Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tacking or Basting a Quilt

Tacking or Basting a quilt is an exciting step because it means your quilt is almost finished.
I'm very excited to let you know that my new nursery rhyme block of the month quilt was at this stage a few weeks ago.

Here it is on my worktable as I was hand tacking it in preparation for hand quilting. I always start down on the floor but it is agony on my knees (I have floor boards!!!), so once I get a few lines of tacking in place I put it up higher.



Speaking of tacking out a quilt for hand quilting, I thought I would share a few  tips with you.

If you have tacked out a quilt before you will understand that after a while your fingers become very sore from picking up the needle. A tip to avoid this is to use a teaspoon (yes you heard me right). When your needle comes up from the back place the teaspoon underneath and you will find that it is much easier to pick up. Because the pressure is on the spoon and not your fingers it takes all the discomfort out of it. 

Although use an old teaspoon rather than one out of you best cutlery set because it can get scratched from the needle.

Another tip is to use a contrasting thread that is easy to see. This will make pulling out the tacking much easier at another stage. I also work from the centre out and always knot off into the border of the batting rather than the quilt top. Working a row close to the outside edge is another tip which will ensure that your binding goes on without a single pucker.

Hope you have found these tips for tacking or basting a quilt useful.
Warmly Lenna

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Story by an Obsessed Quilt Maker

We patchwork and quilters are strange creatures aren't we?
Well perhaps not strange but amusing.
Last week my youngest sister brought into the world the most precious little girl you can imagine.
Our family was overjoyed, it has been years since we had a new baby to enjoy and fuss over.

Of course my mind immediately turned to designing something special to help celebrate the occasion.

My fingers were literally itching wanting to create something wonderful.
I had been holding off until we knew whether a girl or boy quilt was in order.

My sister had visualized us having a sewing day together,
which was to take place when I visited from interstate. She had planned an occasion like this before and
I knew from experience that the truth of the matter was that I sewed frantically while she made coffee and chatted. Not being a sewer herself I think my frantic cutting sewing and deliberating over fabric choices amuses her although she is always very appreciative of my efforts and we manage to
talk constantly over the whir of the sewing machine and share some special hours, so I do not mind the arrangement at all.

Keeping all this in mind I literally dived head first into my sewing cupboard and started grabbing fabrics that I thought would be suitable for the new quilt. Trouble was the pile of fabrics started growing so tall that I knew I could never fit them all into my suitcase or hide them from my hubby who would have shaken his head in disbelief and considered me a bit mad I'm sure.

I soon realized that a quick email to my sister was needed to help determine a colourway to design with.
Thank goodness she had taken the lap top to hospital which meant that my problem was soon solved and the fabric pile was reduced to half. I was then able to stuff the piles of fabric between my socks and bras before hubby could notice.

Then of course there was the rotary cutter, rulers, cutting mat, threads, needles...etc etc.
Luckily I zipped up the suitcase before he entered the bedroom, hence avoiding any uncomfortable questions.
although he did comment in disbelief that I had chosen the biggest of our suitcases to take on the trip despite the fact I was only going for a weeks visit. 

And of course there were more comments as he heaved the heavy suitcase out to the car.
Truth is he even made me weigh it as we passed the scales in the bathroom so as not to face an excess luggage charge when we reached the airport.
Thankfully I was just under the limit and did not have to unzip my luggage and reveal my deed and secret fabric stash!

Before long I was on my way, nestled in the comfort of the aeroplane seat, fabrics tucked in safely below.

As I closed my eyes to rest my thoughts turned to the wonderful feeling of cuddling a new born baby and the special quilt we would create together just for her.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Block of the Month Quilt - Block 8

Being a keen gardener I had heaps of fun sewing the last block for my new Block of the Month Quilt design.

The nursery rhyme Mary Mary Quite Contrary was always of interest to me as a small child. I remember pouring over the illustrations seeking out the flowers that had been depicted. It amused me that cockle shells were in Mary's garden because I was a country girl who lived far from the sea. I wasn't familiar with shells and the thought of having them in the garden seemed strange. Now living in Tasmania, a small island surrounded by the sea, the idea of using cockle shells as a garden edge doesn't seem nearly so strange.
Although I chose not to include shells in my design I wanted to include Mary and of course a watering can.
I came across some wonderful photos of old watering cans and thought I would share them with you.

Watering Can (orton) by Auntie P.

Watering Can by Editor B.

Canons cans by Silver Doctor.

watering cans by cra612.

Aren't they amazing!
I have an old watering can that I use for my garden which is the one I used for inspiration for my block design.

And of course there are some flowers with little Yo Yo centres.

And some embroidered Fox Gloves

Now it's time to work on the border .

Until next time.
Warmly Lenna


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