Sunday, 30 September 2012

Almost packed

I really wanted a project to work on while we are away.  I started with dresden plates, but decided these would be easier to machine applique.  Given that I've sort of committed to making a quilt for my mother and mother-in-law, I decided to make two lap quilts.

The one I'll be taking away is a grandmother's garden quilt.

I first decided on paper piecing, so bought 400 one inch hexagons.  Then I decided that was too time consuming.

I then thought about buying inklingo hexis, but before committing to the fairly steep price, tried drafting them instead.  That all went well, although it took quite a while.   I also bought some freezer paper from the american food store in Melbourne.  There was a minimum order of $20 before postage, so I ended up ordering three rolls, which cost $40 all up.

They finally arrived and I used the freezer paper to iron on to the right side of the fabric so I ould run it through my inkjet printer.

Disaster - one of four fabric sheets printed.  The other three just jammed in the printer and ruined the fabric. 

So, back to the drawing board.  I cut out two different sized hexagons using the thin plastic cover of an old notebook, to create templates - one large one which incorporated the seam allowance and a 1.25 inch hexagon without a seam allowance.

The ruined fabric is in the middle, while on the left is my hexi draft and the red hexi is the template I cut out from the draft.  On the right is the process I'm using - trace around the hexi with a pencil.  I'll then cut these out with an approximate 1/4 inch seam allowance.

I've used all the fabric I bought for the dresden plates and more.  As this will be a lap quilt, I've decided on doing 5 x 5 double flowers.  I don't want any fabric repeats, apart from every flower having the same yellow centre, so needed to find 50 different fabrics.  I've raided all my scraps and fabric I've used in other quilts to find 50 different fabrics.

Here are most of the fabrics I've chosen
All cut up - these are the sets I'll use for the 25 different flowers - for each pair, I'll use the darker fabric on the right for the  six inner petals, with the paler colours for the 12 other petals.  The paths will be white and the centre of the flowers will be yellow

My first (and test) hexagon - not quite done and I stupidly used the paler fabric for the inner petals.  Two left to sew on.
 I wanted to make sure I could handle all of this sewing - it's taken me about three hours to sew this much together.  Should keep me busy while I'm away.

Sorry Catherine - I've started to quilt your quilt but it will have to wait until I get back.  I should finish it by March:)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Goliath stitched

I started to stitch in the ditch, now that I've finished pin basting Goliath.

I've used Matilda's own pure wool batting and it is heavier and bulkier than cotton.  The quilt is also the biggest entire quilt I've attempted on my poor old machine and is really putting pressure on my shoulders.  I've only SID one and a half diagonal seams so far as I have to stop and readjust the quilt every three inches.

The problem with SID on the diagonal is that at some point, you seem to have most of the quilt stuffed into the harp space.  I've only go just under six inches harp space, so that makes it difficult.

Here is a picture of part of the quilt stuffed in the harp space.

Here is a picture of my excellent visibility while I attempt to stitch in the ditch.

I decided I didn't want to buy any more fabric for the dresden plates, so used the sheet I bought for it which is a jacaranda flower colour.  This colour doesn't exist in the dresden blades, but I still think it looks nice. It's not as blue as this photo, but has more of a lavender tone.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

September FMQ challenge

We are off to eastern Europe in a couple of weeks and have so much cleaning and organising to do so the sitter doesn't recoil in horror at the state of the house.  In between that and preparing some hand sewing quilting for when we are away, this month's challenge was a rush job.

I used the method shown by Don Linn to transfer the motif using a hoop and tuille to mark the fabric.

The front -I can't travel stitch when doing motifs and my stitch length becomes. Tiny.

The back
I'm not very good at motifs as my stitches become tiny and I can't see well enough for travel stitching.  Don't you hate getting older?

This is my poor attempt at the September challenge.  Signing off as it is late.

Hand sewing anyone?

We are about to go overseas for eight weeks, so I thought I'd better order some fabric.  Yes, I am serious.  I know my mother wants a quilt and am sure my mother in law would like one too, so I decided to make lap sizes quilts for them.

Two months is a good chunk of time, so I ordered the fabric with a view to making a Dresden plate lap quilt.  I bought half yards of 33 different small print fabrics and started to cut out the blades.  I only ended using thirty as one was flannel (my mistake) and the other two didn't fit in.

I thought I'd take the Dresdens with me and hand stitch them on while away.
Pretty :)

Once I had cut them out, sewn the tops and pressed, they came together much faster than I though they would.

Now that I've completed all six 18 inch plates, I've decided to machine appliqué them, rather than lugging it all to the other side of the world.  I'll do that when I get back.

So, what to do in the quiet times while I'm away?

Make a hexagon lap quilt of course, with some of the same fabrics.  Maybe a grandmother's garden quilt.  I've ordered 400 1 inch hexagon paper.  After I submitted and paid for the order, I changed my mind and ordered freezer paper from a company in Australia that sells American products.  I had to order 4 rolls, so that ended up costing a bit.  The iPad let's you be compulsive at great cost.  I ordered the freezer paper so I could spend more buying the inklingo 1 inch template to print directly on the fabric.  Have you used inklingo?  Any reviews you would like to share before I spend $25 on a digital drawing of hexagons?

The horrid carpet under our house is the background for these photos. I think I'll use a pale lemon or a jacaranda flower coloured sheet for the background blocks.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Basting Goliath

Oh dear.  After the failure of the Birch basting spray, I'm now pin basting at very small intervals.  To my horror, I found that the extra basting pins I bought are also Birch products ans their finish is quite rough.  I've found a few with small rusted areas (I only bought them a few days ago) and they seem to grab and pull the wool batting, which my other pins don't do.  I've also got a couple of Birch rotary blades and they don't last either - they go blunt much faster than other brands.  Anyone else have these problems with Birch quilting products?

I almost finished basting the quilt, but even with the two new boxes of pins, I've run out again.

Not quite enough pins

Sunday, 9 September 2012

David meets Goliath

I trimmed and tugged all the red frayed ends from the monster, as they would show through the white.  About 10 hours later, all the blocks have had their seam allowances almost completely removed, there was so much fraying!  As the small squares finish up at 1 inch, I have a mountain of stray threads.

Before trimming
After trimming
David meets Goliath the quilt
Given everything I have read about wool batting shifting while it's being quilted, I used a basting spray for the first baste, before pinning it.   I used a Birch quilting spray, which was the only one available at the shop.

This product was a waste of time and money.  I'm very unimpressed with it as it hardly stuck the three layers of the sandwich together.  It is meant to be re-positionable.  It certainly was as in lots of places, the fabric didn't stick, even though I used the whole tin of spray.

 I'm hoping they stayed together long enough when I moved the sandwich off the floor and onto a table to pin baste it instead.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The back

I decided to use a small red spotty fabric for the back of the quilt (to hide poor stitches).   Stupidly, I didn't get enough so ended up piecing the back.   I found a star in star block pattern and decided to take it as far as I could and only got to three stars.  I need bigger rulers to be accurate.  Once the blocks got really big, I started to lose the star points, but I'm happy enough with it for a back.  I still can't figure out how to rotate photos from my phone, so feel free to turn your head sideways :)

I'll try to post a real photo tomorrow.  No light here as its night time.