Almost a dip into the archives (long post)

I have not been doing any sewing or crafting.  Latest news confirms that 1831 homes have been lost.  The death toll stands at 181, but is expected to top 300 as there are many more homes to be searched and many people still missing.  31 fires are still burning across the state, and Melbourne sits under a cloud of haze.  The fire season is expected to last for at least another two weeks. With so much tragedy so close to home it feels wrong to loose myself in creating, and I am not inspired at all.  Here are some photos for posts that were going to happen before the fires started burning up our state.

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This Divine handbag was made by my fellow quilter Debbie, out of fabric I chose on our trip and “Quilt-shop-a-thon” down to Loch.  The pattern is The Sherbet Bag by Melly and Me.

20090213-outsideatticquiltsThe paisley and the pale purple fabric on the sides is from the Sanctuary range from 3 Sisters for Moda, which was released years ago, so I was lucky to stumble across some in Attic Quilts in Berwick. Over on the left are Julie and Debbie holding Molly (our Quilting Guild’s Mascot) outside Attic Quilts, which was only the second quilt shop we visited.

Here are some of my other purchases…..20090202-purplenpeaches

This pile of fabric is all for the one project.  The little rolls are delicious, hand-dyed fat eights.  Most of these were purchased at the first shop, Craft Haven of Berwick.  The itty-bitty tube you can see is full of lovely Straw needles for needle turn applique, and they were recommended by Kellie of Don’t Look Now – she was right, they are lovely.  Debbie and I were lucky enough to have lunch the other day with Kellie – later in the year she is going to come and talk to our Quilters Guild.

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20090213-juliewallaceThe bag on the left is full of fabric from The Quilters Barn in Loch, and the overflowing bag on the right is from Candleberry Country in Yarragon, which was so full to the brim with beautiful fabric.

Molly was making friends at all the shops on our tour.  Here is Julie Wallace of The Quilters Barn holding Molly, despite the overwhelming bustle happening in her shop.  During our visit in there, the power went out and they could not even open the till.  We managed to make our purchases none the less.

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While we were in Loch, a cool change swept through the place, which was so refreshing after a week of intense heat.  Unfortunately it meant that the quilts that were hanging everywhere were flapping in the very strong breeze – it was very hard to take a photo in focus.  Before we had seen them all, the quilts were being taken down to avoid damage in the weather.  Here are some photos I managed to take, however the photo quality is not good, my apologies.

This lovely wedding ring quilt is to inspire my friend Christine who is making one at the moment in 30’s fabrics.

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Simone, this one is for you – it was a similar scale to the basket wall hanging you made Debbie – tiny.

20090207-rosesThis last quilt was beautiful, and massive.  It must have been a years worth of work, if not more.  I wish I had details of the makers, but I didn’t manage to grab a typed list.

Below is a picture of Debbie’s stash from the weekend.   From memory, pictured are fabrics for a skirt, two quilts, two bags and parts of several other projects.

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On our tour I bought a couple of books, and these two fat quarters – actually the only pieces of fabric that I bought without particular projects in mind – they were just pretty.

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Both the books were ultra pretty as well, and I actually have a signature in one of them.  Rosalie Quinlan who wrote “Gift”, the book on the left, was set up in the hall in Loch with her similarly creative sister Melly (Of Melly and Me – link in post above).  Debbie and I chatted to them for ages – afterwards we decided that they must have thought we were their craft groupies, as we were probably gushing with enthusiasm.

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Rosie and Melly (pictured here with Molly) are currently running a silent Auction, selling some of their Softies – the money is for the bushfire appeal.  The auction runs until tomorrow morning, so go and take a look here.

I will post soon on some more things I have made recently, I may even start sewing again in an effort to buck up and be a little more positive.

Quilting

So I took the plunge and just got in and started quilting.  Like the Teddy quilts in the previous post, I started “Meander Quilting”, (my handy quilting bible, “The Quilters Ultimate Visual Guide” told me that this is like stipple quilting but farther apart) from the centre, outwards, in columns.

I created the quilt sandwich with the same basting spray that I used on the little ones – Helmar’s 101 Quilt Basting Spray.  The beauty of this method of creating the quilt sandwich is that you do not have to tape down a taut backing (something I always seem to have difficulty with).  You lay out the three layers and fold them back, half at a time, to spray first the backing (which you smooth the batting onto) and then the batting, (which you smooth the quilt top onto).  If you find any wrinkles, you can iron the sandwich to remove them.  The spray bond, if applied correctly, holds well over months (I’ve tested this), but I do pin the edges of the quilt, just in case :-).

The last time I had used this spray on anything larger than a wall hanging was about 3 years ago, and this time I was presented with a dilemma – where to spray.  Due to over spray and ventilation issues, the spraying needs to be done outside.  The little ones fitted on the concrete path outside, but I no longer had an empty deck to work on to spray the larger ones (we now have an outdoor setting).  Luckily I had a brainwave, the trampoline.

The backing fabric pretty much covered the mat, and as it washes out in water, (rain) I was not too worried about a little over spray on the springs. So I sprayed and smoothed away on Saturday evening, and had the quilt ready to go on Sunday.

Here is my slightly comical setup.  I was trying to create an area around the machine that was on a similar level to the stitchplate.  It was better than nothing!  So I rolled the quilt and gave it a burl.

Sadly, as I quilted the first column, I hit a snag (metaphorically speaking), and there was just a small amount of inaudible muttering going on in the kitchen of Chez M.P.  While the backing was well bonded to the batting, the quilt top was not.  I think the breeze was a little stronger once I got to spraying that layer, and not enough had landed on the quilt.  I returned to the trampoline to spray some more, which sorted that problem out once and for all.  For those that are interested, previously, the main trouble I have had with this quilt spray is when the spray does not mist properly due to the nozzle being damaged or blocked (I have had one can with a damaged nozzle that I had to return).

Anyway, I managed to quilt 5 columns before a trip to the local swimming pool dragged me away from the machine, and I think I am getting a bit better as I go.  I have not managed to make it back on the machine since then, and my kids are not the only ones keeping me away.  Some of the blame should be laid here…………………

Is there anything more delicious than sitting down and re-reading a favourite series (or two).

I love reading with a passion, and Robin Hobb is one of my favourite authors, ( Guy Gavriel Kay and Diana Gabaldon being two others).  While her work is classified as Fantasy, which might put off a lot of people who may have experienced formulaic fantasy pulp, she writes with such humanity about people who have human frailty and failings, as well as the heroicism you would expect in a book like this.  I am up to book 3 out of 6, two trilogies about the same delicious characters.  Even reading it for the 4th or 5th time, (by my estimate) it can still make me cry – a strong measure of any book by my standards.

What’s your favourite?

*****

PS. I wonder if I will ever get quicker at writing my posts – It takes me ages!  Sorry if I owe you a reply to an email or comment, I need to hit the hay tonight. I will drop you a line soon, I promise.