And now for something completely different

I was asked to join a friend and do a workshop learning how to make an art journal with the talented artist Ro Bruhn.  This type of work is slightly outside my comfort zone.   I do love ‘art quilts’ and using different processes to make an art quilt, but a journal was something completely foreign to me.  I hummed and haaaaed for a moment – and then thought it was worth the risk!  It was very self indulgent – it wasn’t going to be for anyone else – but me to enjoy.  Yes – I would go for it!!

We had to take a  mountain of ‘scraps’ – I have plenty of those – and some lace, and buttons, and zips, and braids and wool and envelopes and teabag tags  and anything else you think you could use in a journal-  including some special sacred fabric that you never had used (up until now) was also suggested!

Organised scraps for the journal cover

Organised scraps for the journal cover

I was able to use some of those bits and pieces people give me as they know I like sewing – not necessarily patchwork fabrics – brilliant!

First page in progress

First page in progress

The first few pages were easy enough on the first day but we had to return in a month’s time with more pages.  As the month wore on,  the inspiration and ideas waned a little and it became harder to think of more pages.  Oh – did I mention, that the lovely Ro suggested we try and make FOURTEEN PAGES IN THE MONTH!!    I did realise that 14 pages meant 14 mini quilts.

Some furnishing fabric and some hand made silk paper plus

Some furnishing fabric and some hand made silk paper plus

and this page is nearly finished

Nearly finished this page

And just to show a few more pages

091 and some silk flowers made for a cushion (that I never finished) get a new life!089and a bit of the glitter from braids and trims and an old Indian cushion found in an op shop.097some Kantha quilting with a dyed doily as contrast095Naturally I used Ne 50, Ne 40, Ne 28 and Ne 12 in the art journal construction!094

Discussing it with my workshop classmates we all seemed to have been burning the midnight oil trying to get the cutting and pasting done as well as the sewing.  It was worth it in the end ——- we all produced personal and creative books.  We learnt more about colour and  relaxing with our stitching (raw edge zig zag is encouraged) and ‘wonky’ lines are seen as artistic and not incorrect.

I had the best time – what a wonderful workshop – so free to decide what colour goes with another – not to worry about edges or straight lines or stitch length or neatness. Thanks Ro for the best 2 days of workshop – I am so looking forward to finishing my journal and maybe creating a new one (once I can tidy up some of the scraps (aka mess) in the sewing room.

Hoopla 2

Last month I blogged about displaying work in hoops. Today I want to share another project displayed this way.

I love working with wool felt and Aurifil Cotton Mako Ne 12 (on the red spool).  I love the colours available and the ease of sewing. The cotton just glides through the fabric. Aurifil Lana (Australian wool and acrylic mix, also 12 weight and on a red spool) is also ideal for this work.  I decided to make a hanging using  my collection of wool felt in bright cheerful colours and a selection of co-ordinating Aurifil Cotton Ne 12 threads.

I gathered some resources for inspiration and technical know-how and started designing my project.  I especially found the work of Wendy Williams (http://www.flyingfishkits.com.au) and Sue Spargo (http://www.suespargo.com) helpful.

Hoopla 2 Blog 014 edit

Design inspiration

I drafted my design on paper to give me an idea of placement and proportion, though as you might notice, I later changed some of the embellishment details.

Hoopla 2 Blog 013 edit

A rough draft which I later altered.

I like the addition of rick rack in my projects and so I incorporated this here.

hoopla 2 001 frame edit

Using rick rack for the stems.

Next came the first flowers.

Hoopla 2 Blog 004 edit

Arranging the flower components and selecting the thread colour.

Hoopla 2 Blog 011 edit

Adding the embroidery.

 

Then some  leaves.

Hoopla 2 Blog 015 edit

Adding and embellishing leaves.

Hoopla 2 Blog 016 edit

Two different leaves and a stem.

I created a large flower.

Hoopla 2 Blog 010 edit

Adding embroidery to the large flower.

When I had completed all my stitching I needed to place my work into its hoop and back it.

Hoopla 2 Blog 019edit

Securing my work in the hoop.

I described this process in my previous post. https://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/hoopla/

Hoopla 2 Blog 018 edit

Stitching on the felt backing.

My hanging is complete.

Hoopla 2 Blog edit

This was such a delightful little project to make, I’ll definitely be making more items like this!

Recycle, Reuse, Renew……Recover

Last week we were all entertained with ladybirdee’s recovered pincushion.  It was inspired and inspiring, and I have taken this ‘recovering’ theme one step further.

I was in need of a table and chairs and after perusing the furniture stores and not finding what I had in mind, I had a look on eBay. I fell in love with a table advertised there….because of the chairs! I  purchased several meters of fabric from “that Swedish furniture store” to use for recovering the chairs.

Cotton drill fabric for recovering chairs

Cotton drill fabric for recovering chairs

After recovering the chairs, I had some fabric left and the table looked so naked.

Chairs with 'new

Chairs with ‘new” seats

Then, I remembered I had Judy Neimeyer’s Compass Rose table runner paper piecing pattern. The finished size of her table runner was too long for my table so I decided to do some modifications.

Paper piecing

Paper piecing

Using my left over pieces of fabric from recovering the chairs, some gorgeous Reece Scannell cottons and other pieces from my stash,  I stitched my compass sections, using Aurifil 50 wt. cotton Mako (orange spool).  Use a slightly shorter stitch length to make removing the paper after piecing easy.

Aurifil for perfect piecing

Aurifil for perfect piecing

Stash fabric,chair fabric and cotton like SILK from Reece Scannell

Stash fabric,chair fabric and cotton like SILK from Reece Scannell

Triangles were cut over sized and added to the compasses to create squares from my octogonal shapes.

Triangles ready to sew

Triangles ready to sew

One Finished Compass Rose...3 to go

One Finished Compass Rose…3 to go

Sewing these new squares together resulted in the perfect sized runner for my ‘new’ table.

'New' table with a new look

‘New’ table with a new look

This project was quick and easy and ready to enjoy in a few days.

We would love to hear about your adventures with turning something old into something new again.

Transforming

One of my friend’s is very clever at finding the BEST things in op shops.  Before op shopping became ‘trendy’ and when op shops were quite ordinary, in terms of display (now they are often like department stores) and odour (some could be considered musty! – for want of another word) my friend looked for bargains.  She has a good eye for sussing out treasures – not so much clothing, but crockery, great books, vases, etc etc – you name it – she has probably found it!   When she was going through her mosaic phase, she delighted in what she could buy and then take home to break up (destroy) for her art works!

Fortunately for me, I have on occasion, received a little gem from her. A month or so ago I was the recipient of one of her finds. Guess what it was??

StartYes! It was a large pincushion- about 6 inch diameter, covered in an upholstery furnishing fabric, with varnished base in dark brown.   I could see the possibilities in renovation!

Starting to undo

I had to unpick the braid around the fabric. Take out the millions of staples to find out what was underneath.

Nearly there

I decided to stay with the foam inner, as it had a good shape and was fine for reuse.

undone

‘Roughing up’ (I’m sure there is a technical term for this!)  the old varnish to start applying some white paint took some time.  Then repainting it with several coats.

underside

I love the ‘distressed’ look – so back to the sandpaper I went to make some marks ‘of wear’.

Then the fun part started of looking for a suitable fabric to recover it with.  I chose a Kaffe Fasset from my stash and some ribbon that went with it.  A retro button was found for the centre, and attached with Aurifil Ne 12 (see all sorts of using for the thread!).

Top of Pincushion

Da ta!!!  I am very happy with the end result – and won’t lose this one in the sewing room!

Finished

Hoopla!!

The staff at Always Quilting recently discussed using embroidery and quilting frames to display textile work. Embroidery and stitcheries, applique, pieced items and quilting, even a pretty piece of fabric can all be displayed this way. A quick internet search gives you lots of inspiration! Indeed, I was inspired and have since made a couple of items which are displayed in inexpensive embroidery hoops.

For my first piece, I decided to engage in some English paper piecing and fussy cutting and make a small companion piece for a mini quilt made last year and which I blogged about in a previous post. https://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/always-playing…-fussy-cutting/  You might recall that there was not much fabric left, but certainly sufficient for my purpose.

sewing- blog Nov 2014 058

Plenty of holes, but still enough fabric for my project!

I used 4x 2-inch clamshells and fussy-cut my fabric, with a small circle as the centre. There are many methods of preparing your English paper pieces, from tacking, to glue-basting, to fusible papers. I discuss one method here. https://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/english-paper-…agons-and-more/  When using clamshells, I prefer to tack the paper in place as this gives me greatest control over the curve, ensuring it is nice and smooth. When it is tacked into place I give it a good press.

Hoopla blog 015-crop

Tacking the fabric onto the clamshell paper.

Once I had made my clamshells I appliqued them onto my background fabric using Aurifil Cotton Mako 50. As you can see in the photo, I left plenty of fabric around the edges. I then took my little hoop, in this case 5 inches in diameter, and centred my design in it. When I was happy with its placement I tightened the screw so that the work was tensioned with no wrinkles.

 

Hoopla blog 004

Ensure the item is centred in the hoop.

I trimmed the background fabric to a border of about 1 1/2 inches.

Hoopla blog 005-crop

Trimming excess fabric to 1 1/2 inches.

I took a strong thread (Aurifil Cotton Mako 28) and ran a gathering stitch around the perimeter. To make this job easier I did not cut my thread off the spool, but used it directly from the spool. This way could adjust it as required, and I didn’t run the risk of miscalculating the length of cotton I needed, or of accidentally pulling the gathers out. When I had the gathers sitting as I wanted, I cut the threads leaving a tail, then tied them in a reef knot to secure them.

page

Gathering the background fabric behind the hoop.

To cover the back of the hoop I cut a circle of felt, using the hoop as a template for the circle. I wanted the felt to fit just to the edge of the blue background fabric, but inside hoop. Finally I stitched the felt in place again using a strong thread, Aurifil Cotton Mako 28. I used an overstitch going from the felt out towards the edge of the hoop as shown in the photo, and I ensured that each bite into the felt was about 3mm and went into the blue background fabric each time.

Hoopla blog 011-crop

Stitching the felt back into place.

And my little project is finished and ready to hang on the wall!

Hoopla blog 016-crop

My little hanging all ready to display on the wall.

In a future post, I will write about another project framed in this way.

 

A Special Treat to Banish the Cold

It is always a special treat when a customer brings a project that they have stitched with Aurifil into the store for “show and tell”.

windflower-scarf

This delightful scarf has been designed by Jan at Windflower Embroidery.

It is just perfect for those wintery days that we are experiencing, a lovely soft angora wool background trimmed with wool applique autumn leaves embellished with Lana wool thread.

Just the description is enough to banish the chill air.

windflower-scarf-detail

Jan has heaps of information, including an Embroidery Stitching Guide for free download, on her Windflower Embroidery website.  Well worth a visit.

If you want to work your own winter embroidery with Lana wool thread, visit our Aurifil Thread Australia website to find a local retailer.

Read more information about Lana wool thread.

Pinwheel Passion

At the beginning of this year, I celebrated the birth of my first grandchild, and like quilting grannies through the generations, wished to mark the occasion with the creation of a quilt.

I decided to ignore all the beautiful baby quilt patterns available commercially and design my own quilt using the pinwheel block with three narrow borders, using bright fabrics on a white background.

Camera file jan2015 075To make the pinwheel block I used a technique  where you start with squares.

You take 2 squares of contrasting fabric and sew them right sides together, with a 1/4 inch seam all the way around the edge.

Dec2014 Jan2015 027

Pinwheel squares sewn with 1/4 inch seams around the perimeter.

Then you cut the joined squares on each diagonal, being careful not to move the squares out of alignment as you rotate. (Tip: move your cutting mat around, not the squares, or better still, invest in a rotating mat!)

Dec2014 Jan2015 028

Cut the sewn squares diagonally.

Press the seams on your triangles, firstly as closed seams, then open them out and press with the seam in the direction of the darker fabric.

Dec2014 Jan2015 030

Pressing seams closed first.

Dec2014 Jan2015 031

Now press seams open and towards the darker fabric.

At this point you will have four matching squares which you arrange to form the pinwheel design and then sew  together.  TQH 001

Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of this when I was making my quilt so the sample looks a little different.

TQH 002-crop

Joining the pinwheel block.

If you wish to see a video of this technique and find out how large to cut your squares to reach the desired block size go to http://blog.missouriquiltco.com/update-on-the-easy-pinwheels/  You may notice that there is a great deal of confusion about the cutting size required to obtain the pinwheel square you require. The following method is accurate:

Take the finished size you wish your block to be (i.e. without any seam allowance)

Multiply by 1.41

Divide by 2

Add 1.25

Round up/down to the nearest eighth of an inch.

This will make a block which includes seam allowance so that when you have joined it to its neighbouring blocks it will be the accurate size.

I needed to make 50 pinwheel blocks and cut 49 intervening plain white ones.

Having done that, I then arranged them in a pleasing layout. In the photo below I have mine pinned to an old sheet. Theoretically no two blocks were supposed to be the same, but there are two that are!!

Dec2014 Jan2015 041-crop

Arranging the layout of the blocks.

I then added the borders:a narrow plain white border, a pieced border using strips of all the fabrics used in the quilt, and finally another narrow white border. I also used white fabric to bind the quilt. This gave the effect of the pinwheels and border “floating” on the white background.

Camera file jan2015 074

White borders and binding.

To quilt the quilt I used a design called Curlz by Patricia Ritter. Throughout the quilt, for piecing and quilting, I used Aurifil Cotton Mako 40.

Camera file jan2015 047

Quilting my quilt on my long-arm machine.

Ta Da!! My completed quilt.

Camera file jan2015 074

My completed pinwheel quilt.

The seasons they are a changing ….

It is not officially winter but it certainly feels that way.

autumnI spent much of my life living in places where there wasn’t a visible change from summer to winter, so I really enjoy the autumn colours.

I am not so fond of the drop in temperature, and the rain, but if it means that I get to change my shoes from sandals to boots it can’t be that bad.

shoesBut best of all I get to start a new winter stitching project!

In the past I’ve worked on a variety of projects using Aurifil Lana wool thread for my winter project.

A traditional embroidery stitche dwith aurifil Lana

A traditional embroidery stitched with Aurifil Lana

Machine embroidery blocks for my Wagga.

This Lana embroidery has been going for sometime but it is also close to being finished.

This Lana embroidery has been going for sometime but it is also close to being finished.

Hand embroidery

Wool applique can be fun, especially if you use Aurifil Lana for the stitching

Wool applique can be fun, especially if you use Aurifil Lana for the stitching

Applique

Miniature "Granny Squares" crocheted with Lana wool blend thread.

Miniature “Granny Squares” crocheted with Lana wool blend thread.

And I am not the only one playing with Lana in winter, judysew4th had a great time crocheting miniature granny squares for a scarf one year.

lana-project-2015I found a pattern for this sweet little woolen envelop for carrying my sewing essentials, so I think that I have found my project for this winter. I’ve hunted out some fabric and a selection of Lana wool threads for the embroidery so I am all set up.

If you want to try your hand at a project using the Aurifil Lana thread checkout the full colour range on the website.

While you are browsing have a look at the patterns as well to see if there is something to tempt you to start a new project.

The Poppy

I began sewing my poppy in 2007 after visiting a Quilters Unlimited show in Herndon, Virginia, USA. I purchased the Carol Morrissey pattern at their merchant’s mall and then spent several years deciding on which fabric to use.
The years sped by and the applique took place a petal at a time with other projects started and finished as the poppy was pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do’ pile.
The poppy has special significance as a flower of remembrance world wide. After the first World War the following resolution was passed:
“The Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia and other Returned Soldiers Organisations throughout the British Empire and Allied Countries have passed resolutions at their international conventions to recognise the Poppy of Flanders’ Fields as the international memorial flower to be worn on the anniversary of Armistice Day.”

” Centenary of Gallipoli ” Poppy

The Centenary of The First World War; 1914-1918, is being commemorated with poppies in many ways around the world.
The 5000 Poppies tribute calling for knitted poppies is now pushing 130,000 poppies as of late February this year.
• The quilt historian, Barbara Brackman, has featured a World War 1 Remembrance quilt on her blog; Material Culture during 2014. Where Poppies Grow-Remembering Almo was designed and made by Denniel O’Kell Bohannon and Janice Britz. My friend at Colvin Kiwi Quilts has made her version of Where Poppies Grow to commemorate her Great Grandfather’s involvement in WWI.
The Tower of London marked the centenary with poppies as well. Artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper created 888,246 ceramic poppies that progressively filled the Tower’s famous moat between 17 July and 11 November 2014.
As 2015 approached, in Australia and New Zealand, the ‘Centenary of the Gallipoli Landings’ significance was spoken about more and more, I felt my poppy needed to be finished for ANZAC Day, April 25, 2015.
With the hand applique finished, I decided to machine quilt the whole flower to the yellow background with Aurifil 40 wt and Aurifil 50wt thread.

Poppy pin basted and ready to FMQ

Poppy pin basted and ready to FMQ

With all the beautiful threads to choose from, it is hard to decide!

With all the beautiful threads to choose from, it is hard to decide!

The petals were made using hand dyed fabrics and many Aurifil threads were auditioned to either match the colours or complement the pieces as I quilted the petal’s texture.

Thread for a perfect petal

Thread for a perfect petal

The stamens were quilted with a patterned stitch that came with my sewing machine. A zigzag or blanket stitch would have worked as well.

The Poppy Stamen and Petals

The Poppy Stamen and Petals

The label includes the poem In Flanders Field written by a Canadian Medical Corps doctor, Major John McCrae, who was serving with a Field Artillery Brigade in Ypres.

In Flanders fields

In Flanders fields

The Poppy Label

The Poppy Label

If you have created a textile piece to commemorate an anniversary from your history, please share with us so we can all remember.

Aurifil @AQC

The Australasian Quilters’ Convention is just around the corner (16-19th April) held at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building.

Melbourne_exhibition_building

This is always an exciting event for quilters: an opportunity to see the latest in quilting trends, be inspired by the work of others, and shop for all things quilty.

Even the venue itself is full of inspiration!

Melbourne Exhibition centre, Calton Gardens

Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Carlton Gardens

2009 AQC, kitchen renovations 019

Stencil detail from Royal Exhibition Building….would look good as an applique border!

Here at Aurifil we have been very busy packing up stock for the Aurifil retailers to display on their stalls.

New Zealand 2015 002

Packing thread for one of our retailers.

Some of the retailers are taking a range of individual spools in various thread weights, while others are running special projects (such as block of the month) and we have been making up small packs of specially selected threads for these.

 

New Zealand 2015 012

We have also put together some new four packs, including 3 new reproduction basic collections, just perfect to give you a range of “go to” reproduction-coloured threads.

 

New Zealand 2015 011

One of three new “Reproduction Basics” collections.

These little four-packs also make great gifts (for yourself too!)

New Zealand 2015 008

New Four Pack: “Purple Passion”

New Zealand 2015 009

New four Pack: “Bubbles”.

The retailers who we know will have Aurifil for sale on their stands are:

Other Aurifil retailers present at AQC are:

In addition, some of the talented 2015 AQC tutors including Deidre Bond-Abel, Kathy Doughty, Karen Styles and Lisa Walton use Aurifil thread.

Look out for Aurifil at AQC and be sure to make certain that you have all the Aurifil supplies you need to successfully complete your current and future projects!

%d bloggers like this: