Thursday, October 8, 2015

Playful Printing and a Magazine Feature

Scraps of cardboard, a paint brush, pencil and an old library card are such simple tools, yet they've allowed me to make basic print patterns on fabric with textile printing inks. Mixing my own colours and playing with printing techniques has added some childlike fun to plans for my next quilt which features prints by various Australian designers (here and below).

 Rediscovering the value of quilt magazines has been a pleasantly surprise, especially when wanting to explore the Australian quilting scene further. Down Under Quilts, Australia's first patchwork magazine, features three national quilt exhibitions in each edition, as well as news of upcoming quilt challenges and exhibitions. Every issue comes with a free gift and several step-by-step projects. Another of their regular inclusions is 'Meet a Blogger' which covers three pages of questions and answers along with numerous photos. In Issue 172, released last week, I am the blogger featured. Being invited was an unexpected honour, the whole process proved to be quite thought provoking. Our regional library, and maybe yours, carries Down Under Quilts, a great way to have a look before deciding on a personal subscription. A very warm welcome if you have found me through Down Under Quilts - feel free to have a look around, leave a comment or say hello by email (piecesofcontentment at gmail dot com).

Last but not least, I'm making steady progress on hand quilting 'Set Free', something which I will enjoy more now that our recent spring heatwave has given way to cooler days.

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fresh Eyes and Ears

Stink bug eggs - they look pretty but are a pest!


White-faced Heron

Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet

Spotted Dove - an introduced bird

Flowers planted amongst the fig tree roots nearby

Top Gun team - 'Jed' Coey* skiing in the orange vest, enjoying the sport he loved.

As September turns into October spring has arrived with beautiful birdsongs and gorgeous bright colours! The first six photos are all in our own yard. The birds seem friendlier this spring, or maybe I'm just appreciating them with fresh eyes and ears.

The annual Bridge to Bridge Ski Classic was run in our town today. Superman was the winning team for the third consecutive year, breaking his own race record by completing the 108km coarse  in just over 36 minutes. Unfortunately this year's race was marred by serious injury* to one skier who came off his skis just 100m short the finish line (further up river than our location). We noticed a news crew's drone being used to gain overhead camera footage this year, instead of a helicopter.

We enjoyed a leisurely afternoon at the coast today to celebrate a family birthday. As the days warm up the beach with its cool breezes is even more appealing! I trust you are all enjoying the change of seasons, something I've come to appreciate more with each coming year.

*The skier, Jared Coey, sadly passed away in hospital two days later.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Australian Designs

I have long admired the uniquely Australian designs of Ink & Spindle, Maze and Vale and Umbrella Prints.  Over time a small sampling from each has been purchased and carefully stored. It's wonderful to see and touch the various organic fabrics and experience the wonderful colours of the base cloth and water based textile inks. With pleasure I'm beginning to cut, arrange and sew these, along with several solids and a couple of Ink & Spindle's new quilting cottons by Cloud 9 Fabrics. Ideas are gradually taking shape for a new Australian inspired quilt.

Gentle hand quilting is continuing on my Set Free quilt. All the vertical lines are complete and the horizontal lines will provide the perfect slow sewing option over the next week or so. I really enjoy having some machine sewing as well as some hand work (and a little EPP) in progress, a creative project for every opportunity!

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

'Set Free!'

One of the joys of sewing without a set pattern to follow is being open to surprise changes along the way. From the beginning I planned separate my rows of Flying Geese blocks with long strips of the white dots on navy fabric as shown directly above. After all, this would enable all seams to be pressed away from the white, plus there would be no need to aim for perfection of lining up block corners. I also really liked this print, from the same Moody Blues fabric collection - and I had enough of it on hand as I had originally thought of making myself a skirt with it. In fact, I was so sure about this idea that I confidently went ahead and cut six very long two inch wide strips of this fabric.

I carefully laid my rows of geese blocks on our bed (my design space), ready work on arrangement and to place the dotted navy strips between them. I stepped back and stood somewhat mesmerised. Those geese just wanted to mingle and chat together and fly free. There was something very fluid and happy about them, just as they were!

After a few minutes I tried spacing the rows with the dark strips as planned and although there was a sense of beauty and order in this, something even greater had been lost, as if the birds and butterflies were now trapped between two unyielding railway tracks.

I asked others in our family for their opinions - we were all of the same mind. I just had to set those geese/birds/butterflies free! They wanted to sing and fly and talk together, making a beautiful freedom song. So that is what I did. I put the long dark fabric binds away and set them free!

The quilting is another area where change of plans is occurring too. My husband really liked the quilt top prior to final pressing, when the long rows were billowy and distinct. Attempting to capture this I have machine quilted in the ditch along the joins of these long rows. 

I assured my husband more quilting was necessary to adequately secure the quilt, especially as the the batting is 100% organic cotton with no scrim. My original desire to hand quilt would have a place, but I'm using fine traditional waxed quilting thread to keep the impact minimal. I have also reduced the number of planned hand quilted lines to help keep those birds and butterflies free! I am about half way through quilting a single line up the centre of each 8" wide geese block and have also made a start on hand quilting in the ditch horizontal lines between each block.

There is now a wonderful balance of structure and freedom, something I think we need in life too. It seems appropriate to name this quilt 'Set Free!'

Fabric Notes: All the printed fabrics shown above are from Geninne's Moody Blues collection for Cloud 9 Fabrics (some of which are available from Spotlight in Australia and NZ etc). The white is chambray weight cross weave called Limestone from Cloud 9's Cirrus collection of yarn-dyed solids. All these fabrics are GOTS certified organic cotton.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

New Beginning

My husband, holding Miss N as Grace (her twin) sang New Beginning

'New Beginning' had us all in tears! Grace wrote this song early in the year about her father's health struggles, which have greatly effected all our family. During Tuesday's TAFE concert she sang all four of her originals but it was her heart felt introduction and angelic delivery of New Beginning which touched everyone present.

Early Tuesday morning by the river

Thursday's Hail stones, looking like clover flowers.

Rainbow Lorikeet in the Bottlebrush, taken from our back door this afternoon

Our neighbour's Macadamia nut tree in flower

Spring has begun with a mix of sunshine, cool days, rain and even hail! Better than heat and bushfires. I've made good progress on my Moody Blues quilt too - but more about that soon. For now I'm just reflecting on life's journey and appreciating the potential of many a New Beginning.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...