Quilter on Vacation

I have just returned home to Melbourne after three wonderful warm weeks in Queensland.  While the weather was not always sunny and dry, we always found things to occupy ourselves: a mixture of sight-seeing, exploring new places and revisiting familiar haunts, picnicking (almost every day), and most importantly relaxing!

Whenever I head off on holiday I am always accompanied by my good friends, my collection of handcraft projects, and this time was no exception.  ( The count this time was something like three applique items, one embroidery and four knitting projects).  I know some would be horrified by this, but this is the way I enjoy myself.. and that’s what a holiday is all about.

Stitching begins on the plane.

Qld 2014 021

Blunt-tipped scissors are great for use when flying.

 

I am sure that members of the public find my activity quite strange… but I don’t care as I’m happily doing what I love.

 

Qld 2014 033

Stitching by the sea.

In the photo above (taken by the marina at Yorkey’s Knob) I am the little green blob sitting beneath the rock, right in the centre of the shot.  On this occasion I was working on my embroidery.

A local resident provided some entertainment by bogging his ute in the sand in spectacular fashion.

While I stitch, hubby does this.

Qld 2014 032

Taken in the same spot before the cloud cleared.

No bites on this occasion.  Bites are not always what you want…. this was waiting on the bank, 50 metres from a popular fishing spot on the Mowbray River,  just south of Port Douglas.

Qld 2014 059

Three metre croc waiting for dinner.

We visited a number of markets on our travels.  I purchased a second-hand quilt book at one of them.

Qld 2014 005

Second-hand book in as -new condition.

I can’t read Japanese so I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s full of interesting quilts and patterns.

Qld 2014 006

We drove up the range to the Atherton Tablelands several times. A favourite place to visit is the quaint town of Yungaburra where we walked along the river in the hope of spotting a platypus.  We think we did, but it was such a fleeting flash in the water,  it’s hard to be sure.  We also inspected the new Avenue of Honour, recently established to honour Australian service personnel who have given their lives in Afghanistan. We thought this has been very tastefully done and provides a peaceful place to reflect and be thankful for all that we have in Australia.  It’s worth a visit.

Qld 2014 073

Avenue of Honour at Yungaburra.

One of my holiday projects was to make clamshells for a quilt border. However I discovered I’d left most of my spare papers behind. GRRR!!  Well one has to be resourceful in such circumstances and so a used cracker packet came in handy (being careful not to enlarge the size as I went!)  Later I discovered a tourist brochure was even more suitable.  The papers in my project tell a story!

Qld 2014 015

Tracing and cutting more clamshell shapes.

The tools in my sewing box came in handy for more than I’d planned.  In addition to sewing a button on hubby’s trousers and repairing a hole which mysteriously appeared in my cardigan, a pin was required to unblock a fishing sinker. It obviously pays to be prepared!!

Qld 2014 085

Not your usual sewing project!

Hope springs eternal in the heart of all fishermen and here we are at another fishing spot, this time near Bramston Beach.  You can see my book and knitting on the rock…. so no prizes for guessing what I did here.

 

Qld 2014 109

 

 

Qld 2014 105

Some fish were biting, but they were too small to keep.  Meanwhile, as I enjoyed the view, I too was getting lots of bites… of the sandfly variety. Despite repellent, I was soon covered in bites which stayed with me for many days. Thank goodness for anti-histamines.

 

Qld 2014 108

The perfect view (not so perfect sandflies).

All too soon our holiday ended, but we returned home relaxed and refreshed (and itchy).

 

Qld 2014 113

Flying out of Cairns.

Quilting the 21st C Round Robin

Further to my post on 25 July 2014, about the Round Robin blocks we organised at Always Quilting, I had lots of fun quilting my “Modern Quilt”.
threads I need to tick it off the list of things to do – as I know that the year is racing along and it has to be completed as soon as I can.  The pile of other projects to be completed is increasing rather than decreasing, and I find if I can get a small project quilted I feel a sense of accomplishment.

More quilting

After looking at this little quilt for ages, I decided to machine quilt wavy lines, and then circles in certain areas to mimic the pattern already there.

Yellow thread

The machining was done with the wonderful Ne 40 – in matching colours to the fabrics  1148,1135,4250(a variegated) and 2525.

quilted circles

I found Aurifil has a gorgeous variegated gold (3920) in the colours I wanted. The  more subtle change of the Ne 12 which I used for all the  hand quilting  was just perfect.

Quilting Thread

Now all I have to do is put a binding on the quilt – that is the next decision to be made – will I do a traditional binding  ??or one that is less obvious??  I call it ‘bagging the quilt out I don’t know the ‘correct’ term – but it means the binding is not obvious  on the front – more like a facing used in dressmaking.  So – still a little bit more work before I can display it properly!

 

Another Day; Another Scrap Quilt

Last week I shared my Square in a Square scrap quilt and discussed my choice of quilting thread.

Today I will discuss my choice of piecing thread on a scrap quilt. I have been working on an ‘Easy Big Block’ Pineapple quilt, designed by Cindi Edgerton for McCall’s, using only white and red fabrics.

When I say ‘red fabric’, I really mean anything remotely looking red in my stash.

Blocks with fabrics that 'read' red

Blocks with fabrics that ‘read’ red

And then, of course, when I say ‘white fabric’, it could be beige, tan or snow white.

White Fabrics...compared to the red fabric

White Fabrics…compared to the red fabric

This type of quilt construction lends itself to a production line approach sewing strips of fabric to the paper foundation, following the numbers in order.

Tissue Paper Foundations from Cindi Edgerton

Tissue Paper Foundations from Cindi Edgerton

I don’t want to worry about my thread colour choice becoming an issue with each new fabric addition.

Here are the threads I considered on several pieced blocks.

Auditioning Aurifil thread  colours

Auditioning Aurifil thread colours

I decided on the Aurifil Mako 40wt Colour 2900. It is ‘neutral’ enough to blend with my ‘white’ fabrics and ‘brown’ enough to blend with my ‘reds’.

Decision Made!

Decision Made!

I can wind several bobbins and sit and sew without changing my thread colour every time the fabric colour changes.

It is helpful to have a range of basic piecing colours so you can choose the right one for your current scrap piecing.

Several Panels are ready to stitch together

Several Panels are ready to stitch together

The ‘basic’ , or MUST HAVE Aurifil thread colours are different for each of us. What are yours? Personally I want them all!

Choosing a Quilting Thread Colour for a Scrap Quilt

The one thing that ALL patchworkers have in common is scrap fabric. Some discard their scraps and others collect and save them as precious fabric morsels. I consider my scrap collection as somewhere in between.

I will however save my scrap organization methods for another blog because I have just finished a ‘scrapy’ quilt top and I want to talk about my thread choice for quilting.

Quilt layers ready to quilt

Quilt layers ready to quilt

The block pattern is ‘Square in a Square’ and each block is color co-ordinated with itself.

Quilt Block Colours

Quilt Block colours 5

Colours for each block 1

Colour Block 3

Colour Block 2

I had just enough blue fabric left over from another project to make sashing strips and enough brown print for the setting squares. Aurifil 28wt Cotton Mako thread in colour 2735 is, I think, the perfect match for the sashing.

Quilting Thread Matches Sashing Fabric

Quilting Thread Matches Sashing Fabric

 

Aurifil 28wt Cotton Mako

Aurifil 28wt Cotton Mako

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am hand quilting a 1/4″ from all the seams and I think it will look just fine.

First Hand Quilted Block Completed

First Hand Quilted Block Completed

How do you choose a quilting thread colour for your scrapy quilts?

 

Round Robin Blocks for the 21st Century

This year we have been “Taking the Round Robin into the 21st Century” as a challenge at our work.  In February each staff member had to bring a 6 inch starter block in a designated colour from the colour wheel.  This week we took possession of ‘our’ block and now we have to  feature Aurifil threads on it to make it into a mini quilt with quilting and/or embellishments.

Back in February, I had to work with the colour Violet and make a 6 inch block.

Starting block

Then every two months we were  to add borders of different sizes to each relevant quilt block.  Round two of mine was made by Judy using  a red-orange colour to create an asymmetrical border on four sides.

RR Block 2

Then Yellow was choice of colour for Jenny, with an even size border on four sides ( no more than 3 inch wide) added.

Round Robin block 3

Finally, a border on two sides, no more than 3 inches wide was added by Denise in Blue Green

Round Robin Block 4

Here are all the quilts (hung over some of the batting in the shop) showing the results.  It will be fascinating to see what everyone chooses to do with their individual quilts.

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 no.1

And a closer look of them (Jenny and Judy’s):

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 Jenny and Judy

and the other two (mine and Denise’s):

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 Heather and Denise

We have been given some time to finish the quilts as they will be displayed at the Melbourne Wholesale Quilt Market in November – and if we are really keen and finish them before hand, someone may even blog about them earlier!!

Woolly Things for Winter

Here in Melbourne we are in the grip of winter, where the weather specialises in dull, dismal, damp and often draughty days.

woolly things for winter 004

A typical wintery day in my back yard.

 

It’s the perfect time of year to indulge in some handcraft of the woolly sort!

Each year I usually knit several adult garments. This year I have made a jumper for hubby…

woolly things for winter 010

8 ply jumper which is actually a darker purple than it appears here.

…and a jumper for me.

woolly things for winter 015

This is much greener than it appears!

I have also just completed a cardigan for myself.  When sewing on the buttons, I always use cotton thread, not the wool in which the garment is made, as this is too thick for this purpose.  With 270 colours in the current Aurifil Cotton Mako range, I can find one that’s just right.

woolly things for winter 007

Sewing on the buttons with Aurifil thread.

woolly things for winter 011

The completed cardigan.

I always have a number of different knitting projects on the go (just like my sewing!!!).  One of the things I am currently working on is a jacket for a friend.  When her mum died a few years ago, she inherited some yarn which she asked me to make up for her.  It must be 70s-80s yarn, a wool, mohair and nylon mix, and although the band says 7 ply, I am knitting it to an 8 ply pattern. I had to do a bit of research and “trial and error knitting” to get the size right.

woolly things for winter 013

Because this yarn is so fluffy and uneven in texture, it would be a nightmare to use for sewing the garment together, so I will use Aurifil Lana (50% Australian wool/50% acrylic blend) to sew it up.  The Lana slips through the seams effortlessly.

woolly things for winter 012

Sewing up a sleeve with Lana.

Another current project is a beanie for my husband to use on the boat (the last beanie went west on a previous fishing excursion).  There was a bit of trial and error involved with this item too, as I had a request to make it a bit bigger than the pattern, so that it wouldn’t sit too tightly on the head.

woolly things for winter 001

A friend showed me her current project, a scarf using some fabulously soft Alpaca yarn in a rich mulberry shade. Just beautiful!

woolly things for winter 003

Another friend showed me her hat, made from knitting 2 strands of carpet wool together.

woolly things for winter 002

In addition to my knitted woolly projects, I am also preparing for a couple of items using wool felt.

The first is using a Quilted Crow Girls pattern .  http://www.thequiltedcrow.com.au/

I’ve selected Cotton Mako 28 for use with this.

woolly things for winter 009

 The other project will be a small 15 inch wallhanging using these materials.

woolly things for winter 003

This time I will use Lana (wool blend) thread.

For more ideas about using wool and Lana see http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/tuesday-treats…-wool-applique/  and http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/the-flavour-of…-month-is-felt/

So while the temperature outside may be in low figures, the sun may be hidden and the wind whistling,  I’m snug indoors surrounded by my wonderful woolly things!!

 

Wednesday Wonder: Thread Colours for Hand Quilting

Last week we helped a customer choose threads for hand quilting, something that we often do but we don’t always get to see the results.

Well this week Judy L sent me a photo of the quilt ….. just look at her beautiful feather and cross hatch quilting.

Judy-Leckie-feather

I loved this feedback, especially as Judy wanted a thread colour that would add a little contrast to the beige background fabric, so it was interesting to see how the colour selection had worked

Aurifil-Cotton-Mako-Ne28-quilting-colours

We played with several colours from the Cotton Mako’ 28 range.

In fact we spent quite some time agonising over the colours … some looked too dark while others looked too light.

Judy L finally decided upon a deep greenish brown for the feathers and warm brown for the cross hatching.

Aurifil-Cotton-Mako-1318-2340

In her email, Judy commented:

Just thought I would show you this,  the different colours don’t really show

This reminded me of the times that I have helped a customer choose the thread colour when machine quilting.

We have ALL the Aurifil colours at our finger tips, and many spools are open, so we can spread a length of thread across the quilt to preview the effect.

Doing this has made me realise that you don’t have to have the “perfect” colour. More often than not any one of 4 or 5 colours would work, and look good.

As Judy has found with this quilt, as long as the colour she chose was deeper & richer than the fabric colour, and the contrast was pleasing to the eye, it would achieve her desired effect and her hand quilting was always going to be a beautiful feature on the quilt.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,115 other followers

%d bloggers like this: