Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Quilting malfunction

What is a quilting malfunction?  It's rather like a wardrobe malfunction but not as rude.  The pattern I was using for this latest quilt (this is unusual, readers, I do not usually make things from patterns) had  unusual instructions for the corners and edges.  It's an "on point" layout, where the blocks are set into the top in a diamond pattern instead of squarely.  Normally, you then require setting triangles to make the top a rectangle.  This pattern, however, merely used rectangular blocks and told you to trim them afterwards.  This I did.  Knowing that the long sides of triangles have a tendency to stretch, I sprayed all the edges with spray starch.  I added a narrow dark border, and then a wider outer one.  I felt some disquiet but ignored my misgivings.

When I lay the quilt top out to photograph it, the sides rippled like a stingray swimming.  Oh dear.  It was clear I had a serious case of Wavy Borders, something I have only experienced once before, many moons ago, and (due to lack of internet in those days to provide solutions) fixed with tediously cunning quilting on the borders.

I won't bore you with the details of unpicking both borders, measuring, trimming the corners, remeasuring, nipping and tucking and re-doing just the outer border.  Oh sorry, I just did.  The border fitted, they're the correct width, but still look slightly wavy in the photo.

I like how the colours have come together.  I think it'll be ok provided I don't quilt the borders in a horizontal manner.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Today's dilemma

Today's dilemma is:  Shall I make a quilt, or sort the garage?  A no brainer, really.

I needed some fast inspiration for a quilt I could make easily with my 6 metres of fabric from yesterday's post.  I found it on Amy Butler's website  and chose the "Belle" quilt design - circles inside squares, one of my favourites.

Here's what it looks like in her fabrics:

Way, way too busy for my liking, and the fabrics don't really go together well.  However, here's what my circle blocks look like:

I like the way these are looking.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A spot of dyeing...

I bought 3 Rowan fabrics that caught my eye in the local Bernina store's sale.  I have no idea what I'll do with them, but decided to dye some multicoloured fabric to go with them, rather than dye fabrics in just one colour as I've done for the striped quilt.  Here's the results -

Matching colours is never easy, and I'm out of Lemon Yellow which I use to make lime green, so I was attempting to make a green using Tangerine.  However,  I was only dyeing metre lengths so each colour I used was 100 mls or less.  This makes colour mixing quite tricky with such a  small quantity so there is far more yellow than lime.  The blue background is difficult to replicate, too, as this is not a shade of blue I have in a dye.

Dyeing the fabric is the easy part.  Now I have to think of a way to use these 6 metres of fabric together.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Astounding Aboriginal Art

There's an exhibition of art from the Torres Strait (between Australia and New Guinea) at our local museum/art gallery.  Mostly, the work is linocuts, some of them huge.  The photos below are not in the exhibition, but are indicative of the artists' work. 

This is by Alick Tipoti....

...and this is by Dennis Nona.  They were the 2 artists whose work impressed me the most.  Why?  Because these are not ink drawings, they are prints from linocuts.  I have dabbled a bit with linocut prints, and I am absolutely in awe of anyone who can produce highly detailed and exquisitely executed work like this - especially when you consider that some of the blocks could be 2 metres by 1 metre in size.  The amount of control and understanding of design elements is highly sophisticated - yet these are a people who, a century ago, were considered so backward and unintelligent that the ruling British colonists controlled their lives, including their wages, their ability to visit family in other areas and other things that we take for granted.  No doubt some of the reason for this was the absence of written language - like Maori, Aborigines had an oral tradition; and also their lifestyles were very primitive compared with those of Victorian England.  

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


 I've been busy the past couple of days re-arranging things in the house because I have an international student coming to live with me this year.  As her room has the only double wardrobe, this was full of STUFF - you know the kind of thing I mean.  Fabric, wool, patterns and so on.  I moved half the boxes so that half the wardrobe was useable, and decided that I'd take the opportunity to tidy up the little 3rd bedroom seeing as I'm not getting a second student.  This one has been used as dumping ground for the aforementioned STUFF, but before that, it looked like the photo above.

I visited my friend Angela yesterday afternoon to give her the patchwork fabric kindly sent by Amanda Greenwood of Kiwiquilters - Angela having got interested in p&q after I gave her the red and grey recycled quilt you will have seen late last year.  As  I was telling Angela about the above mentioned tidying, she suggested that I turn the room into a studio.

Lightbulbs flashed.  In my garage, I had a futon-style couch-that-opens-into-a-double-bed belonging to another friend, Haley, who didn't want it.  I measured it, the room, and then all the various pieces of furniture I wanted to re-arrange, and drew it up on paper.  It all fitted.  I would like readers to know that this is the only thing I am anal about.  Really.

I put the queen-sized wooden bed on TradeMe that evening, and it was gone by 9.30 this morning.  Gone. Removed.  I lured Haley over with the offer of a cup of coffee and then made her help me cart the futon and a table from the garage into the room.  I had already moved the Scotch chest out, and eased the computer table and trolley contained all my school books around the corner.
So, less than 24 hours after the birth of the idea, here is the studio.  Actually, I will sew, paint, draw, use the computer and study in here.  I may even do some ironing!  The futon is protected by a piece of fake fur - not classy, but it stops the animal hair and dirty feet (theirs). My household has a lot of feet, and most of them aren't mine. This room gets afternoon sun, and is very pleasant then.  I'll be able to sit by a window to sew, and will not have to spread stuff all over the dining room table like I do now.

I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.  I gave Haley an office chair on wheels that I didn't need but she did.  I'll do something else nice for Angela.