Friday 12 June 2015

Quilting With Calipers

A few weeks ago I was excited to receive a package from Jinny Beyer's studio. I had ordered some red fabrics in hopes of matching up my LE2 border and also splurged on a new fabric pallette swatch tool and these calipers. The point of these calipers is to find the golden ratio in your quilting which should have the effect of being visually satisfying.
The first thing I did was pull them out and try them against my existing pattern. Did I have a natural eye for the ratio? Had I created Love Entwined according to it? The answer looks like a definitive yes. Phew! I was so delighted to find that the scale was correct that I checked it against all of my unpacked quilts and they too, corresponded with the ratio. I think this means that as quilters, we have an innate sense of value, balance and harmony which we 'naturally' apply in our patterns and designs. I don't think I would have followed any 'scale' when actually designing or drafting my quilts as it would get so tedious, but its nice to know it 'just happens' without me thinking about it.
Another benefit of the calipers is that they make knowing how wide the next border should be so easy. I have completed my centre now and just need to add a final border on LE2. I hadn't decided firmly on what the width should be - but the calipers indicate a good balance so I'll go with that measure.
 These are the fabrics I purchased from Jinny Beyer. I always love her fabrics (I even made a shirt out of a green one last year). When I shop with her, I always know the fabric colours will have a certain quality and saturation that I like so much. I'm really struggling to find the right borders for my original Love Entwined coverlet and this quilt which is LE2. Finding the right red is tough. It really hurts to shop online from US retailers at the moment because of the dropping dollar rate here in Australia and because of International shipping fees. Luckily Jinny Beyer offers the most economical postage possible so I somehow always manage to justify 'finding' something in her range.
I do love all of these, but none of them grab me. I was hoping for an instant love match but that hasn't happened. The first is too modern swirly, I don't really know what I was thinking. The next along is too dark, the one above is too red-orange and the one below just doesn't feel right in real life, although photographed here it does look like the best match.
I think that at this point I will stop looking for my red border fabric. I've had to do this with my original coverlet as the tones in that quilt are hard to match. I'm waiting to serendipitously find the right border fabric whenever that happens. With my red issue here, well I'm in two minds! Yesterday I thought I would create a HST scrappy border made up from applique swatch scraps used throughout the centre...and I just might. Or maybe not. I don't know. Right now, I'm keeping an open mind.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

WOW: A Pink Baby WIP

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Well this is a WIP I'll definitely have to finish in time! One of the women in my beginner's sewing circle is expecting a baby girl. Now they're suddenly interested in quilting for the first time and I'm delighted as it gives me an excuse to introduce them to this art I love so much. Also, I have a huge stash and I love knowing that it's about to be put to use. I've donated my pinks for group use and I think we'll make a quilt, a sleeping bag and some cute accessories like bibs and short little over dresses and a few pram throws too. There's nothing secret about this cot quilt, we're all in it together and I'll show you our progress as the weeks go on.

This beginners sewing circle has been really good for my stash busting aspirations. Instead of shopping at their local Spotlight, these ladies have been shopping via my shelf. They can't believe how much fabric I have amassed. I can't believe it either.

It's hard to let good fabric go so cheaply, but I reason that it will be thrown out when I die and it's better to sell it now and use the proceeds on new project specific fabric that I can actually use in a quilt. It seems that I have so much beautiful fabric and so little of it is ever suitable for what I'm currently doing. In the last few years I've decided that building a stash is a bad idea, I need to free myself of the stash mentality and only buy what I need for what I am currently creating. A tough discipline but one I am determined to master. Eventually.

It's been decided that an apple core pattern is the way to go with this baby quilt and these women have decided that a new baby is the perfect reason to explore quilting. That makes sense. Interestingly, my first ever quilted project was a table runner.

Do you remember your first ever quilting project?
What's Your WOW?

Friday 5 June 2015

Love Entwined: An Update

 I love this quilt. Today I unpacked my Love Entwined centre to take a good look at it. I haven't had it in my eyesight for a few weeks since I went looking for a border fabric to take me into the next stage. I still haven't found the right fabric but I'm not worried, I know it will show up when I'm not looking for it. This morning I pinned it up on the wall to remind myself just how far I've come with my own heirloom version of this quilt (because I forget) and how lucky I am to be able to enjoy seeing the hundreds of LE's floating around out there (because it's time to pause and take stock). Love Entwined is an extraordinary quilt and I am more in love with it today than I was when I first started this project.

I've been meaning to post an update on this quilt in response to queries and emails I keep receiving (and which I love receiving, thank you), so here it is:

  • I have completed my centre and will aim to complete it when I find the right fabric
  • I'm almost finished on my Love Entwined 2 (variation pattern) and that one is in red and white
  • I have decided that I will release a Love Entwined Coffee Table Book (because this quilt wants to be seen) and it will be published for members on a not for profit basis. I will put all the details up here on my blog as well as over in my group and will create a submission process whereby you can contribute your own quilt images once you're ready. With a quilt this epic, I think I'll wait another 12-18 months before launching this, although it depends on the finish rate. I might open submissions soon and allow quilters to add their entries as and when they finish. I've been shocked by how quickly quilters are actually getting it made, so I will likely get onto it this year
  • Yes, I agree that a LE Exhibition would be a wonderful idea, but I haven't given it much more thought other than that at the moment. I think it is something we would do to coincide with the release of our book. And I envision it happening in the UK (or not? who knows?) and possibly the Netherlands as there are so many LE's there. This is something I will throw open over in the group for discussion when the time arises.
  • Love Entwined was released and available for free, for over 18 months. It will not be released again. I'm sorry to disappoint but I don't re-release BOMs. 
  • I have no update regarding the original coverlet. I attempted to contact the owners to ask them to share images of the original with us all and they have declined to respond. This is disappointing for everyone, but I respect their right to do what they like. I have always felt that the original coverlet was an article of historical importance, and wanted it investigated and preserved as an important piece of history. This has not happened and there's really nothing more I can do about it. I did what I could by reviving this pattern and that is my part in this story. Every quilter who has gone on to make LE or a project based on LE becomes a part of this story themselves in their own special way. And I'm proud that we all joined forces to give this pattern a life beyond the pages of a book where it was long forgotten. We did what we could. Who knows what tomorrow brings?
  • Love Entwined touched my heart, that's why I released my own homage as a pattern to the wonderful and mysterious original; but I could have never foreseen the friendship, generosity and community of women who have come together to share their work over in my Yahoo BOM Group. When I look over the photo albums, I am struck by just how generous and friendly our group is. And so talented too. It really brings me joy to see LE made in so many different ways and in so many styles. I really love them all. I think this has been the best thing about the whole experience -connecting with other quilters. 
Thank you for making that possible. 
We still have so much LE joy ahead of us and I personally can't wait to get there with you.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

WOW: Esther's Alterations

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Thanks everyone, I loved your replies to last weeks post, its good to know that I'm not the only one with the means (sewing machine, tools and time) to do home sewing but completely lacking the motivation to do so. Well, last Wednesday was a turning point for me, I decided to get down and do ALL the alterations: cushion zip replacements, loose curtain hem re-stitching, woolen jumper loose thread fixing, pill ball shaving and even button replacing. Oh yes, I had a whole heap of buttons to replace. I have a habit where I like to stitch new buttons on store bought clothes because store bought clothes often have rather ugly buttons on them. All in all it was a production line. I decided that in order to get stuck into my quilting (and goodness, there's so much I'm planning before this year is out) that I knew I had to get my house in order first. Just so I could have some peace during quilting time. Otherwise I'm always being reminded about the things that need doing.

With the domestic WIP pile sewing mostly done, I have reclaimed the chair beneath and the end is in sight. Today is the last of my domestic front. I'm doing to my last few things that need fixing.

This top is the main thing. I bought it because I fell in love with the fabric, but the neckline was always terrible. In the fitting room I reasoned that I would fix it to suit me. Like a lot of tops these days, it was gaping at the neck line and completely unwearable. So here I am trying to create a whole new collar neckline fix. With this stretchy fabric, it's really hit and miss. I hope I can save this top, today will tell. I have a clothes collection in my street tomorrow so I'm bagging up and letting go of any clothes I no longer need. I'm going to feel so much better with everything altered, ironed and my sewing room dedicated once again to quilting.

What's Your WOW?

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?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...