Wednesday 31 August 2011

WOW: the dreaded FLU

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

This year is shaping out to be busier than I thought; full days working at my 'hobby' and there's still so much to do and get done.

There are so many exciting things to get started on, that the last thing I wanted to WOW was this: this week I am recovering from the dreaded FLU. Lots of raw honey from the comb, lemon, tea and rest.

My Peaceful Pathways Stencil Tutorial will be up in the next day or so. I have snapped it, but it's sitting to the side for today.

I had my inexperienced DD cut the stencils (to demonstrate that really, anyone can try this method) and all 12 are now almost done. I am still going to stitch in the set frame.

Last night I managed to neaten her amateur lines (as her cutting wasn't as precise as I am used to...) but I had to go to bed after doing just this single one...

Always Perseveres? Well ....tries to anyhow...

Tuesday 30 August 2011

IQC: Sunshine & Shadow

This is my post from the IQC Blog which I am a part of

I already have a quilt called Sunshine & Shadow, which was made around a light and shadow design, so this quilt has been on my mind a lot - whenever I talk or think about the challenge.

It's just about September already and the year is really turning out to be busier than I could have imagined, so I have had to just launch in. Actually I reviving previous thouhgts about shade and light. My challenge work (untitled at this stage) is started, I am also working from a photo for this challenge (which I have just misplaced yesterday...)

I especially liked the idea Annabel raised when she was discussing the challenge theme, concerning shadow being a degree of absence rather than a void.

 I am absolutely
 going to finish this challenge
on time

Monday 29 August 2011

Getting Ready With Reds

To Test or Not To Test?
There's really no question....

Who's making Peaceful Pathways?? There are many of you out there who pre-wash as a matter of course for all your quilts. For those of you who usually don't pre-wash (such as myself), I strongly suggest that you should pre-test all fabrics to check for colour fastness when working with reds. I am one of those quilters who does not pre-wash as a general rule - however, when working with reds, I always pre -test and go on to pre-wash if required.   

I love classic red and white...but this is a combination that requires extra care. Any colour bleeding is difficult to deal with (but can be avoided), so you want to make sure all your reds are colour fast before you launch into cutting and sewing.

This is how I test my reds before I start sewing

Select the reds you are planing to use and stitch them alongside some crisp white fabric.

use washing detergent and boiling water, and add each fabric option to this solution - individually.

If you add all your red tests in together at once, and you do experience running, you wont know which fabric is responsible, so repeat the process for each selected fabric.

Agitate the fabric in the soapy solution and leave it alone - about 30 minutes.

Clear water is the best sign.

If the water is stained, set the fabric aside and repeat this process. The second time around is to find out whether the fabric will continue to bleed...or whether it is stable after the first wash and rinse.

If the fabric does bleed, wash again until you achieve clear water. Then assess the fabric - is it still a nice shade of red? still a clear print? If it still bleeds after the second test, leave this fabric out of your quilts. Some fabrics continue bleeding and it's easier to discard them now than suffer the annoyance of bleeding later.

All fabric should rinse clear by the second test.

All fabrics should be colour tested - especially reds.
Fabrics that bleed must be pre-washed prior to use.
Fabrics which do not bleed - prewashing is optional, in my own opinion and practice.

Here are my reds. Once they are squeezed of excess water, I patted them down on a towel in preparation for a vigorous ironing test.

...if my cat will give up enough ironing board space...

Use a hot steam iron and press all the fabric to check for any leakage or running.

This is where the stitched white fabric is so important - press open the seams and inspect. You want to make sure there is no bleed in or around the seams.

This fabric is colour fast. You can see the seams are spotless and there is no colour run into the white. Ah, perfect! If only all reds were this easy...

I created a production line testing all my reds this way...

Now I am left with reds which I know are colour fast. And I have tested them alongside crisp white fabric, so I am confident that my red and white quilt will stay red and white - in all the right places.

As you can see, I tested small swatches which I cut from my chosen fabrics. As I know they don't run and are completely colour fast, I will not be pre-washing my reds prior to sewing as it is completely unnecessary for me. I am one of those quilters who doesn't pre-wash as matter of course.

Pre- colour testring means that in the future, I can wash my red quilt (this is especially important for useful quilts such as bed quilts) without that worry in the back of my mind that it might come out of the washing machine pinkish.

Quilts we make today might be around for generations, so any extra time taken in preparation is definitely worth the effort.

Always colour test your reds

Wednesday 24 August 2011

WOW: the morning after

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

My WIP today is getting back into the swing of things
It's the morning after a long day of car driving. How long? 1400 kms in a day!

Can you guess where we drove to? This is a random picture taken whilst we were having a about to go back again coffee. Yes, the ACT (on essential but uneventful family business). No art or quilts I'm afraid. Actually I didn't even go to the Capitol Theatre, it was just located outside the cafe we stopped at and I was fiddling with my phone when this random picture snapped. I don't have any photos of the trip as it was so fast paced. Today, at some point, I will unpack the car. I haven't got to it yet. The boot is full and we are all too tired. I have much to do, so I seriously need to get back into my routine and

UPDATE: 10:04 Typing this post has encouraged me to venture to the driveway and take a pic. Why? did? I? Pack? my? design? journal?? Are quilter's eternal optimists?

Friday 19 August 2011

Making HST's... fast!

This is how I quickly create Half Square Triangles (HST) using a paper method. Those of you making Peaceful Pathways Block 1 (my BOM), this is the method I used.
There are many ways to create HST: this is just 1 way. There are pre-paper printed sheets you can purchase, or you can trace a triangle template to make it the traditional way.
I like to do things as simply, quickly and as economically as possible. Above all though– it must be accurate! This method is accurate and simple if followed correctly. There’s no need to trim after cutting.
If you try this method, make 1 sheet first and then measure for accuracy to ensure that you are doing it right.
Also ensure that your stitches are shortened, approx. 1.8 stitch length
Now, in this tutorial, we are using the pattern sheet printed on A4 which is included in my Peaceful Pathways (BOM) pattern.
Firstly, cut away excess paper from around the pattern.

Making HST's fast

Cut 2 fabric pieces (red and white) slightly larger than the pattern. Place right sides of fabric together.

This is a picture of the trimmed paper template and pinned into position

Sew along the indicated red lines (sew directly over the paper pattern) and then turn and press the back of your piece with a dry iron to set the seams on the back of the fabric.
Note: the ink from the pattern transferred to my ironing board during this process (as it is facing down during this step), so I recommend using parchment paper beneath (or simply do what I do - iron down a sheet of freezer paper during sewing sessions to keep your board perfectly clean for your DH's shirts!)

Trim all the edges. You can’t see it but the fabric is beneath this pattern. Cut on all black lines with a rotary cutter and ruler.

These are cut apart pieces

Press open towards the darker side with papers still attached

Trim off the tiny triangle ears protruding

Remove papers

Measure your HST – it should be perfect. In no time at all, you finished 12 perfect 12 x HST (with seam allowance). How great is that?
Peaceful Pathways calls for 360 x HST which equals 30 x A4 paper templates with 12 HST on a sheet. So after this one, you only have 29 to go. You can make all 360 in a single afternoon.

What could be more enjoyable to do on a sewing afternoon? Easy! Perfect!

Wednesday 17 August 2011

WOW: Hex Again !

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

This week I am still stitching my crochet hex scarf together. This scarf has already taken me longer than my entire shawl took to knit. I keep putting it down…and finding it again a few days later. So, whilst I still have cool evenings to wear it, I might actually try to finish it this week…you know, eventually…
Right now it’s looking like this-

it’s at that tedious joining together stage. I have gone for joining on the front side as I liked the texture of having the hex’s joined this way…then I changed my mind and considered Y stitching them seamlessly….but returned here. Now I am sticking to it.

Monday 15 August 2011

New Free BOM: Peaceful Pathways

Welcome to the launch of my new free BOM!
This is a quilt I’ve been meaning to make for years. St. Paul’s letters concerning love have long lingered in my journals. I personally love bringing this quilt inspired from those pages onto my bed.
For new BOM members, my BOM designs are quite varied as I am working my way through a Quilting To Do List which covers many different styles. This quilt is satisfying another design that demanded making!

Classic red and white, which never dates but is always charming.. and ages so beautifully. Plenty of patches to make a wide, old fashioned patchwork style border.
For all hand workers: there are 12 framed blocks ready for you to showcase your red work, embroidery, satin stitching or applique of the design text. Or stitch the text on your domestic machine.
If you are lucky enough to have an embroidery machine, put it to use and embellish each frame with an additional internal border of flowers, vines or lines, etc…
The central pathways are waiting to be quilted to add some texture and depth to the overall design.

You’ll notice the 4 corner squares (which create a heart) have been left blank. This is intentional so that you can create some beautiful quilting in there. The quilting for this space will be provided in a pattern for you. This pic below is the pattern for the corner.... just to help you visualise where this quilt is going....

This is a bed quilt: I’ve designed it so that the center square sits flat on top of the bed and the patchwork borders fall around the bed. I know this quilt is going to be beautiful and practical.

Now in the quilt design image above, the writing looks black. It is actually red. I do apologise for not having a quilt top to photograph - this is unfortunate but could not be helped as my sample sewer ran out of time. This is a shame as I do feel that images of designs look so flat - because they are. I hope you can see what I see...which is delightful red patchwork quilt that will be full of detail and texture.

I will be making this quilt month by month with you, it's going to be wonderful!

If you haven’t made one of my BOMs before, please read about my BOMs and how to download them here.

Friday 12 August 2011

Quilts In The Barn Exhibition!

I'm looking forward to this! For those of you in Melbourne, why not stop by Wonga Park to see some beautiful quilts and raise funds for a worthwhile cause.

Have you been to Linda's blog yet? For beautiful, inspiring applique - it's the place to visit.

Visit Linda's blog here:

Wednesday 10 August 2011

WOW: Red Teaser

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

Today started early, with me enjoying the Daphne on this unusually bright morning.
THEN, just a few hours later, my plans for the day went out the window. My DD kindly snapped a picture of me at the table, writing design notes. As you can see from the chaos around me, I am in my element! (No, I have no idea what that pressure cooker is doing seated on a chair behind me! Oh dear.)

So I have decided to update my weekly WIP from my rainy garden to my crowded table.

As I was pondering what to do with my suddenly free occurred to me that the next BOM is launched in 5 days!! Yes, less than a week! Those of you in my Yahoo Bom Group voted to see the design in full from the start - so no mystery (even though I do love a mystery). This also means I won't be able to tease you each month with snippets of what is to come.

Here I am filing my pattern away ( I have to start doing this or I will drown in a pattern tidal wave), with my polka dot coffee....and matching fabric in the background. Sighs..... three guesses allowed, what colour do you think the next BOM is?

I will just have to make do with showing you this: and let you work the rest out yourself.
Your guesses will be confirmed in 5 days!

The fun thing about raiding my red stash was finding a much loved WIP quilt top. As it's a little project,  I might even consider basting it today. It's red stenciling on white whole cloth (bottom left in picture).

Yes, that rather large table in my kitchen is actually a boardroom table. A dining table will not do, it's simply not large enough for meals and quilting projects. Not in this quilter's house! Which reminds me, I might have to find some time to get some housework done some point....

Enjoying Winter Daphne

 Has a week gone by already?

In July I was amazed that it was half way through 2011 - because it didn't feel like half way through the year, half way through my To Do List, half way through my plans...oh well I thought, time always makes its own room when it has too. Doesn't it?

Well, what July passed over, August has made up for. I am beside myself with never ending tasks. It is crazily busy in my house. The pace is getting me up early in the mornings and late to bed. The fact is,  it's already the10th and I haven't even registered that it is properly August!

Sometimes, you just need to make time to go into your garden, pick some blossoms and appreciate the winter daphne. Because it really is quite spectacular in an understated sort of way.

The house smells wonderful. I carry on, hopefully things will even their pace soon.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

WOW: Crochet Hex Scarf

I’ve been taking it easy this week…. Domestic Machine Quilting can really take it out of you!
I was really encouraged to read so many positive comments and emails about Hearts Desire: thank you to each of you who stopped to leave a comment. It's so nice to know that someone is watching / listening to my little blog. I was going to post more pictures from the show, but when I was there on Saturday I spent all my time just enjoying the show and all the quilts....and it completely slipped my mind. Apologies!

So, wednesday rolls around again...and I have been working on a relaxing wind down WIP: this is a Crochet Hex Scarf I am making up. I think it will be ready after a few more evening stitch sessions, so I will share it when finished along with the crochet pattern. It’s a lot of fun to make and really easy too. It’s a pattern that is appearing in a lot of my crochet work lately…it’s addictive.

What have you been up to?

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