Tuesday, December 31, 2013

BOM 12 - Turnaround

Collection 12

The first free BOM for 2014 is Turnaround, which is one of the easier blocks with only thirteen pieces. The choice of fabric reminds me of a firestorm in the wind blowing round and round with sparks flying out everywhere. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Collection 2- Where Did That Name Come From?

Rice Pickers
Rice Pickers was made when Paul and I were travelling through Asia and we drove past these rice fields. I had never seen anything so lush and was amazed at where the rice could be grown. I always thought it had to be grown in large flat areas, as it needed constant, or regular flooding. You can tell by this comment that agriculture was not a subject I excelled at... or was awake for.
It appeared to be up the side of what had once been an almost vertical hillside.
The villagers had cut away at the sides of this small mountain/huge hill and terraced it entirely.
Although there were no rice pickers at the time the large triangles in this block reminded me of those old straw hats we saw being worn in old time TV shows and movies.

Crème de Chantilly
It was 2009 and we were visiting Paris to see our eldest son who was studying there. It had been 18 months since we had last seen him and it coincided with Paul's birthday. PJ bought a birthday cake complete with Chantilly cream, a favourite in Paris. The colours and design reflected the cake and its decorations. Our household has never worried about pink for girls and blue for boys.

A Merry Christmas
We have a star on our Christmas tree that we bought before children. Like us it is a little more worn at Christmas but still there in pride of place. Christmas has always been for Paul, aka the elf, the most special of times so I designed this block to reflect our Christmas star.

I remember watching a news item about the Sydney Mardi Gras and seeing the floats pass by. I found the costumes and colours used amazing and so flamboyant. I tried to show the swirling and activity of those costumes in this block.

Cafe Crème
Our local cafe makes a very good cappuccino and I would go there every Saturday after my Pilates class with some of my classmates. This block was named after our regular outing.

Not Here Thanks
On the way to Sydney we pass through a suburb with a huge Nuclear Free Zone sign. One of our boys at the time said if there were bombs dropped would that mean they were not allowed to land here? Older child said how do they get the nuclear medicine to hospitals if they are not allowed to come through here.  Out of the mouths of babes as they as they say.
So the spaces on the block surrounding the nuclear symbol represent this attitude of ’Not here thanks.’

I Love Lucy
This was one of my favourite TV shows as a child. I always saw Lucille Ball as being surrounded by many people all of whom loved her.

Monday, December 16, 2013

What a Difference Colour/Fabric Makes

WOW doesn't the change in fabrics change the whole appearance. compare Carol's two blocks just below with the collection beside.
OK I assume you can easily find my Stringing Away block in the collection to the left but being honest, how long did it take you to work out which of my blocks is Bamboozled. It took me a while. That's the thing with Raconteur a small change can result in quite a change.
C35 Bamboozled

C35 Stringing Away

The blocks are easier to find this time round although I would still guess that it wasn't a walk in the park as they say.
Carol has used an amazing selection of fabrics and it will be something to see when it is totally finished. I am sure that task also won't take her as long as it took me. she has only been working on Raconteur for twelve months and I am positive she is past the half way point.
C32 Kew Gardens
C32 Sunburnt Traditions

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Don't You Just Love Points?

C31 Tinkle  of the Keys
Carol uses a large variety of colours in her blocks as well as conversation prints. I am always amused at the secondary idea one gets from the fabrics she uses.
At the time of designing Tinkle of the Keys I enjoyed using incomplete shapes and so made the hearts in four sections. Here Carol uses a background of heart fabric making another play on the background theme.
row 1, cell 3
Must say Carol's English paper piecing method appears to have less bulk in the middle than I remember having with this block. Initially it was to have six of those fine pointed arrows coming to the middle but it had miles too much fabric in the seam allowance. The smaller arrows meant that I could make the middle sit easier.
C32 Stilletoes

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Way to your Heart

C32 Heart's Desire
Funny I never realised how many of my blocks were named after foods. I think I must be a male in disguise as the old saying 'a way to a man's heart is through his stomach' definitely applies to me.

Paul says he still remembers the first time I visited him at his place. We lived about five hours apart at the time and I arrived one Friday night. He had prepared a roast lamb and he said as he watched me devour the lot it reminded him of his father... who also was another example of a person who enjoyed his food:0
C31 Sugar & Spice
C30 Marmalade
I still love food particularly sweets and yesterday made a fantastic apple and ginger marmalade... I wonder which marmalade I had made when I named this block. Mind you the block must have been made around 2009 as that was the year I discovered when a person makes jam/marmalade there is no need to make 100+ jars of it. My mum only ever made plum or nectarine jam and never in quantities less than 100!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Scrapbox Wonders

Carol decided it was time for a clean up in her sewing room and found these three left overs from other projects. Perfect she figured for a few more of her blocks.
Carol is making a king size Raconteur and her preferred layout needs three more collections than the original, so these definitely won't go astray.
For other delightful original blocks by Carol simply click on the 'original' label on the right.. you will adore here angry bird :)
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Scatterday Y

Now isn't that a cute letter Y.  The categories for this week are
# bedroom
# winter
# hot
# and from the sewing room - yahoo!!!! Something that you were/are really pleased you finally finished.  Speaking of finished Y is the final Scatterday letter.
It has been a fun year and there has been some interesting reading in the fortnightly posts. I look forward to checking out the posts for our ultimate week.

Publication day is 7th December...oops better make that 21st December (thanks Vireya for letting me know - some days are just so hectic.. you all know the feeling) . I wonder how many people will be able to make it for this date... thanks everyone for participating .

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Madeleine's First Block

C2 Flamboyance
Madeleine only started sewing her blocks last week and she has already completed Flamboyance. 
Initially she had difficulties because, of all of the blocks to choose to start with, she chose one which had somehow managed to sneak through my tester and unfortunately some of the diagrams needed to be reversed. So of course the pieces wouldn't fit... wouldn't you know it! 
Once she checked with me and I fixed up the diagrams she flew along. Although she  was all thumbs at the start it is obvious that she managed to overcome that. Great block.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Collection 11 - Where Did That Name Come From?

Collection 11
Well Collection 11 must be the most insane collection.  This collection contains about 500 individual pieces! Yet it doesn't contain the block with the most pieces from the entire collections.

these are gorgeous blocks but if you haven't paper pieced before then I strongly suggest you do the exercises in the tutorial I uploaded earlier.
C11 Mandola at Midnight

Don't you just love those little children who hold up an assortment of fingers declaring I'm Three and what could me more enjoyable than a Rose Garden... well a rose garden that is maintained by someone else. I live opposite a TAFE college which taught horticulture. The students practiced on my garden and I enjoyed the fruits of their labour. Carol's blocks I'm Three and Rose Garden
C11 The Rose Garden

Mandola at Midnight - yes I did design this at midnight. I had received QNM just that day but being very busy didn't have the opportunity to read it until bedtime. This became another night of little sleep and so I decided I may as well get up and have a go at designing my own mandola as the directions seemed so easy :)
To read more about this block and also to see Carol's block click here.
C11 I'm Three

Lynn Hewitt is a NSW quilter who teaches throughout the state. At one retreat I attended she taught sashiko and everyone in the class agreed it was a most relaxing pastime.
C11 Lynn  Loves Sashiko

Tall Ships was a variation on a block that I found in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. I can't remember which issue but it was an early one. The original block was an eight point star and didn't resemble ships at all... shows you how poor I am at trying to modify something... new block though
C11 Tall Ships

Hunter's Web was supposed to be a log cabin. If you found you way into this cabin you might not find your way out. Carol's block
C11 Winter Sun

I know there is little Winter Sun apparent in this block but it is what I think the winter sun would be like in the cold northern hemisphere where the sun seldom shines in summer. Carol's  block is a lot brighter.

C11 The Hunter's Web

Saturday, November 30, 2013

BOM 11 - Sashiko Star

Sashiko Star is this month's free BOM.

This design is a traditional sashiko design from rural Japan in the 18th century where women made garments for the family. The stitching was originally designed for strengthening a single layer of fabric or for patching worn clothing or quilting together several layers of indigo dyed fabric for warmth and durability. It was believed that the closer the stitches, the more durable the garment.

In the early days, clothes worn by the common people were made from homespun fabrics woven from the fibres of the paper mulberry, wisteria and hemp. Cotton was imported and went to the nobility.

Because it was time consuming and difficult to make fabric and garments, the people developed ways to recycle fabric and extend the life of their clothes. Once the Sunday best kimono showed signs of wear, it was worn as every day dress, later used as a sleeping gown or shortened to make a jacket. When further worn, the fabric was used as an apron or bag. Eventually, layers of scraps were sashiko quilted together into dust cloths. Another way of extending the life of a garment was to use running stitch to hold layers of patches in place, thereby preserving a well worn jacket or favourite garment. Socks, worn both inside and outside the house, wore out easily. Thus the bottom surface was strengthened with sashiko.

When cotton fabric, softer and easier to sew, became accessible to peasants, winter clothing was created by stitching together multiple layers of clothing with sashiko patterns and more intricate designs became possible. Thus the early geometric stitches which were purely functional now became valued for their decorative qualities and special names were given to the different designs which incorporated traditional Japanese patterns and motifs – pampas grass, hemp leaf, lighting, ocean waves.

By the 18th and 19th centuries, sashiko quilting began to be used for decorative purposes a - wall hangings, table centers, bags - and was no longer exclusively utilitarian. As in many other cultures, the value of a young woman as a bride was predicated upon her stitching expertise.

source http://www.embroiderersguildwa.org.au/

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Charlene & Snippets

C2 I Love Lucy
Early last year I was fortunate to teach Raconteur at the South Coast biannual retreat. For this retreat I chose seven blocks from various collections and combined them into one collection, called Snippets. This was so that I could cover the different techniques in the one class and so cover what I felt might be some of the pitfalls people might encounter. 

C3 Burning Bright
Surprisingly, to me at least, after spending several years making Raconteur I had forgotten how long it actually took me to make those first few blocks. 
C4 Blackberry Freedom
These days I generally make a block in a couple of hours but when I first started it took me the better part of a day and for some blocks even longer. 
 I thought that the students would be able to finish a hand pieced block on the first day, perhaps two if they were experienced and two machine pieced on the second.... oops. 
C6 Crystal Dreams
Most of the students were similar to what I had been at the beginning and so finished one block the first day....because they were good students and went home and worked on it that night. 
C6 Enter With Care

I could definitely do with a few of those conscientious bones some days. Everyone found the second day a lot easier and finished at least one block. One student was even onto her third by the time we had to pack up. I found it a great bunch of students and learn a lot about teaching something so complicated... students will amaze. 
Charlene was in that class and has sent me photos of her finished blocks. She had not made miniatures before and hasn't she made some amazing blocks.
C2 The Rice Pickers
C5 Baby Blue

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tutorial - Foundation Piecing

Well next month there are three of my favourite foundation pieced blocks and so I thought a tutorial wouldn't hurt..... well that was until I tried to make one and discovered that it wasn't as easy to explain as it was to do. So I have done some surfing and hope this helps you. 
I have drawn the foundation papers for the first two videos below if you wish to try them first. 

Gourmet Quilter's Tree
Download them here. I have drawn them in two sizes. The larger size is easier.

When beginning to foundation piece cut your fabric with 1/2in seam allowance on all sides. Even when you are experienced 1/2in is useful if you are covering triangular or strange shaped areas.

Try this video by the Gourmet Quilter first as the shapes are easier as are the sizes.

This is a great video but watch it after the first video.

Connecting Threads
This tutorial is very well presented by Karen Johnson, of Connecting Threads. She teaches you the most common version of Foundation Piecing - usually known as Paper Piecing. Achieve perfect points on tiny blocks with just a few easy tips. Karen recommends the 'add a Quarter Tool' however for the miniature blocks the 'add an eighth ruler is better. Add a quarter is too big for our blocks.

One thing that I would advise you to do those is to NOT trim all of your seam allowances ahead of time. If the fabric slips before you sew it on then you may not have enough seam allowance to fully cover the section where it is needed.

Karen recommends you 
1. you drop your stitch length. She doesn't say how much to drop it but I usually recomend you only drop it by two notches. If you make the stitch length too small it makes it difficult if you make a mistake and need to unpick.
2. change your needle to a heavier or larger size, say size 10. This is to make the perforations larger and so it will make removing the paper later.
3. if you make a mistake and need to unpick a seam use Scotch Magic Tape to cover the mistaken perforated line
4. pressing or at least finger pressing each seam before adding the next seam.

Another video you may like to check out is from  Fons & Porter

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Scatterday C

There is no character from Sesame Street who can compare to the Cookie Monster and this week he gives us the categories
X. Sunday
X.  wet
X. round
X. colourful
All of which are to be published
7th December

Monday, November 18, 2013

Quiltmaker 100 blocks winner

Well have just completed the draw. Hopefully people have won something during the blog hop. Mind you although there were approximately 100 prizes there would have been a few hundred participants. But if you didn't win I am sure you found some interesting blogs in your travels as I did.
The winner from my blog is Dawn Frisch who I have contacted and hopefully will hear back from her shortly.
Thank you to everyone who joined in. It was interesting to see that there wasn't an overall favourite block from the collections which goes to show variety is the way to go.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Scrumbles & Collection 9

Collection 9

Never let it be said that Carol is one dimensional. Not only does she sew but she also knits and crochets as evidenced by the photos here.

On the left we have Collection 9. I think that is her fourth or fifth collection finished so far. Aren't the colours dramatic?

To the right is one of the scrumbles which she made.
I love the whole idea of scrumbles & attempted to teach Mum how to make these when her dementia was impacting on her crafts. Mum's work in earlier years was exquisite & though her eyesight was failing it had not deteriorated so she couldn't see the change in her work. 
She saw the scrumbles as something I would do, but not as something a 'good' craftsperson would do. Oh how wrong. Wouldn't you love one of these? 
Scrumble by Carol

Friday, November 15, 2013

New wash away EPP papers

Well while cruising through yesterday's Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks featured designers I came across what looks like an amazing product...   Hugs ‘n Kisses Appliqué paper which is a 50% soluble natural paper with glue on one side. You can print on it using a bubble jet printer, iron the paper onto your fabric, baste as per normal and whip stitch and then wash away. Helen has the papers precut in certain sizes but also explains about using the paper for printing your own templates.

Check out the post here for a good tutorial, with plenty of photos on how to use it and check out here if you want to buy any.  
Looks like a great product which I will have to try..... will let you know how I go with it... wonder if it is good enough to convert me from regular piecing to an EPP fanatic:)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 8

Well Quiltmaker's latest volume in their popular series 100 blocks is now on available at your local newsagent. If you have been collecting these magazines you won't be disappointed with the latest issue. As before there are appliqué, piecing, foundation piecing and mixed techniques and all of these are new original blocks.
Patrice's Gift
My block, Patrice's Gift uses a mixture of foundation piecing and regular piecing... and it is an easy block ..but takes a little more fabric than one might assume:) 
Read my blog post below to find out how you can win your own copy of this great magazine thanks to the generosity of Quiltmaker.
For more chances to win copies make sure to visit the other designers who are featured in this week's blog hop. They are all listed here.
Quiltmaker also is giving out fantastic prizes every day to both local (American) and international (that's us) visitors. So don't forget to leave a comment here ... and there is always a special major prize on the final day.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

100 Blocks Inspiration & Competition

Well I have been very fortunate to have another of my blocks chosen for the latest Quiltmaker 100 blocks and through Quiltmaker's generosity you have the chance to win your own copy of the magazine. Details at the end of this post.

Lately many of my ideas have been a follow on from the Raconteur quilt and this block is no exception. Although all of the Raconteur blocks are hexagonal it doesn't take too many errors to change it to a square block and Patrise's gift is no different.

As for the name... well I had pulled out fabric from my stash and took it with me on a weekend's retreat. I thought I had more than enough fabric but found that I didn't have enough of the red to do the last triangle. No matter that it was a small triangle I didn't have it. I put a call out to one of my online quilting groups and Patrise sent it to me.

Initially I planned for the block to simply stretch out from the centre in four directions but wasn't too excited by the block that resulted.

Next I tried simply spinning the triangles around and still thought it could be improved.
I had been looking at some perspective drawing and then tried to encompass that idea into my design... Patrise's Gift was the result.

As you may guess red was not my first plan for the colour. 
Once I worked out my block design the next bit was to find a design that would work with it it.

The central medallion was easy as I thought it was perfect way to showcase the blocks and they were active enough to carry the middle
That left two considerations -  the corners and the area surrounding the medallion.

The first two pictures showed the two possible ways to slope the blocks and although I initially thought all going the same way was boring, the alternative was too disjointed.
I still however thought that the corners were too heavy and so to lighten it I took the outer strips from the block and simply made the centre block and framed it in plain fabric.
This was definitely the best choice.
Initially I had placed four of the triangle centres around the medallion to fill in the space as I am a piecer and not an appliquer. However when I added borders etc there was too much action and no where for the eyes to relax or focus so I removed them.

The plain areas would be perfect for detailed quilting - I'm only just beginning on my machine quilting experience:)

So why have I cut off the corners? So that the quilt can be turned around in all directions on the bed and so equalise or minimise fading due to the sun. Also it means that the corners don't hang lower that the rest of the quilt when on the bed.

Each month another free BOM is uploaded and also a new collection is on sale from the Raconteur Collection here.
For a chance to win your own copy of volume 8 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks simply leave your name and the colour of the block you like best from this collection which will be January's featured collection.
A name will be drawn next Saturday. Make sure that there is some way that I can contact you. I'm sorry but anonymous comments are just that anonymous and there is no way of tracking you down.
Good luck.