Monday 29 July 2013

I don't think I have done this before

but I want everyone to see how skilled Jane in Wales is at hand applique. She is up there with the very best. Go see her blog here and enjoy. It is simply awesome work. Scroll back through her blog posts and see those horse's legs! How is this humanly possible?

Tuesday 23 July 2013


Quite honestly it was so long ago I was asked if they could use my photos in this book I had forgotten all about it. Then when I bought my new sewing machine the assistant said she had been reading about me in a library book. I had no idea. Eventually she got back to me with the name of the book. I found it on Amazon, which gave me the name of the publishers so I could contact them and remind them I had been promised a copy.
They used my  favourite quilt first which was nice as it is my only show quilt which has not won any ribbons. (This is like having an adored child who no one but you recognises their special qualities, lols)

And then my strippy which I also love. Both were made using Heide Stoll Weber's incredible hand dyed cotton sateen.

Sunday 21 July 2013

So I did something completely different....

I decided to place them on the outer pink circles. One of the joys of pre-preparing the pieces is the ability to play with different looks before committing to stitch.

It's been hot here, so hot then rubber on the bottom of the Bernina extension table set up in the kitchen started to melt into the oilcloth tablecloth.
 And the first of the poppies is in flower, I love them so much.
And convolvulous the bane of my life in many of the gardens I have owned but not here, yay! And there are some tame versions like the blue climbing Morning Glory or these delightful squat ones which I found in a seed packet which was supposed to have been used before 2005.

(A pink petunia sneaked in...)

Friday 19 July 2013

This gave me more than a little problem.

I went to cut the blocks down to stitch them together and they didn't fit! The paper original was perfectly square, the red flowers were evenly spaced so they would create the circle of them, they were each the same distance from the corner. I traced each one through from the master paper individually onto freezer paper. I then ironed each piece of freezer paper onto the back of each piece of backround fabric (which each were marked on cutting which was the top of the grain), I then traced the design onto the background fabric (the fabric could not move because the design was ironed to it).

So I have no idea how it happened, but when I stacked the blocks with the basket/vases on top of each other the flowers and leaves did not line up, seriously did not line up! How? The quilt pixies must have been making malicious visits to my studio at night. If I made the flowers align in the way they are supposed to then the vases were way off..... This has been gnawing away at me for over a week and finally at 2am (it's very hot here and sleep is difficult) an answer came to me. I found the diagonal line from each corner through the vase and through the middle of the middle pink petal in the small flowers. I then aligned the base of each vase and the diagonal line with the master copy and traced the border outline onto each block with disappearing blue pen.

I stitched them together, cut the seams to 1/4" and held my breath......


I have a plan to stitch this in the day times and the hand applique in the evenings....

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Little decisions add up.

I decided to add some circles just to make it a little more complex as this is the centre and the bit people naturally eyeball the most. I have half the circles stitched down and now think the slightly stronger pink of them is too much in comparison to the centre.

To balance this out, I have decided to place smaller blue circles closer to the centre, but shall I go the way of the ones on the left or those on the right? I love deciding these little problems.
And of course I could place one in the very middle to tone down the faded red.........

Sunday 14 July 2013

How soothing hand work can be.

I an going through a particularly emotional time right now and surprisingly have found the hand applique immensely soothing and calming. Time will heal but meanwhile this is helping.
I had been hankering to make a very low contrast quilt. I love the way some quilts have faded so much, almost the only way to see the detail is in the texture of the applique and not in the colour. This range of Cabbages and Roses comes already washed and bleached out so is perfect for this project.

I have prepared the applique in exactly the same way as I do for invisible machine work. I even pieced the outer edge of the applique by hand before stitching it down.

I found the freezer paper much easier to remove from the back as the had stitches hardly catch it at all. Even the ring came out by cutting little slits every so often and pulling it through. It came out in only two pieces!

Thursday 11 July 2013

Me doing what?!?

Well two things, one is making a block for Simon Haskin's charity for Leukemia, Sunshine for ALL -The Leukemia Quilt Project. This is an international push for quilters all over the world to make blocks and/or quilts to raise funds for Leukemia research and for children with Leukemia to have during the very long treatment. You can find out about here  on the Facebook page. He is setting up a website but it isn't ready to run just yet (watch this space and I will post a link when it is up and running). There are places in Canada, Europe, the USA and Australia to send the blocks. The finished size is 8" so the unfinished size is 8 ½". The colour should be orange with pink and yellow accent colours (though you can use muslin/calico for a background).  No batting or embellishments nor any stabilizer please.

This was the difficulty for me. I thought I could applique a yellow feather onto an orange background, starch it within an inch of it's life, and then freemotion a feather on it. WRONG! The freemotion stitching gathered it up so much more because there was no batting or stabiliser behind it,  this block will be abandoned. No mistake is a waste, it is a lesson. So I shall attempt it again with washout stabiliser and see if this works.

But the surprising thing isn't that.

It's this,
can you imagine, me doing hand applique? Me neither, but I am, and although I have only done a little so far, I am enjoying it. I found some fabulous linen for the background. It is a little heavier than quilt weight cotton but I like using something so much stronger. I measured off one meter and washed and tumble dried it. It shrunk down to 97% so that is not as much as I expected, about the same as some cottons. It is all going to be this very low contrast colourwise.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

I can see what the middle will look like now.

I get excited when I get to a stage when I can see what I saw in my head take shape with the fabrics. Three of these four blocks have been stitched down and the fourth is ready to be stitched.
I love it when things go to plan.  Each of these blacks is about 20" Square. I am debating with myself whether or not to put something in the outer corners or to leave it for some stunning quilting.

The fourth block will not be stitched straight away as we have been forecast a heatwave from Friday onwards and I want to get a couple of curtains made to try and keep some of the heat outside. Not only do I suffer with the heat but so does Frank.