Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Tool, tips and cotton batting

If you have ever seen those concentric circle rulers and didn't know what on earth they were for, well here is one use for them. When I want a lovely curvy line for the spines of my feathers, I place the ruler along a line and match the marks on the ruler against the line and then make my mark. You could in this instance just as easily use a large dinner plate with a couple of marks on it but none of mine have a round edge.

When I got to doing the third baby quilt I found I was a few inches short in one corner on the batting. This was a Saturday lunch time, I wanted to get on and my local quilt shop does not carry the same brand of batting anyway. So here is how I join two bits of batting together.
Lay the one bit of batting over the other, give yourself a few inches overlap. Then through the top layer only, cut a wavy line.

With a large zig zag stitch sew over the cut line. It is important not to pull the batting out of shape.
Flip it over and very gently tear away the excess batting against the stitching line. Once in the quilt, this join disappears completely. If you join with a straight line it doesn't! Believe me on this one.

The Grace hand quilting frame wins my award for the worst instructions I have ever come across and that includes Ikea. On the other hand now I have pinned three quilts on it, it is quite simple. (if I hadn't been in a rush on this one, I might not have wound the backing fabric rotated through 90°, duh. I think to fold it up and unfold it is a two person job.

One the left is the first baby quilt and it has been washed and tumble dried. On the right is the one I have just finished and it is unwashed. There is slightly different quilting in each but you can see the instant "antiqued" look you get with cotton batting. I have never done what they suggest on the instructions about rinsing it and drying it to preshrink it. My gut feeling is if you don't want this look then use a batting which does not shrink.

Here they are side by side showing how much shrinkage there is! The one on the right has a wavy edge as someone suggested pressing the binding over as it makes sewing it down easier. I haven't found out yet if it's true but if I wasn't going to wash it, I'd be more than a little unhappy with the waviness. I suppose you could iron it all over but then you would loose the puffiness and texture of the quilting. The washing will undo the effects of pressing it..

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Wonderful day at National Quilt Championships

I knew I had won the Machine Quilting Award with Wings of Love, but the Judges Merit ribbon was a lovely surprise. Click on the photos to see it enlarged. The thread was a wonderful variegated one from Auriful.
And 2nd Place in the Small Wall Hanging with Feather Journey#2 was something which made me very happy.
The Best of Show was hand quilted and beautifully appliquéd by Sandi Lush. Very well deserved.
But my favourite quilt was not in the competition, I just love the following quilt
I have very eclectic tastes and this one is even brighter and more exuberant in real life, I LOVE IT!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Birds and boy quilt underway

In my never ending search for fabrics with birds for appliqué I found these last week on Ebay. For those of you in the 'know' about decorating fabrics, Zoffany is one of the top and most expensive brands around.  I was extra pleased to find just over three meters of this, though disappointed it only yields 3 birds of each design, I could get 6 of each by seaming the ones by the selvedge.
This quilt is the next in my series of three baby quilts. I'm pinning it on the hand quilting frame to save me getting down on the floor. It's OK doing it on a frame though I prefer the way it does it on the floor, the backing is tighter.
The quilting on this one is coming on nice and quickly though I have to stop and start a lot when doing the outer rings of the spirals. It will look wonderful when all the marks are washed out.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Missing in inaction

Or not quite, I have done some quilting on one of the baby quilts, the end of this one is in sight, just two more to go.

And I took this the other day. This had almost survived the high winds but the heavy rain we've had since have done their worst. I don't mind there's more things coming up elsewhere.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Time is eaten up

Somehow making cups of tea, coffee and answering questions eats your days and uses my 'spoons' (see link on the right).
From this

to this in a couple of days.

Today it's the electricians turn, he's wiring the automatic roof vents, the floor sockets and the wall lights. The the original chap comes back to seal the floor and install insulation and more screed. Then the long wait for the screed to dry to add the oak floor.  I keep telling myself it will be good once it's done...
I had a birthday and my darling husband got me this object of desire, a Cath Kidston DAB radio, I love it though the gold plating might be a little OTT.
And my darling daughter got me this fabulous blade sharpener from Quilt Direct, you just roll your cutter up and down and then rotate it to do the other side of the blade. Love it.

We dug up some horseradish which I love. This beast was so large that it filled two ice cube  trays. (If you want to freeze it, just grate it in your food processor, keep well back or your eyes and nose will sting, and wet it with vinegar before freezing in trays, then store in a sealed plastic bag.)