Sunday, 31 August 2008

And if you think you can't machine quilt

check out this video, if she can, so can you

A few more blocks (or block centres perhaps?)

Today couldn't have been more different from yesterday. Thunderstorms and heavy rain. And between those heavy tropical type mist. It's been very dark. Nothing compared to what's heading towards New Orleans and has already hit Cuba. On the climate change front, we have decreased our power usage by 30%. We're still aiming for more as our bit for climate change. (though there is more than a little guilt as we have booked a vacation to the sun next month)

I've done these extra blocks, I'm not sure to what end. I have an idea but I've yet to see how it will look. On these new ones, I haven't hemmed them down yet as I feel it easier to do when you don't have to keep changing the foot and when you have your 'eye' in.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Appliqué for those who don't like Appliqué (method 2)

Treat the fabric the same as before (you can see the flakes of starch on this one) Centre it in place on your background fabric and pin in position.
Using small stitches stitch the bias directly onto the circle. Again stitch slowly using your 1/4" foot.

With this way you need to cut back the fabric. Roll the background fabric out of the way.
I cut about half way between the seam and the edge.

Press it outwards as with the previous post and machine hem down in the same way.

Both these methods take about the same amount of time. What you save in not doing the extra stitching of the first method, you lose in the time spent cutting. In the first method the circle is slightly raised and in the 2nd the bias edge is raised.
With both methods you could cut away the background fabric to give less to quilt through. Or you could cut a slice through and add a circle of batting to raise the appliqué. Or even just cut a circle of batting and use some 505 spray or glue stick it to the back. (either should wash out).

I'm wondering whether to do more like this or do some with navy circles and bright background fabrics.
BTW I gave in trying to find the QuiltPro and have bought another copy. No doubt the disk will show up now..........

Appliqué for those who don't like Appliqué (method 1)

First I starched the fabric within an inch of it's life.
I cut a 6 1/2" circle. I have these lovely circle rulers but using a saucer or something else round would work just as well. Just draw round it and cut with scissors.
I starched this stripe fabric (so you could see the bias when it's done but also because it looks cool). I cut a 1 inch bias strip and handling it gently, I pressed it in half. (Be very careful not to stretch it)

It stitched it on to the circle using my 1/4" foot. I guided it gently round the curve stitching slowing using a small stitch length.

I finger pressed it back.

Then pressed it properly with the iron. My little iron on a stick would have been good to do this.
Then I pressed the back flat.

Centred it on a 9" square of navy fabric. Pinned it in place. Then stitched in the ditch between the bright orange material and the striped bias. I could have left it like that with the bias fabric adding a little dimension to the piece.

But I decided to hem it down. I used stitch 45 on my Aurora which is a blanket stitch. (One stitch forward, one to the side). You could use a very narrow zigzag instead. When you get your 'eye' in after one or two of these you can narrow the stitch down even further. Use an open toed foot so you can see what you are doing.

Easy isn't it?

What you might not know about your threads

You can flick back the base of these mini cones, wind your thread round the base,
and flick it back up. This holds the thread securely and means you don't get a tangle of thread.

On these spools you can pull the base down (or even off), wind the thread round and push it back up again.

Not quite as secure as the first thread but it does the job just as well.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Cover your ears whilst I scream

I've wasted the whole day looking for a book and my QuiltPro CD. I have QuiltPro loaded on my laptop but without a mouse it next to useless for me. I lost it over Christmas when everything was cleared out for decorations and it didn't show up but I wasn't too worried. Things turn up when you least expect them too right?
Then we decorated the sitting room where my PC lives. Still didn't show up.
It would have been nice to have it at various times this year but I managed without. Today I can't. Well I just might be able to if I could find the Bl**dy book which is also missing.
The whole house is upside down.
As I said cover your ears.....

Monday, 25 August 2008

Heide's quilt update

Yesterday I finished the circles and they took all day.
Today I've got 3/4s of the background done but have run into a little problem with the pale blue thread. It's too pale for the background and looks very nearly white, so I'll have to wait a few days for some darker to arrive. It's a holiday here so I can't order until tomorrow.
I'm having fun playing with the background stitching. I suppose I could start on the fireworks whilst waiting for the light turquoise thread.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

full explanation of feather with little circles

Start with a line for the spine

Add a lobe at the bottom, click to see arrow for direction.

Then do one the other side, cross over the spine and do a new lobe up the first side
Do this until the feather is finished. Sometimes you need more on one side than the other.
Then go just outside the feather with a line. Try to get it the same distance away from the feather as the gaps between the lobes.
Then start your little circles from the bottom. They are just like a series of little e's but you keep the straight bits on your previous line and the loops of the e's circular.
Go all the way round
Then take another line outside the feather just touching the edges of the e's or little circles.
On the test piece I put an extra line round the outside like this but on Heide's quilt I've decided to stop before this line.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

another reason to have a practise piece

is to try out new things. I've used something like a longarm technique (I have no idea how they do it) but I liked the effect. I went up the left side first and by the time I got to go down the right it got better.
What I don't like is the time it takes, but I'll do it any way. If it can look this good on precious scraps stitched together, I just know it will be fantastic on the quilt.

Watch this with the whole family

It's only two minutes long.
Make sure the kids know what the emergency number is in your country.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Heide's Quilt-started

I decided I didn't need to reinvent the wheel. This was one of the ideas I'd had for the strippy quilt. I discarded it because repeated seven times would have looked messy but as a single unit it's fine. This is the extent of the marking, just the spines and the lobe of the feathers where it branches off. I did this on Tuesday.
Today I started with a little warm up on leftover pieces from the strippy. This was to make sure the tension was right and the branching feathers worked the way I'd hoped.

At the FOQ, the white gloved people were occupied turning the quilt to see the back. I think people were disappointed as with such a busy backing and such fine bobbin thread (Bottomline), there isn't much to see. If you click on this you should just be able to see the back and it's thread.

The journey starts with the first stitch at 11.30am this morning, by 6.30pm ( and a short lunch break, I got this far. I hope you can see it clearly when you click on it. Tonight I'll bury the threads.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

I love my country

(when I find it). It gets harder every year to find bits of England that remain the same as they were when I was a child, let alone when my grandmother was a child.
This is a small hamlet in Hampshire only about 10 minutes away from a town centre with a huge mall, tower blocks, high tech companies and a multiplex cinema. You don't find places like these on the motorways, nor the A roads or even the B roads. They remain hidden in a time warp.
Holyhocks still reach for the sky.
And these sunflowers are totally out of place.
The was once a tiny millers cottage. Now it is a very expensive little bit of heaven.

Don't you love the way the roof on this house ripples over the old beams in the roof?
If you think these are close to the road, they are. But when only one car an hour goes past, it doesn't really matter much.

Heide's Quilt

This is the piece of fabric I have to work with. Heide wants it long and narrow like this.
I think I have to start this soon before I become overwhelmed by who I'm making it for (grin).
I lie on the bed contemplating...... This or this or that......
Procrastination is a thief of time.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


My friend is house sitting for some friends of hers whilst they are on holiday. They have a few of one of my favourite breeds of cattle. I love Dexters, they look like normal cows but smaller. They are dual purpose beef and dairy animals and are famous for their ability to virtually being able to live on concrete. They're about the same height as Great Dane dogs. See the hand on the right of this photo to get an idea of scale. Most of them are black but occasionally there are red ones too.

They are often kept as pets, make good meat and good milk. From what I heard when I thought of getting one, the bulls are difficult to handle far more so than their bigger counterparts.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

OOOPs! and a visitor

The foundation piecing is done, I laid it out on the bedroom floor and it measures approximately 95" wide. I don't remember how big I thought it would be, but definitely not this big. I want it to float and to have room to put a border on it. It will shrink a little with the seams but not a huge amount. I'll go back to the drawing, but that is less than a 1/4 of the finished star. It won't be difficult to down size, I'll just have to remove a few of the half square triangles.
This could have been avoided if a, I had drawn out more of the design and or b, if I had drawn it out in QuiltPro but since Christmas and my new PC, I haven't located the disc.

And in Fliss's bathroom along came this visitor.... He is huge but cannot get out. DH will rescue him and send him to the outside world.

Monday, 18 August 2008

How I was lead astray

On the top is the Heide Stoll Weber fabrics, thread, strong shiny rayon, loads and loads more of prints to go in my next quilt (and yes I know there is far more than I'll ever need for one quilt but I'm thinking of decorating with it as well). The DVD of last year's show (I had to buy this as it has one of my quilt and them giving me the envelope with the cheque),Marion's new book, a gift so not hard on my plastic. Thank you Marion.
Those long things are little L shaped bits of perspex to protect your fingers whilst rotary cutting. Not only do they do this job extremely well, somehow I use less downward pressure so the ruler is less likely to shift. After about five years it worked loose from the ruler so at £2.99 it was worth buying a couple of them.
I also got some water soluble paper and some wash out iron on bonding stuff, (think bondaweb which washes out) and some stuff which is supposed to remove ALL stains, I think it's called Grandma's Stain Remover but I can't find it at the moment.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Heide Stoll Weber

Can you see the air between my feet and the ground?
Heide Stoll Weber has asked me to produce a piece for her! I love her work so much (her quilts as well as her fabric), I'm astounded to have been asked.
And it gets even better, she's giving me fabric!
How good can things get?

Friday, 15 August 2008

Look who I've met

Frieda Anderson and Laura Wasilowski
have a fabulous booth at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham England. Could I resist buying some fabric and thread? Of course not.....
Lovely ladies with some fabulous work

Meanwhile back in the real world Fliss is off promoting Oxfam at the V Festival. Do I worry? Of course.....

Festival of Quilts 2008

So the news from the FOQ, I didn't win an award but I did get an Highly Commended on the contemporary strippy. The first place in this category went quite rightly to Philipa Naylor for a stunning wholecloth beautifully machine quilted in different coloured threads. This goes a little way to redress last year when her quilt only got a Judge's Choice here and went on the win it's category in one the major US shows.

And the biggest news is Ferret received all the awards she should have been receiving over the last couple of years. I did manage to get a couple of poor photos of Ferret receiving her award but sadly I left the card adapter on my bed at home. Will post them later if she didn't manage to chat up the official photographer for one to put on her blog.
I've bought a bolt of backing fabric, and some more of that lovely fabric for the quilt I'm working on at home and June Barnes lovely new book which I browsed last night and it looked wonderful but as I'd had a few drinks I'll review properly when I get home...
Sorry the photos are all over the place but although I've finally worked out how to highlight an area to move them, I don't seem to be able to cut and paste.