Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Wednesday Link started early

It's Monday, my only day off this week so can I find time to link to Esther's Blog on Wednesday, yes -
if I start now.
Thought I would show you the inspiration for my Bamboo Wallhanging.
My Oriental Expressions Quilt
Our bedroom is a very slow WIP to accomodate this quilt as coverlet for our bed.
It will be coming off at night, we are not sleeping under it - and Kelly is NOT sleeping on it !!!!

It was a pattern from a 2010 APQ magazine called Fengshoe by Yvonne Morris.
I had wanted to make an oriental look quilt and had an Oriental "Brocade" fabric from my Mum, the blue fabric. I am very glad she never made a suit, it looks  far better in my quilt..
I  loved the pattern but changed the 4 Dresden Plate blocks to calligraphy blocks for my own interpretation.
They represent clockwise from top left Happiness, Peace, Dream, Love, what better thoughts to go to bed with.
To date it is the most complicated quilt I have made.
It is being held up for this photo by members of my Dargaville quilting group, some of them standing on chairs to get it off the floor.

This is the centre block,  the borders surrounding the centre are called The Great wall of China. 
I went onto Trade Me and bought 2 x 7" charm square packs, one 50 oriental fabrics and one 40 metallic's for this border, and also used them for other parts of the quilt. I needed 32 different fabrics for the wall cut into 6"x2" strips so the charm squares were perfect size.
I had the burgundy satin, parts are overlaid with that wonderful black/gold mesh I can't live without.
The centre applique. The first fabric I used was a red/gold stripe and I wasn't happy with it.
When I found the fabric to frame my calligraphy blocks, I recut my centre applique, pressed it overtop, widened my satin stitch and restitched over the original.
The pattern called for 2 different widths of gold bias for edging the applique but I used  2.5 x 1000m reels of metallic soft gold thread and satin stitched my edgings, it was a lot of satin stitch!!!

The background fabric's for all my applique blocks are Fairy Frost fabric - lights and darks of the same shade that I already had in my stash.
I only ended up buying 4 fat quarters of oriental fabric for my applique blocks, and I hated cutting into them, they were so beautiful on their own.

Top and Bottom of the quilt have Origami Kimono's.
It took several attempts to fold and press correctly, even after finishing I need to make a few catching stitches to ensure they will stay put..
The fabric between tthe Kimono's  is again the fabric I used for my bamboo calligraphy .. a link together for the final room.!!

I have folded the quilt top back to photograph the side borders. Both sides have fans which are not sewn down to the quilt top, I used the same gold fabric as for the calligraphy squares for their backing with one pinned back to show John's  underneath quilting..

This shows my corner squares where Fan's and Kimono's meet, and again shows some of John's quilting detail.
Some of you  may have  heard of John Nielsen who custom quilted it for me as he has tutored longarm quilting seminar's in Aust.
I didn't want it too heavily quilted and the only input I had was suggesting using Ginko leaves as with their oriental meaning of everlasting they seemed to suit.
John created such wonderful simple detailing for me I was very close to tears when I first got it back.
Tuesday night and post is finished, ready to link tomorrow.
Cheers everyone, enjoy your Wednesday while I work.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Work on Wednesday

This week has flown by. Worked Thursday to Sunday, just doing a little each day on my Magnolia Block for Esther's Forget Me Not BOM.

Made sure I didn't have flash for this photo and I think it is truer colours than the one I put on the group site.
Still convincing myself I have done this block justice, if there is one block I may redo this is it!!!
I LOVE the design but I ony LIKE my block.

Still convincing myself I have put my edging and frame fabric around it, and I am liking it more.

Yesterday when I stopped sewing for coffee I thought YES a photo for my blog that is not quilting, and ran for my camera, still there when I got back.

You can just see our native Tui in the branches of our neighbours rather old and straggly shrub.
His bell of white feathers on his throat stands out.
They are a very timid bird and we hear more of them than we see as their call is very distinctive, once you know it

Here he is taking the first spring nectar.
Think the shrub is some form of Leucodendren, that has grown tall and straggly.
We thought originally it was a Rhododendren from it's leaves, but the flowers are not, they are more like a Protea's. If anyone can tell me what it actually is please do so.
Whangarei has a lot of native bush  areas throughout the town as we are almost a city but not quite.
The Tui is the most prolific of our Native birds and the iridescent sheen on the black feathers along with their bell is truly beautiful. We have the Whangarei Falls, a nature reserve approx half mile from our house and the Tui's are there in numbers, finding us as the end of winter sends them searching for food.

This morning was finishing my Crown of Thorns block, and this I feel I have done justice too.
My DH comments are, why would Esther choose such an ugly plant, but your flowers do help it !!!

The other thing that happened this week is I came home to a light box for my sewing room.
No photo as everyone knows what they areand mine is rather rough but it works well.
 DH found a light socket, switch, thick glass and left overs from my cutting desk in the garage so surprised me with a lightbox.
I had been complaining while tracing my Bamboo pattern that it wasn't sticking to the window very well,
Winter damp!!!
The prevous week he raised my cutting bench and added 3 drawers so extra storage close at hand.

Please leave a comment if you view.
Cheers everyone Jenny

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Work on Wednesday

A double good day. WOW and the 15th of the month so wonderful new blocks from Esther to work on.
Have been working away at my bamboo hanging during the week.

All the leaves are in place, yesterday I worked on the calligraphy which I decided was going to be too hard to stitch directly onto the top.
Thinking about my oriental bed quilt, which is the reason for making this wallhanging ( we are going to redo our bedroom in an oriental theme) I came up with this.

Being able to work with small squares was so much easier.
Still tricky to stitch the smallest areas, but found my default satin stitch worked perfectly.
I was going to frame them individually but when I decided to run them horizontally instead of vertically as in the original, a panel seemed a better option.

In approximate position, adjusted and sewn down this morning, but I forgot to take photo.

Monday morning I relaxed watching the closing ceremony of the Olympic's, a wonderful few hours, but part way through I thought I know what I could be doing.
When my sewing room shifted I found a quilt I made a few years ago with it's binding  attached but not sewn down. My thumbs hated it, but it is now on my sewing room wall.

My first and so far only Bargello quilt. Pattern was from an APQ magazine but this is nothing like the original. It was a comedy of errors!!!

I was meant to make 16 identical blocks, the 3rd one I made in mirror image!!
Had not enough spare fabric and didn't want to unpick, so made 8 originals and 8 mirror image, played with the placement and this looked good - until I sewed them together.
My first 4 blocks ended up in the center and so did my lack of understanding of the art to bargello pressing and stitching at the beginning, it was all I could see.
Practise makes perfect - or at least better - so they say.

The final layout reminded me of butterflies and I had a pattern for a mosaic one and thought now is the time.

I had fabric scraps from the quilt and with a slight size adjustment it covered my sins.
But it didn't look right on it's own, so I found 2 other butterflies, 1 foundation pieced and 1 applique.

I now had butterflies everywhere, I had looked at hydrangeas for my original colour palette so the butterflies seem in keeping. Borders added and I was happy, but the final act was still to come.
My border is synthetic silk and my iron was too hot!!!
A hole in my border - so one more butterfly - escaping!!
You can just see it in the top right corner.

And this morning, Esther's new blocks
Magnolia is one of my favorite flowers and I couln't wait to start.

This is as far as I have got this morning, back to work tomorrow so will be slow progress till next week.
Cheers everyone, Jenny
PS. I am viewing your blogs, but am finding it very difficult to post comments.
I write them, but most won't publish!!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Work on Wednesday

This is my last day of 5 days off, back to work tomorrow for 4 days.
Have been spending time between my sewing room and watching the Olympics, and trying to ignore housework!!
Project this week has been my  Bamboo Wallhanging.
It is a pattern meant for stencilling but I am very pleased with how it is converting to applique.
Very much like a mosaic.

This was the start about a week ago. Background is an upholstery fabric and the leaves are raw silk.
I am using gold mettalic thread and a not quite satin stitch on the edges, straightforward but time consuming.
Found an early problem in that even with fusible web the silk frays very quickly.
This section I put all the pieces on at the same time and last ones to be sewn needed the fraying removed before I could stitch. At least my stitching is giving a neat edge.

For section two I only put the larger leaves in place and sewed them first the added the smaller pieces.
This has worked much better and I now have section 3 finished as well.

Section 4 is started, but have to go and get more thread then back to sewing this afternoon.
I do wish I had gone out earlier though as it is now bucketing down, after brilliant sunshine first thing.
After the final leaves are done there is calligraphy representing the four season to go in the upper right corner. I am still thinking about this as they are going to be the trickiest part.
Have a good week everyone.
Will be visiting blogs later.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Introducing Kelly and other things

Have had to stop sewing as have run out of thread for my Bamboo wallhanging.
Going shopping for more tomorrow, but thought this afternoon I would introduce you to Kelly, the totally pampered 3rd member of our family.

Everyone comments on what a lovely OLD dog she is, but she is only 7 this year and has had the grey hair from when we got her at 11 months old.
The people who gave her to us swear her father is a border collie but  lying with her front paws crossed, which my girlfriend who has border collies says is a trait of the breed is the only sign we can see.
The rest of her is Kelpie /Beardie hence the grey hairs.
She was raised as a cattle dog but didn't make the grade.
When we went to see her it took 20 minutes with titbits to get her to come to  us, she was so timid.
When we brought her home she cowered at everything, but now she is the most loving dog you could ask for, with a massive bark for anyone she doesn't know!!!

This photo led  to my first attempt at working from a photo pattern and this is the result.
I would have liked more blurred edges in her coat but not sure even now how to do it.

This led to my second attempt at an applique design from a photograph.
 A young girl competing in floor gymnastics that featured in our local newspaper.
Steve cut it out and said here is a challenge for you.

The flooring was my first use of my Back/Gold mesh overlay, the shadowing fabric was placed under it and it is the bronze cobblestone look fabric used in my table runner.
Steve helped me with the 3D aspect and I went back to dressmaking for her collar, it is gathered at the neck and sits free, only stitched under at the floor.
Likewise her hair is embroidery cottons that are caught only where they sit under fabric.

This hanging swaps in name between
The Jester - and  - A Star is Born

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Runner Technique

It has been a cold miserable couple of days so my sewing room is getting lots of use.
Thought I would show how I made my table runner without piecing my curves.

Pattern on the left, transferred to my base fabric.
Have transferred the patter far darker than I would use so it showed up.
I have marke my outside edges with arrows, and identified which colour goes where on my pattern

Am out of freezer paper so cut up my original pattern to use as templates.
They are placed right side up on the right side of my fabrics.
Cut out with a generous quarter inch allowance and
extra on the outside arrowed edges.

Biggest decision is determining the layering sequence. For this the purple is the fabric which will be under all surrounding fabrics so I have basted into place. Basting will be removed after the first overlapping piece is sewn down on each piece.
Used the pattern template reversed as shown at bottom to press the overlapping edge under.
The other edges will be underlaps so are left unpressed.
Pin into place and sew with stitch and thread of choice.
Mine is matching thread very asmall zigzag .9 x .9 on my Bernina, it just catches the fabric and is nearly invisible. but you could use monofilament - but I don't like it.

All my fabrics that overlap the purple and have underlaps  as well are now sewn down.
Basting is gone and fabric edges have been trimmed so that they don't extend too far and show through.
Peice 10 is next to go on as it will underlap piece 11. It overlaps fabrics on either side so both edges are pressed under.

Piece 11 also pressed under on both overlaps.
After taking photo I realised I hadn't reversed fabric and template before pressing, but easily redone.

Here is my finished block with no pieced curves.

One last photo. a wall hanging I made several years ago using the original of this block.

I wish I knew who designed it to give them credit, but all I have is a working copy of the block pattern.
I call this wallhanging - tongue in cheek
Aliens Dancing at my Window.
You either love it or hate, I smile everytime I look at it!!!
It is made from synthetic silk Pareau's from my time in Rarotonga, plus my favorite black/gold mesh overlay makes an appearance once again. I hope I never run out of this fabric.

Cheers everyone, Jenny
PS please leave a comment, I love to hear from you.