Thursday, 25 September 2014

Testing 1-2-3

     Well that was a challenging morning.  I've been busy testing the pattern for Grandma's Cupboard quilt and oh what a job!  I now know another good reason to use improv cutting and piecing techniques.   This girl is definitely not a template and seam matching advocate.    After piecing this by machine, and what task that was, this will probably be a paper pieced and hand stitched project.  Did I just say that?  Oh well, I do need a hand stitching task to have when out and about.  Here's a few progress shots.

To give an idea of size - these are almost 2" square

Little by little, they're pieced together

Patience is beginning to wane

Not the perfect piecing job, but together in a fashion

Very finicky corners

At least there is some resemblance 

     Now, the task of looking for fabrics.  I've searched a few places where I thought I might find some similar fabrics, but without success.  Here's the brainwave of the day - get the fabric printed of course.  Now all I need to do is the art work (gasp).  Easier said than done.  Something else for me to explore over the next few days.  Has anyone had their own fabric designs printed yet?  How did it go?

     There hasn't been an idle moment since my last post.  Apart from this mornings activities, I've quilted a few things that have been laying around underfoot.  To rid my consience of guilt for incomplete projects, I got to work and.............

Testing my 'What's All The Fuss?' quilt pattern with a
 different colour for border and sashing 

 'Tidepool' bali-pop
      I'm always excited, but not surprised, to see the results of using different colours for sashing and borders and what a difference it can make to the finished look of a quilt.  There are two more examples of this quilt on my 'It's what I do' page.

     ...............and then there is this one.  A baby quilt using stitch and flip piecing technique just to use up some left overs from another baby quilt.  

I just love the colours in this fabric

Folded and all ready to go
  This is a fabric by Michael Miller called 'Pretty Bird'.  It's is the first time I've used zigzag to finish the quilt edge binding.  It was a little more difficult to control the 'fluting' on the edge, but I got there in the end and I'm pleased with the result.  Now its off to the Goldcoast for a new little Nutt.

Friday, 19 September 2014


     Some days I feel like leaving the cutting and piecing and quilting, then going and doing something else.  This is one of the many things I do when I'm not doing all those fun things in the sewing room.  
     I put together a few special ingredients and create soap.  Yep, cold processed soap, with beautiful ingredients and no chemical additives.  Palm oil free of course.  

Precious ingredients ready to be measured
     This one has olive oil, coconut oil and sunflower oil with a smidge of turmeric for colour and mild exfoliation and calendula petals as healthy bits for skin and pretty colours.  
     Some batches are better than others.  You never know when something will go haywire and oops-a-daisy, there's a catastrophe in the kitchen.  Soooooo many things can go wrong, but yesterday, all went well and I finished the day with a beautiful batch of summery scented soap.

A peep at the soap in the mould doing its gel thing
     The most frustrating time is waiting for the soap to set, anytime between twelve and twenty four hours unless its a pure olive oil soap, then it could take up to forty eight hours. Once the wait is over, the reward is cutting into the block and smelling the beautiful fragrance of the essential oils.  And then we get this. 

Freshly cut soap

     The waiting has only just begun.  This has to cure for another eight weeks or more before I can use it.  Luckily I have more on hand from previous soap activities.  I'm in the mood now, so I'll probably make a heap more before the onset of hot weather and just tuck it away somewhere and that should satisfy my soapy needs for a good while, both for use and the urge to make it.  What do you do when not in the sewing mood? 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Dyeing To Tell

For all who think nothing of getting out the  tea or coffee and having a good dyeing session (and a cuppa while you work), this is probably no news to you.  Yesterday, I need to tone down a fabric one or two shades to make it a little murkier than it was.  I had a brain wave and what's more, I came out unscathed.  This was a chance discovery by using a kitchen saucepan for the job.  Not normally a good idea to use kitchen pots for dyeing, but its only tea, no chemicals in sight and the fabric had been well washed.  After preparing the tea and plunging the fabric, it was reluctant to stay submerged.  What to do?  The brainwave - this saucepan has a steamer!  Into the pan it went and held the fabric under the solution perfectly.

                                    Fabric in the tea solution and, fully submerged   

Here is the result

The original orange colour to the left and the result after dyeing on the right.  This is the most successful tea dyeing I've done to date.  Previous attempts have had an uneven motley appearance.  So Happy!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Patterns constructed

So, I managed to get as far as drawing up the design late last week.  At first, I thought to go from the outside and work in, like we usually do once we establish the size of the block.  It all seemed a bit too difficult until I decided to try using metric instead of imperial measurements and work from the inside out.  Hey presto!  Everything just slotted into place.  I figured it must have been designed and made in Europe somewhere, probably France or Italy I would suspect.  It took a lot of concentration and careful drawing skills.  
The next decision was how to piece it all together.  It didn't seem like it would work as a square block so lots of discussion and brainstorming with some quilting friends and best option so far is to piece it as an octagon.  

Today I was able to complete the patterns and get the templates cut from plastic.  Of course I will be testing the patterns and construction method with a few pieces out of the scrap box.  It should be quite and interesting process stepping out the procedure.  Some of those seem junctions and insets are going to be real doosey's.   I think this calls for step by step photos for the record.  I'm thinking of using freezer paper piecing for the Ohio Star centre.  I love the precision it gives.  After that, I'll just wing it and see how far I get without any snags.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Magic Trick

Early 1900's linoleum design 

Well this is an interesting turn of events.  I always thought my first official blog post (I've been here before and said to self 'narh! not ready for this yet) would be all about modern quilts and how I love to design and make them.  Turns out I'm starting a new project I've had in my mind for some time, to design and make a quilt about a cupboard. Now I know you're all thinking 'what is she thinking?  It's a special cupboard I have inherited and has passed down through family from my Grandmother. It's special, not only because it was hers, but this cupboard has been in my Mother's kitchen too, and my Dad's farm shed for a while.  Now it resides in my kitchen.  One of the really special things about it was what I discovered on the inside.  Apart from being made from recycled packing crates (I'll have to take photos to show you), about two years ago I found some linoleum lining the shelves. From my research, I've worked out this linoleum must be about 100 years old, but it gets better.  The design is patchwork. Fancy that!  So my magic trick will be to miraculously turn the linoleum design into a living, breathing pattern and ultimately a quilt of some sort. I will have to get my head around the design first and it's going to be a little tricky, but here goes.  Come with me on my journey as I create this quilt