Saturday, 26 April 2014

Batting bliss

Oh the joy of going to the post office to collect a parcel. I seem to be making a collection of batting. The last time I was at my fabric store I spotted Silk batting. It looked amazing but it was only for a queen size top and I like getting king size batting as this allows for whatever you want to make.

The silk batting feels amazing and I am sure it will stitch the same as the wool batting that I have tried before. The only problem that I have found with wool batting is that the quilting thread has a higher tensile strength than it, so all of the pressure when you pull up the quilt is placed on the thread. On occasion you can actually hear the threads breaking. Sleeping under wool though is worth it as it really does keep you warm.

I did a fun exercise to see the different weights of the three battings that I have. The heaviest was the cotton which weighed 1.260 kg, the wool was next at 880 grams and then the silk which was 830 grams.

I am still mulling over what I will be doing for my next large quilt.
I do think I will be using the silk batting and it will probably be an appliquéd quilt. I think the two would go together. 

Hope everyone has an amazing day!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Dear Jane completed

Dear Jane is complete.

Here are the dates
started 1st of June 2012 and finished on the 18th April 2014.  This was a span of 686 days.

Piecing started 1st June 2012 finished 24th April 2013 which is 327 days.

Started stitching the blocks together on the 26th April 2013 and finished on the 18th of August 2013. It took 114 days to put this quilt together.

Took another 34 days break in which I made the backing.

Started quilting on the 21st of September 2013 and complete on the 18th of April 2014. The quilting took 205 days.

Took 646 days sewing to make my Dear Jane quilt. 

Here is the label. This is the first quilt that I have labelled.

What a journey.

Have an amazing day!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Happy Easter 2014

Happy Easter everyone. I hope you have an amazingly quilty long weekend.

I am busy doing the binding at a blinding speed and can see the end in sight. 

I have been fiddling about with Label ideas and soon will be hauling out my thread and needle and stitching one.

I was sitting stitching the binding which is so very boring when I thought it would be fun to share all of the things that I use for quilting.

Firstly who could do quilting without a computer. I love doing my pattern, progress and maths on spreadsheet. The internet is also needed for getting inspiration and just viewing other people's blogs. I am sure that there are many people who would be surprised as to what an inspiration they were to me.

The next is my work box. This is the box that organically gets filled with what I am using for the current phase of my project. Most of the stuff shown below was taken out of this little box. I know when a project is finished, when I unpack the project box and put away all the items contained in it.
Glasses who can do without them. It is one of those annoying things of when you have the calmness of spirit to do quilting, you are probably old enough to need glasses to see small details.

The next thing is duct tape. No it is not for keeping the family quiet so that you can stitch longer, but rather for making stencils out of paper and then backing these stencils with tape to make them stronger.
While we are on stencils I must say that I find a husband really nice as they are way more pedantic so my stencils are normally amazing. These are the stencils that I have been using for the border on the Dear Jane.

I made my own bias binding for this project and these little things were really helpful in the creation of all of the metres of binding that were made.
I suppose I should have included a picture of spray starch as that was equally a hero in the production of the tape.

I love the little roses on the fabric.

This is something new in my collection. Oh how I like using these amazing clips. They seem to make the whole binding exercise a piece of cake. They have sped up the whole binding process. If you are ever going to hand stitch binding, then these clips are worth it.

I love their red plastic goodness!
Needles. I seem to go through in inordinate number of needles when I am quilting. Maybe it is due to being too heavy handed when rocking the fabric. I need to change needles as soon as the curve. I currently have a whole bottle of bent needles.
To mark the fabric I have gone through almost every pen, clutch pencil and system that has been put on the market. These are ones that really work. The general pencils were suggested by someone on facebook. I ordered some online and have been excessively happy with using them. I added some extra pictures to show which pencils they were.

I know you can all recognise the quick unpicks. The crochet hooks I use to snag any threads that I can see under the fabric. Doing all of the piecing by hand, there are often bits of thread left behind. Unfortunately there are pieces of paper left behind as well, this is where there unpickers come in handy.

I always try to check that there are no pieces of paper left behind, but...
The next thing I found in my work box were Plasters. This proves that quilting is an extreme activity.
I use a plaster under my thimble to stop it from hurting. I also have a whole collection of thimbles, The rubberised ones go on my left hand. This is normally under the ring and guides the needle back up. This no doubt proves that my style needs some adjustments.

I am still learning. I hope that I will get better at this activity.

I have three pairs of scissors in my work box. They each get used. I like the black scissors. They cut fabric like a dream, but, are inexpensive. In fact they are affordable enough that I cut both paper and fabric with them and then get a new pair when the scissors become dull.

And lastly. My thread. Oh YLI, how I do love using you. I used a whole lot of other quilting threads until I can upon YLI. Well I will always use it even though I do sometimes find it difficult to source it. The effort is worth it. I find that it does not tangle or split as much as the other threads that I have used.
Well that is all from my sewing box. I must get back to sewing on the binding.

Enjoy the First full moon after the spring/autumn equinox and I hope the Easter bunny bring you a whole lot of chocolate.

Have a good one.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Dear Jane - quilting completed

 I have just stitched the last stitch of quilting on my Dear Jane. It has taken me 203 days to do the quilting. I had a goal of doing 1 block a day. In my estimation there are 281 blocks that need quilting. This is including the triangles. I sped up with my time off work in December and yay I finished 78 days early.
I like the graph it shows the speed up. I also think it is easier to quilt the closer to the edge you get.

I have used up 1.5 spools of YLI and whole lot of boxes of plasters. I put a plaster on my centre right finger so that the metal thimble does not hurt. I also put a rubberised plaster my pointy finger to improve grip. I like the fact that plasters have become part of craft supplies.

I have been working out numbers for doing the binding. I think with the curves on each block at the most it will be about 4 metres a side. So that is 16 metres of sewing on the bias. 16 metres of tacking the quilt in place and then 16 metres of sewing the bias binding on the back. This makes 48 metres of stitching.
 If I aim for 2 metres a day then the quilt should be finished on the 6th of May. With Easter and all the other holidays that we have in this country this month, I will hopefully finish it before then. It is times like this that I really do question not using my sewing machines to just whip on the binding.
I like being doing it all by hand so I must take the fun of stitching on the binding, just the same as I have with the piecing of the quilt by hand.

The spider is inspecting the work. Please note his hairy legs.

Have an amazing day!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Happy April Fools Day

Welcome April, the only month to start with a Fools Day.

I love the fact that even though we all think we are so advanced in our concepts of civilization, we still practice so many of the Roman holidays. So much of the symbolism that is attached to religious holidays comes from the original Roman holidays. So next time you eat a chocolate bunny, just have a think about why you are doing it. Well yes it is in the very question... chocolate... duh.

March whizzed by with much comings and goings. My daughters’ wedding was lovely. She looked lovely and I did the silly thing of tearing up when I saw my husband walk her down the aisle. She looked beautiful. Yesterday for the first time I saw that she had changed her name on Face book. That was a bit of a moment. I try to be a non-clingy mother and allow her to be an adult, (She is turning 30 this year) but sometimes it is a bit difficult.

Our ASDL line went down for 4 days. Oh the horror! I tried with a 3g USB stick, but the slowness was too much. I was going to use it today if I had to, but, thankfully the line came back last night. First world problems are such a bother.

The weather is getting to be the way I like it. Just the way that goldilocks liked her porridge, neither too hot nor too cold. We had 3 weeks of rain and that was lovely. I know that most people were getting grumpy about the moisture, but I love it and so did the garden. I hope we get a bit more before winter sets in and then we have to hold our breaths until we get rain at the start of summer. Living with no rain for many months is really not nice. Eventually there is soo much static, that you can believe that you have a new super power, and that your name should be either Shocky or Sparky. 

  Progress on the Dear Jane is occurring. I have less that 10% to go. This means that I have 21 blocks left to quilt. Yay! It seems that the closer you get to the corners, the easier it is to do the quilting. I am so excited to think that the end is nigh... LOL. (This is my youngest doing a Kilroy for me)

I finished another YLI quilting bobbin, that makes it number 2. 

I have started have stress however, about the finishing of the quilt. The question that is currently plaguing me is the sequence in which I should do the binding. Currently I think I will stitch on the bias binding, then cut the excess fabric. Then roll hem the cut edge and then finally wrap the binding over and stitch it on the back.

This past weekend, my family helped my make the Bias binding. I think we got just a bit carried away as we made 27 meters of the stuff. I bought polka dot fabric from the one fabric store which is 75 km away and then when I popped into the fabric store that is 2 km away I spotted this fabric. I think it is lovely. I think it will frame the quilt nicely.

The other thing which I have to resolve is how I am going to Label the quilt. The two options are, sewing on the corner like Jane did, or put the label on the back. Which way are you going to do it?

Hope everyone has an amazing April.
Have a good one.

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