Sunday, May 29, 2011

Starting the Gypsy Quilt - Caravan Wheels and Hoop Earrings ?

I have been dithering over what design to use for the 12 fat quarters of Gypsy by Westminster which I won in a give-away on Want It, Need It, Quilt!   Every day I chose a different design.  But it wasn't until I remembered the KISS principle of keeping it simple that I realized that I didn't need a complicated pattern with all these bright colours jumbled together in every block  that I finally made a decision.
So, I'm finally happy.  I like these and I can even imagine that I can see caravan wheels and gypsy hoop earrings in the blocks.  And by only using one fabric in each block, each of the different fabrics gets an opportunity to make it's own statement.

My only problem today was with the bottom right hand red block.  It should have been much more dramatic as I had fussy-cut the circles in the pattern - two with white dots and two with a white cross-hatching.  But in my usual fashion I cut the squares 1/2" too small so now I will have four interesting red hexie flower centres!

Now my mind is jumping ahead to when I have made the first block from each fat quarter and am starting on a second one.  Should I continue to use the cream centres or should I make them from one of the contrasting fabrics, eg red at the centre of the lime green block and green in the red block. These more solid blocks could then be used in alternate positions in the quilt.  Or should I stick to cream centres.

Then there's how shall I quilt it.  No wonder I can't sleep.  My mind is always jumping ahead.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Starting New Projects and Swapping Hexie Flowers

I really didn't need to start a couple of new projects just yet when other things are so close to completion but I just couldn't resist. This is the progress I have made on the first dress for "Dress Me Up", a quilt displaying twelve dresses from the 1950s.

With all my efforts with my improvised light box I find I have drawn a spot which wasn't even in the original. A ghost spot !  I had intended to do the spots in outline only but the black of the dress outline is so strong that I fell that all the overall patterns will need to have strength in them too, hence the solid red spots.  Time consuming though.

This was also a hexie flower week and the following beauties arrived from my fabric pen-pal, Brandie.

Isn't the guipure lace centre attractive. It's always nice to add variety to a few of the centres. Thanks, Brandie.

At the same time my offering for this month was heading in the opposite direction.
I was in a much more mellow mood this month and made these very quiet hexies. I'll brighten up again next month, perhaps blues, or reds, or greens, or blacks - perhaps not blacks ! No, definitely not blacks.

Spending time at home meant time to slip on a new pair of shoes so that they would soften up a bit and mould to my strange feet to make sure they were perfectly comfortable before going out in them.  So what happens?
I knock my needlecase onto the floor and spill some needles, and when I stand up I wonder what is the matter with my shoe.

It's going to take a stronger wrist than mine to wield the pliers to get this well-embedded needle out of the shoe.  Fortunately it didn't go right through to my heel.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Improvising A Light Box

I needed to transfer a pattern today, one of twelve, and I wanted a more satisfactory method than my usual one.  I should have bought a light box long ago but there has  always been something else which I wanted more. So this is what I did .........
The piece of glass is the top of a bedside table in the spare bedroom, placed on two chairs and over my light-magnifier.
Then comes the pattern I wanted to trace. I had first printed it onto a heavy tracing paper, then taped it to the glass.  The pattern is the first of twelve in a quilt called Dress Me Up from Bobby Socks Quilt Company   Each is a dress from the 1950s displayed on a dressmaker's dummy.
 A piece of the off-white fabric I am using is taped over the tracing paper.  To look at it you would never guess how carefully I had ironed it.
I can see most of the pattern through the fabric but I keep the original drawing beside me so that I know what I'm looking for and don't draw the pattern by guess and by gosh.  I was using an archival pen from a local art shop.   It leaves a permanent mark but it's a fine line and will be easy to hide under the embroidery.
Then I had the bright idea (no pun intended) that by twisting the light source straight up instead of pointing down at the floor I would see the image more clearly.  Well it looks like that in the photo.  But the combination of better view of the dress combined with the clearly defined self pattern on my fabric meant that I couldn't see the pen strokes I was making.  I was heading for trouble there !  Pressing more heavily and repeating strokes.  So it was back to the more diffuse light.

And by now my knees and back are starting to protest at all this getting up and down.  Have to have a think to see if there is some other way I can prop up the glass !
So here I am, just starting off.  I've ironed on a backing to stop the material from puckering from my stitching. The dress and form is just clear enough for me to see comfortably and won't disappear.  The dress form is a bit too close to the embroidery hoop so I'll do it last of all. A family member has already seen the pattern and uttered a most definite That's Mine so this quilt's destination is already determined.

I found this quilt a few weeks ago on the Dread Pirate Rodgers Blog and today the Pirate has blogged that she has now finished embroidering the twelvth dress and is pondering on how she is going to finish the quilt. I couldn't resist it once I saw her work.  The quilting blogs are such a source of inspiration.

Much as I like quilting I am not happy at doing  little bits and pieces on the sewing machine.  I prefer to have a nice un-interrupted day in front of me.  But I always have a piece of embroidery on the table to pick up at odd times during the day or evening. These days my embroideries are meant to be made into quilts.

After a day of enforced rest yesterday it was great to make some progress today. I'll be glad to hear if anyone else has any handy hints on light-boxing. For all things embroidery you can't go past Mary Corbet's Needle and Thread . Under her Tips and Techniques she has a interesting selection on Transferring Patterns.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mother's Day Flowers

Mother's Day might have been last Sunday but this bouquet which was given to me is going to last well - the buds are opening beautifully and providing a long lasting display.
Haven't managed to do much hand work this week for a variety of reasons apart from a few hexagon flowers., which you can do in the odd spare moment.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Winning the April Giveawy from Want it, Need it, Quilt

My day was made today when I learnt that I had won the April Giveaway from the blog at  Want it, Need it, QuiltThanks to Jane  I am to receive 12 FQs of Gypsy from Westminster Fabrics.
As the fabric is called Gypsy, the competition was to  describe what we would like to do as a gypsy and where we would like to wander. My entry was very simple.  As it was April the only place I would want to go was London, in time for THE Wedding.

And what a beautiful wedding it was.  That amazing dress!  I'm still trying to work out why my initial reaction was to think of Guinevere.  Perhaps I'm influenced by some movie I might have seen depicting that era, or perhaps a book cover.  I loved the shape of the veil - no fullness - so simple. Another of my favourites was the white angora bolero Kate wore in the evening. It's many a long year since they were fashionable so it will be fun seeing angora knitwear become popular again. Of course if I had been in London I wouldn't have seen these details which were so clear on our television coverage. But I would have seen those magnificent horses and riders.  Where else but London would you see such a display with such a history.

Now I have to find a quilt pattern to use these wonderful Gypsy fabrics, something  which mixes shapes of varying sizes so as to display some of the larger fabric patterns.  Someone has already suggested a hexagon pattern.

 Aren't they just beautiful.   I am going to have such fun.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A little Snail

This little snail is a copy of a snail forming part of the embroidery on the gauntlet of a glove made c1595-1605.  It  is held by the Fashion Museum in Bath, UK, and is owned by the Gloves Collection Trust.
This little fellow is 1 1/4" from nose to tail and has some resemblance to the kit-maker's sample but  with a few slips !  It was made from a kit from Thistle Threads and a donation of $7.50 is made from the sale of each kit  to the Fashion Museum to help buy conservation storage boxes to re-house the Glove Collection.

In the following image, which was part of the kit instructions, you can see the snail towards the bottom left hand side of the embroidery near the fingers, sitting on the curved line. I just love this glove.