Wednesday 30 July 2008

Thank you everyone

Thank you to everyone who has commented on my blog, its always encouraging to receive so many well wishers - especially as quilting can be a very focused and individual art....its nice to reconnect after all those hours behind a quilting foot!

Brenda, your phonecall last week made my day! I would have called you back, but I couldnt find the phone! (thats the problem with cordless....)

I'm still recovering from being hyper active at the Show, today I've really felt run I'm giving myself a few weeks before deciding on my next quilt.

I know many of you would like me to blog everyday (thank you to everyone who goes to the effort of emailing me....yes, I always make the effort to reply ....eventually....)... but sometimes my mind wanders and I get fed up with my computer skills (or lack of).

I dont know what I'll do next....I've seen too many beautiful quilts and my mind is racing with motivation and ideas..... will keep you posted.....soon....
Above is a pic of the bookmark I had printed to hand out at the show, its a detail from Secret Garden.

Tuesday 29 July 2008

Ah Serendipity......

You have hundreds of quilts at spend hours finishing your quilt to exhibit...then you spend a day setting up...and then your daughter visits you at Showcase (and what does she do??) She admires someone elses quilt! and then takes a photo of her favourite block to let you know what kind of quilt she'd like next! Yes! Really!

Luckily enough though, I know the creator of this beautiful quilt and I know she wont mind me publishing this pic...

Dear Grace, just so you know, this is the much admired block!

In particular, the two stars and vine detail make it that extra bit special (as well as your use of pink!)

Yes, this quilt is a winner too:

Excellence in Domestic Machine Quilting - Amateur

Congratualtions Grace!

Monday 28 July 2008

Vic. Showcase 2008

Peony Pride:

Runner up to Best of Show

Excellence in Domestic Machine Quilting - Professional

1st, Mixed Technique - Professional

No... the Bernina's not for me....but it is leaning towards me...yes, I want it as bad as it wants me...

Next to Peony Pride is the Best of Show Winner, congratulations Anthea! Both of us are proud members of the Patchworkers and Quilters Guild of Vic.

I've been Runner up to Best of Show three years in a row now, I'm beginning to think stenciling might be ahead of it's time. Oh well, I quilt for myself, not awards.
The back of Peony, which I'm proud to say, hangs straight as a pin and is super neat
Quilting detail
I cant help it, here's some more quilting detail

I can proudly announce - that I have conquered quilting circles - I didnt mark a single line and my white than white pristine fabric is happy for it! But there's more good news: I didn't only win 3 rossettes, I also won:

Highly Commended in Australian Machine Quilting Exhibition for MANOR HOUSE (how about that?) I gave Manor House another chance and this time round, it hung obediently and shone in it's place (perfectly placed spotlight), its all the luck of the draw, although sometimes you have to wait a few shows to see your quilting hanging just right...its always worth it in the end...


Back home.... and exhausted but happy. My walls are bare and the house is considerably cooler...quilts on walls are great insulation! Showcase was great this year (ok, I'm baised!). Here are a few pics of setting up.

Being this years guest artist with 25 quilts from over the last 8 years was a rewarding experience - I spoke to hundreds of people and even had to convince a few that my stencilled quilts were in fact stencilled and not needle turn appliqued! Now thats a compliment!

As well as my exhibit, there were another 4 of my quilts being exhibited - three in the show and one in the Flynn gallery section.

I was busy talking to visitors and enjoying myself so much that I really didnt take that many photos - it's been a busy week with plenty of early starts and late nights, but it was all worth it!

Here's a quick shot from the third day...I was fortunate enough to secure the length of an entire wall to hang my quilts, it was such a thrill to see them all hanging there! Even I cant believe that I did all these quilts in 8 years (maybe I should spend more of my time cleaning, or cooking?....)

Well, 25 quilts dont just hang themselves - I would like to thank Robyn and Val and Desley for helping me so much, it would have taken me days without you!

The 4 of us could take the world by storm if we set out to do some serious interior decorating together! It looks easy, but deciding the where and hows of so many different quilts (I've done plenty of experienting and my styles are diverse!) is no mean feat!

Thank you all so much!

Monday 21 July 2008

The joy of late night Quilting !

A lot can happen in a day...for me, I hope that means finishing my quilting, binding my quilt and driving myself to the Victorian Quilter's Showcase on time!

I still have to take some quilts off my walls, and pack all 24 into my car to hang for display. As I've been quilting Peonie Pride, I've been thinking about my first quilt, and my second quilt and all the fun I've had quilting, trying new techniques and meeting so many great people.

I can't wait for Showcase to start..... well, maybe a few extra days would be nice.....

Friday 18 July 2008

A sneak preview

Too busy to blog, so here's a sneak preview of how my quilting is coming along....I'm focusing on one area at a time, and quilting freehand...since I didnt want to mark anything, I cannot leave my machine until all 4 sides or corners are done.

Still a long, long, long, long way to go.....

When I'm quilting, I pick up a rhythm....and if I stop for any reason (like a well earned coffee!) when I come back, I loes consistency...and I can always see where I left off and started up again. It also means I forget what I was planning to quilt! I like to stick it out and let my mind race ahead whilst I quilt!
I hope to be finished next week....well I'l have to be as it is being judged on Wednesday....Yes, a mere 3 days away ( I need a day off on weekends).
ONE DAY I will NOT leave my quilting to the last minute...its a scary thought to imagine what will happen if I dont make it in time....

Sunday 13 July 2008

The Quiet of Quilting

The time to quilt has come. I have a few ideas, but nothing certain yet. Today I am getting stuck in and wont be doing anything else.... until this quilt is quilted! Wish me luck!

I've made front cover !!

I've made front cover!!! Thank you Vic. Quilter's!

I've been selected as the Guest Artist at this year's Victorian Quilter's Showcase at the Craft & Quilt Fair from 24th July 2007 at the Melb Exhibition Centre, where my quilting journey will be displayed through 24 selected quilts. I'm honored to have been chosen and I can't wait to meet as many of you there as possible!

See you at the show!, back to finishing my latest piece, so you can all see it hanging finished on the day.....

Friday 11 July 2008

How to get off the floor

If, like me, you dont like basting on the floor (my knees wont let me...and I've received several questioning emails on this topic, so I know I'm not alone...), here is how I baste at table level.

This is a technique I've seen on YouTube.

I believe in sharing quilting knowledge, so here goes!

At my local hardware store, I
purchased a 'door frame' which is two straight pieces of wood, and that was the closest
thing I could get - it was long enough and had a smooth polished surface (V. important!). It doesnt warp or distort with age.

My two pieces are 2.10m approx.

I have a high table, its a collapsible trestle table from Officeworks. And I added plumbing tubes to the legs to give it more height.

I iron my quilt top and backing. Then I wind up on each board length one front and one back so they are both wound up. The right side of the fabric is facing inside when wound. I help myself with a bit of masking tape so that it winds perfectly straight. I wind up the whole quilt top. Same with the back. Then I place the back board first on the table. I unwind from the board about half a metre. I then position the batting on top of it. Of top of this, I unwind about half a metre of the quilt top. Now I have a 3 layer sandwhich.

I secure the edge firmly with clips. I smooth out the three layers, pinning as I go, and unwinding a little more each time. The batting is loose between the two boards so I keep this in check as I unwind the boards, constantly smoothing the layers out to ensure they are mathcing. The boards are heavy enough not to more. Then I hand baste the large areas- especially on straight seams, pin some others until the whole quilt is basted, this usally takes about a day for a 80 inch quilt. I know I'm slow, bit I like to baste more than is necessary.

I continue unrolling the quilt and I can do it sitting down because everything is secure on the table.

Today while I was basting away, my dear friend Grace rang me and naturally I was complaining about pricking my fingers with the needles...and she gave me a great tip....use an old toothbrush (pluck the bristles out) sand it into a smooth surface and VOILA this tool is ideal for hand basting! THANK YOU GRACE! This is a valuable tool for me now.....everytime you dig the needle through 3 layers and come up again, you can save your finger tips and pull up the needle easily with a rocking motion.

Visit my ETSY SHOP

Well, the time has finally come. I now have my own Etsy Shop.

I have big and wonderful plans for my shop, selling quilts and stencil items, but for now I'm starting with a Polar Bear family which have been living in a box. I think they deserve to be taken home and loved by someone, so they are the first (and at the moment only) items in my shop....

Visit my shop (via button on the left) for updates, I'm planning on adding to my shop frequently.

Basting the Quilt !

That time has finally come.... perhaps my least favourite part in the quilting process.... basting.
I baste with boards and this is much easier than the way I used to baste, which was on the floor - that was a busy process!
I'm still not convinced on whether pins or stitching is the way to go...I use pins as I think its much faster... hopefully by the end of the day I will be finished!

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Last Bits

Finally the last borders!
I had no fabric in my stash that was a near enough colour I made it myself!

White and red is very hard to match unless you work from exactly the same dye batch....and who can do that?

No, I haven't even thought about how i'm going to quilt this's going to be a surprise. At the moment, I refuse to go there....simply because I know myself - whatever I plan, I change my mind as soon as I sit down to quilt. All I know is that it will most likely be traditional (well, free hand traditional anyway). I dare not even consider marking that white / white fabric! And here is the last bit. All done. Tomorrow is assembly time.

Monday 7 July 2008

Stencilling away

The peeling off stage is always exciting, it's when the blob of paint above becomes the crisp and vibrant image you've planned on !
When I started this quilt, I decided to stay firmly on the 'correct' colour usage track.....before changing my mind and then changing it back again.

Now that I've stencilled the blocks, I've taken a liking to this triadic colour blend. I put the blocks up on my wall and the colours just seem to 'fit' really it just me? or have I discovered the power of the triadic colour merge?

Right now, I'm having a love relationship with this quilt, we're at the honeymoon phase where it looks so new and fresh, its exciting to work on it every day....but I know full well that I may end up changing my mind again...I usually have a love / hate relationship with my quilts and it's usually over what colours or prints I've selected, I'm hoping that as I get more adept at following the rules, these relationship problems will just disappear....

Thursday 3 July 2008

Still going

Starting early on a cold winter's morning.....

My travelling iron is handy to take around the house as I often move

my quilting into the sunniest room

Some peonies drying

When I have time, I like to wait 48 hours before I heat set as I've found this proves a truer colour
My layers are nearly done, one more colour to go

Tuesday 1 July 2008

It sure is a New Day....Every Day

I was just flicking through my email inbox when I noticed one of my quilts flicking before me.....

I was happily suprised to open my latest newsletter from The Quilt Show....and notice that my quilt, PEACE, is shown on the Gallery Tour page!

I was delighted! I love The Quilt Show I REALLY feel like a quilter! Love it...Love it...Love it

Visit The Quilt Show via my side link on the left of this page, or just click the link below...

Peonie Pride progress

The joy of beginning the journey of a stencil quilt....
Cutting out my stencil designs....

Pressing the fabric after the prewash.....
Laying the stencil on top of the wrinkle free fabric....

Positioning....positioning...positioning....until perfectly placed. It can take time!
I like to iron on the entire block, then when I stencil, it's like a jigsaw puzzle falling into place, as I remove piece by piece
More pieces.....

Peonie Pride...a sneak preview

After Sydney Showcase, and the learning curve of Manor House, I set myself the challenge of making a quilt according to 'correct' colour blending (rather than colours based on a whim which is pretty much what I was relying on...) I studied the charts and discovered two very interesting things:

A quilt I made in 2005, Not Quite Shabby Chic, is perfectly colour matched (quite randomly, but still I'm impressed)


That Red, Blue and Green is a perfect triadic colour composition. So that's the challenge I set myself for my next quilt. I was pleased to discover that actually, we quilter's have a pretty good eye for colour, so mostly, my quilts are complimentarily hued....however, there have been a few misses....and dissapointments, so it was high time to brush up on the basics.

I have had a good play with the swatch chart and next on my list is advancing to the book.....

What better time to start my new regime than with Peonie Pride, my newest stencil quilt? I had already started sketching the stencil designs a while back and I have a few ideas about colour, but this time....for once...I decided I would follow the 'rules'.

I have had a few moments of near rebellion, but I have stayed the course and this quilt will definitely be triadic.

Here goes.......
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