Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fabric Finds: Linen Tea towel goodness

OK, so I have been trying to curb my "habit" of buying fabric. During a recent clean out of my workroom, I realised exactly how much fabric I have collected over the years. YIKES.

I decided to not buy anymore fabric until I had used some of my stash for a quilt….. pshuure! That's working out really well….. actually it's not working at all.

So here's what I bought the other day, admittedly three of them are tea towels and may remain in that format, so I've only technically bought 1 piece of fabric ;)

I love vintage linen tea towels, but to be honest I've never found them to be very absorbent and useful in drying dishes - luckily my dishwasher does most of the drying at my house.

Why are tea towels traditionally made from linen? I wonder if it's because linen was traditionally used for dish cloths (you know, for cleaning dishes) because linen is much stronger when wet than when dry? Perhaps it's because many of these souvenir tea towels originated in Ireland which produced it's own linen?

I'm off to research tea towels, hope you enjoy my recent fabric finds!

Vintage Hungarian linen teatowel

Vintage Irish linen tea towel by Ulster in Lotus pattern

Teal and orangey crimson, my current favour colour combo! Vintage Australian linen tea towel
(over-printed with Greetings from Tuncurry)

Lovely open weave cotton with a pattern of Camellias (?) growing up trellis.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Quilt for Ruthie

For the past few months I have been totally Ruthless. That is to say, without Ruth :(
I'm not going to go into all the reasons why I think Ms. Ruthie is such a great person, mother, daughter, employee, sister and friend because I know it would embarrass her and I don't want to do that.

This is my first appliqué quilt and based on Sarah Fielke's Enchanted Blossoms quilt pattern (but altered because I'm no good at following rules!). Whilst sewing it, I spent time thinking about Ruth and her crazy ways, love of animals and punctuality, fear of opticians, plastic spiders, real snakes (with good reason) and her go-out-of-her-way determination to assist those who need assistance.

Ms Ruthie, you make life for everyone around you fun and yes, a little crazy too. But then what is life without a little craziness now and then?

Love you Ruthie

Ms Ruth's quilt (a version of Sarah Fielke's Enchanted Blossoms quilt)

Back of quilt with mixture of vintage and new ikat fabrics

I decided (last minute) to make the corners scalloped
Next time I'll make a template and get them all the same (lol!)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Time for a Change

Holy crap. I can't believe it has been two months since I last posted!
I have been experiencing a mixture of extreme laziness and outright obsessive production over the last eight weeks. I have been obsessing over my latest fabric collection (still in production) which is inspired by the American frontier lands of the mid 19th century.

The more I research this era the more obsessed I become with it. It seems I can't get enough of prairie pastures dotted with wild buffalo, worn linen dresses, indian beaded bags and sod houses with crooked chimneys - amongst many other romantic visions of the West.

I have a hankering to wear long prairie dresses with worn brown leather boots and wander aimlessly through meadows collecting wildflowers :)

I have a Pinterest board for such visual goodness as this here, please feel free to drop by and take a
look. I will be releasing my latest collection in the next few weeks, I can't wait to share it!

More recently I've been painting the house, moving furniture and just giving the house a new look where possible. The old wooden country style dining chairs we've had for years were starting to look quite disgusting (as happens with young kids in the house). I had re-covered them about two years ago with an IKEA fabric but they have long since failed to look as good as when they were freshly done.

old grotty chair pads with IKEA fabric covers

I thought about buying some fabric specifically for covering them again, but seemed a little ridiculous considering the amount of fabric spilling out of every corner of my studio/sewing room.
So I cut out the basic shape of the seat plus a few inches from some canvas, whipped up some flying geese blocks and began to piece them onto the centre line of the canvas quilt-as-you-go style.
once the centre line of geese was done I added strips to each side and bingo-bango-bongo...

freshly covered and ready for use!

and another....

all done! 6 quilt-as-you-go covered chairs

Have you been working on anything around the home lately?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Quilt for baby Karina

Sometime late last year I began making a quilt for a gorgeous little lady by the name of Karina.
I had planned to have it finished by March and had a label printed up with that month as the finish date. Ooops. Better late than never right? 
I designed the pattern for this quilt to go with my Midnight Sun collection of fabrics. It was loosely based on a nordic pattern found in knitting and goes with the scandinavian theme of the collection.
I used the designs in the Darling colourway including my Fjordlands in Darling on the reverse.

The thing I'm most proud of with this quilt is that I did all the machine quilting myself! To be honest, that is why it took me such a long time to complete it. I'm not very confident with machine quilting and there was a lot of unpicking done in the first several attempts. The resulting quilting is quite "doodly" but I must say I like the way it turned out. 
Hopefully by the time I finish the next few quilts I'll be super confident!

Dearest Karina, I hope you love your quilt in the years to come! Maybe one day your little girl will use in on her bed too.

Friday, July 25, 2014

National Costumes

I've always had a bit of a 'thing' for folk costumes, particularly those from European countries.
There's something about the unrestrained use of colour and pattern I find appealing.
My dear Ms. Prue brought me a vintage book to see that she knew I would like: National Costumes - designed by LePage-Medvey and published in 1939.
The book is a portfolio of colour plates of illustrations of ethnic costume from Austria, Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia.
Because the printed illustrations have spent most of their 75 years within the closed pages of a book, they were in extraordinarily good condition and the colours!! The colours are as bright as the day they were printed and just make me drool!

The subjects all happen to have very rosy cheeks but I guess the fresh country air does that.
It's incredible that in the last 100-150 years so many of these costumes are not seen anymore, at least on people. Wouldn't it be sad if these magnificent clothes were lost to jeans and t-shirts for good one day :(

I love the fact that it was perfectly acceptable for men to wear flowers and lace, there aren't many men brave enough to wear such finery today! The highly starched linen headpieces and neck ruffles that feature in this book are stunning as are the hand made lace aprons and exquisitely embroidered garments.

Here are some of my favourites for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Something different...

Lately I have been obsessed with Russian designs (again). This time with posters and graphic design used on advertisements, especially those on vintage matchbox labels and stamps. These pieces are available on eBay for just a few dollars, and are lots of fun to collect.

I have been busily collecting mid-century graphics on ephemera such as these, and boy is it addictive!
The simple, bold and somewhat abstracted designs are just perfect for transferring to quilt design.
I have also been wanting to appliqué text to quilts for a while and this project is the perfect opportunity to give that a go!

Mid-Century Soviet Russian Matchbox Labels, these are a collection of folk toys
My choice for transfer to quilt design - I think the word means dolls,
anyone know?
sketch up of how to piece the quilt
Applying applique 
the finished block with chain stitched faces

Well, it is by no means perfect but I really enjoyed making this block and am keen to start some more to eventually sew together into a quilt. Have you ever designed a quilt around an object of ephemera?
Do tell me about it, I'd love to hear!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Nautical Cross quilt

Here's my latest finished quilt, a stash-bustin' cross quilt with a nautical feel (for me at least).
I used a mixture of vintage and new fabrics and winged the pattern.

I based my colour choices on Red, Yellow and Blue and made sure that they were all warm toned colours so that they wouldn't clash. When I had pieced my crosses together they had a nautical feel, like signal flags or perhaps flags of scandinavian countries.

This one is for my sweet Little Ms B, who is now a big 7 year old girl and growing more independent each day.

The quilt is hand quilted using DMC Cotton Perle in two colours.

Nautical Cross Quilt
the patterned fabrics are vintage finds and the solids are modern, except the lighter yellow  crosshatched fabric which is Caroline Friedlander (LOOVE her designs!)
a huge mixture of stash fabrics from Lincraft, vintage, old clothing and on-line purchases.
The far apart hand stitched quilting leaves the quilt soft and pliable.