Wednesday, 25 February 2015

WOW: Pesky Batting Pet Hates

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

As you read this, I'm heading off to WA for a series of classes and I'm leaving Lily Rose behind on my design table with mixed feelings. The stain is out and I'm relieved about that, but as Sally mentioned in the comments yesterday - I'm going to have to make sure that no trace of the chemical remains in the fibres where it might damage them in the long term. What can I say, I should have taken my own advice and that was certainly a reminder to me. Testing for colour fastness is always a must. Why didn't I listen?! 
Speaking of Lily Rose, yesterday I unpacked my batting in preparation for quilting when I return home next week. Do you have a pesky pet hate? I do. This is an especially pesky annoyance of mine and it happens much too frequently in my opinion. When I unroll a new bolt of batting and it has an ingrained buckle in the weave. Can you see what I mean? This isn't a crease, it's an actual fault through the batting loft, its like an overlap - it's rough, higher than the rest of the batting and generally super annoying! This is Hobbs Premium Cotton Batting and its what I'm using for Lily Rose. There are always degrees when you find this kind of fault, usually they are very minor and can be simply ignored,  but this one is lumpy and hard. I have found that batting with this kind of fault never quilts or hangs nicely, there are always issues. I really wish Hobbs had better quality control, I really don't like having to fix things before I use them. 

I'll have to cut out this fault and lose quite a bit of batting doing so. And I just don't think I should have to. It's really annoying.
What's Your WOW ?

Monday, 23 February 2015

Lily Rose: Colour Run Disaster

I am just so mad with myself! You'll know that I always recommend pre-colour testing all your fabrics and especially batiks. But did I actually go ahead and do that? No I didn't! I did a quick spot test with some water (not following my own method) and thought that would be fine. I took this image with a big sigh of relief, thinking I'd accomplished so much making this quilt in so little time.
Here it is being washed in preparation for those final finishing steps. I'd even purchased some Colour Magenet sheets to use 'just in case' as a back up.
But straight out of the machine, and all is not well. I notice some magenta in the water and cold rinse straight away. Then I lay it out flat on my table with some absorbent towels beneath.
Oh no!
The dye has run right in the focus of the light background. It can't be covered up and as the background is beige and printed, it can't be bleached out either. And the right side of the centre background has turned a pale lilac hue.
My heart just sinks. So much work potentially ruined with such a basic mistake. I can't live with this kind of smear on my quilt. Especially as its a wall hanging. I know this dye run will drive me crazy in the long term. My only option is to get it out. I even consider unpicking the bouquet, but I've stitched it down by hand really thoroughly and it will be next to impossible to do. And it will mean losing all my embroidery embellishments too.

I would normally never recommend using something I've never used before as a fix, but I really have no option and have to act quickly. I drive down to the shops to pick up some dye remover. The only one I can find is Dylon. Strangely, there are no instructions on the packet as Dylon assumes you will throw it in the wash. But I'm hesitant to wash my quilt again and worry that Dylon might actually release more colour rather than collect it. After all, its made to clean up garments, not fabric saturated quilts. I decide to mix a tablespoon into a glass with some warm water.

Experimenting mid disaster is not a good idea, but the fact is, I can't live with the stain above and really don't have any other options. In the car on the way back home I reason that I will unpick and salvage what I can of the applique and remake the rest on a new background (I don't have enough of the current fabric). So it's really a case of trying to save my weeks of work.
I start 'painting' my stained areas with concentrated Dylon. I saturate and immediately blot the area with a clean white, dry cloth. I also have extra dry white cloths beneath the quilt to absorb excess moisture too. I saturate and blot continuously. 
As I start cleaning up, I notice small pools of discoloration all over the background that didn't immediately show up as a stain but will certainly come through as the fabric dries. I saturate and blot these areas too. My batik vase is the cuplprit and you can see from the back that it has run a fair bit.
Over on the front, the released dye has created a halo around my handles and I can't get them cleaned up with the paintbrush alone as the Dylon is making the fabric bleed when it comes in contact with it. I'm so glad now I didn't throw it in the wash as per the instructions as it would have bleed much more. I have to unpick my vase edge details and the handles to clean up the stain properly. I will then restitch the handle pieces back down when the stain is removed.
The stains lift after 30 minutes of blotting and re-saturating the stained areas. I wait for the cleaned up areas to dry and check the back as well before repeating the process. If stains aren't thoroughly removed at this stage, they can ghost and come back after the quilt is quilted, ironed and hanging on the wall. This is why it's important to make sure the back is clean as well as the front. When I am satisfied that the fabric is clean, I stitch back my vase handles,

It looks like Dylon SOS has saved the day. I love this product, its a new 'must have' in my laundry now.I'd previously never used it before for anything so its been a nice surprise. To be honest, most products for the laundry which I have used for stain removal have been total disasters on my own shirt fabrics. I'm just so glad this worked.

It's definitely time for me to have a coffee and a lie down. I have a pounding headache from the stress of my own stupidity. I really should listen and take my own advice regarding pre colour testing.

Shortcuts are never so. I know that better than anyone.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

FREE Pattern: Little Lamb Baby Quilt

Making a quilt with love for the purpose of giving it away is one of life's pleasures. It's even more special when that quilt is for a baby. Last year a dear friend of mine became Godmother to twins: a boy and a girl. Not being a quilter herself, she asked me if she could borrow some quilting books from my bookshelf. I was more than happy to agree. Being a sewing enthusiast, she was more than capable of sewing the quilt, she just couldn't decide on a pattern.
So she asked me to design a pattern for her; one for a boy and one for a girl. She wanted lambs and classic pink for the girl and blue for the boy. It had to be simple and 'babyish' she didn't want anything too modern. Oh, and as she was giving these quilts as a Christening gift, she wanted a William Blake quote on there somewhere as well. She intended to gift the quilts with a Bible and book of poetry, so that was her design wishlist.Well, I was stumped! But then I just decided to design a classic baby quilt according to her guidelines.
The Christening came and went and, like many quilters, she found her sewing deadline quite tough to stick to around a full time job and family of her own. So now, these quilts will be a 1st Birthday gift instead.

I was in two minds about releasing my baby quilts as I've always been too busy, quilt design wise to set aside time to put it all together in a 'pattern'. But last year after the intensity of Love Entwined, I decided that I would open up my design folio and start sharing whatever was in there. Even the quick, fun quilting projects. I have several baby quilt patterns that I've made over the years and in the weeks ahead, I will be releasing those here too.
The Lamb 

Little lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee,
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?

Little lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
   Little lamb, I’ll tell thee;
   Little lamb, I’ll tell thee:

He is callèd by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild,
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are callèd by His name.
   Little lamb, God bless thee!
   Little lamb, God bless thee!

− William Blake, 1789

Songs of Innocence by William Blake was originally a complete work first printed in 1789. It is a conceptual collection of 19 poems, engraved with artwork. The Lamb is a beautiful poem and ideal subject for a Godchild's quilt and I'm really happy to share this pattern with you. Of course, there is also the option of making this quilt without the applique letters and quoting your own verse, name, date or simply leaving the borders blank.

 Like It? Make It!
I am releasing this pattern as a 'complete' pattern, not a BOM. It will be available to members of my Yahoo BOM Group for 1 month for free. I will also be releasing the matching cushion to this baby quilt in the weeks ahead.

If you do make this quilt, please let me know by leaving a comment over on the Little Lamb page at the top of this blog and if you have a blog, why not add a post link of your own quilt progress on the permanent linky?

Friday, 20 February 2015

Lily Rose: Puffing out the oval frame

I've decided to 'puff' out the oval frame with some extra batting. I've cut out my batting accurately around the oval template and am putting it down into position accurately. I just feel that the quilt centre needs this little extra. Sometimes, depending on the thickness of the fabrics, I just don't think that extra batting or stuffing areas with trapunto wool is necessary, but lately I've gotten into doing this all over again. It doesn't make an instant visual difference, but it is a subtle and enhancing detail.
the biggest 'difference' will be when I quilt the oval frame; this little bit extra of batting now will really define my stitches. 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

FREE Quilt: 'Heart It' is Launched !

Heart It is a charming heart themed quilt and I'm releasing it for free to all my group members. Do you have a heart themed quilt in your home? I don't - yet- so I decided to do something about that! Hearts are such a classic design and plenty of fun too. I've designed my hearts here in a 'sophisticated theme' of red and beige but I'm also falling in love with a girly scheme of pink and lemon. This is a quilt top design that can be made in a single weekend and completely satisfies my craving for simple pleasures - love hearts and simple pieced blocks. A perfect opportunity to show off those stash fabrics.

I make a lot of intense quilts, so its nice to get back to basics.

This pattern is ideal for beginners; full of repetition and practice with a good balance of piecing and applique. What's not to love about that? The full complete pattern is available in my Yahoo Group for free. It will be available there for 1 month.

If you make this quilt, please consider letting me know by adding a comment to the Heart It page at the top of this blog. There's also a linky there for any bloggers that want to share their journey with the rest of us.

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

WOW: Collectible Sewing Kits

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

Today is an unusual WOW in that I'm not doing any sewing. I'm instead sorting through some boxes in the garage as we are having a garage sale. I think I have been downsizing for the last 5 years, it's just so hard. But other than that, its just so time consuming. But even so, some decisions are easier than others. Take for example my bag of sewing kits. I don't know why I even have so many. I guess its a bit like having hundreds of matchboxes back when everyone handed out little matchboxes wherever you went. That doesn't happen nowadays, but I can remember when it did. I think my sewing kit collection grew in the same way.

This is a basic sewing kit, it's rather pointless as it doesn't actually include a needle.
whereas this one has a fat needle that would puncture rather than sew your clothes
this is the deluxe version as it has 3 needles, 3 sizes of safety pin and even a press stud
the rest are all exactly the same, except for their different cardboard covers. I really wonder if anyone ever uses sewing kits. Did they ever? I know having hundreds of these in a bag is completely pointless and yet I think they're rather cute and don't really want to part with them. But I will.I definitely will. 

What's Your WOW ?

Monday, 16 February 2015

Oma's Blues: Template C

In Oma's Blues, you have the option of creating charm plates with a ring within them (you could of course simply stitch down a fabric that you love, without applique, depending on the look you're after). With the charm plates themselves, this inner ring is quickly and easily appliqued with fusible.

This is a real time video guide for beginners. This is how I do it and the technique is the same regardless of the template or pattern or design I am following:

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