Friday, 26 February 2016

WOW 24th Feb

Hi Everyone,

Have had a few rainy days which has been good for progress on my Frog Song quilt.
My next block was simple compared to some of the others but it looks stunning.

Jillian Sawyers "Sweet Pea"
sitting in a Bromiliad flower
I like to think this might be one of the little frogs Glenda has in her Australian garden,
Hardest part of this was searching my scrapbox for the petal fabrics as I don't have many oranges in my stash and I didn't want to go red. Am now scared they might be too bright though!!!

With only three main blocks to go I began thinking about my background fabric and how I am going to cut these angled pieces that I have no pattern for.

For those interested this is a Kona Bay 2015 fabric and has metallic overtones.

I am treating it as a one way design fabric as those leaves all face the same direction and any reversal will really stand out. I bought the last 3 meters of this fabric and it should be enough for my background as am planning on approx 1.8m by 1.3m or 72" by 52"finished depending on my final block sizes. So far I have cut 3 identical 5" strips across the fabric width discovering I had to lose 1" to the pattern repeat on 2 of the strips. Why three strips?
Fabric is only 42" wide so have to make an invisible join for top and bottom borders to get my 52" width. Thankyou Ginny Beyer for your tips on matching border fabrics.
Next was to cut two 5" strips length of fabric for the side borders, this done my other pieces have to come out of what is left!!!
I have 32" fabric width left so have to make a decision about block size as even with  a 11" finished block width I can only cut two strips of fabric and I really want to cut the central area as one piece and insert the Frog Chain panel into that so my fingers are crossed. Luckily I have had plenty of practice with Y seams recently or I wouldn't even go there.
 I cut all my finished blocks down by 1" both width and length and they look good so am going to work to that even if slightly larger than I planned.
Decided I needed to finish my bottom blocks before chosing my final frog for last side block.

These two look great in the book and might be as risque as my frogs get

"What a Hunk" and " Mama Mia"

Jillian Sawyer's "What a Hunk"
She looks so small and delicate at the top point of this block.
Hopefully I have placed her correctly to watch The Hunk who will sit opposite her.
She is really the  "Mama Mia" but thats the Hunks thoughts !!!

During the last week I have spent time stripping wallpape rin the lounge then Steve decided it was time for our last new double glazed window to go into our bedroom. We put one in last year to replace an existing window but had decided we wanted a matching one for the other wall to give both more light and sun and warmth in winter. It has been sitting in the garage for a year waiting for the brick exterior to be removed.

Wall removed and partial wall paper stripping done we had 2 nights sleeping with plywood protectig us from the elements. On Sat Steve and his mate had the new window installed!!

This window is 3m long, 4 ml double glazed glass and so heavy it was a marathon effort with various scaffolds and supports to get it in place 4 foot off the ground.
My fear was someone losing balance and having the full weight of that window landing on them.
Lots of finishing to do but such a lovely view from the bed.

Think I still have time to link to Esther's WOW this week.
Cheers Everone, enjoy your week, Jenny

Thursday, 18 February 2016

WOW 17th Feb

Hi Everyone,
Have had to give a few days this week to painting our exterior renovations but have still found time to progress with my Frog Song quilt. My fourth Jillian Sawyer block gave me a few headaches - all of my own making!!!! Eventually the problems have been fixed and I am very happy with the outcome but still have some detailing to do as handle ends don't show up enough at this stage.

 Tap Dancer

My tap came together so well I fused it straight down, raced ahead and did ALL my stitching on it.
Finished it looked fabulous so now to add my tap dancer.
Then I swore - several times!!!
Much of my frog sits under the tap and I have stitched all the tap down.
Unpicking for me was not an option, I have enough trouble holding a needle let alone an unpicker and doing a clean removal of the stitching without damaging my background fabric was going to be a massive task. Also not enough fabric to cut a new panel as I had bought what they had.
Decided on an easy fix for the main area, top of the frog where the eye focuses first.
I carefully cut my background along the top of the tap and inserted my frogs body with a fused underlap then restitched along the tap line.

 This cut is now totally secure.
Cutting my background for the leg next to the tap I felt was risking too much so I cut my leg fabrics for a matchto the tap then a little extra zig zag stitch next to the tap to secure my fabric, and a bit of pen blending on the right side to disguise my stitching.
That little dark patch by the tap showing from this side is where I used pens to colour a small applique piece I had missed completely.
This photo also makes me ask a question. How do you finish your machine applique stitching?
 I do have stitch secure on my Bernina but I don't trust it for applique so I take my top thread to to the back with a needle then tie it off to the bobbin thread leaving a little tail for security of it not unravelling over time. It does become time consuming when finishing lots of small areas but I don't know another way.

The next block, No problems here as my next frog sits on top of all my leaves.

Choccy Frog
He is just adorable and I love Jillian Sawyers little verse for this Frog
"Choccy Fogs are fun to eat because they go so gooey.
Don't worry mate we won't eat you, coz you would be too chewy"

I now have the 4 upper blocks plus the central block complete so feel like I am close to half way for the quilt top. I have the completed blocks on my design wall and am happy with the balance so far.

So this is where I am today, now to link to Esther's WOW and then start on my Sweet Pea Block.
Enjoy your Wednesday everyone, Cheers Jenny

Thursday, 11 February 2016

WOW 10th Feb

Hi Everyone,

Have been slowly making progress on my Frog Song blocks.
Had forgotten how fiddly small applique pieces can be to put together so where possible I am fussy cutting my fabrics as large as possible to get the right shadings then using my stitching to create the joints and body details.
Another reason for this is that I don't know whether my friend intends to use this as an everyday throw rug or as an ornamental throw in her collection. I hope the latter but she did say easy care!!!
Easiest care would be not to use it, Lol.
Block Two is finished.

"The Dangler"
Have cropped this photo top and bottom to show him off but think you can see how the 60 degree angles works. Wasn't sure if my underbelly fabric would work but with dark edge stitching it does.
I'm following Esther's wonderful advice for applique blocks, cut larger and trim to size afterwards so am cutting my blocks 16" x 13" as finished my scale drawing is for  14" x 11"

This morning I have finished block 3

The Lily Frog
I loved the pink lily shown in the book but with my sashing/border fabric it would have been a horrible clash of colours but my yellow lily looks just as good.
I am using the decorative stitches on my Bernina to create my eye centers.
A satin stitch oval for the larger eyes and part of another design for this eye.
Just played on a scrap of fabric for start and finish points then stitched slowly.

Now only six more blocks to go but who to put where. There are plenty of options but chosing placement is the difficult part all of my blocks have an overlap with another one.

Am hoping if I get my positioning right to add extra frogs where the blocks meet once my panels are completed. Especially at the top and bottom where the two blocks join completely.
My Tap Dancer seems to sit well in this position as my next block so back to the sewing room.

Enjoy your Wednesday Everyone.
Cheers Jenny

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

WOW 3rd Feb

Hi Everyone, where did January go!!!
Haven't blogged for a couple of weeks, it has been so humid that it feels like being back in the islands and all I have wanted to do is blob out and stay cool.
Have managed to do some painting on the house exterior in the mornings before it gets too sticky which has meant not feeling like sewing afterwards.
The Gecko has been stitched to my background fabric but I still have his feet to add before finishing,
The real one  has had his extra clear coats and is now decorating our deck.

We think he looks great.

After a text from a very good friend in Auckland my Gecko has become another UFO at present.
She asked if I was still quilting, if so would I like to make her a Frog throw rug.
Replied sounds like fun, tell me more, size, ideas, colours etc.
Approx 1.8 x 1.3 not kiddy cartoons but realistic and adult plus can frogs be risque?
All my ideas changed from this is going to be simple to something much more complex..
This friend has collected frogs for years so sent me lots of photo's but the one that sent me in hopefully the right direction was photo of a recovered antique chair.

Isn't this just fabulous.

My mind went immediately to Jillian Sawyer, a brilliant Australian glass artist.
 When I first started quilting. I turned some designs from her Sea Fairies glass art book into
 wall hangings.

"My Companion"

"My Protector"

" Dusk and Dawn - Until Tomorrow"

This photo is from the Dargaville Quilt show approx 2008
These hang in our hallway and when I think these were only my second attempt at machine  applique they still astound me as to what I created.

Jillian Sawyer has published many art glass design books and they convert easily to applique if you add in your unders and overs when tracing and cutting. I knew she had published a book called 
Frog Song and this is now my name for the throw rug. I purchased the book online and last week it arrived and totally lived up to my expectations.

The wonderful metallic finished background fabric I found as soon as I walked in the door at Country Dawn. Not what I went looking for but the perfect tones to go with her chair plus a marbled Jinny Beyer fabric for the base of my applique and some wonderful designs from the Frog Song book.
While waiting for the book to arrive  I played with scale drawings of how the throw might look.
My friend is not traditional so I think I have my work cut out for me to make this magical for her and not just be blocks on a background.
Having made some Jinny Beyer designs recently I went back to 60 degree angles and came up with this layout.

An outer border then four vertical panels with eight inset blocks which overlap to create sort of a diamond, plus a cental panel, I think I have plenty of room to play here.
Decided to make the central panel first.

Frog Chain
Lots of very small fiddly bits in this to stitch.
I decided to use a dark green thread for my stitching so that all the joints show up similar to the original art glass images.

Block background looks more grey than beige in this photo but definately the right choice to let the frogs be the hero's against the leaves.
Finished size of this block will be 16" by 9"
Today I am starting block 2 the first of my 60 degree angle blocks and the hero will be

This photo shows how clear the pattern is and how easily they adapt from glass art to applique.

Now to link with Esther's Work on Wednesday blog then set to work.
Cheers Jenny