Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Secret Garden Block One redone

Hi Everyone,
Intended to spend the last week working on my oriental quilt but after finishing the first block of Esther's mystery BOM Secret Garden I started have serious second thoughts about it.
My colouring in before I started was soft and delicate but for some reason my flowers ended up bright and bold. The more I thought the more I realised I liked my block but I didn't love it.
This really threw me as my idea of a secret garden is somewhere you can go and just spend time dreaming lovely dreams and recalling wonderful memories, my block did none of that for me.

First thoughts of colours 
Esther had said the finished size of SG was 80" by 80" but I was surprised how big the applique pieces are, guess I was thinking Love Entwined and the hundreds of tiny bits to stitch, I pinned my block up on a diagonal like Esther's sketch page that showed a corner and my block looked so bold. Couldn't get my head around it, maybe because I was also thinking of SG as a wall hanging.
What would be the largest I would like my wall hanging, in our house probably 60" by 60"
Didn't even need the calculator for this one it's 75%  of the original so straight to the printer'
First thing was to remake my flowers and basket

New flowers and basket
This time had my contrast fabric on the wall and used whatever fabric fitted my softer look, Used lots of the same fabrics but chnaged what went with them. the little dark pink floral is still in but it has a Fusions fabric with gold  overlay as it's partner and pink fairy frosts joined in for others

New padded basket
Same Fairy Frost for the basket weave but changed background to a white FF with gold, and used a slightly deeper thread. making my basket changed as hadn't been happy with how the yellow had looked once the basket was stitched. this time I lightly padded the reverse with iron on Vilene 630 and did my stitching before adding my basket to the background, now have a slight puff to all the little squares.
Before LE I used to pad lots of my applique especially flowers so weent back to this method.

Once flower is fused and assembled on baking paper put Vilene with the sticky side down and place flower on top and draw around it.

Cut out roughly just outside the line and then trim a quarter inch inside the line. Position back on the flower and check the fit, in this case it needs a little more trimming  around the top curves so that the edges will stick to the background.

Position on the fabric and carefully press just around the edges then turn over and press from the reverse to fuse the background to the sticky side of the padding, then it's ready to stitch.
A couple of things if you are new to raw edge applique.
Your machine is set from the factory to be ideal for dressmaking with perfectly even tension, you do not want this for applique or you risk your bottom thread popping or your edges puckering because you are not sewing with a straight stitch.
Ideally use Bobbinful, Seralene or any other very fine thread in your bobbin, with my Bernina I feed it through the eye on the bobbin case which tightens the tension slightly.
Prepare a sample, fuse a fabric scrap to a scrap of your background fabric and stitch with your preferred stitch blanket or zig zag. Gradually loosen your top tension until your stitch is sitting perfectly flat with no pulling. My bernina's default toptension is 3.5 but for applique it is just under 2 and even less for some stitches or different threads.
When you look at the back you will think my tension is wrong but you are not dress making and the back won't be seen when you have finished your quilt

Used a beige Serelene for my bobbin and you can see how the top stitch has been pulled to the back showing the different colours used. Can see the burgundy is just a little tight but it is not noticeable from the front. Also tie off all my ends as I don't trust my machines tie off function for applique, last thing you need is stitching that starts to come undone when you have finished your quilt.

Stitched and looking pretty.

Stitched all my flowers first as was undecided what fabric to use for my leaves, lightened my stems and used a zigzag for stitching as they are quite narrow now.

The floral still works really well

Apricot now not Orange

Decided to only use my lighter fabric for the leaves as it has lots of variation and now my leaves are smaller I didn't need to fiddle with two fabics 

Lots of playing for key and bow fabrics. Stitched my circles and satin stiched the little hole before I attached the key, used heavy tearaway behind for these stitches to stabilise the fabric.
tried several different bow fabrics before decided on my contrast fabric. Fussy cut each part of the bow seperately to get the flowers but should have cut the piece over the basket to get more colourat the bottom. Couldn't resist having a butterfy for my center.

Soft and Delicate
This is what I imagined  my block would look like.

Amazing what changinfg just a few shades will do

Very happy to have finished it last night as today is the 15th and Esther will be giving us part 2 of Diamond Hill and I can have fun playing with my brights, on the right quilt this time.

Linking now to Esther's WOW.

Cheers Jenny

Friday, 10 February 2017

Secret Garden First Block

Hi Everyone,

Having lots of hot sticky summer weather at the moment, days continually around 30C but can add on a few extra where we are situated. Sewing room is lovely first thing but by midday starts to feel like a sauna but have still had a fabulous week working on Esther Aliu's new Mystery BOM Secret Garden
Printed out it was much biger than I expected ( had been making LE for so long had start to believe all applique pieces were tiny) so was happily thinking goody this is simple and sailed straight in.
To me the flowers were roses from the start, only the rosebud had thorns so I added some to another stem and was thinking through me favourite  roses from when we had a garden in Christchurch full of David Austin Roses for the colours I would use while making my stems and starting to stitch. About halfway up the first stem - that doesn't look right, what's wrong with my stitches!!
Had set my blanket stitch in reverse size so had  longer stitches very close together, hadn't checked my upper tension and my pressure foot was still at zero from doing free motion, I had raised the feed dogs at least. Was time to get my mind focused and start again.

For the basket I found a fairy frost in a very soft green as Mum used to have sage green and pale yellow vases when I was growing up, or were they jugs and the vases were white, not sure but do remember that the long vases had a metal pad in the bottom similar to a nailbrush but with metal spikes to push the stems into and there was a piece of chicken wire shaped to fit in the top to keep the stems upright. Amazing what comes back to you from a photo.
Cut my strips for the basket and placed them like the pattern but my Virgo mind didn't  like the irregular size of the spaces so cut more strips and did a complete weave using a second strip to set my spacing, ended up needing one slightly narrower strip at the left end, realise now if I had started placing from the left it would have been hidden under the bow,

Added leaves and flower before stitching my vase

Stitching my vase has been like stitching a jigsaw because of the overlaps, kept stitching myself into corners, even though I was travel stitching where ever possible from one space to another. Am about 3/4's done but need to place my bow before finishing. Decided flower needed extra definition so added a petal line and shaded the outer one a little, then decided to change it as felt the orange was too strong.

Like the softer look of it now.

Very happy with my dark rose, haven't changed a thing since I made it. Found a fat quarter of the center fabric at guild day on Sat and just had to have it also an orange version which I used in my bud.

The center flower is like the three bears, at least the middle two petals are.
First they were too light then they were too dark, now hopefully they are just right

Some of my inspiration roses

 David Austin Rose, Buff Beauty gave me the colours for the center flower.

Graham Thomas inspired my yellow flower

My orignal plan was for soft pinks and apricots
Guess this is fairly close.

Tried soft yellow and medium pink before deciding on this fabric for my bow.
Key is two shades of  Fusions fabric.

The circles I stitched before fusing my key to the block, placed a piece of heavy tear away under the key and used stitch 157 on my bernina 440, had practised first to check the number of needle movements to each stitch so I knew when the stitch was going to finish and I could make tiny movements to get an accurate circle. Really pleased with how it came out.

Now to finish my basket and have afew days on other projects before Esther releases month 2 of Diamond Hill,
Have a great week everyone, whatever you are doing.

Cheers Jenny

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Work on 1st Feb

Hi Everyone,
Wow, January has gone already but I'm glad it's the 1st of Feb as have been waiting in anticipation for the first block of Esther's new mystery BOM Secret Garden. Woke early and thought will it be there, YES had arrived at 3am so there was no going back to bed for me.
Printed a test sheet of the pattern and like Diamond Hill a fraction small, am sure it is our windows 10 causing it as never had a problem until we upgraded. 103% worked perfectly for size so pattern is ready to go. But my fabric, that was another matter.
Last week I found a fabric at Country Dawn and knew it was what I wanted for my background.

From Wilmington Prints Subtle Song range
Different from what I would normally choose but love it. 

Once again what I like everybody seems to like, it measured out at only 3.6m left on the bolt.
Came home with it anyway thinking lets wait and see what the pattern says then figure it out as surely there would be borders somewhere so maybe it was enough. I had found a fabric that I really liked for border sas well so it was fingers crossed.
Silently swore when I read the naterials, 6M plus a contrast!! 
Not what I wanted to read but at least I knew what I wanted for my contrast fabric and this is it.

Also from the Subtle Song range
Just how a Secret Garden should look.

Spent ages doing a pile of calculations and finally worked out I would need approx 2m for just the four blocks mentioned plus the unknown size center block so there was an option, find a toning fabric to go with what I have and buy my missing 2.4m and use it for those five blocks and if necessary some other small blocks keeping my 3.6m for the rest of the background.
So I've been shopping again and I hope it works out.

Wilmington Prints again, Hydrangea Radiance range
The darker tone is a perfect match for the other fabric.
Wasn't 6m of that one either so couldn't swop fabrics which had crossed my mind
 as my fabric hadn't been cut from the bolt, it was all there was

Hopeful this combination will work for me.

My UFO's haven't seen the light of day this week, It has all been Diamond Hill and Secret Garden.
Spent some time figuring out how Paint works so was able to play with colouring my version.. 

This is what I come up with.

Will probably be some colour changes for flowers as the blocks evolve but am fairly sure I have enough dark fabric for everything except the little square borders. Have played with them as well as was still feeling unsure if my teal fabric really worked. Decided to applique some little squares to the background fabric and see how they looked.

Better than I thought, especially after I stitched them with a thicker variegated thread. I might just be appliquing not piecing these borders. LE zigzags anyone, thats where the idea came from.

Want to press and then cut my 4 blocks for secret garden so I can make a start tomorrow so linking to Esther's WOW and back to the sewing room.

Cheers Jenny

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Work on Wed 25th Diamond Hill

Hi Everyone,

Have had such fun this week making the first bock of Esther's new free BOM Diamond Hill. It is ages since I played wuth brights and especially batiks which I love for applique as there lack of fraying makes them such a pleasure to work with. My stash of batiks had got very low so the last few months I have been buying fat quarters or 20cm strips whenever I have found colours I like.
With having my main fabrics decided it was out with my stash and select which were possibles.

Batik possibles
The six in the lower right corner are the ones I choose for block 1

You can see I prefer the marbled batiks rather than those with a pattern, for me they look more realistic especially for flowers which is where I use them most.
I don't usually colour my pattern, this time I did but it was after I had picked my fabrics.

Softer colours in pencil but more to check how the colours worked together.
This also shows how I do my numbering.

Happy with how my first flower looked 

rest of my stems aand leaves added
Buds went on at this stage as didn't want to stich under them with my stems.
Maybe I should have gone with pink instead of orange for them.

With next three flowers done time to do my vase.
Tried strips but decided to add my vase as one piece and stitch the lines so that my fabric got a chance to show off. Didn't really like this either, maybe I had
chosen the wrong fabric as it didn't seem to have enough WOW factor. Time to wait and see so went back to my flowers.

At this stage I started using pencils on my yellow fabric to add tinge of orange and pink as it seemed a little light, especially the center flower of these three where I had used a slightly darker pink fabric.

Flowers being prepared on baking paper.

This is my technique for assembling flowers for raw edge applique. Pieces have been traced on to Vliesofix, pressed to my fabric and cut out with a small allowance where they underlap another 
piece. I draw this underlap on when I am tracing my pattern.  With baking paper pinned over my pattern I start with the bottom piece and gradually build my way up lightly pressing each piece into place as I go, then place and fuse each finished flower to my background. My new LED Light Pad has been fantastic for this as even with the dark background the patterns lines show up and make placement a breeze. 

Block finished and I am happy but the vase is still bugging me.
It just seems like a blob in the corner.

My first colour thought for this block had been purple instead of orange but it got lost on the big flower against my background which has a definite blue/purple tinge to it. Not sure why or how but purple leapt back into my mind. 

Have about a metre of this purple so have another option in fabrics.

Now it's time to get back to my other projects - until the 1st Feb at least when Esther releases the first block of Secret Garden her new mystery Block of the Month. The preview of the first block looks so amazing I think it is going to be as addictive as Love Entwined.

Linking now to Esther's WOW for this week

Cheers Jenny 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Work on Wed 18th Jan

Hi Everyone,
Most of you that read my blog are as excited as I am about the release of Esther's new free BOM Diamond Hill, What a beautiful pattern Esther has shared with us and I just can't resist it.
Not that I need a new project as my plan was to finish ALL my UFO's before starting anything new.
I don't have many so it should have been easy as these are my to do's

Complete the quilt top at least.

Finish quilting Fly Away

I have made progress in the last week and quilted most of my star backgrounds.

Finish quilting Hearts Desire
have three of these borders and the blocks still to do.

Quilt my Bamboo wall hanging.
It only needs the background to be quilted as borders are on and I have stitched around the applique.

Have you noticed what the last three have in common, yes all done apart from the quilting which is why I started the oriental quilt, to have a break from quilting

So which have I worked on the last couple of days?  You are right if you answered, none of the above.

It was love at first sight with Esther's dark colourway and knew I just had to make it.
For the first time I had issues with printing the pattern, I have heard that Windows 10 (which we now have) can have it's own mind when it comes to printing and override settings, don't know if this is true but have never had an issue before. Anyway, what helped me was a blog I read a few months ago on how to resize any block pattern with easy maths to what you want, bigger or smaller.
It is very simple really, start with what you want and divide it by what you got.
I taped my pages that were all a fraction small together and measured, 17-5 inches and it should have been 18 inches. It wasn't really a problem for the applique but the vase had to line up perfectly and at that size it wasn't going to.
Simple division on the calculator, want 18 divided by got 17.5 equals 1.03
Move decimal point two places and my answer was to print at 103% result was perfect 
For full details of this easy method for resizing any block this is the link.

Yesterday I went shopping for my fabric and came home with a slight change of plan.

Knew I didn't want a a solid dark colour and fell for this charcoal fabric straight away, has a bluish tinge and of course my favourite a touch of mettalic. Only problem was a large one, 3.25 metres was not enough for a completely dark background so had two choices, pick another fabric or put light borders around the blocks. this fabric won and my blocks are cut.
Loved the vibrant look of Esther's little squares and found something that should give a similar effect but in a very different colouway.

This left me with what to use for my light borders, couldn't go to a straight cream because the teal above is alot stonger than in the photo.

Stonehenge to the rescue, lovely mottle in teal with peach/ yellow

I think it will work and have had an extra little play

Now I'm not so sure.
Plenty of time to decide while I am working on the applique.

Linking now to Esther, have a great week everyone.
Cheers Jenny

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Welcome 2017

Happy New Year everyone,

Hope you have all had a relaxing start to 2017 and are looking forward to a wonderful year.
Ours started with the hottest days of summer so far with officially 30 degrees for the first few days however in our sheltered back yard we could add on several more so it was time spent inside.
Steve had decided on xmas morning to take out our old laundry tub ready to install the new one we have had waiting patiently for several months. We had a week being unable to do any laundry as water had been disconnected and he was busy from boxing day helping friends shift their business.
Finally ready to start on New Years Eve our kitchen looked like this.

 It was takeways for dinner as we couldn't reach the cook top and couldn't sit at the table anyway.  
Our laundry is a really small room, just measured it and in quilters terms it is 72" wide by 60" tall, a med size wallhanging  would fit on the floor. It also houses our tall and narrow hot water cylinder so maximising space was a necessity for the new layout.

Plumbing moved and tiles in place, cylinder cupboard is on the right

What a transformation.
Priority was to get it working again so the floor got tiled but only painting was where it was necessary on the lower walls. Cupboad door is waiting to be put on  and the bench needs it's trim but I love the bench space, my food processor and standmixer now have a home where they can be used as well, Even found a use for the wine rack which didn't fit in our kitchen, fills the corner gap perfectly,will be adding more overhead cupboards above the bench as well.

For my quilting year ahead I want to finish my ufo's, luckily I don't have many so will be able to start some new projects as well, am looking foward to the 15th to see what Esther has planned for her new BOM, if it's applque I probably won't be able to resist . Just before Christmas I bought some dice as I really like the idea of how Jenny in Wellington rolls a dice to decide her quilting project for the week.
Only problem is I don't have six projects at the moment, maybe I just have to keep rolling until one of my numbers comes up - or I give my favorite projects two numbers.
My oriental style quilt is on my design wall with more blocks added as a japanesse friend at the thurday group gave me some beautiful fabric that she thought I might like to use.

The fabrics were too beautiful to cut up

These two blocks make up one repeat of this gorgeous Obi (sash) fabric.

The second fabric, also Obi I think but it was wider and folded in half, 
I have added applique elements to this fabric.

Origami Kimono's to this one

3 dimensional fans to this one.
Fans are backed with gold satin and only attached with the blue at the top.

Both the Kimono's and the fans are from the pattern by Yvonne Morris that I used for my quilt Oriental Expressions a few years ago.

I still have some of the blue brocade fabric and I plan to use it for the sashings for my blocks.

 Silk Kimono fabric which I have had for many years and have never found quite the right place to use. Correction a little bit found it's way into the small flower baskets of my LE.

The last couple of days Fly Away came back out as I finally decided how to quilt my background and I have literally been going round in circles ever since.

I read an interesting blog a few days ago on tips for spiral quilting which I found through pinterest.
Thought I would try it with three rings around my small stars that were seperate and then like topsy it just grew, ended up not being spirals at all but keeping the sets of three rings has given an interesting effect which I am happy with, now to work on the rings themselves.

Finishing here to link with Esther for her first WOW of 2017

Enjow your week everyone,
Cheers Jenny