Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Work on Wed 18th Jan

Hi Everyone,
Most of you that read my blog are as excited as I am about the release of Esther's new free BOM Diamond Hill, What a beautiful pattern Esther has shared with us and I just can't resist it.
Not that I need a new project as my plan was to finish ALL my UFO's before starting anything new.
I don't have many so it should have been easy as these are my to do's

Complete the quilt top at least.

Finish quilting Fly Away

I have made progress in the last week and quilted most of my star backgrounds.

Finish quilting Hearts Desire
have three of these borders and the blocks still to do.

Quilt my Bamboo wall hanging.
It only needs the background to be quilted as borders are on and I have stitched around the applique.

Have you noticed what the last three have in common, yes all done apart from the quilting which is why I started the oriental quilt, to have a break from quilting

So which have I worked on the last couple of days?  You are right if you answered, none of the above.

It was love at first sight with Esther's dark colourway and knew I just had to make it.
For the first time I had issues with printing the pattern, I have heard that Windows 10 (which we now have) can have it's own mind when it comes to printing and override settings, don't know if this is true but have never had an issue before. Anyway, what helped me was a blog I read a few months ago on how to resize any block pattern with easy maths to what you want, bigger or smaller.
It is very simple really, start with what you want and divide it by what you got.
I taped my pages that were all a fraction small together and measured, 17-5 inches and it should have been 18 inches. It wasn't really a problem for the applique but the vase had to line up perfectly and at that size it wasn't going to.
Simple division on the calculator, want 18 divided by got 17.5 equals 1.03
Move decimal point two places and my answer was to print at 103% result was perfect 
For full details of this easy method for resizing any block this is the link.

Yesterday I went shopping for my fabric and came home with a slight change of plan.

Knew I didn't want a a solid dark colour and fell for this charcoal fabric straight away, has a bluish tinge and of course my favourite a touch of mettalic. Only problem was a large one, 3.25 metres was not enough for a completely dark background so had two choices, pick another fabric or put light borders around the blocks. this fabric won and my blocks are cut.
Loved the vibrant look of Esther's little squares and found something that should give a similar effect but in a very different colouway.

This left me with what to use for my light borders, couldn't go to a straight cream because the teal above is alot stonger than in the photo.

Stonehenge to the rescue, lovely mottle in teal with peach/ yellow

I think it will work and have had an extra little play

Now I'm not so sure.
Plenty of time to decide while I am working on the applique.

Linking now to Esther, have a great week everyone.
Cheers Jenny

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Welcome 2017

Happy New Year everyone,

Hope you have all had a relaxing start to 2017 and are looking forward to a wonderful year.
Ours started with the hottest days of summer so far with officially 30 degrees for the first few days however in our sheltered back yard we could add on several more so it was time spent inside.
Steve had decided on xmas morning to take out our old laundry tub ready to install the new one we have had waiting patiently for several months. We had a week being unable to do any laundry as water had been disconnected and he was busy from boxing day helping friends shift their business.
Finally ready to start on New Years Eve our kitchen looked like this.

 It was takeways for dinner as we couldn't reach the cook top and couldn't sit at the table anyway.  
Our laundry is a really small room, just measured it and in quilters terms it is 72" wide by 60" tall, a med size wallhanging  would fit on the floor. It also houses our tall and narrow hot water cylinder so maximising space was a necessity for the new layout.

Plumbing moved and tiles in place, cylinder cupboard is on the right

What a transformation.
Priority was to get it working again so the floor got tiled but only painting was where it was necessary on the lower walls. Cupboad door is waiting to be put on  and the bench needs it's trim but I love the bench space, my food processor and standmixer now have a home where they can be used as well, Even found a use for the wine rack which didn't fit in our kitchen, fills the corner gap perfectly,will be adding more overhead cupboards above the bench as well.

For my quilting year ahead I want to finish my ufo's, luckily I don't have many so will be able to start some new projects as well, am looking foward to the 15th to see what Esther has planned for her new BOM, if it's applque I probably won't be able to resist . Just before Christmas I bought some dice as I really like the idea of how Jenny in Wellington rolls a dice to decide her quilting project for the week.
Only problem is I don't have six projects at the moment, maybe I just have to keep rolling until one of my numbers comes up - or I give my favorite projects two numbers.
My oriental style quilt is on my design wall with more blocks added as a japanesse friend at the thurday group gave me some beautiful fabric that she thought I might like to use.

The fabrics were too beautiful to cut up

These two blocks make up one repeat of this gorgeous Obi (sash) fabric.

The second fabric, also Obi I think but it was wider and folded in half, 
I have added applique elements to this fabric.

Origami Kimono's to this one

3 dimensional fans to this one.
Fans are backed with gold satin and only attached with the blue at the top.

Both the Kimono's and the fans are from the pattern by Yvonne Morris that I used for my quilt Oriental Expressions a few years ago.

I still have some of the blue brocade fabric and I plan to use it for the sashings for my blocks.

 Silk Kimono fabric which I have had for many years and have never found quite the right place to use. Correction a little bit found it's way into the small flower baskets of my LE.

The last couple of days Fly Away came back out as I finally decided how to quilt my background and I have literally been going round in circles ever since.

I read an interesting blog a few days ago on tips for spiral quilting which I found through pinterest.
Thought I would try it with three rings around my small stars that were seperate and then like topsy it just grew, ended up not being spirals at all but keeping the sets of three rings has given an interesting effect which I am happy with, now to work on the rings themselves.

Finishing here to link with Esther for her first WOW of 2017

Enjow your week everyone,
Cheers Jenny

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Last WOW for 2016

Hi everyone,
Hope you are all having a wonderful festive season and spending time with your loved ones.
Have had a busy few of weeks between the Christmas get togethers with quilty friends and then Christmas day spent with good friends as having no family here in Whangarei ourselves it is wonderful to be part of their family on Christmas day.

Quilt wise I have been working on my oriental wall hanging, second embroidery based panel is finished.

Only 9" wide without the border I'm happy overall with how this has turned out but slightly disappointed with my big waterlily. The main petals all look as they should but I placed the center too low so added two more petals to cover part of the center and try and lift it. I got more depth but still seemed a little out of balance with one very long petal.

Feeling better now.
 I stitched an extra petal line on the long petal and coloured it darker with pencils.

Love how the bird turned out. Spent ages moving my bird body around on the fabric until I found the perfect tail to go with his wings.

Third panel is the same size as number two, have combined a couple of patterns for it as I wanted to use a willow tree from one pattern but didn't like the ducks it had in the foreground so found another that had a bird and butterfly.

Used three shades of green and a machine embroidery stitch for my willow leaves creating the branches as I travelled along the lines between my leaves.

Used the digitised butterfly fabric for my wings, love the effect.

Lighter flowers than in the first panel.

This is how I envisage the panels placement within the hanging.

The only other thing I have done is to finish my thread painted picture of Gracie.

Stitched her collar and added a bit more stitching to a few areas.
Thrilled with how she looks now.

Linking now to Esther's WOW so wishing everyone a happy and prosperous 2017

Cheers Jenny

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Work on Wed 23rd Nov

Hi Everyone,

As many of you already know the last couple of weeks have definately been WOW weeks for me.
It was a friend from the sit and sew group at Country Dawn who convinced me to enter LE into Festival of Quilts in Auckland. Ngaire has been a member of the Auckland Guild for many years and is a successful exhibitor (this year included) so with her encouragement I joined the guild and have been attending their monthly meetings. Have to say I have been astounded by the number of community quilts the members make for those in need.
I felt like a child going to a birthday party just taking LE to the hand in day in October but nothing like the excitement when I got the phonecall after the judging day. OMG it was a fabulous feeling but it was really LE's day. All of you who have made or are making this quilt know how it has she has a personality all her own and wants her story told, I am just so happy I did her and Esther proud.

To hear last week LE received the Viewers Choice for Amateur Quilt was the icing on the cake, there were so many wondeful quilts on display I didn't think it possible LE would be a contender.

Would just like to thank here  everyone who has given my support and encouragement while I have been on my LE journey especially Esther for giving us the amazing pattern and all the members of her group, many becoming long standing on line friends.
One more thankyou is to the wonderful sponsors whose generosity allows shows like this to give fabulous prizes to the award winners. I hadn't even thought of prizes apart from the rosette but from I my award sponsors Cushla's Village Fabrics and Trendy Trims this is what my coffee table looked like on arriving home.

Fabulous prizes from wonderful sponsors

AQG has just posted photo's of all the award winners to their face book page, here is the link for anyone who would like to take a look.

What have I been sewing recently?  Gathering unfinished quilting projects is the answer.
Have put the last border on Fly Away but it is bundled on a corner of my sewing table at the moment as I have started a new project instead of finishing what is on the go.
Fell in love with a roll of 8 inch strips of oriental fabrics while in Auckland and just had to buy them though no real idea what to do with them, you know what its like.
Started to think about the old embroidery patterns of Mum's that I have and an idea started to gel.
Could I applique some of the oriental ones and create a wall hanging.

Pattern for an Oriental Firescreen.

Found a wonderful background fabric at Country Dawn for my applique blocks, Japanese and I think it is linen with a lovely slub effect so couldn't wait to get started on my first block and yesterday I finished it.

Am really happy with how it has come out, here are some close ups.

One of my oriental fabrics had these little blossoms, perfect size for fussy cutting and I found a digitised fabric with large butterflies that I could again fussy cut my wings from.
Am so happy with my choice of background.

Butterfly fabric for the bright colours on the bird and some peacock fabrics gave me the body and the tail detail. Found a stitch that I could stitch and then mirror image to give me my tail feathers.
Metallic threads are in full use .

Lots of experimenting for this part as I wanted to replicate the pattern as much as possible.
I used the grass stitch on my bernina and loosened my foot pressure to very light so I could move the fabric sideways easily while stitching. Had a heavy weight tearaway under my fabric for this and the stright triple stitch.

Fussy cut the flowers and darkened them with pencils. original is on the right.
Border fabric is a Japanese fabric from a friend and I think it finishes this block perfectly.
With borders this block has finished at 18" x 25"

Two more panels to make in the same style, will be the same length but narrower.
Heading to my sit and sew group this morning and it will be fussy cutting more blossoms for me.

Enjoy your week everyone.

Cheers Jenny

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

WOW Hearts Desire and a new project

Hi Everyone,
Has been weeks since I blogged, just don't seem to find the time at the moment although I enjoy all the links to Esther's WOW with my morning coffee throughout the week.
I've been slowly working away on quilting  Heart's Desire, the center was one area I wanted to make more interesting  than just allover stippling. Using my trusty freezer paper I drew lines radiating from a central circle at ten degree intervals then cut out every second portion to give me my quilting template. After stitching all the lines have stippled every second ray, am still deciding whether to stitch curved lines in the other rays or to leave it as is.

The suns rays streaming through the rose window.

The other part where I wanted to do something different was my "Candles in the Park" border. I kept thinking about making a pathway along the center of the border with two different types of quilting.
In the end I decided on half circles around each candle and have stippled the free area between them.

Happy with how this is looking but again do I do more?

HD is having a rest at the moment as I have been side tracked onto a new project. 
Have always wanted to make a Jacqueline De Jonge quilt but have not seen her patterns for sale in NZ and as I rarely buy online have just admired her BeColourful quilts from a distance.
Recently Country Dawn had several of her patterns for sale, all large ones but I wanted to start with a small wallhanging to see if I liked making it and also could I actually make one.
I asked the question and six weeks later the pattern of my choice arrived.

Fly Away by Jacqueline De Jonge

Finished, Fly Away measures 36" x 36" so not very big but gosh there is a lot going on in that space.
Her large quilts have the foundation papers included but this size you have to trace the pattern yourself from a fullsize pattern sheet, straightforward but took most of a day to trace then cut apart accurately.
Pattern came with a colour card of the fabrics used and fabric wise I needed 29 different fabrics, Jacqueline uses her own range of batiks for her quilts because of their close weave and stability,
I was hoping I had enough in my stash or only had to buy a few but on pulling them out no where near enough in tones that worked together, however I have plenty of Jinny Beyer fabric as every time I find some I usually buy at least a fat quarter, plus have kept all my scraps from Faberge.
My sewing room turned into a mess as I pulled all my JB fabrics plus anything else I thought might work, then I was underway with no real plan except following the light/med/ dark placement from the pattern.

Discovered quickly just how accurate I needed to be with my stitching and also that batiks would probably have given me less bulk in the seams. Made one attempt to stitch my circles together the normal way, was a total disaster so decided to applipiece my blocks together. Doesn't really show but there are 3 different creams in the spikes.

Can't imagine stitching the narrow seams in the circle around the star in the normal piecing manner, and there are lots of narrow seams like this many with several layers of fabric from the foundation piecing.

This felt like progress,background fabric on the wall with several blocks in place and fabric samples being auditioned while I worked on other parts. Background fabric is from the Stoff Dapples range.
Thought initially I might applique the blocks onto the background but decided to cut my background using the pattern and follow the very detailed instructions of the sequence for assembly. I left a good half inch seam allowance on everything to have room to manipulate where necessary.

At this stage a friend showed me a ruler set she had for making double diamonds.

Thought WOW that looks great and just maybe I could make a border for FlyAway. I had bought an Hombre fabric for the aqua/blue flying geese which was ideal and at my club meeting in Dargaville found more of the purple with gold overlay I was using for the large plain circle so I was all set.
Only problem was I needed to cut 4 1/2 inch wide strips and I only had enough background fabric to cut 4 inch strips. Adusted my ruler placement by half an inch to compensate and sailed ahead realising afterwards that having to make my cuts with the fabric folded my allowance shoud have been 1/4 inch and they also needed to be closer together, I now have my own varaition of double diamonds that were so easy to make.

Background and Hombre fabric fused together, cuts made and pressed 

Third fabric placed underneath and there they are.

The fiddliest part was gluing down the flaps and then gluing the top layer to bottom without making a mess - I am known for being messy but had bought some of Elmer's Clear School Glue that Esther recommends and fabric stayed clean and so did I. Thanks Esther for your Binding video which shows how to use this glue in detail.

Stitching complete

Had decided to use a multi coloured Maderia Mettalic thread for stitching my circle blocks in place so needed to use it for edge stitching the borders as well. Figured out a stitching plan so I didn't have to stop and start, along one side first with tiny zigzag then back along the other straight stitching in to the center square along the fold line and back out again. I stitched in and out on the other side as well so everything matched, felt like I was sewing the LE zig zag borders all over again. Had to stitch so slowly as along the turnbacks there are 5 layers of glued fabric and with mettalic thread!!

Back to the blocks, had left the ones I was most unsure about fabricwise till last.

I cut the gold fabric for this block 3 times before I was happy with the shading.

The most difficult star to make as had to piece the curve of the circle to the background triangle.
The narrow points are not showing up true, they are light yellow/green.
Hombre fabric makes great flying geese.

Had just enough of the light blue to make this star and outer spikes were the final colour choice.

It all fitted together.

This is where I am at today, two more corner stars to make then final border to attach. Everything was ditch stitched to batting and backing before adding my borders. This way  I can ease my background fabric to my borders and get it all to sit square and flat.
Has been great fun to make, now it is nearly another quilting project.

One last project to show you. A couple of weeks ago I attended a two day class at Bernina Northland with Sonya Prchal on thread painting. Sonya lives in Whangarei, is extremely talented and teaches her technique widely.
We all worked on images of our pets which Sonya had prepared for us so of course Gracie was my subject using the only photo I have with her ears pricked as she hates the camera. 

End of day one, having great fun but struggling with fur direction

Thrilled with what I achieved.
Still some finishing to do, more stitching in some areas and need to do her collar and add eye highlights then cut it out and put on a different background.

Ony seven of us on the course so we all got lots of one on one time with Sonya.
and the results were stunning.

Have a good time stitching everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Cheers Jenny