Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quilting Adventures Part 1

Dear Aunty,
I promised you a rundown on what I have been doing quilting wise for the last couple of years.  I haven't completed very much but I have had fun.  

My first quilts were made from my Dad's shirts and bits and pieces from Mum's pieces of fabric I brought to Tassie with me. We came in Winter and you might remember how cold we felt that first year.  Wanting to conserve energy and finances and having some old blankets to use as batting I jumped right in without having the slightest idea what I was doing.  The first was squares of shirting and stripes made up of four triangles. I learnt that I couldn't cut out squares of fabric accurately.  My second and third quilts pictured below were a little more ambitious involving applique and buttons from my Mum's collection.  With this challenge I learnt how tedious appliqueing around dozens of single leaves could be. I called the top quilt 'He Loves Me Not' and the bottom ' Baskets of Hearts'.

Clearly I hadn't learnt from my experience with applique as I soon launched into 'Birds, Bees, Butterflys, Bugs and Blooms',  The measurements in the pattern were out...or I can't read correctly which is certainly possible...and I ended up with flowers that were twice as long as they should have been. In this challenge I learnt to make the applique flowers by sewing two pieces of fabric together and then turning them inside out. This gave the flowers a nice poofiness and restrained any loose threads. Not having any other idea I stitched the applique flowers, centres, stems and leaves down with an invisible hem stitch.  The borders were done from a selection of all the floral fabrics I had from my Mother's left over fabrics.  When I had finished the top and moved onto the quilting the large bare areas of calico called for a picket fence and lots of bugs, bees, birds and butterflys done in white crotchet cotton...another item I had plenty of from my Mum's former crotchet days. This is a much loved and warm quilt lately commandered by #2 son.

A small wallhanging was slipped in between the quilts. I learnt that I liked quilted wallhangings.

 A knock on the door one day brought a delightful surprise...a parcel from an old school friend.  Inside was fabric, fabric scraps, embroidery thread, threads and other wonderful bits and pieces from a quilter who had obviously grown tired of quilting. Thank you, Lou.

Wanting to make something solely from this wonderful gift I launched into HSTs...half square triangles and the use of value....light and dark with medium sometimes one or the other depending on the fabrics around it. Joining the corners of all these pieces reinforced that the blocks HAD to be the same size. This was my first venture into diagonal piecing, praire points...the triangular edging and small stippling by hand for the quilting. I thought I would NEVER end the stippling. Stippling looks like coral...windy stitching that often goes back on itself. I called this quilt 'With Love from Lou and Josh'.

By now I had started reading about quilting ...books from the library, quilting magazines and the internet. I was hooked.

When I read about iron on 1/4" bias and cutting from a stack of fabrics to have single shapes from different colours or prints I thought of a blank space on my wall and another wallhanging was born from the leftover pieces from my friend's parcel and a few pieces of my own.  I didn't cut the shapes out the way I had intended but I was happy with the outcome all the same.  This wallhanging now carries a selection of my Mother's old costume jewellery.

Always wanting to try something different I thought of Flying Geese blocks when I found out a friend of mine was having another baby and I thought she might like a baby quilt.  I had just the fabric....a trains print on navy blue.

Another wallhanging for the kitchen followed, only this time I used a preprinted panel. I LOVE panels. All I had to do for this project was quilt it and I used the opportunity to try free motion machine quilting. That was a nerve wracking experience with lots of mistakes but I was thrilled with myself to finish. Fortunately it hangs up too high to see the errors.

Hope you enjoyed these....more coming.

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