Saturday, 21 January 2017

It's all about choices.....

I have finished the cream quilt tonight, (well I thought I had, but just saw a bit that I missed), so thought I might do a post that's about quilting, while it is fresh in my mind.

I have been teaching Embellished quilt classes for a few years now, and have had lots of ladies come and do my classes. It is always a lot of fun, and good to bounce ideas of each other, and see what they are all doing. I have the notes and patterns available and they can see my sample quilts. I am happy if they use my patterns, and copy what I have done. But I think it's fantastic when they use the technique and turn it into their own design. There are lots of different colourways being made, or have been finished. Lots of times the girls ask me what stitch they should use, or which piece of ribbon or lace looks better. And, as I want it to be their quilt, and not mine, I usually say, "It's your choice!". Now after a while they got used to this, and now we laugh about it. Some of the girls said I should write a book with all the lesson notes, and photographs of different blocks etc. And she even gave me a title for the book, and ordered the first copy!! The title is "It's your quilt, and your choice". (I can tell you that there is no book happening anytime soon!) And it has come back to me, because someone will tell me it's my choice, when I ask for an opinion!!

So that leads me to the title of this blog post, where I will try to take you through some of the process of Helen's quilt that I have finished. Sometimes the girls just want to learn the techniques, and start making blocks, with out having a plan. Helen made her first quilt a few years ago, and it was finished in 2009, and is in colours of black and gold.

And I have to say that Helen is one of those who take the notes and then works out her own designs. In the quilt above I think there is only about 4 blocks where she used my patterns. She loves working on the blocks, and I remember one day, when she phoned and told me that she could not believe how quick the day had gone while she had been sewing. I know teachers are not supposed to have pets, but....!

Helen made the black and gold for her own bed, and then decided that she would make one for her daughter. The next one would be cream background, with pinks, greens,and biege. It does take a little while to source a nice selection of fabrics, threads, braids and laces, after you decide what colours you want. Quite often the girls will swap with each other, as you only need little pieces of each.

In 2015 Heather Ridley came to The Sanctuary to teach her Sheer Mosaic Magic class. Helen thought she could do this in her colours and use it for the centre piece of her quilt. She had been gifted a lovely piece of lace, so she had an idea for. She had a plan!

This is the centrepiece at the start, and one of Helen's choices. The lace she had been gifted was appliqued on the background in the shape of a tree, and Helen thread painted a couple sitting on a park bench to stitch under the tree.

And this is the class that did Heather's workshop and the different colours they all chose.

Then we have a few photos of the blocks being made to join to the centre block.

And much later the blocks were all finished and ready to add to the centre piece, with gathered sashing and cornerstone in between. 

Trimming the centre piece to the correct size so that the blocks will fit. This was in August, 2016.

Helen had choices to make then, about the borders, if any, how many, and what size. She had a purpose for the quilt, so knew the size of the bed it was to fit onto, needed to make the borders to get to that size. I did not get a photo of the whole quilt, as it was rather large, and you can't see the borders in this photo.

 Helen added a small, 4" border around 3 sides of the quilt. with appliqued squares on point. Then another 4" border was added to the top, but with no applique. (She thought I could be creative with this!!) And then to get the size she needed, a 12" plain border was added to both sides, and the bottom of the quilt. This quilt was brought to me a few months ago, and as I was rather busy at the time, it was place into a plastic container, and waited and waited. I did not even look at it when she brought it to me, and I had not studied it closely, until this week.

Now it was my turn to make some choices. First of all I needed to ditch the blocks, and I mentioned this week, how tricky it is to ditch those sashes that are gathered. With the pellon that is used underneath as a stabiliser, it is hard to press the seams with out the iron sticking. But I got through this, and added frames to some of the blocks and basted the unquilted parts, and then went back to the start, to make some choices, with the borders.

The first thing I could see, was the appliqued squares were not in the centre of the border.

To "fix" this, I added a straight line of quilting inside the seam line as you can see in the photo below, This is the second line down from the top. Now it looks like a little sashing strip, and the square is centred in the border. (I am not saying this to be critical of the piecing, but to explain the choices I made in the quilting process)

The next choice was to decide on a border pattern, as this would help me decide what I would do throughout the quilt. I like all of the patterns to be "friends" with each other, so that it all works together. I picked out a few choices from my range of patterns, and asked Helen to come around and choose. Her criteria when I asked her how she wanted the quilt done, was Simple, Maybe Hearts, leaves or scrolls, and something fancy in the plain 12" plain border. I thought she made a good choice with the first pattern, and I even stitched a few inches, before I decided to stop the machine. I thought it was too open, although the criteria was for simple, Sorry I did not take a photo. As there was a lot happening in the centre of the quilt, and there was this empty wide border, I thought there needed to be something more to frame the centre and make a statement. I had also added another line of stitching inside the outer border, to match the one I added in the smaller border. You can see this in the next photo, with the chosen border pattern.

And then a choice of what to do in the inner border. And just because she could, Helen had left a gap in the middle of each border, with no squares appliqued!  Another choice for me to make. I thought about quilting more squares, but the spacing did not work for that. 

So this was my choice, to take an element from the border design to fill that space.

Now this was the bottom border, and a bigger space between the squares!! What to do now?? And Helen had been running short of fabric, so there is a little piece added in the centre. More choices. 

This was my choice, although I will tell you that I came back at the end and unpicked this, as I was not happy with it.

This was how I decided to quilt the appliqued squares border. I normally like to SID all applique, but because Helen had stitched a fancy stitch that overlapped the edges, there was no nice clean ditch to quilt in!!

And I still had that empty 4" border at the top to decide on what to quilt in. Using that rest of the quilt and what was happening, I chose some patterns for Helen to look at and sent a picture of them to her. These had lines, or hearts, or scrolls, all of which were happening in the quilt. For some reason this text message did not get to Helen, by the time that I was needing to quilt. Which was just as well, because by then, I had another idea, and thought to recreate the squares that were in the applique, and treat that border as the same.

And this is what that looked like. The quilt was trying to "talk" to me all along!! I had not been listening.

I had to make a choice of how to quilt the centre background of the squares that were appliqued. We talked of background fill of clouds or more trees etc. I thought of crosshatching, but the nature of the applique meant that the spacing between was not quite all the same, and I did not want to accentuate this. I wanted the background to be a contrast to the tree in the centre, and not a distraction, and am happy with the choice made here. And the continuous curves replicate those that I quilting in the 4" squares border.

And then I did some unpicking and this is how I quilted that gap in the centre of the bottom 4" border. I felt that the flowers that I quilted before competed with the flowers in the outer border, and am much happier with this choice, which replicates what I ended up doing in the top plain border.

I thought I had finished, but have found a row of cornerstones that I have not done, so that's  for another day.

The quilt is still on the machine, and after I finish, I will take photos of the quilt on the bed.

I was reading a blog today of someone who wants to use their machine more, and try all those lovely stitches that a lot of us have on their machines. This project is a great way to do that, and try things such as pintucking, couching, bobbin work, machine lace, twin needles, wing needles etc etc. The following photos show you how Helen has used lots of stitches, and different threads, tucking on the heart block, and even made her own lace.

Quilting this has made me want to get back to finishing my own quilts like this. I have already made 4 of these, and love trying out new techniques and threads and the stitches on my machine. Would love to hear from you if you would like to join us to make something like this.

Thankyou Helen for the opportunity to quilt your quilt. I love your fabric and stitch choices, and I am sure that your daughter will treasure the work you have put into it. Even though you threw me a challenge, I have enjoyed working on it and making those choices.  And I love the gathered sashing, in spite of the extra work involved in the quilting of it. A very pretty quilt.

This post has turned out to be much longer than I intended, but hope you found it interesting, and at least it is quilting, and not house renovations or gardening!!

It is well past my bed time, so catch ya another time.

From Jude

Friday, 20 January 2017

Sweet 16

Just a quick post to wish GD1 a very happy birthday for today. I can't believe how fast time has gone since I first became a grandma. (She calls me granny though, because I have a knick name for her!)

Today she passed her test for a Learners (L) driving licence and has recently taken possession of a "new to her" car. It makes me feel a bit old, but that's what happens isn't it? Time marches on.

I have sort of got out of the habit of posting photos of the family birthdays, so better try to improve this year. There is another special girl turning 16 soon also.

And while we are talking family stuff, we are all looking forward to another special occasion in a few weeks, with the wedding of DS and his fiance. Miss Bridie will make a lovely flower girl! We have been collecting rose petals from local gardens and drying them, ready for the big day. This is my collection.

From Jude

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Googling for information

I am half way through that cream quilt, so have been doing a bit of desk work tonight before bed. I am still sorting and filing and moving things around, in my office corner of the room now. I have a new printer coming soon, and need to make a different space for it. It's all fun.

So then I started thinking about how close the Aussie retreat is, and I have not thought much about food yet. Trying to keep things authentic, I decided that I should investigate what was genuine Australian food. And then I would use that information to plan a menu!

Well, top of the list that I came upon was this photo below! Witchity grubs!! They are geniune Australian! Now how could I incorporate these into the menu?? LOL!

As a matter of interest I will list the things that were mentioned.....

Witchity Grubs, Anzac biscuits, Macadamia nuts, Emu, Damper, Pea Ham soup, Weetbix, Lamingtons, Salt Pepper Calamari, Lamb Leg Roast, Fish and Chips at the beach, John Dory Fillets, Iced VoVos, BBQ Snags, Balmain Bugs, Pavlova, Prawn Cocktail, Tim Tams, Dagwood Dog, Sausage Rolls, Sao Biscuits, Cherry Ripes, Chicken Parmy, Pigs in Blankets, Chiko Rolls, Meat Pies, Fairy Bread, Seafood Pizza, Crocodile, Vegemite on Toast, Australian Tuna Pasta Bake, Vanilla Slice, Cheese Bacon Roll, Grilled Kangaroo, Golden Gaytime, Barramundi, Crab Sticks, Fantales, Chicken Corn Soup, Curry Pie, Hamburger with Beetroot and Dim Sims.

I shall use this info to plan the menu. Now what do you think I shall choose? How about a nice piece of crocodile with Witchity Grubs on the side?? Wonder if I will have any cancellations before then?
I doubt if I could source those things locally, so I think my guests will be safe. I think my gag reflex would well and truly kick in before I could swallow this.

Time for bed,

Blessings, From Jude

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

I'm still here....

Tis a few days since my last post, so just checking in briefly to say I survived yesterdays almost 42deg heat. I know I should not complain, it was only 1 day, and lots have had far worse for longer. Today has been much nicer. 
Max has been busy in the last couple of weeks, and I will post some photos in due course. But this is what I loaded today, and will keep me occupied for some time. That gathered sashing looks fantastic on these quilts, but it is a tad tricky to stitch in the ditch, as sometimes the ditch wants to go the other way. Mainly because the blocks are ironed to pellon to make the stitches more stable, and this makes it hard to press nicely, as it sticks to the iron. Usually I can "turn" the ditch with a pin from the top side as I sew along. But not always.

Looking forward to this time next week, when the house will fill with friends for a few days of sewing, chatting, and celebrating being Australian. Getting the flags out ready.

That's all folks, be back soon.

Blessings, From Jude

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Crossing items off the list....

It is way past my bedtime, but I need to quickly post before I head to bed. I have had a productive weekend, and made the most of cooler weather. This photo shows what I did yesterday, although I still need to put down some mulch, but that might wait. I am crossing this item off my list, which was there in 2016, and now 2017, I am calling it done. I will need to keep it watered in the next few days, as the temperature is rising, after a lovely few days. Hopefully I don't have too many failures in this lot, as they are supposed to be hardy. I know it's a risk planting in January, but I had to shift them for the air con to go in, so it seemed silly to make 2 moves. Wish me luck.

Last night I started on the task of finding photos of all the quilts I have made since I started back in 1996, and posted some to the blog. After I came home from church today, I was motivated to keep working on that, and I have spent all afternoon at the computer, except for a small time out watering and setting up the sprinkler on the garden above.

I mentioned that I had digital photos from 2004, and printed ones before that. I did keep an album of sorts in those years, and have now scanned all those photos, and blogged them all in the Quilt Gallery page. I did not post photos of about 40 cot quilts that I have made. But there are about 100 quilts, and a few assorted small items on that page for you to look at now. Some I can work out a date for, but others its a guess. It certainly has been a time consuming task, as while I was going back, I found lots of interesting photos, and sent SMS messages to a few people with these photos!! So imagine me doing the texting on the mobile, adding photos and information on the computer, and scanning photos, all at the same time!!  A real trip down memory lane it was! (Seem to be doing that a bit lately, but it goes with the territory of sorting your life, doesn't it?) I can remember about 6 quilts that I made, including my first ever quilt, that I don't seem to have a photo for, so will chase them up soon and add them later. So I guess that brings my tally of quilts made, including cot quilts not posted, to about 150 or thereabouts. All since 1996, and not a lot recently. I do have quite a few PHD's to finish, so might make a list of these soon. And I am almost ready to cross the "sort my quilt photos" item off my list, so I feel pretty good about that.

Back to the machine tomorrow, and another week starts.

Blessings, From Jude

Blog housekeeping

I have spent some time recently updating pages of this blog. If you want to check out the Quilt Gallery page, I have loaded photos of about 23 of my quilts. This will be a work in progress, as I dig into my photo files for pics of my quilts. I am trying to compile a list of quilts that I have made over the years. I have a lot of photos, taken before I had a digital camera, and these will need to be scanned one day. These will be from 1996 to 2004. I went back to 2007 on my computer last night, and found the ones I have posted today. There are still more to come yet from these dates. I still need to go back further to 2004 for more. I did find that since 2010, I have not made many quilts, or perhaps I should say, not finished many quilts!!? One of my "to do" things on my list!

I have also updated the scheduled retreats page.

And I have changed the reading list of blogs on my sidebar. There were a lot from people that had not blogged for a long time, so they have been deleted, and I have added the ones I have been reading that were not there. You wonder why they are not blogging, whether life has changed, or something more serious.

That's all for now. Enjoy your Sunday.

Blessings, From Jude

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Today's project

Because the weather is so cool and motivating today, I decided to get out into the garden and plant the area I posted last night. And because the airconditioner unit will be going in soon, and I would have had to move all these pots because they were along that wall, it seemed like it was a job that needed to be done. The days are going to heat up again this week, so action was needed. I love these cooler days. I think I have said that before, haven't I?
This was my starting point. The old wheelbarrow frame was one that my 87 year old neighbour had given me to put in the garden at The Sanctuary. I moved it into my back yard in September 2015, and it has sat there ever since. Now it's back in the garden again. I shifted the rocks that were lined up in the photo yesterday. I would have loved to have quite a few more of these, but made do with what I had.

 Now this is my collection, and decisions needed to be made where to plant them. I am not sure what size each plant will grow to, so it is tricky. It will be interesting to see how it all works out "in the wash". .... Where did that saying come from anyway?.... 

And this is at the end and all the empty pots. I think a lot of those plants will be so happy to get out of the containers, as they were quite root bound, so hope they grow.  More photos will come later, as still a bit of finishing off to do yet, with some edging plants. And I will lay some newspaper, and straw down to mulch.

Well I am quite happy with my days work, and it's another job I can cross of the "to do" list.
Now to work out which job on the list I shall tackle next. Sorry if you came to the blog for quilting "stuff", as it has been lots of house renos lately. But as this is a story of my life that I am getting printed, I need to record all this too.

Might put my feet up and watch the news, and read some of my book. I am not really "into" the book I am reading, so not sure if I shall finish it or not. DD3 gave it to me for Christmas, and most of it is good, but I am finding it hard to read the violent bits. The story line is good, and it must be me, as I know that that "stuff" happens in this world, but I am happy to put my "head in the sand" and not read about it. I said this to my mum, and she agreed, and said I must have got that from her! I confess that even a movie, or TV show, when it gets to some parts, I have to get up and walk away and come back when it's over that bit. Is there anyone else out there like this?

Catch ya next time,

Blessings, From Jude