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:
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Dulcie


There is so much to look at on this magnificent quilt…
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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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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.
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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!

some sashiko play

We just recently had a visit to Gatton from the ladies from Indigo Niche, Sue and Colleen. They came to give a workshop to our quilt group on the traditional Japanese art of Sashiko stitching. This is one of their samples- not mine!
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Sashiko is deceptively simple but there are little tricks to get the best from your stitching, and like everything practise makes perfect.
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We’ve learnt that the more stitching we do, the more consistent we get with stitch length and the straighter our stitches are! We were also lucky to have a trunk show where Sue and Colleen showed us some beautiful quilts and runners which had utilised sashiko in them.
IN3This next one showcased some lovely quilting as well.
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It was really interesting to see how a panel of sashiko stitching could be incorporated into a quilt design; the following was one of my favourites. It joined both aboriginal fabrics and a sashiko panel very effectively.
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As Sue explained, you can also vary how you do the sashiko as well- vary the design using some of the elements, leave some parts unstitched altogether and feature some negative space, or vary the colours of the threads and fabric. It doesn’t all have to be on the traditional indigo or dark coloured fabric ground.
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And this jacket- everyone wanted to take it home! Sue had found it in Japan. It is made in the ‘boro’ style, utilising lots of little scraps sewn on top of each other to patch the worn parts, fixed in pace with large hand stitches. Just a really beautiful garment to keep and treasure.
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The workshop left us all nicely motivated to keep going with our Sashiko. Indigo Niche were very generous with their time and provided for a great day for us all.
We also had our usual Show and Tell where members showed their completed projects. Jeanette O had made this colourful quilt “Oriental Refelctions”
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and this cat-flavoured hanging was made by the group for Pearl who recently celebrated her 80th birthday!
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Hope you have a good week!

some stitching and sketching

I’ve been doing a little more work on a hand-stitched piece. This is in response to classes I have taken online with Jude Hill of Spirit Cloth.
I love her work and have followed many classes over the years. This week I made this little woven patch:

wovenpatch1I’ll add it to a larger piece which is going to have a few assorted pieces and lots of stitching. You might remember this little piece I showed last week which is for the same project:
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This week’s woven patch is added to resemble a city building. I created it first as a small piece by weaving strips into a a larger piece of printed fabric.
I then inserted the woven piece into the larger project and did some extra stitching on top:
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As I work through it I’ll show some more on here, but as I am basically making it up as I go along there’s not a lot to show just yet!
I’ve also been doing some more drawing and sketching, so I drew this little page so illustrate the steps I took to create the woven patch:
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Hope you are having a good week!

works in progress and completed

This completed stitched “city scene” is one I’ve been working on for awhile, for the cover of my fabric journal.
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The journal was a project that my local art quilt groups worked on last year and is now at the stage of compiling and finishing off. I have shown pictures of this cover page here before in its various stages of completion, but now it is finally finished…
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and I can now make it into the front cover by giving it a backing and some sort of stability to support it in its role as the cover.
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It was made with lots of re-purposed scraps of fabric and bits and pieces, and
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rough edges and lots of hand stitching
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I can now put all the pages of the journal together and work out what type of binding I’ll use.

What else I’ve been working on: some more little blocks for the border section of the Lollipop Trees quilt top:
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And as a sort of Postscript to last week’s blog post of the bleach dyeing that we experimented with, here is an interesting effect that has shown itself over time… I used some “Discolourant” on one piece of fabric that was hand-dyed in a dark plum colour. I brushed some of it on the fabric with an old toothbrush and left it to dry as per the instructions. This was the result later that afternoon after it had dried: the brushed marks are a golden colour-
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and then the next day, this was what that same piece of fabric looked like:
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The brushed marks have turned to a green (while the rest is still a plum colour, which perhaps doesn’t show that well in this photo)
Now that’s cool!
I’m linking up here to Works In Progress Wednesday- lots of good projects to look at over there!

it’s beginning to look like Christmas

I love seeing lots of handmade things at Christmas -time. I think it adds to the feeling of warmth and family, togetherness and keeping things basic and real. Most years I try to make a little something, or a couple of somethings, either for my own family or to give aways as gifts.
I made this little pear last year..
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and this little hanging..
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and this little bird…
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This year’s bounty includes this little postcard I sent to my daughter, this blog’s namesake!, while she studied for her final exams…
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I showed these little birds here last week, made for a friend…
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This stitchery was made quite a few years ago but is pulled out with the tree and its decorations each Christmas..
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and this ‘Christmas postcards’ hanging that my daughter and I made together many years ago..
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A shame we can only have them out for such a short time each year!

age

This little quiltlet was made as part of an ongoing challenge with my local quilt group. It is another of the fabric journal pages that we have been working on all year.
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The theme for September was ‘Age’. Loooking at my little piece, you may not immediately be able to identify how I used Age as my inspiration- yes? no?
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It represents the different ages of mankind- from stone age on the left through the bronze age and up to the iron age on the right. Each of the little embellishments were sewn on to represent each of those Ages.
The backing is a piece of linen with torn edges and I started by adding some hand stitches. The embellishments were all sorts of bits and pieces I’ve gathered or found here and there..
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in the middle I added some bronze foil highlights
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Before I went too far, I got the idea to paint some gesso onto the background to add some visual texture
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on the side couched some stones in amongst the stone-coloured buttons and other pieces, then added scraps of fabric and some random hand-stitches amongst the folds of coloured cheesecloth
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The last step was to do some free-motion quilting over the top half with a cream-coloured thread.
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So, that’s my interpretation of ‘age’!
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