Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A little sewing

Made this block today (it's called King's Highway) as part of a block swap in batiks and black - it's an 18" block and I did it as a tester - I like it, except I don't really like having two different blues (at least not in those positions)- I think it would be better with a different colour as the other cross, as the pink diagonal really dominates. But that's ok, I'll do another one in different colours...

Didn't have time for much else today, but at least I did something!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Nearly back to normal - ish

Well, the kids go back to school tomorrow, but my mother is still here for another week, so although I will get a bit more sewing done, it sure won't be back to my usual level. To be fair, I have done a little work over the past few days - mainly just some string pieced blocks as my string scrap bin was getting very full. My mother helped with these - taking them away and pressing them as needed, which was great - perhaps not so good for stretching my back, but I did mean I got more work done. I also did these two Oriental Lanterns as samples for a swap I am going to run on

The 4 YO is demanding the computer now to play his game (they start young, I know) so I am off upstairs to finish my "open theme with charm" cards - the fans. And then they can go in the post tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Catching up again...

As I mentioned before, I'm not getting a lot of work done at the moment between having my mother visit and it being half-term holiday from school this week (the latter being more of a cause than the former). But I did receive some more cards in the post yesterday - the two above are from Myra (left) and Vicki (right) - Myra's is a part of the open-theme February swap on Quilting Forum on Delphi; Vicki's is part of the Valentine's swap with my (private) dyelist. The Valentine's ones won't stay on display much longer as they are very seasonal, but next year, I'm going to have a fantastic display around that time of year!

Today's post brought this offering, which is from Jan, for the "Fibres" swap on Fibre Artists International. In addition to lots of varied fibres, Jan has also used tyvek to create texture. I really like this card a LOT. Makes me want to run upstairs and melt tyvek...

Surprisingly enough, I did actually do a little bit of work today - I started working on the Open Theme with Charm cards for FIA - I knew what I wanted to do in principal - an oriental fan, with the Chinese Dragon Cloud charms I bought recently from The Fruit Pixie (a favourite eBay UK seller). So I decided I'd at least get the fans fused on to the background fabric - I decided to use gold metallic thread to quilt the cards and finish the edges, but unfortunately, I only had a little bit left on the reel, so I had to go out and buy more - got some more pelmet vilene at the same time - I go through that stuff pretty fast these days, with all the postcards and fabric book pages and whatnot...

Anyway, here's a nearly finished card, and the others halfway there...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Spring is like a perhaps hand

A challenge on the Art Quilt Forum on was to create a quilt inspired by a piece of literature. I was thinking about joining this challenge, and suddenly started thinking about e.e.cummings poems, in particular the one about spring (perhaps I'm just ready for spring!). The poem I had in mind is called Spring is like a perhaps hand and talks of windows and hands - and spring of course - and change. I thought it would make a nice little art quilt piece. I was thinking I'd do it journal sized, but in the end, went a bit larger - it's about 10 inches high and 18 or so wide.

The fabrics in the windows are simple prints - a tree print on an autumnal background, a tree print with a sort of sparse autumnal/winter/early spring feel to it and then a spring flower print. I used bondaweb to tack the windows and frames down, then quilted briefly around the windows - and quilted lines in the background, which is a white on white print. I've used pelmet vilene between the two layers (stiff interfacing), but no batting. The hands are angelina and stitched down. The edges are finished with ribbon and decorative stitching.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Saturday's squishies

More squishie post today - two cards for my Valentine's Day swap - these more traditional than yesterday's, but still very interesting. And heavy, especially the one on the left with the charms on. Thanks to Kelly and Kathleen for these!

I also received this card, which is not only gorgeous, but a little different from the norm in that the white is card, so the leaf & flower part (and black background) is simply mounted on card, rather than the entire card being fabric. It's a very effective card, though - it's a late arrival for the January cheer swap, from Dawn in Turkey. Thanks Dawn!

Friday's fabulous fabricpostcards

Okay, I know fabricpostcards isn't a single word (though I've seen it used that way by lots of Dutch & German friends - those whose native languages probably have a lot more compound nouns than we do in English - I always did love that about German, that you just strung the words together to make a bigger word, like bejewelledcatfabricpostcard...) - but anyway, it just would have ruined the alliteration otherwise!

This card, from Harriett, is for an "open theme with charm" swap - she's a bit early, as the mailout date isn't until sometime in March (I had a moment of panic when I received it, I admit). I know what I intend to do, but I haven't started yet.

I also received this lovely flower card, which is actually a non-traditional example of a Valentine's card, and which I love - thanks Beth! Mine for the Valentine's swap were more traditional - red with hearts - but I love this and am delighted to have received it. No sewing Friday, and none today, but maybe tomorrow (Sunday). We'll see.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Productivity lag

As suspected, with my mother here, I probably won't get as much work done - I'll get some done, of course, but part of the fun of having her here is being able to visit with her, so... And anyway, Thursday's not normally I day I get much work done on, as I help in the nursery in the morning and frequently have to run errands or go grocery shopping (like today) in the afternoon. But I still have some photos to share - first some cards I received today:

The top one, which unfortunately doesn't show as well in the photo as in person, is from the Fibres theme swap that I posted my photos for the other day. Thanks to Kathy for the great card, which looks like needlepunch felting or something like that (not my area of expertise) on the left, and simple a lovely riot of fibres on the right.

The bottom card is from Debi, in an open theme swap on Quilting Forum on Delphi (this is the swap for which I make the snowflake flowers). It's my first card from that swap and only missed Valentine's Day by one day, which is pretty good, as it came from the US. It's got great crystals on it.

And the other item for show and tell is this - the start of my cards with an International Women's Day theme. At the moment, they are "paper dolls" on fabric background - next I want to print out a thin row of flags (on cloth, I think, or maybe ribbon, if I can find something suitable) and run them across the middles of the cards (about waist high on the women). Then I will quilt them with a couple of peace symbols each. Simple, but hopefully effective. I'm very happy with the "dolls", which were done with hand-dyed fabric, with bondaweb attached - I cut them out with the paper still on (helpful, as I could draw the shape on that way too) - a bit thick to cut through, but they came out well, I think.

I did manage to do quite a bit of stitching on my Take A Stitch Tuesday Challenge crazy quilt blocks - catch them on my TAST blog...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tuesday's sewing

Amazingly enough, the water technician I was waiting in for (a "morning" call of sometime between 8am and 1pm) showed up at 9am, so I actually spent less time today sewing than I thought I would - I went out for a swim and to run some errands. Still, I managed to have time to finish off the edges to these cards (nothing fancy) and finish putting together the eighty-ones quilt from yesterday (decided not to add a border). And I even started to work on another set of cards with the theme International Women's Day. Trying to get ahead a little! Photos of those later, like tomorrow, when I no doubt won't get any work done as I have to make a trip to the airport to collect my mother...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Eighty-ones coming along nicely...

I have now finished all the blocks for this quilt and have begun putting them together. Here you can see them laid out on the bed - obviously there are some setting triangles still to come, and the rows aren't sewed together yet, but you can get a fairly good idea of what the piece will look like. I may put a fairly narrow cream border around the whole thing, as well - I'll make that decision after it's together - I kind of want a floating effect, so I might need a little more space around the edge. Anyway, I think it looks nice and more to the point - how I imagined it would look!

Hopefully I will get it put the rest of the way together tomorrow while waiting for the water guy to come and check out if we have a leak or not (you know how it is - they'll come in the "morning" - i.e. between 8am and 1pm - at least I have an excuse not to go anywhere!)

Last night I finished the last of the beading on my open theme postcards (the snowflake/flowers). I don't have a picture of all of them, but here's one- you can extrapolate the rest of them. Now I just have to decide what type of edge treatment to do. I don't really want to simply satin stitch all the way around, so I might have to experiment a little...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Kids quilting

This is Olivia's nine-patch quilt, with the borders now attached. It's not quite as wavy as in the photo, though it is a little wavy - but then she's 7, so I guess a little waviness can be allowed... This is what I worked on yesterday - or rather, I tidied up my sewing room and scraps while she worked on this, and I supervised, ironed, cut strips for borders and helped pin them on. Then Sarah worked on her log cabin for a while (photos of that to come in future), and I carried on not sewing. I did get a lot of miscellaneous tidying up done, which is good.

But today I took back the sewing room and first did a number of small things that have been waiting for me to do - a couple of blocks for a block shower, a block for a cheering up project someone is organising, a label, attached some binding, and so on. While I did that, I supervised some homework (which mainly consists of spelling words for the child who is writing something). And then I worked on these blocks after lunch - I only have about 4 more to do and I'll be ready to put them together. I think it's going to look really nice. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Fibres" postcards

It was a nice day today for post - as well as several blocks from a scrap swap I'm in, I also got this postcard, which is for a swap called "Fibres" with the yahoo group Fibre Artists International - it's my first card from this swap (and indeed, this group) and it prompted me to go do my cards for the swap (posting date of the end of Feb, so I'm not really late). I love what Marie has done with this one - great idea to fray the fabric in different amounts on the different sides.

I also received this Dear Jane ornament from my friend Cathi in Ireland - I took part in her pay it forward swap a while back and this is the promised item. It's not as pale as it looks in the photo (the background is a natural calico) - I promise all my photos will be better in the spring and summer - trying to get good colour indoors in the British winter is a real challenge!

And yesterday, I got another squishie in the post - this is a "silk paper" postcard from Susan - and again, in asking her to send me one, I have to promise to send a piece of my artwork to the first five people who respond (and who agree to make a similar promise on their blog). So, here I am, offering again. If you would like a piece of my artwork - this is most likely to be a postcard, probably from the series of snowflake/flowers I am working on at the moment (see yesterday's blog entry) and are willing to offer on your blog to send a piece of your work (it can be anything) , please leave a comment and I'll send you a card, once they are finished! If more than five people respond, I'm sure we can work something out - but it might be a different postcard series, is all.
I'm afraid the photo doesn't show the background - the silk paper - to best effect, but if you are interested in the technique, Susan has a tutorial on her blog. Check it out!

And here's a photo of the "fibres" cards I made for the swap I mentioned above. I only made 5 (this includes one for myself) as that was how many pieces of interfacing I had cut (lame excuse, I know) - and for a change, I did variations on a theme, as you can tell. I have a LOT of fibres, in different colours - I probably could have done 4 or 5 more colours of cards - black certainly, neutral/gold, orange, red, brown, maybe more. But I decided that 5 was enough - and as it happened, it was exactly the number I had time to do this afternoon. One thing I did with these cards that I've never done before is do a finished edge with the fabric folded underneath on both back and front (I usually just satin stitch, but I am trying variations, like with the lace-edged Valentine's cards). Anyway, I like all five of them, and will have a hard time deciding which one to send to myself (though I'm leaning towards the olive green one at the moment).

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Let the good times roller

Today I actually did a little dye work in addition to sewing - I have a roller painting technique swap due for my dyeing group at the end of February and I wanted to give it a go. On the whole, I think it went ok - my main problem was that I ended up not really liking one of the dyes I chose to use (Jacquard Bronze, which frankly, is more brown and less golden than I imagined it would be). But that's ok, at least I had a stab at the technique. I tried rollering with regular dye (ick) and print paste with dye powder added (much better), and with the roller taped, with shapes snipped into it, rubber bands on it and using texture plates (not all at once). The photos show an example using a texture plate, with two colour of dye added. The finished piece looks very similar, except the blue is less strong. In all, a reasonable success. Not a technique I would use for large quantities of fabric, but might be nice as a step in a complex cloth, or to make a background for a small journal quilt or art quilt...

The other thing I worked on was the snowflake postcards - I wanted to do something with them to add a little texture, etc, so I decided to layer a piece of sheer fabric over the snowflake and quilt a simple 6 pointed star in them to echo the snowflake's symmetry. After that, i decided that they looked a bit like flowers, so I have emphasised this by adding another piece of sheer in the centre, like in a flower. At this point, I want to add beads. I'm not sure quite what I'm going to do, but they definitely want beads of some sort. To be continued...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Let it snow!

Finished the snail's trails today - I found these totally addictive - easy to piece and really effective looking blocks. I might make some more of them (later!) in just scrappy fabrics - I think it would make a sweet quilt - or maybe use two colours constant and the other two scrappy for a semi-scrappy look. File that one under "someday", I think...

Also started another batch of postcards - an unthemed swap this time, and I'll make a few extras as well. Not sure quite what I'm going to do next, but the first step was foiled snowflakes on a red background. I'm feeling kind of wintery - and they are saying it's going to snow again later this week, so you never know! For the postcards, I'm thinking maybe beads and metallic thread, but perhaps I'll come up with something else between now and whenever I work on them again.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Snail's trails and batik squares

Today's offerings are a big pile of batik framed four patches (only one in the photo because it was so sunny I couldn't find a place to lay them out where I didn't get a huge shadow) and some 6" snail's trail blocks in Thimbleberries type fabrics. Both of these are for swaps - the snail's trails aren't my usual style, but I think they are very pretty and the swap blocks will make a nice scrappy lap quilt. I'm going to do 4 more sets of 6 blocks for that swap, all in slightly different fabrics. Nice to get some work done today, since it's Alex's birthday party this afternoon, so no chance of doing anything later!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Even more squishie post

A bit of a relief this time, as it was fabric I had ordered ages ago from Big Horn Quilts - luckily it was simply too much fabric and had got held up in customs. I got a notice yesterday and went to ransom it today. I don't really mind paying a customs charge or VAT on things when they go over the allowance, but what really annoys me is that the VAT on this one (no excise charge) was LESS than the processing fee they make you pay for stopping the packet in the first place. Sigh. But at least it's not lost in the post. And I have the fabric I need to work on a couple of specific things. Finally.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

January (well, February) cheer

Today's offering in the January cheer swap is this lovely, bright card from Anne - great 3D embroidered flowers, very cheery fabric. Nice one!

Didn't do any work on the machine today - Thursday generally isn't a good day for getting stuff done. Instead, I helped in the nursery in the morning, and then Alex and I went up to see Brenda in Wimbledon and have a browse through the latest book selection. Came away with one called Portraits from Nature: 35 Studies for Dimensional Quilts by Jean Wells - looks like fun and something different to add to my shelves. Got a handful of magazines as well, nothing too exciting there.

Afterwards, Allie and I went down to Wimbledon town centre to have a browse through the Early Learning Centre (toys - fairly educational, not so many branded items) as he had a birthday cheque from Grandma Lucy to spend some of - he picked out a little game involving a dragon which pops up from inside his castle tower when you jab a flag in the wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it) slot in the castle wall. And I picked out these... and on sale, too. Some fake flowers, and a variety of beads in good shapes - stars, shells, etc. And two different sizes of alphabet beads. Not bad for a couple of quid...

This evening watching telly I did do a bit more work on my crazy quilt square stitch sampler - more on that on my TAST blog.