Sunday, May 22, 2016

400 inches of binding!

400 inches of binding is a LOT of binding! 


... eleven width of fabric 2½ inch strips (I'm thankful I could use my Accuquilt Go Cutter to cut them), diagonal cuts to prepare them for joining, stitching the joins, trimming the ears, pressing the seams open, then pressing the binding in half.


Next step was to find a big enough clear floor space to spread the quilt out to measure the binding to see that the joins would not land on a corner. 


Then it was manouevring 10,000 square inches of quilt under the machine to attach the binding.


Of course the bobbin ran out in the middle!


Mitre after mitre, stitch by stitch and around the quilt we journeyed.


Out onto the table to cut the binding and prepare for the final join.
 

By this time I was quite pleased at my progress.


What I hadn't counted on was how long it was going to take me to hand-stitch that binding to the back!


 Yes, I could have done it all by machine but I knew I would not be happy with the result.


So inch after inch, I stitched that binding down - 400 inches of it!


Two nights and five hours later and it was done!


Was it worth it?  Absolutely!


PS Hasn't my quilter done a fabulous job?

Val
 Jinny Beyer quilt design - free Craftsy Class 2015.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Pattern 5

The months are whizzing by and it's time to give you the next block in the
Free Block of the Month Wall quilt - Block 5



I've been thinking that it's rather difficult for us as individuals to do anything about world peace, but we sure can strive for peace within our small circle. What a blessing that can be!



The pattern is available for download in my Craftsy Store here.

Now it's time for apologies! I caused a bit of a flutter last week! I discovered that a mistake had slipped into in my address details on the bottom of my free You Are Blessed patterns.  Because I use the same template each month, I was perpetuating the mistake and because I'm a perfectionist, I thought I had better fix it in case someone actually used it to write to my street address! So I removed the offending number that had somehow popped in, and uploaded the patterns again to my Craftsy store.

What I didn't realise was that that little correction would have repercussions around the world and that Craftsy would advise everyone who had downloaded the first four You Are Blessed Blocks that I had changed the patterns!  So please ignore it if you received that advice, as nothing at all has changed with the pattern ... and I will try not to be such a perfectionist next time!

The Queensland Quilters' Picnic held in our local area last week was a wonderful event. It was very well organised and more than 600 ladies attended. There were lots of stalls and an amazing array of great products to see.  Here's what my little stall looked like:


My sweet daughter-in-law helped me on the stall and we had a happy day together. It was so lovely to meet up with lots of ladies who told me they had made my patterns or that they liked my designs. It was all very encouraging and affirming.

I had on display my Down at the Pond quilt: 


and if you are interested in making it, I have now put the pattern in my store here.

I saw my quilter (who quilted the project above) at the event and she told me she has almost finished quilting my Jinny Beyer quilt that I made in the free Craftsy class last year. That was enough incentive to finally open up my sewing machine again as I wanted to make two matching pillowcases. They didn't take long to make as I had done the pieced centre blocks earlier. 

Opening up my sewing machine signalled to me that life is resuming some sort of normality again! Two months without my sewing machine, golden wedding parties to organise, a week's holiday away and my stall to arrange seem to have filled up to the full the first four months of this year! Since finishing the pillowcases, I have cut out all the pieces to make a bag and have started work on the embroidery on another design. I'm back!!!

Val


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Changing mid-stream

Happy Mothers' Day! I was delighted to have an early morning phone call from one of our sons who has been working in the USA for three weeks - even if I was in the shower!  Then there's been greetings from others in our family and a visit from one of our daughters-in-law and two of our grandchildren. It's the best present I could ever receive to have family love showered upon me!

Changing mid-stream 
I needed to change mid-stream this morning when I took my phone call - out of the shower - but it's not usually a real good idea to 'change horses midstream'. I confess though that I do it a lot in my designing! It's probably because I often commence a project before I have totally worked out the final plan! I love the flexibility, the inspiration that flows, and the excitement that the finished design looks nothing like what I had originally thought of!

Meet Daisy-Mae bits and pieces Bag:


It was going to be an old-fashioned, practical peg bag with a hole in the front to put your hands in and grab the pegs. Mid-stream it had a mind of its own and became a cottage! The roof opens under the buttons to store all your bits and pieces.


I enjoyed using some lovely variegated threads.


The cottage needed a name:


and a fussy-cut shade:


The pattern is in Handmade Magazine Vol 34 No 10.



It's also in my Craftsy Store if you don't have access to our Australian magazines:

This week is the big Queensland Quilter's Picnic which is being hosted by groups in our local area and I have been asked to have a stall. It's been fun working out what samples I will take and what patterns to print. If you are coming, make sure you say hello!

Keep an eye out next week for the next pattern in the free Block of the Month quilt,
You are Blessed.

Happy stitching!

Val


Sunday, May 1, 2016

A new take on old embroidery

I quite enjoy watching TV in the evening with my husband, but I could never bear to just sit and watch 'the box.'. I always have to be doing something with my hands! Evening is when I do all my hand-stitching, embroidery, sewing bindings down etc. I find it very relaxing and it's lovely to be sitting with my husband.


The last few weeks have been very busy for me, what with organising a party, many hours spent with our Internet Service Provider trying to get our lost phone line back, medical appointments, a visit to hospital when I hurt my ribs in a fall, plus preparing for a stall that I have been asked to host at the Queensland Quilter's Picnic which this year is being held in our local area.

This means I haven't opened the sewing machine, haven't drawn any new patterns, and don't have any projects to stitch at night. For such a time as this, I have a couple of long-term pieces of needlework that I can stitch, with no pressure whatever to finish. So in the last couple of weeks, this 'Afternoon Teacloth' has come out of hiding:


It was given to me by a friend, brand new in its packet, and is a prestamped linen design just like I used to embroider 40 or 50 years ago! In those days I would have filled in all the flowers and probably the leaves too, mostly with satin stitch. These days the modern 'stitchery' concept is more about outlining. When I looked at this design, I could see that it really needs areas filled in so that there is a focus, otherwise it would be a very open and rather boring picture. However, I didn't want to do lots of satin stitch, which is the obvious choice to fill in some of the petals. My experience with satin stitch these days tends to be one step forward and two steps back as I spend so much time unpicking since my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be!


I'm rather pleased with the substitutes that I have chosen. The purple flowers are outlined in stem stitch then filled in with French Knots. Not every bit of the petals is filled, but there are enough knots to give the impression of solid colour and as a bonus there is some added texture.

For the flower centres, I worked a spiral in stemstitch which filled the space nicely. For the calyx on the bud, there is a backstitched outline with running stitches inside.


Normally I might have worked buttonhole or fly stitch for the leaves, but they had large veins which gave a good coverage inside the leaf. A darker green backstitch, then a running stitch inside the edge gives enough impression of colour to keep it interesting.

The small pink flowers are edged in chain stitch and on some of them I added a stem stitch outside the chain in a lighter or darker pink. So that's my new take on old embroidery. I hope to soon put it back in the cupboard for another 'rainy day' as I have a new pattern floating around and I'm very keen to open my new Valdani threads!


My grandson drew me this lovely echidna - 'Curled up and Content'. I put the stitchery on the front of a needle case. One of my Facebook friends has sent me a photo of one she has stitched and placed on the front of a bag. 



The pattern is in Patchwork & Stitching magazine, Vol 17 No 8:


I've put a couple of new patterns in my Craftsy Store:

 Don't get my Tail Wet here

and Black Beauty quilt here.

I'm hoping to tick a lot more jobs and appointments off the list this week so that I can finally get back to opening the sewing machine and putting pencil to paper for a new design! I'm so thankful that finally our phone issue has been sorted out. It was rather weird calling our home phone number and it being answered by a complete stranger!!! It took 22 days, 14 phone calls and 264 minutes of hanging on the end of the mobile phone, so you can imagine the relief to finally have our home phone working again. I'm sure it was an answer to prayer as I asked two people specifically to pray about our problem last week and within a couple of days we had results! Should have done that three weeks ago!!!

Val







Sunday, April 24, 2016

Quick cutlery holder

At our 50th wedding anniversary party last week, we had a sit-down dinner in our home with some of our friends. We had three tables to accommodate 25 of us. Rather than trying to put lots of dishes on the tables and passing them around between three tables so that everyone could help themselves, I decided to lay them out on our servery. That way, everyone could walk past and serve themselves from each dish and then sit wherever they liked at the tables.


I thought it would be easier if the cutlery was also available from the servery. I was going to wrap the knives and forks in the serviettes but I have seen cutlery slipping out or people dropping them using this method, so I wanted to come up with something that was a bit more substantial.


My answer was a wallet to hold the serviette and knife and fork. They were super easy to make. I used some pretty cards that were already scored for folding. They measure 15 x 21 cm (6 x 8¼ inches):


I cut them on the fold line to give two cutlery holders out of each card, then folded them again in half lengthwise. I used the back of the cutting knife to score the card lightly which made them easy to fold:


Then it was over to the sewing machine to sew down the side and across the lower edge. (Reminder to self: Change the needle before you start the next project. It won't be very sharp after all that cardboard sewing!)


Then it was on to the serviette folding. I folded it diagonally to give me a centre crease line, then opened it up and folded the side edge into the centre crease:


The other side was then folded to the centre crease to match:


 All it needed then was to fold the side again into the centre:


and the other side to match:


Then they could all be popped into their cutlery holder:


I stood them up in a pretty pot and had some sweet comments about how great and practical they were ... and they looked good too!

After all the party preparations, it was lovely to spend a relaxing week away with our local bird-watching club enjoying the wonderful Australian bush, with plenty of sunshine and lots of birds that we don't normally see, so no sewing to show you!

PS - Photo at the top is our second Anniversary Cake - we know how to celebrate!!!

Val