Saturday, December 29, 2012

'Automatic Continuous Clothing Closure', WHAT?

We are a household fan of Wallace and Gromit. Yesterday, we made a trip the city to see the exhibition on Wallace and Gromit's World of Invention, at the Power House Museum. We all enjoyed the exhibition very much. Lunch out at the favourite 'Sushi train' restaurant was a bonus. :-)

At the exhibition, I have come across a couple of sewing related stories. One was about a zipper or a zip fastener. It was originally called the 'Automatic Continuous Clothing Closure', invented by Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine. I'm definitely grateful for the more simple term; zipper, as I would have had some difficulties with referring to it, otherwise. !

Another was a display on the invented quilting ruler by Leonie West. I'm one of her admirers and have got a few of the rulers. They have been very good to me with accurate cutting of the fabrics for my patchwork quilt tops.

Making oven mitts

A little while ago, I read about Insul-bright by the Warm Company in a quilting magazine. I needed to make a few Christmas presents and thought that making oven mitt would be a good chance to try it out. I ended up making 4 oven mitts (1 metre of Insul-bright would make 5 of 6 1/2 x 32 inches oven mitts). On the non-insulated side, I actually added a layer of cotton batting to give the mitts a little more loft. The batting also added extra insulation to the mitts. I have kept 'The Cat' for my kitten [kitchen!], and to feel what it's like with handling hot dishes from the microwave oven.It works really well and I'm very happy with it.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Baby bliss

In a span of two months, I have made 3 cot size quilts. One for my piano teacher's baby girl, one for my neighbour's grandson, and one for my DH's granddaughter from his first family. I enjoyed the process of making each of the blankets, and was certainly keeping very busy. 

 Blanket for baby Hollie Belle
I made this quilt top out of curiosity when I saw the free pattern published by AmandaJean. I'm one of the very many followers of her blog. I just happened to have the two slightly different patterns and colours of fabrics for the quilt top. I used some left over fabrics for the sashing, border and binding. I quilted the quilt with the 'DragonFlyFlowers' quilting pattern shared in 2006 by the Statler Sisters Yahoo Group. It turned out quite nicely, I thought. My piano teacher loves dragonfly, so it was very well received.

 Blanket for baby Wil
Before the arrival of baby Wil, I had this unfinished quilt top waiting around for some time as there wasn't enough motivation to finish it off. As soon as I have heard the happy news, it didn't take very long to complete the quilt. Again, I used some left over fabrics for the binding. The 'baby bear' quilting pattern was by Kim Diamond, it came with my Gammill Statler. My wonderful neighbour couldn't thank me enough for the quilt. It was a very good indication, and I, of course, was very pleased.

Blanket for baby Charlotte
I started working on this quilt top when baby Charlotte was progressing well, after being born 7 week prematurely. There was a little bit of my DH's old shirt in the quilt top (squares near the corners). I found trying to match the points between blocks quite a challenge, but I was manging OK. I have got the backing fabric with heart pattern to match the quilt top. But seeing that the family lives next to the sea (Bondi Beach, Sydney), I have decided on the backing fabric with cute little mermaids, instead. I chose the 'blowin in the wind e2e' quilting pattern by Tammy Finkler for the quilt. It looks like swirly ocean waves (to me, at least!). The quilt is now on its way to Bondi Beach.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The festive season has started!!

It's December and the festive season has started in our household....I thought making Christmas cards for homework was all I had to help my Sunshine this week. We gave the paper cutters a good workout last night, and it was a fun family activity with DH helping with the glue. :-)

This afternoon, my Sunshine had his first Christmas concert at school, and everything was fine with practicing an Australian Christmas song called 'Six White Boomers' at home. BUT, it would have helped if I had read the note, sent home from school last week, properly.!! Only this morning after a quick chat to one of the mums, I realised that he needed a Christmas outfit for the concert. I made quick trip to the shop, and an hour after I got back, I have got these two cute Gingerbread men stitched on the singlet for my Sunshine. And, this time, I gave my beloved Bernina Aurora 440QE a good workout.!!.... The concert was fantastic and very much enjoyable. All the children were wonderful with their singing, and we had a lovely time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rushing against time - Quilt for Mrs Anne Moyes

Being efficient and organised also means lacking practice for doing things in the last minute.! To add to that, it's my second nature to be spending a lot, I really mean A  LOT, of time thinking through things before I actually start to execute the task. This is mainly to minimise any unforeseen problem/issue further down the track. On top of all this, I had some difficulties with 'conceptualising' and choosing a quilt pattern for this particular quilt that I was going to make and have it finished in a short timeframe. It was to be a thank you present for my son's wonderful kindy teacher, Mrs Anne Moyes.! And, what did I do? One morning, while keeping my 'sunshine' company during breakfast time, I drew up a pattern (below) for the quilt (and I think I'm the only person who understands it!). It was also a good chance for me to test out the flying geese ruler by Eleanor Burns. The ruler was excellent and helped saving so much time. After a few late nights and early mornings, I finished the quilt and was very pleased with it. I attached the label on the back of the quilt before machine quilted it. This would make it harder if I were going to have a change of heart.!! I didn't.... The effort was paid off as the quilt was very well received. I was also touched by the thank you note received from Mrs Moyes.

This is the quilt pattern.!!

It was about midnight when this photo was taken.!

'Stars and Loops' quilting pattern by Linda Taylor complemented the quilt top nicely.
100% Signature variegated cotton, Tie Dye, was used for stitching.

 11 pink and 11 blue stars represented 11 beautiful girls and 11 lovely boys in KA class.
The bigger pink star in the middle represented the teacher, Mrs Moyes.

 I didn't plan to have the pieced backing but, again, I didn't have enough fabrics, so had to be creative with putting together the backing for the quilt. It was a fun exercise.

 Quilt label

 My sunshine and the quilt before it was given away.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Disappearing Nine Patch

The first time I have heard the term 'Disappearing Nine Patch' was in late 2008. Without knowing what it actually was, I thought the name was rather 'odd'. Eventually, I came across the pattern in one of those craft magazines that I regularly borrow from the local library to read on the train, mostly on the way home from work. I got the fabrics for the quilt top during last year sale at Craft Depot. The process was interrupted several times, for reasons, before I finally managed to finish it. My cupboard is FULL of fabrics but, funnily, I didn't have wide enough backing fabric.! So, I made it wider with the left over fabrics from the quilt top. I quilted the quilt on my wonderful Gammill Statler Stitcher using 'Berry Vine Park b2b' pattern by Anne Bright. It was going to be given away as a present, but my dear 'elder' friend, Marita, told me that I must keep it for myself. Reluctantly, I did listen to her [ :-D ] AND, consequently, I had to make another quilt as the present, instead. It was such a rush but I did finish the quilt and gave it away very soon after that.!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sewing BY machine

When Marijke, her friend, Renee, and I went to a patchwork shop in Germany, The log Cabin, I saw cute little rolls of pre-cut fabrics and thought that it would probably be a good idea to introduce this hand quilter, i.e., Marijke, to doing some foundation paper piecing by (sewing) machine. The owner of the shop, Jacqueline, was very helpful and accommodating. We came away with a lovely bright colour roll to try out the technique, and a few extra things, as usual.! I showed Marijke how it's done and made the first block of the log cabin. Marijke, who didn't like to sew by machine, made the other 3 blocks and seemed to enjoy working with her (old) sewing machine very much even though, every time, it started like a plane taking off the runway.!! I put together the 4 blocks and left the panel for Marijke to finish it off as a cushion cover for her house....

While at the Log Cabin shop, Jacqueline mentioned to us about the jelly roll race gathering at her shop. Marijke and I watched the jelly roll race video by Missouri Star Quilt Co. that night, and we decided to try it out with the left over fabrics. We ended up with another panel, which we weren't sure whether to put it on the back of the log cabin cushion front or use it to make the second cushion. I also had a bit of fun making a little pin cushion for Marijke before making my way back home. Since I left Maastricht, Marijke has made more patchwork blocks using the (foundation paper piecing by sewing machine) technique. I'm very pleased to hear about (and see) her progress, and not to mention how much I'm proud of my dearest friend.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Visiting 'Statler sisters'

During my last trip overseas, I was fortunate to have opportunity to visit a couple of the 'Statler sisters'.... Straight after arriving in Oslo, Norway, my family and I went to visit Karin in Stange. I thought the name of her shop 'Sy-Sammen', which means 'Sew Together', was very appropriate. It's an amazing shop, with everything I could want for patchwork and quilting. While Karin and I had a lovely afternoon together, chatting about different techniques for long arm quilting on the Gammill Statler Stitcher, my DH and Sunshine were having a ball in the Norsk Motorhistorisk Museum owned by Karin's husband, Ole. The museum also has a long arm 'sowing' machine.! Karin cooked very yummy roasted moose and baked mixed berries for dinner. We had fun trying to translate the Norwegian names of what we were eating into English. Before we knew it, it was time to catch the train back to Oslo. My Sunshine still talks about Ole's tractor museum and would like to go back to visit him again.... We all fell in love with Oslo, so we would like to make another trip there some day.

While I was in Sweden, I spent a day with Maria, a professional long arm quilter. Maria was the first person to own a Gammill Statler Stitcher in the country. Wow.! She was such a bubbly, cheerful and happy person to be around. We had so much to talk and share about our Statlers and also managed to finish an E2E quilting of a baby quilt, with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea in between.! Maria made a very nice apple crumble for our afternoon tea. I certainly felt very special. :-)

 Maria and I in her Quilting Studio

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I'm progressing on....

At the end of September, straight after spending an extended time away overseas, I went to the second AMQF in Adelaide to attend a one-day workshop by Ricky Tims, and long arm quilting classes for Gammill Statler users with Susan Smith. I have learnt so many useful techniques and tips for patchwork, and for domestic machine and long arm quilting. Ricky was also good fun and entertaining. His music was interesting and different, and as far as piano is concerned, he’s wonderful. Susan was clear with her explanation while taking everyone in the class through Creative Studio 4.1 and working with the Gammill Statler. During the festival, I have also met a couple of people, whom I very much admire their craftwork and designs; Deborah Louie and Hermione Agee. I had a chance to have a little chat with Deborah during the short break but didn’t attend any of her classes. Hermione was bubbly and helpful while I was looking through all her lovely designed patterns. I have now got a few of her patterns to add to my E2E collection for my wonderful Gammill Statler.

Ricky was playing his instrument at AMQF Gala Dinner
on Saturday 29th September 2012.

Finally, flying into Sydney on my 14th flight of the trip.!
Very happy to be back home. :-D

Friday, August 31, 2012

My lovely Round Table Runner, by chance

Earlier this year, I visited a local patchwork shop, just to buy some cottons. At a glance, the decision was made, and before I realised, I was, sort of, a proud owner of this bright and colourful fabric panel with six different fun designs of flowers and a few leaves printed on it. But, I didn't actually know what I wanted to do with the fabric panel.!! After I got home, I put it on the floor. I looked at it, walked around it, and was wondering how I was going to be able to sew all the perfect 6 circles. One morning, I got out the biggest ceramic bowl we have got in the kitchen. At a moment's thought, I used it to draw a hexagon shape template for cutting out the six flowers. Then, it took quite a while to work out how I would go about sewing these big hexagons and finishing them off. I ended up using my wonderful Gammill Statler Stitcher to quilt the hexagons and did the rest of the sewing by hand. By adding one more hexagon in the middle, I was able to sew all the seven hexagons together to form a round table runner. It looks lovely on the round table and has brightened up our guest room at home.

When I met the Queen of the Tea Cosies

Loani Prior is such a lovely down-to-earth kind of person, considering her profile, in today's knitting world, particularly. I'm, no doubt, one of the many many fans and admirers of her tea cosies books. I feel fortunate and privilege to have met and had a good little chat to her for ideas and advice.... I'm not, by all definitions, a proficient knitter as I haven't progressed from the beginner level of knitting scarfs and squares since I started taking up the craft when I was SIX years old (and that was a few decades ago).!!! After meeting Loani, I have got a little inspired to become a bit more adventurous and spent a good chuck of my time 'in transit' (yes, I have been travelling) on knitting. See some of the finished pieces below. The patterns are from Loani's tea cosies books, of course.

And, as of today, I'm on to the last block of Domino Knitting for the back panel of a poncho I intended to make for myself that I started 3 years ago. Here, I'm hoping that I will have it ready to keep me warm by next winter. I shall see.!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Well, I was curious....

During my recent work trip, there was a chance to have a little break one afternoon. And, visiting a local craft shop seemed a natural thing to do. :-) There, I discovered the balls of what I call 'ribbon' in various variegated colours for making a 'fluffy' scarf. But how? I was curious....So, I bought a couple of them to try out. They were quick and easy to make and were definitely very 'effective' accessories for winter wears, judging by the many occasions that I was stopped and asked to explain how it's done (7 stitches of garter stitch and used up all ribbon of the ball). The range of colours available for the ribbons was so attractive, and I couldn't get passed those shades of blue/green colours. :-)

....Then, one thing led to another....I was inspired to make a few more scarfs (for children, this time) after seeing (and feeling) those beautiful wools that were hard to resist at this year Sydney Quilt Show.! Thanks to Katrina, my sewing friend and monthly school canteen buddy. She got me going with my knitting and crocheting, in between the English Paper Piecing and some hand quilting I'm working on at the moment. So, tatting is taking a back seat for now (but not for long, I don't think - I would like to finish the edging for my piano runner soon).