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

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Quilting Hearts Desire and other things

Hi Everyone,
It's WOW time again and I haven't posted for about six weeks as the weeks have just flown by.
Really I haven't had much to show as I have been quietly working away on quilting HD and in the beginning there isn't a lot to see especially with a black background.
My FMQ confidence is slowly growing with edge stitching all my applique plus I attended a beginners class and discovered the benefits of using quilting gloves, what a difference they have made to my thumbs and managing the fabric. Also have changed to a clear perspex foot on my stitch regulator foot which is great but caused me one problem, I broke the plastic casing on the BSR changing my foot while it was on the machine. Live and learn, luckily DH and super glue has made a lasting repair.

This foot is great for visibility especially when stitching on curves away from me, guides should be a real help for echo quilting but I'm not game to play on HD yet but have been practising.
Discovered that my BSR foot does not like black background fabric as it's sensor seems unable to pick up the fabric movement. I can use the foot without activating the regulator mode so this has been another learning experience, getting my stitch length right.
This is where I am at with my quilting

My Rose Window Center and Ties that Bind border.
Camera has turned my purple fabric blue.
Edge stitching complete and also in the center.

Sing me a Song.
Have outline stitched the birds wing and eye, used small stipple to fill the circle.

Love me tender.
Outline stitched my added butterfly and stippled the ring.

Flowers for Me
Outline stitching in the vase and on the flowers.

Corner Basket and outer border
Flower centers stitched and outer border stippled.
Binding is on as it will take me ages yet to finish quilting, it has removed excess fabric and  my edges won't fray.

Since these photo's I have stitched the center line on all the leaves and also around all the flower buds.
Have spent weeks trying to find a simple quilting design for my scallop borders finally finding one that I think gives the scallops the illusion of being trees.

Had to squash it down, stretch it out and play with the loop sizes to fit the scallops.
Thank goodness for freezer paper, my lovely even loops are the result of stitching around templates not merrily stitching away.

Candles in the Park
My name for this border  and I am very happy with how the scallops look.

A bit more playing gave me this design for around the corners.

yesterday I added a couple of rows of stitching to these hearts.
I want to do something on the outer part of the basket but am not sure what as yet.

With the arrival of spring like weather a couple of weeks ago it was time to attack the front garden as over winter it has been waterlogged most of the time.

The weeds are mainly a vine like groundcover that loves it under the tree and takes over during winter. pleased to find that when uncovered the winter roses were all healthy and in flower as were the poly's.

Inside, DH found the time to make some progress with our ongoing renovations. Our ensuite has been nearly finished for months waiting for the plumbing and drainage to be completed.

Finished and operational

The wonderful thing about the ensuite being finished is that we were able to finally finish the main bathroom. We enlarged it six years ago but it never got finished as is usual for us. Over time the shower wall liner has yellowed so we wanted to remove it and tile the walls instead. Taking it out also meant it was easier to finish the ceiling as we had taken walls out to enlarge the space then shifted the window when we added on my sewing room so there were always good reasons not to finish it until we had a second bathroom to use. 

What a difference completed tiling and wallpaper makes.
One problem, we had started the mosaic tiling a couple of years ago and done two walls, oops not enough tiles to finish and not in production any longer.
We had 3 sample tiles which are now a feature under the mirror .

The shell wallpaper makes a great backdrop for this carving made for an endagered species exhibition by Steve's ex Father in Law. It is of a Hector's dolphin caught in a fisherman's net and one of our most treasured possessions.

The newly tiled shower looks so different to the old one.
By the way this bathroom is now all mine and DH uses the ensuite.
Work has carried over into the hallway to my sewing room and we nearly have cupboards.

Double sliding doors at this end and an opening door at the other where we have made that space so it could be used as a wardrobe for the office/bedroom opposite.
I think I am meant to get sanding and painting so the shelves can go in and get out of my sewing room.

I have been working round them since I cleaned them about 3 weeks ago, haven't found a new home for my old ironing board either.

There other things I could share but I have been at the computer most of the day so will finish and link to Esther's WOW.
Enjoy you Wednesday everyone. 
Cheers, Jenny