Tuesday 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas

I have not gone over the top with Christmas this year like I normally do. I have had a workman here most of the month. His has built me a 33 foot long raised flower bed and painted the landing and stairwell. He is one of the nicest men on the planet but I love being alone and somehow I never manage to get anything done whilst he is here.
So I just decorated two of these little white trees.
I did applique another horse.
I cannot tell a lie. I stole this horse from the original Rachel Meyers quilt.
Sorry, this is a photo of a screen which itself is a photo of a photo. I think George Washington is the chap on the original.

Frank got his present early. He loves this reindeer.
He loves it so much, he sleeps with it and carries it everywhere with him. (I bought a 2nd one as this will surely fall apart in time).
Merry Christmas (it is already Christmas Day on the other side of the world)!

Wednesday 20 November 2013

My card reader didn't work so I got a new one.

Now I can show you how I prepped that horse.
 I did the mane and hooves first as they are behind or under the main body pieces.

 Each shape was traced onto freezer paper, then I ironed that piece onto two more layers (three in all) before ironing it to the wrong side of the fabric before cutting out with a scant 1/4" allowance.
I painted starch on the turn under allowance and used the tip of the iron to fold it over and iron the starch dry. I clipped the inner corners and any concave curves. I use an old bit of linen under the iron whilst I do this as it gets scorched and excess starch burns. It mostly washes out but it is easier than ruining your ironing board cover. I pulled the freezer paper out before using a glue stick to hold it in place.

It was easy to stitch down, with the exception of those ears....... I am getting better at hand work but it is taking it's time. As always put Perfect Marking pen in the little search box at the top left to find a pen you can use to mark your own background fabric.

 I bought The Art of Machine Piecing when it was first released years ago. I opened it, saw a few blocks were done with English paper piecing and felt a little cheated. It went on the shelf and not looked at again until this week. Stupid me! What I hadn't realised is that Sally Collins pieced all these blocks at three inches square. They are incredible and I am not sure I could ever reproduce them. I am in awe.
 Remember this is just 3"
And this. I bow down to her.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Gizmo and design?

Sometimes I cannot help myself and buy odd sewing implements just because. This 'just because' item is to mark the length of skirts for hemming.  You place it on the floor next to the worn skirt, squeeze the little puffer and a line of white chalk hits the skirt, then work your way round. Brilliant.

These two mugs are the same size, the same company and the same (ish design). It is odd I didn't notice the difference before (my set is in different colourways). My guess is the top one is the original and they lost the design and asked someone to copy it. Or perhaps they just sent the first one over to China and suggested they reproduce it. Or perhaps it was the other way round, perhaps the 2nd one was the original and someone in the factory said they could improve it a hundred fold. Who knows but this makes it easy for us to see how the traditional designs in quilting have changed over time.

I can imagine a woman going to a friends house, making a pencil sketch of her quilt and going home to copy the idea. This woman might have been a great designer and skilled stitcher herself and improved on the original or she might have just had her sketch to go by and did the best she could.

I have spent a lot of the last year looking at and analyzing old quilts. My first thoughts were perhaps the designs got watered down over time but perhaps, just perhaps it is the other way round.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Sorry about that book!

I got mine for $5 US and there were quite a few about at that sort of price. It's a nice book to have but not the $60 plus it is going for now. Wait a while and the price will surely come down again.

In the book was a horse with a soldier on it. I cannot remember who now but someone from US history. I removed the rider and slimmed the horse down a bit (I think it still needs to go on a diet).
I prepared it last night and will treat myself to appliquing it down once I have finished the next row of half circles... I think I need to learn needle turn but thus far it hasn't suit my clumsy fingers.
I will do one facing it on the other side of this top border. I think it has ended up looking a little like a fairground pony with the flowers.

Friday 8 November 2013

Great New To Me Book.

 I cannot remember where I saw this book recommended, another blog, Facebook, I don't know but I am grateful. It is full of designs for the various motifs used in applique. Just the thing for me, when I want to create something which 'could' have been designed well over a hundred years ago. ( I have who mentioned it, The Happy Appliquer, and you can find her post here)
 A random sample page.
 And another.

Not much has been happening on the quilting front. I hurt my back just before I went to the Autumn Quilt Show at the Malvern Showground. And two weeks later, it is better than it was but still a long way from good enough to sit and sew at my machine. I have done a little handwork but the prep work hurts...

 On the way home from shopping last weekend DH had hunger pangs so we stopped for afternoon tea.  I loved the little hand knitted tea cosies.
We had ordered carrot cake and fruit cake but when we saw these huge scones go to another table we changed our order. Clotted cream, warm scones and home made jam, heavenly.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

I cannot find this quilt! (but I have at least found the photos)

We have moved house and this quilt is still lost. I haven't seen it since just after I bought it in 2010. I just assumed it was under the bed with the other quilts. I feel more than a little ill every time I think about it. It has the makers name appliqued across the top but these photos do not show her name and I cannot remember it.....
Enjoy the photos and send good wishes for it to turn up.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Lovely new (to me) sewing box and I have started on a border

It was an Ebay find, sold as vintage but cheap enough. I suspect it is one of those things made to look vintage from the Far East (there was another very similar one for sale at the same time).

It is just the right size to have next to me on the sofa for hand work.

And this is the first of the borders for the low contrast quilt. I might just trapunto some feathers in all that space or make each of the four borders different with different applique....

Saturday 19 October 2013

I think I have decided

I have finished the centre piece and am still very unsure about how low the contrast has become.

I know the contrast is just too low. I like the look but not enough to make it into a large quilt. So my decision is to just add one border to finish it off. Then I will do a full size quilt using the same fabrics also on linen but either on a white or very light cream. I finished it the night before last and last night felt quite bereft as not having anything to do with my hands. Who knew I would become addicted to hand applique? Certainly not me. And my skills are improving....

And Rosie found a place to snooze amongst the fabrics.....

Wednesday 16 October 2013

I had hoped to show you more progress....

 I had hoped to at least finished this centre, but I am very nearly there. Just one and a half flowers at the top, then a soak to remove the freezer paper I used at the beginning.
 That first book on Chintz I blogged about has sent me into a chintz frenzy. I have always loved these sorts of prints. I bought this panel and another one in a different colourway some years ago now. They come up every so often on Ebay. The coordinating print at the sides is name Karakal and both it and the central panel, Palampore were made by the very upmarket company, Brunschwig and Fils. The colour is half way between this and the closeup below.
 I have been on a one woman mission to buy some of the glazed chintz which was printed in the early to mid 1980s. I was surprised to find a lot of them were printed in Holland and the others in England.

 I went into the garden and saw pigeon feathers spread everywhere. I was about to blame the cats when I spied this sparrowhawk who was the culprit.

 The sun was out recently and the wild ponies at the top of the hill obviously enjoying a brief spell of warm dry weather before winter arrives.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Another of my small collection

Whenever you hear someone saying antique quilts are brown and boring send them along to see this 19th century coverlet. These prints are in your face and bright as a button.

 This centre is a striped fabric, if you look at the top of the panel you can see the bottom of the building at the bottom. Then the quilter has taken a little of floral stripe going down the side and attached it at the top to make her centre. If you click to enlarge you can see the seams.

 These fabrics are wonderful.

 In places where there wasn't quite enough of one piece, she has added a little bit more to make a big enough piece. As you can see in the brown fabric above.

I found this fabric below to make my own quilt like this. It is a reproduction made for curtains in the 1980s when there was a vogue for this sort of thing. It is a Lee Jofa print. Really it is too heavy for this use but I think when quilted, I can just get away with it.