Sunday, September 30, 2012

Learning A New Skill

It's funny that with all the hand work I do (EPP, needleturn applique etc) I have never really learnt how to hand piece, always choosing to piece on the sewing machine or by EPP. Meredithe from Pomegranate and Chintz has been encouraging me to give it a try, but I had never got around to it!! When my friend Deb (72 Derwents) was interested in doing a class with Judy Newman (a Very Fine House) to create her amazing Museum Medallion quilt hand piecing it together I jumped at the chance to learn this skill.

So Friday saw us trundling over to Treehouse Textiles (which was a fabulous place to sit and stitch all day with the rain falling outside and us all snug and warm inside!!). I took a truckload of fabrics with me so I had plenty of choice and got working on the centre star.

The outer petals are yet to be sewn on, and then this entire centre will be sewn to the text background. Honestly I do not know why I put hand piecing off for so long, I am now totally hooked (as I get with most elements of quilting, heehee!), and can see me using this method a lot in future (thanks for the encouragement Meredithe, I got there in the end!!) Yes it is slower and more time consuming, but somehow, that is the relaxing part of it, the therapy of stitching perhaps?!!

It was a fabulous day at the Treehouse, Emma and Sarah are the most wonderful hosts, always making sure we have enough coffee or tea and the food is incredible as always. It was great to 'hang out' with Judy too, she is a fantastic teacher and nothing was ever a bother for her. I have a long way to go to get my quilt is a pic of Emma, Judy and I with Judy's beautiful Museum Medallion Quilt...

It was also wonderful to meet a fellow blogger Susan (Patchwork and Play). One of the things I have most loved about my blog is that I meet such wonderful 'virtual' people, and sometimes I even get to meet them in 'real life'!!! I felt as though I already knew Susan, and it was so lovely to spend the day stitching with her.

So here is the back of my star, mmm my stitches will need to get a little smaller I think, but on the whole I'm happy.

My next shapes are chosen, cut out and ready to stitch, which I love to do at night with a favourite dvd running in the background.

So now I can also get a start on this hand pieced quilt of gorgeousness...

Do you have a favourite hand pieced project?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Liberty Hexagon Mandala

I adore Liberty fabrics.
I have a bit of a penchant for hexagons.
I have long admired Mandala's.

So  I guess putting the three together was always going to happen at some point!! (Click on the photo's to see clearer details).

This mini quilt was a lot of fun to make. I made up 5 different sized card hexagon templates from size 1/2 inch up to 2 1/2 inches. Then I tacked my liberty fabric onto my card, ensuring my stitches were only in my fabric, not through the card.

Then I pulled out the card leaving the tacking stitches to help hold the hexi in shape. I think if I did this again I would use a hole punch to punch a hole in the centre of each hexi template which would make it easier to flip my card hexies out, the 1/2 inch hexies were a little tricky to remove.

Next, I laid my hexies out until I was happy with the placement (I didn't rule anything, just did it by eye, I wanted it to look organic, also I couldn't be bothered ruling it up!!). Once happy, I put a few dots of Roxanne's Baste-it glue (fabulous stuff!) on the back of each hexie and glued them into place.

Here are my hexies all glued onto their background, ready to be quilted in place. Don't they look pretty on the clothesline?

My Liberty Hexie Mandala is around 24inches square. This is going to a friend in the Down Under Doll Quilt Swap. I will use a liberty fabric for the binding. Fun! xo

Friday, September 21, 2012

Down Under Doll Quilt & at the Treehouse!

My little quilt top for the Down Under Doll Quilt Swap is finished. It is a challenge to make a quilt for someone you don't know and hope they will like it. This has perhaps ended up a little vintage looking, I do hope that is ok?!

I have long adored the vivacious Lynne from Lily's Quilts quilt block that she calls Big Little George, so I decided to make up two of these gorgeous star blocks to put onto this lovely linen background. (Lynne has a fabulous tute for her block here). I made these blocks up using the freezer paper foundation piecing method, then I needle turn appliqued them onto the linen. I chose to leave the centre showing the beautiful linen, rather than appliquéing a different fabric there.

Then I added on a few stars that I drew up and then needle turned them all onto the linen. Again I kept the selvedge in, I love the look and feel of that selvedge and it adds a great detail.

The fabulous thing about a doll quilt (or mini quilt, they are not actually for dolls!!), is that the smaller size (this is around 24 inches) makes them pretty quick to sew up.

Now to quilt it! Maybe by hand? If you want to see more of these doll quilts, check out the flickr group here. There is such inspirational work there.

Also, have you heard...Emma from Treehouse Textiles is having an open day tomorrow from 9:30am - 3pm (more details here). If you have never been there before this is a fabulous opportunity to come and check it out. If you are a regular, pop in and see what is new. There will be gorgeous tea and coffee and a treat as well as items on sale. I will be there all day so come and say Hi. xo

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stitching is Healing

2012 has not been an easy year. Briefly, I have been living with chronic rsi shoulder pain for 3 years now, and recently I fell into a bit of a black hole mentally, emotionally and spiritually with it.

I have now put some things in place to help me get into a healthier place (including walks on our gorgeous local beaches!), but one of the things that has really been helping in my healing is stitching! As long as I am careful my stitching doesn't hurt my shoulder (taking breaks, propping my arm on cushions, stretching, etc) and I am finding that the act of sitting quietly with needle and thread is incredibly therapeutic.

As well as that is stitching with friends. A few weeks back I was fortunate to spend a day with like-minded stitchery people at a Sue Spargo class.

Photo of Sue on the left, and our wonderful host Jenny from Amitie on the right.

Sue's embellishment work is incredible and inspirational.

Her eye for detail is amazing. I took along my pre-stitched flowers, all ready for their embellishment...

....and managed to get half a flower done! I spent way too much time talking and soaking up all the colour and beautiful stitches!! In the middle of this flower I've done a drizzle stitch...what fun!

Ahh well, I will now wait until Sue's book of stitches is released later in the year sometime to finish off this little project.

I have so much to be thankful for in my life and one of those things is my new stitching groups, one that I started in my home made up of local bloggers and some work colleagues. They are such an encouragement to me and I'm learning so much from all of them. Of course when we all get together there is always laughter, and laughter is good medicine right?!!

I will have a few little things to show very soon, just need to take a few photo's. A couple more of these blocks have been done (photo below), and I've been working on my Aussie Doll Quilt Swap which I'm quite excited about. Back very soon. xo