Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Quilt Rack

Some of us might put our finished quilts away in a cupboard so they don't  become ravaged by light, bugs, children and pets (unless you have a sneaky cat that will find your quilts no matter where you try to hide them). Me, I like to put them on show. I'm proud of what I do and I love all the colour they provide. They're extremely handy on chilly evenings too, or if I'm in need of a snuggle up (usually watching a good movie or two).

Mr G and I had a little construction session last weekend and ended up with a quilt rack. I posted a photo on Face Book. Now, with the extraordinary response to that, I'll show you what we did and give you some measurements if you have the inclination to do one for yourself.

The item in question fitted with said quilts

After recent violent storms we were lucky enough to have a huge amount of building material to select from. This is green timber (eucalyptus species - hard wood) much easier to work with when its green than when its dry. You'll need to research how to work with green timber if you haven't used it before, there are a few tricks and I'll leave it to the experts to give you the tips. The key to the success of the rack is to select reasonably straight timber, but still have enough shape to add interest and to be able to fit each piece into place. A tip when collecting your timber, you'll need twice as much as you think you do, because of the variations in shape of each piece. Select timbers approximately 40mm in diameter. 

Measurement and construction guide

Here's a few more photos to help with construction.

The ends of each 'stick' were bevelled before we started construction.
I use a shave horse and draw knife. It can also be done using
a rotary disc sander. All smaller branches were trimmed off.

A frames secured at the top and by the lower cross bars.
Construct the the A frames. We used countersink tech screws for all the joins. Each join was pre drilled first. Where we could, the screws were drilled from the inside of the frame to make them less obvious. Leave enough space above the cross-over for the top hanging bar to fit into.  Set the A frame in place by attaching the lower cross bars.

The completed quilt rack

The upper end cross bars need to be level. Choose your straightest sticks for these pieces.
When positioning the hanging bars, roll the sticks around until the top side of them is level. This is important, otherwise the quilts will not sit straight. It is of no concern that these sticks may be slightly curved sideways. Once everything is together, tidy any sharp or rough points with a course sand paper. 
Note: this is not as easy as it may seem, I have worked with 'sticks' for a few years now. It will take (and test) your patience. The job is much easier if the builder has an assistant. Clamps just won't do on a job like this. 

Good luck everyone, I hope to see lots of photos too.


Friday, 1 May 2015

Seven Sisters Quilt

Clear blue sky - perfect for star gazing
This is a quilt I made early last year, but until now, was too far away to give it a photo shoot. I made it for my sister, the star gazer. The design takes the form of the constellation (well, close to it anyway) by the same name, otherwise known as 'Pleiades'

It was a challenge activity for my local patchwork group. We swapped eight fabrics and then we could add another eight and a background. I received a collection soooooo.... opposite to what i would use, then the challenge was on. In introduces some modern fabrics including this delicious Robert Kaufman ombre as my background. Who says you can't use traditional fabrics in modern quilts anyway?

I treated each fabric as if it were a solid and looked at the overall contribution it gave to the design. From then on, it was easy enough to work each fabric into the design using my trusty design wall. 

Each star was constructed using foundation paper piecing. It gives such perfect shapes, particularly when some of them are so small.

Some of the stars were a star in a star in a star. Not satisfied there where enough stars, I then proceeded to free motion quilt hundreds of them as an all over quilt design in the background after stitching the spirals over each star block.

I was pleased with the result and happy to say, so was my sister. It now hangs in her living room with a view to the stars of the night sky.