Tuesday, 27 March 2012

farmers wife-ing

In between demonstrating making market bags on the weekend, I was able to complete a few more farmers blocks..

from top left, spider legs, spider web, single wedding star
bottom, snowball and spool
I've now completed 84 of the little darlings....27 to go, 27 to go......

Then this morning I finished the next monthly project for my classes - a zipped cushion cover..

the back has a zip with a concealing flap
Don't you just love gigantor stitches!!  I used a fabulous new product that I've been told about to mark the spacing - it's an erasable felt tip called Frixion by Pilot.  I simply drew on the fabric then after I'd sewed my stitches, I quickly pressed with the iron and all the marks disappeared - just like magic.  apparently they will re-appear if the temperature gets below -20c and there's little chance of that in Oz, so we're all good :)....although Melbourne these last couple of days seems to have been hit with an icy blast from somewhere....we've had the open fire going!

Right-i-o then, back to my assignments - have a great week

Thursday, 22 March 2012

really supposed to be completing a report for school....so randomly sharing instead...

....but I don't have all the information (it's a collaborative report) and I can't find the spark to get me to start the damned thing......so......to the Blog Batman...

I mentioned a little while back that my Community classes make a project of the month and this month was the Dilly Bag..

The basis of the dilly bag was from the tute kindly shared by Jeni of In Color Order and she graciously let me use it for my Community classes.  I created a small foundation pieced panel for the front so my ladies could practice the skill....and they came up with some gorgeous bags....

a couple decided not to use the panel and someone else decided to create a log cabin block for the centre instead - brill!!

I know there's more completed, which I don't have a photo of yet - but I will take one and share.  Great job ladies :)

The next project will be a zipped and pieced cushion cover - I still need to make up the sample and instructions and hopefully will have my machine back tomorrow.....

I really do need my machine for Saturday and Sunday: Crib Point Community House has a quilt show this weekend (7 Park Rd, Crib Point for those on the Mornington Peninsula this weekend) and I'm going to be demonstrating - I've decided to demonstrate a simple market/tote bag (because it's quick and hopefully won't bore the onlookers!)  and some piecing (which I can use in my sample cushion cover) so I also have to prepare for that - I really would really prefer to sew using my new machine - thank goodness the old one is still available as a back up.....and I'll have to do all the prep today as it's school all day tomorrow (when the report I'm procrastinating about is due..) and my eldest son has just invited us to dinner tomorrow night - that doesn't happen often as he's a baker and works unsocial hours, so we really jump on any chance :) 

I've just re-read that last paragraph and have to say my old english teacher would have put a large red cross through it all and told me to reconstruct according to the rules....

Speaking of large red crosses - another assignment we had for school this week was to illustrate an emotion using a limited colour palette and using chain stitches and french knots.  I am not an embroiderer by any stretch of the imagination and when I finished mine, couldn't decide whether it was anger or lust.....then thought, X marks the spot - surely lust???

I also played about with a technique I found in a book called 'Layers of Stitch' by Valerie Campbell-Harding and Maggie Grey - it's using stained newspaper and fancy machine stitches - it's also the piece I broke my machine on -  The top piece was me practicing my fancy stitches then on the bottom piece, as I changed from normal straight sewing to decorative sewing, I omitted to allow the automatic base plate to reset which allowed the needle to viciously attack the metal underneath - so I had to use the back up machine and I can see the difference - it's really obvious in the text line....love the technique though and will use it again...

Hahaha - hope you're still with me - this is a looong post - who knew I had so much to share!!

Lastly though, I played around with an idea for my folio cover that I started a week or so ago - using a very high-tech tool.......

a piece of cardboard marked in a circle with needle holes and through which you thread a 'web' which you then weave a circle with other threads/wools etc
I was shown this method at a Twisted Threads day I attended on Saturday and thought the sample I made looked like the middle of a gerbera (the flowers in the drawing I used to create the folio cover) so I used it, along with some polyester black fabric, to make a kind of flower.....not really sure about this...I'm thinking I need to FMQ them (great suggestion by Susan - thanks!)....but I'll play around with the idea before I commit either way..

close up of the woven centre.  I used black perle threads as well as a variable red/black and some strange knobbly polyester stuff I acquired at school..

the 'gerberer' on the background - I think it needs to be smaller - and obviously needs a stalk and a couple of other heads :)
Ok - enough already - getting onto that report and my prep for the weekend right now.....well, after lunch....

Thursday, 15 March 2012

omg - a calamity.....

My new Janome Horizon 7700 has returned an F1 error - which according to the instruction manual, there's thread caught around the automatic cutter - and when I went to clear it, the automatic plate thingy fell apart - all bent out of shape it was - explains the grinding noise I heard seconds before the error came up - what a disaster.....off to the sewing centre after school tomorrow - hope it's not terminal.....

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Finally - sewing

After spending a couple of weeks drawing, with very limited success, we finally got the chance to start some sewing.

One of our assignments is to make a folio cover using one of our drawings as inspiration....now, as I've mentioned before, I'm a rotten drawer, but I did find something I liked the look of..

Not the whole thing - it's pretty grim!....but I do like the look of those flowers on the left hand side, so I uploaded it into Picnic (which is closing down soon - damn - it's a great photoshop site), cropped it, 'thermal heat'ed it, then pixellated and cropped again...we have to show our process...

then yesterday, my bff and I spent the morning at Spotlight (big 30% off everything) and the afternoon sewing....

I drew a grid of 1 1/2" squares on iron on vylene and placed the 1 1/2" squares on top, in the same order as my pixellated picture - and voila....now to sew the flower on the top - not sure how though...

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Wild Waves Tute

Specifically for the lovely ladies of the Cherish Circle of Do.Good stitches for our April quilt - but obviously, anyone can have a go at this block - it's very pretty - and made in bright, saturated fabrics, looks a bit like bunting twirling in the breeze....

this is 2 blocks, side by side.....
Okey dokey, to make 2 x 12" finished blocks, you'll need the following....

from the white fabric - 8 x 4 1/4" x 4 1/4" squares, plus
                                     16 x 4" x 4" squares
n.b. - you can use any white

from your scrap box - 1 x 4 1/4" square of 8 bright, saturated fabrics - any colour and you can use a mix of prints and solids.


1.  With a pencil and a ruler, mark each of the white squares, on the wrong side, with 2 diagonal lines, 1/4" away from the centre diagonal (fig 1)

fig 1

2.  Pick up one white 4 1/4" square and place it on top of one of your bright 4 1/4" squares, right sides together, then sew down the inside of the drawn lines (fig 2)

fig 2
3.  Cut apart down the centre of the sewn lines.  Set the seams with the iron then press the seams open (fig 3)

fig 3 (showing wrong side uppermost)
4.  Repeat with remaining coloured squares and 4 1/4" white square until you have 16 HST's
5.  Pick up one HST and lay a white 4" square on top, right sides together - make sure the diagonal of the HST is NOT aligned to the diagonal lines drawn on the 4" white square - it should be opposite (fig 4)

fig 4
6.  Sew down the inside of each drawn line, cut apart and press the seam open as before (fig 5)

fig 5 (showing wrong side uppermost)
7.  Continue until you have used all the 4" white squares - you'll now have 32 small 1/4sq patches.
8.  Trim all of these patches to 3 1/2" square (fig 6)

fig 6 - I used a JT ruler to square these up, but you can do it just as successfully with a regular cutting ruler
9.  Using the following guide (to ensure the patches are oriented the same way - this is a little trickier than it looks - and please make sure the first column has the triangles pointing up :-)), layout your patches in 2 blocks of 4 x 4 patches 

please note the direction of the diagonals - your 2 blocks will be mirror images

10.  Sew 16 patches together to make a 1 block
11.  Repeat with remaining 16 patches
12. Send blocks to me (but only if you're a Cherish Circle member....)

There you go - please let me know if you have any questions - have fun....

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Class Mug Bag

I teach sewing/patchwork at 2 local Community Houses and we have a project every month - we've actually just kicked it off and the very first project was a little bag to hold your mug - it protects the mug when you take it to class.  I don't know where the pattern originated - I just rejigged the instructions (which were simply typed on a piece of A4 paper) to make them a little easier to understand.  Well, my gorgeous ladies have been beavering away at their mug bags and they've created a riot of colour...

a couple of these weren't quite finished when I took the photo - but they all are now and they're fantastic.  The blue/purple bag on the right has a beautifully embroidered cup of coffee on the front - unfortunately it's obscured by the handle - sorry Barb!

Some opted for a pieced centre - and there was a lot of vintage buttons used - sensational

One lady supersized the dimensions to make a tote bag - the original size is on the right - way to go Mary!
The ladies did a wonderful job - and we're now onto our second project.

The second project takes the dilly bag created by Jeni of In Color Order (and generously shared by her through a tute on her blog) and I've added a foundation pieced panel - the ladies wanted to have a go at foundation pieceing on a small project...

I'm really enjoying the classes - the ladies are wonderfully enthusiastic - and they're very forgiving if how I teach something doesn't work for them - I'm actually searching out all my notes made when learning all about adult education (it was soooo long ago!) so that I can incorporate new methods.  I'm loving my new life!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Farmers Wife Frenzy

Using fabric scraps I received from the gorgeous Shay I went on a bit of a sewing frenzy given I haven't made any for over a month........my fave is the Silver Light and I have to say I detested making Shooting Star - it was a bugger to do even though it was foundation pieced - never, ever making one again...

silver lane





shooting star
so that's 79 down - only 32 to go.......

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Look what arrived from the Netherlands....

It's been 2 weeks since I last blogged - I have been seriously busy and completely aware of how hopeless I am when I get online - time wasting research tends to eat up my time and I am finding my time is at a premium these days so I banned myself from induging - we'll see if I can be a little more disciplined so that I can view a few blogs I love to read, and comment where appropriate.......

....and I just had to get online today because I received a wonderful gift from Eva-Marie in the Netherlands - my Mouthy Stitches pouch was stuffed into my post box today....

It's roomy - holds all my hand sewing things - it's beautifully finished with hand quilting, zip ends and a zip pull, it's got pockets inside, it's perfect for me and it's ALL mine...

I've sent an email off to Eva-Marie to say thank you - I'm very, very happy with this pouch........and a big thank you to Susan, Hadley and Cindy for organising the swap - excellent Mama's....