Thursday, 26 November 2009

How to cut Dresden plate wedges from 5" charm squares

You may remember my Mum's table runner that she has been working on? The pattern is called 'Plates for your Table' by Kim Walus at bitty bits & pieces. I said that we had modified Kim's instructions to suit two charm packs, instead of using fat quarters. This was followed closely by a query from a reader who 'couldn't for the life of her' work out how we had done that!
So, in case you were wondering ... Take a 5" charm:
Fold the charm square in half & press.
The dresden plate piece in Kim's table runner pattern is 3.75" long. I put a piece of tape across my ruler at 3.75" because it wasn't marked. Position the ruler as close to the unfolded edge as you can.
Cut around the wedge ruler to give you two wedges.
Open up the remaining folded piece. There should be JUST enough fabric left to cut one more wedge.
You will get one more wedge from this piece, with very little to spare!
So one 5" charm will yield 3 wedges.
This will only work for the table runner pattern. The wedges for the plate charger are bigger. We managed to cut all the dresden plate wedges and half square triangles for the table runner from two charm packs, with a few charms left over.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Moda Bakeshop journal cover tutorial

Just popping in briefly to let you know that my next tutorial for Moda Bakeshop is finished & posted. You can find it here.



I have made two different journal covers, each using Moda honey bun strips. The range I have used is Minick & Simpson's 'Wiscasset'. I can really see these in 'Rouenneries' too, especially with the linen. Of course, they can be constructed with 1.5" strips of any fabrics. You don't have to use a honey bun.



These would make really quick & easy Christmas gifts or teacher presents. Have fun, & send me photos if you make one!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Frequently asked questions

My inbox is overflowing and threatening to break out, & grab me by the throat if I don't answer some of your many questions soon! In an attempt to keep it at bay, I have decided to start a Frequently Asked Questions post. So if you have been waiting patiently for me to answer a question, you might just find the answer here.

If you have a question that is not covered in the following topics, please feel free to email me at bloom97@bigpond.com and I will endeavour to provide an answer as soon as I can.



Embroidery


WIP - gift for my mum


How do I prepare my stitcheries?
I transfer the pattern to my fabric using a sharp lead pencil & a light box. I also fuse a layer of Weaveline, a light fusible interfacing to the back of my stitcheries.

Do I use a hoop?
I always use a hoop when I embroider. I use an everyday, inexpensive wooden hoop. It holds the fabric firmly, but not stretched drum-tight.

Does my embroidery go lumpy after I remove it from the hoop?
Not usually. Sometimes this can happen if you over-tighten the fabric in the hoop. It is also important to avoid stitching with a tight tension. Stitches should rest flat against your fabric, but not pull tightly.

Do I iron my stitcheries after they are stitched.
I always press my stitcheries on completion, but always from the back of the work. I put a big fluffy towel on the ironing board, place my work face down, and press gently. This ensures your stitches won't flatten.


Quilting

'Simply-a-Bloom' quilt

Can you quilt with a normal sewing machine, or do you have to take it to someone with a large professional quilting machine?
Until recently, I always quilted my quilts on my domestic machine. It is difficult to manoeuvre a large quilt on a domestic machine, but it is certainly possible & less expensive. I have taken my last two quilts to a professional quilter, simply because it is a whole lot quicker & I have decided life is too short to be wrestling with quilting my own. I feel like I am 'cheating' to a degree, but I'm sure I'll get over it!


Bag making

Wintery frilly dilly bag

Do I make and sell 'Frilly Dilly' bags?
How I'd love a dollar for every time I am asked this question! I don't make Frilly Dillies to sell. I make them for friends and family. As is so often the case, by the time you add up cost of materials and time invested, it is simply not profitable to sell these bags. But most importantly, it would be quite wrong to do so, since the original pattern is designed by the very talented & generous Janelle Wind. I would never consider breaching her copyright in such a way.


My designs

Do I sell my own patterns?
Well, no ... Do I dream of selling my own patterns? Daily! Do I have time to sell my own patterns? I don't think so. My family & work commitments preclude it really. Am I brave enough to give it a go? Probably not!



Moda Bake Shop

How many yards are needed for the backing and binding to make my 'Sweet Menagerie' quilt?
5.5 yards backing
0.75 yard binding fabric


Dear Jane quilt

How many Dear Jane blocks have I made?
I think I am up to 52 out of 221 as at November 2009. What was I thinking?! These are my blocks thus far:



General blogging questions

What type of camera do I use, and have I done a course in photography? Do I have any photography tips?
In terms of photography, I am entirely self-taught. I have always been interested in photography, but a course is on the 'to do' list. I use a point-and-shoot camera, which frustrates me enormously. So many of my photographs of embroidery or blooms require a macro setting, and my camera is very limited in that respect. The lighting has to be 'just right' for me to take a good image. I often take many images before I am happy with one. I have been dropping hints to my Sweetness about our 'need' for a digital SLR for some time now, but don't seem to be making any progress!

If, like me, you are limited to a point-and-shoot camera, I would offer the following tips:
  • Use the macro setting (usually a tulip symbol) when taking closeups.
  • Work on getting perfect natural light. Avoid direct sunlight. Bright, solid shade is good.
  • Avoid using a flash. Opt for natural light if you can.
  • Consider taking shots of projects or blooms at an angle, rather than front on.
  • Read your camera manual - boring I know, but usually helpful! Often cameras have presets for certain types of shots eg. low light, portraits, etc.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

How to make my day!

I have received a very exciting message from Annie at Sew Nutty, a fellow Aussie girl, who has just finished her beautiful version of my 'Simply-a-Bloom' quilt. She has used 'American Primer' by Minick & Simpson for Moda.
I think you'll agree, she has done a fantastic job. Congratulations Annie on surviving my tutorial. It is an enormous relief to me that my instructions made sense! And very special to think someone else liked my pattern enough to make it!!
I have set up a Flickr group, Made with Bloom. Please feel free to add your photos to this group if you happen to make things from my tutorials. I would love to see your creations. There is also a Moda Bakeshop group which is a great place to visit for inspiration.
Mum has returned to the farm, but not before she made some significant progress on her table runner.
The pattern and fabric details are on my previous post. She is up to appliquéing the Dresden plates & it is looking beautiful.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Hey Mum, look what I can do ...

This week, I learned to pin butterflies - real pins, real butterflies! My job at the moment involves curation & identification of all sorts of insects. So I have added the skill of pinning specimens to my rather eclectic list of achievements! Aren't you proud Mum?
Speaking of Mum, she is visiting at the moment. A quick visit to the patchwork store, some 3 Sisters 'Glace' charm packs on special, and a great pattern from Moda Bakeshop has yielded at least the beginnings of a table runner:
The plan is that it will grace Mum's dining table for family Christmas. The pattern is called 'Plates for your Table' and you can find it here. It is designed by Kim at bitty bits & pieces who has posted some great free patterns for Moda. We modified Kim's instructions to suit two charm packs, instead of using fat quarters.
And speaking of my work, I couldn't help but photograph these beautiful blooms outside my building.
It is Liriodendron tulipifera, or Tulip tree.
Annie Flowergarden has been showing us some gorgeous photos of her blossoming spring garden, which inspired me to snap these shots.
The centres of these flower cups are quite mesmerising. They look like there should be fairies living inside I think! Mind you, any fairy would be living a dangerous life outside my work. They would probably get frozen, pinned, classified & archived for posterity!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Tidbits

Not a lot I can report on the stitching front right now. I am working on my next Moda Bakeshop tutorial, teaser below!
I have also managed to revisit my Dear Jane at long last, and put this solitary little block together over the weekend.
The rays are freezer paper foundation pieced and the circle needle-turn appliqued. So nice to see you again Jane!
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