Sunday, 15 December 2013

working with one fabric - four sided kaleidoscope blocks

Fabric designers spend hours coming up with their unique fabric designs for us quilters, crafters and dressmakers to ooh and ahh over before purchasing.

I have been doing a personal study over the last couple of years making quilts from one fabric.  Basically I chop up a designer's fabric and re sew it making up a different look.  I have used 6 sided kaleidoscope blocks to create these.

Kay Nickels wrote a book years ago about making four sided kaleidoscope blocks from border fabric.  Using her idea of using border fabric and cutting the fabric in the same method I use in a six sided kaleidoscope,  I created  the quilt below (it is finished - but unnamed). 

Border fabric is the fabric used for the center of this quilt.

I wasn't overly happy with the result.  It was ok but I didn't consider it to have that WOW factor.  So I tried again.  This time using fabric from Christine Graf's Sausalito series.

Christine Grafs border fabric from her 2012 Sausalito Series

There is a lot of variation in the design and patterns and the final outcome did have the WOW factor (well I think so :))

So my next idea is to experiment using this technique on fabrics that are not designed as borders.  Would it work?  My first attempt failed.  In fact I cut up the fabric and could see as I placed the blocks onto my design wall that it wouldn't work.  No point sewing the blocks together.

I had a hunt around Thimbles and Threads recent sale and bought "terrain" by Kate Spain.  Cut it up and this is the result:

I can't seem to turn my photo to the right direction.  Anyway, the fabric in my border is the original design.  Although it has worked and looks ok I wouldn't call it an overall success (I'd rate it 6 out of 10).  Its pinned ready for quilting.

So my next attempt was with a beautiful border fabric (Savonnerie by American Jane for Moda which comes in three colour ways) that can be found at Sawmillers (Yvonne imports direct from overseas).  I chose the cream background as a personal challenge (I don't tend to work in cream).  It seemed a real shame to cut it up - but I had to see what it could do.

Savonnerie by American Jane for Moda
Now I bought about 2 meters and unfortunately what I had hoped would work didn't.  The narrow border created strong lines which dominated the overall design.  So in this case, I had to cut the fabric into three different sizes to give this final look.  Final outcome is interesting, possibly 8 out of 10 in my WOW factor gauge but for the amount of fabric bought, I have a small quilt (lots of wasted blank space).  Does have a Christmas feel about it.

So what next?  I'm still not quite finished exploring the four sided kaleidoscope.  On a road trip last week I found this fabric at Krazy Cow. Its called Hotflash by Luella Doss and Andrea Schuster.

Will be interesting to see how this fabric will work.  I'm attracted to the various random shapes and although the colours are the same depth  - there should be enough busyness to make this work.

 In the mean time, hope you all have a merry and safe Christmas.

Happy quilting. Shirls

Monday, 18 November 2013

Photo Interpretation Class

I haven't been hiding - in fact I'm snowed under doing various creative things that will be revealed next year.

But on Saturday - we had some fun in my Photo Interpretation class.  Students are encouraged to choose a very simple image but as always  - there is always one who tests her boundaries.

Check out these photos.

Making an animal or human image is incredibly tough.  Not bad for first attempt.

More detail appears once more infill stitching has been completed.  You can see the start of the leaf formation happening here.

Lotus flower - unfortunately I couldn't turn this photo around.  The detail of this flower is stunning.  
Close up of the lotus flower


Saturday, 12 October 2013

Singer Assignment

Earlier this year I was asked to make a "story" (display) for Singer Sewing Machines to be used as a display at trade shows and fairs.  A story is a collection of items that are related either by fabric, colour, appearance or subject.  One rule.  Items must be made using a Singer Sewing Machine.

My theme:
I used Singer's brand colour - Red (for impact) and my fabric choice was Dupion Silk.  I prefer the rough texture of dupion as opposed to flat silk. Silk doesn't fade and the colours are always rich and vibrant.

I used Simplicity 2478 for the Evening Jacket.  On the Lapels I embroidered a red rose from the Singer Future Lace Embroidery Collection.

To compliment the jacket I made a fascinator using Clover's "Sweetheart Rose Maker" (Art no. 8472) using the same red dupion silk.  Added to this I added a comb, printed mesh and silver thread.

To complete the "First Story" I made a clutch bag using a range of dupion silk colours and braid.  This clutch is my own design with a covered button and machine embroidered flowers completing it.

My second "Story" is a range of masks all made from dupion silk and using various machine embroidery lace designs.

To give the masks shape, I used black wool batting soaked in Powertex Product, moulded onto mask moulds and left to dry for several days.

To secure the mask backs to fronts I used small pieces of Velcro.

 The third story is made up of the Evening Jacket, Fascinator and Red Mask

 Hopefully I will get pictures of these pieces on display at the next craft fair.

Machine quilting for beginners

I'm having problems with this blog.  I've lost my class list and am unable to repost it.  Hopefully BlogSpot will sort this out soon.

We are nearing the end of this years classes.  Today machine quilting for beginners.  There is always a  surprise or two as students surprise themselves on their ability.

Check out these pictures.

"Machingers" gloves - supplied by Quilters Touch.  Recommended for machine quilting.
Now lets see if I can get BlogSpot to behave.  Happy quilting friends.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Japanese Meshwork

I never seem to tire teaching this awesome technique. Here are a couple of pictures from Saturday's class.


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Applying borders - day two Beginners class

Another exciting day at Wellington Sewing Services. Attaching borders to quilt centres - ready for machine quilting.  Very industrious.
Quilt centre - queen size
quilt centre lap quilt size

quilt centre cot size

piano key border on lap quilt size
piano key border

Clover chalk marker - very easy to use.  This quilt is being backed with polar fleece.
 Note - if using polar fleece for backing you don't really need to insert batting.  However it is recommended to wash fleece first.  Makes for a cuddly quilt.  Diagonal grid quilting hides  imperfect block joins.  However it must be said that these ladies were pretty spot on using the double pin seam method mentioned in previous post (June 2013).
Now back to my couple of new projects.  Will show these in the next coming months.
Happy quilting Shirls

Friday, 13 September 2013

Update on last weeks beginners class

I love the enthusiasm of ladies learning to patchwork for the first time and their fabric choices.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Kaleidoscope class Day One Sawmillers

Day one is always exciting.  We spend four hours cutting our fabric before the transformation of blocks appear.  First two pictures show's Mary's fabric and how once cut, they turn into spinning blocks.

Quite often I have two students working with the same fabric.  Their quilts and blocks never look the same since each block can be turned into three different designs.  Its up to the quilter to decide which block design will be included into their quilt.

Day two at the end of this month will be exciting. Till then, happy quilting.


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Eyes Only

"Eyes Only" was created through curiosity.  The Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci) is renowned for looking at you from any direction.  I wondered if I could recreate the same illusion.  I believe I have however - the full impact of this quilt appears through a camera lens rather than viewing it up close.
First I painted white drill fabric to create an orange cracked background

I sorted all my pieces of fabric into their different colour ways.  Each colour has "steam a seam" ironed onto the back before cutting up into small pieces.

I slowly built up my image using two pairs of tweezers and a ton of patience.

One thing I noticed was that steam a seam doesn't stay fused for very long onto the painted fabric.
I heavily quilted through all the small pieces matching thread colour.  Notice the orange coming through the gaps? I really wanted to create a rough look.

Finally as a finish - I did not put a binding on this quilt.  This quilt's impact is defiantly from a distance.