Vintage Crosses Class

Hello Everyone

I had a great time at Cottage Flair with the ladies in my Vintage Crosses Class. I am looking forward to seeing the quilts they make, I am sure they will have them made in no time.

Vintage Crosses Class 3My next class at Cottage Flair is the Blackberry Ramble Table Runner on the weekend of the 27th and 28th September.

Blackberry Ramble

Blackberry RambleHappy Stitching

Sharon

 

Miracle Chalk on Sunburst Quilt

Hello Everyone

Today I have been having a lovely day quilting my new Sunburst Quilt. I made this small quilt over a month ago and I am only getting around to starting the quilting. This is working out to be a really fun quilt to quilt. To mark my design from a quilting stencil I have used Miracle Chalk with the powder puff thingy. It seems to work wonderfully, you just place your stencil on the quilt and then swipe the duster filled with chalk to get a solid marked line.

Chalk 2 Chalk StarburstI then followed the lines with stitching and used my steam iron to remove the chalk marks. It all worked a treat.

Friday I am off to Cottage Flair in Rotorua to teach a class on my Vintage Crosses quilt. Last months class was filled with such lovely people, I loved my time with Jill and the ladies in this gorgeous shop filled with goodies.

Here’s a picture of the lovely ladies in my last class.

Vintage Crosses ClassRosie and I took some great photos on our walk today, hope you like them.

Harbour from Tank sunlight through trees Have any of you used the Miracle Chalk ? I would love to know your thoughts.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

A little Wool Project

Hello Everyone

Such a lovely day today, this morning we had the worst frost I have ever seen. The sun is out and the day is warming up.

I purchased some lovely pieces of wool some time ago with the thought of doing some hand stitching at night, now that the nights are getting colder I am keen to get started.

Here are some pictures of my progress so far………………..

Centre Circles Tulip

Centre FlowerI am afraid the colours have not come out so good in the photo, the blue looks a little greyer in the photo of the circles above. I have used a brown linen fabric for the background, I love the look of the linen mixed with the wool. The cotton print fabric I have used for the basket has been a small piece I have had in my stash for a very long time and I have loved it so much I have never been able to part with it. I think it fits perfectly in this project. I am however a little upset with the way some of these wool fabrics are fraying. Does anyone have any tips to help with this ?

Well I’m off to enjoy the sunshine.

ViewHappy Stitching

Sharon

Lilly’s Table Mat

Hello Everyone

Lilly’s Table Mat has been begging for photo’s, the lovely autumn sunshine was perfect for getting some great pics. I never got the chance to take pictures when I made this quilt, as it was down at All Things Patchwork while I was teaching my invisible applique class. Now I have it home again to enjoy.

Lilly's Table Mat 5_edited-2 I loved quilting this little quilt. I played with free hand designs, mixing up shapes and texture, giving this little quilt a lift. I used free hand feathers, circles, spirals and pumpkin seeds. I also quilted the vines in the leaves and a pumpkin seed design on the basket. I find when the applique shapes are of a reasonable size it is good to stabilize them with quilting.

Lilly's Table Mat 3_edited-3Lilly's Table Mat full sizeAll that’s left to do is write the pattern.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

My version of Stipple Quilting

Hello Everyone

A quilting project has brought me to think about the way I use simple quilting designs to add texture to my applique quilts. I like the applique to be the major design feature in my quilts, so I use a subtle thread weight and colour to add the quilting layer. I stitch in the ditch as close as I can with a very fine thread matching the colour to the background fabric and where necessary to the applique pieces. Stitching in the ditch helps define the applique shapes, they start to look raised almost 3D on the quilt surface.

Whirlygig_7You can see in this picture where I have stitched in the ditch around each circle to make the flower pop and give it dimension. This is when you will need to match your thread to the applique pieces. You can of course use a monofilament thread although this is not my favorite.

 

After the stitching in the ditch is done, I then like to work the design in close to the applique shapes. Working small when close so that the quilting is denser and really pops the applique shapes.

Whirly Gig_2You can see where I have stitched the design close to the stem, making the stem pop. You can also see in this pic where the larger applique shapes have also been quilted inside the shape. I do this to stop the larger shapes from bagging. I find that the larger pieces tend to do what I call bagging, where the fabric can puff looking loose. I also like the effect a little quilting can do to these larger shapes, giving another layer of design. It can look worse when left un-quilted after the quilt is washed.

Whirlygig_4I am not a fan of the traditional stipple quilting and honestly find it hard to do. Maybe that’s because it does not rock my boat as far as a design feature. I love to meander with little spirals, or leaves etc the possibilities are endless. I love to make the shapes varying sizes, this adds more interest and when you have a shape that has gone a bit array it does not show. I use echo quilting to get from one spot to another, making it easier to keep going and get out of those little areas. I do have to remind myself to quilt larger shapes, it is easy to get into a motion of small shapes. I find on the outer areas of the block it can look nice with larger shapes mimicking the smaller shapes that are in clos to the applique.

Whirlygig_6This is the border of cross blocks, I have stitched in the ditch and then done a free motion design in the centre of the block. I really like the effect and will use this more often when I need a fill design for a block.

 

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed my quilting play, and would love to hear any ideas you have.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

 

New patterns now available as pdf downloads

Hello Everyone

Along with new patterns I have been busy creating, I have been busy working on making all of my previous patterns into pdf downloads.

There are a few good reasons for this, one being you can then shop in your birthday suit if you wish. That said ! you can shop anytime and have instant access to your purchase without having to wait for the post. Or pay for the postage.

Another good reason is that I can put more information into pdf’s, for example, links to good information. More pictures, the list is endless.

You can download my patterns from anywhere in the world, this is so exciting being able to share our love of quilting.

I would like to tell you about the patterns I have just converted into pdf format.

Birds in a Bluebird Tree

Birds in a Bluebird Tree

Birds in a Bluebird Tree is a lovely little Wall Hanging or table mat, inspired by the blue and white Dutch china that I love.
A simple applique design with a scalloped border effect.

Luscious Berry Baskets

Cover Pic

Applique lovers will enjoy the Luscious Berry Baskets applique quilt. This quilt is one to add to your family heirlooms.

I am so excited to be able to make sharing my designs a little easier. My patterns are available as pdf downloads on several websites including here on my blog under the downloadable patterns tab. They are also available on Craftsy, to access my craftsy patterns just click on the link in the sidebar. My Etsy store and The Pattern Spot.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

Washing and Blocking your Applique Blocks

Hello Everyone

Working on class projects, has made me think how important it is to wash your applique blocks when you have finished them. Because of the products used to complete the blocks. ie: glue, starch etc, it is really important to get this all out of your blocks.

I don’t always get enough time to fully explain this in class, so I have taken some pictures of my process for you. I hope this helps those of you who are not sure.

Here we go, this is how I go about washing my blocks. First I soak my block in warm water with a mild detergent. I leave it soaking for at least two hours.

Soaking your block

I then rinse all the dirty water out of the block and when the water is clear I gently squeeze out the excess water. I place it flat, right side down on top of a towel.

Layed out on towel

I square it up with my large ruler, making sure all the seams are straight and the measurements are correct.

Pinned in place

I pin as I go so the block stays in the correct position.

Example of pinning

I then press with an iron, I do not move the iron from side to side. If you are not in a hurry you could leave your block to dry overnight on its own without the iron.

Ironing block

finished blocked block

When the block is dry, take the pins out and flip your block over to see your finished block.

Invisible Stitches 2

Here is a close up of the finished block to show you how invisible the stitches are even tho they have been done by machine.

Invisible Stitches

Now on with the quilting, I will leave you with a shot of a feather. I love seeing the quilt and my initial idea for the design start to take shape.

Quilting feather

Corner Quilting

I hope this has helped you, if anyone has anymore ideas on this process I would love to hear them.

If you like my design, and would love to learn invisible machine applique. I will be teaching this class at All Things Patchwork next year.

This block is taken from my quilt Luscious Berry Baskets.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

My Rarotonga Holiday

Hello Everyone

I have been spoil’t this year and have returned from a lovely break away in beautiful Rarotonga. White sands and clear blue water, lots of relaxing on the beach and eating out at wonderful restaurants. I even had some quiet time to catch up on hand sewing.

My highlight was to see amazing Tivaivai quilts. At the museum they were preparing for an exhibition, as I was not going to be there for the exhibition a lovely lady working at the desk took me out the back and gave me my own personal exhibition. These quilts were amazing, the embroidery stitches combined with cut out applique are stunning colourful  displays of local flowers and palms. I was not able to take any photos of this fabulous artwork, but would stress to anyone visiting that it is a must to see. On certain days you can sit with the ladies and learn how they make these wonderful quilts. My husband was loving the exhibition also and took me to the local bookshop and purchased a book on Tivaivai for me. I would also stress that you should be aware of the way this is spelt as there are people trying to commercialize this art and they spell it Tivaevae. If you are interested in this art then this book is a must, a really interesting read from cover to cover. I can definitely see this will have an influence in my designs.

Tivaivai Book

We also loved the flowers on the island, Frangipani is my favourite and there are plenty of these in many beautiful colours. we rode around the island on a scooter, me on the back and loads of fun.

Here are a few of the photos I took of this beautiful place.

Frangipani-three

My collection of Frangipani flowers that had  fallen off the tree. ( Honestly I did not pick them )

Ship Wreck

Ship Wreck in the Harbour

Palm View

Palm trees

Beach

Hibiscus on beach

Hibiscus flower on the beach

Hibiscus Flower

Happy Stitching

Sharon

 

 

Placing your applique on your background

Hello Everyone

Do any of you struggle with placement of your applique ?

I have been writing applique patterns for some time now and have always included a full sized pattern layout sheet. With this in mind I have been working on turning all of my patterns into PDF downloadable patterns. This causes a problem with some of my applique patterns, as the pattern layout sheets are large and you need several A4 or letter sized pages to complete the layout. ( A lot of taping together ) Also through taping these patterns sheets together it is very easy to distort the design. I have decided to take a look at how to eliminate all these pages and found that some of the patterns from other designers are done with a 1 inch grid. This gives you a guide to placement.

There are several methods, I have been playing with the pros and cons of a few of these methods and these are my results::

Light Box:  For my applique placement I have always printed a full sized pattern layout and used a light box.

Pros: Exact placement and no guessing, especially when you have a lot of small pieces to place.

Cons: Does not work well with Dark or heavy background fabric. Not everyone has a light box.

Using a window as a light box is hard on your arms.

Transferring your applique design onto a clear vinyl sheet: This seems to be a popular method.

Pros: Works with any colour or weight of background fabric. Easily transported and you do not need to purchase a light box.

Cons: Pieces move easily and can be hard to get into exact position.

Some books with applique designs give a smaller picture and you can use it as a guide, making it a more organic placement.

Pros: No need to have a lot of pages taped together. No need for a light box. Your blocks will be more original.

Cons: It will take some practice to create a block with lots of small pieces. Hard to get pieces in the exact place. ( Does this matter ? )

1 Inch Grid: Using a 1 inch grid for placement.

I have seen many patterns printed this way, where the applique pattern is shown with a 1 inch grid for placement. I decided to test this method for myself. I made a 1 inch grid using a clear sheet.

Pros: Easy to print. You only ever need to make your vinyl grid once, it can be used many times. Placement is accurate. Its portable and no need to purchase a light box. Works on all background fabrics. Works well with small applique pieces.

Using the inch grid method

Free pattern Rosa Block

The pattern is not full scale, the 1 inch grid is used so you know where to place your pieces.

The first thing I did was to make a 1 inch overlay, using a transparent sheet. The one I used I got from a stationers and it is for architects. I laid this on my cutting board, I also made sure that my ruler marks and the cutting mat marks are the same.

Step 1_edited-1

I then marked lines in 1 inch segments, using my ruler and a fine black marking pen.

step 2

I then numbered the segments along the top and side of the grid.

Step 3

After making my applique pieces I used the pattern guide and the 1 inch overlay grid to place my applique pieces in the correct position.

Overlay placement

Pic 4

Pic 2_edited-1

Pic 3

 

Final pic

As you can see, this method worked out well, if you would like to try this block you can download the free Rosa Block Pattern.

I would love to hear your thoughts, and your favorite method.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

 

Wreath Cushion

Hello Everyone

I have been working hard on applique projects for classes in the coming year, and although I don’t have a lot to show you all at this stage. I have completed this cute cushion.

Wreath Cushion

Quilting Detail

I loved using Wonderfil Invisifil thread on the entire cushion. From Piecing, applique to quilting.

Zoom Detail_edited-1

The thread just sinks in and you can not see the thread that has been used in the applique, I love it ! You do however need to match the colour of your applique piece with the colour of the thread. Which means you need a good selection of colours. Although you would be surprised how the thread blends and therefore you can use a select few colours. I used this thread in the bobbin also and you can buy handy pre-filled bobbins which are great. They are wound to the correct tension which makes life easier.

Circles

The Centre of this cushion has been created in layers, with the large Flower layer underneath and rest of the layers built up from there.

Can you see my applique Stitches ? Don’t get them confused with quilting stitches as I ditch stitched the entire piece first before echo quilting the to finish.

Whole Cushion_edited-1

If you like my cute cushion you can download the pattern here or grab a printed copy here

This cushion will also be on the Wonderfil Threads stand at the Festival of Quilts show this weekend. Or up and coming shows next year.

I would love to see your comments

Happy Stitching

Sharon

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