"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fifty year update!

I collected my new sewing machine on Friday from Statewide Sewing Centre in Greensborough.  I was afraid that L. (the sales lady in the shop) wouldn't have time to show me how to use it, but fortunately for me, not one other customer came into the shop for nearly an hour, so I had her all to myself.  She was an excellent tutor; she got me to sit at the demo. machine and actually do all the things that I had to learn, from threading cotton to changing the various feet, of which there are half a dozen including a walking foot.  She said to come back any time if I wasn't sure of something, and as they are only five minutes from home, it is very convenient.

So, here I am at the start of a new era in sewing for me.  My dear old Singer Hushmatic now sits on the floor, waiting to be taken back to Statewide and fixed.  L. told me that I wasn't the only one to make the mistake of pulling the machine apart to clean it and going too far.  She said they had three other similar cases this year!  I don't feel quite so stupid...

And here is the new one.  Gulp...I'm quite intimidated by modern technology, so I fear it is going to take me a while to actually get around to making something.   Thank goodness the instruction book is very comprehensive because I've already forgotten most of what L. showed me at the shop :-(
See the Pink Ribbon symbol, and the pink bits on the machine?  Apparently this is a limited edition brought out by Janome to raise funds for Breast Cancer research.  I didn't know about that when I signed up for it at the Convention, but I must say I quite like having a pink machine!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hungarian Peacock Sampler

Annie over at Annie Bebop's Coloring Book emailed me a few weeks ago to tell me about a Hungarian Peacock Sampler she discovered.  Knowing how much I love Peacocks, she sent me the link to Manka's website for the details.
Manka is providing the PDF file free to those who want to participate in an SAL for this sampler, so I emailed her to request it.  It arrived in my Inbox last night and I didn't waste time in printing off a hard copy, then going through my stash to find a piece of 18ct Aida and some floss.  The pattern suggests using black thread on the white Aida, but I had some beautiful purple stranded cotton which I thought would look nice instead.  Today I started on the border and stitched one Peacock.  I've never participated in an SAL before, so I'm not sure if I'm supposed to do a bit every week, every month, or just report on a regular basis what I've stitched.
I haven't done much cross stitch in the past year or so, having gone mad on patchwork, and I know that once I take delivery of my new sewing machine, I'll be messing around on that!  So I thought it would be fun to at least start this sampler, and if I only have to stitch one peacock a month, I'll be able to keep up with that!

Monday, April 22, 2013

AQC purchases, and photos of convention.

I have posted my photos of some of the quilts at the AQC over at my Needlecraft Shows blog here.

These are what I bought at the Quilt Convention on Saturday - mostly fabric, two kits and a HUGE cutting mat which I haven't bothered photographing, because everyone knows what they look like.  The Scissorman had them out for $34.95 or two for $60.  I asked Cheryl if she wanted one so we could get one each for $30, and she said "I'll do better than that".  She had a word in the ear of one of the sales ladies, who asked the man in charge, who looked over at us and nodded.  Cheryl came back to me grinning.  "I got two for $50 - no harm in asking!"

A metre of Laurel Burch fabric.  I LOVE her cat fabrics (thanks to my friend Sylvia) so I couldn't resist this.  Don't know what I'll do with it yet of course, but I will find a use for it!   This photo is not good at all, sorry.

I bought a fat quarter of this kitty fabric years ago, and have been making it last as long as I can, so I was pleased to see it on one of the stalls for $10 a metre.  

Ken saw a small quilt when we were up at Warburton and wanted to know if I could make him one like it.  The one he saw had tractors or something, and he asked if I could get fabric with bikes on.  "Ask and thou shalt receive!".  I asked at all the fabric stands at the show, and at the last one we went to, the guy behind the counter produced this panel, and some fat quarters with smaller patterns.  Ken was delighted when he saw this, so I think my first project on the new machine will be a mini quilt for him!

I had no intention of buying a pattern for a Christmas tree (I made a wall hanging of a tree last year - why would I want to do another one so soon?) but the stall had three different made up versions of this, and one was done in Aust. Aboriginal design fabric, and it looked fabulous.

This was silly, really - $10 for a pattern using felt, when I've got books and magazines full of them already...but it is cute.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Janome is my choice - thanks to your advice!

Today I went to the A/asian Quilt Convention with a friend, and spent a lot of time at the sewing machine companies stands where I was able to have a good look at what they all had.   I looked at Husquvarna, Pfaff, Singer and Janome, and by that time I was in information overload! so I didn't bother looking at Bernina or Brother, but by then I had pretty much decided on the Janome DC4030 model. The limited edition Singer machine was there and I was shown all the features, but it was bigger than what I wanted, and didn't have a hard case for storing and carrying. The other Singer which might have been okay wasn't bad, but it lacked some of the features of the Janome at around the same price.  The retail price of the Janome is $699, but the show special price was $569, so for a saving of $130, it was worthwhile putting down a deposit in order for them to hold the machine for me at our local sewing centre.  Here is a link to my choice of machine on the Janome website.

I had a list of questions to ask about each brand, but my friend Cheryl was way ahead of this old chook!  She asked for a brochure on each machine that I looked at, got them to write the price on it, and asked questions before I had a chance to dig out my list from my bag!  But my decision was made by actually seeing how the machines worked, and the Janome was by far the least complicated, and I intuitively felt that I would be comfortable with it.  So, thank you to all my readers here who gave me their opinions and advice, as it gave me a starting point, whereas without you, I would have been utterly and completely confused today!

I had no intention of spending money on fabrics or anything else today; just went to look at sewing machines.  Ah well, dream on.  Spent about $100, and will post photos and details tomorrow when I've transferred photos from camera to computer.  I also took photos of some of the fabulous quilts and will post them to my Needlecraft shows blog, but don't go there yet!  Hopefully will do that tomorrow too.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Speech writing in progress.

So far this year, I have been invited to present three talks on my collection.  The first one will be to the Embroiderers Guild on a Saturday, at their June monthly meeting.  I was on my way out of the Guild building on Tuesday when one of the committee ladies came running out after me.  She asked if I would do a talk at the June meeting and I agreed.  When she asked what I might talk about, I suggested my embroidered peacocks, and she was intrigued.  "It will be different!" she said.  I've been waiting for a long time to do a talk about this particular facet of my linen collection, and here is my chance!  Now I have to decide which items to take along to display, as I won't be able to fit them all in.   I'll have about 40 minutes to present my talk, and there are large display boards where the embroideries can be pinned up.

The next talk is later in June, and will be at the Mill Park Library for the City of Whittlesea Cultural Heritage Program.  They asked me to do a talk about collecting in general, focussing on my linen collection but touching on anything else I collect  (OMG I could be there all day - swap cards, books, art supplies...), so that will be a talk in a slightly different context.

The third date is in August, when I will be doing a talk for the members of NOTY, who have asked me to talk about my linens, but one aspect in particular.  At this stage I think they want me to show the aprons, but it hasn't been finalised yet.  

I've got a few ideas down on  paper for each presentation, but knowing my habit of procrastination, if I don't get myself organised soon, I'll be writing the outline of my talks on the night before!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Using buttons to embellish.

I am always finding interesting and informative books about crafts to borrow from our library.  My only problem is to make as many of the projects in each book before I have to return it!  We can renew our loans twice, giving us a total of nine weeks which you might think is more than enough time.  But if like me you have half a dozen book out at one time, there is only so much you can do!
I renewed this book online tonight, and as I now have only 3 weeks, I thought I'd better make a start on the items I wanted to play with.

The first project I wanted to try (and managed to finish in one day) was this. (The flash made the colours a bit washed out).

 An artist canvas board, painted a pale lavender with acrylic paint and left to dry for an hour or so. (Acrylic paint is great for projects like this as it dries very quickly).  Next I took a pile of 2" fabric squares from my stash and laid them out across the canvas and when I was satisfied with the layout, they were glued to the board.  Finally I went through my button stash and found a button to sew on each piece of fabric.  It was fun to do, although the MOTH will look at it and ask "what are you going to do with it now?"  Of course there will be no reply, as I  will just add it to my pile of finished projects and look at them from time to time, remembering the fun I had creating them!

These are pictures from the book of the other things I plan to do during the next three weeks. ( I'm not missing my sewing machine at all lately, despite my recent post about wanting to do more patchwork after seeing everybody's work on other blogs!  My time will come.)
Little stuffed owl toy with button eyes and feet.
 Hand made cards using fabric and buttons on card.

 My plans for this bag are slightly different. I've sewn some fabric on a supermarket 'green bag' and will add buttons to embelllish it in a similar way to this.

I LOVE this map done in buttons!  My map will be Australia of course, which will be much easier than this seeing we only have seven states (not including ACT) and not fifty like the USA!  This isn't an actual project in the book, by the way - it is a photo of someone's work in a museum over there.  So there are no directions to follow but it shouldn't be hard to do.