Monday, March 26, 2012


This is the quilt that I made for my Fiona's new Asian bedroom.

At this time I can't say that my quilting is brilliant but it does the job.  Given more space in my studio I'd be able to leave my Bailey longarm out all the time and hence get more practice.  As it is I only pull her out for the larger jobs.
 Here you can see it in all its chopstick pile glory.  We were lucky enough to find Fiona a new bedroom set that reflected the Asian theme with the Japanese bridge headboard on her new bed.
As can be seen here it is a quilt that will grow with her.  This was not intended but it just seemed to end up bigger than I'd thought.

Little sister Amanda's new quilt is on my sewing machine right now getting its binding attached ready for the hand work.  Were this quilt is quiet like Fiona, Amanda's is very loud!

Oh before I forget you can also see the new floor we laid for Fiona here.  Currently working on Amanda's new floor ready for her bedroom transformation.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Sue Spargo Stuff

 This the start of my Teaberry Sac by Sue Spargo.  My first change was the use of an upholstery fabric for the background.  This is part of my year long attempt to use what I have in my studio.

I have wanted to do this bag for years since seeing it done by a good friend.

Also aiming at making it more spring/summer like than the original. Hence the lime green.
 A naked block 3 from Sue's block of the month.

Just wait to see what she has us doing around the centre of the flower this month.

I think I will try it out on my new sampler cloth first. It is a stitch I've done before but not in multiples around the edge of a piece.
 Some of our merry band are not sure about appliqueing the inner curves on the cotton fabric.

I my case I have always snipped to the curve and when I get there take a few satin stitches.  This is why it is important to have a matching thread.
Love the use of the ribbons this month.  If like me they are going to have a cut end laying around for awhile there is a chance of unraveling so I used nail polish as it was hand. Otherwise Fray Check is the way to go.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Finishing off Halloween Treat

 Lets get started.  This was the first one of my own pieces that I actually had to block.  In this case I think was because of the canvas I used.  It is not of the best quality.
 Here you can see one of the scrap booking brads I used.  At the rear I over stitched the brad legs just in case any little hands decide to give a pull.
 More brads and the candy is a sticker with the sticky removed and stitched in place.
 Just so you can see it being blocked.
 This is the fabric to go around the sides of the block, you need to measure the sides and add one inch for the hems.

In this case I also cut the fabric on the bias to get the diagonal effect that matches a section in the needlepoint piece.

I would not recommend that a beginner does this as the bias edges stretch which can cause problems.
 Quilters batting cut just a tiny bit smaller than the cube, front back and sides.

This helps even out any unevenness in the piece due to embellishments etc.
 After removing from the blocking board I trim the canvas and finger press the edges.
 Batting placed on the canvas (could also place on the foam block).
 I started by using large pins (aren't these pretty) to give me the extra pairs of hands I always seem to need.
 Pin the canvas to the block, don't be afraid to use too many pins.
 Nicely fold the excess corner canvas in and again pin.
The same is then done with the backing fabric.  Remember to put the batting under this for a softer look.
 Batting strip again for a softer look and help cushion the folds in the canvas and backing fabric.
 Now this is a personal preference.  You could over lap the ends of the side fabric, but the sewer in me had to measure and do a seam.
 In the instructions I found on this technique the edges are not sew in place.  Again this just did not work for me so out comes the needle and thread.

First I pinned the hem to the edge of the needlepoint.
 I stitched this in a similar method to how I attach a cording.

It works really nicely and pulls everything together.
To get to the next stitch into the canvas I travel the needle inside the fold of the hem so the stitch is only seen on the entry and exit points.
 Then down into the canvas being careful not to split the threads.
 The back and sides are stitched using a ladder stitch which in this case means traveling inside the hem of the side and along the edge of the back.

For more info on ladder stitch try this link.

 Finished and if I do say so myself very neat and tidy.
 I also added some feet made from unfinished wood parts (JoAnn Fabrics).

I know that online these cubes have fancy bows on top, I tryed one and it was just too fussy for my taste.

I hope you have enjoyed this latest in my finishing tutorials.  I think I will have to start giving classes soon.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Watch this space!

I am currently finishing Halloween Treat and yes it is a treat.  The prefect fabric just happened to be at the only store I found round here with Halloween fabric.  I swear it matches the diagonal strip in the top right corner to a tee.  Hopefully I will post the instructions and results this coming week.

The third block for my Sue Spargo block of the month arrived yesterday complete with the tiny piece of orange needed to finish block two so that will also be seen this week.

I may also unveil my Fiona's new bedroom as her furniture arrives tomorrow.  She is really looking forward to putting the cherry blossom tree in place along with her other artwork.  Now mum needs to square off her quilt and get the binding on.  Then onto the 2 needlepoint kimonos to go with the cross stitch piece her gran did for her.

When Andrew gets back from India it then be onto Amanda's bedroom floor and she will inherit her big sisters white bed set.  Her choice for the walls was to stay the same but we will be adding some Gerber daisies.

I know there are no pictures but in best Dr Who style that would be "spoilers".

Monday, March 12, 2012

Finishing Pretty Petals

 Well folks here we go.

This one was interesting as I did not want to add any stiff inner layer.

First I traced the original pattern twice onto freezer paper (on the mat side).
 Now iron this shiny side down onto Ultra Suede and cotton quilters batting.

I used Ultra Suede to make life a bit easier as there is no need to turn the edges under.
Cut out the Ultra Suede on the line.

I cut the batting out a little bit inside the line.

 I know this bit is nerve racking but you can do this.

AGAIN label each petal layer, then cut around leaving about a 1/4 inch of canvas.

Now clip into each base at the corners.

 I then finger pressed the excess canvas to the rear, if you wish a firmer edge and be hassled with dragging out the iron then go ahead and GENTLY press with an iron.  Just be careful that you don't compress the threads.
 Here you see the layers.

Note that I have only finger pressed one petal at the moment.  That is just personal preference.

 Not begins the stitching.  I catch the edge of the pressed under canvas and the Ultra Suede.

 Continue working around in tiny little stitches.  Some finishers will do this at the same time of attaching the cording but I prefer to do each part separately.

Takes longer but easier to manage.
 Here you can see how I finger press as I'm going along.
 Just another view, here you can see just how tiny the stitches are.  Just taking a nibble of the Ultra Suede.

When you get close to the end leave a gap at the center for insertion of wire and cording ends.
I choose to use a french knot instead of the suggested stitch.

Again cut this out and finger press the excess canvas to the wrong side.

Put to one side for now.

 I did tack down the excess canvas and left a long tail of quilting thread for later.
 All four parts ready for cording and assembly.
I used DMC memory thread that is a wire wrapped in thread but you could use floral wire.  As chose the DMC because it will show on the rear and this allowed me some degree of colour matching.

The cording is made to match using the same two blues I stitched with.  Again you could use a purchased cord if you wished.
The wire is attached first.  I tried to keep it towards the back of each piece so the cording can nestle on top.

The cording comes next and is attached by sewing though the actual cording (into the valley) and coming out into your needlepoint being careful not to split the threads.

Then back towards the cording again into a valley.

When you have done each layer stack them in the most pleasing manner.

Using a darning needle and quilting thread stitch them together though the center.  I was careful to come out at the edge on the bottom layer for a neater look.

While you are doing this part you may add a magnet between the bottom two layers.  This is what is suggested in the original instructions.

 This allows for either a really cool fridge magnet or with the use of a second magnet a pin.
 Now back to the center piece.

I used the leftover quilting thread and gathered the piece to match the previously finished section.  I also added a piece of batting into the center.
 Again using the quilting thread attach to the petals.
Your master piece is now done.

Mine is currently being used as a pin and the center makes a very useful pin cushion.

It will be interesting to see how people react to this unusual pin.

Today is the perfect day for such a spring like piece.