Saturday, July 4, 2015

Madhu's blocks and my quilt!

I did have a lot of finished projects the last four months and all of them lovely but somehow kept missing linking it to A Year of lovely finishes. Thankfully remembered it this month. July is going to be my 'me month'. I am going to work on my quilt. I plan to finish setting all my MMDQ blocks into squares and also finish the ones I am yet to do. Making a quilt top now that would be wonderful but am not setting that as a target. Here are some of the blocks. Paper pieced, designed by fellow quilter Madhu Mathur - you can find the free patterns here -

Linking this up with ALYOF

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Promises to keep

It's time to redeem my pledge to myself - to finish that bag promised long ago to my niece and to also complete the task I set for myself this month - my goal for the 'Year of lovely finishes' but looks like I may have left it too late! I have the fabric all cut out and even the interfacing fused but cannot progress as there is a power outage here. No power since morning and it is late evening now with no signs that it will be restored. I am hoping that I can sew tonight and finish it and perhaps using the fact that I live in the East to get it linked.
 And yes I managed it. Thank God it is Pacific time for the linky party or I would have not made it. Made a silly mistake and had to go for the seam rippeṛ Sewing at midnight is not my thing and next time i am finishing a week ahead to avoid this kind of mess-up.

Linking it with AYOLF at Sew BitterSweet Designs

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Feb goals for A lovely Year of Finishes

 Keeping a target really worked last month though I messed up n posting the link at SewbitterSweeṭ Well this month I do have a lot of projects going on but there is one that I have to do for my niece - a library bag and a pair of pencil poucheṣ That will be the target. My niece has a penchant for owls and so I have got this lovely fabric for the bag.
Hoping to finish and link it by the end of the month in a year of lovely finisheṣ

Friday, January 30, 2015

Springtime quilt

This one has been in the making for a while. I had to put it away couple of times to accommodate other quilts and projects and also because my sewing machine had minor fits of tantrums when asked to do a lot of FMQ. Well I am not one to give up easily and after multiple changes of needles and thread and freshly wound bobbins, It is all done.

Linking this with 'a year of lovely finisheṣ Hope I can do it the next 11 months too.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A year of lovely finishes

A year of lovely finishes
Now that is a great thing to aim for and a little nudge is always welcome when one sets a goal like that.
My Button
So  I aim to link up with so many others aiming to do the same. My target for January is to finish the tulip quilt that I am doing for my niece. I still have to do a bag and couple of pencil pouches for her but maybe that can be my target for the next month. 
I have done quite a bit of the fmq and the panels for the top and bottom are also ready. Hoping to finish it fully by the end of the month.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Colouring up my life

A sunny day after a lot of gloomy cold and overcast days! And since I was out of yellow and blue fabric, I decided to take a break from sewing and paint some fabrics. I dont have easy access to buying fabric and painting them is a wonderful way out for me. Fun too as i love dabbling with colours though I am no artisṭ A fellow quilter asked for tips on painting and here I go. I have learnt all that I know from those generous souls out there who have shared tutorials. Deborah Hare's Quilt routes was the best and I have not yet done justice her diffeent methods. So without much ado here is my pictorial tute.

I use a wooden board covered with a plastic sheet measuring about 15" by 17".  The size was governed by the availability. Bigger ones are difficult to handle but it does mean that the fabrics I paint are necessarily small.

That is the plastic sheet discoloured after many layers of fabrics were placed on it and painteḍ . Which gave me an idea. I decided to top the plastic with a piece of white fabric and mop up the excess painṭ. This is what became of the white fabric.

My go to brush is the big one. I can quickly smear paint all over the fabric with this one. The paint I use is acrylic meant for fabric though I would love to try the silk paint. Sadly I have not been able to lay my hands on it. The process itself is very simple. All one needs to do is to dilute the acrylic paint a little as too much of it could make the fabric stiff. and then spread it all over the fabric. To facilitate the spreading, I spray some water or wet the fabric. The whole thing,board and fabric are left out in the sun to dry. Once dry it has to be heat set by ironing and then given a wash before it is ready for use.  To get a different look everytime  add things like little objects with definite shapes or plain old leaves and flowers and layer the paint. And you end up with gorgeous fabrics.
 This one was with four shades of colour - three blues and an emerald green alternating. After spreading the paint I just scrunched up the fabric (All right I lie.Too much of a Virgo to scruncḥ I did fold it up) and left it like that for a while and then sun-dried iṭ
  This was a lovely blue Cerulean I think, which I darkened with Ultramarine and then liberally scattered salt all over it. I usually go with crystal salt but today added a spoonful of powdered salt too. Lovely effect I think. the yellow below also has some salt just the crystal ones thougḥ Here after spreading the plain yellow I added a bit of red to darken the yellow. It turned out to be too much of red. Keeping aside the bulk of it I used a touch here and there to get this effect.

 The excess reddish/orange paint I mopped up with a piece of fabric.And that too looks lovely when dried.
 Some gulmohar leaves, a flower or two of Vinca rosea add to the design element. Just press them gently onto the damp fabric before putting them out in the sun.
 This one had a clover leaf and a bigger one that was heart shaped. I keep trying out all sorts of leaves. An experiment with flower petals is on the cardṣ
This one was following the layers method outlined by Deborah Hare. I used three four colours and scrunched the fabric to get this. Looks like the evening sky on some days with the red and dark streaks.
Some of these fabrics have not been made with anything in mind while some are for the quilt blocks I am currently working on. I have to admit I am tempted to buy all the shades of paint available and try them out!. perhaps I will too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Old hat or new cap!

We have a saying in tamil that translated means - what you know is like a 'handful of earth', what you dont know is as big as the Earth!. I was reminded of this proverb when I came upon a new technique recently. Well it was new to me - probably it is old hat to you. I am sure Madhu Mathur of Patchwork of my life considers it a old hat. She casually threw the term at me when I was testing a block for her. Use freezer paper and join up the pieces. Sounded simple enough as I had used freezer paper to do my perfect circles (blogged here). But after printing as per her instructions I was puzzled as to how to proceeḍ. I am one of those who like step-by-step instructions and that with a lot of photos. I battered her with questions but since she was laid up with a bad back and could only use her Ipad and draw a couple of sketches with her bamboo software, I did not get much illumination. Not that I blame heṛ I mean picture her lying on a bed holding up the Ipad and trying to draw pictures to explain her ideaṣ My imagination sure boggles!
 And so I googled and read a bit before getting all the tips and tricks which I used while doing my new dresden circle quilt! And decided that a freezer paper foundation tutorial for a dresden circle was the need of the hour! fter all it is time to give back to the universe what I have amply received by way of tutorialṣ And of course this is also a easy reference for me if I need it years later!

I am doing a dresden wheel and I start with a printed template for a quadranṭ.

I am however planning to do not a quadrant but a half to avoid multiple joints so I need a semi-circle of the template. Please note that there is no seam allowance between the templates/sections - only at the ends. Fold your freezer paper in half and match one edge of the printed template with the folded edge. Insert a carbon paper between the template and freezer paper and fold it under the freezer paper so that you pattern is copied on top and bottom of the freezer papeṛ (Or go for you preferred choice of transferring patterns) Trace the lines including the seam allowance on three sides - the folded side will not have a seam allowance. When the freezer paper is opened out the template will be for a semi circle.
Like paper piecing these need to be needle punched so take them to your machine and choosing the longest stitch setting punch them all.
 Take them out and crease them along the stitch lineṣ. You will find out why a in a short while.
I am sewing dresden blades but you can sew anything with a straight edge in this fashioṇ It gives an almost accurate 1/4 inch seam and pefectly joined pieceṣ.
Get the first blade and as you would do in paper piecing lay it right side up on the shiny side of the first template Press it so that the fabric sticks to the paper taking care not to let the iron come onto contact with the rest of the freezer papeṛ. Turn it around and trim off anything in excess of 1/4 inch. The creases we made earlier will come in handy making it easy to find the line where we need to fold.

Lay the second piece on top of the first - right sides facing.
Now fold back the freezer paper except for the portion already sticking to the fabric and take it to the sewing machine.
Sew along the exposed fabric just right next to the folded freezer paper. Take care not to sew on the paper itself. Take it over to your iron and give the seams a press, open out the second piece of fabric and give it another press. The seams are pressed to one side in this as I found it rather challenging to peel back the freezer paper a little and press open the seams. The second piece of fabric will adhere to the template now.

Now it is time to trim. Fold back the freezer paper after the second piece of fabric, lay your ruler and trim a 1/4 inch from the second fabric. I find this very convenient as I can match the next piece properly
Continue sewing laying the third piece and so on in the same manneṛ.
And when you are done trim away the excess fabric from the top and bottom and join the side seams. I found it simple to remove the paper from one half and use the other to get my perfect 1/4 inch seams.
And here are my perfect Dresden wheels.