Thursday, October 29, 2015

Aussie Landscape - Quilt

With Australian native plants flowering in the garden and glorious calls of Australian birds filling the air, I selected, stamped, cut, and carefully stitched and quilted a melody of beautiful natural Australian designed fabrics. Inspired by the earthy tones and textures of the linen, hemp and organic cotton fabrics and visions of our wonderful wide, open, sunny Australian horizons, ideas for an Australian landscape quilt gradually became reality.

There was some playful exploration of fabric stamping to provide custom made segments for my desired big open sky. I plan to experiment further with fabric stamping and printing in the future.

Clumps of tall, hardy native Kangaroo Paw at a local park mingle beautifully with the large and small Kangaroo Paw prints in the quilt. The far horizons of our sunburnt Australian landscape are beautiful from a distance, filled with interesting plants and details as you look carefully and hold hidden details for those who explore more closely. I tried to capture these three levels of impression with my Aussie Landscape quilt - overall picture, interesting details in prints and textures and a variety of fine details in the hand quilting.

Quilt Details
Fabrics: Ink & Spindle offcuts - hand printed. (Ink & Spindle is an Australian boutique textile design and printing house).
Maze & Vale sample pack and selected panels. Maze & Vale is the work of Leslie Keating who designs and screen prints her work by hand in Melbourne Australia.
Umbrella Prints Fanflower fabric - also used for backing the quilt. Umbrella Prints is a small Australian textile house in South Australia, specialising in organic printed fabrics.
Two fabrics from Cloud 9 Fabric's Landscape collection, designed by Ink & Spindle.
Solids fabrics include various shot cottons and organic cottons.
Ink: Permaset Aqua, solvent free, Textile Printing Ink. 
Threads: Scanfil organic cottons
Batting: Hobbs Organic cotton batting.
Quilting: Entirely by hand using mostly Scanfil organic cotton threads.
Size: 40" x 59" (100cm x 150cm).
Completed this week - October 2015.

Sharing at the Blogger's Quilt Festival in the Art Quilt Category.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

'Set Free' - complete

Sometimes a single image sticks in your mind, capturing a certain emotion or thought, sparking a desire to somehow live that moment. One such image for me is this photo of Jennifer Causey hand quilting a blue and white flying geese quilt - you may have even seen it yourself. 

As soon as I saw a preview of Geninnie's Moody Blues fabric I had thoughts of making a similar quilt with this timelessly beautiful blue and white collection. Alternative ideas came to mind but  I could not shake the original inspiration from my thoughts.

Gradually the quilt came together and details resolved themselves along the way, as they tend to. You can read more about that here if you wish.

I love everything about this quilt, right down to the subtle squares which the quilting has produced on the quilt back. The beautiful birds and prints seem to be very happily Set Free, flying in the seaside winds, not unlike Jennifer's original joyful quilt.

Quilt Details: 

Fabrics: All prints are from Geninnie's Moody Blues collection for Cloud 9 Fabrics, some bought from the US and others from Spotlight in Australia (with interesting variations noted here)
The solid is a yarn dyed cross-weave called Limestone from Cloud 9's Cirrus collection
All fabrics used are GOTS certified organic cotton.
Batting: Hobbs Organic cotton batting
Threads: Scanfil organic threads plus Gutermann quilting thread.
Quilting: Hand quilted along the vertical centre of each row and horizontally in-the-ditch between each row. Machine quilted vertically in-the-ditch between each row.
Block size: Just under 8" x 4" finished, custom sized to fussy cut my favourite print (sashiko bird).
Quilt Size: 55" x 82" (140cm x 205cm)
Completed last week - October 2015

Special thanks to two of my daughters who persevered as quilt holders in very windy conditions! Thanks Miss O and Miss G!  :)

Sharing at the Blogger's Quilt Festival - Large Quilt category.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Setting Flight

The things one contemplates while trying to sleep - like how to make a fine curved bird shape for printing/stamping! After the success of my playful printing I wanted to add some finer 'birds' to my stamped fabric collection. A small paintbrush handle was the right tool for achieving a thin paper curve. Kristine of The Painted Hive has just created a brilliant tutorial for this sort of easy fabric stamping, especially helpful when using larger shapes too.

Having finished stamping my extra fabrics, I was able to complete my Australia Designs quilt top. Now the focus is on some fun quilting, using two or three threads and a variety of stitches. The variety of textures, colours and prints in this quilt make it a creative delight to work with.

 Late yesterday we took a quick trip to the beach for a very windy photoshoot of my Set Free quilt which has just been completed. Looking forward to sharing the story in a few days.

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Busy Brights

The Rainbow Lorikeets' noisy call announces their arrival - they are having a wonderful time feeding on the nectar of the Bottlebrush in the backyard. Winter broccoli and the coriander are beginning to flower, as are the Pig Face succulents and many other plants. Birds, bees, butterflies, hoverflies and many other insects visit everyday. The garden is certainly alive! Just yesterday I found the little  pot of pink flowering cactus lost beneath the pink Pig Face so I rescued it to enjoy it's dainty flowers at closer quarters.

On the sewing front, I am about half way through attaching the binding on my Set Free quilt. The fabric is another from Cloud 9's Moody Blues collection, called Sashiko Trees. The more I work with it the more I love it. The little trees bear tiny pomegranate fruits! I'm in no hurry to finish as I'm greatly enjoying the fabrics and gentle hand sewing, especially in the early morning light. Some steady progress was made on my Australia  designs quilt over the weekend too - hoping to return to it soon!

But for now I need to scamper down to the garden and pick some of that almost finished broccoli and some kale, spinach and parsley to add to the lamb bone and barley chowder simmering in the cooktop for tonight's evening meal!

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Playful Printing and a Magazine Feature

Scraps of cardboard, a paint brush, pencil and an old library card are such simple tools, yet they've allowed me to make basic print patterns on fabric with textile printing inks. Mixing my own colours and playing with printing techniques has added some childlike fun to plans for my next quilt which features prints by various Australian designers (here and below).

 Rediscovering the value of quilt magazines has been a pleasantly surprise, especially when wanting to explore the Australian quilting scene further. Down Under Quilts, Australia's first patchwork magazine, features three national quilt exhibitions in each edition, as well as news of upcoming quilt challenges and exhibitions. Every issue comes with a free gift and several step-by-step projects. Another of their regular inclusions is 'Meet a Blogger' which covers three pages of questions and answers along with numerous photos. In Issue 172, released last week, I am the blogger featured. Being invited was an unexpected honour, the whole process proved to be quite thought provoking. Our regional library, and maybe yours, carries Down Under Quilts, a great way to have a look before deciding on a personal subscription. A very warm welcome if you have found me through Down Under Quilts - feel free to have a look around, leave a comment or say hello by email (piecesofcontentment at gmail dot com).

Last but not least, I'm making steady progress on hand quilting 'Set Free', something which I will enjoy more now that our recent spring heatwave has given way to cooler days.

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

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