Sunday, March 30, 2008

Free Piecing tutorial

I am trying to get a title section so changed my blog layout, says I should get one, still nothing! Anyone help with that?

Okay, if you don't want to know, look away now! But some people do. Boy, hard tutorial because you are never quite sure whether it will turn out or if you are on the right track-as you will see in the pics! You really just need to sit down and play, remebering to have pieces right side together, making sure you cover all edges ot you have raw seams poking out of your picture and that you press flat after every flip. Here we go.

Search around in one of the scrap bags you got for your birthday, then decide you have found too many good bits so put them away for quilts and bags and go and look in your trusty scrap box instead!! -(or something like that)

Pull out a heap of reds, cut into strips, length and width don't matter but err on the generous side, it is easier to cut down later than add on. Can have a fair bit of variation here, it's your flower. I added in the black as the shader. Perhaps have a good look at some roses/rose pics, to get the idea of how the light and dark works.

I started with a black triangle, added a strip of red and sewed.

Then you press that flat, don't trim too much excess at this stage, you never know what you will need to do with it.

add next colour, I went for black

Press flat again

Got to here and not happy, my black had ended up in the corner rather than the centre so a bit of quick unpicking

down the centre

and added in another piece of black-far happier now.

Then make sure you don't completely encircle with your shader as you want to have continuity of colour, like real shading, so the red gets going again.

Here is a tip to remember, for rounding your petals, helps to sometimes do some flip and sew ahead of where your working, like the red piece I have added in above, much easier to get definition that way.

Not going to bore you silly with every step, so here a few progress shots, just using different shades, and blacks where they appeal to me.-thread photos thrown in as a bonus!

Then I have come to the end of the rose, ready to add a background. I place a few pieces of the background around the rose to flip and sew, will help to get rounder edges.

Then just attach the background using the same method as the rose part. You can keep doing this until you get to a block size like 9 inches that you want to evenly trim it to.

Okay, if the first people to visit notice any glaring omissions please post a comment, I am off to watch my families Cats football team thump my team, oh, what unbridled joy! Tracey

Friday, March 28, 2008

Free piecing frenzy

My husband often says that one day they will find a cure for this addiction-usually when he calls into the sewing room to say hello and searches in vain for a free place to sit!
I am bad enough with normal piecing but when I go all free piecing crazy it is very difficult to remember to feed the kids-it is very fortunate for them that they are getting bigger and can now open packets themselves!
But this is all the Spring quilt swaps fault. If I hadn't got out that big pack of hand dyeds and just decided to have a little play i wouldn't have got the bug, it's funny, after a day's play I got a comment asking how to do it (the free pieced roses in my sidebar are free pieced), well just cut up bits and play, with a lot of flipping and turning and pressing thrown it. It is very much trial and error, not like following a plan. You have no idea what you will actually achieve and not much idea how to get there anyway! I could do a tutorial if anyone wanted.
I am not that happy with any of these but thought i would still show them, can't always just show the good stuff or else the blog isn't "real."

This was the first, using the pale hand dyeds. Was pretty happy with this until I used far too light a green for the leaves and they meld into the yellow 2 tone background. bought some green DMC and think I may outline the leaves, hence it is already backed and ready. I also didn't curve the edges of the petals, forgot they need that to lok flower like.

Then played with this, got more curving and contrast at the edge of the flower but should have used something other than the pale green in the centre, perhaps a light pink, and edging some of the petals with a more solid pink or really dark yellow would give it more definition-like shading.

Then, hating waste, I picked up all my tiny scraps from the flip and sew technique used on the other two blocks and sewed them into this however they came into my hand. This would be about 6 inches toatl size whereas the others are 10-12 inches.
And don't worry, none of these will end up in the swap quilt, I have started on something nice and safe and universal!

Off to see my sister today, mailing these internationally ...and nationally Leigh...on the way...have found a few more that need to go as well. I will really get the third degree at the PO today, I'll just say I am finally catching up with my international friends!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

To everything there is a season.
When you live in town you may be able to let the odd seasonal change slip past but on the farm your whole life revolves around them. You spend months hoping THE right change will come, then the rest of the time hoping it doesn't go too far either way.

Harvest has been finished for a couple of months, so we a have been in a lovely farm hiatus when the DH actually arrives home at 6pm, but now it is time to start the whole cycle again and start preparing for sowing.
When we first married we had to burn every paddock to get it free of "trash" (the old stalks, etc) for the new season's planting. In a few short years this is no longer the general clean up tool; mulching the ground with the old crop and air seeders that can sow the new crop straight into the old ones trash have meant that we can mimimise burning and any unnecessary harm to the environment. But we have taken possession of our new farm next door and as it hasn't been cropped and it about to be, it needed all the old grass burnt ready to start ploughing.
This is not a job i line up to help with...all the smoke! I used to help on one of the trucks pre-kids. One year i was dropped off to watch a perimeter fence with my water back pack on, while my BIL checked another one. I found the fire breaking through and had to take off my t-shirt and soak it with water to beat the fire out, managed to get it back on, slightly singed, before being picked up by a laughing BIL!!! Funny, you would think they would want me to help more!
The motorbikes have lighters on them that hang down into the grass with a constant stream of fuel emitting. So you will see all the flames coming behing the bikes.
The trucks go ahead of the bikes spraying the ploughed firebreaks as a double precaution. Every farm around has these old trucks permanently setup with water tanks in case of a fire emergency.
Notice how it starting to get quite grey, well it wasn't just the smoke, half way through the burn the skies opened and it hasn't stopped raining since. So that may well be our autumn break....just a few days before we would have preferred it as the paddocks are still mainly full of grass...but that is farming and the seasons!
Dh says, if you are lucky and we can burn again, you will get to see far bigger flames than this, the rain fought against us.
The kids are having great holidays, we are trying to do at least 30 minutes exercise each day, here they are heading out the driveway, and here they are attempting the our side gotta ride on what you are given!
Now for those people that want to know how the quilt frame is going....really well except now I have worked out they set the sewing machine up wrong (Grrrr). I juast have to work out today how to thread it properly and hopefully I will be on track! So no more naggy emails girls!
I also have some sewing to show next post, but right now I have to run.
Have a good day, Tracey
ps I had the Sweet Valley high books as well.....gotta love those twins-the nice one I mean!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Swweet Dreams-
# Book Title (Young Adult) Author
1 P.S. I Love You Barbara P. Conklin
2 Popularity Plan, The Rosemary Vernon
3 Laurie's Song Debra Brand
4 Princess Amy Melinda Pollowitz
5 Little Sister Yvonne Green
6 California Girl Janet Quin-Harkin
7 Green Eyes Suzanne Rand
8 Thoroughbred, The Joanna Campbell
9 Cover Girl Yvonne Green
10 Love Match Janet Quin-Harkin
11 Problem With Love, The Rosemary Vernon
12 Night of the Prom Debra Spector
13 Summer Jenny Fell in Love, The Rosemary Vernon
14 Dance of Love Jocelyn Saal
15 Thinking of You Jeanette Noble
16 How Do You Say Goodbye? Margaret Burman
17 Ask Annie Suzanne Rand
18 Ten-Boy Summer Janet Quin-Harkin
19 Love Song Anne Park
20 Popularity Summer, The Rosemary Vernon
21 All's Fair in Love Jeanne Andrews
22 Secret Identity Joanna Campbell
23 Falling in Love Again Barbara P. Conklin
24 Trouble With Charlie, The Jaye Ellen
25 Her Secret Self Rhondi Willot
26 It Must Be Magic Marian Woodruff
27 Too Young for Love Gailanne Maravel
28 Trusting Hearts Jocelyn Saal

I was right on the Sweet Dreams book.
But the big question?
Where are all mine? Think I may have to take a visit to Mum and Dad's and check some boxes, those books that made me broke as a 14 year old now start at $27 at Amazon..think of the stash i could buy with that!..and P.S I love you was the first...and it's a tear jerker as well.
Now back to our regular programming...

Monday, March 24, 2008


Once again, as I wait in desperation for a new season, that is in fact Autumn, I am actually having to think about a completely different season for the Four season's quilt swap.
Spring, glorious Spring- wouldn't that be nice, seeing my roses spring into life rather than this vain scream for water they throw at me now as I wander past, trying not to look!
I am determined to be finished well before time,this is the new me, the one that is going to show you a whole heap of parcels next post FINALLY ready to fly to their promised destinations!
On this note, have a look at this that i found at Beth's blog and couldn't resist looking for my name as well, have you ever done this on Google, it is quite interesting.
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

I wonder if the other ones of me super organized and efficient and have all their things done early or if they are like me and work through the list according to closest deadlines and only really go into fourth gear with that deadline looming. Hopefully for their sanity it is the former!!!
Anyway, back to the quilt swap, I have even pulled out fabric, some hand dyed I did with our group a few years ago, i love them but have only made one quilt, a baby quilt for my neighbor.
The pastel range

The darker range.

The quilt in the front above was the end result using the pastel shades and some judicious hot pink.
I am thinking about something similar to this for the swap, do you think it looks liks Spring, or am i too early and looks more like a hot Summer? because I have other options. All ideas welcome.

I have had such a successful book experience in the last month. When I went to Adelaide in feb. I got to experience my first Borders...sans DH and kids, how glorious! They had a 3 for 2 sale on and I did really well, loved Mr. Darcy's diary, nicely gives his perspective to Jane Austen's Darcy. Then, without thinking about it I added some more Jane, really enjoyed this, apparently it is a movie that hasn't got to my area yet, anyone read and seen, will I be happy? Very much in the vein of "How to make an American Quilt" in the way it goes from character to character and with the back stories.
Finally, not pictured, is the one I am reading now, "PS I love you." Also a movie apparently -that hasn't got here yet!! I like it as well, I love the idea of letters from the grave!!! I mentioned it to a friend and she said, 'oh, I read that years ago', I said, "so did I, same title anyway..... it was one of the first Sweet dreams books I read as a teeneger, remember them?? They used my pocket money there for a good while, eagerly awaiting the next edition. Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't his name something like Paul Strobe and the heroine also had this Palm Spring sticker, hence the P.S I love you. Did he die as well? Go on, confirm it!! You know you read them, they were great!!!And at least they only kissed in those days -teens were teens not mini adults!

Hoping the wind dies down so the paddock burning can take place this afternoon and I can get you some good photos, have a great day...and any of easter that is left. Tracey

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Too much cleaning and not enough sewing!!!

A clean office is a clean mind. Well, something like that, second only to a clean sewing room really. THAT doesn't happen much but the office had to, it is shared, a fatal mistake that we would not make again, especially in the bad old days when my sewing was in there as well!

So, while a clean office...and walk in robe, were the main things I achieved this week, there are a few other things I can actually show pics of,( my WIR wouldn't excite you!)

Longer than I care to remember, Amy, the Calico Cat, sent me my beautiful Autumn season swap and included yummy cowboy fabric for my boy,with me reciprocating with a doll quilt, in Australiana. But as you may know from swap experiences I struggle a bit with thinking my work will be good enough and pleasing to my partner's eye, so Amy's quilt has taken a while for the inspiration to hit.

Here, it is, and I even used Atet's advice, with extra assistance from my quilt group girls, to do that neat mitred looking binding finish. A first for me.

So Amy, if you hate it, you better yell quick and I will find it another home!!
You can't see perfectly without clicking on it, but it is a kangaroo scene throught the window, with other Australian animals in the flying geese.

I took pics in the gum trees in our unique Australian light to add to the Australiana feel!

Does it match our colours?

While utilising the clolours for that quilt I thought I would show you my 2 quilts found at op shops in the past fortnight. The one on the left is partially quilted, I will be pulling that out, The one on the right is fairly ordinarily hand quilted, I may pull that out and play with it on the quilting frame.

-and the cost? 50 cents for the left, $4 for the right

-and what will I do with them? Don't know but I can't leave a quilt in an op shop anymore than I can pass an abandoned animal anywhere!-thay need to be loved, not dumped.

On the run tonight, all the kids want for Easter is my little wheat chooks! Have a few other nieces and nephews coming tomorrow as well, they will all get enough choc so I am making them chooks as well, better get sewing!

My other little niece was here yesterday, she got a few things in her gift bag, liked the bag (mostly chenille and chenille lined), not so sure about this little yellow chick!!!

A safe and happy Easter to all, hope none of my blogger friends are in trouble with all that Mid-West flooding we saw on the TV tonight, where on Earth is the Mid West? I should ring the station and say, we bloggers want state names please!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Traps for new players. Episode 2.

Catching up with bloggers has lots of upsides. One for me proved to be getting the "getgo" from Donna about using my absolutely fabulous quilting frame ......that I got months ago.

Now, I was going to get so much done on it before Christmas but the few times I have sat down to work it out I have been in a hurry and, more importantly, it didn't make sense! Lots of lovely piecing and normal life has also distracted me, so when Chookyblue and I actaully saw my frame working at the quilt show she pretty much told me she would annoy me until she saw action.

So today, after getting my roots magically restored to a colour that does not match my mother's, I sat down in peace and quiet to work my way through the video and load a quilt.

Well, it's not really a quilt, just a play piece until I get the hang. Fabulous huh!???

But wait, is anything looking wrong about this setup, could there be a reason I have repeatedly looked at it and decided it doesn't make sense??

Yep, I imagine you got it in one!!!

It is impossible to slide the machine around the quilt with those two metal supporting bars there.

The glider piece is completely around the wrong way!!! Both DH and the sewing machine man should stick to farming I think!

I am just waiting for DH to come and help me fix it and then it will be all go, as it was incredibly easy to load. So thanks for the motivational talk Chookyblue!

Speaking of Chookyblue, here she is! Front left, next to me on the right, with Jodie Ric Rac left back and Annie's flower garden on the right.( Who very fortunately could catch up with us after an appointment)

Did a few purchases, Chookyblue is showing my cutting mat and BIG quilt coat hanger on her blog, they don't want to load for me here. A few other little things were:

-some magazines from the sponsors, 2 sizes of suffolk puff makers, bright chenille...'cos you can never have too much!! and A big wooden T that is likely to get covered in fabric.

-photo transfer fabric sheets, some new apply-kay stuff that works like visoflix but removably sticks your pieces in place, also doesn't "go off" like visoflix if you store it for a while. Some hangers and a bag pattern and handles for making a cool new bag.

Miscellaneous "stuff". Tractor fabric for my new nephews quilt, daisy notions,some nice necklace beads, a wooden kit for a ribbon dispenser, some cute tins (as Chookyblue's girl "made me") and some quilt block inkable embellishing blocks that haven't come out well so I will have to show you again another day.

Very lucky that Jodie bought her cart to hold all our stuff and that Chooky's girl liked dragging it around-and yes, she was well looked after for it!

I actually have to do some work at school tomorrow to give the teachers time to get sorted for Parent teacher interviews straight after school-I envision a storytime session, then I have the kids home on holidays for 2 and a half weeks.

Have a great day, Tracey

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I have had so much fun!!!!

Guess what I have been doing whilst not posting?

Well, lots of stuff actually, but the big one was on Friday when I left the DH in charge of the kids and bus run and trekked off at 7 am for the 3 and a half hour trip to the big city of Melbourne for the Stitches and Craft show. DH thought I was mad, "you are going by yourself???" -but little do men realise the magnetic ability of other quilting bloggers, specifically Chookyblue,here on holiday, Annie's flower garden and Jodie ric rac. We took a photo with my camera but it isn't complimentary to one of the girls and I like my new friends, so i will wait until chookyblue mails me one of hers. I will post that with a few more quilts and my purchases!
I liked this quilt, it looked a little maverick to me, in a nice controlled way. It is Ayer's Rock or Uluru.
It is by this quilter.

The girls were great, we had a fabulous day, some friends have said, "what was it like, what did you talk about??" Well the initial coffee took over an hour, just like you had known them for ever. Highly recommend it. Got back home at 9.30 pm and felt as good as a weeks holiday!Thanks girls!
The next day I had a market day for the local preschool. They wanted a quilt display so my friend Robyn and I did one for them.

Seeing I was babysitting the quilts I took my cards, made a heap of my 15 minute bags and chooks and sold them. Did quite well, virtually no sewing came home and lots of cards went as well.

more chooks.

My stand.

I have also been at Atheletic sports and assorted other things, but have I mentioned the weather??? We are getting our hottest summer now-in Autumn. Most temps for te week over 35 celcius and staying hot at night, everyone starting to get lethargic and grumpy! Hopefully a let up on Tuesday for a day or two. Our water is getting low as well, shorter showers now until the autumn break. Have a great day, and back soon with more pics-and some visiting to your blogs-the office doesn't have air conditioning and gets the early sun so not the place to be haunting at the present! Tracey

Monday, March 10, 2008

Basic 15 minute quilted bag tutorial

I have finally had a few minutes to put this together for you.

It is my basic design that combines a lot of ideas. This is very much the basic bag, the one I would use as a gift bag or for little girls. There are a number of ways to enhance it, and all of you would be able to do that fairly a fabric loop into the lining at the top stitching part if you want to add a toggle/button to close; rick rac in the top stitching, add more quilting by stitching in the ditch along some of the patchwork seams, do proper fabric handles, these are cotton rope.

I haven't put measurements in as it is a bag made by personal taste and what you want to use it for.

To start: I usually grab a handfull of coordinating scraps, iron them, cut them to even sizes (not necessarily all the same) and start. Today I grabbed out a sanctuary jelly roll for a play, so all are 2 1/2 inches wide.

I sewed through the full width of the jelly roll, like you are quick piecing, I will make up a number of these bags at once so I have some in the present stash.
Here is the strips sewn and pressed. The quilted fabric is an op shop quilt, if you don't have any prequilted stuff, then just pin wadding to an 'inside bag' corodinating fabric and continue on with the instructions.

I cut the quilted inside of the bag and the patchwork fron all at the same time so everything matches. Here I have the parts for 2 bags. I haven't taken a picture of the next step as it is quite simple-place the two patchwork pieces of the bag right side together, seams should match-pin them to ensure, then sew the two sides and the bottom with your usual size seam. (1/4 inch.)

Repeat for the lining.

You now should have a separately sewn lining and front (patchwork) section for your bag. You need to do the paper bag corners-the bag looks more professional this way and sits better.

This seems to confuse people but you are basically just sewing across your corner seam. You can press it flat like this, then mark your sewing line on both corners and hey presto, paper bag corners. I sewed mine an inch in because that suited the size and height of the bag, you can vary accordingly. Remeber to do this to the quilted lining as well!!!

See, this is what it looks like inside out when sewn.

Now place the patchwork bag inside the quilted lining bag-right sides together. This is when I decide how long I want my handles and how wide apart. I measure, mark and pin accordingly. make sure your handles are exactly the same lenghth and that you sew them with the same amount of tail poking out. They are such a pain to fix when you finish!
Here the handles are pinned in-you can't see the handles because they have to be pinned using the same premise as right sides together-you want them on the good side at the end. So they are pinned between the good sides of the patchwork front and the quilted lining. You can only see their little tails.

Important part! For the rest to be oh so easy, you now must do at least a half inch seam!!! You also must start it just before a handle, remember to backstitch really well at the start and once over the handles.
You then end up with a bag lookinglike this, the big gap is between the handles, this gap will be as big as the gap you chose for the handles. That is where you turn the bag through to get everything on the right side, so don't leave it too small or you stretch your seams.
I did take a picture of how you then pin the gap before lengthening your stitch to at least 3 and topstitching (using quarter inch seam) but it doesn't want to upload. I think you would all get that idea, gives a nice neat finish. Of course you could handstitch the gap closed and not topstitch but it's quick and reinforces the handles as well.
This is my finished result and here is the one i just did with the chenille and scraps, also a few I have done for the kids with the patchwork/handles different. If I have missed anything, could the first few commenters yell out and I will fix it up or reclarify. Feel free to ask for more information.
Happy bag making....oh and the winners for the cards are quilting bebbs and Kim at Stillmeadow, my birthday girl picked you out!Email me your preferences, Tracey