Friday, May 27, 2011

Quilting Bloggers weekly contest

Weekly Themed Quilt Contests

I've put an entry into this contest again. This week is 'Wildlife' so I've entered my gecko. Last week it was one of my dragonflies.  Do you have a wildlife quilt? How about showing it off here (click on the button above) or vote for me if you don't have one. :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Busy weekend and maths geek moment

I've accomplished a lot this weekend. I've been working on my course homework and quilting too, sometimes at the same time!

My homework is to develop an MEA (model-eliciting activity). An MEA is a problem (in this case a maths problem) set in a real context where students can bring their knowledge to develop their own approach to solving the problem.

So the prior knowledge students would need to have to be able to solve this problem is some basic knowledge of geometry and trig ratios. There would be some other questions before this to check their knowledge. This is my first draft of the problem question.

 I think I started this quilt, Citrus, in 2000 and finished almost 2 years ago. I have no idea how I drew the original pattern.  That knowledge is lost in the mists of time!  All I know is that the crescent shape is made by dividing a circle into 10 divisions and drawing another circle the same size so that it crosses with three divisions in the concave bit. 

I would like to make a similar quilt with a smaller shape.

Draw a crescent shape made from a circle with radius of 50mm.

Write a report explaining how to draw the crescent shape accurately. Also explain how you arrived at your solution and how to draw a crescent of any size.

Now I have to confess, I can't leave a good maths problem alone so I've already figured this one out. I also have a bonus question based on sashiko embroidery and crescent shapes but I'll save that for later. Here is my design using a crescent with 50mm radius. There are also crescents with 9 divisions (my next problem).

By Sunday I was on a roll. I sorted out my stash, put all the fabric away from the last three projects and picked out fabric for this tree. I started cutting out while watching 'Bicentennial Man'. I love that movie! I remember reading the short stories back in the early '70s. It was 3pm when the movie finished and I hadn't had lunch! I thought I was a bit hungry! Here's my fabric. The leaves/flowers and small bits of the flowerpot are in a baggie because I've decided, if a fit of madness, to piece the background with all these little squares. It may be a while before I get on to the rest of this quilt.

That isn't all I've been up to this weekend.  This was a bit of experimenting I did on Saturday night. I've been admiring all these wonderful quilts on the Blogger Quilt Festival (see last post) and wanted to try out some drawing on fabric.  I have Crayola fabric crayons, pigma pen, Fabrico pens, dimensional paint and acrylic paint. Here's what I found out.

  • Acrylic paint still makes the fabric stiff, even if you add textile medium. I tried it on a bit of quilting too (the orange fabric just out of the picture). Painting inside my quilting line was difficult.  Painting and then quilting didn't work very well. The thread snapped if I accidentally tried to stitch over the paint.
  • Dimensional paint, well that ship has sailed, hasn't it. 
  • I've used Fabrico pens and pigma pens before in my Japanese Lady. I remember the colour from the Fabrico goes a bit further after you paint but I don't remember it running into the pigma pen and pulling the black ink out further, like in my first tree trunk. The second tree was done by drawing the trunk first with the Fabrico pen, letting that dry and then outlining it with the pigma pen.  The other advantage of that method is that it's easier to draw too.
  • The crayons only come in eight colours. I wanted to see how well they blended.  My yellow, orange, burnt sienna matrix is quite interesting. I could see them being useful and a lot cheaper than oil sticks!
I like the Fabrico pens best and I really like doing zentangle type designs with the pigma pen. I think the most successful part of the experiment is the orange Jacobean-style petal on the flower.

That was my weekend. How was your weekend?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

Amy's Creative Side
I'm entering 'Boy George' in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

I made this quilt in 2000 for a CC Ward Challenge. CC Ward is a department store in New Plymouth. They used to have a fabric and haberdashery department but I think that's gone now. Every year they would have a quilt challenge and in this year the challenge fabric was a jungle fabric with tree frogs and chameleons. I had been reading Libby Lehman's book 'Threadplay'. I liked her idea of applying one simple quilt to another using reverse applique. I took my cue from the fabric and made a chameleon hiding in the quilt. I made two quilt tops with the same fabrics and turned the chameleon one at 45 degrees. A bit of threadpainting and the red appliqued to his back helped show him up.

The name came about because I kept on singing Boy George's 'Karma Chameleon' when I was making it.  But then I thought, 'How appropriate!' Boy George, the singer, was very flamboyant but he hid behind all his costume. My chameleon was hiding in all the richness of the fabric.

This quilt is very special to me because it was a lot of firsts.

  • It was the first time I made a quilt in less than a year (4 weeks!)
  • It was my first non-traditional quilt
  • My first threadpainting
  • My first machine quilted quilt
  • My first competition entry 
  • And my first win! I won an award which was worth $25. I was so chuffed!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Citrus Quilt

I'm so pleased to finally have a full photo of this quilt.

The design came from a jigsaw. I love jigsaws and tessellations fascinate me so when I found a jigsaw where all the pieces were the same shape, I had to buy it. I've changed the multi-faceted jigsaw pieces into a smooth crescent shape. This means that I had to overlap the shapes so my quilt isn't strictly a tessellation. I like that too. The layout is still the same as the jigsaw. I think there are other layouts that would work too and one day I'm going to do some experimenting with that.

This quilt started life as a single bed quilt for my daughter, Melanie. I think that was about 2000/2001. It was originally going to be just the crescent shapes in the middle. It's hand-pieced, which obviously took quite a while.  In that time she got engaged (now married) so I added the blue border to make it a double/queen bed size. That was a bit tricky. I made the border as accurately and carefully as I could but as you can imagine, I had a big floppy rectangular doughnut. Then the middle piece had all these floppy edges with it not being square either! I had to put one on top of the other and try to end up with a flat quilt. I pinned all around the edge of crescents and hand-appliqued them to the blue border.  That took me three months.

Finished at last - or was I?  I looked at this quilt for ages, put it away, took it back out - several times.  I knew that it needed more. An operation on my foot and six weeks in plaster gave me the opportunity to applique the extra crescents on the blue border.  I thought about making the extra ones gradually smaller but opted for the idea that the crescents are falling off.

So in 2009 I had finally finished the piecing. I could have waited another nine to ten years to quilt it - or go with the easy option and have it quilted.  I went for the easier option and asked Jo Hollings to quilt it for me. We chose an overall design with nice curving shapes, based on a kowhaiwhai design.  I can't remember what it's called.  Another reason why I want to keep this blog.

And that is the story of my Citrus Quilt, named obviously for all the citrus colours.  Look out for more of this design.  I'll try to figure out a quicker way to do it.

Quilt show this weekend

If you live in Auckland, come and have a look at our quilt show. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My latest experiment

I'm trying out a new technique. This sample is going to be turned into a cover for my sewing machine. It's made from a stiff interfacing, a layer of felt covered in Angelina fibres and a collage of flowers and leaves. Then I've covered the whole thing with a layer of black net and quilted it. Well, I've quilted the bits with no butterfly pins. The rest will have to wait because I have a project that has to be done first.

Teal Dragonfly

Yes, I know, the dragonfly is cream/beige/brown but I've been calling this the teal dragonfly all the way through making it so the name has stuck. I love this quilt and I'm keeping it!!

I've used three different techniques for the curves seams. The middle part is my baste and topstitch method. The circle blocks on the outer border were done using the method I described in this post, making great circles. Then the circle blocks were cut with a gentle curve by stacking one strip of blocks on top of another and just going for it with the rotary cutter.  As long as the curve is not too curvy, the two bits will go back together with a 3-5mm seam.
Metallic thread was couched on to the body.  The thread has slubs (lumpy bits) so it wouldn't go through a needle.
I've done quite a few dragonfly wings now so it's getting easier to do. If you look at real dragonfly wings, you'll see that the small veins between the main veins are more like pentagons than squares.  They are quite easy to quilt too.  Also, dragonflies have a solid bit on the front tip of the wing.  Adding that little bit of satin stitch makes all the difference.
I bought the binding fabric for another project but discovered it was perfect for this quilt! I think my brain is just fixated on this beautiful dark teal colour.

Here are all the posts about this quilt:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Koru Gecko

Finished and handed in at eight o'clock this evening - only four hours late! And I still have to sew the binding on the other dragonfly.

We tucked the gecko under a bundle of quilts for the show, hoping that it makes up for the fact that I didn't block this quilt. That outer border is very wavy.

This was how I quilted that last border. Leah Day calls this Water Plants,

Here are the previous posts on this quilt:
Start of the gecko design
My baste and topstitch method
More tips on baste and topstitch
Gecko scales - quilting pattern
Sneak peek at gecko quilting