie7
Such beautiful stitching and embellishing.
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Looks like everyone had a busy month :)

how to… add a mitred border

When I made my little quilt ‘Blue Birds’ last month, I decided to add a mitred border on it.

Blue Birds- Karen Mundt

Blue Birds- Karen Mundt


Here’s how I went about it- I’m sure there are lots of different ways to do it and this is probably a mix of all of them! First, cut four strips the width of the required border plus 1/2″ for seam allowances, and in the length of each side plus at least 4″. So if the quilt is 10″ wide and 14″ long, I would cut two lengths 14″ long and two lengths at 18″long.
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Sew each length to each side and top and bottom, stopping the stitching 1/4″ from the end each time. Mark the stopping point with a pencil before you stitch- it needs to be accurate. There will be about 2″ of the strip hanging off each end. Press it open.
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With the top facing up, arrange it so one strip is laying straight with its end extending out to the side, and then fold the other strip so that it makes a 45* angle. I used a pin in the corner to just keep it still on my padded surface while folding it. side
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Use a ruler with a 45*angle marked on it to line it up with the folded corner and make sure you have the fold exact. Press.
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Put a piece of tape over the fold- this is to keep it in place while you turn the quilt over.
When it’s turned over to the other side and the two strips are lined up parallel together, you will easily see the crease that was pressed into it.
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Sew from the corner point (where the previous lines of stitching ended) straight out along that crease to the edge. Lining up the two strips like this also means that there will be a tiny gap along the crease in the tape on the other side, so when sewing along this diagonal line your needle won’t sew through the tape. If it does, you can easily remove it.
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mitre8
Turn the quilt over and press again- voila! a perfectly-sewn mitred corner! You can then trim the seam.

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purple challenge

Purple Circles- Karen Mundt

Purple Circles- Karen Mundt


One of the common questions that people are often asked is ‘what is your favourite colour?’ Since I was little, my favourite colour has always been blue, and the colour I least liked was green. But I’ve noticed a funny thing happening over the years that I’ve been quilting.
You know how we work with so much colour when making our quilts and how we often need to use a variety of darks and lights to create the look we’re aiming for. Sometimes you need that contrast to really make one colour ‘pop’ from the quilt- each bright has a paler colour next to it for greater impact. So, I often reach for a green as the foil I’m using, and more often than not it will be a bright green, like an acid green or lime green. I’ve come to like green a lot more now! and I guess I follow the mantra of there never being a colour I won’t use or that I dislike.
I still like blue but the shade of blue has been morphing into shades of purple, so while I always went for a dark navy as my favourite I would say now that blue and purple are my equal favourites, or even that shade of blue that you can’t tell if it is blue or purple. Sort of like these colours:
Resene Paints-Bluebell, Decadence

Resene Paints-Bluebell, Decadence

Our monthly colour challenge for my art quilt group was purple, and I thought that would be great, no problems. But- not so! For some reason it proved more difficult than I thought it would. Only using the one colour means that you have to use all different shades and tones to create the work, and not rely on different colours. I went through my stash grabbing as many purples as I could, but just putting them all together wasn’t appealing to me. It just seemed too much purple!
I created Purple Circles by following an article by Jane la Fazio called Recycled Circles, found in a ‘Cloth, Paper, Scissors’ magazine from March/April 2009.It is a method of layering paper and scraps of fabric on four squares before sewing them together to make a slightly disjointed circle. I started with a base fabric of some hand-dyed fabric and added a layer of painted tissue paper, like this I painted with some inks a few weeks ago.
purple_paper
Fabric scraps went on next. By making the four quadrants separately, you ensure that you get a good mis-match of fabrics so they purposefully won’t join up! All the fabrics I used were shades of purple, from blue-purples to grey-purples to plums and violets and all shades in between, even though some of them look a little washed-out in these photos.
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Once the fabrics are laid down I went crazy with free-motion quilting all over using different threads, but still all purple! The four pieces are butted up against each other, taped together on the back then more circles of sewing all around the piece. I then embellished it further with hand-stitching, beads and bits and bobs.
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purple4 In some places I let the underneath layers show through.
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I finished it up by cutting a curved edge and sewing the backing on, RST, and turning it through.
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So that is my purple challenge- took a little work but got there in the end!

Purple Circles- Karen Mundt

Purple Circles- Karen Mundt


Linking up to “Off the Wall Friday” – have a look at some lovely art quilts!

holiday stitching on a story cloth

I am on a few weeks leave from work at the moment, so in between catching up on house-related chores and acting as a chauffeur I’ve been able to fit in some more sewing. It’s also been good to catch up with friends and family, especially when the visits can be combined with a little stitching here and there!
I have some hand-sewing handy in a little bag that I can take whenever I think I might be able to fit some in. The project that I’m working on can vary. Last year it was always the latest block I was working on for the Lollipop Trees quilt.
I’m working on a couple of things at the moment. I have been trying to get this little story cloth finished that I started back here, before Christmas.
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While it is essentially one I am making as a Christmas cloth, I still want to keep working on it to get it finished, and at least then it will be ready for next Christmas! I’m not sure about what story I’m trying to tell with it though, which is why I’m still lingering over it.
The lowest third has the three animals in it, which closely resemble the four-legged animals of our family!, and I feel like I need to do something more to tie them in together. The little seed stitches and knots that I’ve started to add in around them is a start, but still not there yet.
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I added these trees in. They were done in feather stitch, which is an excellent stitch for trees!
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More stitching at the top is also needed, just more of the kantha-style stitching. But it’s close, nearly there.
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Last weekend I had a day to fill in while my son was playing indoor cricket at Caboolture, so I took myself over to Bribie Island for a look around. I eventually found myself at one of the beaches, so I even got to sit and sew under the trees! A beautiful day, although warm and muggy, but not having been to Bribie before I really enjoyed it. A nice place to relax and enjoy some beach-time.

I also recently had a lovely time sewing with my sister.
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She was working on this Japanese-designed bag, and with a few hours of dedicated sewing nearly had it finished.
day5I love how she has her sewing corner set up, a nice place to be in.
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I hope you are all getting lots of time to sit and stitch!