Thursday, November 30, 2006
[The top quilt on my bed (which is the best surface in my house for laying out blocks) is a trip around the world, with nine-patches in it, but the backing is a purple tone on tone fabric - I can't tell you how useful that backing has been in quilt design - it's almost a solid colour, so it makes a great surface for laying blocks out on. It can frequently be glimpsed behind various quilt pictures I take. ]
The other thing I worked on today is an upcoming (next year) scrappy swap - simply blocks made up of 4 squares by 4 squares (2.5 inch squares) - to yeild an 8 inch block. These are something I tend to make with small scraps as I sew other things, using them as enders and leaders. This is a pile of blocks made before, some of which are suitable for swapping (some are a little less precise than I like to swap out, but are fine for my own use). I'll add to these over the next few months until I have enough for the swap. The fun thing with a swap like this is getting everyone else's blocks in - so many different fabrics - and it's fun to spot fabrics you own yourself and to ooh and aah (or not, as the case may be!) over the ones you don't. This swap will be on the scrapquilting forum on delphi, and is still taking signups until mid-December, if anyone wants to play along...
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
As last year, Sarah doesn't have a "pocket" calendar (where you get a little gift each day), but Olivia still does (house rule is 8 years old, decided by me last year as I couldn't face the thought of making another advent calendar with pockets - and anyway, she's too old for it) and of course, Alex does, so those two are hanging upstairs, Olivia's in the hallway at the foot of the stairs to her room and Alex's on his door.
Sarah made a big cardboard tree last year (18 inches high or so) and we cut out shapes from old Christmas cards, so she'll have something to add to each morning (plus she has a chocolate one from Oxfam) and of course, I have my quilted one.
I made this two years ago (so this is its third outing) - I photographed it with all the slots full, but of course it's empty now and will have one picture added each day until Christmas day. The slots have little tabs in the corner, like old-fashioned photograph albums and you can put the pictures in in whatever order you like. I also have three more little pictures upstairs which need to be finished off - quilted and edged - so this year, there will be extras to choose from. The pictures are all about 4 inches square, finished, and are foundation paper pieced.
Can't remember where the pattern was from - will dig that info out tomorrow/later and see if there's a link to it - it's a very nice pattern, though I adapted it a bit. The three new pictures for this year are from another source, though. The intention (ha) is to add one or two each year until I either run out of ideas or get bored. I'd like to add a few English things (it was an American or maybe Canadian pattern) like a Christmas pudding and a Chrismas cracker, for instance, even if it means drawing the pattern up myself.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Seems to be mostly what I did today - not that I had a huge amount of time for sewing, anyway, but the hour or so I did have, what I mainly did was edge some postcards. I now have six done and at least one more quilted but not edged. Getting there slowly but surely.
This evening watching telly I managed to tie in all the ends of the table runner for my secret santa and to finish the binding and the ends on the one for my friends. So tomorrow I guess I will package up all the various secret santa stuff (in addition to this, I have a "bought" secret santa to swap with, and a smaller group I belong to always does a swap as well, so I have stuff for that to send - also bought stuff, rather than made - we are realistic about our time in that group. Sometimes.) and post it off. Which is fine, as the date for posting is 1 December for the one group and I think the 7th or 8th for the other. Plenty of time to spare!
I also started cutting out bits of fusible vilene for the next month of the Japanese block of the month sampler - this one is Mt Fuji in the mist. It's block five of nine, and was only supposed to be finished in 2005 or so. But hey, I'm working on it, right?
Sunday, November 26, 2006
The other thing I did was to attach binding to the two Christmas table runners, so that I can sew them down while watching telly. I need to post the one for my Secret Santa by the 1st of December, so I guess I should get a move on...
Friday, November 24, 2006
As you can see, I have now done three of these to this stage - they just have to be trimmed and have the backing paper fused on and edge stitched. I like the way they are coming out - nice when a simple idea works. Maybe I'll even manage to get through the 35 of them I'm supposed to be doing!
The other thing I worked on today, I can't post pictures of, because it might spoil it for someone - I am taking part in the Twisted Mystery (2) on Quilt Shoppe Forum - I did the last one and it was fun (though my poor finished piece - the one for me, not the one I made - got lost over the ocean somewhere. Sigh). Each player sends a bunch of fabric to the hostess, who then passes them back out to the other players - you don't know whose you have or who has yours. You then make a quilt and send it back (not a huge quilt, obviously - there are size guidelines). I got my new fabric the other day and it's been sitting around for a few days, waiting to inspire me - not that there's any rush, as it's not due until well into the new year. But anyway, I was looking at Anne's blog and got inspired by her colour block quilts. So I've been plotting and planning and will probably start cutting soon. Just can't resist. But I can't put up a photo because I know there are some ladies on that forum who at least occasionally read my blog, and it might be their stuff - don't want to ruin the surprise! If you are desperately interested in the fabrics I received, I can email you a URL to have a look, but I'm not going public. I will, however, talk about it in general terms!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Here's a photo of the front of the postcard - that's what I worked on today, the next set of postcards for swapping - this one is a larger set, because I am combining three different swaps on different groups - one on my postcard group, one on my dyeing group and one on an art quilt forum (I think I'm making 35 total, so I wanted something effective, but simple). The theme is Winter Solstice, and this is a Native American Solstice Symbol. The centre of the symbol is stamped using a stamp cut from a potato, in various different colours of archival ink (the heat set kind), on different colours of hand-dyed fabric backgrounds. The outer star of the symbol is quilted on - so far, although I have done all the stamping, I have only quilted one, so I haven't decided yet which thread colour works best. I wanted something subtle, but I think this pastel variegated thread may be TOO subtle. I might use it to finish the edges of the card, though.
Here are some pics of the work in progress - on my dining room table, the various stamping and cutting materials, and the potato stamp itself. I really like potato stamps - the disadvantage is that you can't really save them, but the nice thing is that if you mess up the cutting part, it doesn't really matter. Maybe someday I'll progress to cutting my own stamps from rubber, etc, but I think I'd be too nervous and make lots of mistakes. With a stamp like this, which I would probably never use again, I think a potato is just fine...
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
So, here are the quilted table runners. Or rather, half of each of the two of them - I couldn't get a photo of the full length of them easily. I did continuous curves in the cream coloured squares, a snowflake (left) in the gold, and a loop meander with a few stars and holly leaves thrown in, in the rest of it. Now I have to trim and bind, and hey presto! Turned out well, and quite a quick project. I had to photograph the snowflake with the flash off, as the gold semi-metallic fabric does not respond to flash too well. Still, I think it shows fairly well - this is a single snowflake from a roll panto. Quite effective.
As it happens, the quilting went quickly enough on the runners that I even had time to do a bit of piecing - so back to the corn and beans blocks. I have six fours finished, but quite a few more nearly done, so it's really starting to show the secondary patterns when I lay them out. I'm having fun with this one, and I know a lot of you are enjoying seeing it, as I'm getting good comments on it!
Monday, November 20, 2006
Lookie what I got for my birthday! This is a kit to make the wallhanging in the picture - it's called Jacobean Pomegranate Quilt - and I adore the fabrics with it, especially the red pomegranate print (at the bottom of the stack). It's a bit different from many of the things I make but I'm looking forward to starting it in a few weeks time, when I've cleared the current and required projects. I also got some other presents, most of them not quilting related, though I did get a magnetic pincushion, which is something I've wanted for a while. Perfect presents - you'd think I'd picked them myself - oh wait, hang on, I picked them myself - that must be it! :)
Didn't do any sewing yesterday, but did get to the promised dyeing session - I did three colour wheels, each with a different additive (one black, one grey, one brown) - this is for a project with my dyeing group to look at shades and tones and how additives affect colour - we did the colour wheels just plain, and then did them with a tsp of whatever added colour added in each step. The colours are really lovely - very rich and deep; I'll be adding a little grey or black to many of my colours from now on. The photo is a little lighter than the fabrics are in reality, but I think you can still see how rich and deep the colours are. I wish I could keep them, but I have to cut them up into swatches to share with the group - each member of the group has done a different colour wheel, with different reds, yellows & blues and in many cases added different blacks or greys to one another, so we will have lots of different variations on this theme - these swaps are really useful for exploring colours and how they work together (or don't work, in some cases). I also dyed some other pieces - a large twisted piece, a shirt, some knickers, and Olivia and Alex each did a shirt - these are still drying, so I'll photograph them later - they've all come out well - it was a fun day, even with Alex "helping".
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Decided today that it was about time to make a present for my BQL Secret Santa - it's supposed to be in the post by 1 December. What I did was to make two table runners, using the book French Braid Quilts - made one for the Secret Santa, one to keep. Later I will trim the edges to give a straight line, but I won't put setting triangles at the ends, I'll keep them pointed and bind all around. Next week I'll quilt them both up quickly - Lana has a nice Christmas pantograph pattern called Tannenbaum, which is a kind of free-flowing Christmas tree, which will really suit them. This runner was very quick to make, and very satisfying!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Anyway, I was looking for something smallish (it's 51 inches square) to quilt today, as I had a longarm day, and this seemed the perfect thing - good size, and thematically appropriate, too. The quilting is a very simple pantograph (i.e. all over pattern) called shooting stars, which again, seemed appropriate. And I love it in variegated thread on a black background. I also have a photo of the quilting close-up and one of the back, which is a shibori piece I dyed a while back, which was just the size I needed. Serendipity! At some point in the not-too-distant future, I will bind it, most likely in black.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The little bit of sewing I did do this morning (less than an hour) was to make a few more corn and beans blocks, and to sew some of the finished ones together into groups of four - I am trying not to be too controlling with these blocks, so rather than wait until all the little blocks are finished and then lay the whole thing out and try to balance it, I am going to join them all into fours as I go along. THEN I will lay them out and work on balance - I think that will be a lot easier in the end, and I need to stress less about these things! They look good so far, I think, but I'm eager to get another two at least, so I can check out the way the pale triangles come together to make squares, too.
A side note: I finally went ahead and changed over to blogger beta last night, and I will say, one thing I really like about it is the way photos are handled when you are creating a post - no more guessing just which photo is which or where they will appear. I'm less thrilled by the fact that you tend to get more anonymous comments, but presumably as other bloggers move over, that will resolve itself. We'll see how the beta defeats or redeems itself as I go on - I've heard mixed opinions so far.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Thanks to all of you who read and comment on my blog - where possible I usually respond to comments, but of course, those left annonymously, it's not always possible - but I love having comments nonetheless, so thanks!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
No, not dinner (which was actually roast pork, roast potatoes & beetroot and some Swiss chard from last night - and gravy, of course) but a project that has been knocking around for who knows how long - cut out and in little baggies, but waiting for a day when I felt like dealing with lots of little triangles. Who knew today would be that day? I know, they all need trimming, but that's something to do later, in front of the telly - so at the moment, we can just ignore all the little triangley bits sticking off the sides... And there are lots more to come, of course. I'm not sure, but it looks like there are no two combinations the same and a lot of blocks - 60 or so, maybe?
And I managed to finally sew together the first two rows on the nesting robin. Tada. Oh, and I hemmed a pair of Brownie trousers, but I shall resist posting a picture of them, unless specifically requested...
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I also finished off my baby shower swap project - quilted the two pieces of fabric together using the a multicoloured metallic thread in top and bottom (worked better than I'd feared - you never know with metallics). Then later on, Olivia and I played with the foils - she added some to an already glittery piece of gold lame' - and I foiled both sides of my double quiltlet - one using the provided double-sided sticky tape and the other using glue. I like the glue better as you have more freedom of shape, but it's a little hard to control, and of course you have to wait for it to dry - patience not being my strongest suit, I was glad to have some double sided tape to mess with to start with. The whole process can be seen here, if you care.
And finally, I did some preparation work for a postcard swap with the theme of Rainy Days - took me a long time to work out what I wanted to do for that one - the temptation being to do something which just looks grey and rainy - but although that could be satisfying in its own way (and indeed, I have already received one very nice card done in that sort of manner), I decided in the end to approach it in a more roundabout fashion - and pursue the theme of rainbows, in a kind of abstract way. I went with a strip in rainbow colours (none of which photographed very well - hard to get good colours sometimes on digital pictures - I really must learn how to get the most out of my camera as I'm sure you can adjust the settings to make allowances for these things) set in a dark blue background - then the "rain" will go diagonally across the cards (only one has the "rain" done so far) - using the same multicoloured metallic. Maybe not traditionally rainy, but I like the effect...
Friday, November 10, 2006
Meant to blog last night, but got distracted cleaning up the computer and had switched it off to go to bed before I remembered I hadn't blogged... Anyway, in the end, I didn't join up the two bits of the row robin (though I did cut a black strip with the intention of doing so) as I decided to make some flying geese for a swap, instead. These are a few finished ones; there are quite a few more still in progress. It's a scrappy swap, so I won't make more than 6 or 7 the same, and I'm trying to keep 3 of each kind I make, for myself - as usual, this means I need to make far more than the swap requires, but for the layout I have in mind (eventually), that will work much better...
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
This is the second row (first instruction) for the nesting row robin (did one block yesterday). After finishing the row, I played around with EQ5 for a while and decided that the first row and this row need a narrow solid black row between them, so that will be added later, maybe tomorrow (though perhaps not as I have to run out to the place that sells Brownie uniforms, and who knows how long that will take). Still, progress is being made, and I will be ready for the next instruction on the 15th - now I just have to decide what it will be, as I've been chosen to nominate the instruction... Not sure what yet, but I won't pick a specific block, like this one - I'll go with something more able to be loosely interpreted.
As usual, it's interesting how the camera interprets colour - in this photo, the one red batik with white swirls looks much more white than it does in reality. It's probably a little unbalanced, but the white really stands out in this photo, while it doesn't so much in person.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Or at least, a little bit of sewing amidst a day full of generally organising stuff - starting with a bit of a clear up in my sewing room, which it needed. Once that was done, I could start work a little bit on a few things that need doing. I started the first row on my second Nesting Robin (or rather, the second row, as the first one in the starting row) - this is the one where I'm doing each row in a single colour with black backgrounds - this is the block chosen for the row. It's a 10 inch block, so I am doing 6, each in a different red. I haven't yet decided if I will put a black spacer between the rows or not and whether I will attach the rows as I make them or wait until they are all done - I think I may wait and see how they balance, but you never know.
I also managed to make a start on the Baby shower swap for my surface embellishment group - this was the one where we sent each other things which we then had to use to make something. I received two pieces of fabric and some foils, so today I have sewed the fabrics together, then cut them apart and so on, until I was happy with it. I think I am next going to quilt it together into a two sided mini-quilt (it's 8.5" x 6.5" at the moment, I think) and then start working with the foils. So far, so good.