Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Daylight Lantern

Around Christmas time I came across a great way of recycling christmas cards by making them into a 3D ball shape ornament . Being the crazy fabric lady that I am I knew I had to make a giant one using fabric.

I grabbed my stack of  Little Azalea, the latest range from Dena Designs, and used a dinner plate as template to cut out 20 big circles.  I glued the fabric circles to some light weight white cardboard. I just used basic paper glue, it was what I had on hand and luckily it worked just fine.

Once the glue dried I cut out the circles. 
I cut out an equilateral triangle shape that fit the size of the circle.  Placed it in the the circle, fabric side up, and use it to fold the edges inwards.

so the circle takes on the triangle fold...
like so 

Once folded the circles are ready to glue together. I found it easier to make 3 sections. The top and bottom sections are made up of 5 circles each. The remaining 10 become the center section. I used paper clips to hold the pieces together while the glue dried. Clothes pegs would work too. 

It looked as though it needed a tassel so I whipped one up by cutting 1/2 inch strips of fabric into 9 inch legnths. I left their raw edges, simply folded them over and wrapped another strip of fabric around the top.  

I glued the Bottom Section to Middle section and let it dry. I found it helpful to use a bowl to support the pieces while I was gluing them together. 
Next up I secured the tassel using a long bit of perle thread, threaded some fun felt balls as well, and brought then needle up through the bottom and then up through the center of the top piece. I then sealed the ball up with glue. I figure the perle thread running through the whole structure helps to keep the 3 parts together. 

Seeing it had felt balls threaded onto the top and bottom I decided to continue the theme and glued felt balls to the joins too. Happy little bobbles of colour! 

With a diameter of 16 inches it looks more like a lantern than an ornament so I'm calling it a Daylight Lantern. The folds of the circles catch the light as it slowly turns around in a breeze. 

Do you like the it hanging from this twisted branch? I carried that branch home one day from a walk, 
I knew it would come in handy one day...

Friday, February 21, 2014

My Class with Kaffe and Brandon

My class with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably has been and gone. I would have to say it was one of the fastest days of my life. It simply flew by in a whirl of colourful pinwheels. 

The workshop started with an introduction from Brandon. He talked about how he and Kaffe work with colour, about how the class would unfold and how we should approach it. Brandon is as colourful and fun as the shirts he wears!!

Then Kaffe talked about the quilt we were making,  the design aspects we should look out for and the types of fabrics we should think about using. Though that being said he also emphasised that we should follow our own instinct. 

They had a great rapport and in a wonderful, enthusiastic way they both got across the aims of the class:

Get as much fabric cut and onto the grey flannel design wall.
Don't stop to think.
Don't get matchy matchy with fabric
Try combinations we'd never thought of
Watch out for interesting surprises. 
Remember there is no right or wrong
Don't ask our neighbour what they think
Just "Do It!"
 Elimination can be done afterwards.

So with that pep talk we raced back to our work stations and started cutting. I followed the guidelines and didn't try to think too much, I just grabbed fabrics and cut out triangles. I was really aiming for those surprise combinations, the ones were you they're almost so wrong that they work. Brandon came by and pulled a few fabrics out that he felt were too light. Kaffe came by and said he liked the browns. 

Brandon had brought music for us to listen to as we worked. A fun eclectic mix with up tempo beats that kept us moving at a good pace. There were some classics, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, lots of Beatles.. and then there would be a marching song or Bulgarian folk music, an old show tune thrown in  Brandon moved through the room singing the songs, and although no one joined in singing aloud with him there was a lot of humming going on. 

Before we knew it it was lunch time. We were told to have a good hour's break from our work. It was easy to fill in the time eating delicious wraps, chatting about out progress and a wander around the fabric laden shelves of the shop. Cottage Quiltworks has the best fabrics!!

Kaffe took some quiet time out to do some knitting. 

Fuelled from our lunch and on a high from buying new fabrics I dived back into cutting triangles. Soon it was time for Kaffe to talk about each persons work. He has a lovely way of describing the "story" of a quilt, the essence or character of the fabrics being used.  He also pointed out elements or colours he feels work well. 
To be honest all I don't remember exactly what Kaffe said about my crazy combos but the word "Gypsy" was used to describe the look and he liked the use of Brandon's dark Fish Lips fabric. 

One of the best things about the day was meeting Ann-Maree. I picked the right place to sit when I sat next to her!! We had such a great time in our corner with our fabrics and triangles flying everywhere. At one point all her triangles fell on the floor and she had to start from scratch but she came up with even better combinations. Her quilt is going to be a party of colour and super spots. 

There was a funny moment when Kaffe came around and swapped some little triangles over to create a really fun bright pinwheel. Five minutes later Brandon came up and said he didn't think that particular pinwheel was working, it was too bright. Too funny!! and a great reminder that everyone is different and has their own taste. 

Soon the fastest day ever came to an end. Not before a photo with Kaffe and Brandon though. Here's the proof of my day with the rock stars of quilting. 

A huge thanks to the lovely ladies at Cottage Quiltworks  they are always so helpful and cheery. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I've been picking out fabrics...

... for the workshop I'm doing with Kaffe Fasset and Brandon Mably next week!! 

WooHoo!! I've been SO excited about this class ever since last year when I saw on the Cottage Quiltworks blog that they were coming to Sydney. I was straight on the phone to book a ticket. 

We'll be making Kaffe's Shadow Pinwheels quilt from his latest book Quilt Grandeur.
It's a no sewing class where the focus will be on on picking out fabrics and colours and working on the layout of our quilt. That means I don't have to lug my heavy sewing machine to the class and instead I can take an extra big tub full of fabrics to choose from. There's way more than I'll use but I figure the more options the better. No doubt I'll pick up a few fat quarters at Cottage Quiltworks, they have always have tempting fabrics on offer. 

So here's what I'm taking, lots of jewel tones, florals and dots, 

And because I was in Valentine's mood I laid my fabrics out in a big heart. It ended up being huge!! I had to stand on a ladder to get this photo. 

I'm so looking forward to learning about colour from The colour specialists, and also being around Kaffe and Brandon's enthusiasm for colour, fabric and pattern. It's such a special event I even changed the blade in my rotary cutter!! :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day!!!

There's been lots of love in the air and rosy romance 
this week in the flower shop 
for Valentines Day

Red roses

Lots of red roses!  
Red roses every where!!

and some other colours too

lovely lillies

and fiery anthuriums

Funny Florists

The rubbish looks romantic full of rose petals

Wishing you a very Happy Valentines Day !!!!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Paper, Fabric, Scissors

When I showed my Post-it Notes quilt doodles a couple of weeks ago,  I had a couple of people comment about using paper to design quilts. I love using paper to test ideas, or in even for quilting. Here's a few examples of how I've used paper in my sewing adventures. 

I have a Drunkards Path quilt top that I made ages ago, Lots of bright lurid fabrics that I love but I've never got around to quilting it. Sometimes I get it out to finish but I think it needs something else to give it some pop! I hadn't learnt about value when I put these fabrics together. One day I had the idea I could sew a giant daisy onto it. Rather than cutting into fabrics I used newspaper to come up with my design. I simply pinned the shapes into position on my design wall. It was quick and easy to try different petal and leaf shapes  and get the curve of the stem just right.

Once I was happy with the shape and size it was time to see how it would look in colour. I grabbed my big pad of colourful paper that I found in a bargain shop and started cutting. 
The final design - A big Blue Mountain Daisy!

I never got around to making my big daisy in fabric. I wasn't sure if I really liked it with the background. It would be really fun on a liberated low volume background but that's another quilt for another day. I packed it all away and moved onto something else. The great thing about using paper, I didn't waste any fabric and I have the templates ready for a big flower when I do decide to sew one. 

Using paper shapes was very handy when deciding what flowers to put in the pockets on my Denim Garden quilt. I sat down with a cup of tea and without thinking too much I cut out different flowers shapes and ideas. I then took them to my design wall and auditioned different ideas in the pockets. It really helped me distribute the different flower styles. I was also able to use the paper silhouettes as templates for the wool felt.

It's interesting to see how those shapes developed into the final flowers. I also have quite a few left over flower shapes, no doubt they'll come in handy for other quilts.

 Here's a paper trick I've actually been using this week as I quilt my Octopus's Garden quilt. Rather than mark my quilts for quilting with a pen or pencil I'll use masking tape for straight lines... and paper circles for curves and circles. I use light weight paper, cut out the desired size circle, pin it on and then stitch around it. The quilt police might say the stitched circles aren't perfectly round but they're round enough for me!

I used this method to quilt all the different size circles on my Summer Bubbles quilt. 

So have you got any handy tips for using paper with quilting or even crochet or knitting? 


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