Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A new week and a new quilt

This week, 2 Farmers Wife  blocks, for the first time the next block left me uninspired- 
so I didn't make it, perhaps next week..
Blocks 66 and 67


I have also been busy with a family baby quilt, I am a little late, but am really happy with the design, my daughter, who has done little sewing, has been advising the design and layout.
It has come together quickly and I am quite happy with both the design and process. 
The blocks are 10 "

The finished quilt top below

This week is EKKA week in Queensland, the agricultural exhibition. I entered 3 quilts, no wins this year, but a few of my friends made some great quilts and embroideries and won some prizes! Below is one of my entries.

Fruit Salad
I did a day of "white glove" quilt hostess volunteer work, the crowds left me a little overwhelmed, so I spent a happy hour demonstrating on the Sweet Sixteen for our local dealer in the quilt display area.  This was quite a bit of fun, as it did draw a crowd, also gave me some well needed stitching time, which has been very infrequent this week.




Just a little fun machine quilting making up designs! 


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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back to the Farmers Wife

Three very busy weeks, both with paid work and one week as Bernina Ruler Guru at the Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair, then a week holiday with my mum, has left me a little behind on my Farmers Wife schedule.
I have made one block this week, a little fiddly, but a nice one.

 I should have made some blocks in advance, but I really had trouble just functioning at a basic level just to get the rudimentary things done. 

I also have taught 4 quilt classes in the past few weeks. So many quilters have amazing tools and equipment and need some encouragement to use them to their best advantage. I have really enjoyed these classes, but go home quite exhausted. My word to you is that if you have bought 'tools' to enhance your quilting- try them out, take them to your group to troubleshoot and then go home and practice practice practice!
If all else fails, watch a youtube video!

In these classes I have found new 'tools' to enhance and improve quilting, some are great , but some so fiddly, that I wonder if they are really going to help the average home quilter, or just confuse and frustrate? One of my own 'tools' that is wasted on me is the triangle cutting ruler, I have had it for about 15+ years and used it twice! I usually cut a square then stitch and cross cut for half square triangles, it does give more stability when stitching, especially with small blocks. My 6" x 24" and 6 1/2 " x 6 1/2" and 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" rulers are perfectly serviceable for my needs.

 I have been working with Bernina at the Craft and Quilt Fairs to demonstrate the Bernina machine quilting rulers.
I love using these rulers, and have been having some fun with my Cindy Needham Ultimate Stencils to create some fantastic and fun mandala style blocks. It is amazing to think that with a few basic curves and a straight ruler I can create amazing shapes. I am not using fiddly rulers, sometimes I may not use the whole oval or circle, but I am creating really pleasing repetitive designs.
Some pictures below. I also did some really great border designs too, but gave them away before photographing them- lesson learned here.

 Hmmm, maybe needs some fillers

 Some finishing required
 These blocks do need some finishing with fillers



Creating with the stencils is so easy, does not need lots of different shaped rulers, an individual look can be achieved easily and simply with the basic circles and oval rulers found in my Bernina set.
Now if only I wasn't so tired after a very busy birth suite night shift, I might have the energy to sew....



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Where did that week go?

This past 2 weeks have flown by without time to draw breath! work and then some teaching machine quilting classes have taken all my time and energy, with my creative time being limited to class prep and recovery.
So here I am with no Farmers Wife blocks this week, and no hope in the next 2 weeks, and I was doing so well....
Stitching time for myself has been sadly limited.
I am trying really hard to finish some pieces for the Queensland Quilters yearly exhibition, 2 weeks away now and my time is even more limited.
I am going to Melbourne as guest artist with Bernina on the Q20 demonstrating ruler work, come along and see what it is all about if you are in Melbourne. 
Then I am really looking forward to a week with my mum, sitting and hand sewing and walking the beach- even in winter 'our' beach in Tasmania is marvellous!

This is one of my exhibition pieces, I am up to the binding, it is an improv piece of some of my husbands old shirts, they are so soft, it will be a lovely quilt to snuggle under- perhaps for his teardrop caravan that he is starting to build....

 Our son has been living in Colombia teaching English for the past 16 months, our daughter recently visited with him for 2 weeks, they had a marvellous time together. I asked for a Mola souvenir. They chose these 2 pieces, one is a bag and the other a fantastic panel. They know that I like red, and I am impressed that they chose pieces that I love! 
Being surrounded by textiles their whole lives seems to have paid off.


Monday, July 17, 2017

X plus quilt - a family gift

One sad and lonely block this week, and its very late.
I had hoped to get some more done,but life got busy. Paid work- can you believe it! house guests , and many nights out with friends!
This block was deliberately pressed with the seams open, it worked well, till I stitched it upside down! The centre isn't quite right the second time around, 
but I am not undoing it again.


This week I am trying to quilt this rather large XPlus quilt for my cousin for a 21st birthday gift. The birthday was last week, the quilt top took 2 weeks to make.
It is a bit special as I have used mostly her late grandmothers fabrics. The grand plan is to get it quilted and ready to bind before I head to Melbourne next week for my demonstration on the Bernina stand at the Craft and Quilt fair.
I do have a lot of work to do between now and then, some blocks to prepare, its good to have a pieced block to demonstrate ruler work on.
Below is one of the variations of quilting designs, I really like my plastic sheet, I found it at the art supply store, I do have a border of masking tape so I don't accidentally draw on my quilt.

 Partially quilted, I think that if I do a few hours every day I will be OK time wise....
 Bunched up on the quilting table
 The centre of one of the blocks, the gold fabric really sings with the pebbles!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Farmers wife progress

I had a busy day yesterday and pieced 4 more blocks, I am happy to say that I am using my new light fabrics. However the box of red and white fabric is not reducing at all!
These are block 60-63.




I have been piecing another quilt this week, a birthday quilt, can't show it yet, but I think that the recipient will be happy. I was trying to reduce a particular stack of fabric, it appears to be no different even after piecing a queen sized quilt!



Of course, I had to do a little machine quilting today, this is a class sample (fat quarter size) for my class tomorrow, ruler work on the domestic machine. I have  a lot of pieced blocks, but a whole cloth is fun. Lets hope my students have fun too!

Friday, June 30, 2017

A little win and a very big weekend!

 First the good news, I won a prize this past week, third in the Modern category in the NSW Quilt Guild show. 
I am a  little excited, as it is such a big category with many talented quilters entering!
Thanks to the sponsors of my prize- Dayview Textiles, Berry Quilting Retreat and Sue's Top Finish Quilting service, and of course QuiltNSW.
The light was interesting at this show, however it did show up my quilting very nicely indeed.


I was in Sydney for the Craft and Quilt Fair as a guest of Bernina, doing some ruler work on the Bernina Q20 machine.
I had so much fun. Most of my samples were on the black fabric, although I did have some pieced blocks which were excellent for showcasing how easy the rulers are to use.
Below are some of my black samples, done using a Cindy Needham Ultimate stencil for the base grid.


Some zentangle style work using a straight ruler

Waiting to be filled with a fun free motion filler!
Border ideas


 My Farmers Wife has had a to wait a while this week while I have been recovering form my weekend and make a start on another quilt - yet to be revealed .
Block 58 came together very nicely, block 59 on the other hand needs a rethink and a restitch, there's not many that I restitch!
 Oops this is not going to lay flat - ever- no matter how much starch I use!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Farmers Wife blocks 55, 56 & 57 and some distractions

 I have been distracted this past week, a lot of busy shifts at work- a baby boom!
Planning for the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair where I am one of Bernina's guest artists! demonstrating ruler work on the Q20- I am really excited and a little nervous!
Below is one of my sample pieces, a mandala style quilt, made for a competition where it did not fare well.... so it will be on display with some other works at the various craft and quilt fairs as part of the Bernina stand.
Below is a modern improv cross quilt, my husband decided that these shirts were too big and too old for him now, so I cut them all up and made a fun improvised cross quilt. I had a moment in the night where I remembered the yellow shirt, 
it was just perfect for some light relief.
The quilting is coming along nicely, and the back is so much fun. Another picture next time!
 Yesterday I made 3 blocks for the Farmers Wife. I dug a little deeper into the box for some different fabrics, it seems as though some days I just skim the top of the fabric selection. I really need to tip it all out and mix them up a little. I also need some more really light fabric, perhaps I will see some this weekend in Sydney at the quilt show!
 I often wonder if I am better to hand piece some of these blocks with many small pieces, then I think that - just get on and machine piece, its not too bad. I do use a fair bit of spray starch and find that I do get some shiny areas, they will wash out I hope.
 This has been a really good exercise in putting different prints together, I am usually afraid of choosing more than one print, so this project making me think outside my little square and be brave  in my fabric choice decisions!
 This block is a little fun, I just love the  black with red!
Hopefully I will see some old friends in Sydney!
I am really looking forward to 4 days of sewing, and hopefully some wonderful inspiration!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Accurate seam allowances- Farmer's Wife

Two blocks this week in my Farmers Wife quilt, I am at the halfway mark now!

 These blocks require precise cutting and piecing!


Hmmm, I am not sure about the fabric choices here!

I visited the Ipswich Art Gallery this week to view the Annette Gero  Wartime quilts, one of the most amazing things was the piecing accuracy achieved by the makers- mostly men. The fabrics were thick, the pieces quite small, yet the accuracy was quite amazing! 
Obviously they were hand stitched, no rotary cutters, and probably a paper or cardboard pattern- which can quite often become misshaped or trimmed unexpectedly to result in an odd sized pattern!
These quilts are quite amazing given the conditions they were made in.

Even with today's conveniences of stitching, many quilters - including me sometimes - are unable to achieve that repeated perfection with piecing.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Got my mojo back!

After a very busy week- again at work, I have been very tardy last week and did not stitch any Farmers Wife blocks.
I did, however make a small quilt for the Spotlight competition!
There's nothing like starting at the last minute and stitching like crazy till its done!

This week I have done 4 Farmers Wife to try to catch up with my own self set timeline.
With these blocks I am using some different fabric combinations.
Usually I just pull out a dark and a light and start cutting !

  
 There is always the question of whether one should press the seams open or to one side, I always have the quilting design in the back of my mind when I am piecing, I do like to stitch in the ditch a lot, so am very wary of pressing seams open. Every so often some blocks need to be pressed open to avoid bulk.
Back to the sewing room now, there are so many deadlines and quilts to be finished ...


Preparation for the Craft and Quilt Fair in Sydney later this month is my next deadline, where I am Bernina's guest artist on the Q20, doing ruler work!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Week 19 Farmers Wife.

This week brings 2 blocks, using fabrics that I found while I was searching 
for something else!


 The stripe is new and  also the checked fabric.
they both certainly add to my range of reds!

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I have switched some of the lights and darks around,and am quite happy with this.

A few days off work after 4 night shifts and I have been madly quilting and trying to clear some projects from my sewing room. A few more days off and I can clear some more unfinished projects.....