Friday, 3 October 2014

The Harlequin Pillow


I am really into random at the moment, I think it adds interest to a piece because people need to look for just a little bit longer while their brains try to find a pattern.  With these randomly placed HSTs, I focussed on the dark blue while determining the layout - ensuring the dark blue was evenly (yet randomly) distributed.  Straight line quilting radiating out from the hour-glass centre - the colours of which make me think of a harlequin, hence the name.

Linking up to:
Finish it up Friday
Sew Solid Sunday

Monday, 29 September 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I was tagged by Carol of Happy Turtle in the Around the World Blog Hop, so here is my stop in all its glory.

What am I working on? 
In the studio there's not a lot happening at the moment, sadly.  There are a few reasons for this: 1) our forest garden, 2) my sewing classes and 3) sick kids.
One of my few WIPS - random HST cushion cover
1) Our Forest Garden
We are in the very early stages of planting/building/creating a forest garden.  The forest garden is designed as a whole system, so all plants (trees, shrubs, ground covers, etc) each have a role to play in either supporting the system or providing edible crops.  It will ultimately reach a point where it is self fertile (hopefully).  We fenced off an area of about 1100 square metres in our paddock, and are currently planting the bulk of the canopy layer, which is primarily fruit and nut trees, and some native nitrogen fixing trees.  We have heavy clay soil, so we hired a digger and dug HUGE holes for the fruit and nut trees, and then added lots of compost, rotted manure, roadkill, sand, gypsum and other lovely things all with the intention of improving the soil.  And by "we", I mean "me".  My husband drove the digger and I've been the one doing the hard labour to fill in the holes and plant the trees. 

Don't be fooled into thinking I know what I'm doing - I don't.  I bought a book, I read the book, I have a dream.  Now I'm moving barrow loads of dirt around our steep paddock.  And loving every minute. I have grown vegetables and berry fruit on a very small scale for over a decade now, and I have long had a dream of growing edible crops on a self-sufficient scale.  It is very exciting to be making that dream a reality. 

2) My sewing classes
The classes and workshops I offer are run from my home studio, I like my studio to be tidy at the start of a class, and as I am not a tidy person by nature I have found myself not wanting to start new things when a sewing class is coming up for fear of having to clean up after myself.  One of the classes I'm currently developing is a crazy piecing class, the WIP below will eventually be a class sample (yet another cushion cover probably).

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
I wouldn't say I have a unique style, I make what I feel like making.  In terms of quilting style, I consider myself very definitely a Modern Quilter.  Negative space, asymmetrical composition, bold colours, lots of solids, minimalist, improv.  I love improv.  As far as I'm concerned I was born to improv.

Why do I write/create what I do? 
Well now here is where I may be a bit different.  After my daughter died, I found myself being drawn (even more so than before) to handcrafts.  The act of making something with your hands, I believe, is very beneficial at a number of levels.  I feel very strongly that a creative outlet can support those of us who have experienced profound grief as we adjust to life after loss.

Oh, you're still reading.  Thanks so much for sticking with it.  I am tagging the lovely Liz from Shush, I very much enjoy following Liz on Instagram, her posts have personality, she likes to share photos of good looking men (#shushhottie - most of whom I've never heard of as we don't have a TV), she makes magnificent sew together bags and she's a little bit crazy.  If, god forbid, you've never checked her out then I suggest you do.

 Linking up to:
WIP Wednesday

Friday, 29 August 2014

Teddy Bear sleeping bag

Recently I had fun whipping up a quilted sleeping bag for a teddy bear, inspired by a Flossie Teacakes pattern, although I didn't buy her pattern and made it from memory, so it actually looks quite different.  I made one using scraps left over from my Vintage Improv quilt, then of course I had to make another one because I have two children and they are still learning how to share.

I like the look of curved edges but didn't want to make bias binding because it just seems like such an inefficient use of fabric, so I used cross-grain binding and I'm happy with the finish (seeing as they are just play-things for my kids).  The binding on the back of the curve has a couple of little tucks in it, which you can see below - I machine stitched the binding and had to do the curves a couple of times, so the stitching is a bit messy, but my kids don't care!

Curved binding from front
Curved binding from back showing tuck in binding

Both of these are made almost entirely from scraps, including Frankenstein batting (I cut the Kate Spain binding from yardage, otherwise everything came from scrap bins) so these are projects 30 and 31 of Scraps 101.

Loving the improv low volume background on this one

In other news, I have recently succumbed to the charms of Instagram, you can find me here - I'd love for you to come and say hello!

Linking up to:
Finish It Up Friday

Friday, 1 August 2014

Plus Cushions (aka Cushion Crazy Part 3)

I have started offering modern patchwork and quilting workshops from my home studio, the first of my workshops is called "The Plus Cushion - An Introduction to Modern Quilting".  Here are some samples I put together for the workshop.

The workshops are aimed at people who have never dabbled in patchwork or quilting - no sewing experience is required, and you don't even need to own your own sewing machine, as I have student machines available.  The workshop is held over weekend (with two four hours sessions) and creates this simple yet striking quilted cushion cover.

This next cushion, which to me is the most striking of the three, was made by one of my first students.  I was so pleased with how this finished, the woman who made this has not sewn since school and doesn't own a sewing machine - look at what she created, isn't it fantastic?

If you live in Canterbury, or even North Otago, and are interested in learning the basics of modern quilting, why not come along to one of my workshops?  Further details can be found on my "Workshops and Events" page.

Linking up to:
Finish it up Friday
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