Tuesday, 21 February 2017

A little bit of excitement

I was lucky enough to get to the local quilt shop on the first day of their Wideback sale! Yay!!

I found this smashing print for the Diamond Hill basket and on point squares....  I even got enough for the binding.... it looks perfect....
 
And I thought I could add a little more to the collection for the two Esther quilts...



Two Tula Pink snail fabrics for fussy cutting leaves for Alice's garden...

A big rabbit print for the white rabbit with a watch....


A couple more fairy frosts and shimmers for Diamond Hill - yes... yellow and pink will be a welcome addition...

This whacky black and white print hurts the eyes to look at it, but it's going to be wild flowers in the Secret Garden, with so much movement, and a little bit more Fairy Frost in other colours..

because it just glows... and I think the more choice I have when stitching flowers, the easier it will be to choose the fabrics that make a zing.

I also found backings for these two quilts... such a great find! everything is coming together! Now all I have to do is sew!


Sunday, 19 February 2017

A Quilter's Diet

As I am hand stitching with silk thread onto this (very large) applique block from Esther's Secret Garden BOM, I have recently felt it is getting heavier and heavier.


I've never made an applique block this big before. (it's currently approximately 20in x 30in). Nor have I used this technique with Crisp spray starch, nor have I basted pieces onto the background with clear gum before. All of these things add a little bit of weight.

The weight in the block is increasing as I stitch... and I have been basting on more pieces as the stitching progresses....it's not all the weight of the silk thread.

I think I've enjoyed handling the block most of the time in its skinny format (less pieces). It's only now that it's almost finished that it's really feeling quite heavy. Even then, I probably only really notice it's heavy when I'm folding it up to go into a plastic box to keep Bub's (possibly) sticky fingers off it.... he's into EVERYthing that is not his.  I'd definitely make my next blocks in the same way. Decide on some fabrics... prepare pieces... start stitching.... decide on some other fabrics while sewing....

I am wondering if I have a kitchen scale sensitive enough to weigh the block before it's washed, and again afterwards. (It will be hand washed to remove the green markings, the Crisp spray starch and the clear gum baste.) And how much do you think it would drop in weight? What if it became 10% or 20% lighter, just by giving it a good swish in water.

What a great quilting diet that would be. Swish me in the water to remove 10% or 20%.  Four showers today please. Hee hee.

Although it's a mystery, I know the finished quilt measures about 80in x 80in. The first block might be only a few grams lighter after a wash, but what about over the entire quilt? Hee hee. Half a kilogram? Well, who knows.... I guess it is a mystery quilt after all.

Some people probably prepared all the pieces before they started stitching. Wow. That's really not me. I'd be bored standing at the ironing board (or in my case kicking the cat off the freezer where I've put a towel to iron on) for hours on end. And then whole time they've stitched, holding a large piece of fabric with little pieces all over it in all directions! Besides that, this Mumma has to be a sneaky ninja using any scraps of time that come along. Sometimes it's for applique preparation, and sometimes it's a few moments sitting in the air conditioning hand stitching. *ahhhhhhhh*

When you're sewing in the outdoor kitchen in Far North Queensland Summer, you share that kitchen sewing space with toads, frogs and insects, 2 cats and a dog,  and sometimes 40 degree heat... Oh! and the family that prepare and eat meals there.... It's mostly the insects and the family that choose when I get to use the kitchen sewing space.

Just two or three pieces left to prepare and glue baste, and almost all of the stitching is done.

Then, it's time to embellish the block in my own way following my Alice in Wonderland theme.

photo from original Alice in Wonderland movie

Ooh! I hope I get to make bread-and-butter-flies somewhere in the quilt!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Begin at the beginning

It's been a very exciting time putting together the first block for Esther's Secret Garden Mystery BOM.

So much is going through my head. I've been collecting quotes and pictures from Alice in Wonderland. I'd really like to watch the Tim Burton film again, although I found it quite strange at the time, I would look for different things this time around.

I've been on Etsy and bought more wild fabric (Tula Pink) for the leaves and flowers, and I've decided to stitch a quote from the book (or film) onto each block.

I think this first block will have the quote embroidered: "Begin at the beginning... and go on till you come to the end: then stop." 

I think it's particularly funny because it's the kind of quilt where I may need to be told to stop... hee hee. One can keep adding and adding sometimes.

This photo shows the auditioning of fabrics for the bow, key and basket outline.

I am liking the stripe at the bottom which pulls in the red flowers and the green stems. The spotty ribbon seems to be working, it is connecting the purple and pink in the leaves, and I have some Fairy Frost in purple for the keys to try out too.

The flowers are mostly red, but you can see where one white flower was being painted red (as in the book). The rose bud was painted red, and it burst open a bit more exposing the original white colour underneath.

Here is another picture from the original movie. The flowers are really very exciting.

Today at the Sunlit Blooms sit n sew morning I hand-stitched away. It doesn't feel like there is so much to do anymore.

Exciting day as Esther has released block number 2 of Diamond Hill. Go to her blog to download the free pattern, as it will come down when the next one goes up on the 15th of next month.

Ooh yes, it's a full time job keeping up with 2 large hand appliqued BOMs!! On another note, I've made a decision that it's been more than 2 weeks since my birthday and my sister hasn't even sent me a card yet (she lives 3,000km away, so fair enough for not visiting), but I think I'm going to keep the Christmas Redwork quilt for my family and give her something a bit less time consuming for her birthday.  Surely us quilters are allowed to keep some of the quilts we've made for ourselves? And, it means I don't have to finish it by mid May in order to get it to her in time. More time for my applique quilts. Yay!

Linking up to Esther's blog for WOW.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Friendly flowers

I've been working solidly on preparing the flowers for the first Secret Garden block.



I am so in love with the quilt! My head is dancing with ideas!

This picture from the Disney movie Alice in Wonderland has inspired me to look at where I could stitch faces onto my flowers.

Holding an iron solidly for a few hours I had a bit of a twinge in the wrist, which made me think it's time to do something else. There will be no flower preparation today.

None of the flowers are stitched on yet. The evening has been dedicated to the Red Brolley stitcheries.

This stitchery is complete. The block has two more stitcheries on it, and I am half way through the second one.

Today is the next reveal day for Project Quilting, so I will pop over there and get some inspiration.

Have a wonderful week everyone! Happy Monday!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Oh Alice!

This morning it was my plan to prepare the flowers for the first block of the Secret Garden mystery BOM.

This process includes: tracing pattern onto freezer paper; cutting out freezer paper pieces, iron onto appropriate fabric; cut out fabric piece; brush starch onto seam allowance; fold around freezer paper and iron to set; remove freezer paper; glue baste turned under fabric pieces onto background.

And so... after this mammoth effort... I didn't like what I had done.

 Ack! The flower fabric was just too busy, and it wasn't clearly distinguished from the background fabric.

I felt a bit down for a while... because by the time I realised these fabrics were wrong, the three local shops I rang were already closed for the weekend, and the shop most likely  to have what I want re-opens Tuesday. *sigh*

I rang some quilty girlfriends, who were at a 10am-10pm quilting marathon (woah!), of course... and even though they were 3,000km away, it was lovely to hear about their projects, and hear their sympathy for the lost hours on the flowers this morning...

Rather than drown in puddles, I went off to do the grocery shopping, and afterwards just as the keto vegetarian lasagne was in the oven (now that cooking process is as detailed as the one I outlined above), it came to me that I might be able to try some fabrics from the Diamond Hill quilt stash. Ooh!

I am so grateful for the online quilting community. I posted the photo above onto Esther's BOM facebook page, and the comments were so encouraging. They loved the leaves, and could see the look I was going for.. and now... I have made this flower. Just one this time. Heh heh.



While I was glueing it down, it came to me that the leaves I've already used are very Alice in Wonderland... and I felt that these bright reds were like the white roses painted red in the story for the Queen of Hearts... now I am thinking of all the wacky plants and animals in that garden, and I am so excited to have Wonderland as my inspiration for this quilt! Who would have thought it would come to be while I was doing the first block? Ooh! That is a priceless discovery.

At least one of these flowers needs to be white, or partially painted red with the paint dripping. Perhaps some faces on the flowers too... eyes maybe...

And the thorns on the stems will be either red or cream in the fairy frost.

p.s. this is the Holy Tula fabric. Can you see where I cut the leaves out?

Friday, 10 February 2017

Leaf it with me

There are a lot more  leaves on the first block of Secret Garden than first glimpsed.


Everything shown on this block is now stitched down.

Because the block is so big, the  applique pieces look relatively easy. But once you start cutting, starching and glueing, there really are a lot of pieces!

By tonight, I am hoping to have all the leaves cut out and glued on so that I can play with flower fabric choices.

The next block of Diamond Hill is due to be released in about 5 days. I have a feeling that I am going to keep up with the preparation of the appliques of both quilts, even if I don't keep up with the monthly stitching every month. That's ok. Diamond Hill goes for 7 months, and some of that looks like machine piecing.

By the end of the year, I would love to have Diamond Hill completed, and a few of the quick kids quilts on my finished quilts list. I can totally see it happening!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

How does your garden grow?

It's wonderful the way we can plan to make a block or quilt in a particular colourway, but as we are sewing, the fabrics speak to us, and take us in different directions. Especially when we are looking at the fabrics for so long, as we do when we are stitching by hand.

For instance, who could know that buying these pieces of Kaffe Collective and Tula Pink fabrics would take me in such a different direction to the original plan of orangey red flowers for the first block of the mystery quilt Secret Garden?




Oh! Tula! And this local fabric shop has ordered the whole range of Tabby Road. *happy sigh*
I see fussy cut applique in gorgeous bright colours.

I had decided to try a new (for me) technique of applique while making Esther's new BOM "Secret Garden".

I've been using the freezer paper method of needleturn successfully for about 15 years. It was my favourite. Then, after not sewing much in the last 2 years I just jumped in to Esther's free BOM "Diamond Hill" using the same technique... but I was out of practise.... and sometimes my leaf didn't even touch the stem after it was stitched down.... and sometimes my silk thread caught around the pins while I was sewing, which was annoying... and sometimes I didn't get the placement of the piece in just the right place.

The last of which, if I recall correctly, is why I didn't start her previous BOM full of very intricate cakes and sweet treats. My eyes goggled just looking at the first block.

There are tutorials on Esther's blog for freezer paper and Floriani stitch and wash fusible. They both looked sooo fiddly, I didn't want to try them before. But, I think while I am making a quilt to celebrate my 20 years of quilting anniversary (Secret Garden), I should try to do my best work.

And so, I took another look at the tutorials. I have soo much freezer paper already, and a whole roll of the Floriani stuff is probably about $40 (I might not even like the technique, what to do with $40 of product?), so I thought I would try the freezer paper with painted starch (I used Crisp from the supermarket), and baste the pieces onto the background with a washable glue (I bought the Burrows brand from Officeworks for $4).

Deciding to try out my new Tula fabrics for fussy cut leaves was not even questioned.

Part way through I started to trace the leaves with an indication of the directions of the leaf veins. It was much easier than an arrow to indicate the direction of the pattern.

Now the first stems and leaves are stitched on, I am happy to say I enjoyed the applique. It happened more quickly (obviously, as I wasn't turning and pinning and holding with 6 fingers while I sewed).

I am pretty happy with the way the 3 leaves met in the centre. Yes! Accurate placement!

Progress report on technique:

*Already discovered to place the glue only on the turned under seam, or the fabric is too hard (but it is fully washable glue).

*Still experimenting with how much starch to use. Started preparing more stems and leaves, and happy with the progress.

I am definitely not the kind of girl that bastes everything down, then stitches. I would be bored preparing for hours (and yes, it probably is hours) on end. For me this will be rolling sessions of preparation, basteing pieces and stitching.

I wonder what colour the flowers will be now.

This is soo fun!!

Linking up with Midweek Makers. Check out what everyone else is making.