Friday, October 24, 2014

Eye on Elegance at the DAR Museum.

After about five hours sleep I made my way to the DAR Museum today. Their Eye on Elegance exhibition has just opened and consists of pieced and appliqu├ęd quilts from the 1700s to the mid 1800s. There were several Baltimore Album quilts on display as part of the Exhibition and believe me - they are stunning. It was worth making the trip from Australia just for this Exhibition. I had a wonderful time studying them and I plan to go back again tomorrow. I spent a few hours walking in the warm sunshine after leaving the DAR as I was trying to reset my internal body clock to US time.  Now I'm trying to stay awake for awhile. One advantage of staying at this apartment is that I can prepare my meals and I bought up groceries at a nearby mart. Now I'm finishing off some more back basting.  I hope you enjoy my photos of the DAR. More to come tomorrow.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Good Morning Washington DC.

After a long day and a half of traveling I was very happy to arrive in DC. It was lovely to find the apartment I'd booked was very nice and also close to the White House, the DAR museum and also the Smithsonian museums. Sleeping was a challenge due to jet lag so I'm off to walk today and I'll try to reset my internal alarm clock.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Baby Jane Is Growing.

 I'm really enjoying working on my Dear Jane blocks and my new skill of back basting is being put to good use. The star block on the top right hand side is an example- the block is pieced and then you needle-turn applique the blue on top of the white to make the arrow shape form, finally stitching white triangles across the corners to finish the block..
Here's the 20 blocks I've finished so far. If you are thinking of starting on your journey with Dear Jane, there are lots of hints on the official Dear Jane page online to make the blocks easier to piece or applique. I think that making so many blocks which are only 4.5 inches will give me more skills I can use with other quilts.
In the meantime I'm enjoying the journey.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Applique and Back Basting.

 I've been a back basting demon since I learned the technique a few weeks ago. It is so much easier to place applique pieces for needle turn when there are a few pieces which overlap each other. It's so much easier to avoid gaps between the pieces. The first block is a BOM from Sentimental Stitches and is one from the Scrap Savers Baltimore quilt. I finished the block with back basting and it made it much easier to fit the flowers into the green "cups". I can see that although there is still a bit of prep involved I enjoy the hand stitching along the lines and apart from a sore finger where I catch the needle underneath the fabric, I am finding it enjoyable.
 I also back basted another block from my Chester Criswell quilt and plan to prep a few more blocks to take with me on my travels.
I have also basted another block and started stitching for the Scrap Savers Baltimore and have started prepping the very large block for my new project. This one will be a 4 block quilt and borders and each block measures about 38" so the applique pieces are very large. Back basting uses more fabric but is more accurate and let's face it I have plenty of fabric to work with and if I run out, I believe they are still making it.
I hope you're all enjoying some stitching time as well.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sashiko and Pattern Tracing.

 I have just learned how to do Sashiko stitching from Brenda Papadakis and I really love the effect. I can see it won't be my last attempt. I can feel my whole body relax when I sit and hand stitch and it almost feels like a form of meditation for me. Now I want to find more Sashiko kits and stitch some more designs.
   At my first two day workshop with Ms Brenda P., we learned back-basting as a way to place our applique pieces accurately on the background and although I haven't had much time to practice due to working, I can see it will be a very useful tool, especially when I may not have a light box to use. The first attempt will be with my Sentimental Stitches BOM- Scrap Savers Baltimore. I stuck the pattern pieces together and then outlined every piece with a pink texta so I could see the marking lines without using a light box. I then turned the pattern over and was able to see the texta lines through the paper. As I was going to be tracing onto the back of my fabric I didn't want to have the design reversed and this made it easy to trace and see the lines.
 I will back-baste the leaves but will make the stems by cutting them as bias pieces as they are narrow and they are intertwined so it will be easier to use this technique than back-basting them. I did however, stitch along one side of each of the stem lines so I can easily see where to place them.

If you look closely you can see the bright pink stitching guide lines. I will only back- baste the leaves for this pattern and will make the grapes individually and then stitch them down instead of back-basting. Again drawing the position of the grapes will help their placement but it doesn't have to be as precise as when placing leaves on the stems. I can see that learning some new techniques will add to my skills with applique and make life a bit easier when I'm traveling and not able to use a light box.
I hope this information has been helpful when considering using back-basting as a technique. I hope to show some progress with the stitching very soon.
 Thanks for stopping by and for all of your lovely comments.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Making Time for Baby Jane

 Since my 2 day workshop withe the delightful Brenda Papadakis, I am determined to keep the momentum going by working on my Baby Jane blocks on a regular basis. For the last couple of days I made 2 and a half and finished the half block and made 2 more today.
 Brenda gave us a photocopied sheet from the book so we can paste the fabric scrap over each block as we do it. It will help to ensure we don't have the same fabric next to each other. So far I am anble to use a new blue fabric for each block but I still have a long way to go.
 Here's my 16 so far and I'm happy with my progress. I don't stitch them if the light isn't good as my eyesight is probably not as keen as Jane Stickle.
Hearing that our next Applique Group's Exhibition will be in 17 months time I decided to draft up a quilt I have been planning to make, in the hope that I'll have it to show in March 2016.  It's 4 large applique blocks and I bought the fabric earlier this year. It will be a modern take on a vintage quilt and I'm just in the early stages at the moment. I don't want to forget Baby Jane though as well as my two half inch hexagon quilts> Sew many quilts and sew little time! I'm off to bed again now as I have more nights to work.
Hugs, Jan Mac

The Max and Louise Pattern Company

 At our Applique Group's meeting yesterday we were treated to a talk and Show and Tell by Lisa and Louise from the Max and Louise Pattern Company. They shared their journey with starting their business in developing patterns and how they work collaboratively. They make all of their designs in two colour-ways and it's surprising how different the designs can be just by using different fabric selections. Their first design was The Unknown Quilt- based on two different antique quilt designs.
 This is their 18th Century Stars design.
 This is their Tessellate design.
 Their Gracedale Doves pattern is based on an antique quilt shown by Lou on the right of the photo. They have included templates for the doves block.

 They also have some lovely small quilt designs and these patterns include from 3 to 5 designs in each pattern set.

 I love the printed text on the background fabric of this lovely little quilt.

As you can see they are very talented and prolific quilters and I'm sure we'll see lots more of their designs in the future. For US readers they distribute through The Quilt Merchant and Homestead Hearth. I have bought a lot of their patterns and they are well set-out and easy to understand. The girls even gave us free patterns for a mug bag and mat and a frame bag for a rotary cutter.
Thanks for the lovely Show and Tell Lisa and Lou. I hope you enjoy seeing their lovely quilts as much as I did yesterday.
Hugs, Jan Mac