Another sewing month

While some of my work colleagues have been on holiday this month to warmer climes,  I’ve had to put up with cold Melbourne weather with only the occasional breaks in cold Melbourne temperatures.

However, my garden did tell me spring is on the way with bulbs coming up

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and when out walking, the park showed me this

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enough for the hay fever sufferers reach for their tissues and medications.

So, I haven’t got much to show for this month’s blog – other than some sewing.  My colleagues, will of course, have blog entries from all sorts of travel locations in the following weeks!  (sense a little envy here on my part?!).

First up is my work on the Quilter’s Newsletter Christmas Quilt (as reported on in my blog post last month).  I only have to make 20 of these little charmers – and that should be done in a week before the next download pattern comes available. No pressure here!Christmas QuiltThen I’ve been sewing a challenge quilt – can’t show much of that, except for the fabrics which were purchased in July and the deadline to get this one done is November:Challenge QuiltI’ve tried to do some more on my  ” Birdsville” by Wendy Williams:WW Birdsand help make blocks for a raffle for next year:

Raffle quiltand make a block for the guild’s retreat I attend each October with the theme “Step back in time” :

Retreat Block

In between times, I have completed a ‘modern’ baby quilt for a yet to be born first baby.  I can’t show the finished item yet, as it is a ‘surprise’ for the mum (and dad) to be:

Present

I have brought out the tiny hexagons for another airing at the wholesale trade fair in November.  We are organising our display for the Aurifil booth:

Quilt Market

And finally, I have started my Christmas sewing (yes, it isn’t that long to go when you make gifts):

Christmas sewing

All in all, I think I have done a little bit of work this month – but the pile of unfinished items still seems to grow!

Dare I say it?? Christmas is approaching!

I subscribe to Quilters Newsletter magazine.

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They had a ‘good deal’ on their subscription last year, and so I treated myself to a one year term.  It has proven to be a good read as well as a good deal.   The most recent issue had a foundation pieced Christmas tree that caught my eye.

020 As it can be done week by week, it made me think it could be a do-able project, and if I caught up with the sewing I could complete it by the end of October.

I decided to download the weekly patterns, and use the Christmas fabrics in my stash – of which I have quite a few acquired over the years.

011 It is interesting looking back on the ones I have accumulated – from the ‘traditional’ reds and greens and golds to the more modern and the ‘country’ look.

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They will all work – I hope.

For the past few weeks I have been foundation piecing like mad.

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It is a messy business!!

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It’s made me search out some small prints and not use the bigger ones in this project.

022But the results are fun!

008 I have been searching out some very tiny ‘conversation’ prints:

016And I have been sewing with Aurifil Ne 40 (the green spool).  For me it has the strength to cope with patterns printed on paper.

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I hope to be able to show the completed top by the end of the year.  I guess this means I have started another project – darn!

Handmade Gifts – Scissors Keep

Each year I make a number of handmade gifts for family and friends, mainly for giving at Christmas time.  In 2014 I used a cute little design by Marg Low to make some scissors keeps. http://www.marglowdesigns.bigcartel.com/product/scissors-keep

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I purchased this pattern from Marg at Australian Quilters’ Convention along with some very handy blunt-ended scissors.

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The scissors with their plastic cover.

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Scissors with the blades open. The blades are short enough to comply with airline regulations.

 

The scissors are suitable to use on aircraft and I have successfully traveled with mine.

The beauty of these small gift projects is that they use only small pieces of fabric and other requirements that you are likely to have on hand.

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Templates made and ready to use.

This is one of my finished Scissors Keeps.  For the general sewing I used Aurifil Cotton Mako 40, but to make the twisted cord I have used several strands of Aurifil Cotton Mako 12. (Marg gives instructions in the pattern). I also used Cotton Mako 12 for the decorative running stitch along the top. I embellished the top yo-yo with beads, but you can also use a button or any other idea that appeals.

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Qld 2014 003

Now I need to consider what I might make as gifts in 2015. It may still be only January, but those of us who handmake gifts need to be prepared. Only 335 days left!!

 

 

Not long now

I’m looking at my calendar and counting down how many sleeps until Christmas. In other words, how much time I have got left to do all the pre-Christmas things that need doing and my list is getting longer.

I have managed to complete one project, a Christmas tree ‘skirt’ for a family member who hasn’t seen the finished item yet – and as she doesn’t read this blog, I am fairly safe it will be a surprise when I give it to her.

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I looked and looked for a suitable pattern, and was thrilled to find a whole book with beautiful Christmas things to make.

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I wanted a modern look, and this design suits my criteria – colourful, modern and relatively quick to do.

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I had to add a slight change to the pattern, as I stupidly cut the centre hole far too big.  Memo to self:  read measurements twice before cutting! I cut the circle out of the centre twice the width it was supposed to be (measured out 7 inches on both sides of centre inside – darn!). Of course I had started to scissor cut the circle when I realised. So my design has an extra ‘garland’ to match the outer one.  I guess that makes the pattern more original!!

Naturally some AURFIL thread was used in the construction and quilting. I had the right colour for the buttonhole stitch in Ne 28, and used the Ne 40 in red and soft aqua in the quilting.

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I bought some pretty reindeer fabric for the backing

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and a chevron striped binding worked too.

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Happy Christmas to everyone – just one week to go…

062PS  Our shop, “Always Thread” is closing from the 19 December 2014 until 5 January 2015.

Christmas@knitsnquilts

Each year, at this time, we bring out our collection of Christmas decorations.  It is always enjoyable, taking off the wrapping and being re-acquainted with the items, some of which have been part of family traditions for many years, others of which have been recently made or purchased.  It’s a bit like an annual reunion!!

Allow me to take you on a tour of some of my Christmas decorations.

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The Advent wreath.

The first to go up is the Advent wreath, which marks the four weeks prior to Christmas.

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Our oldest nativity.

We have a number of nativity sets. This is the oldest (sorry about the flash reflection). The clothing is actually real fabric dipped in some kind of starching solution. Poor Joseph gets a bit “tipsy” each year and has to be supported with Blutak!

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A newer, more glitzy nativity.

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A simple Peruvian nativity.

Parts of our house have a blue carpet, so a number of years ago, we added blue decorations to our collection.

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Blue and silver Christmas tree decorations.

Although the blue tree lights were on when I took this photo, they don’t really show up here.  What does show up however(big sigh) is the lack of tree skirt.  One is in the making, and I am currently quilting it using Aurifil Cotton Mako 12, but I suspect is in danger of becoming a new year’s resolution(again)!!

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More blue decorating.

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My Heartwood Creek angel by Jim Shore….blue of course!

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Patchwork table centrepiece.

You may recognise this one, made for last Christmas using a Marg Low pattern.

Newly made in 2012.

And the latest piece, purchased just yesterday!

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My latest decoration purchased yesterday.

A number of years ago, pre-patchwork , I made Christmas wreaths.

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Wreath about 30cm diameter.

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Smaller wreath. This one is about 15cm diameter.

My daughter-in-law’s mother is a talented cook and makes many Gingerbread houses each year.

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A pleasure to look at and to eat!

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Hand appliqued and hand quilted runner.

And of course, no home is completely decorated without quilts!

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Friendship quilt.

The blocks in this quilt were made by members of Launceston Patchworkers and Quilters in 1998 when I was a member of that group.  Each year all members are asked to make a block.  The blocks are arranged into groups of 9 and anyone who has not already received blocks goes into a draw to receive a set.  The recipient then has to make her quilt.  The hardest part for me was to choose a sashing fabric which worked with all the blocks.

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Moda pattern and fabrics.

This large hand appliqued quilt hangs over the stair railing.  This is one of my favourite applique patterns.

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“Christmas Galaxy” quilt.

Thank you for visiting!

May your Christmas be a happy and safe one and just a bit “stitchy”!

Tuesday Treats: Folded Star Christmas Decoration

I had my hair cut last week …. not really a noteworthy event except that, as I booked the next appointment, my hairdresser & I were struck by how close it is to Christmas.

I know that it is mid November, but some how I hadn’t transferred that thought to the reality that Christmas is less than six weeks away ….  and it is time to start decorating the shop.

One of my favourite decorations is the folded star that I hang on the front door.

xmas-folded-star

This is an easy, almost “no sew”, project that can be put together in an evening.

They make great Christmas decorations or, with a little more time taken to securely stitch the points into position, they can be used as a place mat or trivet.

I made mine many years ago from a pattern in a magazine, so I had to do a google search to find some patterns online for you.

A quick gift that doesn't require a lot of fabric or stitching

A quick gift that doesn’t require a lot of fabric or stitching

Check out the instruction that I have found, grab a needle & thread, some fat quarters, backing fabric, batting & a foundation fabric and get started on making your own version of a folded star for Christmas.

This Folded Star Prairie Point Trivet pattern on the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association website only needs a loop added to the back to convert it into a door hanging.  (You might also like some of the other patterns on this website)

Also check out these instructions, with step by step photos,  written by Lisa & Sarah of  A spoonful of Sugar Designs. This pattern is a little different to the one on the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association website as the prairie points are made from circles, which may make the positioning of the fabrics easier.

The pattern that I used  “way back when” had a combination of circles & squares to make the prairie points.

If you find it easy to follow a spoken instruction this YouTube video, by Rose Smith, for making a folded star for the centre of her Somerset Patchwork cushion may help you work out the placement of the prairie points:

Each instruction has achieved the folded star in a slightly different manner, so choose the method that appeals to you.

In all case, remember that the best effect is achieved by having a good contrast, in each round of points, to show up the design.

Have fun creating your own version of the folded star door hanger

Tuesday Treats: A Free Pattern Download

Have you been keeping up with our Free Pattern for the Modern Welcome Wall Hanging?

It is a small wall hanging, approximately 50cm x 60cm (20″ x 24″), so very manageable and easy to make for yourself, or for a gift.

PS: We planned the schedule so that it could be finished for Christmas

A Modern Welcome Finished size 20x24

A Modern Welcome
Finished size 20×24

We are up to month 3,  of a 10 month “Block of the Month”.

Watch for the free instruction each month.  Judysew4th posts the next step on the blog, on the first Friday of each month.

Month one included a selection of applique designs, or you could use a design of your own choice. As you can see, I am planning to use my welcome quilt in my sewing room.

The instructions are available as a free download each month.

The instructions are available as a free download each month.

Each month is a small simple step so, for once, I have been able to keep up with the program!!

My blocks for months one, two & three

My blocks for months one, two & three

I am using a darker background fabric than Judysew4th, and a romantic Moda charm pack called “Dream On”

You only need half a metre of background fabric, plus a Moda charm pack to complete this wall hanging.

You only need half a metre of background fabric, plus a Moda charm pack to complete this wall hanging.

The pattern has been designed to use all four thread weights in the Cotton Mako’ range.  So far, I have used:

  • Cotton Mako’ 50 colour 4653 for the applique
  • Cotton Mako’ 40 colour 2325 for the piecing
The wall hanging has been designe dto utilise all four thread weights in the Cotton Mako' range. The perfect way to test sew each thread weight.

The wall hanging has been designed to utilise all four thread weights in the Cotton Mako’ range. The perfect way to test sew each thread weight.

and I plan to use

  • Cotton Mako’ 28  colour 2220 for the quilting
  • Cotton Mako’ 12 colour 2115 for the stitchery

To see the wall hanging progressing, and get ideas for alternate uses for each block, read Judysew4th’s posts for previous months here:

Month One:    Applique

Month Two:    Four patches

Month Three:  Half square triangles

I can’t wait to see the next block in June.

Now a Special Offer for blog followers:

Special Welcome Quilt Offer:

Save 10% when you purchase one spool from
each Cotton Mako’ thread weight
to make your quilt.

 

 Here is how to activate the Offer:

1.    Go to our online store

2.    Choose colours that will work with your fabrics.

3.    Make sure that you have selected one spool from each of the 4 cotton Mako’ thread weights

4.       Type “Welcome Quilt” in the comment box when checking out of the online store. 

 

We will apply a 10% discount to 4 spools in your order before processing your payment.

Share the fun! 

Tell your friends about the pattern downloads and this great thread offer.

Collect all the patterns for the Modern Welcome. (You do not need to register or “sign in” to access the patterns using this link. Once the page opens, simply use the “More Options” arrow, to the right of each file, to preview or download that file)
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