Wednesday 28 August 2013

WOW: Cutting Out Shirts

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

What a week it's been! So many of us excited and eager to know more about the marriage coverlet since my announcement over in my Group earlier in the week. I know it's hard, really hard, but we just have to hold on a little longer. I hope to have something more to share with you all very soon.
My solution today is to keep busy, so instead of starting on Love Entwined as I was planning to, I'm back to working on my shirts. The pattern's done, the fabric's selected, today is a day for cutting out shirts.

I've made a start
 and I've fallen in love with each fabric print all over again
and now it's just a matter of time and a production line...

What's Your WOW ?

Wednesday 21 August 2013

WOW: Fabric Time

 WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Finally, it's fabric time. No, not Love Entwined Fabric time, shirt fabric time! These are all fabrics from my stash. It feels good to be putting them to use! All up I'm making 5 shirts. I am in love with this bold fabric of roses on a black background. Ordinarily I don't like wearing black, but with the bold colours shining through, I'll make an exception. This fabric was actually selected to be a table runner for my large table a few years ago. All I had to do add some ribbon along the edges and I would have been done. I'm so glad I didn't, I know I'll get more wear from it as a shirt.

This is my 'monkey print' shirt.
My DDs kindly pointed out that it looked like I was wearing monkey faces when up this way

So I'll be wearing it THIS way (below),
where it now looks like a pattern and not a distracting set of eyes!
Again, black is a little unusual for me, but I love the olive and yellow
Green is my favourite colour and although I haven't made it yet, this is my new favourite shirt!
I might even make 2x straight away (if I have enough for sleeves), otherwise the second one will have to have either brown or olive inset sleeves which I'm yet to find in my stash

Pink and Green: how pretty is this fabric?
It's so vibrant and fresh, I can't wait to wear it on those hot, long days

This is a spray of flowers on navy blue, I selected it because it's just so practical
It doesn't show up great on screen, but I has great reds, green variations and beige's mixed in which makes it so versatile in my wardrobe.

Well, I've got plenty to be getting on with today! Wednesdays are turning into my sewing days, hopefully I'll keep up this habit for the rest of the year.

What's Your WOW ?

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Thinking about a Quilting Bee

Quilt Designer Seeks Like Minded Melbourne Quilters for Love Entwined Sewing Bee
Weekly? Fortnightly? Monthly?
There’s no doubt about it, groups are the best place to make a quilt. I know a lot of quilters are meeting in person to make Love Entwined each month and I think that’s a great idea.
A lot of you have asked me what I think about Quilting Shops holding Quilting Bees and Classes based on the pattern Love Entwined.

What do I think about it? I think it’s a great idea!

I didn’t realise how high the demand was for applique technique classes until I launched this pattern and now that I know, I think it’s important to sew alongside other people to learn as you do. It’s the best way to improve your skills. As for Quilt Shops that want to charge a fee for a sewing session, I don’t have an opinion about it – if you want to pay to join in on a session, then that’s something for you to decide.

As long as the shop doesn’t claim that it’s collecting money on ‘my behalf’ (which it isn’t) and as long as my patterns are not copied, shared or distributed, then I’m fine with it. Actually, it might be useful for some quilters to have lessons and expertise and materials all available in one place.
Personally, I have liked working away at home on my patterns as I have been so busy and generally disorganised. However with Love Entwined, it really is a “group” quilt and I would like to make it in a group setting. I am now thinking about the possibility of a local Quilting Bee to meet with other quilters as I make and progress on the blocks each month.

I’ve been looking at venues nearby and they are surprisingly expensive, on top of that, I have to factor in public liability insurance, so I am weighing up my options.

I’m not interested in a paying class; I’m interested in meeting with fellow quilters making Love Entwined weekly, fortnightly or monthly to sew together as a friendship group. Any ‘fees’ collected would be to cover the hiring fee on the hall or room only.

Do you have any ideas?

Are you in Melbourne?

Would you be interested? 

This is what I did today, instead of the housework
I sewed a fabric lining into my daily morning walk sweater
And this is my pattern design wall. You can't see it in the photograph, but that there is the pattern for Love Entwined. I pinned a picture of Love Entwined to this wall the very moment I started designing the pattern and I decide I wouldn't take it down until the 'fine marriage covelet' was found. It's a good luck charm.

Thursday 15 August 2013

Love Entwined: Part 3 is Launched

This month the elements surrounding the centre take position: the east and south circle of hearts, the north and south polka dot crosses.

This is where we're up to, quilt wise:

I don't know about you, but there's something in this month that makes my heart flutter. You can definitely tell it's a marriage coverlet that's taking shape, and the positioning of these elements reminds us how much love, care and consideration was put into the design.
I love this circle of hand drawn hearts, it's beautiful. I recommend reverse applique for this block, the symbols and details are too rich to ignore and really add to the quilt's detail.
Of course, I should know by now that with so many of you making Love Entwined, there'll be a style shown over in the group to suit everyone and I can't wait to see how you make it up.

Of course, now that my fabric has arrived, I'll be starting my own Love Entwined tutorials right here on my blog very soon. If you haven't started yet: it's not too late. Usually, each part is available for free during the month of it's release and then it's removed. However I have left the previous parts to this BOM up over in my Group so that as many newcomers as possible can start for free.

The response to Love Entwined has been overwhelming and I'm happy to welcome a few more quilters before I take down the previous blocks.
If you do create a tutorial on your own working method please consider adding it to the Love Entwined Page at the top of this blog. It has an ongoing linky so that whoever is making this quilt can share what they are doing: this way all blog posts can easily be found in one place.
With so many of us making this quilt, it's always interesting to see other quilters' workmanship and ideas, so feel free to share even if you are doing things a little differently.
Can't wait to see what you do this month...

'Love Entwined 1790 Marriage Coverlet’ is a Free 18 Month Historic BOM
Each ‘block’ of the month is released monthly, on the 15th of each month. All ‘blocks’ are available for free during the month of their release. Any missed ‘blocks’ may be purchased.
All ‘blocks’ are available for download via my Yahoo BOM Group only

Wednesday 14 August 2013

WOW: Finishing The Shirt Pattern

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Last week I traced my shirt pattern, this week I am serious about getting my pattern finished by lunchtime which is in a few hours. I am setting out later today with my DH on business, we're driving up to NSW, so I'm working to a tight schedule.
Actually I find pattern making quite rewarding, especially since I know the next stage will be selecting fabrics to make my shirts from. And I know I'll get so much wear from them as I'll like them so much. I'm working in the kitchen as the light is best here at this time of day

I'm making this pattern on Cane-ite which I purchased at Bunnings for about $10 (can't remember exactly) it's a great surface to pattern on as you can pin the board as you go.

I've already traced my original shirt and now I'm working on the collar,
cutting out the pieces which I'll set aside until I'm ready to select and cut my fabrics.
Making my own shirts isn't something I thought I'd ever do at this stage in my life, but now that I'm making them to suit my own taste given that I can't purchase what I want, it's a skill I'm pleased to have. Sewing is so often dismissed as 'women's work' or a skill that belongs to craft projects. I think I'm still part of a generation where a lot of women had enough skill to sew garments and home accessories such as curtains and cushions without too much difficulty.
Nowadays I'm taken aback at how lacking these skills are. Most young women I meet don't know how to sew the simplest things. They just don't see it as a necessary skill. Last week I was dismayed to see (at a craft demonstration no less) a method for joining fabric lengths together which consisted of simply sewing both sides together with a french seam. No instruction was given on how to match fabrics, grains or prints so that you can create a visually continuous length when using print fabrics.
As quilters, most of us will have significant sewing experience; but I think sewing is a useful and lifetime skill for everyone, it's a shame it's generally so undervalued. What do you think?
What's Your WOW ?

Monday 12 August 2013

The Fabrics Have Arrived!

I returned home late last night after a long weekend away on business with my DH, and I was really happy to see that my fabric had arrived on Friday. I've really enjoyed seeing the fabrics you've selected to make LE, so I've been excited to share my choices with you as soon as they arrived.Today it's hailing and overcast and dreary (perfect quilting weather) so I've lined up the fabrics to show you what I've got. It's always hard to photograph in this kind of daylight so I've taken the photo's under a natural daylight lamp to keep them as accurate as possible.
My fabric 'journey' for this quilt has been a long and winding one. First I was set on an entire range (that promptly sold out before I could purchase it), then I had my heart set on exquisite chintz from Denmark (which was just too expensive and over budget) so finally I settled on a range that I could use for a kind of sophisticated scrappy look. The advantage of this was also the option of using existing fabrics from my stash. Now that my fabric is here, some of it is hit and miss and I will have to raid my stash to make it work...that's just the reality of buying off screen, not everything is what I expected it to be. But the fabrics I love, I really love so I will be adding my own stash to make it work.

I love all these blues and they work really well, what I am still missing is a good dusty / powder blue in a light pastel tone. I don't have a light value blue, these are all 'sameish' value wise, so I am on the lookout for some pale blue for balance.

The 5 blues on the right are all misses. I don't like any of them. The tones are wrong and they just don't work. On the left, the white with blue print is a maybe - I think it's pretty but am still undecided.
These two were my option for the light/dark contrast zigzag border...but I don't like them! Close up, they are really pretty, but as soon as you stand away from them, they dull out. I don't think they're going to work. I'm still undecided. I don't think they will do LE justice. But saying that, I'm still in two minds. I might make a row of zigzags up and see how they look.

These are my greens: each in a different hue which I didn't expect. I do like each in their own way, they're very pretty and I love the pale mossy blue...but do they work together? Hmmm I don't think so. It might take another fabric  from the stash to make these tones gel.

As for the red and green print on the left, yes I love it, what a great print for my scrappy idea and it does work so well with one of my backgrounds.

I love all these reds, from dark to light, what a relief!
But these pinks? I don't like any of them! They just don't work for this project. I think they're going straight into the stash :(  I do like the purple and gold...but again, need buffer fabrics to make these colours work in the rest of the quilt!
Complete miss! What was I thinking? These don't work at all!
 Battle of the Backgrounds!
Now this is difficult: which background fabric to opt for? This first one is lightly dotted with green (Jasmine tea by Jesse Aller) and I loved the idea of it, and it works with all the fabrics but on daylight it looks grayish and a little dull.

This is 100% linen from Reece Scannell ( and is so far the most expensive fabric for the quilt (AU $55 per metre). It is slightly wider and you need only 5.5 metres instead of 7 in this fabric. Well, it's a stunner and I love the idea of using linen (as in the original) it's grainy, quite heavy in weight and has a beautiful citrus yellow through it. The body is lovely, easy to handle and it would handle needle turn beautifully, it feels like silk linen. Yes, I adore it and when I think how much needle turn will be worked upon it, I know hand sewing this fabric will be a dream and I can understand completely why the original was worked in linen.

 This is the texture close up
This is my last choice: it's imported Italian Linen. It's bleached natural linen and it's a beautiful white, not too heavy, the texture is good. It was also expensive at (AU $47 per metre), I actually purchased it a few years ago for my DH's linen shirts (which I will never make now that I see it's potential for quilting!). The only question on this one, is do I want a white background? Part of me says yes as white can pick up colours so nicely, on the other hand, yellow might work better.
Then there's the thought that this linen is lighter, which might be easier to handle on such a large project. But then again, if I quilt the coverlet (and I don't know if I will or not), the background fabric has to be up to the task of taking so much work.
Then there's the weight: this quilt has the potential to be quite heavy with all the applique so perhaps a lighter linen is the answer?

It's decision making time. I have to go through my stash and add what I think will work, failing that, I'll have to run down to my local store and fill in any missing gaps so that I can finally start this incredible and inspiring quilt.

Fabric selection is never easy. In some ways, after seeing the V&A Exhibition in Brisbane last month, I realised that the original marriage coverlet was certainly a dark scrappy and that I have a lot more freedom that I had first imagined when I tried to create a Georgian colour scheme. The fact is, I don't have any of the brown, purple or dark yellows that I will need to make this scrappy harmonise.

Even now, I keep re-arranging and playing with the know that feeling you get when you are putting a quilt together, when you know you've got it? I'm still working around my options until that feeling comes...

I keep moving from one room to the next with my fabric piles, looking at them in different lights. I was a bit disheartened to see so many put aside but they are are all beautiful and will be put to use in other projects. Now I have to focus on what does work and get this quilt started!

Wednesday 7 August 2013

WOW: Pattern Making

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
I know we're all keen for me to receive my fabrics and finally start posting some tutorials here, but I'm still waiting. It turns out a lot of the fabrics I selected are on backorder so there's been a lot of waiting around. Last week I spent a few hours sewing a collar into my shirt. This week I'm pattern making. A quilt? No, a shirt!
I very rarely make my own clothes (in fact, never). But is it just me, or is it nearly impossible to find shirts in interesting fabrics? I simply can't get my hands on any. And you already know I have a fabric it just makes sense to stop complaining about it and get to making some easy shirts I'll love wearing. This is an easy shirt I love wearing, so I'm using it as my pattern. You can see I have a long vest on as it's rather cold down my way. You see, if I wait until summer, it will be too hot to do any sewing so the time is definitely now.

It's still morning, but I'm already underway. It's going to be a productive day!

What about you?
Have you made any garments lately?
Or do you only sew quilts?
What's Your WOW ?

Sunday 4 August 2013

Love Entwined: Where Are You? (2)

It's been nearly 3 months since I launched Love Entwined 1790 Marriage Coverlet; my pattern of the 1790's Marriage Coverlet quilt featured in Averil Colby's book Patchwork. It was listed in this book because it is a remarkable quilt; remarkable as both a work of applique and also as a historic legacy of British women's textile work.

Imagine my surprise when I realised that this quilt wasn't in archive. Actually, to say I was surprised is an understatement. We know from 'Patchwork' that before 1958, it had already been repaired at least once. This indicated that it had value and was cared for. All we know about this quilt is that a Mrs Erith of Dedham allowed it to be photographed for Averil Colby's book. However it's origin in 1958 was unclear. This might indicate that it was indeed passed down a family line (with knowledge of it's maker lost) or that it was at some point acquired by Mrs. Erith by source or means unknown. We don't know any more than this.

What I realised was that this quilt was nowhere to be found. Why wasn't it listed or held in a museum? And more pointedly, why wasn't anyone looking for it?

For let us make no mistake, whilst surely a beautiful heirloom of work, this quilt is also a historic marker and it matters. It matters as a record of women's textile work and it matters to British history. Lastly, it matters to quilters everywhere: it's a rich piece of our heritage. It cannot be allowed to be simply lost and therefore, destroyed, by time.

I decided that the best way to bring this lost quilt to light was to re-create and release it as a Historic BOM. Of course, I've made beautiful quilt patterns before and this one would prove to take me hundreds of hours to complete. But how could I really get it out in the quilting community? How could I convince hundreds of quilters to take up such an intense applique quilt? It had to be offered for free to allow everyone who so wanted, to freely take part. I had to share my hope for this quilt with everyone taking part and ask them to further the search as they themselves became involved.

With so many of you making this quilt, its not surprising that I receive so many query emails asking for updates on the original quilt. I know you'll understand that I can't possibly answer them all, so here's what I can tell you, in response to the most asked questions, current for now:

Do I know where the quilt is? No, I don't know

What happened to the quilt after it was photographed for Patchwork? I don't know

Why didn't Mrs Erith know the origins of the quilt if it was a family heirloom? I can't possibly answer this question and reasonably, the book simply doesn't offer enough information to go on. It might be handed down a family line, it might not. I think what's more important is that we discover where it is now

What is the quilt called? It doesn't have a title, it is referred to as a 'fine marriage coverlet' only throughout the book

I'm in the United Kingdom, should I look for the quilt? Certainly, if you belong to a guild or society who has textiles or past exhibition details in archive, ask the relevant person if they know anything about this quilt or if they have seen it in exhibition at any stage in the past

Can I contact anyone on your behalf? No. If I want to contact anyone, I will do so directly from my email account. Please don't make contact or make statements on my behalf under any circumstances

Why hasn't anyone looked for this quilt before you? I don't know, I am astounded that this quilt isn't already in a museum

Are you British? No. Please understand that historic relevance has nothing to do with social or cultural identity; this quilt is a British article however it's legacy should be available to everyone

Is anyone looking for the quilt right now? Yes, there are several leads which I am currently waiting for updates on. I won't be discussing any potential leads without actual outcomes as it's unhelpful

Did you contact the publisher of Patchwork? Yes. Although this book was published in 1958, the original publishing firm (Batsford, London) is still active. I contacted them and they didn't bother to respond to me. This was 5 months ago

Would you like to see the quilt? Of course, I'd like everyone to be able to see this quilt

Do you ultimately want to own this quilt? Certainly not. This quilt is a historic article, it belongs in a museum. It's likely that it may require further repairs and may need to be archived in specific light conditions, this can only happen if it is held in appropriate possession. Given the historical weight of this quilt, I believe that it must be kept, documented in detail and preserved for everyone to enjoy

Do you think this quilt is still in the UK? We have no reason to believe that it has been removed from the UK. I hope that it is still in the UK and if it is found, that it will not be allowed to be removed from it's historic home

Can I run an article on the story behind this quilt and your BOM? Yes, the more interest shown in finding the whereabouts of this quilt, the better

Will you let me know when the quilt has been found? I will let everyone know any actual updates right here, on my blog.

What will you do when your quilt is found? This is OUR quilt; it belongs to everyone. If it is indeed found, I will be satisfied that I accomplished what I set out to achieve - putting the 'fine marriage coverlet' in it's appropriate place as a significant historical article.

Love Entwined: 1790 Marriage Coverlet BOM

This is where we are up to now. On the 15th of August, Part 3 of this Historic BOM will be released.

Now, ordinarily each block is available for free during the month of its release and then removed. In the case of Love Entwined however, I have decided to leave all parts up for free for the duration the the BOM.

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