Thursday 31 March 2016

my Gypsy Wife {playing nicely together}

Back making a few more blocks for my Gypsy Wife quilt this week. This scrappy quilt has to be one of my all time favourites, and looking at the original, I am convinced the more fabrics the better! And the less important any one decision becomes in the big scheme of things!

However, I know from experience that scrappy quilts can get out-of-control quite quickly and can loose their charm quite easily. So, I've been wondering how to make my quilt work without it all looking too messy or too confusing? How do I get my scrappy fabrics to all play nicely together?

Well, I ended up making a few sort of 'rules' for myself and I thought I would share them with you. {he-he- these are all little things I didn't actually put into practise with my first version mind you!} First up, I'm really trying to stick with colours in my 'focus' fabric, 'Tapestry Rose’ by Amy Butler and hopefully using a limited palette will help kept it calm...

Repetition of grey, cream & a touch of white for those vertical strips seemed the perfect opportunity to add another controlling element. And now & then, I'm also using grey or cream/white fabrics as background in the blocks too, to help unite the variety of colours...

For the bigger blocks I'm sticking to mainly one colourway in each of them, and repeating any colour combos I love...

And finally, I decided to make the quilt in sections too, rather than work my way through the book. Not only much more satisfying, but it really helps with checking out how my overall colour balance is going. Tackling section 4 this week, just getting it all to fit together is proving problematical...

... but I'm sure I will get there
... eventually!

The biggest change I wanted this time around was to make this quilt look a bit more 'modern.' My first Gypsy Wife quilt was scrappy, and vintage-y, and chaotic, and I do love it!
But for this version, I wanted to do something different - as in mixing up a selection of more recent designer fabric ranges, including Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler, Jen Kingwell, Tula pink and a little bit of Liberty. I love seeing how different that effect is!

My earlier #1 GW quilt are the pics on the right, the new versions on the left
Have a little look...

'colour wheel' block 

'crazy Anne' block

the infamous 'pershing' block 

And how about you... how do you make your scrappy fabrics all play nicely together in a quilt?
I would love to hear!
For lots more pics, pop  over to the #gypsywifequiltalong2016 here

splish splash stash

Linking up - a little late this week - with Cynthia for 'oh scrap' here

Tuesday 29 March 2016

in the hoop #2

- got the essentials, tick!

Making the most of these last few sunny evenings before daylight saving happens. After some initial straight line machine stitching all over to secure my 'Emperor's Wheel' quilt, I'm now doing some 'Big Stitch' quilting, a method of hand quilting that uses pearl cotton #8 and longer stitches. I am still using the rocker method of traditional quilting, with the occasional stab stitch when the going gets tough!

I'm using a Chenille needle, {well actually, three needles where I can!}
with large eyes & sharp points, which are working a treat!
Assorted colours in Perle no.8 cottons, tick!
Using a cotton wadding with no scrim, tick!

Like others, I've been doing some research lately about big stitch hand quilting, and Sarah Fielke's video on hand quilting here has lots of tips & techniques if you are interested {check it out down the R) hand side bar}. Fabric backing choice does seem to be a consideration - like having a voile, making it fine & easy to stitch through. Certainly a neat idea, but too late for me on this quilt :(

- I do find it easier to work with a hoop
but I know others don't, so it really comes down to personal preference

- hm-m-m- a bit of a tricky spot here,
too many seams overlapping, I'd sack the person who does the pressing

- for most of it I'm just stitching as I go,
eyeballing along the 1/4" seam lines, going for that 'handmade' look
but  I am using good old masking tape for the larger areas

- progress will be syrupy slow
but it sure makes for some nice relaxing 'last-of those-summer' evenings just now.

Sunday 27 March 2016

in the hoop

Ever had a project that just needed that little push to get you that much closer to the finish line?

I guess I put off finishing this quilt top because I dreaded more paper piecing. Not the sewing part, my goodness that's the great part, lots of fun, very precise & easy really... it's just I find all the trimming a bit wasteful & all the ripping to get the papers out ... well, it's a messy business! I seem to end up with all those bits of paper & fabric all over the floor!

I found this tutorial AFTER I had finished, sounds like it could work. If you have tried it, I'd love to know how things went.

Anyway, after all the +ve encouragement from my last post {thanx!}
I suddenly got really motivated & finished piecing the borders all together...

... decided on the backing fabric, layered & pin basted it, and began quilting.
I did a bit of machine quilting to secure it all, and have now started on some hand quilting.

Those AMH fabrics have been perfect for this project
I've included a few up close pics so you can see some of the fabrics better...

- oh, and we just won't mention the paper war, ok J

Happy sewing!

Sunday 20 March 2016

borders, backings & bindings

Every now & then I like to backtrack a bit and revisit a few earlier WiP's. Projects that, for one reason or another, I came to a halt with, like my 'Emperor's Wheel' quilt - remember that one?

The final border called for foundation paper pieced units alternating with various strips of 4 1/2" wide border fabric. It's taken a while, but I finally decided on the additional fabric for those borders!

So this weekend, I've been busy with making up the paper pieced segments, using my lights & darks to create good contrast...

Another little task I'd put off for a while was piecing together a scrappy backing for the Kaleidoscope quilt, the vintage version.

I chose some fabrics from my stash, a selection of blending bluish, largish, leftover-ish Denyse Schmidt fabrics, and pieced them together in a very simple layout...

And in addition to getting two quilts almost to the quilting stage, I finally finished the binding on my 'Gypsy Squares' quilt, one I made sometime ago but didn't finish completely. I know, I know, why did I put it off for so long? {sigh}
It's a simple quilt, made up of 8"squares, in a scrappy selection of purple-y colours that I don't often work with, but it has that real 'patchworky' look to me! I hand stitched the last of the binding down one evening while catching up with a couple of episodes of "Blindspot"...

I must confess, we have had this quilt on the bed in it's unfinished state
- and I spent ages looking at all the different fabrics, a real mix-match of fabrics,
from all over the place, I love it!

machine quilted in a very wide all-over meandering pattern by Annette
- keeps it quite snuggly &cuddly!

I'm happy, some good progress made this weekend
and, a few more things crossed off the 'to do' list!

Linking to 'moving it forward' at Em's Scrapbag here
and 'oh scrap' over here
and also with Needle & Thread Thursday here

Friday 18 March 2016

business as usual

It's been a bit hectic around here lately - back from a wonderful break in Melbourne,
family birthday parties {one 90th & one 5th} all done and dusted,
and now everything's finally back to normal I've got some time to spend on Gypsy Wife #2

I'm enjoying having one WiP that I'm really busy & enthus'ed with...
sifting through my scraps, finding lots of different fabrics within this restricted colour palette,
piecing those teeny tiny seams, unpicking if it's not quite right

... and taking my time to enjoy every step of the process

HST block

Courthouse Steps block

Section 3 was nice & easy with only two blocks!
Time to step it up a bit and tackle 'crazy Anne'

My advice: take your time,
be careful when cutting out, i.e. watch which way up your fabric is,
use a scant 1/4" seam,  & keep those fingers crossed
- they don't call it 'crazy' for nothing J

Lots more pics over here at #Gypsy Wife QAL 2016
Linking up to 'lets bee social' over here at sew fresh quilts

a bit more # 45
Have you come across this yet? Stephie at Dawn Chorus Studio continues discussing 'how long does it take to make a quilt.' Thoughtful posts with lots of interesting tips from three very different quilters - well worth taking a peek, Ann here, next up was Kaja, and then next week, it's Audrey's turn

Sunday 13 March 2016

Melbourne {life on the fringe}

Thought I'd do a quick update from Melbourne today. On previous visits Mr D & I  have stayed right in the city centre. Lots of wandering around all those wonderful bohemian type alleyways, cafes everywhere, the theatre, strolling along Yarra River & Southbank walkway, and all the shopping at David Jones, Myers, Burke St crescent etc.
But this time around, we are staying a little bit more out of town... with my son & DIL living on the city-meets-suburbia fringe! They seem very settled here, in an apartment with superb roof top views, not quite 'city life' but close enough to everything they need. Using the tram makes it all so easy, we had a lot of fun at midnight after a meal out with their friends in Smith Street, and no parking hassles! And it was lovely to see where they did their groceries, the dentist they use, which cafe is their favourite  - hey, aren't these all things a mum really does need to know about!

But I guess you really want to know about the patchwork, yes? 
Earlier this week I met up with Meredithe from 'pomegranate and chintz'. We had chatted via email & organised to have a coffee together and, of course, a bit of stash enhancement at 'sewn and quilted'. The shop was located at the back of a big family home, very colourful with lots of different fabrics to select from. A class was on at the same time, a real cosy hive of activity!

{pics taken with permission}

- latest range of Tula Pink I think

-and a little bit of some very pretty Tilda fabrics

We chatted about all things 'quilty' 
and then went for coffees & got to know each other a bit more, a very special time! 

Meredithe & Glenda- the quilting ladies! 
and Char my DIL 

As well as teaching, Meredithe designs templates {check them all out here} and I was tempted enough to give these templates a go, Hexagon party.
I see Megan has also been tempted with the lure of hexis & that slow sewing experience too 
Oh, and  I also got a couple more plaids, my weakness at present!

I did purchase a scrappy selection of repro fabrics, not my usual, 
but am so looking forward to cutting into these when I get back home.

Our next stop with Meredithe was at Somerset Patchwork. They specialise in vintage & reproduction fabrics mainly, but I did spot a little bit of Victoria Findlay Wolfe fabric leaning up against one of the shelves! As I was seriously running out of this gorgeous orange floral, I bought another 1/2 metre... for, you know, 'justincase.'

Linking up with Sunday Stash over here this week

And then as if we hadn't had enough, Char & I decided we really should pop into gjs for a look around, and it was actually on our way home. They mainly have dance & glitter fabrics, and also one wall full of a large section of patchwork fabrics, seem similar to our Spotlight in NZ. I picked up this pattern there by Trish Harper, very scrappy & colourful!

So there you go! Am sure my latest purchases will add variety to my present scrappy stash
- linking up to 'oh scrap' over here 

a bit more # 44
Just need to convert Char over to patchwork now, 
but am thinking her 'too cool to care' high end street apparel sewing is her real passion!  
Understandable, but thanx for joining me Char!