Friday, July 25, 2014

My old and weary vintage quilt...

About four years ago I came across a damaged vintage dresden quilt bundled in string with a cardboard $2.50 tag attached. It was hidden amongst a pile of donated towels and sheets on a long side table at the small local op-shop in our town of residence at the time.
I didn't stop to unroll it, just hastened to the counter, paid the $2.50 and barely took a breath between leaving the shop and getting inside my front door two blocks away!
On inspection the quilt had been cut in two, a piece obviously having been removed across the centre  (small traces of old blood stains were still evident so I assume that's why it was cut)  and a primitive attempt to sew the pieces together again had been made.  I fell in love...with a story I did not know and the fingers which had so beautifully hand pieced this long aged beauty before it had been carved in half.
Most of the time it lays across the end of my bed, a favourite spot for Princess Sophie...

The feeling of home and comfort this quilt brings to the bedroom cannot adequately be described in mere words, and the time worn fading and wearing away just add to it's appeal...

I have decided it's time to re-create my old-friend-quilt; time to make a copy...

I won't rush. Choosing similar fabrics and colours will take time; drafting a pattern is not my strong point, but there will be pleasure in the learning so this treasure can be reborn. Hand pieced? Not sure about that yet...

Well, I don't know about you but I have a fair number of these remnants accumulated over the past four or five years so finding ways to make use of them has become a bit of an obsession at the moment.
Last night I gathered my remaining scraps of "Ruby" (which I used to make 'Under The Apple Tree') and began piecing Flying Kite blocks.
First up let me confess that I stuffed up the cutting and my blocks face the opposite direction to what they should, but I like them anyhow so I kept going with my plan to make a long runner to cover the chest of drawers in the living room which our television and dvd player sit on.
Three blocks and a simple border later...

I've decided to use leftover green pindot binding (also from 'Under The Apple Tree') as a gathered edge along both narrow ends of the runner...

It needs to be quilted first, but I've pinned the gather on so you can get an idea where I'm going with this plan...

I still have about 25 "Ruby" jelly roll strips left in my stash so some of them will make up the binding around the edge of the 18" x 50" quilt.
Total cost : $0

Mr E must be rather pleased about my plan to use 'what's already in my stash'  this year because the other day he surprised me with these...

Love is a wonderful thing. 

Have an exceptionally loving weekend, dear friends.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tutorial ~ gathered frills!

I'm beginning to wonder if it's possible to exhaust my ever-increasing ideas on what to do with leftover quilt binding? At the moment I think not. You see, they're amazing pieces of fabric filled with endless possibilities for usefulness, and since they ended up discarded from a previous project as 'remnants' I'm sure it does their self esteem good to be brought out and prettied up, don't you?

When I made the door hanger that I'm gifting away (yesterday's giveaway post), I used some Ruby scraps from my Bonnie & Camille basket for the piecing and applique, plus a simple length of scrap binding.

When you make a gathered frill following my technique you'll need a length of binding OR a jelly roll strip (it's the same size as most binding strips and I often use them as binding) twice the length of the area you are going to embellish with the frill.

The bottom of my door hanger was 6 1/2 inches, so I used a piece of binding that measured 13 inches.

Once you have your binding cut to size, press a 1/4 inch hem along both narrow ends...

Folding the fabric back to being a binding strip, either hand sew, or machine sew with a long stitch, just inside the raw edge of your binding...

Pull on the single thread if you've hand sewn, or pull on both ends of the bobbin thread (the underside of the area you stitched) if you have machine sewn your edge. Gently gather the binding, moving the gather along until it measures 1/2 inch less than the area on which you will use it.
My gathered binding now measured 6 inches, leaving a 1/4 inch space at each end of the area I wanted to attach it along. Pin the raw edge of your gathered frill to the raw edge of the project you're stitching it onto...

See the 1/4 inch space I've left at each end?

Machine sew the frill to your project with a 1/4 inch seam...

...and tie the ends of your gather in a knot.

To finish a project like mine lay the backing fabric face down on the front of the door hanger, the frill still in the same position and being sure that the edge of the frill is folded in towards the project to avoid being accidentally sewn into the side seam. 
Sew the front and back together with a 1/4 inch seam, leaving a small opening for turning out.
Once I turned the door hanger right side out I pulled on the frill to straighten it and pressed it flat. If you've been careful with your side seams the frill won't catch in them and will fall beautifully like this...

If you have long lengths of scrap binding or plenty of odd jelly roll strips you could add some sweet frills to tea towels, guest towels, aprons, bags - and what about edging a quilt with a gathered frill?
I'm all inspired to see what I can make this afternoon with more frills!
Stay tuned, I'll share pics tomorrow...

Leave a comment with your own ideas of using these gathered frills, ok?



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

GIVEAWAY to celebrate my beautiful new quilt!

Designing, stitching, piecing, photographing, and writing a pattern that makes sense to the reader can be akin to watching the kettle boil. It takes so long!

But oh the bliss of completion. 
May I introduce you to my new quilt design...

It has sweet and simple applique with just a touch of hand embroidery in the centre medallion...

 Cute little birdies...

 Churn Dash and Friendship Star blocks...

...and made completely from my stash of Bonnie and Camille fabrics!

There is usually a purpose to my designs these days, so let me share with you the story behind "Under the Apple Tree"...

My first love is stitchery, my second love is applique, and trailing a bit long way behind in third place is quilting.
But over the last couple of months a freshened interest in making quilt blocks has bloomed, alongside last year's idea to use up my fabric stash in 2014, and a desire for designing lovely projects that can be made up faster than my previous quilt designs (which all featured a lot of embroidery)....

It's the perfect quilt for learning basic blanket stitch applique, though you could also make the centre medallion with needleturn if that's your favourite applique method.
There are only two quilt blocks used, so if you're new to this form of crafting you'll be able to hone your skills as you'll be making four of one, and sixteen of the other - and believe me, they are simple blocks to make and sew up fairly quick.

The borders are also simple, and the applique is perfect for using scrap fabrics!

The finished quilt measures 42 inches square, which is perfect for a child, a lap quilt, or to hang - but there's nothing to stop you adding more borders for a larger quilt.

The introductory price for this instant pdf pattern download is $8.95 US until August 1st when it will permanently increase to $10.95.

"Under The Apple Tree" is ready and waiting for you HERE in the shop today! 

Raid your fabric stash, or go shopping for that new fabric bundle you've had your eye on...either way, you'll love this quilt as you make it your very own.

FYI:  That gorgeous machine quilting was done by Marcia Harper of Marci's Quilting Service here in Townsville. It made my sweet quilt 'pop'!


To celebrate the release of "Under The Apple Tree" I wanted to do something really special, so I decided to make a gift that compliments the quilt...

"A Little Birdie Told Me" is a new design I've come up with just for this giveaway, and it could be yours!
Wouldn't you love my pretty door hanger decorating your favourite door?
It's ready and waiting to be posted to one lucky winner!

To enter:

You MUST do two of the things listed below.

As this prize is something I have personally designed and made for the winner, it won't be as easy as just leaving a comment.

At the bottom of this blog post are a list of buttons for sharing the post on social media.
By clicking on them you can share this blog post to Facebook, Pinterest, your own blog, Google+, Twitter and email.
Click on TWO of those buttons (your choice which ones) to share about this giveaway.

Then leave one comment below telling me which buttons (FB, P, T, g+, or M) you chose to use so you could share about the giveaway, and also out of interest, what door you'd hang this gift on if you are the lucky winner.

This giveaway is open internationally, and I will draw the winner on August 1st.
Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stitchery framing tutorial & 2nd Rosedaisy project...

It's that week in the month when I share a tutorial for using one of the ten Rosedaisy Designs from THIS pattern set, and my choice for July is the "Friend" block...

I chose to border the 'Friend" block using fabric which allowed the design to shine by giving it contrast, and finished the display with a white wooden frame that was quite distinctive and yet didn't overpower the stitchery. I think my design, the fabric (Primrose Sands) and the frame (from Target) all worked beautifully together!

 As crafters we usually show love and appreciation to a friend with a gift we've made them, and that was the inspiration behind this design.
But the inspiration behind how to use this stitchery came from a number of reader emails asking,  "how do you frame a stitchery?" - so I thought it was time I showed them.

Now, I'm going to do double duty on this blog post because I want to share a bit more than a framing tutorial, so bear with me because there's a gift at the end...

Let's start!

This tutorial works with any block you have stitched that you'd like to display in a frame. When I prepare an embroidery design ready to stitch it's always a few inches larger than the size of the actual design area, so if you are not intending to add a border around your block be sure to cut your fabric at least 4" larger than the design - for example, a 5" x 7" design would require a 9" x 11" piece of fabric.

I designed my new stitchery, Love Gives, to fit inside an ornate metal lacework frame I'd purchased a few months back. 
The frame was marked to fit a 4" x 6" photo, but when framing an embroidery it's important to note that the aperture of the frame (the area of frame that is seen when a photo or stitchery is placed inside) is usually always a quarter inch smaller. 
This meant that the useable area I had in this particular frame was 3 3/4" x 5 3/4".
(When I displayed "Friend" in an 8" x 10" frame I had 7 3/4" x 9 3/4" of useable area)

For a 'whole cloth' display:
After I traced the design onto my fabric I measured the size of the aperture in my frame, before fusing a piece of Parlan the same size behind the design. After the design was embroidered the process of framing could be started:

Fold a small hem around the raw edges and sew in place...

Cut a piece of medium weight cardboard the same size as the glass in your frame.
Dispose of the glass carefully afterwards.
Lay it over the back of your stitchery and centre it...

You will now need some sturdy thread or thin string. I've used Perle #12 thread from my stash...

Fold the two long sides towards the centre of the cardboard, and after making a knot in the end of your thread and securing it in the hem of one side, begin to lace the thread up and down between both hemmed edges. Start from the end of the cardboard, not the end of the fabric...

Don't pull so hard that you bend the cardboard, just enough that it is snug. You may have to tie off the thread and start with a fresh length one or two times as this technique uses a fair amount...

Turn your stitchery around and begin the lacing from the narrow sides.
Now because these narrower ends have more bulk, from the double hem when folded, they can slide a little and distort the finished appearance, so lace the left side first, leave the centre open, and lace the right side next...

Finish by lacing the middle last...

Place your prepared embroidery inside the frame...

...and replace the frame backing.


For a "bordered" display:
When framing "Friend" I added borders, so I trimmed the block to 6 1/2" x 9 1/2"  after stitching.
To save on feature fabric I only used the amount that would be seen through the aperture plus an extra 1/2 inch - then I sewed white homespun around all four sides as this would be hidden afterwards...

I fused some thin Pellon, the same size as the frame aperture, behind the block, and then hand sewed a row of running stitch around the white edge of the design just inside the pink border...

To show another finish for framing your work I quickly put this one together with masking tape.
This requires no tutorial, as you can see that the edges are simply taped down onto the cardboard instead of being laced.

 I do prefer the laced method as it gives a lovely snug fit to the block, but it's best used if this framing is a permanent display.
However, if you regularly switch designs around in a particular frame, the masking tape technique would be the easiest and least destructive to the borders as you don't have to remove the cord laces from the back.

Which framing method do you think you would use?


The "Friends" block is available inside the full 10-pattern set of Rosedaisy Designs, or as a single pattern purchase until August 19th.
Both are instant downloads HERE in my shop.

My free stitchery gift to you, "Love Gives" is also available as an instant download here in my shop.