Monday, 31 August 2009

One for me

Today I finished a quilt for myself.

On the left is Winter Harvest which will live here, and on the right is Out of Season which will be leaving this week.
Click for a closer look.

I also attached labels to these and another 3 quilts, all of which are also leaving this week.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Another giveaway I'd rather you didn't enter!

The talented and generous Kellie at Don't Look Now (I couldn't decide which adjective to put first, as she has both traits in equally large measure) is having an unbelieveable giveaway.

I (okay, you!) could win this stunning quilt entitled 'Lily Pilly' by entering here.

So, I've told you about it. But I am NOT going to wish you luck; I'm keeping that selfishly for myself!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Out of Season

Out of Season is finished, except its label. Can I bring myself to part with it? I'm going to make another, a first for me. I might use a different fabric for the tree (I bought about 8 options!). But I'd better get a move-on.

This is a true-colour photo once the quilting was complete, but before binding:
Being straight-on (and inside with a flash, due to more rain) it doersn't show-off the quilting I'm so proud of. But I also like the fact that at this angle the quilting does as it should, and fades into the background, leaving the quilt's design as the main fetaure (and even the subtle background fabric prints visible).

I tried an angle-shot...

And here's an equivalent photo from the back, which shows the darker quilting around the applique, and the heavily quilted background. The tree, leaves and apples themselves are unquilted, as is the green border (other than where branches or roots cross it). The other thing helping the green border to stand-out is that I deliberately pressed the seams on both sides of it towards the green.

For a recent birthday. Simon got me a halogen worklight with a clip and strong, bendable neck; it's one of the best things he's ever bought me, and I use it all the time for sewing. I've also found it handy to provide side-light for photographing the quilting on my quilts. These next few were taken without flash, so the colours are wrong, even after some serious photo-shopping! And something weird happened to the left-hand-side of the first photo when I uploaded it from the camera, but it does show the quilting well.
I'm getting better aat McTavishing and managing more swirls, fewer messy spots and less-repetitious lines. I'm also doing as Karen said in her book, and developing my own style. She suggests renaming it after your own last name and adding the 'ing' but 'Howing' just sounds weird, and 'Emmaing' equally so. Any suggestions?

Here is a detail of how the technique fits so well in the gaps between the branches - it fits much better than stippling and suits it better as well, it gives such movement and a feeling of wind (which would be why there are so few leaves left on the tree!).
And more detail, because I can!

I also took a few inside photos of the finished quilt with the blood-red binding. I ned some free daylight hours without rain for some decent photos, but we've had what is for us a wet winter (and quite frankly, the more rain we get before our hot, dry summer hits, the better!)
And a side-lit photo of the finished quilt:
I've loved making this quilt, not least because of all the positive comments from other quilters in the Doll Quilt Swap Flickr Group. And it's got me thinking about where to take my quilting next. I have some ideas...

Velvet Bag

Inspired by Geta's beautiful quilted velvet bag, I had a go at one myself:
It's lined with fabric from Chez Moi's Posh range:
Here's the second side quilted with peacock feathers:
I used velvet left over from the Inchies quilt, but unfortunately I could only get cream velvet in stretch fabric, and despite using fusible batting I think that contributed to the quilting difficulties. This first side quilted in free-form feather plumes was done initially to test quilting on velvet before making the Inchies quilt:
The verdict: I did simple walking-stitch quilting on the quilt, because FMQ on this had even more skipped-stitches than usual (my machine's quirks remain unresolved) and shredding in the top thread (good quality stuff), though I really can't explain why.

But I do like my new bag! Very simple and no pattern required, just a little forward-thinking. Quilting on velvet can be very effective as Geta's work has shown, but if I do it again, I'll find some proper cotton velvet first.

ALQS3 Art Quilt Swap - Received

Just look at the beautiful quilt I received in the ALQS3 Art Quilt Swap! It was made by Wil in the Netherlands, and by coincidence, it was to Wil I sent my contribuition to the swap; Inch by Inch.
The leaves are three-dimensional and have been attached after quilting. It is already hanging in my sewing room. Thank you Wil!

Round Robin Returns

This morning I took James and Eleanor, and James' friend Ella to the Playschool concert; you should have heard the three of them singling the playschool song in the backseat as we drove there, truly delightful! Although James did ask why I laughed when he sang, "...There are pickles with James ,and stories to tell..."!

Once there we met up with Joy and Austin and Madelyn. We had our hands rather too full for many photos, but I did quickly snap this of Joy and the brood as we walked to lunch afterwards!
And while we were at lunch, Joy returned my Round Robin quilt to me, much to my delight! Helen, AJ and Joy have all done a wonderful job, and later I'll press and photograph it properly, to show off their work. But for now...

Here's my centre, originally blogged here :

And here's what I now have:
Didn't they do well?! Now I have to decide how to finish it off!
And here's a quick (and very late rundown) on the rest of the quilts.

First I received Joy's centre, and once I'd added my part, it looked like this:
Here are some detail shots showing the seahorses; appliqued with clear monfilament and cut to used the batik's design as the eyes and give the impression of their texture. One 'hiding':
And another pair:
I loved making this, although wished once it was finished that the seahorses stood out a little more.

You can see Joy's quilt on its return to her after stopping at Helen's and AJ's at her blog!

Next came AJ's centre, with one border already added by Joy. I added the narrow green border (chiefly to get the dinensions suitable to add a border of pieced blocks!) the multicoloured triangles and the blue bubbles which match the green bubbles used in the centre. Here's how it was as I sent it along to Helen:
And some detail of my border:
Helen decided it looked finished, and for her part quilted and bound it, and here it is finished an AJ's blog.
Finally, after travelling from Australia's west coast to east to south, Helen's centre came to me with two borders already added. I decided it needed some 'simple' aplique to tie it back to the beautiful centre, so my border is the final appliqued swirl on the white:
It was hard photographing such a large quilt top and eventually I took it to my parents' place, where I laid it on the lawn, then hung way over the railing on their upstairs balcony with the camera at arm's length!

I don't seem to have many photos of the applique I did, but here are a few details. All the buds were fussy-cut:
I found a gorgeous red ombre at my LQS which I cut diagonal strips from to create the swirls:
Here it is back at Helen's where you can see detail of each border.

Stay tuned for more some better photos of my beautiful quilt where you can see what each of the girls added.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Giveaway from a fellow DQS7 participant

Heidi is having a lovely giveaway on her blog, pop on over and have a closer look at this gorgeous quilt she's made! Of course, I don't want you to actually enter; that might diminish MY chances!

DQS7 Top complete

I've been mulling over ideas for my DQS7 quilt for a while. I setttled on an idea while we were at the snow, and mentally designed the whole thing (although I did make some small variations as I went) while we were there. Can you tell? I'm calling it Out of Season and its ready to sandwich and quilt. I need to add more detail and texture in the quilting, and am hoping the whole thing isn't too insipid, but I do love the look so far. Apart from some simple piecing of the background (which uses white-on-white flakes in the centre, then a fairy-frost, then a creamy snowflake) it's all machine appliqued with blanket stitch in clear monofilament. The first thing I'll so with the quilting is go closely around the tree etc with matching but slightly darker threads. I'm considering McTavishing the background, but haven't decided yet. The binding will match the apples.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Noah's Ark quilt for AJ

(a note: in response to the queries I've had about this quilt, this quilts is unusually not one of my own designs, although as a group we did make some alterations form the original. It's by Kookaburra Cottage, and is widely available in Australia - but be warned, the pattern is expensive.)

The EB Quilters have done it again. When we heard that one of our own (AJ) was finally pregnant, another collaborative quilt was on the cards. We knew how much she loved the Noah's Ark pattern, and Adds and I spent several weeks trying to work out how we could manage this as a group quilt. We requested people roughly follow the colours AJ had used for her own version of this quilt (made for one of her nieces), knowing her penchant for brights! It involved a lot of emailing, and a lot of mailing, as patterns, sashing and background fabric were sent across the country, returned to Adds as completed blocks to join to her central Noah block, sent on to me to complete and quilt, and finally on to its new home. It even involved a few repeat mailings as AP lost several parcels - fortunately 'only' background fabric, rather than completed blocks or even, heaven-forbid, the whole quilt!
These photos aren't great; I only just managed to finish it before we went skiing, and didn't have a chance to photograph it properly outside. I was already late for work (and I had to post it during my lunch break) when I was hanging it, so please excuse the fact that it's not properly pressed, and too many shots are poorly focused. Above is the monkey block I made.

Crocodile by Helen (adapted from the pattern to work in a collaborative quilt).

Giraffe by Milly (which requied an extra trip to me, so I could put the Monkey's arm in place).

Apalling photo of a great block by Cylie!

Elephant by Lily (my favourite block, love the fabric choices, and such beautiful hand-applique!)

And here's a different image of the monkey block, showing the fine (as in small!) McTavishing I did on all the background.
This was a huge quilting job, dealing with so many peoples' blocks, and with so many borders and sashings requiring stitching in the ditch, loads of applique shapes to closely quilt around, all the background to fill, and extra quilting in some areas to keep it even. I have to say I was glad when it was done!
We hope it brings AJ and her new baby boy much pleasure.

PS Helen - the remaining purple swirls will return to you shortly!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Making my day

Just before we went skiing, I followed via Feedjit some of the links people had followed to get to my blog and came across this blog post about me on the Fairholme Quilters' blog. It made my day!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Sunday Stash

And now back to normal posting about fabric and quilting!

The three colourways of Beverly Hills and Palm Springs from 'Swanky' by Chez Moi for Moda:
Bold prints from Paula Prass' second line of fabric, Summer Soiree:
Fun prints from Patty Young's second line of fabric, Mezzanine:

And lots of Luminosity!
Stash - I can't be bothered keeping count any more!

Skiing (4/4; the rest of it)

While we lived in Canberra, Simon took a class on ski maintenance, and does all the routine stuff for us. this includes a mid-week wax to keep us skiing nice and fast! Even James' hire skis (just poking up above the back of the ski Simon's working on) got a coat!
James spent a lot of time in imaginitive play with Bec on 'Sled 3', although there were a few arguments when Eleanor wanted to join in. James doesn't like to be interrupted, and Eleanor loves an argument these days! Her 2 new (and oft-repeated) phrases for the week were, "I CAN!!!!" (said with great emphasis and indignation) and, "and again?!" (in a request for more tickles/raspberries or games from (my) Daddy). However, her speech blossomed in a week surrounded by adults, and she used quite long and complicated sentences very effectively.
She didn't do as much skiing as James, but we went well-prepared with books and toys and a selection of new items. Her favourite activity was drawing (which sometimes meant requesting pictures, so I drew a lot of upside-down flowers, planes and rockets!).
One afternoon we set out for a chairlift ride and it started snowing on us, so I bundled her inside my parka and she sang Nikkle Tar (Twinke, Twinkle Little Star) for me as we rode up and straight back down again!

Pete the Snow Dragon lives at Falls Creek, and with his friend does a free half-hour kids' concert twice a week at the end of the day. It's really well-done, and despite light snow/rain through it all, James and Eleanor were both happy watching and listening to the original songs about skiing and snow. James has come home with a half-metre-long Pete tail, which he wears at every opportunity
We all went out for dinner one night. James fell asleep on our laps after ordering, and was able to be woken happily in time to throughly enjoy his dinner. Just about every scrap on the table disappeared, but not a great deal of it by the person it was actually ordered for!
My parents would have been lucky to get even a spoonful of the fluff on their cappucinos!
"I've finished Andrew's, now can I have some of yours, Elaine?"
And James rather liked his chocolate pudding for dessert, but still wanted to share it. Here he is pulling Daddy forward by the beard for another mouthful! (Simon and I have been teaching them both to lean forward over their plates a little, to avoid food landng in their laps or on the floor).
The last night, James was asking about the wine while on Mummy's lap, so we asked if he wanted to try a little sip. Unfortunately he didn't heed the 'little sip' advice and it was lucky I'd put a plate down, as he spat it all out. The verdict was hilarious, "I don't like wine, it's very boring for my mouth"!!! He'd heard the word used a few days previously and had obviously worked out it was a negative thing, but not the full meaning!
His other great one-liner for the holiday was while he was doing a new puzzle on the floor. He asked me to come and, "help me download the puzzle, Mummy?"!!! A true 21st century child!