Saturday, October 23, 2010

Heathers Quilts...

Oh Hello There...

Just let me pop the kettle on...Would you like a cuppa?...

 Then I'll tell you all about my friend Heather's Quilts...

Yes you heard me right... Quilts...Plural!

Heather loved my work so much after making the first one for her she ordered
not one... but another two.
Heather decided that she was giving her spare bedroom a make over.
She has it set up for the grandchildren with a single bed and a set of  twin bunks.

She had decided to paint the walls in a neutral beige and use plain callico for the curtaining.

Her colour selection for the Quilt was Cream, Brown, and Russet tones in any pattern or combination.
"You Choose"

I love a customer that is very open and trusting of my creativity and ability to come up with a design that I intuitively know will match their style, taste and personality. 

Quilt 1... Single Bed Quilt in Dark Tones.

Heather was so excited when she called in to check on my progress.
She ablolutely loved  the colour combinations and the pattern. So much so... (Even before I'd finished the backing, quilting and binding)... that... right there on the spot she ordered another Two!

I was quite gobsmacked...and had not anticipated her reaction

She wanted these two for the bunk beds in the same colour tones and pattern.

Quilt 2. Lower Bunk Quilt in Mid Tones.

I had chosen to use a variation of the hourglass pattern.
The result being that rather than the pattern consisting of rigid light and dark dark triangles opposite one another... I made each of the blocks using random colour combinations.

On learning that Heather wanted two more quilts in the same pattern and colours, I decided to make each of them slightly different by using some of the fabric patterns and colours from Quilt 1 and combining them with lighter mid tones for Quilt 2 

I chose to back the Quilts with dark taupe, mid taupe, and a lighter taupe.

The sashing between the blocks I kept the same on all three to maintain some continuity.
The fabric for this as you can see is a dark brown and a cream with a gold fleck for the small squares in between.
The gold fleck just gave the overall effect a subtle lift...

Quilt 3 Top Bunk. Lighter Tones.
(And yes it is narrower than the other two)

For the third quilt, I decided to utilise some of the mid tone blocks from quilt 2
 combining them with lighter toned prints in the same colours.

Heather wanted this quilt to be a little narrower so that it did not hang as low over the sides of the top bunk.
I completed the quilts by binding them again using dark, mid tone and light un-patterned fabric

On all three quilts I followed the pattern created by the sashing by machine "stitching in the ditch"
The binding  was... of course... was hand stitched.
As I said...

 Heather absolutely loved all three quilts and...

About a month after their completion and her taking them home to adorn the spare bedroom
She called by and greeted me saying... "I need another quilt"
I must have looked horrified thinking that there might have been a problem with one of the "Triplets"... 
"No No" she said "It's alright... I just want to order another Quilt"!

 This time around, she would like a queen sized quilt to go in the guest room!
Same pattern as "the triplets" but in Aquas, Pinks, Greens, Pale Blues and Creams. A mixture of subtle pastels I think.

Unfortunately I have had to put this order on hold as for the past 12 months I have not been able to do much in the way of quilting as I had a bulging disc in my neck removed and surgery on a trapped nerve in my elbow. Recovery has been very slow and I am only just getting back into the swing of things now.

Heather has been a great friend and is very understanding with the time delay...

On arriving home from Hospital after my surgeries she came bouncing in the door with a big smile on her face saying...
"Right! You're home now. When can I have my Quilt!"
She made me laugh so much that I started crying with pain...

That was almost 12 months ago...

Guess what?...

We are off to pick out some colours and fabrics next week...

I'm really looking forward to firing up the old Pfaff again... 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mauve Moments

Hello again...Let me pop the kettle on...

This is another of my Quilts.
It is one that I made for my Mother.
With this quilt I did not follow a pattern. I used the basic log cabin block in creme, mauve and purple tones. Constructing them to form large geometric squares using 4 blocks to make each of the larger squares. With this quilt I also cut the strips of fabric for the blocks at 2 and1/2 inches in width resulting in the strips being 2 inches wide when sewn together. Making the overall pattern and design much larger than the tradititonal or usual log cabin block, and much quicker to construct.

The quilt is backed with a large print floral monotone on the reverse which highlights the simple diagonal stitching of the quilting.

The Batting that I use in my Quilts is a 90% Cotton 10% Acrylic blend which is durable and tends not to clump with washing.

Quilt Reverse Side Up

As you can see in this picture the quilt goes right to the floor.
 In order to maintain the pattern of the large squares,
 I added a half of the larger blocks attaching the matching halves on either side of the quilt opposite each other all the way around so as not the break the pattern...

Here is a closer shot showing some of the detail in the fabric pattern and the diagonal quilting

And Mum really does like the finished product as it is very rarely off her bed...Apart from when it's out hanging on the line to dry...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Green Log Cabin...

Hello again...

I'll put the kettle on...

Log cabin blocks are great to work with and provide such an endless array of combinations once they are constructed and put together.

I have made many quilts using the basic block pattern the last few years and this Green one is one of my first efforts.

I tend to use it mostly as a table cloth when I visit local craft groups to display my works or at local artisan craft expo's and display weekends I do sell some of my works and am looking at building this hobby into a small business that ai can run from home. I don't do the shows very often but When I do I enjoy getting out and meeting other crafty folk and fellow quilters. It tendsto be a bit of a novelty with me being a guy!

Again I love the process of designing the finished piece and the hunting down of the individual fabrics that I want to use.
First by going through my stash, and then going off to do the rounds of local fabric shops to find just the right tone and print  for each combination.

The major colour choice for this piece was, as you can see... green

The tonal ratios are quite contrasting between light and dark tones in this quilt which when creating the finished pattern allowed for starker, bolder pettern definition.
Other Quilts that I have made since making this one are less stark with more subtle changes between the light and dark tones. But I really like the impact that this design has..

And there is always the quirky temptation for me too add just a hint of a contrasting or compimentary colour to the design.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I See Aliens....

Do You?

I did not design the pattern for this quilt.
My mother decided that she would like to make it as a special gift for her youngest grandson at the time (since then grandchild #16 has arrived and that was a boy making him the youngest now) after finding the pattern in a magazine. My mother, never having made a quilt before decided...You guessed it... that Uncle Steve could help her and it could become a joint project.

We had a lot of fun deciding on the colour scheme and going through the fabric stash.
The pattern intended for the finished piece to be hung as a wall hanging but, on seeing the finished quilt "Grandchild #15" decided that it was going to be his "New Blanky From Nanny"...

I cut out the pattern pieces for the quilt and applique pieces, fixing them into position and sewing the quilt top pieces together.

 Mum completed all the hand stitching around the applique pieces using blanket stitch and sewed on all the embellishments. I completed the quilt by fixing the batting and backing  and hand stitching the binding.

Mum had a lot of fun in deciding where each of the embellishments should be placed.
 She raided her button jar for the old shiny buttons that she imagined could be distant stars and planets and galaxies and searched the local haberdashery stores for star buttons of various sizes, shapes and colours and some wobbly eyes.

A closer image of the finished quilt..

A closer look at the critters and spaceships...

And.. an even closer look at Mum's handiwork with the needle...
Using Blanket Stitch around all of the individual Applique pieces and a straight running stitch around the spaceship and star to create a sense of movement.
I think she was very proud of her first quilting effort and I was very proud of her for giving it a go in the first place.

And the best thing was that Grandchild #15 Loved it!
And that makes it all worthwhile...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Daisy Daisy....

Come and Meet Daisy...

Oh Hello there...
I see that your back for another visit or perhaps it's your first visit?
Well Welcome any way... 
I am a self taught Quilter and do not profess to be an expert in the field so my terminology may not be quite right in some of my descriptions... Nor do I think a lot about the method that I used to create an object but if you ask me how I did something... I will attempt to do my best to expalin it for you...
Well...  come on in and I'll put the kettle on...

This project is one of my UFO's ( Un Finished Objects)
but is also becoming like an old friend in it's continuing creation.
"Daisy" has become my "in between quilts quilt". The one I return to after a fast and furious affair with a new project or...
 The one I snuggle up to and that is there for me in the down times when the creative bug has taken temporary leave.
 Working on "Daisy" affords me the time and opportunity to just chill out, relax, mull things over and imagine potential new projects in my mind that are yet to take physical form. While at the same time with every stitch, getting closer to  Daisy's ultimate completion.

Daisy is a combination of hand stitched applique and machine stitching

Each of the 24 cream coloured blocks consists of an eight petaled flower. Each flower being a different colour.
Each flower is made up of a central circular piece surrounded by eight individual petals which are all varied light, mid and dark toned and patterned fabric of the same base colour

It is a great way to use up scraps from other projects and all those fat 1/4's in your stash.
Each of the flower petals and flower centre were lined with an iron-on backing and basted then placed in position on the cream cloured block and hand stitched into place.

The sashings were cut from yellow cotton and a cream based floral print cut for the joining squares. This same print was also used for the binding.

The sashes were machine sewn to join the large cream squares together.
The quilt was then "stitched in the ditch" following the seam lines to create the geometic shapes
Thhe binding was then machine sewn into place and then hand stitched into position on the reverse side
I am now in the process of hand quilting each of the centres and petals of the flowers on the large creme blocks.

Not having hand quilted very much in the past
I discovered that on the back of the quilt the stitching looked quite messy...
So to camouflage this... I developed a stitch pattern that I call a "Swirling Starburst"

Which I am again hand stitching...and making sure that the stitches don't go through the full thickness of the quilt...

I have again used a bright backing fabric which shows the stitch pattern of the geometric machine stitching of the quilt top as well as the "swirling starbutrsts"
Again making it reversible should I grow tired of the Daisies

So there's Daisy
A work in progress...And a dear Friend...

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Mexican Star

Hello there and welcome to Stitch'n Steve's

I have started this blog to share some of the creative work that  I am compelled to craft.
Most of the Quilting that I do is machine sewn. Though from time to time you might see some applique or hand stitched items on display.

In this post I'd like to show you my attempt at a Mexican Star Block Quilt.
The finished quilt measures

85inch x 97 inch or 215cm x 245cm

I really love the challenge that quilting provides for me.

I'm not into the fancy stitchery of  Long arm machine quilting and so tend to finish my quilts ustilising geometric shapes or follow the patterns made by the blocks and quilt by using the " Stitch in the Ditch" method.

This is one of my quilts that I adore, I just love the bright colours and impact of the design.
Picking out the colours for this quilt was great fun.
I wanted the bright impact of yellow along with the subtle calming pinks into the deeper burgundy and maroons. The contrasting colours sound hideous but I like to think that...

With some thought about variation in tonal strengths, fabric colours and the combination of pattered fabrics when put together I think is worth taking the risk...
When I work on projects like this I tend ot hold a picture of the finished product in my head througout the process.
It is a great feeling when the end product matches the vision...

The quilt top consists of 42 Mexican Square Blocks
Each block differs from the next through the placement of coloured pieces being differing in tone or shade or pattern or by reversing the colour combinations for individual Blocks.
I find that this approach adds a little something that poses much more of a delightful challenge when choosing fabrics.. and in the final placement of the finished blocks.

I do like using only three or four colours/prints in a design from time to time but,  I find the repetition of the same patterns and colours becomes a little boring after a while and I can lose interest in a project quite rapidly.

When choosing a backing I am not a traditionalist and tend to use backing fabric that either contrasts or compiments the quilt top.

And when quilted the piece then becomes reversable.

As you can see here the backing fabric continues to carry the yellow/pink theme from the quilt top
But also compliments it with the addition of the mauve and orange tones of the larger backing print.
The stitching then becomes a feature on the reverse side.
I hope that you have enjoyed seeing this project and if you have will pop back over to check out the next one.

Even if you haven't liked what you see... I'd still appreciate your comments and feed back.

Till next we meet

Stitch'n Steve...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Totes and Handbags

Some Totes and Handbags that I have made in recent times.

I would appreciate your feed back.