Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pinch Me I must be dreaming

Could this week get any better??

Last Tuesday i received a phone call ( home alone in a power blackout)  The voice on the phone told me i had won a prize in the South Aust Festival of Quilts... she would not, or could not, tell me what it was or for which quilt. ( I had entered both my Flower Garden quilt and my Farmers Wife quilt.

Oh the excitement that built until guild meeting on Thursday evening.
Because i had entered in the  amateur sections i did not have too long to wait to be have it announced that  i had been placed third in the amateur applique category for the Flower Garden quilt. I duly collected my prize and was congratulated by supportive friends, Pip included. I was pretty stoked.

I then settled down to watch and listen to a long list of worthy winners. Then came the "special " awards , Best in show.. runner up, best use of colour etc... and then i heard the name of my quilt called out "Kaffe and Kim and Me", i didn't hear what it was for, ( I think i was chatting to Pip... my bad) but I staggered from my seat to the stage to see that i was to be given a Bernina Sewing Machine ( 215) It was the Bernina Encouragement award.. To say i was shocked would be an understatment. The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur.

When i went to the show on Friday to visit my quilt ( and all the other fabulous works) i found there were 3 gorgeous ribbon rosettes adorning it. The third i didn't know about is is apparently the guild encouragement award. I couldn't wipe the grin from my face all day or for the rest of the weekend. People i had never met were congratulating me and wanting to chat. I also got a fair bit of teasing as some people knew how nervous i was about entering a competition and being judged.

Today i met one of the judges , Julie Adamson from Melbourne, and she was so lovely and generous enough to give me a critique of my quilt.. Some very useful advice for future attempts. she could tell i hadn't cut the sashing pieces individually , whoops! Kim said to but i thought it would be OK to strip piece. The other piece of advice was when ditch stitching around the motifs , not to get too close. Keep it just a few threads away. then the applique "puffs" a little better. I could also have done a little more quilting in some more of the flower sections. some were apparently just a little too "puffy" and with hanging were beginning to sag a little.

And to add to this wonderful week, this evening when i lined up to collect my quilts after the show was dismantled, there was a note for me to see the convener, I was thinking they were going to tell me it had all been a joke and they were keeping the ribbons. But no, she said that my quilt had been selected to go to the Melbourne show next year and i need to arrange a "valuation" before it travels there...  OMG!  lets hope i never get a major award i might just keel over.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Breaking news ...

Just arrived home from the SA Quilter's Guild presentation night and I can report that Sheila won 3rd prize for her Flower Garden quilt in the Predominantly Applique category,

and also the Amateur Encouragement Award for her Flower Garden quilt, to say she was gobsmacked is a slight understatement.  Yay Sheila, you go girl.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Four more blocks completed

I fiinished the two blocks I took to New Zealand a while ago,

and also finished off another two blocks.

 they are all trimmed up, ready to be sashed

 except this one below
I will need to make another one as,
 I didn't measure properly when I trimmed it (sob)

ah well, it will make a nice cushion
and give me the opportunity to practise
my free motion quilting as well.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Flower genome code

Looking like strands of DNA (or the entrance to a Deli), the sashing is now complete, HSC is underway, and Baby is still 'cooking'.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The postman was kind yesterday bringing me a huge envelope packed with the backing fabric for my Flower Garden quilt.

The fabric is a Westminster fabric designed by Melissa White and the range is called Fairlyte Garden,  I have looked at several fabrics for my backing but they were all a bit ho-hum until I saw this one, now I just have to find the binding fabric (and finish my quilt).

I've also been busy prepping two blocks to take to New Zealand with me.  I couldn't use my normal method of back basting as I am only taking a carry-on bag and I'm fairly sure that scissors are still banned on air travel, so I used Floriani stitch and wash and have turned all edges under, glued and basted the shapes on to the background fabric so now all I have to do is thread my needle and happily stitch away.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sssh quilting underway ....

I was lucky enough to get some photos of Sheila's Flower Garden quilt yesterday.  It is such a large quilt that it is quite difficult to find somewhere to display it, we resorted to using my undercover clothes line to hang it from.

It was a very bright day yesterday so the colour is a bit washed out, the quilt looks quite different in real life, much more vibrant.

In this photo you can see the shadows from the echo quilting that Sheila has done around the flowers, it is quite effective and really makes the blocks pop.  It is a major undertaking doing all the quilting on a quilt this size, there is so much fabric and batting to move around, I'm thinking that I have made a good choice by deciding to quilt my Flower Garden in blocks.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Flower Garden Blooms Again

It is approximately a year since my Flower Garden had an airing...but spring has sprung and the bulbs need attention!
All of the middle blocks had been appliqued and I wasn't very happy with needle turning cheaper solids. So before commencing appliquéing the borders or piecing the sashing, purchase of better quality solids became the focus. This took a year of visiting shops in 4 states to add to the spectrum.
Then I made the decision to cut all of the sashing first whilst new fabric was relatively straight ( and not looking like mice had nibbled the edges)
I singled out 35 colours for the sashing...and not wanting an even coverage of colour made sure that more 1 1/2 inch strips of some colours were cut than others.
This involved some maths!
1139 1 1/2 inch squares...equals 40 rows of 28 squares, plus 19 extra.

I divvied up the long 1 1/2 inch strips of colours and placed them on two trays as I cross cut. No particular sequence of colour. As you can see I want more "cools" than "warms"
Then I collected one square from each row and placed them in baggies marked 1-28 (plus the one of 19)

As I come to each baggie of 40, I play around with "constructing" 4 rows of 10, sew them, and then put these rows back into the baggie. I will chose baggies at random to construct the long sashes
Here are 6 rows Done! 
But this is the silly bit... I am sewing them all by hand. To be absolutely sure they all measure evenly and eventually line up beautifully I need to ignore my arthritic sewing machine and just get it done. Note the nifty plexi ruler of 1 inch increments, purchased from the shop I originally booked my Kim McLean workshop through.
This little ruler is making the job very accurate.
With 1139 squares to do, I need to sew about 40 per day for 5 weeks to get them done. Why 5 weeks??? I have one daughter doing final school exams in about 5 weeks and one daughter due with a baby in about 5 weeks. The garden might have to go into hibernation again after that.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Whoop whoop!

I can't believe it, but i have just finished my Flower Garden  Quilt top.  Not a quilt yet.... that will be another episode.

 This glorious quilt has taken  sewing several hours a night for 13 months, in addition to many, many hours of daytime prepping. I can honestly say i enjoyed every single moment.

Before beginning this quilt i had never done any needleturn applique. With Pip, i did a bit of research and decided on the Back-basted method. It seemed to be the most efficient, economical and forgiving of the methods i looked at. The Kaffe Fasset fabrics were a dream to use as they turned under with ease.
The angst of quilting it will be the next challenge.
Do i need to ditch stitch all the sashing?
Will i quilt an outline around all of the applique?
Do i attempt McTavishing  or just a meander in the blocks.

I am not a very experienced Free motion quilter and would love to send it out to be custom quilted, but a) i don't know a custom quilter and b) i think the cost would be prohibitive. any suggestions would be welcome.

I have pinned it to the curtains in my family room and think i will just enjoy it there for a while.

I would like to thank Kim for her fabulous pattern, Pip, for encouraging me to "give it a go" and the readers and followers of this blog, for all the supportive comments on this journey.  (sorry if that sounds like an Oscars speech)

Now do you think i should allow myself to get the "Pandemonium " pattern?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Too cold to garden outdoors

It might be too cold to garden outdoors, but i have managed to make good progress on my "Flower Garden" indoors.
The left side border is compete in record time, less than a month.
This one had me hooked from the very start and i couldn't wait to get each element chosen and "planted" in place.
I began using the same fabrics as Kim, as i had them in the stash, but it didn't take long before i just pulled what seemed to work 

It was so much fun choosing each fabric and making sure the colour balance was right as the trailing vines grew from the planter. I especially like the use of the Ombre fabric in the "rose " in the last picture.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Flower Garden, Lower Border finished,

I loved doing all the little detail in this border, and there is a lot of it. I kept having to put it down and looking from a distance to try and ensure i had a good colour balance.

Now i am really looking forward to working on the side borders. I recently managed to find some of the enourmous cabbage rose, i think will look great. Not too sure about the long bias stems though, I am still using the bias strips i cut for the blocks from one fat quarter. I think there will be enough

Monday, April 30, 2012

Slow Progress

Slow Progress, Its been a while since my last update.

I got a bit sidetracked by Pieced hexagons.  Kim did a replica of Frederica Josephsons quilt for the Annette Gero Book, "Fabric of Society" . There are a couple of versions out and about using similar blocks. i.e "Candied Hexagons" and "This goes with that" and "Sizzling Sixties" to name a few. Anywhooo i got carried away playing with the geometry of the block and came up with more than 20 ways to make hexagon shapes. Add to that the effects created by variety of fabrics and the number is huge. See Pips Blog for her version

But i digress.  I HAVE been slooooowly working away on the bottom border of my flower garden and have finally completed all of the trees. As predicted the coral tree was a challenge. I found by working at it in short bursts it didn't send me round the bend. As Kim commented in my last post, "once you've  done one of those , everything is zippy."

 Looks harmless enough doesn't it? I found by snipping 5 times into each concave curve i could get the full depth and roundness

I need to get a move on i feel myself being seduced my Kims new pattern "Pandemonium"  and i would hate to leave this one mouldering in the UFO pile. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Top Border completed

I have been missing in action for a while but I have finally finished the top border of my Flower Garden quilt.

It has taken 3 hours a night since Christmas and several days for prep work, choosing fabrics and backbasting them in place. I am really pleased with how it has turned out. Just a couple of birds i may change because they didn't turn out quite as well as i had hoped. The problem with replacing them is undoing the sewing, the thread is so fine its very hard to see.

Work on the bottom border has already begun. We have had a very hot spell in Adelaide and so I stayed in my sewing room and managed to mark up the whole border and prep the four trees. It may be a while before i post again, as Pip has said the coral tree in particular will take some time

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Plumbing work done ...

I finished off the last of the little circles which depict the water in the fountain.  Originally I made a heap of circles in the same fabric  (see here), and I was fairly happy with how they looked.  Then a couple of days ago I was sorting through my scraps for suitable bits for other circles, and I saw a few watery coloured scraps,  and I remembered that Kim McLean had left a comment on the original circles post about how she had used different colours (blue, aqua, light greens etc) so I made a few circles to see how it looked and this is the end result.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Another flower

for my Flower Garden, I finished this one yesterday afternoon, it took me a bit longer than I thought it would  This is another flower with an inlay, I found the reverse applique easier to do on this one.  I managed to finish off the first branch on the coral tree as well, just six left to do

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bottom Border

I had hoped to have another block finished today but sadly it was not to be.  The borders on this quilt are quite large and I've already started on the bottom one, I shall do the large bits first and then add in the smaller circles, birds etc.  The fountain base (a glimpse of it can be seen to the right) is already attached and now I've started on the coral tree.

Doing the applique on this coral tree is mind boggling, (to me at least)  I've decided to do a little bit on it each day or night, as I know if I leave it till later then I will just keep putting it off.  The photo below shows part of the coral tree outline, so you can get an idea of the work involved.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Blooming finished

For some reason I had problems with this block, the bottom leaves were no problem, the two leaves (or are they something else, I'm never sure) under the flower both had to be redone and then I had problems with the green fabric underlay, I persisted though and it's finished, so I'm halfway through the blocks now.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Late bloomer

The latest flower to bloom in my Flower Garden, I had been avoiding this block because of the leaves, but Sheila assured me that they weren't too difficult, and I agree, although they took a little while as they are stop and start stitching.

The block below is one I made before Christmas but I forgot to post a photo of it.  I have also started the bottom border, I'm planning on getting the larger pieces stitched down  (four trees and a fountain if I recall correctly) and then I will be able to sort through all my scraps to see what will be suitable for the smaller circles, birds. animals and flowers.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Extending the garden

Two rows completed now, this time I made sure to measure everything properly, to make it easier in future I now have a little chart written out so I know the exact size to trim each block to (including the seam allowance)

This is me selecting fabrics for a block, pile everything on the floor, sit in the empty space and then pick a couple of pieces and go from there, sometimes the fabric selection comes easily, other times I obsess too long over different fabrics and find myself going back to my first selection, perhaps there is a lesson there.

I made the bias for the leaves in the middle block using this tutorial on LuAnn's blog  all up it took me about 20 minutes which included running it through the bias tape maker.  A 12" square of fabric gave me plenty of 1/4" wide bias, and I trimmed off all the bulky seam allowance bits.

Seeing the second row completed has given me the incentive to keep going, I have prepped three more blocks and have even selected a couple of fabrics for the bottom border, as I know Sheila has been making inroads into her bottom border.