Sunday, September 28, 2008

noughts and croseses / hugs and kisses baby quilt

So after weeks of procrastinating, I finally sat myself down and got this quilt finished yesterday.

Baby quilt

The pattern is derived from this one. The fabrics were cheapies I found at spotlight, the x's are actually pieced together from a fabric of "running eighths" - eight strips of different coordinating prints printed running down one fabric. I realised part way in I had bought no where near enough of that fabric, and of course when I went back for more, it was gone. So I decided an adaptation was needed, and decided to make it into a noughts and crosses quilt.

There are a few things I'm not super happy about with this quilt - the sewing is not my finest work; I chose a poly batting rather than the cotton I've been using and its not so great. I also didn't prewash the fabrics, knowing they would shrink but wanting to see how the shrinked effect looked... right now, i'm not such a fan, although I can see it would be good in the right context. Also I wont be using cheap fabrics again in a hurry, the quality is definitely not the same.

Having said all that, it was always intended to be a bit of a practice quilt, and it gave me an opportunity to try different things and so now I have some more ideas about which way I like doing things best. And the best part was that the binding is absolutely the best binding i've done, and gave me a chance to practice my mitred corners.

Baby quilt reverse

Next project is a big one - a queen size quilt for one of my bestest friends who is currently living in London. It took me ages to decide what I wanted to make for her, as she's not keen on lots of colour or bold pattern, but after lots of research I came up with a idea I think will work... I have the fabrics, I have even prewashed them. Its the first time I've prewashed, but I definitely dont want the shrinked look for this one, and as the fabrics are from a number of different places I really didnt want to risk them shrinking at different rates. So now for lots of cutting, lots of sewing, lots of basting, lots of quilting. Somehow its all looking a bit daunting at the moment!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekend creations

On Friday night I came across this post on Craft City Melbourne, about Amitie, a fabric shop in Bentleigh. Now since I moved to Melbourne I've struggled to find any local fabric shops stocking fabrics I actually like, and so have been doing most of my shopping online. Something about the photo of their front window made me think that this one might be worth the drive to visit.

So Saturday afternoon having done the necessary cleaning and grocery shopping and finding myself with a couple of hours to spare before I was due at a friends place for an evening of mass production sewing, I grabbed my street directory and headed off to Amitie.

Now as mentioned in my previous post I have a bit of an obsession going on with all things Denyse Schmidt. I've been eyeing off her latest range "County Fair" which is a heavier "home dec" weight fabric. I'll been contemplating on Friday buying some of the fabrics online in order to make a new handbag, but had been unable to decide on whether the fabrics I was looking at would look right in real life and so had discarded the idea.

So when I walked in the door of Amitie, (having first noticed that the quilt in the window featured fabrics from the Katie Jump Rope collection) and found the entire collection of County fair stacked by the door way, I could barely contain my excitement.

Amitie is a gorgeous shop, an awesome range of fabrics without a hint of country or the an overwhelming array of shabby chic that seems to feature in most patchwork fabric shops. I wondered around for a while feeling a little overwhelmed and generally trying to resist the urge to come up with any new projects before I complete the ones currently on the go.

In the end I bought pieces of three of the county fair fabrics to make a bag, although without a pattern in mind.

I worked out the pattern this morning, and after a quick trip to Spotlight for some extra bits and pieces, I made this bag:

New handbag

I'm really happy with how it came together, and I'm particularly glad that I took the time to get a few things right - like adding an extra layer of denim inside the top panel to make it stronger. Tomorrow morning will be its test to see if it can hold all my usual handbag contents plus my lunch, apple, water bottle and book. I think it will manage fine, and I can stop carrying two pages to work each day!

I'd bought a new pair of ($12 Kmart) sunglasses yesterday and had decided that I would make a sunglasses case out of the left over fabric to match my new bag. In then end I made it out of the third of the three fabrics I'd bought, which I ended up not needing in the bag. That came together so quickly and easily that I tipped out the contents of my handbag to see what else I could make to go in my handbag. A small pencil case was next to hold the pacer, pen, eraser and mini ruler I carry so I can draw quilt patterns in my notebook. That done, I decided my notebook needed a cover with some pockets to hold some of the other loose bits of paper I carry around.

Handbag, notebook cover, pencil case, sunglasses case

The notebook cover is the only one I'm not overly happy with. I'd been using this thin stripe fabric as lining and really liked the way it looked with the fabrics, and thought it would make cute binding, but somehow its ended up looking a bit old fashioned. Still, its functional and I finally made myself take the time to actually figure out how to mitre binding corners, so it was a good sampler for that if nothing else!

Friday, September 12, 2008

quilt for claudia

So in the process of making my first quilt I discovered a lot of very exciting things... most of them are denyse schmidt. First I found her katie jump rope fabrics. I bought a couple of the green ones to use in my first quilt and when they arrived i fell in love with the quality of the fabrics combined with the vibrant patterns.

The fabric led me to Denyse Schmidt's quilts, in particular this one:

I loved the simple bold design, it made me really start to reassess my concept of how a quilt could look. I also loved the simplicity of making zigzags out of half square triangles, and spent a lot of time drawing up patterns in a graph paper notebook.

Meanwhile I fell in love with these fabrics and desperately wanted to make something with them:

The colours reminded me of my friend claudia, who i always associate with browns and reds and oranges. I started thinking about her and how homesick she gets sometimes. She lives in Canada at the moment, but works in tourism and so tends to move around a lot, and consequently has lived for some years without a permanent home, I can remember her telling me once about how she wanted to feel more settled, that she was tired of never having house things because they werent easy to pack up and take when she moved. And I realised how perfect a present a quilt would be for her - reasonably practical, reasonably light (i'm talking small blanket size, not large bed size). And I knew that she would love having something I'd made, and felt that I could pick her taste well enough to make the right thing.

And so I made her this quilt:

Zigzag quilt for Claudia

I really need to work out how to take better photos of my quilts, this is the best i could do.

Claudia's coming to see me in a few weeks time, and I'm so excited to be able to give it to her in person. Hopefully she'll have room in her bag to get it back, if not I'll post it and it can chase her back to Canada. And then she and I will both be able to sit on our couches and watch tv or do jigsaw puzzles on different sides of the world but both with our quilts wrapped around us.
Zigzag quilt for claudia