......................................................................................................................................................Finding BEAUTY, JOY and CONTENTMENT in my everyday life.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Peaceful Night - Completed!

Peaceful Night is at last complete and it brings delight to my eyes and satisfaction to my soul. With a happy mix of bright stars and low volume diamonds, set amongst the twinkling nighttime greys the name suits well.

I'm thankful to have the details of each stage recorded on my blog. It was 16 months ago that I first put pencil to paper and pulled fabrics from my collection as I began this new English Paper Piecing (EPP) adventure. Many thanks to those who offered suggestions, answered my questions and encouraged me along this quilt journey.

I'll let the photos do the talking with links to relevant posts if you wish to find more details.

Designing my block and drawing to a suitable size. June 2013. At this stage I wasn't sure if I
 would stop at a one block pillow or stitch more to make a quilt.

Initial fabric selection - not all made it into the quilt.

I cut all the papers from copy paper, using an old rotary blade and quilting rulers.

After a false start stitch basting and topstitching with quilting thread (too stiff and thick), I put together this
kit to organise my matching polyester threads, fine needles, glue pen, papers and cut fabrics ready for stitching.

A little stitching here and there, my treasure trove of stars began to grow - July 2013.

My little stack of low volume background blocks was also pleasure to work on.

Trying to work out the best arrangement of blocks - lots of different ideas. Nov 2013

 Trying to find the perfect background fabric -
ore than one fabric order from the US (2 weeks wait each time).

Decisions were made and progress was happening. Dec 2013

Arrangement of the blocks was decided upon and the star blocks
 stitched together into their rows.

The name Peaceful Night was chosen for the quilt.

This was end of piecing the blocks and more space and time would be needed
to proceed with sewing everything together.
Motivation, time and space had waned.

So Peaceful Night was neatly stacked away for a future time. This was early January 2014.

Other quilting projects (even another epp project) and life took over. I discovered Superior Threads Bottom Line thread which is favoured by many for fine epp stitching. Then I was unexpectedly introduced to the joys of Gutermann Extra Fine thread, a new thread on the market, which seems to be the perfect epp thread for me. Over this time I also refined my hand stitching technique, making smaller stitches, closer together.

End of August 2014 and the time was right to recommence work on Peaceful Night!
Thankfully I now had some Extra Fine thread to help make the finishing even neater.

Main blocks sewn together, edges yet to be finalised and binding fabric ordered.

Quilt top completed!  :)  Mid Sept.

A shimmering collection of silk threads awaiting the beginning of hand quilting. Delightful to the eye and the hand.

Hand quilting with silk was a delight - details shared here and here.

Matilda's Own polyester batting is wonderfully soft.

Sporting physio tape and new runners, Miss N played
quilt holder for me yesterday under the jacaranda trees!

Some of my faithful readers may be wondering how I resolved my problems with the binding last week - I secured the quilt top, batting and backing together with a wide, well space zigzag stitch. However once the binding was attached I unpicked the zigzag to give a soft puffy finish to the binding before hand stitching the binding down on the back. Once the binding was complete I adding the last of the hand quilting, parallel to the binding - and I did have enough black silk!  :)

Backed in Exotic Flora in Deep, Bazaar Style by Pat Bravo.

Like many quilts, Peaceful Night holds a story of exploration, progress, discovery, perseverance and delight. 
Thank you to all those who were also part of this journey with me. 

Quilt Stats: 42" x 48" (106cm x 123cm)
Own design, Cotton fabrics, Matilda's Own polyester batting, hand quilted with silk threads.

Monday, October 20, 2014


"I was just sittin' here enjoying' the company.
Plants got a lot to say,
 if you take the time to listen."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Adjusted Plans

You know how sometimes you have a good idea but it doesn't quite work out as you had planned. Well, I thought I would square up and trim my Peaceful Night quilt before completing the hand quilting along the outside edges. That way I could make sure my quilting lines ran exactly parallel to the binding etc.

It was a good idea, but when I attempted to attach the binding I had troubles with the top starting to pucker against the batting and backing, even though I sewed slowly using a walking foot. After half a side was 'completed' it became obvious the finish wasn't pleasing. So I unpicked the binding and have been very carefully hand quilting the edges except for the very outermost parallel stitching lines. To prevent any of the now-cut EPP hand stitching from unravelling I have added a few little top stitches and some gentle basting stitches along the very edge to help stabilise the sections with a bias cut.

Somehow I had also underestimated the amount of hand quilting yet to do around the edges....
I am now hoping to be ready to attach the binding by the end of the coming weekend, after which the very last parallel-to-the-binding lines will be quilted. Let's hope things go to plan this time, with no puckers - and that I don't run out of black silk thread!

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sewing - For Me

Once upon a time I sewed nearly all my clothes (and many for my children, especially when they were very young), yet it's been over 11 years since I last sewed for myself - and that was a maternity dress. 

I have always had something of a minimalist wardrobe, largely content to rotate through three of four outfits, wearing them all year round, with the addition of a couple of jackets for cooler days. Several of our children follow my lead, while others have a 'need' for greater variety when it comes to clothes.

After wearing the same few outfits constantly they were beginning to wear out, as my clothes tend to do. Despite casually looking for replacements over the last few months, I hadn't found what I was looking for. Then one morning a few weeks ago I woke up with the idea of making that skirt I hadn't been able to find, using a fabric bought on clearance (at $1.99/yd) in 2010, originally intended for a quilt back.

Some thread and a zip were purchased that day, and while at Lincraft (fabric/craft shop) I found some white broderie fabric for a top and lovely soft cotton voile to line the top. They happened to have a fabric sale on at the time which made the decision easier. Just like in the past, I didn't use a pattern but chose to use clothes which fit well as my 'pattern' guides, adjusting as I go.

The photos tell the story from there. The skirt has a centre back zip and some light interfacing in the waistband and is just the length I wanted (one of the benefits of making it myself). The top is a loose fitting, slightly flared, pop over the head style, and very cool for our warmer days which are fast approaching. In fact I liked the top so much I have already made a second identical one (yes, I often buy/make duplicates when I find something I'm really pleased with - am I the only one who does that?). 

Being encouraged by these results I have purchased some more fabric with clothes in mind.....

Do you sew any of your own clothes?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Being You

'Being you is the only thing at which 
you will always be the best in the world'

'You will always know more about what you're thinking about than anyone else.
You will always look better than you think you do in the mirror. 
The face you see will be far less warm and attractive than the face seen by a friend.
Expressions make a face....
Never let anyone write you off.
And never, never write yourself off.'

Extract from the (library) book "One - living as one and loving it" by Victoria Alexander p.87
Photo - Ned Kelly grevillea, an Australian native, yesterday morning in our garden.

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