Sunday, 28 October 2007

My First Diamond

I have succumbed to Diamond Fever. Linda Franz books, Quilted Diamonds and Quilted Diamonds 2, are to die for....very very nice.

This is my first diamond - called "Our hearts must understand each other ere long" - No.7 - I thought I would make one seeing as the virtual retreat is on this weekend.

I have decided to make a table cloth using the seven sisters block placement. I will be using these two fabrics only - a nice purple batik and a white and pastel fabric. So I have 42 blocks in total to make and I have chosen mostly the star and heart patterned diamonds. I will call my table cloth "Delightfully Delicious Dining Diamonds" - Hopefully I won't be pulled into making all diamonds from the two books. Thanks Linda and Monkey for introducing me to these little lovlies.

Dear Jane - More blocks - Up to 34 now

I hand stitched this piece (C10 Patriots Lantern) last night - and with 35 pieces it took me a little while. I am happy with it and a good pressing will make it sit nice and flat - then I can trim it up. I meant to make it for the challenge last week but ... you gets in the way some times.

These are the other blocks I have made in the last 10 days..

From Left to right
A13 - Starlight, Starbright
D8 - Dee Dee's Delight
A8 - Florence Nightingale
C11 - Soldiers & Sailors Monument
B7 - world Series
A1 - Pinwheel Gone Awry - and yes it has!
G13 - Molly's Muffins - my first attempt at hand piecing curves.
They all need a little press and trim.
"Jane's Dear Jane" is well on its way with my numbers at 34 blocks, 0 triangles, 0 corners, 508 pieces.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Dear Jane Siggie Swap Quilt 2007 FINISHED

Shadow can't believe her eyes - the siggie quilt is finished......

And here it is - quilted, bound and the label put on (just needs to finish stitching the label down).

Then there are all the corners.....

And the back - which I think looks pretty good.

I have put a label on the back showing who all the siggies belong to.

Then there were some from Patti that I misplaced whilst making the top and found them a few weeks ago - so I decided to add them to the back.
I have also included my very first Siggie from Jill - she swapped with me very early on this year after I joined the Dear Jane Yahoo Group. I wanted Jill's siggie to be part of this quilt as well.

This is a little story that I have included on my label - it was important to me to ahave this on the quilt.
The beginnings of this signature (Siggie) swap quilt spans across time and continents.

It all began on the 8th April 1817 when Jane A Stickle (nee Blakely) was born.
Sometime in 1863, Jane Stickle finished a magnificently intricate quilt made up of 169 blocks, 52 pieced triangles blocks and 4 corner kite blocks, some 5602 pieces in total. This quilt is now held in the Collection of The Bennington Museum in the USA – listed as: “Sampler, by Jane A Blakely Stickle, Shaftsbury, Vermont, 1863. 80-1/4 x 80-1/4 inches, pieced and appliqu├ęd cottons.”

During the 1980’s a woman called Brenda Papadakis saw Jane’s quilt and has subsequently, after what I imagine to be an absolutely huge amount of time and work, brought so many people together with her book simply titled “Dear Jane”. This book details the individual blocks from the quilt together with “letters” Brenda wrote to Jane as she drafted the blocks.

In January 2007 another Jane (that is me) saw the Dear Jane quilt and was immediately mesmerised. Always wanting a challenge, I decided to investigate further. The web site was an amazing introduction to a new world where women shared knowledge and techniques willingly and friendships are formed. I noted a small side bar called “Siggie Swap” and by the time I had grasped the meaning of such a thing, it was almost too late to join. But, by the skin of my teeth and in the last hour, I managed to sign on, pay my fee and join up for the 2007 siggie swap – not really knowing the implications of such behaviour. Once I found out I had to make approximately 160 four and a quarter inch blocks and sign my name on them, I didn’t know how I was going to manage it. But the block D13 Field of Dreams is a simple block and I got a production line up and running. I sent my blocks off to Brenda Papadakis in Indianapolis, USA and waited, and waited a little bit more.

Finally, the day arrived when a package came. It was amazingly filled with one hundred and forty one 4-1/4 inch blocks – each made with love and care. I looked at these blocks with a feeling of wonder, thinking about each block, the maker and where they lived, why they chose the fabric for the block they had made, all the while amazed that the work of so many women was in my hands. My husband and I poured over our World Atlas trying to find placed where they had come from. I felt I had received an amazing gift.

After a few weeks I realised I didn’t have enough blocks to make a top in the manner of the Jane Stickle quilt of 13 x 13 blocks – so I put the word out and was blessed to receive further blocks from the Dear Jane quilters. I also swapped family and pet blocks with two ladies – Patti and Rosa. Patti’s blocks were lost for a time and they now live on the back of this quilt top.

Once I had enough blocks, I pieced the blocks, sorting through each to put into a “Trip Around The World” colourway. I then decided to make the triangle border with the blue fabric called “Cowpoke”. I also pieced the four corner triangles. The Borders were attached to the quilt on the 19 October; it was machine quilted on the 21st October and the binding attached on the 24th October and the wee small hours of 25th October 2007.

The story is an important part of a quilt – that is why I have written this and included the names of all the people who are part of this quilt top. Each persons name is listed in the corresponding place where their block is on the quilt top. On the back I have included Patti’s missing, but now found, blocks and also a triangle that was designed by Denise in Tampa, USA, in memory of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. I believe it is appropriately included to remember all those that lose their lives in War Times over the centuries because Jane Stickle’s quilt was made “In War Time” and unfortunately we still live in times of war.

This quilt is pieced with love, quilted with love and appreciation of the friendship of women across continents. I am overwhelmed every time I look at the blocks in this quilt and want to thank each and every person who has given me a piece of their lives to treasure for my own.

2007 Signature “Siggie” Block Quilt Top - Finished 25 October 2007.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Dear Jane Siggie Swap Quilt 2007 - Borders done

I have finally finished the corner kite blocks for the siggie top and have put the borders on. I really like the look of this now. The picture is not the best but you can still see how effective the triangle border is.
Now...I just have to quilt it. I decided not to put a scalloped edge on as the quilt would be too big for what I want. So just a straight edge binding once I have quilted it.

"Timeless Treasures"

This is a little quilt I am making from a kit I purchased from "Timeless Treasures" - Tonga Batiks - I have never made a quilt from a kit before but this one is quite simple - a bit of cutting out - but sews together quickly.

Now I am just trying to sort out block placement then I can quilt it. I am going to quilt it with an ocean theme - a pantograph pattern I designed myself - so watch this spot soon!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Growing up!

My baby is growing up - he will be 15 in November this year and is on 6 feet tall - and so much like his Dad!

Dear Jane Blocks - Hitting the first Milestone

Yesterday - 14 October - I reached the 25 block milestone - only 199 to go now because I have done 26 blocks!

Ever the optimist!

These are the ones I did on the 13th October.

I am working my way steadily through hand piecing A1 - Pinwheels Gone Awry - and I tell you - go awry they do!! I have not taken into account the mirror image when drawing up my freezer paper - but I will leave it as is. Only about 20 of the 40 odd pieces to put together in that block!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Quilt Dreams and Works in progress

I have been looking at my fabric stash and contemplating ...well...things.

This is the blue and cream fabric that I will be making my second Dear Jane Quilt from - I will call this one "Blue Jane" - perhaps she will help me wash my tears and worries away!

This lovely fabric is 27 fat quarters of batik fabric - I am not quite sure what I will do with it but want to make a quilt (obviously! LOL) Any suggestions .....??

This beautiful fabric is from Moda and I am wanting to make a quilt for my mother's lounge. She likes square in squares ... so I am contemplating the best way to use this fabric.

This fabric reminds me of childhood dreams of vibrant colour, flowers and my dream to become a graphic designer .... has not happened to this date but I dabble in art and designed my business card logo for purrfectly quilted. I also am designing pantograph patterns but have not yet had enough courage to show anyone these....maybe another day.

This little beauty is a partially made baby quilt - it was a two for one pattern and the other pinwheel quilt went to my sister's first grandchild. This one...when finished will be given to my sister to keep for her grandbabies when they come - no more on the horizon at this stage so I have lots of time yet ..grin!

This is my hand piecing project - I am making a huge quilt for my husband and our bed. So far I have made about 18 blocks and they are quite time consuming to piece. I have every block cut up and in a separate sandwhich bag, all the sashings and corner posts are cut and ready to go. I just have to finish making about 42 blocks - another long term project. this one comes with me to the beach when we go camping.

Here it is looking quite inconspicuous in it's little crate - just begging for me to open it up and get stitching.

Dear Jane Blocks - On a roll

This block is for Catrin who lost her son in Afghanistan in the mindless bloody war that is raging - Life is precious and too too short.

These are the latest blocks I have made this week.

M10 - Simple Simon - well not so simple for me because I cut my fabric too small - but in the spirit of Jane Stickle - I have added a strip around the edges.

Then M12 - Hopscotch - I need to get it to lay flat - the seams on the back are too full at the moment.

B12 - Starflower - appliqued this one.

E1 - Aunt Exie's Phlox - funny name

C6 - Ashely's Aura

K9 - Scout's Honor - this was this weeks challenge block

Last night we watched an episode of Dr Who - it was from the recent Series 2 and K9 - the Doctor's robot Dog made a cameo appearance - I remember him from when I was a child and we used to watch Dr Who! Amazing how many memories these things bring with them.

Making this block also made me remember my few years as a Cub Scout Leader - my husband and I both ran the local Cub Scout group while our son was involved.

C9-Jane's Tears (I am really pleased with my new applique method - works a treat!) this one is so much better than the blue and white one I did awhile ago.

H12 - Hannah Lou's Hearts

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Happy Birthday to my Husband

My dear husband James turns 47 today - he is working all day and probably won't be back home until after 9pm tonight - a very long day.
I am making a nice Chocolate Smartie cake (yummy chocolate cake with smarties placed on top of the icing) for him. Cooking Rogan Josh and rice for dinner and will have to have a nice glass of vino!
We gave him his birthday present last night because our son will be in bed when he gets home tonight - the full second series of Dr Who....and he was very happy to get this as he already has Series One and he likes the Doctor!

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

My Freezer Paper Applique Method

I was contemplating applique and perfect placement of same when I thought about using freezer paper. So I decided when I traced the pattern out of the Dear Jane book onto freezer paper - to use the template as well as the applique pieces.

So trace the block onto freezer paper. Cut out the pieces to be appliques (the circles in this example) and iron the freezer paper to the background fabric. Also iron the freezer paper circles to the applique fabric and trim.

You can then place a circle onto the background fabric and pin in place. Needleturn applique - turning the fabric until it meets the edge of the freezer paper on the background fabric.

Like this....

Then take the freezer paper off the appliqued piece.

Continue until you have appliqued all pieces.

Then take off the freezer paper.

You will then end up with perfectly placed applique pieces - and in shape also!

Here is another example.

I had to re-iron the centre piece of freezer paper after I had appliqued two of the shapes - because it comes away a bit - but it will re-stick down and you can continue on with the remainder of the pieces.

Then take the centre piece of freezer paper off.

And take the background piece off - to reveal your perfectly placed applique pieces.

Too easy - well - some of the cut outs are a bit tricky to iron onto the background fabric - but persevere and the results speak for themselves.

Cheers and happy applique!

Dear Jane Blocks - Big Day

Today I had a sewing day - a Dear Jane Sewing Day!

I made Batchelor Buttons - B1.

And Hunter's Moon....A3

The Weekly Challenge block.... D6- Challenge

A6 - Uncle Homer..

And Field of Dreams - D13

I also prepped 7 blocks (only six here though) They are all applique blocks so I can do them at night without having to use the sewing machine.

All in all a very satisfying sewing session. I have been inspired by the block of the week last week!