Thursday, 20 June 2013

A finish, a workshop & a new project

Hooray! I have finished my baby sister's birthday present. Frogs are her thing and so I decided to create Fergus the Frog from Homespun Vol 13 No 8 for her. Here he is ...

Fergus the Frog

And here he is all dressed up, sitting with some of Miss M's friends after being proudly shown off at the WA Quilter's Assoc. sewing day...

All dressed up and ready to party!

The pattern for Fergus was designed by Anthea Christian of Angel Lea Designs.  It was a very easy pattern and instructions to follow and I only had 1 major hiccup - the pattern for his pants was printed upside down in Homespun. This did not matter for people who used a non-directional fabric but for me it meant that all the bugs on my fabric were upside down! This necessitated a mad dash to Quintessential Quilts to try and find more fabric. Luckily I was able to find 1 lonely fat quarter and had just enough scraps left over to make 2 pant legs between the 2 bits of fabric. He is not a toy for babies or small children as he is stuffed with a combination of toy fill and rice to make him sit nicely on a shelf. I am very happy with the result and hope my sister likes him as much as I do. I may even have to make one for me :).

 Now, I promised to tell you about a workshop I did during the week of the May craft fair. The WA Quilter's Association brought Amanda Daly to WA to help judge the QuiltWest exhibition at the fair. While she was here she ran 2 workshops for us. I went to the first one, The Art Quilt Process, and it was absolutely fantastic! She is a wonderful teacher and we had so much fun.

 Amanda showing how she highlighted some of her work with Inktense pencils

Amanda showing us how to use Shiva Sticks

Not only did we learn about the process Amanda uses to help her design some of her amazing art quilts but she allowed us to try out and experiment with a range of products that we otherwise might not have tried. We had fun with Tyvek, Inktense pencils, Shiva sticks, Angelina fibre, Solvy, foil, acrylic paint, fusible web, wire mesh & florist's wire. We also had a go at raw edge machine applique & reverse applique, and designing our own design & inspirations journal cover.

Some of the samples that Amanda brought to show us

Miss M joined us for the 2nd day and also enjoyed herself. And who knew that some chocolate wrappers react to heat just like Tyvek?!

 Miss M's on the move

 A great excuse to eat more chocolate!

All in all we had a fantastic 2 days & I would like to thank Amanda for her tuition and inspiration. You can see more of Amanda's projects and workshop info on her website here.

And so, to my next project...I am making a birthday present for my other wonderful little sister who has a BIG birthday this year. Her birthday is in August but her present is quite a bit more involved than Fergus was so I am going to need every little bit of that time to get it completed. Here is the fabric selection...

I will keep you posted on my progress. I hope you all get the chance to do a little stitching this weekend.

Happy stitching,
Tracy xx

Sunday, 9 June 2013

QuiltWest and WA Craft Fair

In the middle of a very hectic week hosting workshops for the WA Quilters Association I managed to fit in a visit to QuiltWest and the craft fair. There were some amazing quilts on display. One of my friends, Phil Thomas, was talented enough to win a 2nd place prize in the 'All Traditional Professional' category with her gorgeous quilt 'Purple Heather'. Congratulations Phil! You can visit Phil's blog, The Guilty Quilter, to see more of her wonderful work.

 'Purple Heather' by Phil Thomas

You can see all the other winning quilts on the WAQA website here.

I then had a bit of fun shopping with Mum & Miss M. Here are some of my purchases. I also bought some Solvy to play with.

I also went back to the fair on the Saturday morning to catch up with some of our wonderful WA bloggers. Tracee of Quilt Kitty Loves Life is an old friend so it was great to see her again. It was also lovely to meet Anthea of Hibiscus Stitches, Maria of Life on the Block and her daughter, Sandra, of Playing Tiddleywinks, along with Julia of Julia's Place and her daughter-in-law Janete. Unfortunately Miss M and I couldn't stay long as we were taking WAQA's guest tutor, Amanda Daly, to the airport but we hope to meet up with them again at some point.

During that same week I was lucky enough to participate in one of Amanda's workshops. I will post info and pics from that in the near future. 

Happy Stitching. Tracy xx

Saturday, 8 June 2013

New Project

I have started my next project for another special person's birthday. Here is the fabric selection I've made.

I managed to join in a little with Cheryl for her Friday Night With Friends event last night and was able to get the initial shapes cut out and half sewn. I then finished them off today. The results...

I was also able to start putting on the facial features today and hopefully will finish these off tonight.

Thanks Cheryl for continuing to host this event. 

PS - Our friend's daughter loved her bag so I am one very happy camper! Happy stitching, Tracy xx

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Mixed Results

Wow, what a busy few weeks. It's hard to believe almost a month has passed since my last post. Lots to tell you so will have to do it over a few posts.

I must admit that I have had to choose between a sewing project and blogging in my spare time recently as I have had less spare time than usual. The project won out of course :). Luckily for me I have been able to set up a temporary sewing room so that I am able to grab 20 minutes here and there when Miss M is sleeping to run in and do a little more sewing.

My latest project is an 18th birthday present for the daughter of a very dear friend. She will be receiving it this weekend as I was finally able to get enough time to finish it last night.

I started with some beautiful, Indian looking fabrics and the 'All Patched Up' pattern by Shirley Jenkins from the 'Crafts to Inspire' magazine. After cutting and piecing my squares I laid everything out ready to sew. I was a little nervous as it was the first time I had made pieced squares.

Eventually I was able to sew everything together and this became the outside of the bag. I was really, really happy with the resulting fabric. It looks awesome. The light purple fabric was used for the lining.

Outside of bag

Inside of bag

                                       Close-up of outside                    Close-up of button
                                       I love these fabrics

And ... drum roll please ... here is Miss A modelling the finished bag for me...

I'm happy with the look of the bag overall and very happy with how the pieced fabric turned out. 

I was very disappointed to get to the end of the construction process and realise that the instructions had not included any information on putting in the pockets, except for the zips. So, I went to all the effort of putting in 2 zips only to find that anything put through them would simply fall to the bottom of the lining. It was very difficult to add pockets after the fact because of the way the bag was constructed but, thanks to Vliesofix and fusible hemming tape, I managed to do so. I'm not sure how secure they are though and am not really happy with them.

The final step of construction was to sew along the seams to secure all 3 layers of fabric together (there is quilters muslin between the inner and outer fabrics). Not having done this before, and having no further guidelines from the instructions, I assumed this was easy. In hindsight I should have pinned the bag along the seams before sewing to get an even spread of fabric, so I am not happy with the sewing along the outside seams. However, you can't tell these faults unless you look closely. Suffice to say I will not be using this bag pattern again!

Hopefully our friend will like her present. I'll give you an update over the weekend and let you know how it goes.

Must get off to bed as Miss M has just over 3 hours on me now. 

Happy stitching everyone.