After several years of sewing my neatly folded Ecumenical quilt top looking down from the hanger it was attached to, I decided that I wanted it finished.
Not only did I want it finished - but I wanted it to be a usable functioning part of my bedding oeuvre. Not just merely functioning to keep a body from freezing in - but something I could use and be pleased to have created.
This pleasure in creating is always offset by how lacklustre my quilting is. Indeed the last quilt I tried to make ended up in a mangled heap in the bin - after it became too difficult to undo and redo.
While ‘practise, practise, practise’ is always the way to improve, I feel like I want something that I can appreciate for its own merits, rather than appreciating from the perspective of someone assessing their learning process.
To ameliorate the situation, I thought that I would try a quilting service. I whipped together a pieced back [see below in all its ‘weird colouring and odd lookingness of a cameraphone’ goodness] and I have sent it off to Maureen at Palm Beach Quilting to be finished.
However, my measurements were a little off and Maureen needs to add a sliver to the edge to make everything work - she is going to use the Moda Dotti in silver.
I hope this quilt is as wonderful as my mind has made it!
* The double meaning for this only struck me as I typed it in … But I feel my frustration with the process probably vindicates this terrible pun!
A little while ago, I was in a independently owned bookshop, in the gentrified inner suburbs killing time before going to see a subtitled, ponderous art movie. After browsing through the vast shelves of books written by whimsical, curly haired North American men, I started reading a book called ‘Things Bogans Like’ based on a website of the same name.
While there is always a little risk in reading snide commentary on on groups you don’t identify with, I nearly choked on my fairtrade coffee when I read that one thing that cognitively dissonated to my very core. Bogans like short courses!
BUT … I spluttered to my friends - I love short courses!
I love acquiring new skills that I have no use for - and that I am unlikely to use outside the context of a well ventilated and OHS compliant room that is patrolled by a a harried craftsperson who intimates that they are teaching this class solely in order to stay longer in Thailand.
My latest undertaking to ‘claim the title of “educated”, while remaining staunchly anti-intellectual’ is a Monday night upholstery class.
Over the course of 8 weeks, I went from sad to glad!
I am very pleased with my result. I used an Echino fabric with a cute glasses pattern.
Somehow, I kind of dropped the blog ball.
I have been making, I have been doing - but I haven’t been blogging it.
I have spent a little time on pinterest, but it seems to be lacking the thoughts and reflections and discussions that I love about the blogosphere.
I have been reading other people’s blogs but not my own.
Maybe I can again?
Sometimes when making things - or assisting in creation, you don’t really have a lot of control.
In making nice things for my house, the nicest things I can assist in making is cut flowers for the house.
Although they are a tiny little thing that your eyes wouldn’t really notice terribly much in a hallway - the smell that they produce is just intoxicating.
However, what entertains my mind the most - even after all these years, I still can’t get over Outkast’s perception of the gardening olfactory irony - roses really do smell like poo!When they are cut from the plant and brought inside they lose the ambient stench of rotting organic matter that powers their beautiful growth, but outside, the appalling smell is what makes them my dogs’ favorite.They roll around in fertiliser and eat it as if it were ambrosia from Olympus. They snuffle in paroxysms of ecstasy as if they have found the highest form of bagged perfection available on earth.
In less stenchy developments, my cross quilt is coming together well. I really like the chambray sashing - but am unsure of whether quilting might be made more difficult by having a non quilting fabric there.Time will tell!
There are a stack of wonderful cross based quilts around the blogosphere at the moment.
Jacquie’s quilt is made from the Common Threads Quilting Bee is gorgeous with its wonderful shades of red and white - the differently sized combinations look so thoughtful and considered, but not fussy. The other pleasure has been Watching the different patches appear from different people for different projects is like anticipating lots of different Christmases.
Kelly’s is similarly lovely - but with aqua sections that make it so fresh and light.
All this, combined with a desire to reduce the teetering towers of scrap filled boxes that threaten to topple onto me every time I go into my study, has led me to my own cross based quilt.
As with most of the patched things I have made, it has a freeform, wonky basis to it, and as it is scraps, it doesn’t have the consistency of colour that the others do.
After a couple of weeks of piecing in time snatched from chores and work, and after a lot of swearing when quilting,
a birthday present for a friend. Hope you love it Kirsty!
Sometimes the internet and I are great friends - it shows me beautiful inspiring things that people do and make and wonderful things that happen.
Sometimes, the internet shows me horrific things, and sometimes the internet tells me fibs.
One fib is the fib about ‘you too can make a beautiful unlumpy, unbumpy, straight seamed quilt with nice even quilting and without miles of mysteriously unused wadding sticking out from the side.’ There are so many inspirational quilt makers out there who just make lovely quilts and don’t make it seem like a tortured process.
Rita goes from showing off stash to perfect quilts in mere keystrokes it seems. Amanda Jean doesn’t even appear to have to go through the process of any sewing - it is like there must be some kind of piecing and free motion vortex that lands perfectly perfect quilts at her house of a morning. People make quilts with parallel lines that are parallel and not wonkily whimsically straight.
Quilts are made without the discovery of several feet of selvedge in the middle …
Quilts are made without parallel lines diverging …
Quilts are made with a straightforward quilting process - not urban animal wrangling and trying to fit 10 feet of wadding and fabric through a hole smaller than my letterbox.
So perhaps I am alone in this situation, but if nothing else, my first real quilt [given incomplete to my mother for Christmas] will soon be finished.
Just the binding to go!
With the weather so appalling in Melbourne, by turns demonically hot and cool with rain in suburban typhoons, I have been spending quite a lot of time inside and sewing. This jag of sewing has astonished my little bottom of the line Brother who has insisted that enough is enough and that it really must have some maintenance and it was only going to say ‘ka-thunk ka-thunk ka-thunk’ and create giant loops of bobbin thread until I did. As I was loath to send it to Spotlight’s repair department [7-10 working days plus the inevitable ordering of parts from places where the post seems to be done through smoke signals and the pony express], I thought I would involve my long suffering DH and get him to fix the problem.
It would seem that in my energetic use of a big reel to refresh the bobbins, I have got thread tangled around the hand crank, which worked its way into the side of the motor - which was feeble enough to be completely stumped by Birch’s cheapest polycotton. Now it is fixed [and sews more quietly than it has since it came from the shop] I am back on the quilting wagon!
I have got to the tough end of my quilt top - long seams and wrangling the rest of the sewn fabric that wants to drag itself off the sewing machine. I have been assiduously pinning things down and basting the seam joints that are supposed to be meeting together and making sure that if a fabric has lines of straightness then my sewing respects them.
I have been rather more precise about this than I am usually, because I know that if I have this quilt for more than 6 months, a seam that is not perfectly joined with drive me to giving it away. It is as if non straight seams and off kilter joins develop eerie qualities. That they sparkle at you from one side of the bed while are you are trying to concentrate on your book. Or that they have a mesmerizing rays that lure you into trying to iron something into submission when you know that nothing can make 88 degrees into 90.
To assist in this process, I had a brainwave. I was inspired to create a special kind of pin. One that would ensure that I didn’t prick myself as much, and perhaps that would help prevent fabric from sliding down the pin and distorting the way that the fabric was put together. If there was some kind of containment device at the end of the pin, it would prevent all of this - but you would need to ensure that it didn’t get separated from the actual pin [as it would get lost] so it would need to be fixed to the pin permanently… Reinventing the safety pin was an exhausting afternoon.
Finally - this is a true sign of approval of a cat concerning sewing.
The appalled look when disturbed from her naughty rest must mean taht she approves of my labours.
Working without a pattern gives you a tremendous amount of freedom - but if you are making it up as you go along, and if you
flit obsessively through the flickr pools of modern quilts, the Tokyo Quilt show and anything amandajean makes gain inspiration easily, you can tend to incorporate sources of inspiration as you progress in the quilt.
What was meant to be a large scale Denyse Schmidt style piece with a few fabrics that would have a sophisticated look. And then it has a bit of an addition of the string quilting that produces such a beautiful effect. And then I stumbled on a series of wonky log cabins and Melly and Me’s fabulous scrappy cabin tutorial. And then stacked coins. And then … And then …
This is how I have a string section on the backing and the top is developing into a wonky cabin nine patch.
With one striking red and white patch that was so much fun to make. [Cutting odd angle through a perfectly good block, and then continuing to cut until there are right angles again is an oddly satisfying thing to do!
Followed by seven more …
While I am pleased with the eight patches [and have planned the ninth] I am not sure about how I am going to join them. With vertical internal horizontal and vertical sashing? Or something more left field like joining them as one piece and having an offset vertical and horiztonal sash? Or something else?Or? Or?
The quilt continues to grow in odd leaps …
The string section [the strung section??] has been joined to some indigo that will be off to one side [as I am putting another half width of the bean fabric next to that to make it wide enough for the bed.
Here is a picture of my constant sewing helpers:
Asleep is the most help that spaniels can be with sewing.
And a cute car cover I saw in Ballarat outside the Ballarat Quilters’ show! That is a huge stashbuster!
I missed the show as I got too distracted by junk shopping!
I will put up a better post when it is less hot - as Melbourne is horrid at the moment.