Monday, September 26, 2011

The book I am "doing"

I love books and purchase quite a number every year. I have realised that I often read a book and think I can do all the things described in the book. If I do not experiment with this information I do not not really know if I can do it. I often think of other ways to do it- or I take short cuts.

The book I am "doing" now is Pat Holly and her sister Sue Nickels's book "Raw Edge Applique". How wonderful to read a book from such experts. Their regular prize winning quilts make it clear that they are real masters. What is so wonderful is that many books might give patterns and designs but then the essential information to guarantee success is often lacking. Not so in the book of these two sisters. They share all the little secrets showing step by step how to turn sharp and inside corners when using the blanket stitch.

A valuable statement they made was: One do not have to think because you are working with the machine that you need to sew at a top speed. When using blanket stitch on small circles one often need to do it stitch by stitch turning after every stitch ever so slightly.
My project after fusing
Unfortunately I try to take a shortcut when cutting the border piece by only marking one quarter on the applique paper and folding it in quarters- big mistake- as you can see with my uneven scallops. It is good to run into trouble- I have learned a valuable lesson- and hopefully will now take notice! Short cuts in Patchwork often lead to unsatisfactory results! The iron dropped some dirty water on my white background. I hope when I completed the project it will wash out.
Here is my nearly completed stitched project. I added the batting before I did the blanket stitch. I like the support the batting give to the stitches and already some textures are created. 

I am impressed with the way some of the many stitches on my machine can make 
wonderful patterns an can be used to add detail to a project.

 I added the birds fringe with machine stitches

The blanket stitch is just lovely.

What fun it was- to be on my own workshop. Thanks to my two wonderful teachers, Pat Holly and Sue Nickels. Now I just need to quilt this.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Redwork or Coral Red?

We are fortunate to have a wide choice of threads to use in our textile arts. I did this redwork in a cotton Mettler thread. When sewn out my daughter mentioned that is actually the new "fashion" colour of Coral red. It has a more matte finish that is also beautiful.

This redwork design was stitched with Isacord thread. Here is some close up detail. These designs are by Enigma Enbroidery at Oregon Patch Works.
I could not resist to sew out this mugs. I arranged the individual mugs in a row and fit it into my Jumbo hoop.

Do one always need an uneven number- or will 4 in a row do?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Priscilla's Star

I want to open a new static page of all the quilts completed this year and then refer to the posts where I showed it's progress. I then realized that I haven't post about some of them for various reasons.

This quilt was started in 2004 in a class taught by Priscilla Bianchi from Guatemala. She brought some hand woven Gautemala fabric and made up kits for this class. This fabric has very interesting patterns and is in wonderful colours. The draw back is that it is loosely woven and thicker than the cotton we worked with. In this Hexagon stars that we made, 6 points is meeting in the middle and the thick fabric made it necessary to be very aware of the direction you press the seams. I heavily starch the fabric before I cut it. The starch prevent fraying and ensure that seams stayed flat after pressing. The Gautemala fabrics are combined with cotton fabric in the stars. The background fabric and border fabric is hand dyed and coloured by Langa Lapu fabrics. The centre star is a commercial print cotton  fabric.

 Although I finished the piecing in 2004 shortly after I took the class, I only quilted it this year. I  took it off the frame in July. I love making a piped binding in the way Ricky Tims do it, but for this quilt I tried another way. Here you combine two strips lengthwise for the binding. The one strip is 1/2 inch wider than the other and then form the Faux piping. The advantage of this and Ricky's binding is that you can machine sew it on- there is no hand sewing and the results is very good.

I always look for quilting patterns that I can do from "My Head" where I do not have to trace a pattern. I choose quilting designs that is continuous so that there is few starts and stops- a potential place where threads can unravel. I have been quilting feathers for so long that I can easily do it from my head- as long as I draw a middle line. The advantage of feathers is;
It is always beautiful
It can fill any space
There is a lot of variations possible
It is elegant
It compress the fabric near the middle of the design and then puff out on the edges, this variation (flat and puffy) make the design interesting and pull the eye over the surface.

So all though it took a long time Priscilla's Stars is completed.
I have used a flannel backing and a wool batting inside. I will use this quilt as a blanket, the cats already start to lay on it. I also made sure that I washed the quilt to get all the starch out. it is now nice and soft and will not be attacked by fish moths.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Confession

I am a devoted blog reader and a lazy blogger. When I read this post- I decided it is time to write again. Thank you dear reader of my blog- without your comments and page views I would have quit long ago. When I began blogging I thought I will do it just for myself to keep a visual record of how I spent my days- and of how my quilts grow- from idea to being quilted.

Well I am sure if you are blogging you know how important feedback is- here I want to thank Liri (have you seen a more beautiful header than Liri's in blogland?)-  your comments are always building my confidence as a blogger- and why have we not see a blog post from you for so long?

I will do the hand piecing tutorial, although nobody have indicated that they are going to join me, in a future post. I have spent a few days with my children at a hot water spring, Goudini- near Rawsonville in the Cape. This gave me lots of time for hand piecing and I completed another 12 blocks.

My embroidery weeks came to an end now with all the heart embroideries completed for this quilt. It is on my design wall- but will have to wait patiently while I work and complete my quilt for the Tri- Nation exhibition. I am scared of the quilt and have found an excuse to put it off till TOMORROW, but tomorrow I am going to work on it.
(To fix a sideways photo-read here)

I also worked on a Blackwork "strip". After I stitched out one block I was so pleased with the results that I want to make a five block string. However I could only fit 2 blocks in a hooping- so it took 3 hoopings. Every time one need to make sure that the blocks are correctly spaced and placed. Hanlie Snyman- our Bernina teacher (The best of the BEST) find this challenge thrilling- that is what make it interesting to her. For me- it is an adrenalin pumping exercise and I do not like adrenaline and what it do to me!

I used Perfection cotton thread that Pam Holland gave to me for the Blackwork and just love the results.

On this redwork piece I used a multicolor pink to red. I liked the background but when it sewed the satin stitches it did not look so good any more. I can try to isolate the satin stitched parts and give it a second colour. Then the background will be this lovely: "Now you see it, Now you don't." Or perhaps I should just make it in red?
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