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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Old Photos, New Post.. Derwent Inktense on Fabric

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to who ever and where-ever you are from.

Here in NZ our Christmas Day is drawing to a swift close, it has just gone 10pm and our house is quiet!

I've been looking around my computer folders and came across some photos of when I was playing around with inktense colour pencils on fabric, comparing using water to fabric medium, and whether or not to use a dry or wet pencil, and whether or not to use dry or wet fabric.

So I'll just leave you with a bucket load of photos, because after two whole Christmas Dinners and a day of hanging out with the best families in the world, this is what I'm sure you and I will both enjoy!

 Textile Medium - Dry Material - Direct Pencil

Monday, December 9, 2013

My momma's iBop case

I finished this wee gem a little while ago now, but wanted to share it with you while I have the photos at hand!

It is a quilted case for my Mum's iPad (and detachable keyboard)

I used some super awesome pansies, my Nan always loved them and always had them in her garden.

I bound it all in a red bias binding (this is a BIG thing for me) so I could get around that curved part.

and to top it off I added a dividing panel to protect the keyboard and Ipad screen, a lined zipper pocket for the colour coordinated ear phones, and an elastic band to keep it all closed up nicely.

I didn't have a pattern for it, so I had to borrow the hardware for a weekend!
But I'm super pleased with how it came out.

Enjoy the piccies!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Auckland Festival of Quilts 2013 - Done!

On Sunday I went to see the Auckland Festival of Quilts put on by the lovely ladies at the Auckland Patchwork and Quilters Guild.

I was lucky to have my husband, son, mum and dad with me this year, so it was a big trip, seeing as it is on the other side of Auckland!

I was lucky enough to see closeup the work of a Facebook friend, Jo Hollings.. its a small world after all
My mum works with her husband, she's a professional long arm quilter! How cool of a job is that!

Here is her quilt she made to raise awareness for the Mobility Dogs cause. My pics don't do it justice, click on them to make them a little bigger.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Whats that you say? Craftstravaganza! Why yes, yes it is!

So, funny story

My friend sends me a "thought you might be interested in this" type of link.. 

Next thing you know.. pow.. I'm in!

If you are in and around Auckland on Saturday 16th November then come into Mt Wellington and visit me!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Modern Quilting Secret Quilt Swap that is almost not a secret anymore

Today I put it in the post! I feel so stealth

Over the past week I've been working on a mini quilt for the Modern Quilting group (Facebook)
They organised a quilt swap, this is the first ever quilt swap I've participated in so I was a bit nervous.

But its gone now, its whizzing across the world to its new home! (which is still a secret!)

They did say we were allowed to share our progress as long as we didn't give our recipient away before it turns up in their letterbox, because that's where the fun is!

So here is my secret quilt swap quilt, I really hope they like it!






Being in NZ we have the Holiday season over Summer, so we have sunshine, beaches, barbeques... here in Auckland we don't get snow at all. So I wanted to try and capture the feeling of the festive season in the more temperate locations around the place, the circles represent Christmas bauble or summery vegetation.

I hope you (and its new owner) like it!

take care

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Filtec shout out!

Its an exciting day for a quilter (a wannabe quilter at the moment but all the same) when one of your favourite thread manufacturers re-launches their website and it looks AWESOME.


Check them out.. I love their Glide thread for almost everything.. it has the tri-lobal technology, which is what you would see in a hi-vis safety vest .. it means its super shiny.

I also use the Magna-glide pre-wound bobbins this makes it super fuss-free

and there is virtually no lint when using my highspeed Brother pq1500s

I feel like a screaming fan at an Eagles concert but seriously, I love this company

(not getting paid by them btw! just one happy consumer)

And on that note. heres a pic of Don Henley  :)

Have a great day!



Saturday, August 31, 2013

Quick Question

Just wondering,

if I make something like a Quilt, Pot holder, Soft Toy, Christmas Decoration.. etc

and if it is also made using my sewing machine, using as little hand sewing as I can *!*

then am I still able to say it is "HANDMADE"?

I've been saying "homemade" but want to say "handmade" but feel like I'm kinda fibbing.. what are your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Letting go

Hi everyone, 

A quick post  :)
I'm finally putting up some things on TradeMe (NZ's Ebay) that I've been meaning to sell for a while now.
I'm trying to make some space in my sewing room. I've got a few more things to add over the next few days so watch this space!

So if you are in NZ check out my listings at this link

Below are some pics of the things you can find!







Take care

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I'm not at all biased

So here's the thing, I don't use bias binding...generally

and unless I make a quilt with a curved edge or use a particular patterned fabric that needs the diagonal orientation, I'm not sure you could convince me right now to switch over to using bias cut binding all the time.

For 90% of my projects I make my own binding strips. Its really only small projects like oven mitts etc that I might use pre-made binding on a roll.

Okay so lets back up a minute.  
So WHAT IS BINDING? It is the edging around the quilt, it protects and covers the exposed edge of the quilt sandwich. 

The fabric used is really long piece of fabric, usually 2.5 - 3 inches wide, joined end on end until it measures around 15(or so) inches longer than the perimeter of your quilt. Folded over length-ways ready for attaching to the quilt. 

BTW, this is not a "how to" blog post... there are plenty out there, this is just an in depth discussion on it, so please don't take this as a set of instructions!

Okay, so here we go..

When CUTTING THE STRIPS, there are mainly two schools of thought

1) Always use bias binding (Cutting the strips on the diagonal direction to the grain of the weave)

2) Use straight of grain or cross grain binding when the edge of the quilt is straight, use bias cut binding when the edge is curved or if you have a pattern that would look better if it were used on the diagonal.

There is a great explanation HERE

Although I am clearly in the 2nd cubby hole here, I wanted to air a few interesting "facts" that I've heard over the years. I think this is such an interesting topic filled with intrigue, scientific principles and possibly even lost historical technical know-how.


JOINING BINDING STRIPS
Okay, I'm already  making an "rrrggh" sound under my breath, because its not that simple.
If you make binding with bias cut fabric, you need to join the fabric using a diagonal seam, ie place them right  sides facing at a 90 degree angle so when it opens out you get a straight line of continous binding. 

BUT if you make binding with the straight/cross grain fabric then you are fine to just place them right sides together, right exactly on top of each other, the join will be perpendicular/straight rather than on an angle. And this is okay!

This is one of my little gripes, if there is a real reason to use a diagonal join when using a straight/cross cut fabric strip PLEASE TELL ME, I'm not being silly, please let me know.

As far as I can see, this one is all about the strength of the join and reducing the warping, so you are looking at running the line of stitching in the same direction as the weave. Makes sense.

FOLDING THE BINDING STRIP
Heres my second "rrrggh" moment. There are two methods for folding the long continuous binding strip that I have come across, I have used both and can see the merits for either. My unfortunate situation is, the one that gives me the best results is the one not recommended for quilts that are used a lot.

So, the first one is "Single Fold Binding" which is funny because you make three folds to make it.
You fold the binding strip in half length ways and press(NOT IRON) with a cool/warm iron setting. Then you open it out and fold the edges into the middle and press again. The idea here is that when attached you have one "Single" layer of fabric at the very edge of the quilt, this makes for a very crisp edge and corner. Great for show quilts and wall hangings.

The second one is "Double Fold Binding" which is also funny because you make only one fold to get this one ready. You just fold the binding strip in half length ways and press. The idea with this one is that you have two (ie double) layers of fabric wrapping around the very edge of the quilt, giving more protection. This one is also easier to make and understand for beginners.

So, the Bias thing also raises its hand in this discussion. It is said (who said? I don't know.. everyone. but this does have some merits for logic) ...

When you use a quilt the edges get worn. If you imagine the weave of the fabric as a grid. If you use straight or cross grain cut fabric for the binding, the grid is perpendicular (at a 90degree angle) to the edge. So the only protection is really the threads in the fabric wrapping around, not along the edge. If the threads got worn, a hole would appear exposing the raw edge of the quilt.

If you however use bias cut fabric for the binding, the grid is at a 45degree angle, this means that the grid is placed in a way that both directions of thread are effective in protecting the raw edge of the quilt sandwich, giving you twice the number of threads in the fabric that would need to fray before an actual hole would appear.

BUT, if your quilt is that special, it wont be in the hands of someone running around with it everyday, washing it all the time, giving it a good run for its money. I've had quilts for about 8 years now and they are all fine, even with my single fold, straight/cross grain binding.

In saying that, I currently use the double fold straight/cross grain, I'm trying to get more neat and tidy with my corners. This way my lack of skills wont be a contributing factor to not using the double fold for "nicer" quilts.

ATTACHING THE BINDING
This bit will exclude the join at the end, this also varies and will need a section of its own!

Attaching the binding is very standard and for both single and double fold binding almost identical.

No wait...
"rrrgggh" I forgot there are a couple of different schools of thought here too...

The majority of tutorials will show you the "Machine sew to the front, hand sew to the back" method. This is what I use for all my big quilts.

The other method is "Machine sew to the back, machine sew to the front" often used with blanket stitch for a decorative variation. I've used this for oven mitts etc.

The method for attachment, whether to the front or back first is the same.

Leave a tail, start near the middle down the bottom of the quilt. Make your way around the quilt. (there are plenty of tutorials showing the "how to make a mitred corner" so I'm not going to add another one to cyber space.) at the end, leave a gap and another tail of binding fabric.

JOINING THE TAILS
Join the two tails with just enough slack to have them lie flat before you return the edge to the machine to sew down the final gap. (again, go see a tutorial)

My discussion point here is akin to my point made in the "Joining Bias Strips" section.. if the fabric is cut on the bias, join it back up here on the diagonal.. if it is straight/cross of grain, just join it up straight. Don't make anymore work for yourself than necessary.

FINISHING
I'm going to be fairly diplomatic here, I like to hand sew the binding to the back, I think it looks nicer. Just keep your stitches fairly little, and if in doubt about thread colour, then always go a shade lighter, or one of the neutrals, ie grey, brown, or tan/cream.

Unless you are using a decorative stitch all round, then this bit is supposed to be invisible. I'm not a great hand sewer AT ALL!! but the more you do the better you get.. I do want to do a little tutorial about how I finish my binding, but here is not the stage to go on about that.. go get on the google machine for now :)


So that's it, I think... heh, I'm sure I might think of something else as soon as I post this but I'll add my further thoughts in a different colour so you can keep track of my brain.. (yeah good luck with that!)


NOTE #1
Binding is really not that complicated, it just seems that way when you explore what is in my head on the subject. I just have "issues" with information without context/background/reason. I lot of tutorials and how-to's don't say "why" to do things, and I wanted to open up a discussion around that on Binding, mostly to stop the info/questions/thoughts rattling round in my head!

NOTE #2
Apologies if this post is hard to follow/read, it came out my head/typing fingers pretty quickly! 
If there are other sites out there that explain this better LET ME KNOW. Really, I love to learn about these things and hope you do too! leave me some comment lovin', I'd love to hear what you think!


Take Care, have a great week ahead

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Inbox Jaunt Shout-Out

Hi Everyone,

I've been meaning to share this wee gem for a while now, so thought I'd take the opportunity to share the love.

This is a website that when I actually get back into the sewing room I will be taking all the inspiration and creative genius Lori has to offer!

Her site is called "the inbox jaunt"
Either click HERE or the image below to see her awesome freemotion motifs and instructions on how to make them up yourself!

This is EXACTLY what the quilting world needs more of... close up shots.. not fuzzy out of focus far away all over shots (dont get me wrong, the pics of the whole finished quilt are great) but for those of us who want to see exactly how it was made and what the quilting is so I can get me "I can do that" moment then this is the place to go, she has certainly cured my fear of marking.

Cant wait to get into a project, in the mean time I'll be over oggling freemotion patterns at the inbox jaunt if anyone needs me.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The book of faces

Hi Everyone!

Yes I am still around! Just!

With the little one in tow, now coming up to 7 months old there has been little to show for my sewing adventures unfortunately.

But with him on my knee and a tablet by my side I've been keeping well up to date with all things on t'internet.

If you are on what I lovingly call "The book of faces" otherwise known as Facebook then pop over to this page and give me a "Like"!



With the Google followers thing virtually dying a slow death after the Google reader went and so many various other "readers" out there I thought I'd stick with the tried and tested Facebook to let everyone know when A) I've done a new project and B) when I've bleated on about something on here!

keep using your other means to follow along! they all work still but come say hi on facebook too!

(by the way, I'm loving feedly although bloglovin does seem popular with many people)

Take care
Mel

Friday, May 17, 2013

My second spoonflower comp - Greek Monsters

Hi everyone, 

This week is the Greek Myth theme in the Spoonflower weekly competition. 

My entry is all about the monsters (Teras/Terata in greek)
Check it out! very happy with how it turned out. My goal is to sneak at least a place better than the 19th (out of 200) that I managed for the last competition I entered.. now that would be awesome!

The voting is open all week so please head on over there and show me some love!
Their swatch will show my design repeating over the fat quarter size so look out for it amongst the rest.

Just as a word of warning, you do have to scroll right to the last page of entries to cast your vote (and do remember that there is a "click this button" and a sort of "are you really sure these are your votes, click here again" buttons so don't think you're finished until it says thank you! It just makes it fair for everyone if you're required to look at everyone's entry and not just dismiss them, so it might seem like a pain in the ass but it does make it fair for everyone.

Click on either of the images below to head on over to spoonflower look for the "Vote for the fabric of the week" image like the one below"





Thank you thank you thank you!
Have a great weekend, see you on the flip side!



Monday, May 13, 2013

The good, the bad and the fugly

I had a comment over on my BAQS Sewing machine review about the great quality of my stitches on one of my recent quilts.

Now I know the magic of cinema (namely my scrutiny of the photos I'd taken) make it seem like the stitches are flawless but nothing could be further from the truth.

So to encourage you to give the freemotion a go, much like when I revealed my profile pic was very much a product of photoshop, today I'm going to show you some of the pics that were left on the cutting room floor!

Click on any image below to see the bigger version!
















And for an extra special treat, the following are my very first freemotion messes when I was using my brother nv400, I was just starting out my freemotion journey! The tension is all over the place and every second one had eyelashes on the back .. but you have to start SOMEWHERE!










The message of the day is "no excuses"
If you want to give it a go - do it.
If you want to get better at doing it,  do it more

Perfect stitches 100% of the time is a myth! a goal, or an aim maybe, but certainly not a reality!

Seriously, "they" go on and on about this, but free motion is one of those practice practice practice things.. especially on the domestic machines, its all about you getting you know your machine better, and you cant do that if you're not using it! go .. go now! sew some freemotion messes and post me a link in the comments below to your masterpieces! Embrace the snags, learn from the loops, and if it really starts to get messy and get on your nerves.. stop,, make a cup of tea, take a break or try again tomorrow.

"no excuses" what are you still doing here?!? 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Merit Certificate

Hi all, 

Just a quick helloo,

My first spoonflower comp has been and gone, and although I didn't place in the top 10 (aaaaw)
I did see that they'd picked mine as "Past Contest Picks", not entirely sure what that means and how it got there but a big thanks to spoonflower I think. I found it by reviewing my votes from this weeks entrants, it doesn't seem to show up anywhere else, but yay.. it looks like it will stay there for at least for the next three weeks!


The next competition that I hope to have something ready for is not for another couple of weeks, the theme is Greek Myths, so watch this space, I'll let you know when its time to get the ol voting finger out again.

Take care, Go create something!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bad Ass Brother

Check Me Out!

World Famous (not only) In New Zealand!


Maddie, the BadAss Queen over at BadAss Quilters Society asked me to write a review for my Sewing Machine. Today she has posted it up on her website for all to see.... (Eeek!)

Anyways, Please go visit her website to have a read .. Click on the Bad Ass image below, 
Give her (and me!) a shout out


Here's to many more reviews in the future.. It was crazy hard, but really fun and rewarding

Take care, enjoy the rest of the week, bring on the weekend!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Two bits of news for my second post of the day

Its not often I have a lot of quilty news these days, but while I'm on a roll and before I go sort out dinner, here are the links to two .. get that?! .. TWO projects that I've recently added to my websites project page

They've finally made their way to their new owners so I can safely put it out there on t'internet!

Click on the images below to follow the website links!

     

Congratulations to the two new sets of parents! 

Take care everyone
Have a great weekend


Vote for my Spoonflower Pop Art Chickens ... Please :)


I'm in!

So I was chosen to be in the competition, I didn't see the fine print and saw that not everyone gets in, although they do limit it to 13 pages of entrants!

So if you could kindly click on the image above, you'll head on over to the spoonflower website to enter your vote.. you may need to get a spoonflower account.. and when voting remember to scroll right to the last page of entrants, because only then does your vote get registered, when you click on a little "vote now" sort of button right at the bottom.. they don't make it easy, but they certainly make sure you see everyone's entries, seems fair enough!

Remember, my entry looks like this!


So send me a little love by giving my Pop Art Chickens the big thumbs up over on spoonflower.com




Monday, April 15, 2013

Spoonflower Pop Art Chickens

Hi All, 

Just thought I'd let you know in advance that next week I'll be bugging you to head over to Spoonflower to vote for my Pop Art Chicken entry!

What do you think? I'm loving how it turned out.

If it gets a rave review I'll be posting it for sale up on spoonflower too, so watch this space!

Its Monday morning here in the land of the long white cloud (Aotearoa/New Zealand) but the clouds are definately a bit grey looking today. I think it might be time for a cup of tea to start things the right way. 

My NZQuilter magazine also arrived at the end of last week, so I may have to reserve a few minutes to let all the quilty goodness soak in.




Have a great week
Take care



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