Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Work on Wed 23rd Aug - Couldn't Resist

Hi Everyone,
Hand is feeling much better so have had lots of time in the sewing room this week. was going to stitch my butterfly wings but the Kaffe Fasset version of Esther's new BOM stopped me in my tracks, it looked so vibrant. Country Dawn where we meet for sit and sew on Thursdays has a range of KF fabrics so was sure I would find some that appealed as I always admire them as I walk past them to where my favourite fabrics are, BUT I pulled them out and tried my cut out vase template on them so I got a clear picture of how my vase would look and nothing grabbed me. Maybe I am just not a KF person, would explain why none in my stash.
Moving to the brights that I do like, one that I have looked at several times jumped out at me and as soon as I put my template on it, that was it I had my vase fabric..

Had looked at their website and knew which sky fabric I wanted, from the Winds and Waves collection for Wilmington prints. Most sky fabrics have too much blue or are too clearly defined clouds and sky for me but this one is like an early morning sky with soft puffy pinks and blue  with touches of yellow and lavender, in other words totally me.
Tried several different fabrics for the frames hoping I would find one with the look of timber like the picture or a neutral that was the right tone for with the sky fabric. Only one I loved was a brickwork pattern, not what I had hoped but it was soft and the perfect shade so went with it.

All set and ready to start as had added in some vegetable fabrics and some batiks with stronger patterns than I normally choose along with a perfect fabric to fussy cut for my flowers

Had called in at Northland Bernina earlier in the morning to see what they in KF fabrics, they didn't stock them but this fabric jumped out and tapped me on the shoulder saying take me home. Didn't need to be asked a second time, the colours were so divine.

Spent the afternoon at a girlfriends where I prepped my pattern and traced all my petals onto fusible web ready to make a start the next day

Everything numbered and ready to go.

Following the pattern I cut my sky blocks then all my border strips from the brick fabric. When I looked at the strips for the horizontal border - absolute horror - the pattern was so so NOT straight on the fabric.

This was not going to work, luckily I hadn't cut my templates for the block but I was eating into my fabric and if I recut these strips would I have enough fabric plus had already cut the lengthwise strips so no longer had full width of fabric either
Decided to go ahead and cut my templates for the blocks, lining up my template to the pattern and not the straight grain and it worked, they looked fine though knew would have to be careful handling the fabric so it didn't distort. Left an inch seam allowance top and side to help with this as well.

Stitched, the fabrics look great together and the brickwork pattern is very soft looking
and doesn't stand out unless you look closely.

From the fabric I had left I recut strips for the borders again following the pattern not the grain, took time over matching the joins which I now had to have, unless I buy more fabric, still thinking about this but with the degree of crookedness am probably better with joined lengths.

These I can live with.

Time for the flowers, no idea what they would look like so just kept looking back at the right side and placing a petal where the colours looked right trying not to place numbers next to each other on the same colour. then came the fun of putting together and seeing the finished flower. this is the second large flower but all made the same way.

baking paper to build my flower on

Outer petals placed first

Second ring in place

Third round

Last three petals

Centers with the splash of green bring it to life.

I didn't think it would look this good'

Used my artichoke fabric for the leaves, the deeper batik for the stems and had the block fabric with gold metallic lines for the vase in my stash. After taking this photo realised I had put the bottom dark strip on the wrong side and hadn't cut out the vase for the flower that went over it.

Traced a template for the flower onto freezer paper and then cut it out quarter inch inside the lines, placed it in position and marked it onto the vase, was able to ease up my vase to be able to cut the fabric away.

First flower stitched.

Used my favourite small blanket stitch for all my stitching. Thread is mettler variegate in pinks, mauves and yellow which has added definition to the petal edges but blends with the fabrics at the same time. For the centers I used a Maderia green metallic to bring out the green even more, still thnking about some extra stitching in the centers but will try on a sample first.
leaves and stems are also stitched with variegated thread for softness.

Same threads for all flowers and a black / gold metallic for the vase

So happy with this block

I didn't need another project but this block is now one of my all time favourites and I can't wait for next month, am already thinking colours. It is only eight day till the next part of Secret Garden is released so time to do some stitching on Hexit ready for next month and really should do some quilting on Diamond Hill as well so my days will fly by.

Enjoy your stitching everyone,
Cheers Jenny

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Catch up time, again.

Hi everyone,
Nearly a month since I blogged, time has flown and not sure why but just haven't felt like sitting at the computer for any length of time. Fine days which have been few and far between found me outside trying to bring order to the garden ready for spring. Unfortunately though my thumbs took a hammering so was back to the doctor a couple of weeks ago for another cortisone injection as was struggling with prepping any stitching as well. Now that the cortisone has kicked in am back in the groove once again.
Before my hands packed up I got D Hill pin basted and made a start on quilting but hasn't been touched for last few weeks. Hearts Desire has been named  "The Ties that Bind" and will be going to  the Auckland Festival of Quilts in November, at present it is covering the spare bed and I am just enjoying seeing it finished.
Decided to play with a fun pattern I have had for a while but wasn't sure what fabric to use for it

In my stash found a fabric, though not a quilting fabric that I had bought because I loved the hydrangea colours and couldn't resist it.

 It's woven so has lots of texture and also shimmers so really appeals to me.

Not a good fabric for fussy cutting as no real definition so thought would try another technique and just trace the whole wing pattern onto fusible and see what resulted.

The wing background is the same purple as I used in D Hill and really pleased with how the colours flow.

Shows the fabric texture a little better.

Different wing stitched with a dark multi colour mettalic.

Have two wings stitched and two more ready to stitch so have started looking at backgrounds and again want to use my stash, this time an unbacked drape fabric that has been waiting for the right project, just have to decide which side to use.

No rush to decide but tending towards the lighter right side but
the wrong side has lots more texture.

My 16 Secret Garden blocks for August are completed though it took a while prepping them as my thumbs were at their most painful then. The little centers were so fiddly to cut out and kept dropping them while getting them in place but got there in the end.

Used a darker version of the fabric I used the previous month and made life easier by cutting my leaves as one piece and using my stitching for the definition.

Both my stems and the leaves are stitched with variegated threads, finding myself loving the softness I am getting from them and with the leaves it is hard to even see the stitching.  Centers are stitched with my favourite Maderia metallic No3 soft gold.
Have been concerned from the start that I won't have enough of my background fabric as with my reduced size should need 4 meters and only have 3.6 so changed this month to my second fabric.
It is a little darker but the same shade as the deeper tones in my block backgrounds so think it will work. Will use it for everything that looks like it is a border and just hope I don't need to remake those 40 little blocks at the end.
Here's how my design wall looks, can't bear to take it down as loving how it is developing.

Sooo in love with this pattern.

Yesterday the quilting group met and it was time to see how everyone had got on making their diamonds for Hexit and to work on trimming and stitching them into hexagons. So many fantastic diamonds had been made we divided into a production line of trimming, pinning, stitching  and pressing with others making up even more diamonds.

By lunchtime sixteen hexagons complete and we could get an idea of how it is going to look. So many different scraps and it is looking amazing. End of the session and twenty eight hexagons made, only ten to go so next month we will be stitching rows together.
This pattern by Esther is working beautifully as a group project and has been a great introduction to foundation piecing for some of the ladies as well.

Today I really should do some quilting on DHill but know that once I link to Esther's WOW for this week I will be printing out the new free BOM that she released yesterday and studying the pattern. I don't need another project but am finding it very hard to resist since seeing the Kaffe Fasset version, don't have any KF fabrics in my stash but am so tempted to buy some for it.
Until next time,
enjoy your own stitching
Cheers Jenny

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Work on Wed 26th July

Hi Everyone,
Have had great couple of weeks in my sewing room as winter is really with us and days have been cold with plenty of rain so no better place to be.

D Hill went together perfectly. Think this is one of the reasons I love working with Esther's patterns, they are precise and if you follow her instructions they go together so well.

Had concerns whether my diamonds on the black border would stand out too much compared to those on the light background but I needn't have worried, they look fine and I am thrilled with how the quilt top looks now it is finished, or nearly as one border still to go so and that concerned me as well. Am using my diamond fabric for both the final border and my binding and although I know it is the right choice am unsure what it will look like (maybe too busy) only way to find out was go ahead and do it so once I got the measurements on it went.
Has to be the right choice has don't have enough of the dark fabric left and can't find any on line.

So far so good. Have cut my fabric two inches wide instead of one and a half as not sure how much fraying it will do while I am quilting it.

Not so sure now
  blends too much, too busy and looks out of balance.

But - it is wider than it will be finished and that may alter how it looks plus folded back to just binding width it looks really good so maybe that is all I am going to need. 

Leaving it how it is until quilting is done to protect the edges of the diamond border while quilting as for me quilting is a slow process.

Spent the weekend after this preparing foundations and cutting fabric for a quilt the group I belong to are making for Hospice to raffle as a fundraiser. Wanted a pattern that everyone could take part in and Esther has kindly allowed me to share Hexit with the group for this purpose.

We were going to go totally scrappy but while in Spotlight I found a good quality fabric on sale, very similar to what Glenda in Aust is using for her diamonds (little dots) so borrowed her idea for unifying the look. Thanks Glenda am also copying you and using the dots for all the points.
Had enough of a dark blue in my stash to cut strips to use for the first strips in each diamond.

Made up packs of ten diamonds plus a sample so everyone could see the look and also an untrimmed diamond so the ones new to foundation piecing could understand what they were to do and these went to our meeting last week. Next month we will trim and mix up the blocks ready to start sewing together. Can't wait to see how the diamonds look as so many different scraps will be used.

With this organised it was time to do more quilting on Hearts Desire as had one candle border to quilt and the backgrounds of all the blocks. With my beginners quilting expected this to take a couple of weeks but maybe it was the terrible weather down south with massive flooding through Canterbury and Otago spurring me on but it only took four days to complete.

Hearts Desire
Thankyou Esther for this pattern which let me express my feelings
Can only say that completing Hearts Desire gives me a real feeling of fulfilment. I always refer to HD as my Christchurch quilt and am not sure yet what name it will have. Two are in my mind at present, Remembrance and Ties that Bind as for me this quilt tells the story of Christchurch and the people who live there. A beautiful garden city destroyed by earthquake with 185 lives lost. So many broken and ruined homes and lives but also so much courage and bravery by so many people. This event has become the ties that bind the people of ChCh together during the ongoing rebuild of a beautiful city.

Linking now to Esther's WOW.

Cheers Jenny

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

5th July Diamond Hill and Secret Garden

Hi everyone,

Have had a great time since my last blog. Part 6 of Diamond Hill was the applique corners and I was ready and waiting with fabrics organised and Esther posted early so was able to do my prep for the first corner at sit and sew on the Thursday.

Mitred and joined my corners first then fused my stems and leaves in place. decided to use a mid olive thread which let me stitch both my stems and leaves at the same time, a huge time saver.
Used two different blanket / buttonhole stitches though to give more definition to the leaves.

Stems were my normal small stitch but changed to one that does a double stitch on the outer edge for the leaves and also used a larger setting.

Kept to my planned colours for the bell flower and the lavender was a $2 scrap that I had purchased on the Thurs, just the right shade. Rethought my orange flower as had changed the cornerstone colours on the last border and the bright orange just didn't work but this multi colour batik did.
Had trouble finding the right center until I tried this red and yellow combo which gave a real pop to it.

Tried out a candy coloured thread for the flower and it worked a treat, stitched with a double stitch and every stitch became a different shade, This is a Mettler thread and just love the short colour changes with their threads. In the center I did two rounds of stitching with the yellow thread and have got a feeling of texture to it.

Happy with my colours.

With the second corner made it was time to add them to the center. Thought about this for a bit and decided to add the corners first but only stitched each side as far down as the first flower then took the diamond panel and checked its positioning as crucial it lined up with the previous border. Diamond panel was cut to size but had left extra length on my applique panel for any adjustment necessary.
Didn't take a photo but used the same method as closing a binding, marking the position of the panel onto the border then cutting with a seam allowance and stitching together at both ends. Checked posotioning of the diamonds and then stitched the seam. 
Couldn't wait to see how it looked so added my vases and the next border.

It went together perfectly using a simiar method to the last border, matching and securing the center and the half square triangle ends before stitching. narrow strips of fusing for this rather than the glue I have seen Esther use on one of her tutorials, also how I did my final placement on the last border.

A quarter inch strip of fusible web pressed to the seam allowance

Seam allowance turned under and border fused into place
Did this for the center and both ends then pinned the rest of the border into place and stitched.

Before I added my border I had a decision to make as when I made my center I used purple triangles at the base of my vase, thought this emphasised the vase shape but as time has gone on it looked more like a mistake so decided to change it. 


Wasn't undoing everything so unpicked the applique stitching I had done from the seamlines and fused a new triangle in place and restitched the edges. Now happy with the center.
Only the last corner to finish stitching and then I can bring DH up to date ready for the 15th.

1st July woke early and went to see what Esther had given us for Part 6 of Secret Garden, not there and it was late afternoon before I finally received it. What a gorgeous block it is, SG is becoming more beautiful as the months go by. Printed out the pattern but no time that night to make a start and in the morning there is an update so very pleased I hadn't started. Printed out the update and made my first block and was so pleased with it.

Very happy with how delicate this looks

Background is a fabric I bought for the modern quilt I have just started, was having trouble finding the right fabric and a piece of this was on the bench and when I tried it just had to use it.

However, there was a niggle that stayed with me espcially after Esther asked on my group photo was I making my block smaller ?   am reducing the pattern but because of the update kept checking and rechecking and it seemed perfect. 4.30am the next morning it came to me, I hadn't used the templates but had traced from the pattern block, which pattern block though!!!
In future will bin incorrect pages immediately as had used the wrong pattern and my applique was a fraction small.

Not a large amount but you can see from the lines that the first block on the right is well inside the lines and the outside curve is a different shape. Not sure if it would really matter but it just might so my first block has been unpicked and remade as am not sure how much background fabric I have to spare.

Blocks added to design wall.
This is how I set up my wall before I started these blocks

Last night I unpicked the bow on block one and changed the colour as it blended in too much with my vase.

Bow is still very soft but has more definition

Would love to be able to keep on working on SG but as am up to date will have to be patient until next month, am linking now to Esther's WOW then will get out my DH corner and work on that.

Enjoy your week everyone,
Cheers Jenny