Monday, April 26, 2010

Lucy joins the ballet

I set myself a challenge a week ago to have an enormous amount of work finished by the end of the far so good!
Christine has been busy too over the past few weeks. So here is some of her finished and almost finished quilts.
The first quilt is the same as the Hope Valley quilt I am making, except Christine's blocks are a little smaller. We both felt we would have preferred the corner squares to be a little smaller, but then when the quilt is finished, we loved the result. I have not finished mine!
A quilt pattern we gave away at our summer school a few years ago proved to be an addiction with Christine. She has been stitching circles ever since. They are a lot of fun and very mindless at the end of a busy day. This is about quilt no 6 I think. One went to New York for their new grandson, and a few are at the shop. This one Christine's daughter, Louise, has coveted.

And some exciting news for those of you have attended summer school and met Joy's gorgeous girls. Lucy was invited to be a full time student at the Australian Ballet school next year. We are very proud and excited!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Girls

Two of my very favorite quilts are "Emma" and "Frances". Emma hasnt been home in a long time, she seems to have found refuge on a wall at the shop.
Emma is a adaptation of an antique quilt from the USA which appears in the book"Quilts in America" by Patsy and Myron Orlofsky. The original quilt had handkerchief in the centre. It is just a small quilt,perfect size for a cot.
Frances is an adaptation of an antique quilt from Florida. This quilt was a commission for the movie "Charlotte's Web". The quilt was not used in the end, but it was a fun experience making it. The attention to detail required by the art director back in the USA, was a lesson that I take with me to every movie now, about how moods, time atmosphere etc are created. The staff were all wonderful to work with. At the time of making this quilt, Florida was bearing down for cyclone Frances. My sewing room looked like Frances had hit.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

tools of the trade

For what its worth, here is my opinion on a few things tool wise.
templastic: we have a few templastics on offer and I prefer to use them to freezer paper to make my templates.
 There is a nice lightweight one we have at the shop which is what I use for 99% of my templates.

Advantages: its easy to cut out , therefore the templates are accurate, and I dont get sore hands trying to cut it out. It can be marked with a pencil, which means I can use a compass on it, and when making templates for paper piecing, I can easily cut it using an old rotary cutter blade, which means nice accurate templates. I place it over grid paper and mark dots on the corners with a fine lead pencil and then rotary cut.
 Disadvantages: it only comes in a A4 sheet.

The other templastic I use is a 1/4" grid templastic, which is difficult to cut but great for something you might be using 100's of times. because it is difficult to cut I dont use it unless I really need to. With small shapes, the scissors can easily go slightly off the marked line, which can mount up to a lot of inaccuracy in your quilt.

when neither of these templastics will do the task, I use freezer paper. I dont recommend any other paper than Reynolds.

threads: I have tried just about all threads over the years, and for the past 5 or so years I have only used Aurifil thread. It is silky and leaves very little lint in the sewing machine. Nice long pieces can be used for hand sewing, and the no 50wt is wonderful for applique. It does not knot up on itself, and blends into the applique fabric, making the stitches barely visible.
I think you should test your threads for colorfastness, washability, and wear and tear.

Today I needed some bias that was interesting for a small project. These new fabrics that have come into the shop were just what I wanted. I loved the cream/black ticking for a background fabric, but it has made great bias. The black stripe has me thinking about "antique stems".

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Civil War Quilts

About twelve years ago Judie Rothermel released her first Civil War collection of fabrics. They were gorgeous and I still treasure my scraps. I made my quilt Civil War 1, and taught so many classes and sold so many patterns.  I eventually retired the quilt to my pile of treasures and made Civil War 2, when Judie Rothermel released the next collection. Over the years more Civil war collections have been released than I care to count on and I did make a Civil War 3 quilt. I have them all at home and dearly love all of them.
Next year is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, a tribute collection has been released by Judie Rothermel and it is time to make a Civil war baby. My quilts will feature in an upcoming issue of Quilters Companion along with the pattern of my new quilt, so today I have been drawing and planning.
My father's family were pioneers of North America, and I have always taken a keen interest in American history.

Civil War 1

which was followed by Civil War 2

and then came Civil War 3

and now for a baby!

Who said quilts don't breed?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

a productive Easter

With my father still in hospital, a few trips to Melbourne to visit, needless to say I was a bit behind with my work. I was determined to finish a few things over Easter, so I have been very busy.
First up was to finish the applique on block1 of "Duck Hill", our applique quilt of the month. I changed the fabric from my first cut out, and spent yesterday packing the kits. I have the first few blocks almost completed now but with the sudden enthusiasm I am hoping to get quite a bit done this month.

We have had so much gorgeous fabric delivered the past few weeks. It gets me thinking about quilts I have wanted to make, and some new ideas too.
Many years ago we had a wonderful book at the shop "Young at Heart" by Brannock and Patek. I love their books and quilts and over the years their quilts have stayed current. One of my favourites was on the back cover of this book and I have always wanted to make it.  When fabrics that appealed to me have come into the shop, I have popped bits and pieces away. The other night because I had to use some of the new fabrics, I pieced this little angel, block 1 of a "one day I will finish it" quilt. I plan on using the spotty fabric as my main fabric for the quilt.