Saturday, December 24, 2011

I have not been idle ...

I've had three blocks prepped for some time but couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to finish them off, 

seeing Sheila's blocks joined together gave me the impetus to finish them off in time for the end of the year.  In the Christmas rush I don't seem to have taken a photo of the third block, I'll have to go and find it and post it up later.  

Wishing everyone a very happy and safe Christmas, and a pieceful New Year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tah Dah !!:-The centre blocks

This has been so much fun, I can't believe i have finished the blocks, including a couple of extras due to not paying attention in the trimming down to size.

The first one is the replacement block for one i had trimmed too much. A word of warning , I think It's a good idea to mark the actual cutting size on the pattern. Twice i forgot to add the seam allowance... but i will have two gorgeous cushions as a result.

The second picture is of the 24 centre blocks joined with 1 inch sashing. I am really happy with how it is looking, and amazed that the colour spread is pretty balanced. I didn't pay a lot of attention to the colour of each block in relation to its neighbours, so it was pleasant surprise that i hadn't loaded one side or column with any one colour

Now to begin the borders. But probably not until after Christmas.

Wishing everyone "All the Joy of the Season"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

two I'd almost forgotten

I was looking through my blocks and realised i hadn't posted these two blocks that were finished a while ago.
I had been anxious about doing the first one as i was unsure how to end the bias fronds. I found if i allowed about 3/8 inch to turn under at the tips and interlocked them with the opposite frond at the stem they looked OK. I did use fabric glue to hold them in-place while i stitched. It made the stems quite stiff in placesbut it came out completely, once finished, after a long soak.
I couldn't resist using the "target" fabric for the second block as the design was the perfect size for the pattern,
I still have two blocks to post, one is completed and the other partially done,but i began joining all the blocks together in strips, but i will leave that picture for later.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Getting Close

To the last of the centre blocks , that is. There are now only two more to go.
The first of the blocks above is the one i had to repeat due to my trimming the first one back too far. ( That one is on the way to becoming a gorgeous cushion. ) I love the pink and orange chrysanthemum fabric i have used in both flowers. Like its blue/ green/mauve version used in earlier blocks it has been very useful , due to the size of the flowers. Have to be careful not to use too much and in the same way.
Like Pip i am beginning to think about the borders. I'm not sure i have anything suitable for the water fountain.. might try the rainbow Lily that was so good in the reverse applique's, I don't think i can go too light or it may get lost on my grey spotted background.
'til next time, happy stitching Sheila

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tiny circles

I spent part of today tracing off the bottom border and then making tiny circles for "water" in the fountain that is the centre of the border, I think there are about 30 of them. I was looking through my stash to see if I had anything suitable for the "water" and found this fabric (below) which looks as if it might suit.

I'm using Perfect Circles from Karen Kay Buckley to make my circles, although some of these aren't perfect circles.  The first ones I made had a little too much fabric to gather, so a lesson learnt.  I'm also sewing the running stitch while the fabric is in one piece and then cutting the circles out, much easier than fiddling with tiny bits of fabric.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I've finished another block, I had finished one leaf on this block and came to a crashing halt, (being side-tracked with other projects didn't help either) but I knuckled down over the last few days and got it done. I auditioned various fabrics for the calyx, but they all looked wrong until I tried some of the leaf fabric and then it came alive, so to speak, the addition of the sashing just completed it.

Once the sashing was on I was able to put together all the blocks in one row, it's quite long now and hard to photograph easily.  Seeing it like this has given me a bit more incentive to keep going and get another row done.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Two steps forward one step back

I was really happy with how this first block turned out. However, I lost concentration while trimming it to size and somehow managed to cut it back to 16inches instead of 18. As I have already finished all the 16 inch blocks it looks like i will have a lovely new cushion sometime soon. It will give me a chance to practice some free motion quilting and see whether i like quilting on the applique.
The second block is to be placed in the lower left corner of the centre section and so can be sashed on all four sides. For this block i used a freezer paper template for the leaves. I painted starch on the seam allowance and pressed it over the template. When it was dry i carefully removed the template and pressed the shape again. It did make placing the leaves a little easier than a previous similar block and i am sure i will use this method again for some of the border shapes.
I have five more blocks, I think, before i can begin the borders.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Six down, quite a few to go

This block seemed to take me an age to finish off, a couple of weeks ago there was just the spotted leaf and the stem to applique and for some reason I came to a halt.  I have been busy making sashing, by my calculations I think I need 33m or so of sashing, I did lay some of the sashing round the blocks to see the effect but I forgot to take photos :(

Friday, September 30, 2011

Memory Garden #2

YIPPEE! It has taken weeks but I have finally cut out all the million and one fiddly shapes for the 4 borders. Just the templates, mind you, now I have to do the fabric selection and cut them out all over again.

I dont use freezer paper to make my templates. Instead I buy Marbig Quick Laminate Self Adhesive sheets (packs of 5 A4) from here. The ever helpful Kathy passed on this excellent tip.
The templates are then permanent which is wonderful if you want to make Flower Garden #2!

The sheets cut like butter, remain stable and flat in the hand, which is great whilst wielding the scissors around all the tricky curves. Once the template is placed on the fabric, it is thick enough to draw around and the paper side (face down) clings to the is not slippery. It is like cartridge paper: a nice surface on which to draw and, the sheets are transparent enough for use with a window or lightbox.

This is one of my early blocks. I was happy with the needle turn, however, notice the shadowing adjacent to the reverse applique due to strength of contrast of infill shapes, and despite careful trimming back of those seams before needle turning the whole flower down. Not so happy.

Cant seem to snap the colour correctly. Background is dead white and solids are much brighter than this shows.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weather turned foul but the Flowers continue to Bloom

These look fairly similar in shape but are different in size. They both took a while to do with the wavy top and the inset segments. I had a real sense of achievement on completing them.
I used a single piece of the Rainbow Lily fabric i mentioned in a previous post and basted across the whole area that included the inset segments. i then back-basted the main fabric and needleturn appliqued the piece in place. I decided to leave the basting for the inset fabric insitu. It can't be seen and it will prevent any rolling of the underlayed fabric during use of the quilt.

Back to the "Gardening" ......

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Another one bites the dust...

This is my fifth block (number 24 on the pattern sheet) now, all needle turn applique with a little bit of reverse applique.

I've spent part of today prepping two more blocks ready for next week, while I was doing that I kept thinking I should be following Sheila's example and making a start on my sashing, something to do tomorrow perhaps.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

10-11-12 and i am half way through the centre blocks

And so they bloom. Three blocks this week.
I have used a little reverse applique in this last one. It was a lot of fun to do.
I ordered some Rainbow Lily fabric by Freedom Fabrics , I thought it would work with the Kaffe. Most of it would not work for the blooms but i found it perfect for the under layer of the reverse applique and it may be good in small areas. It is the same weight and "hand" as the Kaffe. I also got a fat 1/8th Bundle of Michael Millar "Ta Dots" which will work well.

Tried to work out how much sashing fabric i would need. i think it is around the 1.000 inches, which means i need to prepare 250 more inches. It shouldn't take too long and is a good job to do when i have time for sewing but not for anything complicated.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another bloom

I was determined to finish this block last night so I burnt the midnight oil finishing this one.  I'm going to have to save up for a better light, it would make it so much easier on my eyes :)

I had a lot of fun selecting the fabrics for this flower, some of them jump out at you and say "pick me" whereas other fabrics just sit quietly in the background until you notice them. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spring has Sprung and my garden grows

These blocks are so much fun . I spend quite some time going through my fabrics looking for shapes that reflect the design,
In the first photo above i was so pleased when i found Kaffe's Dahlia exactly mirrored Kim's oval bloom.... co-incidence or deliberate, i felt as if i had just solved a secret puzzle. The little circle is not quite the shape in the pattern, but this lozenge seemed just right for the spot. Because it was all looking a bit "matchy matchy" i used the yellow fans.
With the placement of the fabric in the lower picture i found using a light box very useful as i wanted to use the red tulip fabric as the t calyx or sepals of the flower and to have it cup the spotty petals.
I have now made a big roll of sashing and think doing it this way ensures each sashing strip is random. Its amazing how they complete the blocks, can't wait to start joining them together.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Memory Garden #1

I have decided to make all of the Flower Garden blocks with a dedication to a different female relative. This was my first block and the needle turn is messy. Using Kona Solids with their looser thread count is quite hazardous if aiming for perfection.
The background has little white stars printed haphazardly across the surface. Fortunately it doesn't matter which way the block is cut with this fabric. However when I was buying the required amount, another quilter was there....she had raced back for more of her chosen fabric for the Flower Garden had little anchors, all going in the same direction. The cutting placement for blocks in the pattern packet does not account for directional prints. Fortunately she was able to purchase extra, having noticed this in time.
Much later I will add embroidered detail, either to each block or the back of the quilt, regarding those special women in my family.

After a few blocks, my needle turn skills had improved thankgoodness, and I began to enjoy seeing the concept come alive. I couldn't wait to get to a new flower and choose the colours!
Sorry about the photo of blocks strewn on the floor.

Once I had laid a few blocks out, I decided to embroider a block with Perle No.8 threads to add some detail. I wasnt sure whether it was all looking too plain and attempted half of a block.
After much contemplation, I think that the stitching detracts from the applique shapes.

Any advice on whether I should unpick the embroidery or continue the embellishment?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Third block completed

I've had this block half finished for a while now and decided that I had better knuckle down and get it finished this week, so I can start another one with a clear conscience.

The fabrics are both batiks (pre-washed, which was fortunate because they ran quite a bit) and the fabric for the stem is the same as my other two blocks here and here.  This block was done by the back basting method and I think that will be how I do the majority of my blocks.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More "Flower Garden" Blooms

I have decided to add sashing to two sides of each block as I finish each one.

It takes quite a while to prepare the sashing, but i am really pleased i am doing it as i go. With one of the blocks i was not sure i had made the right choice with the leaf fabric and almost unpicked it, but once i added the sashing i felt so much better about the block. The sashing gave the pop i felt the block was lacking.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Eye Candy #7

Final photos of Kim's own Flower Garden quilt. Firstly the top border with these textural horses, pieced stars and bird life....and even a cat for all cat loving quilters! Note the striking jacaranda-blue binding. Not used anywhere else as blue, but the same print as the stems of all of the Flowers.
Dont forget to click, and then click again on the images to bring up the applique in greater detail.

These are the delightful quirky images from the lower border of Kim's Quilt.
The tiny circles of "water" in the fountain look to be a challenge in themselves!
Sorry about the angle of these photos.

A big thankyou to Kim for letting me post close ups of her gorgeous creation.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eye Candy #6

These images are of Kim's right hand border of Flower Garden. At the workshop this quilt was hanging next to her Lollypops quilt...another Glorious Applique, coloured with riotous Kaffe fabrics.
More Kim Trivia: she "loads" her needle up with several stitches before pulling through, and sews at a very fast pace whilst needle turning along the easy curvy edges. The stitches are extremely tiny from this maestro.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Eye Candy #5

The following images are of the left hand border of Kim's own Flower Garden Quilt.
The lowest flower is especially gorgeous emerging from a pot "fussy cut" to perfection!
All of the fabrics across the quilt display a similar intensity of colour giving an even ness to the vibrancy. I suspect this happens when fabrics are chosen from the one designer only.

A piece of Kim "trivia"...Whilst we attendees to the Feb workshop in Sydney were informed that we already had to be proficient at Applique (as Kim wouldn't be running a "teaching" session), she never the less sat down and demonstrated a few needle turn seams for our benefit. Well, her sewing began to mess-with-my-mind.....I wasn't behind her shoulder but opposite her and my eye just couldn't follow her needle at all....THEN I realised Kim is left handed and SEWS left handed. I have an embroiderer friend who is a leftie but 1960's Aussie sewing teachers ( Remember those Grade 4-7 Friday afternoon Craft Activities?) forced her to sew right handed. Hopefully this practice has stopped!