Friday, March 30, 2012

At the Treehouse and National Year of Reading Quilt

Last Saturday we had another Hugs and Kisses class at Treehouse Textiles. Five gorgeous women, piles of beautiful fabrics, amazing food and lots of coffee and treats all added up to a wonderful day. One of the things I have really taken away from these classes is the inspiration and enjoyment you get from seeing how other crafters put together their fabric and colour choices.

They are all so different, from a soft palette based around grey (looking a little like stained glass with the sun shining through), this quilt will have beautiful grey diamonds as a secondary pattern when the blocks are sewn together. the use of just three colours, alternating pink, grey and green (another one with little grey diamonds in the pattern, these would look fabulous with perle 8 stitching in them!)...

..a great use of black and white in the background triangles with gorgeous grey, yellow and green (I love this palette)

..a gorgeous scrappy quilt. Love that mushroom fabric!!, raspberry, aqua and grey, simply divine.

These last blocks were made by Michelle from The Quilted Tortoise. Michelle and I met through our blogs and then she realised we actually lived locally to each other. I love that our blogs can bring new friendships into being. Michelle is in the process of moving her blog over to Blogger, but soon you will be able to see more of her incredible work here.

A day at Treehouse Textiles is certainly a wonderful experience and a great chance to meet new friends. I'm rather tempted by the Tea Cosys and High Tea workshop coming up in June! If you want to be inspired check out Emma's blog here or like them on Facebook here to keep up with all the fun!

This week I've been busy with my other job at the library. As many Aussies may know it is the National Year of Reading (what a great thing to promote our passion for reading all year!!) and on Saturday we are having a Big Read Day at the Mornington Library which is lining up to be a fabulous day. My friend Deb (who has had some of her quilts star on my blog in the past) works in a school library. To celebrate the National Year of Reading in her school library, she has made a gorgeous quilt using the NYR logo.

It turned out beautifully. Deb had difficulty finding the right background for her logo, so she painted her own...I love the way the colours flow into each other. What a fabulous quilt to encourage kids to get into reading!

What am I reading now? I've almost finished Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Paul Torday) in preparation for the movie release next month! Quite a quick, easy read, I'm really enjoying it. Oh, and I thought the Hunger Games movie was fabulous, great casting and reasonably close to the book.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

There And Back Again

And a great time it was! My quick trip to Sydney was fabulous, and of course it started off with a visit to Kathy's colour saturated shop Material Obsession. The title of this post also relates to a much cherished book of mine - The Hobbit (can't wait to see that movie at the end of the year, Martin Freeman being one of my favourite actors right now). Anyway, walking into Kathy's shop was like entering into a cave full of sparkling treasures (no dragons to slay though, unless you include the beckoning credit card in the pocket!!) I could spend hours wandering through her rooms (upstairs and down), which is exactly what I did!! Divine colour, bolts of gorgeous fabrics, I love the folded quilts sitting up high, quietly surveying all who enter here...

I have known Kathy, both through her blog, her books and personally for quite a few years now, and she never ceases to inspire me and make me think I could take on more challenges!

 Me (shocking photo of me but I'd been up and traveling since 4am!! 
Well, that's my excuse anyway!),
 Kathy and Liane

It was also wonderful to meet Liane from Berry Red Stitches while I was there. She too was visiting from interstate and we quickly fell into a chatting companionship as only bloggers can do!!

I am very impatiently waiting for Kathy's new book release next month, as soon as I have it in my hands I will let you know all about it! Of course I can never visit Kathy and leave her glorious shop empty handed! Ever since I spied Uzbek Patches it has spoken to me.

I now have a kit to create this quilt for myself.

Kathy packaging up my kit for traveling!!

This gorgeous fabric caught my eye too, so it came home to Melbourne with me.

The rest of the weekend was spent attending a beautiful wedding of old friends (the happy couple are in their 70's!), and catching up with lots of family. We don't get to have family gatherings very often, so thoroughly appreciate them when we do get the chance. Sunday night was spent quietly looking through past photographs of my (deceased) Grandparents. We came across some lovely little gift cards my Grandmother had painted for my Grandfather...

She was obviously very much in love.

Back home now and back to work and other things. I will be seeing the Hunger Games movie on Thursday with another Kathy, a dear friend from work. I loved the books so I'm looking forward to seeing this movie. Have you seen any great movies lately? xo

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

At the Treehouse & Material Obsession

I had a wonderful day at Treehouse Textiles yesterday. Emma and Sarah are the most amazing hosts and their talent and attention to detail is seen everywhere. They kept up our strength all day with the most delicious macaroons, teas, coffees (latte with none thank you!), amazing food...the lunches were exquisite and very yummy!

We had three gorgeous girls learning how to make the hugs and kisses quilt blocks (based on Japanese x and + blocks). Check out that view, so inspiring, I could have stayed all week and kept sewing!

They picked it up beautifully and by lunchtime lovely blocks were emerging.

I can't wait to teach another Hugs and Kisses class on Saturday 24th March. See here if you would love to join in the fun and be thoroughly spoilt by Emma and Sarah!!

In the meantime, I've got a flying visit to Sydney this weekend for a family do. Almost two years ago I was fortunate enough to meet the lovely Kathy from Material Obsession.

Liesl, myself and Kathy when I visited July, 2010

This Friday I'm going again, yay!! I thought I'd let anyone in the area who might be thinking of visiting Material Obsession this Friday (16th) and would like to meet up, I should be there around 10am-12md, depending of course on my bus, plane, train and bus timetables to get me there!!! (I may be a little weary, I'm leaving home at 4am, yikes!). I can't wait to see Kathy in her new shop (she moved her shop to Drummoyne last year). I must remember to pack my camera. See you next week. xo

Monday, March 12, 2012

Foundation & a Finish

Firstly I want to thank everyone who took the time to chat about how they did their foundation piecing and whether they liked it or not on my last post. It appears that on the whole, most people love it! As well as that, there appears to be quite a few different ways to foundation piece, not just the traditional or the freezer paper methods. A few of you may have even convinced me to at least give the traditional method a try. Once again I am reminded about how amazing this blogging community is...we have so much information and ideas, tips and hints at our fingertips. I love it!

Ok, so I have stitched up Dan's (Piece and Press) gorgeous cushion using the freezer paper foundation piecing method, and I'm thrilled with it so far. I'm thinking the border will be a darker grey of some sort, haven't decided yet.

This will eventually sit on my couch. My couch has been calling out for new cushions for a long, long time, so this is a good start.

Because I used the freezer paper method to make this cushion, I can reuse the pieces to make another cushion to keep this one company!

I've also finished the hand quilting on my pink and brown Japanese x and + and o quilt.

I love the softness and texture of the quilt when it's quilted with perle 8 threads.

More pink and brown on the back of course!

And the binding had to be brown with hot pink polka dots!

Thank you to everyone who has wished me all the best for my class at the beautiful Treehouse Textiles tomorrow. I'm very excited and will be back with pics! xo

Friday, March 9, 2012

Do you Foundation Piece?

I don't. Or at least I didn't until this week. I never liked the idea of sewing over paper then spending time ripping it all off. That put me off. But I know I should have tried it before I decided whether I liked it or not. Oh well, I probably won't try it that way now since I have discovered that you can foundation paper piece using freezer paper...and you don't sew over the paper...ever!! I found a fabulous tutorial for it over at Twiddletails Store then followed it to the letter. And it worked...

...and now I am hooked!! I love all those gorgeous perfect points that can be easily achieved with foundation piecing.

I found this wonderful little block called Colourwheel Geese over at Piece by Number, it's a free template you can download. (They also have some fabulous templates in their Etsy shop). I printed the template off, then traced it onto the dull side of the freezer paper and went from there.

I don't know how this method would work for very skinny, very spiky points, but I will certainly try it sometime and let you know.

Yesterday I spied Dan's (Piece and Press) New York Beauty cushion he has made using foundation piecing, how divine...

Photo from Dan's blog Piece and Press
Used with Dan's kind permission

Dan has generously drawn up the foundation piecing templates for his stunning cushion, and made them available from his post here. Don't mind if I do, thank you Dan, great templates! You will be able to see more of these beauties in Dan's flickr group here. (Hopefully I will get one there soon!!).

Yes, there will be many more attempts at freezer paper foundation piecing (what a mouthful) over here in the next few months. So have you tried either method before? Do you love/hate it? I would love to hear what you think about it. xo

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bound and Quilted

Considering I am teaching these blocks at Treehouse Textiles next week, it was nice to finally finish quilting my Japanese x and + quilt.

I always really enjoy using a freemotion style of quilting on my quilts (when I'm not enjoying hand quilting with perle 8 thread that is!!), and this was no exception.

I love the organic look to the quilts when you just put them under your machine needle and make lines and zig zags, crosses and a little stipple stitch without marking it all out first. It feels like doodling with a pencil except you are doodling with needle and thread (funnily enough, I'm pretty hopeless at doodling with a pencil!). Instead of changing thread colour for each different coloured fabric, I chose a light tan Rasant thread for the entire quilt.

Nice, slightly wobbly, character lines I like to call them! (which is what I'm calling all those extra lines I see when I look in the mirror these days!!).

I used the fabric I had leftover from my Wonky Star Quilt for the backing. I cannot get enough of this fabric I just love it!

The black and white polka for the binding frames the quilt beautifully.

Remember the brown and pink Japanese x and + and o quilt? 

That is next to be quilted, but for that one, I am going back to the perle 8 thread and embroidery needle! I wonder if I can get that done in a week?!!!