Friday, 21 March 2014

Test video on how I do machine applique.

I bought this little tripod and start stop button to go on my phone. I thought it would make it so easy to show skills with little videos.
It turns out it isn't so simple. First problem is the back of the holder for the phone covers up much of the screen so it isn't easy to put it in without adjusting something unwanted.  The 2nd problem is I wanted to have it pointing from above the needle and if you tilt it too far then it falls over. I couldn't place it on the sewing machine extension table itself as it picked up too much of the machine noise.

I sort of got it right by placing the tripod on a box beside the extension table. It might have been better had I been working on a block so the fabric didn't obscure the view at some points.

So I made my little test video, it looks OK on the phone. I tried to upload to Youtube but for reasons I cannot fathom the uploads fails over and over again using wifi. I tried to email it to my pc but that failed as the file is too big.... However I was able to upload it to Facebook (perhaps FB compresses it somehow? I didn't record it in HD so my little un-savvy internet experience has no answers. If you do, please comment and tell me what to try next.)

My next thought was to download it from Facebook, foiled again.  BUT Facebook has given me a link which means you can see it without joining Facebook.
So please try and see it here.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

When you live near the top of the hill

and the sun shines, you really should go to the top. We had a glorious dry sunny day on Sunday.
This stone is known as the Buckstone and is one of the local stones with myths and legends that come with it. One story which is true, is it used to rock but never roll over. A group of drunken Victorian lads put it to the test and undid that particular myth. It was put back in place with concrete and no longer rocks.
After such a wet winter the moss is almost dayglo  green in the sunshine.
 One of the myths suggest this is where virgins were sacrificed by our neolithic ancestors and their blood caught in the bowl of this stone near the Buckstone.
 So much of it looks like a set from the Lord of the Rings films. Though this might not be such a stretch as J R R Tolkien was known to have visited the Forest of Dean.
Frank is still with us (sorry about my shadow). He still loves going out.
The 2nd instalment of the Quiltmania Di Ford mystery quilt has arrived and it involves 48 fussy cut circles to be appliquéd. Eight each of six different fabrics. That should keep me out of trouble for a while.  I prepared these with starch over three layers of freezer paper. Luckily they are not like tiny berries but one and an eighth inch diameter.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Border three done (and how I got there in photos)

 First the zig zag border, then the stems and the leaves.
 Then cut the 'eyebrow' shape off the freezer aper templates.
 Place them with some glue stick.
 Outer petal.
 Inner petal and so on.
And then it is done. Never let me do four borders the same again please. Just stop me!
I always find it interesting to see things in black and white to see the true value of the colours I have used.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Squaring up

I got the first instalment finished but it did give me the heebie jeebies over cutting it wrong after all that work.It is straight but the only easy place to photo it was on the back of the sofa.

The finished size is 18" square so it had to be cut at eighteen and a half inches. I made a cross in the middle after folding it in half in both directions and held it to the light to make sure the swags were on top of each other. The largest square ruler I have is sixteen and a half inches so the middle of the ruler is eight and a quarter from each side. I marked centre that with a sharpie pen on the top side of the ruler. Then I twisted the big ruler in tiny increments until I was happy that it was as centred as possible.

This still wasn't on the cutting line but I had a plan. I have a one inch wide ruler. I still wasn't happy (or confident enough to cut it yet), so I drew round this line with a pen on what would be the cutting line.)

To get perfect borders I cut a template of freezer paper if the finished size and cut each border individually a quarter inch outside the template.
I used the edge of the border fabric lined up with my drawn line on the appliqué background and stitched it on the machine. And then I did something which might seem a step too far, I hand appliquéd the mitres down changing thread just like Di Ford does going across the colours of the stripes.  I shall go to quilt heaven!
Years ago I bought this mat for my sewing machine. It is a very thick flexible sheet with two functions. One, it stops the machine roaming away from you whilst stitching and two, it absorbs any vibration. It isn't big enough for my big Series 7 Bernina so if anyone out there know what it is called and who sells it, please let me know.
And I have started on border number three for the machine appliqué quilt.

It felt quite odd to sit on the sofa tonight without any hand work. I might go back to the low contrast quilt, but I am not feeling any love for this. Perhaps when I have one of my other quilts finished I shall quilt up what is done so far as a warm up exercise. 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014


Two borders done on my machine appliqué piece. It seems like ages since I have played with this one. Two borders to go.... do I go for another border after this one? I think I shall wait and see if it needs it.

And all this first block needs now is the borders I bought some more of the chintz from L'abre de Vie in France. They have the glazed version which is 60" wide. The print is very slightly larger. I washed the glazed chintz once and it still felt a little waxy from the glaze. I washed it again and it still feels a little waxy but less so. It is a pig to get the needle through as it is so tightly woven but on the upside, it doesn't fray.