Excellent exhibitions

I have recently attended two quilt exhibitions, each one a treat.  The first was “Quilts in the Barn” and the second “Eastern Palliative Care Quilt Show”.  Each is held annually during spring in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, and each is a fund-raiser for very worthwhile causes, breast cancer research and Eastern Palliative  Care respectively.  In this post I will share some photos of Quilts In the Barn. (Permission given).

My friend and I arrived right on opening time which meant we avoided a  long queue. Before very long things became very busy, especially so later in the morning when a coach-load of eager ladies arrived!!

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Entrance to Quilts in the Barn.

This magnificent quilt was hanging in the entrance.  It is called “Homage to Sallie Anne” and was designed by Di Ford-Hall.  This version was made by Helen Hayes.  (Should I confess? …I too have a Sallie Anne lurking amongst my UFOs).

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“Homage to Sallie Anne”.

One of the guest tutors/ exhibitors was  Brenda Papadakis of Dear Jane fame. Understandably there were some Dear Jane style quilts.

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“Zutphen” made by Jenny Bear.

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Another Di Ford-Hall design, this one made by Jenny Bear and called “Jane Austen in Texas”.

Here is a close up showing the fussy cut borders and quilting.

 

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Close up of “Jane Austen in Texas”.

There were quilts made from hexagons. This is Jenny Bear’s Jane’s and Vera’s Garden. Lots of fussy cutting here!

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This is a miniature hexagon quilt, stitched and quilted by hand by Marion Edwards.

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This antique quilt caught my eye.

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These quilts were made by Michelle Yeo.

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The Quilted Crow girls Leonie and Deirdre were there with their shop.

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The Quilted Crow shop.

Shoppers could see (and touch!) some of their latest offerings: their fabric range “Pomegranate Lane”, their wool range, “The Seasons”, and their hand-dyed velvets.  Aurifil Threads (Cotton Mako’ Ne 28 – on the grey spool) are available in two Quilted Crow Girl Collections which coordinate with their favourite colours.  Check out the collections at  http://thequiltedcrow.danemcoweb.com/shop/product/aurifil-threads/

They also had copies of their recently released second book.  This is one of the quilts which is featured in it.

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All this viewing and shopping  is thirsty work and the bevy of helpers in the cafe did a great job!

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Such exhibitions involve a great deal of preparation and work by many dedicated people, but provide a wonderful service and inspiration to us all. (Quilts in the Barn raised $16,000 this year). Well done!!

Tuesday Treat: Creative E-book from Lisa Walton

Even if, like me, you don’t think of yourself as an “Art Quilter” you will find some wonderful inspiring ideas in this new e-book by Lisa Walton, released earlier this month.

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The book description says:

This book guides you through the ways in which you can turn beautiful patterns and textures into stunning textiles.

The first in a series of books titled ‘Creative Journeys’, Lisa Walton imparts expert guidance, tips and techniques coupled with over 140 illustrations to help inspire and encourage you to turn your ideas into creative textiles.

With a focus on fabric painting, stamping, decorative rubbings, metallic foils, simple screen printing, stencilling, creative stitchwork, textural quilting, Lisa shows how these can be used to create stunning textile art.

You can preview, and purchase, the book:   Creative Journeys: Fun & Easy Textile Surface Design Techniques

It is Lisa’s second book, and is only available in the digital book format.

Visit Lisa’s blog to find out how this book came to be, and follow the story as the next book in the Creative Journeys series is developed.

PS:  Her first book, “Beautiful Building Block Quilts”,  is available in both print and digital format and shows you how to start with an easy quilt block like Four Patch or Flying Geese, stitch it up in several different sizes, then build your blocks into striking improvised quilts.

They make a great set to get you started on your free wheeling creative journey.

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If you have been doing creative things with Aurifil send us some information so that we can feature your work in a Tuesday Treat or Wednesday Wonder

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Under the big top

Recently I went away with 49 other patchworkers from my guild to a “Retreat”.  I don’t know how the name was chosen originally, as it certainly isn’t a time for quiet contemplation!  It’s a time for enjoying sewing, and eating meals none of us have to prepare, and making merry (in a very contained sort of way!!).  Our club choses a venue only a few hours away from where most of us live in the  Victorian countryside.  We were very lucky this year with beautiful blue skies and warm sunny days.

Retreat WP 2014 Neerim East

This year the theme for the weekend was “Under the Big Top”. The organising committee cleverly works with this theme in the goody bags we each receive on arrival, entertainment and  the Saturday night ‘ dress up ‘.  There was  an amazing variety of costumes – with lions, strong men, clowns, popcorn sellers, fairy floss fairies, ring masters and even a bearded lady and a sword thrower’s assistant putting in an appearance.  (No photos here – too incriminating I think!).

Many make great use of the time away from other commitments to sew from morning to night – either by hand or by machine.

Beautiful hand embroidery

Beautiful hand embroidery

Some enjoy the walks in the natural surrounds or relax with a magazine or some chat instead of “working”.  It is always interesting to see what everyone has chosen to bring along – some complete a quilt in a weekend, while others work on several projects.

Naturally I found someone using Aurifil !!

Naturally I found someone using Aurifil !!

Japanese case for glasses or rotary cutter

Val’s Japanese case for glasses or rotary cutter

Allison quietly sewing low contrast quilt blocks

Allison quietly (and accurately) sewing low contrast quilt blocks

Beautiful machine applique on a William Morris design from Belinda

Beautiful machine applique on a William Morris design from Belinda

Wendy starting a new project with hand applique

Wendy starting a new project with hand applique

Jeanette's beautiful appliqued borders for a new quilt

Jeanette’s stunning appliqued borders for a new quilt

The “Retreats” have been an annual event for our club for many, many years, and each year the organising committee manages to make our time away even more memorable.    I think everyone came home slightly tired, but in a good sort of way – enjoying the time shared with friends old or new.

 

Tuesday Tips – Do you have a “shaggy dog”?

When I first learned how to rotary cut and machine piece ( back in 1994), I was fortunate to have a very thorough and well-organised teacher.  She taught me all the necessary basics as well as many little extra tips. One of the things I remember her teaching us was to use a “shaggy dog” to avoid a “bird’s nest”.

You’re probably wondering what on earth she was on about, as I did too.

Picture this…. you’re all set to begin piecing, everything is pinned/placed in position, you start to sew and the sewing machine doesn’t start smoothly. It coughs and grunts and creates a tangle of threads on the underside of your fabric. (The “bird’s nest”) GRRR!!!

Experienced sewers will know that this problem can be eliminated by holding onto both the top thread and the bobbin thread for the first couple of stitches. However you can also take a small scrap of fabric (never a problem for patchworkers!), fold it over so that you have two thicknesses of fabric and position it under the needle, running it from front to back. The movement of running it in this direction ensures that both threads are out of the way and not likely to be caught in the initial stitches taken by the machine.

It should be positioned so that when you start sewing the first few stitches will be on this scrap.

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Start sewing on your shaggy dog.

You can then place your real sewing close to the edge of the scrap and continue sewing onto it.  This will result in a smooth start and undistorted sewing of your pieces.

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Going from the shaggy dog to the piecing.

Use this scrap starter each time you commence a new seam or a  length of chain piecing. Snip between each segment after you have reached the end of the seam or chain.

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Cutting the shaggy dog from the other pieces.

 

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Can you see the shaggy dog in this piece of chain piecing?

Before very long your scrap starter will begin to look decidedly “shaggy”, hence the “shaggy dog”.  When it becomes too untidy, retire that “dog” and start a new one.

 

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Ready for retirement.

Some sewers like to have another shaggy dog which they use at the end of their piecing.   It then is in place for the next piecing sequence.

Bonnie K Hunter uses this method which she call “leaders and enders”.  She even uses this technique to generate extra quilts!! You can read about her work and books at: http://quiltville.com/leadersenders.shtml

Do you have shaggy dogs at your place?

 

Jelly Rolling Along

Recently, I decided to use some of the “historical” items in my stash…..those which had originally been bought with great purpose and then left to languish, in favour of other more demanding (of my attention) projects.

Among such fabrics was a Moda Jelly Roll given to me in 2007, and the matching border fabric I purchased to put with it. It is from the Three Sisters “Sanctuary” range.

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Border fabric and some of the jelly roll strips.

I had a pattern in mind, from Heather Mulder Peterson’s book “On a Roll”.

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Pattern book.

 

In fact the pattern I wanted to use for my jelly roll quilt is the one featured on the cover.

The pattern uses the Easy Angle Tool by Sharon Hultgren to cut triangles from the jelly roll strips, but I don’t own this gadget, so made a plastic template to use as a cutting guide instead.

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My easy angle template.

As you can see from the photo, I marked the cutting lines in pencil and then cut with an acrylic ruler and rotary cutter.  (It is NOT safe to try to cut along the edge of the plastic template with your rotary cutter!!)

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My stack of triangles grows.

 

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Cutting the components.

Once I had all components cut, I was ready to chain piece.

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Chain piecing in progress.

The centre part of the quilt is made up of 18 ten inch blocks. In the next photo these blocks are set out on the floor, as I trialled various  placement arrangements.

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Trying out various placement arrangements.

And this is what they look like now that they are sewn together.

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Joined blocks awaiting their borders.

All (?!!) I have to do now is add the 2 borders, a narrow inner one and a wider outer one, and my quilt top will be ready for quilting.  Hopefully this will happen soon and I will be able to blog about the completed quilt!!

 

Bits and Bobs or Dis and Dat

I haven’t got any major projects to ‘flaunt’ this blog post.  Just chipping away at all the things I should be finishing and the list grows.  I have to report that I have finished my 21st Century Round Robin Modern Quilt borders.

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I was undecided on what to do with the borders – to bag them out – or put a traditional border in various colours matching the  quilt.  In the end I went with a two colour border, and I ‘m very happy with it.   Looking at the photo, it seems to show the border is slightly wobbly – it isn’t! and that it varies in width – it doesn’t!!

The next project I have finished, is one for my patchwork guild’s ‘art quilt group’.  One of our clever members Marion, demonstrated how to monotype print.  It was the first time I had done anything like this, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Such luck if you managed to get something looking good!! You had no control over what the end product would be – though with time, and experience this would not be the case.    We were asked to make something with our samples – and here is my result using two prints and some of my hand dyed fabrics. I have ‘embellished’ them with straight line quilting or crosses  in Ne 12.

Monotype Printing

Threads Monotype printing

Finally, I was lucky enough to do a workshop with Amanda Daly, a patchwork tutor from New South Wales.  We spent a weekend making “Ocean Jewels”.  It was relaxed fun class and some speedy sewers managed to get theirs nearly completed in the weekend. However, I am still to put mine together – but will enjoy working on it slowly.   It is a bit like a puzzle – some components need to be  placed together to make up the final wall quilt.

"Folded" square

“Folded” square

 

Another  - just like the other!

Another – just like the other!

Strip Side Bar

‘Seaweed strips” and side stripe bar

Oh for some more hours in the day – and time just to sew!

Romantic French Hearts Revisited

In February this year I blogged about my Romantic French Hearts http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/tuesday-treats-romantic-french-hearts/

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I made these using a pattern in Volume 14 Number 12 of Australian Homespun Magazine.

 

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Soon after this, I was contacted by the magazine editor to see if I wished to have my hearts considered for the Readers’  Showcase page. I agreed to do so and supplied a couple of photos and a short accompanying explanation.

Some months passed and I had basically forgotten about doing this.

Then…last month, while waiting for my flight at Cairns airport, I was browsing at the newsagency, when (to my astonishment and delight) I spied my hearts in the recent edition of Homespun.

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Here’s how they look.

 

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What a thrill to see my humble little hearts in print!

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