Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Plain or print?

Whenever I am working on a quilt with lots and lots of prints and colours, I always seem to be planning a quilt using plains or solid fabrics in my head. I'm not sure why - maybe it's like when you eat something really sweet, and you need something salty to counteract it...

I made a very improvisationally pieced strip quilt last Christmas to give to friends. And I intended that it would be the first in a series of these, but I haven't gotten back to it yet. This series would be the "Baustelle" series - a play on words with Bauhaus and the geometric shapes and solid colours of that style, but also representing that these are a bit of a building work in progress. Baustelle is a construction site in German, and I liked the idea that some of the bright coloured strips may run into the white/cream strips when the quilt was washed. So effectively the quilt design was still growing as it was used.

I'm not sure if the recipients would be as keen if the colours all start to run, and I don't think they will, but really there is no down side if they do or they don't in my mind.

Baustelle #1 is a combination of cotton solids, flannel solids and subtle prints and a big selection of different off-white/cream fabrics. They included a couple of different cotton weights/grades, 'oh-so-soft' fabric, linen and others that I can't recall at the moment (there's been many quilts since then).

I saw on weewonderfuls that Hilary has used the Freezer Paper stencil method, and I also used this to stencil a Dr Seuss quote on the back, that's the second and third photos. It's silver fabric paint on grey fabric so that's almost impossible to see (so look carefully!). But the 'oh-so'soft' backing on the back was definitely a hit!

So, now I think I can go home and work on my Flea Market Fancy quilt which is print crazy, toned down by white sashing strips. And photos of that quilt will follow shortly!!!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy Easter!

I shouldn't be here at the shop today as it is Good Friday, but you know what it is like when you want to get a project finished....

I'm working on a quilt with the fabulous Denyse Schmidt fabrics and I finished all of the blocks - yay! So it is on to the sashing strips, and of course that fabric was here at the shop. But it let me pick up a new packet of sewing machine needles that I badly needed, so it was worth the 15-minute drive. Sometimes it seems like that old saying 'no bread at the bakers house' etc. when it comes to replacing needles, rotary cutter blades and other patchworking necessities.

Because we don't have to physically go into a shop and hand over the money we forget that we need these items at home to complete our projects and samples for the shop. When we run out of something, downtime is forced upon us, so it's not always a bad thing.

Last week seemed to be a never-ending 'to-do' list with Gai and Elwin preparing for the Brisbane Stitches and Craft show next week, and many miscellaneous items like magazine ads to prepare. It is fun playing around with photo editing software, and I am in love with the magnetic lasso tool. Such a small thing, but very satisfying when you can remove the background from a photo so easily. And the image above was the latest victim of my magnetic lasso. The brilliant colours of the new oh-so-soft range needed to stand alone without background distraction.

And on that bright note, I will wish you all a happy easter!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

More from Amy Butler - WOW! And a Denyse Schmidt update too....

I've just spotted the latest quilt weight range from Amy Butler, named 'Belle' it is truly beautiful. The image of just one of the three colourways above is from Amy's website. This is Amy's first range for Rowan/Westminster fabrics, who you will all be familiar with - they bring us the fabulous Kaffe Fassett, Martha Negley and more fabrics saturated with both colour and detail.

We've already fallen in love with all of these fabrics, so you will be sure to find them on our shelves as soon as they become available.

We're also looking forward to seeing the new sewing patterns and book she'll be releasing in coming months.

We presume that Amy's products will be as lovely as the Denyse Schmidt range - we're expecting another shipment of Denyse's book in store before the end of the month, and we have a lot of her stationary items here too... And, with some samples here ready to be cut into we should have a quilt available to show as soon as the bolts of Denyse's fabrics arrive too.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Diamond Days of May

We received our copies of the new Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine today (Vol 14 No 5). I have a project in this issue, and there are also a bunch of other fantastic quilts featured as projects. And they have covered the Australian Quilt Convention and the Best of Australia quilts.... so it certainly is jam packed with quilting goodness.

Of course I have to say that though because it also includes my profile, and pictures of some of the quilts/projects I have finished lately. Very exciting stuff.

One of the pictures shows my Diamond Days of May quilt. It is nice and bright, and (to my eye anyway) it jumps off the page. Coincidentally I've just finished writing the pattern for this quilt and have also cut some kits for the shop. So I decided to post about this quilt today.

The top photo is the whole quilt, and the bottom is a collage of some close-ups I have taken. I think that it is always interesting to see a more detailed view of quilts. You get a completely different impression of most quilts from flat photos to how they actually look in person, but a details photo bridges that gap.

Diamond Days of May was started last May, when we first received the Charm fabrics from the US but that's actually not the May that the quilt name refers to. My grandmother, May Taylor, was diagnosed with cancer in April 2005 and I spent a few weeks with grandma and pop in Cowra before she passed away in July 2005.

I cut all of the fabrics for the blocks at their kitchen table and sewed all of the half square triangle units on grandma's old Bernina machine. The diamond shapes were quilted sitting at a SewEzi portable sewing table set up temporarily in their lounge room.

Grandma was a keen sewer and soft toy maker and she was very brave in her fabric and colour choices. This was the last of my quilts that she saw me working on and she liked the bright colours and large patterns used in this quilt.

So Diamond Days of May seemed a fitting name for this quilt, a name that came to me during the many, many hours of machine quilting worked onto the large borders.

Once I finished the quilt I had to pack it away for a little while because I had become so accustomed to seeing these colours and patterns. But now, several months on, whenever I see or use the quilt the bright colours jump out at me and it seems a very happy quilt to have around.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Wow time flies....

I can't believe that it has been over a week since my last post. Time certainly is flying, but we are getting plenty achieved so I guess that is the main thing!

I ran around the shop last week taking photos of shelves, quilts hanging over the stair rails and other assorted scenes. I thought that I would post some photos here for our customers that maybe have never visited our shop in person.