Thursday, July 27, 2006


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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It's been sent

I've just got back from taking my wallhanging to the pub.

Yes, I did mean pub, place where beer is served.

Don't worry, it didn't have a drink or anything like that: our village doesn't have a post office, so three times a week a lady from the Post Office comes to the pub and sets up a temporary PO counter for the morning.

So I took my carefully wrapped wallhanging over there, and handed it over to the vagaries of the postal system, and paid the expensive, guarenteed next-day-delivery charge and left it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Just about finished

Firstly, you have about 12 hours to give some advice. My original plan was to embroider "The dragon is charmed, I'm sure the boy is safe" alond the side of the wallhanging. I've decided not to. If you think it needs the title, I need to know before I post it tomorrow morning.
Charmed I'm Sure wallhanging

This was taken earlier today: since then, I've quilted two tiny, almost invisible, stars into the background, and taken out the safety pin. I'm currently sewing on the label.

At this point in making a wallhanging, you don't want the following scenario to happen:

The seamstress puts the wallhanging down on the settee.

Enter small child, holding a tissue. Child sits on settee, next to wallhanging.

Child: Mummy, I've got a nosebleed.

The quilt was unmarked. Oh, and the child is all right too.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


My charmed quilt is now quilted, and I've sewn on the binding on two sides.

I'm really pleased with it so far. It is the first bit of quilting I've done (and I'm entering it for a competition?!?). The quilting is really simple. Where I've used pictures cut out from fabric, I've quilted round the lines of the pictures, eg round the wizard's hand and the outline of the dragon. I've also quilted straight lines between the silvery lines I showed in the last post. The last bit of quilting has lines between the wizard's crystal ball and a circular picture of the charmed dragon and boy.

I took a whole load of pictures in the hopes of showing you how effectiveness of the quilted spell lines, but none of them captured it.

There's a large area (about 4 inches by 8 inches) where there is no quilting. Two of the hanging rings on the back are in the unquilted area, which makes it a very unstable area. It is all night sky, so I'm debating what to put in there. I could do a crescent moon or some stars, or just a few odd stitches. I'm inclined to do some very small stars.

Over the years I've done lots of sewing, so the only really new technique is quilting.

Lastly, Ferret is wondering about arranging a meetup at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. Anyone else interested?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Charmed Quilt progress

Don't get me wrong, I haven't actually finished my Charmed quilt. At the time of posting, I hadn't even quilted it. I'd just done all the applique.

On Monday, I added some metallic threads to link the dragon and the wizard. Without them, the "back story" was hidden and it was just a collage of pictures. The daughter-creature knows what the metallic threads are: they are the lines of the spells the wizard is using. Will anyone else? Most specifically will anyone gets to decide whether the quilt wins a prize, or even gets hung up.

The metallic thread was made by wrapping metallic ribbon round a core of fine threads. This construction meant it frays easily: the metallic ribbon unrwaps, and then the core threads spray out. You can thread a needle with it when you have just cut it, but within a few minutes it seems too frayed to thread. In addition it frays while you sew. Not just at the end, but in the eye of the needle and if it twists.
knotted metallic threads
That's the back: can you see what a mess the metallic thread is? I didn't finish it neatly, but just knotted it together. The dark lines are the thread's shadow: this picture was taken in full sunlight.

I love the background fabric: it makes me think of NASA photographs, with interstellar clouds and nebulae.

detail of spell lines
If you want to see some more nebulae, there are pictures here, here here here and the Horsehead nubula here and in unusual colours here. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The tolerance of a quilt

The dimensions of my "Charmed I'm Sure" are wrong. It is bothering me.

The competition rules say that the wallhangings are supposed to be 15 inches square. My wallhanging isn't.

My wallhanging is 15 1/4 inches by 14 3/4 inches. A whole 5mm out on both sides. Hugely wrong. At least that's how I feel about it.

I don't think it will be disqualified. It's not really far out - less then 2 percent.

It is completely hand sewn, and I've managed to get two small cuts that are making it very painful.

One is a paper cut - from cardboard - on the top of my left index finger. I seem to rely on the merest hint of a prick there to know when my needle is through the material, but this cut means that even the tiniest brush of a needle tip hurts.

The other is a scratch from a rose thorn on the base of my right index finger. Every pin on the wallhanging seems to scratch that exact spot when I sew.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Found a quiz, somewhere

CrayOS wasn't an option. :-(

Monday, July 10, 2006

Quilt by numbers

I took scissor to fabric today, and made a start on "Charmed I'm sure".

As quilts go, it is in the "colour by numbers" end of quilting. I take a piece of fabric with pictures printed on it. I cut the pictures out. I affix them to fabric with sky or other pictures on it.

That's it.

I don't create the pictures, just rearrange existing ones. I have (so far) restricted myself to material I already have. I need to buy wadding for the quilt sandwich. I want to get something that will make the dragon stand out (remember, the dragon has been drawn, I'm merely fixing it to the background), perhaps extra wadding.

I may buy some material for the binding. I may buy some material for the backing.

I have material that I could use for both of those, but I have this intellectual discord that says "its too nice and I might need it for something else". Then again, I could have said that about the dragon material. In fact, I did say that about the dragon material until I told myself to get over it.

I may or may not enter it in the competition. I'm just seeing how it goes.

In other news, knitty is out.

PS I'm glad y'all like my quilt.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Pictures of the leaf quilt

I realised I've probably said a lot about my leaf quilt, but you've never seen any pictures. So I took some this morning.

maple leaf blocks

maple leaf blocks

Currently it is in two pieces: I just need to sew them together.

Then add the borders, sort out the back, do the whole quilting thing, bind the edges, possibly add some more applique, and then actually put the darn thing to use. There's a little bit more work to do - perhaps twice what's already been done.

I'm rather pleased with the way I have done the stems of the leaves. Normally a maple leaf block has the stem appliqued in place before you start sewing the blocks together. When the blocks are sewn together, you end up with a right angle - like the stem on the left in the picture.

close up of maple leaf blocks

However, this quilt has a marginally more natural feel, so only some are like that. With others, I unpicked the applique stitches before sewing the blocks together (if I'd planned in advance I wouldn't have needed to unpick). Then I appliqued them so the stem went onto the next block. Some of the time, the stem only showed up on one neighbouring block (the one on the right) and some of the time on all the neighbouring blocks (central stem).