Wednesday 27 May 2015

WOW: Chores are WIPs Too

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

So many machines, so few alterations getting done in this household! Just the other day I stood in front of an alteration shop and actually considered having a long neglected skirt hem quickly blind stitched for $24 - madness! Outsourcing basic tasks so I can devote every spare minute to quilting sounds good ...but is really taking my domestic laziness too far. So today I'm taking care of my 'chore' sewing.
This is a new top from Sara that I like wearing when I'm stenciling because its easy to throw into the wash as soon as I'm done and I can go out and run errands in it without getting changed if I have to pop out during the day (quilting time is precious time). Normally I wear cotton and linen floral shirts but I rarely work in them as I detest getting paint on them. But here's a common problem with store purchased items in plus sizes; the neckline.

What is going on with necklines? When you grade a pattern into a larger size there are increments where you increase measure for each inch increase, but the neck is not one of them. For reasons I still don't understand, manufacturers don't seem to know this. How they don't know confuses me. And this means that tops 'grow' all over and this means enlarged necklines that billow open for no reason other than shoddy pattern re-sizing. Where are all the pattern makers I wonder as I fix endless necklines...are they all at lunch? Are they frightened of necklines? Or do they think that enlarging everything on a pattern is a safe and easy alternative to actually doing their job? Who knows..

People always ask me what brand of jeans I wear. I have no idea why they ask me this as it seems like such an odd question to ask someone. I wear TS Jeans. Taking Shape is an Australian Brand. They're excellent, probably the best I've ever owned. This pair has always had a sticky zip, and I should have just exchanged it but couldn't be bothered because they didn't have my size left in the style I wanted so I'm finally getting around to replacing it myself- it's only taken me 2 years. At least that means I'll have a 'new' pair of jeans by the end of the day as I've never worn this particular pair.

What's Your WOW ?

Sunday 24 May 2015

How I Bind My Quilts

This is a video of how I most commonly bind my quilts. It's covers everything I do from start to finish and the video itself is over an hour long. I actually filmed this the night before my last Binding Workshop with a view of having it running on a projector during the class. But I soon realized it wouldn't work in the venue, so I've put it up on YouTube instead for anyone who's interested to follow.

I think it really helps being able to see techniques in your own time and at your own pace. Like everyone, I have my own preferences and style and I'm still learning all the time. This technique is how I do things right now, but that might change in the future if I find something that suits me better.

The ruler I use is a Westalee Designs ruler called Bound To Fit and you can find it over on the Westalee website over here.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

WOW: Playing With Colour

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
UPDATE: I'm officially on Instagram now! I never thought I would bother but I have been convinced by my class that its easy (I hope so) and that it really doesn't take much time once you know how to do it (Hmmmm). I'm officially 'giving it a go' so if you'd like to follow me, simply click my Instagram link on the sidebar. I really like the idea of posting images of the things that spark my interest during the day - I often find myself falling in love with fabrics and sharing quick glimpses seems like a good idea.

Time will tell...
One of the benefits of teaching 'novice' sewers is that I keep reviving my own interest in sewing knick knacks too. Like cushion covers and hemming curtains and all those things that really don't interest me ordinarily...until I start showing others how it's done and then I get 'all inspired' and launch into whole new projects when I really shouldn't. I've had to be strict with myself on that regard or things could get out of hand on the table runner, custom curtain, cushion and casserole dish pot holder front. Frankly I've got too many quilts to let domestic sewing ideas creep into my WIP pile.

However, last week I received a parcel from my most favourite online quilting shop - the Jinny Beyer studio and one of the things I picked up was this palette. Goodness, I forgot how good it was to have one of these, I haven't had one for years (my last one went walk about during a workshop at least 5 years ago) and I never got around to replacing it.

I've been trying to demonstrate fabric relationships to my group and have released a lot of my fabric stash to them. It's been liberating to let go of so much fabric as well as knowing it was going to good homes and would be put to use. But it became clear that they were facing the same issue I've always had - gathering beautiful fabric together because they're so beautiful but without regard to their suitability for projects and pre existing fabrics.

So now, we talk about what fabrics they've selected and each week when I bring in some more fabric to give away, they 'match' it, and doing so means the fabric they're stashing is 'ready' for immediate use in an actual project. It's been wonderful to see the 'penny' drop for them and now they are selecting 'batches' based on coordinated groupings. Its really the best way to plan those sewing projects without building up beautiful but (let's face it, in my case basically useless) shelves of fabric you don't have much chance of using because it doesn't work with anything else you have.

Now I just have to learn to take my own advice....

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Oma's Blues Part 5 is Launched

Whoops! Sorry everyone, the 15th just flew by me this month! I think I must have the world's best Moderators over in our Yahoo Group because Glenda sent me an email this morning wondering where the 15th had got to? Good question!

Since returning from my workshop in Queensland, I've been busy working away on the next BOM. As they say, time just flies when you're in the 'zone'...

So here we are: Part 5. It's more charms again this month. Personally, I just love these charm plates and I'm curious to see how everyone decides to position their own arrangements (or insert some new designs all their own?) in the border blocks here. I've arranged these blocks to make sense and mean something special to me, but like all my quilts I know that those of you making it will add something of yourselves as you create the blocks that reflect your own lives.

Oma's Blues is my current free BOM: it's not too late to start as all parts including this month are still available for free over in my Yahoo Bom Group.

Wednesday 13 May 2015

WOW: My Favourite Pin Cushion

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
This is Pinny-Sue. She's a 15 year old patchwork square pin cushion with an elastic band back that is stitched to stay in position on my machine. I think I made her up but I can't be sure as I do have some vague recollection of possibly adapting a pattern back in my doll and bear making days. Hmmm, I really don't remember much about making her even though she is now a mainstay in my sewing routine. I keep meaning to make her some new friends for my other machines but simply haven't got around to it.
She's definitely my favourite pin cushion. In fact, when my youngest DD started sewing one of her first projects was to make a pin cushion and when she brought it home she loudly complained that it wasn't a 'proper' pin cushion because 'it didn't have a face!' She's lasted through our beloved cat chewing her Mary-Jane shoes and being sat in the direct glare of a daylight lamp at all hours of the day and night...and she's doing just fine.
Today I'm in Queensland teaching a 2 day workshop. 
It's forecast to be 25c which should feel nice again after the cold snap that's hit back home.

What's Your WOW?

Wednesday 6 May 2015

WOW: Another Cup!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

Do you remember how I was making a cup sampler last week for my beginners sewing circle? Well, my first DD caught sight of it and certainly felt that she had to have one. Right away. In pink. So I made her this one, a bit higher than my original sample and again without the puff - as requested. Last night my younger DD set eyes on it and now SHE wants one too. 

 I must be missing something here as I don't understand the allure of the fabric cup...
If you'd like to make your own - with or without the highly debatable puff- you can find a link to the original free pattern here. There's also a tutorial over on the site which is easy to follow.

What's Your WOW?

Saturday 2 May 2015

Look! Another Love Enwtined (Kirsten Kreutzfeldt's)

I really love my Yahoo BOM Group as there's always images up there that are downright inspiring. I'm honestly awed by the passion and creativity of my online quilting community - to say nothing of our generous Moderators and this all means that I get to see my quilts being made from all over the world all the time. Its a wonderful feeling and I'm so blessed to experience it so often that its almost routine now.

Each and every one is a marvel, they are so beautiful. The truth is, I've run out of words to even express how different, styled and unique they each are. I'm left with saying things like 'it's beautiful' over and over which sounds so glib but the fact is, I don't know what else I can say. THEY'RE ALL SO BEAUTIFUL.

My quilting group is over in Yahoo and this blog is over in Google and somehow, these two worlds just aren't connected enough for my liking.  For one thing, blog readers miss out on just how jaw dropping-ly good these quilts look during their creation. And many comments stay over there where people are viewing images so there's a kind of gulf between the two that I wish I could bring together in one creative place. There's so much advice, info and sharing that happens over there that I often wish Google would create a useful group or that Yahoo would create a useful blog so that we could hang out in one still staggers me in this day and age that such technology often feels disjointed like this.

Anyway, as much as I love my group (and I do), there's something extra special about seeing a project in real life and with Love Entwined that is especially so. There is so much to visually take in you just want to hold and look. And look. And look.

I was delighted to meet Kirsten Kreutzfeldt and see her centre of Love Entwined progress.This is her quilt so far. Kirsten has very generously allowed me permission to photograph her quilt and put it up here on my blog to show everyone. Thanks so much  Kirsten, I just love how you are making this quilt uniquely yours!
What a great compass. I love how the gold is shining from behind, this centre is alive

I love the fabrics and I love the zig zag - what a great choice Kirsten.

Also, have you noticed her use of broderie perse? Its sitting so well with the pattern. I know that those of you familiar with Love Entwined can see where she can gone ahead and used artistic license to make it all her own and I think its gorgeous! You have to make what speaks to your own heart and when you do, the result just shines. 

Love the dove (?) too Kirsten, what a character!
 thanks for sharing it with us all...
When I realised how many LE's were being made, and how different they all were, it dawned on me that we needed a not for profit coffee table book to publish, share and enjoy between ourselves. This is something I am working on (you know, its on the list). I haven't felt a hurry for it because I know it will be a few more years before enough quilts are finished, but just seeing so many of them progressing so much faster than I ever expected makes me excited all over again.

Love Entwined, what a legacy. 

Friday 1 May 2015

My Tea Cup

Well, I made it. This is my sample and its a bit rough looking but I managed it without the puff and I think it's OK. I think I prefer the original with the puffiness and I think the cup is a bit low and flat but, I don't's kind of cute I guess? The original as shown in the video is much better and I think the puff adds a whole world of cuteness. I think I might persuade my group to return to the puff as it does lose some charm when its flat like this.
For those of you who missed my WOW post, you can find the video and pattern relating to this pattern on this link - the pattern is up for free download on the site. I don't speak Spanish but I think the tutorial is straight forward enough just by watching. This is not my pattern - I have nothing to do with it, I'm simply making it.
Hmmm, it's growing on me I must admit...
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