Monday, September 29, 2008

Aussie Pride and tiny squares...

Well this past week has certainly been a busy one. Some family from interstate came over to visit for the past week, and I have been still sick, so as a result not one ounce of sewing was done this week! Oh the horror! However, I intend to sew all day today. I'm involved in a number of swaps on the Handmade Craft Forum, so I'm hoping to complete some blocks today for those.

I'm also hoping to work on a design that has been forming in my mind for the last couple of months. I am really eager to do an Australiana themed wallhanging, as I love my country, and everything about it. I have already collected a number of Australian coloured fabrics (browns, greens and yellows...earthy colours.) I can picture the wallhanging in my mind, and it involves stitcheries of Australian scenes, animals and plants. So I'm hoping I will finally find the time to sit down and actually draw some of the pictures that are floating around in my mind!

A few weeks ago, whilst I was rumaging through some old boxes of fabrics, I came across this little plastic bag filled with 1.5" squares of purple/white/and blue fabrics! There were hundreds of them and I had forgotten all about them. When I was about 12, I had had a grand idea to make a wallhanging using tiny squares, and arranging the colours to create a heartshaped pattern. Of course, back then I had no idea about rotary cutting, or strip I had innocently measured and cut out all these seperate hundreds of tiny squares all by hand! Of course, the accuracy of my cutting had left alot to be desired, and so the squares ranged in size from 1" to 1 3/4"! I had already started to sew some strips together that no where near resembled a straight line of fabric. I vaguely remember getting frustrated with the project and throwing it away, never to be seen again.

So now, 11 years on, I stumbled across the bag of fabrics, all too pretty to throw away, so now I have decided to make something with them...anything! What I will end up idea, but I shall let you know when I decide!

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Ephesians 2:10

Monday, September 22, 2008

Such a nice suprise!

I got the most wonderful suprise in the mail today! Gail from the online craft forum was going to send me some scraps of fabric that she no longer wanted, what I didn't realise was how much fabric she was going to send me! I have been sick of late with the flu, so what a joy it was to find this big package of fabric in the mail box!
So a HUGE thank you to the wonderful Gail for her lovely and generous gift. You really made my day!

Tutorial - 4 Cheeky Ponies

Horsey Mini Wallhanging Tutorial

I love horses, and I often try to make some crafts that incoporates them in to it. I rarely see any horse related crafts in magazines, and then they are usually in brown colours. Whilst I know most horses are brown, it can look a bit boring and bland sometimes. So the other day I was feeling inspired to make a small horsey project, and this is the result. I thought I might have a go at making it a tutorial, as perhaps there might be people out there that like it. Maybe there is a little girl in your life that likes horses, well this would make a perfect gift. I could even imagine it in cute pinks and yellows- yes, even the horses! Very cute! And, it's a perfect little project to use up your scraps, and I finished mine in an afternoon.

Finished size: approx. 12"

What you will need:

~ Calico or cream fabric for the background
~ Mustard coloured fabric for the sashing and binding

~ Various scraps of creams, light browns, medium browns, mustards for the horses.

~ Various scraps of 5 different fabrics, in dark reds, blue, and yellow/mustards for the border.

~ Matching threads for applique

~ Vliesofix/freezer paper

~ Backing fabric

~ Batting

~ Iron

~ General sewing supplies.

1/4" seams are used throughout.

From the calico background fabric, cut out four 4.5" squares. Put them aside for now whilst you do the applique. Print out the pattern for the applique pieces: Cut out each piece on the marked lines, then using your vliesofix, trace out enough pieces for each of the 4 ponies, leaving some space around each one.

So you will need 4 faces, 4 bodies, 4 blazes, 4 manes, and a total of 8 ears. Cut out each piece, leaving a space around the marked lines. Choosing a light coloured fabric for the blazes, iron them rough side down onto the wrong side of the fabric. Use a dry iron.

Repeat with all your pattern pieces, ironing them onto the wrong side of your selected scraps of fabric, till you have 4 seperate piles.

Now cut out each piece on the marked line, till you have something that resembles a pony!

Then place each pony onto the square of calico background that you cut out earlier, and iron in place.

Since it's a small wallhanging, I simply appliqued around the ponies using a straight stitch on my machine in matching thread colours. You could applique it by hand, or use a blanket stitch on your machine. It's up to you. Stitch around all the pieces, till all 4 ponies are done. Lay out the blocks in the order you want them.

Cut two 4.5 x 1" strips from the mustard sashing fabric. Using a 1/4" seam, sew the strip (wrong sides together) to the right hand side of the top left hand corner pony block.

Repeat with the other strip for the bottom left hand corner pony. Press seams flat with an iron, then sew the other pony block to the strip, and repeat again for the other pony. Press seams flat.

Cut three 9 x 1" strips from the mustard coloured sashing fabric. Take one strip and sew it to the top side of the bottom pony block. Press seam flat, then sew the top pony block to the strip. Press flat.

Sew one 9 x 1" strip to the right side of the block, and the other strip to the left side, and press seams flat. Cut two 10 x 1" strips from the sashing fabric, and sew these to the top and bottom of the block, and press flat. You should have something like this:

From the various scraps for the border, cut five 1.5 x 12" strips from each fabric. Sew these strips together, alternating colours, and then press flat.

Then cut 1.5" strips from this.

Sew the strips together and press the seams flat. Then sew the strip onto one side of your quilt, trim to the right length, and press seam, and repeat for the other side. Then repeat again for the top and bottom.

And your quilt should look like this:

Now, using french knots, stitch two eyes on each pony, and using backstitch, stitch two nostrils.

From the wadding and backing fabric, cut out a square each that measures slightly larger than the quilt top. For a larger quilt I would normally baste these three layers together, but seeing as it's a small quilt, I pinned the three layers together with pins. Once you have pinned the three layers together, then quilt it using matching coloured thread. I just quilted in the 'ditch' around each of the four calico blocks, and then the sashing strips.

Once you have finished the quilting, trim the batting and backing fabric to the size of the quilt top. From the mustard coloured sashing fabric, cut a long 2" strip. Iron it in half lenghways, wrong side of fabrics together. Lay this strip on your quilt top, with the raw edges matching, and stitch around it, mitering the corners as you go.

When you have gone around the whole quilt, fold the start of your binding strip back on itself (as shown below), then continue stitching the binding till you pass your first point.

Fold the binding over to the back of the quilt, and with matching thread, slip stitch in place. From any left over binding, create two hanging loops and stitch to the back of the quilt.

And, then you're done! The finished result, hanging in my sewing room.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me for help. I would love to have some feedback, so please comment, and share some photos if you make one. :)

This pattern can be easily adapted. Two years ago I made a larger version of this, with each pony fitting into a 12" block.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Be Creative Challenge

I am running a challenge on the craft forum I am on, Craft Magazines Online.
It's a "Be Creative Challenge," where particpants names will be put into a hat and a photo will be assigned to them at random, aswell as a colour. That participant then has to design and create an item, using that photo as inspiration, and using that colour somewhere in the project.
So for example, you could get a photo of an icecream, and you get given the colour pink. Now you have to create an item (art quilt, stitchery, quilt, bag, doll, wall hanging- anything really!) using that photo as your inspiration.
So far we have had 10 ladies sign up, and I'm really looking forward to starting and seeing who gets what photo. Some of the photos range from landscapes, to gardens and flowers, to food, and to other random objects and subjects. It should be really interesting to see what these ladies come up with.
In other news...remember the two dolls I made for the forums doll swap? Well, the lady I sent the doll to has asked for permission to enter the doll on my behalf at the Dandenong Show! I feel very honoured, so of course, I said yes. I shall let you know how she goes!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For the love of fabric...

At the Craft and Quilt fair in Melbourne back in July, I came across a wonderful craft business, Created-By. They have really nice designs, all featuring verses from the bible. My mum and I particularly liked their blue "Love Quilt," so she brought the kit for me as a very early christmas present!

This is my first kit and I must say, it is such a novelty having all the fabric cut to size already for you! I have so far completed Block A (well, apart from sewing it all together,) and am on to Block B.

I really love all the fabrics that were included, and the kit even came with a hanger for the wallhanging once it's finished.

I hope I'm not the only one who buys a fabric that I just love and have to have, when I don't actually have a project in mind for it, nor do I really need it. So I buy this fabric and then it sits in my boxes for months on end, not getting used...well, except for the job of taking up more space. But because I love these fabrics, I want them to be used for something special and wonderful, but I can never think what that special and wonderful thing is. I can't bear the thought of cutting in to them either...what if I make a mistake? What if I settle on some project and cut it out, and then days later I find that perfect project! So these poor beautiful fabrics are destined to keep sitting in my boxes till I eventually find the 'perfect' project.

Yet, meanwhile I use up all my other fabrics that are lovely, but are neither here nor there, for all my everyday projects. So I have come to realise that my beautiful fabrics are just going to waste, sitting in a box where no one can enjoy them. So I am determined to turn over a new leaf *cough* and try to use them in more projects in the future.

I have found though that I tend to buy alot of impractible fabrics....fabrics that just catch my eye, but won't necessarily go with any sort of project. For example, I bought this soft minty green fabric that has cartoon angels in all sorts of colours on it. I have no idea what to do with it! Its beautiful, and great, and I could even picture some funny angel themed quilt with it...but I never get to that actual 'yes, I'm going to use you today,' stage. Then I have alot of 'kiddy' sort of fabrics...I don't even have kids! What am I going to do with them?

I know the quote, "She who dies with the most fabric wins," is great....but I just feel guilty! I feel like I'm wasting money and fabric! I wonder if there is a diagnosis for only consolation is that I'm sure I'm not the only one who buys beautiful, and sometimes (ok...mostly,) unnessesary fabrics....

" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:11-13

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Spring Fabric Basket

This afternoon I created a cute spring fabric basket from this tutorial. It's from a great sewing blog I found called
Pink Penguin.

I made mine a bit larger, and will probably sit it on my sewing desk for all my threads and scissors to go into to. :)

The Chestnut Arabain

I bought this ceramic unpainted bisque model a few years ago from Debbie Poole. I originally painted her a dapple grey, but I wasn't 100% happy with how the model turned out. So I wrapped her up in bubble wrap and the poor model sat languishing in a drawer for months. Feeling re-inspired, I found my pastels, and got her out again. I just played with some colours on her using the pastels, and found I really liked the chestnut coat colour that was coming through the many layers.

I am now thrilled with how the model has turned out, and she will no longer sit in a drawer under wraps!

I will be creating a tutorial soon on how to paint a model horse using pastels, so please check back often. :)

Sitting Pretty

I was involved in a "Doll Swap" on a craft forum, and decided to make two dolls (as I knew I would not be able to part with the doll!)

So I made twins, and I kept the one of the right and named her Emma.

This is my second attempt at a doll with fingers, and I really like the challenge and the look it achieves. I like to create dolls that look like proper little people. :)