Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Sticking them in place

In some ways this is easier to stick the trapunto shapes on the back of the top, but not on this quilt. When I've done it this way before, it's not been on a quilt where the trapunto cutting will show on the front. Even that would not be too great a problem if the shapes weren't so large, particularly those big feathers which go round the corners on the border. I'm finding I have to stick one or two down then wait a good ten minutes for it to dry enough so I can move to another area. Love these Scotch glue sticks from Costco. Although they say permanent, they do wash out. With the ironing board set up so I can watch the tennis at Wimbledon, it's quite a good way to spend the afternoons.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

What I've been up to

After soaking the shaped bits of batting off the white wholecloth, I went to use some fresh sateen. I measured it against the master paper pattern, doubled the length, added a bit more and tore off the length. Then I discovered the other sateen I hoped to use wasn't wide enough. At this point I realise this quilt is fighting me more than any other. I had planned to wash out the original and use it perhaps for backing this (backing hasn't been decided yet). Too impatient to order more, or even to wash out the remainder of the marking pens, I'm just using it as is. I know it will wash out when (if?) this quilt is finished but it's not too pretty to look at whilst I'll be quilting it.
Here I'm showing you what I'm using on this particular quilt to hold it still whilst I'm marking. Because the sateen is only semi opaque I can trace through without using the light table. If you look carefully in the bottom left you can even see some of the design in the photo. The paper pattern is held onto the table with several of the white clips you see on the right. They are made to hold tablecloths on outdoor tables (very Martha Stuart, but I have a life). I use these and the other clamps to hold the fabric in place over the master.
Not wanting to get that bl**dy grid wrong a third time (or is it fourth?). I resorted to marking it out on the bedroom floor (you can see to my shame, I haven't got round to making the skirt for the new bed). Firstly I pinned the fabric to the carpet but soon discovered this fouled the ruler. I use the word ruler very loosely, it is a length of cable trunking from a diy store. This was the longest straight edge I could find..I ended up using masking tape. Our thick carpet present yet more problems. If I crawled over the fabric, it distorted into the pile. You can't see but in the foreground to the right it buts right up against the bottom of the wardrobes. This meant for each end of each line I had to climb over the bed. There are 64 lines in each direction. At this point I'd only traced the outer square and the outer circle. I put a little cross in alternate diamonds to make absolutely sure this time, it WILL work!!!!!

And I've been contemplating my Heide Stoll Weber fabrics. I have several ideas, just want to see which fabrics would work with each idea. These two on the right might well be another strippy (or they might not, nothing is written in stone until they are cut)

And because they are so very different from each other, I need to be able to see a goodly amount of each one to make a decision. These stayed like this on the bedroom floor for 3 or 4 days, until I took pity on DH trying not to tread on them when he's been getting ready for work. I do wonder if he ever thinks he could have married someone more 'normal' but then 27 years later, I think he must have got used to it by now.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Nice day at Sandown

As the weather was so good they did the presentations outside by one of the racing enclosures. Thank you to the lady who took this photo for me.
One of the best parts of quilting for me, is listening to talk about my quilts.

I was there dressed totally in white and Ferret all in black. She had some amazing quilts on show and really didn't get the awards they deserved. I particularly took a shine to her world quilt.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Good news

Exquisite Feathers won the Wholecloth Award at the National Quilt Show
Contemporary Strippy

and Giant Feathered Star have been accepted into the World Quilt Show

Classic Feathers

With a classic spelling mistake on the first one (grin)

Twintrack version 1

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Stitching directions for feathers Part 2

Bump and bounce.
In comparison to the classic feather this requires less backtracking as it's only the outside of alternate lobes which are backtracked. However even the very very best machine quilters who always manage to stay on the line whilst backtracking and even those gods of the quilting world who seem to be able to put their needles into the same holes whilst backtracking, will have these lines of stitching showing as thicker. Because it's alternate lobes looking thicker on the outside, it shows and looks uneven. It's good for utility quilts and uses marginally less thread.
Can you tell, I'm not much of a fan? (smile)
I tried to re-edit this so it would read 'lobe' instead of 'love' in the first illustration and to correct the grammar on the left in the third, but apparently once written, it's there forever, so please correct these in your head.

Bump and bounce

Stitching directions for feathers

Twin Track Method 2
This is my favourite method as there is hardly any back tracking (just a tiny bit along the spine between the lobes). If your feather has a double spine just go all the way round the spine first starting at the point where the first lobe touches the spine then when you have been all the way round, your needle will be in the right place to start stitching.
If your screen is small, click on each illustration to bring it up larger.
Another reason for liking this method best is the fabric is held down much more between each lobe of the feather and so the 'puff' is exaggerated a little.

I had hoped to publish 4 different methods all in one day but it takes longer than I thought.....
So there will be another one tomorrow and for a couple of days after. You can echo round the feather as many times as you like to make it stand out even more. Sorry the drawings are a little rough, I'm better at stitching than drawing.... (grin)
Twin Track Method 2

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Probably everyone else in the UK knows this

but I didn't so I'll share.
I was sending out the little quiltlet I made the other day and couldn't be bothered to go to the post office, so I weighed it and thought I'd find out how much it is and just cover it in stamps. So Googled how much is costs to send a small package to Germany and found the POST OFFICE WEBSITE
You just put in the weight, where it's going, pay by credit card (debit card if it's under £5) and then print it off. Stick it on with sticky tape and if it fits through a letter box, you're sorted. Even if it doesn't, all you have to do is take it to the part of the Post Office for parcels and just walk away. You can even choose what size of label you want to stick on. Easy. You have the option of leaving your credit card details on their site or not, up to you how much you trust them.
No queueing!!

Sunday, 7 June 2009

I had hoped

by soaking it very gently in a warm bath of water, the soluble thread would dissolve and leave enough of the feather marking to save me doing it all over again. As you can see the marking instantly has started to wash out even without moving the water at all.
The water went purple from the black marker after a ten minute soak, (remember this marker has been in this top for well over a year). So I have retrieved all the feathers and I think they'll be fine to glue to the back of the newly marked top. I'm not so sure about the big corner ones, they may have distorted as I lifted them with the weight of water. Time will tell.
Today's quilting effort is to go to the local carpet shop and beg a cardboard roll or two for the Giant Feathered Star and Exquisite Feathers. I can't send either wrapped on a roll but at least I can store them crease free until it's time to post them off.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Go see Judy's video on finishing binding

Judy Laquidara and scroll down.
I'll still do mine by hand for show quilts but for utility quilts it's great. (And much better than the Elma's glue method, who needs that extra step?)

Friday, 5 June 2009

That wholecloth has me beaten

but not into submission, well not yet anyway...
I did manage to remove all the water soluble thread hold the trapunto diamonds in position and was half way through re designing feathers for this position when I discovered some of the water soluble thread had congealed into what can only be described as something like hard resin lumps on the back. Yuck and worse than yuck, they were hard enough to break needles. There are several times I should have walked away from this quilt and had I not been so pleased with the design I would have.
Thankfully I've found the master pattern. (It was hidden inside a roll of paper with the giant feathered star on the outside) So I have a plan...
My cunning plan is to finish cutting out the rest of the trapunto feathers, soak the top in warm water so I can retrieve the feathers. Then I shall re-mark the top, perhaps using fresh fabric if this doesn't look so good after all it's been through. Then the trapunto feathers will just be glued in place with Pritt Stick. But before I get that far I shall have one final attempt at getting those diamonds right! I think I have spent more time on this quilt so far than any other I have made and it's not even pinned yet!

To cheer a friend up, I made this little quilt out of silk charmeuse (sp?) I bought last year at the FOQ. SH, if you are reading this, it's for you!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Remember that wholecloth?

The one with the diamond fill in between the central motif and the borders. Remember how I was going to trapunto alternate diamonds but when I worked my way round the alternates didn't match? Well after putting it away again and the third attempt also failed. I released all the trapuntoed diamonds by going over very carefully the water soluble thread with an auto paint brush loaded with water. Oh what joy, not! I can tell you it's much much easier to unpick normal thread. Still it's done now and I shall do something entirely different in this area. Perhaps more feathers. There was a time when I believed the adage out there in the quilting world, the eye should have somewhere to rest. I've been looking at the older wholecloths and it's become obvious these women had never heard of this and their quilts are wonderful, so feathers it is then.....

Monday, 1 June 2009

Bumble bees and flowers

There's supposed to be a crisis in bumble bee numbers but we have two nests (hives?) of them this year. Both are in the wall of railway sleepers (ties for you in the US)
This is just a selection of early summer flowers.

I love these petunias with the veins.
And my cistus brings joy every morning, every night the petals fall off to be replaced the next day
One of my 'ordinary' double peonies, lovely in their own right but after the tree peonies, a little tame...

Only this one has a sport of a single, I think I might prefer it.

And one of the bumble bees homing in to the nest.