Saturday, 22 June 2013

Learning from organising

With several projects needing to be finished over the next few weeks and an almost unheard of few hours of relatively quiet spare time this evening you'd think I'd be getting  into those projects right? Wrong. I'm procrastinating again and justifying it as organising.

I did start the evening on a slightly productive note - I properly drafted up and worked out material requirements and a cut list for the show lap quilt. I now know exactly which fabrics I'm going to use, how much of each fabric and how I need to cut all the pieces to achieve the end result (for the quilt front anyway). I even have the particular fabrics here at hand all ready to make a physical start on the quilt. But instead of moving on to starting I re-folded and reorganised my entire fabric stash.

It needed to be done at some point anyway, but it probably didn't really need to be tonight. So after several hours sitting on the living room floor up to my neck in fabric I've come to some conclusions:

  1. I need to acquire fabrics less often and sew more often. 
  2. When I do go fabric shopping I should probably limit myself to only the fabric, and the volume of fabric, required to complete the project I'm working on.
  3. When I buy fabric for a specific project I need to actually make that project.
  4. I need to get back into sewing clothing - there's a lot of really lovely garment fabrics in this pile.
  5. I need to quilt more - so many varied quilting fabrics here. I really had no idea that I'd accumulated this much.
  6. I need to take more care folding my fabrics neatly when I get them so I don't need to iron quite as heavily when I decide to pull something from the stash to start a project.
  7. I need a new iron.
I haven't even started on the yarn or the bead stash yet but just looking at them I think I can pretty confidently substitute yarn/beads for fabric in those first three items on my list above.

I really do need to get stuck into some serious creating this weekend so hopefully things remain quiet and I can get some stuff done.

Until later


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Show Quilts 2: Wall hanging / pictorial art decisions

With the lap quilt mostly decided the next one is the wall hanging or pictorial art quilt.

There are so many concepts swirling around in my head at the moment I could probably do ten different quilts! Not that I'm going to - I just don't have the time for that right now.

The show guidelines specify a maximum size of 1.5m x 1.5m but as long as it doesn't exceed that maximum it could be any size or shape that I want. Creativity in fabric choice, embellishment, piecing and quilting technique is encouraged in this category.

Most of my ideas could fall into 3 broad categories - places, animals and abstracts. 


So I could do a stylised landscape. Something along the lines of the one below - simple lines, simple quilting, easily recognisable as a landscape but not necessarily anywhere in particular.
Stylised landscape
Or I could try to recreate a photo image like one of the ones below. It would obviously end up being much less detailed than the actual photos (in reality they would probably turn out a lot like the quilt in the picture above). I do really like the last image though - there's some definite scope for experimenting with different techniques and fabrics, possibly even some mesh or lace to represent the seafoam?

Another one that came into my head the other night that I just can't seem to shake is to recreate a map - I'm specifically thinking about a cyclone tracking map. I'd probably need to simplify it slightly (omit the scale bar and the text used for place names, dates and times) but I can see this coming together in my head - only a few fabrics, different coloured stitching for the coastline, cyclone track and warning circles an possibly a thin translucent fabric overlaid/appliqued on top of the quilt for the grey/shaded area?


How about using mostly a single fabric and using the quilting stitches to give shape, texture and definition? A closeup of a green tree python or a frog in a duckweed filled pond would be perfect for this kind of thing.

Or a more cuddly animal, using faux fur for the actually critter?


While I'm calling this category abstracts, not all of them really are. I guess these are the ideas that just aren't animals or places. As there is the option of doing a slightly more traditional quilt as a wall hanging I've also included those more "quilty" inspirations here.

As I said before - so many options and ideas. I think I might put this one aside for now, focus on getting the lap quilt done first and then revisit it. Four weekends to go until submission date....

Have fun.


A little note on the images in this post: none of the images that I've posted above as my inspirations are my own and I know that I've not credited them to anyone - I've been pulling images of things that pique my interest from the web for weeks but sadly I've  neglected to keep track of where they've all come from - if any of these are yours please let me know and I'll either add credit or remove them if you wish .

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Show Quilts - too many ideas!

So I went ahead and submitted my entries for the show. I couldn't decide which one so I'm entered in four categories!

It sounds like I may have bitten off more than I can chew but I'm not too stressed about it simply because if I do make the deadline then I will have forced myself to complete projects that I had been wanting to do anyway which would be wonderful. If I don't end up with a suitable entry by the deadline for one (or more) of the categories it doesn't really matter; the entry fee for each category was next to nothing so I'm not losing tonnes if I don't make it.

I already know what I'm doing for the bag and knitting categories, those are just a matter of getting stuck in and doing it; the quilt categories though? I have so many ideas running around in my head!

I've entered in two quilting categories:

  • LAP QUILT max size 1.5m x 1.5m
  • PICTORIAL ART OR WALL HANGING, (pictorial quilt must portray a recognisable subject). Maximum size 1.2m x 1.2m. Exhibits must demonstrate some of the following elements: creative piecing, embellishments, creative stitching, and innovative quilting.

As well as the official requirements I've also got a few of my own parameters:
  • Must not be too intricate or time consuming - I've only got 5 weeks to pull this off so I don't want to be spending weeks cutting and piecing millions of tiny little blocks!
  • While being simple in design/piecing they still need to be interesting enough to draw in the viewer/judges.
  • At least one of the quilts must incorporate shades of green solids - I bought several shades of green fabric last weekend and I need to justify the purchase by actually using them in the near future (the other half was with me when I bought them).
  • Must use washable fabrics and no large expanses of pale colour (the exception to this would be if I decide to do a wall hanging or really arty quilt for the 2nd category). If I keep the quilts after the show I want to be able to actually use them.  I don't want to have them languish in a cupboard or drawer because I'd need to clean them all the time or be worried that a small coffee stain or something might ruin the niceness. A quilt is meant to be seen and used and loved.
So with the design parameters in mind I've been looking through all my inspiration pins and playing around in inkscape trying to decide what I'll do.

I've narrowed it down to six options (listed below in no particular order) that would be viable as a lap or baby/cot sized quilt. Some of these are very heavily based on the inspiration quilts but with differences in colour choice, quilting and placement of elements they should end up fairly unique.

Lap quilt option 1:
Green Gradient
Option 1: Green Gradient
Its simple (therefore super fast to put together)
Should be offset nicely with really simple straight line quilting
Is it too simple?
If I mess up the alignment of blocks or quilting even slightly its going to be glaringly obvious when its hung up and on show.

Lap quilt option 2:
Grass Clippings

Option 2: Grass Clippings
Inspired by all the  shattered glass quilt that I've been eyeing off recently.
Intricate quilting probably not needed on the bulk of the quilt..
The slash and strip method to make the blocks doesn't need accuracy or lots of measuring (variation is a good thing with these blocks).
Is it too busy looking?
Will it be too time consuming?
There's a lot of pale fabric (might be possible to invert the colours?)

Lap quilt option 3:
Option 3: Stars
Great opportunities for interesting quilting in the background areas.
I haven't done stars/triangles in a quilt yet - it would be a steep learning curve.
Green doesn't really work with this design (but I could use the greens with the other  quilt category or the bag).

Lap quilt option 4:
Option 4: Bubbles
I love circles
Too retro?
Has potential to look messy.
Perfect circles are tricky.
Could get a bit bulky and stiff where all the circles lay on top of each other.

Lap Quilt option 5:
Marble Run
Option 5: Marble Run
Possibly needs up to 3 different quilting techniques/patterns on the different elements

Lap quilt option 6:
Option 6: Drippy
It looks simple and elegant
There is a bit more cutting and piecing involved in this one than some of the other options

All of the possibilities are probably achievable in the time I have available and I really like them all. Unfortunately there is no way that I will have time to make six different quilts just so I can have the option of being able to decide later which one to enter. See the dilemma?

Which one do you like best?


Ruffle quilt finished

I've been meaning to post this for over a week now... here it is. The final episode in the monster's ruffle quilt saga.

Does anyone remember from earlier posts the fabric I had selected for the monster's ruffle quilt? I had pulled the materials from my stash, bought a few small pieces, salvaged/re-purposed stuff from the old clothes donation pile and even got some at the local op-shop.
You do remember those fabric photos? Well why the heck didn't you tell me at the time that the combination  was hideous? Honestly though I should have been able to see for myself, or at least from the photos above, that it wasn't going to work. I must have had blinkers on because I spent hours and hours cutting and ruffling all that fabric only to lay it all out and decide that it was ugly, really ugly, none of it worked together. I'm kind of glad my old laptop died so I don't feel obliged to post the (now irretrievable) pictorial evidence of this fabric choice/layout disaster.

The monster thought that it needed more purple - bright purple specifically - so off we went to the fabric store in the hope of finding something that would magically tie all those ugly fabrics together into an amazing cohesive quilt. We came home with two possibles - a bright purple fabric with white polka dots and another with coloured spots... still it didn't really work. We even tried using only the bright purples with just the plain pale pink and white fabrics from the original pile.
Fabric choice attempt #3 Purples and pale - not the look I was after
Still no winner it just wasn't coming together like the picture in my head, and definitely nothing like the original inspiration image.

I was getting a bit frustrated and dejected by this point but I'm stubborn and was determined to get a ruffle quilt done for the monster.

I really liked the colour combination in the spotty fabric so I stashed a little scrap of it in my handbag, walked around with it in my bag for over a week, looking at it every time I put anything in or out of the bag and finally took myself off to the fabric store yet again. I found a variety of solids and more dots that I thought might go together with the purple/coloured spots fabric and back to ruffling I went.

Its been a long time coming (2 months overdue by my self imposed schedule) but its finally finished. Hooray!

Its by no means perfect but the monster loves it so much that I haven't even had a chance to retrieve it from her bed to take proper photos of it. I will get around to that at some point, but for now the occasionally blurry, unadjusted phone pics are going to have to do.

It was a long process (made longer by my own poor choices) but I'm pretty proud of how it turned out in the end. I hope you like it too.


More on the ruffle quilt:
Quilting Quandries
Ruffles, ruffles and more ruffles

Saturday, 8 June 2013

To show or not to show?

Entries for the local show close next Friday and I'm torn. Do I enter or not? and if I do, what do I enter? I've never entered anything in a show/competition and its a bit of a scary thought but I'm up for a bit of a challenge.

Just to be clear, the entry forms need to be completed and submitted by next Friday but the actual item doesn't need to be finished and handed over until a month later.

I don't really have anything on hand at the moment that is finished and that I think is suitable to show but there are a few projects on my WIP and to-do lists that could probably be done in time.

So below are the entry classes that I've been contemplating - I wouldn't enter all of them, just tossing around ideas at the moment and seeing if any of them would actually be doable.

SEWING - CREATIVE CHALLENGE, make a wearable garment for $30 or less (receipts must be provided) originality is encouraged.
I could definitely make something for less than $30. Whether it would be suitable to enter is another matter entirely.

SEWING - RECESSION REVAMP, Update your clothes, supply a photograph of original garment before make over.  Judged on originality.
I could refashion some old items of clothing. My issue with this category is that I don't have a strong vision yet of what my entry piece would be.

I tend to lean towards clothing refashions that end up as entirely different items - would a clothing item turned into a bag for example be eligible for this category?

So many quilting ideas filling my brain at the moment - art quilts, basic patchworks, table runners, coasters, bags etc. I know how long the last quilt took me and although I'm proud of it, it was nowhere near show quality.

Could I make a show quality quilt in time? And if so what category?

I could possibly enter the knitted vest I've been working on since Christmas. If I actually put in the effort I could have that done in time. I'm really iffy on this option because the vest is pretty plain and simple, I don't know that it would stand up in comparison to some of the fabulous knitted works I've seen displayed at previous years shows.  

BAGS, evening/shoulder, any medium, any size
I don't recall seeing bag entries displayed in previous years so I'm not sure what the competition would be like. I have a couple of options for entry though.

I really want to have a go at recreating some of the gorgeous Bodhi hanbags SS09 collection. If I could pull it off, one of these would definitely be entry material and would fit into the category without any problem, but I'd need to actually pull it off first.

The other more practical option in this category (for me anyway) would be a laptop bag. I replaced my laptop a few weeks ago and sadly it doesn't fit in the old bag. I haven't found an appropriately sized, commercially produced bag that I really like so I was planning on making a custom bag for it over the next few days anyway.. but I'm not sure if a laptop bag really fits into that category - I'm planning a shoulder strap, but would it be considered a shoulder bag?

After all that I'm even less sure about whether I should enter or not. So many options, so little time....

Wow! Monster post with no pics! Are you still here reading?  Sorry about that. Sometimes I think this blog is turning into a diary more than anything else but writing things really does help me get my thoughts into some sort of logical order so as long as you're happy to go along with it all well and good.

Until next time


Friday, 7 June 2013

I want your pants

Pants - image taken from Harris Scarfe website
 Keep your clothes on! I don't want the ones you're wearing right now!

With winter approaching fast if you've pulled out your winter wardrobe and discovered that some of your well loved denim jeans, skirts or jackets don't fit as well as they used to or have reached the end of their useful life STOP! Don't bin them - send them my way! I'd be happy to take them off your hands and I'm even happy to pay for the postage (within Aus) if you're not local so there's no cost to you.

You might even see you favourite old jeans made into something new right here on the blog.

Leave a comment or contact me personally and I'll be in touch to arrange collection or postage.