I made a sketch on paper, then threaded up my machine with a moderately thick topstitch thread (Tex 100) in the top and the bobbin, and free motion quilted the outline of the girl in the meadow. I was a little nervous when I started, but once I got going I was fine. I used stitch and tear stabilizer to help keep everything under control, but I did not hoop my work as I find the hoop just gets in my way. (Note to self - use soluble next time - pulling the stitch 'n tear out from all that grass is a pain)
With the outline complete I then used my fabric paints and Derwent Inktense pencils to paint the little girl in her meadow.
And here she is. Now I just need to wait for a sunny day to put it on.
I am so proud of my mum.
This is her latest quilt, which she finished today. It is her version of the famous Dear Jane quilt - the original made by a lady named Jane A Blakely Stickle, and finished in 1863.
She started it in 2012 and has been working on it on-and-off until now. She used the quilt-as-you-go technique, and since it fits perfectly on her super king sized bed I think it was a great choice. As we both only have domestic sewing machines, quilting this beauty would have been near impossible.
You can find out more about this original quilt by looking at http://www.dearjane.com/
The corners of the quilt have special significance - and she thought long and hard about them. There is a corner each for my sister and I - my sister's is made using fabrics from New Zealand, where she now lives, mine is made from South African fabrics, where I now live (mostly). The third is a corner with a Welsh daffodil flower, (where we were all born) made using the stained glass window technique, and the final corner, that you can see in the picture, is the Cross of Lorraine - my mum's name.
I am sure you will agree - it looks amazing on her bed, and although it was a real mission to make, now it is finished I am sure she will says she loves it.
Well done mum! You are amazing.
Simmy Schofield and Holly Allen are the co-owners of this great shop. they are both knowledgeable and friendly. I have known them for 8 years now - I bought the fabric for my very first quilt here. Simmy spent ages with me, helping me to choose fabric and then calculating how much I would need.
Both Simmy and Holly are avid quilters and teach daily in the large workshop that is part of the shop. If you are a beginner then they will teach you everything you need to know and at 90 rands for 3 hours tuition it is a bargain too.
My first quilt: made in CapeTown, 2005
At the shop there is always a large stock of lovely printed fabrics, buttons, tools and equipment, threads, Inkwali hand dyed fabrics, Da Gama Shweshwe fabrics, Singer sewing machines and a selection of handmade smocked children's clothing.
If you are in the area, pop in for a look - you are sure to find something you 'need'!
Since I have started the subject of shopping, I thought would also mention my other great favourite place for purchasing PFD fabric of fantastic quality. Millar Textiles, Unit 12, Old Mill Park,
Old Mill Road, Ndabeni, 7405 Cape Town.
Hilda is the lovely lady I know there - and she is so helpful and patient. I visit her a few times a year to buy the 100% cotton PFD fabric I use so much of these days. It has a moderately firm weave, so is easy to sew through but does not stretch or move about under the needle. It takes dye fantastically well too with the minimum of preparation.
Last time I visited I spotted a nice lightweight 100% cotton voile - so I bought 10 metres to give it a try. It is wonderfully soft - so I will need to think about a special project for it.
Millar Textiles sell a huge range of fabrics - visit their website to see the range; http://www.millartextiles.co.za/
and if you are in the market for great quality, inexpensive PFD fabric - then go and see Hilda!
Whilst I was driving through the city last week I noticed a factory that made thread. Now - I love thread of all types - so the chance that this place might let me in and provide a shopping opportunity was too good to miss. So, I popped in, and I am so glad I did.
The factory is called ACA Threads (Old Paarl Road Brackenfell, CapeTown, 7560)
If you live in CapeTown, or are visiting this beautiful city and want thread, then you would be crazy to go anywhere else.
Everybody I met, from the security lady on the gate to the Sales staff in the office were delightful. Jackie, who helped me, was so patient and knowledgeable. Before I knew it I had a huge selection of threads to choose from, shade cards and samples of a wide variety of threads. ACA threads have their own Seralon spun polyester thread, which I find to be of excellent quality, Serafil for heavy duty stuff, Madeira rayon, polyneon, matalic and lana threads, Isocord thread, chalk, scissors, Madeira temporary adhesive and soluble stabilizer. and all at great prices.
My particular favourite are the mixed bags of 100 cops of Seralon thread (1000 metres) for the bargain price of 180 Rands (approx £10 or $17) . I bought one as an afterthought - once I had bought all the other thread I wanted. When I got home I realized what a bargain it was - so I went back and bought 3 more. Take a look at what I ended up with. All for about R1.80 each (that is an incredible 10 pence or 17 cents each). Happy days!
So - here it is. I thought it would be such a quick thing to make. How wrong could I have been? Still, I am really pleased with how it has turned out. The last square - the letter P is taking me forever. I chose to make tiny fringes by hand all over it - and they are taking a-g-e-s! So, for the time being - I have inserted a P. But do you know what? I think I like it!
Each square has velcro on the back so they can be quickly mounted onto small canvas blocks and jumbled around to make other words. Just for fun.
I was able to use up lots of my scraps and experimental fabrics - trials of mono printing, batik, block printing and other surface design techniques have been used.
The squares have gradually been getting completed. I decided to top stitch around the edge of each one - it made such a difference to firming up the square and improved the shape too.
I also put some velcro onto the back of each square so that I can quickly mount them onto some small canvas squares I bought cheaply a few days ago. I can fit 4 letters onto one square - so it makes for fun word games too!
And here ARE the next four letters, all making use of real scraps and leftovers. It is nice to see them being used to good effect - and makes me glad I keep them.
The tassels on the letter T are a happy accident. I decided to use another of the embroidery stitches on my machine, and had very long tails of thread at the start. I was about to cut them off when I had a little lightbulb moment - and decided to leave them on. Once I had a few more I quite liked the way the threads trail over the leaves.
Hooray! The next 4 letters are done. I have been stealing 5 minutes here and there to work on them, in between my current projects. They are the perfect thing to have in a little basket, ready for when a little 'change of scenery' is required.
The hand sewing is also great to have in a small ziploc bag for filling in those moments when you are in a waiting room, on the bus or just plain 'hanging around' for someone else. I just pop in the thread, my small scissors two needles, ( I always manage to drop one) and the square and I am ready to go!
You can see the stages of development of the squares;
Letter T: quilt the over-sized square in whichever style I choose
Letter N: Trim the square down to 3 inches
Letter M: Zig-zag stitch around the outer edge of the square
Letter E: Repeat the zig-zag stitch to make a firm, neat, closed edge.
Back in March I started to make small quilted squares for my logo 'Experimental Threads'. Needless to say, time passed and other things took priority. However, little by little, they are getting done. Each one had been made using a different technique.
The first three are here. I used my hand dyed fabric scraps left over from other projects, ( I cannot bring myself to throw fabric away - not even tiny pieces!) and you can see that for the letters E & A I have added some further pattern and colour using the 'everlasting' gelatine plate.
I made little sandwiches of fabric and batting cut to 3 1/2" and stitched them together to keep everything in place. I free motion quilted over the paper letters with a contrasting thread (as I explained in the March 4 blog entry) then tore away the paper. Easy peasy.
That gave me the lovely letter outline you can see for the letter R.
You can see from the letter E that I have yet to trim the excess fabric away from the stitched square, (finished size will be 3"). I will then end up with a square that will look much like the letter R, with the raw edges close to the stitching line. To finish the square neatly I just need to set the machine up to sew a very short (0.3 stitch length on my machine) and a medium width zig-zag stitch (4 on my machine) so that I can sew around the edges of the square to close up those raw edges. Just take your time over the corners if you try this. I have yet to perfect the technique!
Next up will be the letters N,T,M &E. They are sitting on my design wall as I write!