Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Breaking the drought (and also a little tutorial)

After a 3 week drought, I was very excited to get back to my Tuesday night 'Stitch and Bitch' class at Amitie.

It was lovely to see my very patient and talented teacher Judy again.
She has taught me so very much.

Numerous other happy patchers and quilters came along tonight.
(Note the empty champagne flutes).

And I got started on a new project for my mum's birthday coming up in December.

I used a technique that I learned watching the (online) Quilt Show. This technique was described in the show that you can watch for free. (I hope the episode hasn't changed).

In any case, I thought I'd show you how I do this gorgeous block.
It is a 'Flying Geese' block made (incredibly) with
only 1 seam!

Check this out .....

First, you cut your pieces.
I'll give the dimensions for a finished block that is 3 inches x 6 inches.

You need two 3.5 inch squares that will make the corners of the block. And you need to cut a rectangle 3.5 inches x 6.5 inches, which will make the central triangle of the block.

These ...

will eventually become these....

Here's how ...

Take the rectangle piece and fold it in half with the right side on the OUTSIDE.

Then make a sandwich with this folded rectangle as the 'filling', and 2 of the squares as the 'bread'. The 2 squares should have their right sides facing INTO the sandwich.

You will notice that the folded rectangle is the same width as the squares but 1/4 inch shorter. Place the fold of the rectangle at the end with the 1/4 inch gap (see above).

Then, with the sandwich in this same position, sew a 1/4 inch seam down the right hand side of the sandwich. (Once you get used to this process, you can chain piece lots of blocks in one go).

That's all the sewing. Amazing!!!

The magic happens with the ironing.
First, with the fold of the rectangle at the top of the block, iron out the right hand square.

Then, grab the bottom left hand corner of the folded rectangle and bring it over to the right hand side to make a folded triangle.

Iron this down ....

and voila!!!

You now have a block that can be joined together in any number of ways. Here's how I have joined mine ...

I'll show you how the whole quilt will come together once I've done a bit more work on it.

In the meantime, time for me to get to bed.

Sleep well and happy quilting!

Andi :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our Succah

It is nearing the end of the Jewish festival Succot

Dan and I both attended Jewish day schools and had the opportunity to experience our Jewish tradition in a very real way at school.

However, we have decided to send our children to the local state school which has a range of advantages ... but this means that we have to be very considered and deliberate about the Jewish education we give our children at home. 

It is the tradition during Succot, to build an outdoor dwelling / hut, in which the family eats for about a week  (and some people even sleep in them). They are decorated in all kinds of ways and are a great excitement for the smallest people in the house.

So, this year we built our second family Succah. Our first one was last year and was a bit of a disaster. It got blown over, taking numerous pieces of furniture and a couple of terracotta pots with it. 

This year had to be an improvement.

Here are some shots of us putting up our Succah:

And here are the kids making some decorations:

Our first meal:

And our various guests (It is a lovely tradition to invite guests to share in your Succah).

Andi :-)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The things they say!

Yesterday, on the way to kindergarten, my 4 (nearly 5) year old son and I were talking about breathing....

Jake: Mummy, nostrils are like tubes that go into your lungs, right?

Me: That's right. Do you know what we breathe in through those tubes?

(I was expecting a simple answer like "air")

Jake: Oxygen


Me: And what do we breathe out?

Jake: Bi-carb soda

That's my boy!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More memories for Jake

When Jake turned 3, I made him a quilt full of family photos (just like I'm doing for Ella's 3rd birthday).

I discovered the most fabulous product called Miracle Fabric Sheets which allow you to print directly onto white cotton fabric using your own colour inkjet printer. Heaven!! I'm sure there are many other products that do a similar thing but I stumbled upon this one and really love it.

Since then, I have used them rather a lot. For example:

A fun quilt for my son's kindergarten room with faces of all the kids in his class

An attempt to go a bit 'Andy Warhol'

More recently, I have begun working on a quilt for Jake's 5th birthday. He is a total train nutter. Still obsessed with anything remotely train-related and, of course, all things Thomas the Tank Engine.

Now that Jake's fine motor skills are developing, he has begun to write his name (with a very sweet backwards 'J') and drawing .... trains of course.

So, I have incorporated some of these images into the quilt by scanning them into the computer and printing on to my Miracle Fabric Sheets. (Apologies for the very over-exposed photos).

Not finished yet, but his birthday is in January. Plenty of time to go.

My main worry is that he loves the fabric I chose for the backing even more than the front.

Oh well. What would a 5 year old boy know?

Until next time ..... happy quilting.

Andi :-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Flower Gardens

In my first post, I promised to tell about my grandmother's "Flower Garden" quilt. Well, here goes.

My grandmother (Mama) was always very creative and crafty. She painted (oil paintings, ceramic painting, silk painting and more). She sculpted. And she sewed. She embroidered. And she made one quilt.

She hand patched this beautiful quilt top with the tiniest little stitches. It took her about a year to finish it.

At the time I was about 8 years old. She showed me how to cut patches, sew them together. I remember making a rather small and design-less piece. I wish I knew where it ever got to.

After finishing the quilt top, she had it "professionally" quilted. It was a pretty ordinary end result, with a nasty green nylon backing. But it was always on her bed and she loved it.

When she died in 1999, she left her quilt to me, knowing I was the only one of her 18 grandchildren who would really appreciate it. I decided to have it requilted.

I didn't do anything about it until 2007 when I started an evening class with the lovely Judy Newman at my favourite place, Amitie in Bentleigh. I was very clear with Judy at the time. "I am a patchworker. I DON'T quilt".

Judy is a wise teacher and cleverly convinced me to have a go at hand-quilting it myself to honour my grandmother. Well, needless to say, Judy now has me hooked on hand quilting.

Here is a look at my efforts with Mama's quilt (with a gorgeous new vintage look backing).

My Uncle Brian says "it's the first rug I've ever seen that's more like a tombstone". Thanks Uncle Brian!

Well, more recently, I have been working on a gift for my daughter Ella's third birthday which is coming up in November. I have called it "Ella's Flower Garden" and it incorporates my latest favourite quilt style ....... memory quilting. I think that often memory quilts look really tacky but when you modify the images so they actually blend in with the other fabrics, the results can be lovely.

I think Mama would have approved. Ella certainly does.

Have a lovely Wednesday.

Andi :-)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

getting there

Well, I've been spending a bit of time working out the whole 'Blogger' thing and have come up with a couple of slide shows and some links. I think this is starting to look more like I had imagined.

I need to start taking my camera with me when I visit friends and family so I can take photos of other quilts I've given away. There are more than a few!!!

Enjoy this glorious Melbourne Spring weather, or the weather wherever you are.

Andi :-)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A tentative first post.

Hi. I'm Andi.

I have recently become fascinated with the world of crafty blogs and have finally decided to put myself out there with my very own..... gulp.

I have been patching for the past ten years but first learned to patch when I was about 8 years old. My grandmother (Mama) was hand stitching a beautiful "Grandmother's Flower Garden" design and showed me the ropes. This was the only quilt she ever made and there is quite a story to tell about it..... But I'll save that one for a later post.

I hope to use this blog to document my quilt making and share some of my day-to-day life with others who might be interested. I work part time in health care, have a lovely partner and 2 delicious children. Life is pretty jam-packed but I make an effort to fit in my crafty passions. Now I just have to find an extra bit of time to do a bit of blogging. No problems!?!

Well, that's my first post. Not so hard. Next time I might try to add some photos.

Bye for now.

Andi :-)