Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Landscape finished over three years later

In 2012 my quilt guild had a retreat. I was in charge of education at the time and decided that we would play a game the first night that was a bit of a challenge. I put the women in groups of three, gave them a piece of stiff interfacing, a glue stick and a pile of fabric and asked them to make a landscape quilt - in half an hour!

This is a link to the wonderful creations they made. Retreat slideshow Later that year we were asked by the main quilt guild, Auckland Quilt Guild, to put on a small display. It was a bit risky but we decided to put these "quilts" into the display. You have to understand that these weren't quilts yet and the fabric was only stuck on with a glue stick and, did I mention already, they only had half an hour to make them! They were very well received with several people from other smaller guilds saying that they liked the idea of the game and would try it out with their guild. The viewers were also really impressed with the work.

Like a good teacher, I made an exemplar for my game just to give some ideas. Here is my exemplar.

Over the past three years this has been sitting on my design wall, thrown in a drawer and moved house a couple of times. I decided to pull it out and finish it! Would you believe it, all the pieces are still stuck on and other than a good press to get a fold mark out, I have done nothing further to this piece before a bit of threadwork and then quilting. Nothing was frayed beyond the usual that you get with raw edge applique. So there you go, why use expensive fusible web when a cheap glue stick does exactly the same!

My finished quilt. I think I'll call it "Autumn by the Lake".

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Class with Maureen van Dam

Merry Christmas and I hope you all got what you wanted. Two years ago I spent Christmas day sewing with my Mum. We decided to do the same again. My girls are both in Sydney so there was only us to please - and that's what pleased us. This is what I finished.

I took a class with Maureen van Dam recently. What a lovely lady! She first came on my radar many years ago with a quilt in The Big Quilt show at Northart. It was a quilt she made with fabric she had brought from her homeland of South Africa. There was something about that quilt that I remembered it all those years. It was the clever way she had put the African fabrics together that just shouted Africa to me. It was more than just the fabrics. Anyway, her work is quite different now but still that same sense of design. She said that she didn't know what I was doing in her class, what with my recent win in the Dorothy Collard Challenge. Believe me, I've still got a lot to learn!

Flowers and leaves painted on plain white cotton
Fusible web applied, cut out and appliqued on to one of my hand painted fabrics. (Apologies for the blurry photo)

The background was quilted with a leaf design and curls.

Inserting the zip
This is how I prefer to insert zips for cushions. Cut the back in two pieces (halfway or not, whatever fits in the fabric I have.) Stitch the two bits back together with a normal stitch length for the first couple of inches, about 5cm. Then put in a lock stitch and increase the stitch length for most of the seam, finishing off with a lock stitch and normal stitch length. Press the seam open and pin the zip so that the teeth are right on the seam. Stitch around from the front with a zipper foot. I used a zip that was longer than I needed. When I got to the last part of the second side, leaving the needle down I unpicked part of the tacking stitches and pulled the zipper thingy (I'm sure it has a name) past the needle and then stitched the last part. Then it's just a case of unpicking all the tacking stitches and you have a perfect zip.
Stitching the last part of the zip insertion.

Why do I have a photo of me with Elvis? We had a 50s party at work. This is my 50s Walkaway dress. It doesn't scale up to a plus size well! I have no idea why 70s Elvis came to a 50s party. But the good news is that I had a lot of fabric left over, just the ideal colour to finish off my cushion. I've been itching to try this unusual finish for a cushion. I put the back and the cushion front wrong side together and stay-stitched all the way around. Then I applied a binding in the same way that you would do to a quilt. The quilt had quite a stiff stabiliser on the back and corners would never had turned out nicely if I had made this the traditional way.

Here is is without the pillow inside so that you can see how beautiful those corners are. It's going on my bed but I think this treatment would hold up to everyday use.