27/04/2013: Almost May already! This year is going so fast!
02/04/2013: Happy Easter. I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.
01/01/2013: Happy New Year!!
24/12/2012: Merry Christmas!!
13/11/2012: Getting hand-made presents ready for Christmas!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

30 Day Art Challenge

Video by Suzi Blu

I'm about to start another 30 day drawing challenge this Sunday in order to try and improve my confidence in sketching. I think I may be kidding myself that I have the time to do this one, but with a fresh urge to draw I'm going with the flow and drawing is a great skill for planning sewing projects.

If you'd like to follow along with me and draw as well I'd love to see your blog if you'll be posting your progress online. Any skill levels - the more the merrier! Head over to My Art Sketchbook to learn more about the challenge.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stash Building & Projects

new fabrics
More Fabric Purchases

Ok, now I really have to start using from my stash... but Most of these were $2-4/m on sale so I couldn't resist. There are also a few fat quarters and a couple of fabrics that I have an immediate idea for. We'll see if I can get some things constructed soon.

I also ordered a new insert for flat bed sewing... $82.50! I was hoping it would be a bit cheaper, but I need it. That makes my total cost for my new sewing cabinet at about $130 which is still less than they're going on ebay at the moment and it will all suit my machine - at least this is how I'm justifying paying $80 for a piece of plastic!

Woodland Owl Applique

This cute guy was completed a while ago but I've been working on preparing a pattern to share for him as well. The pattern is now available in the shop!! He is my own pattern which I appliqued, then the background was quilted and turned into a cushion cover.

Omiyage in progress
Pine Cone Omiyage in Progress

Are you making any Christmas presents this year? I've got a couple of projects to complete. This is my progress on a rather tricky pattern from the book Omiyage by Kumiko Sudo. I am hand sewing it now because the pieces became too small to get lined up on the machine. I have 6 lots of 4 squares to join together and then it is assembled into a little bag.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Cabinet

Sewing Cabinet
New Sewing Cabinet

Have a look at my little bargain! This little second-hand beauty cost me $45 and had treasures in the drawers as well!!

I'd toyed with the idea of getting a cabinet with a lift mechanism for flat bed sewing for a month or so now. I had seen a similar cabinet in the local Spotlight (sewing/fabric store in Australia) for $825. I turned to ebay and started bidding on likely suspects. Each time the cabinets I wanted were going for over $150 with the seller saying they were $399 brand new. Perseverance paid off in the end and I am still pinching myself over this bargain!

There was a little repair work to do. The wheels had started to come off the bottom so 2 washers later ($3.60) and it's all good. The lifting mechanism seems to work well, but the plastic surround doesn't fit my machine so next weekend I need to go ask questions of the local sewing stores and see if I can buy the surround separately.

All the "junk" that came with the cabinet

What about the treasures? I was asked if it was OK if some sewing things were left in the cabinet... I said it was absolutely OK. After sorting through it all I discovered a good pair of scissors, a box of buttons, several unopened packets of elastic and cotton tape, about 15-20 spools of Gutermann thread (some unopened still in plastic), 2 spools of gold thread and several packets of needles.

What machine are these for?
Husqvana/Viking sewing machine feet

There were also two Husqvana machine feet. Does anyone have a Husqvana/Viking machine? These are a buttonhole sensor foot and utility foot B. These feet are for sale in my online shop, but if you're interested and think my prices are too high on them please get in touch and tell me what you think they're worth.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Quilt Show 2010

Quilt Show Hoard
New to the Stash

Today I went to the local annual quilt fair and I want to say first that this year I had a GREAT time! Long time readers might remember that last year I had several negative experiences of people not wanting to talk to me. This year I happily avoided the stalls who didn't want to know me last year and after a happy hour looking at the stalls only ended up spending at one stall.

Once again I want to do a general gripe about prices. I saw one stall with fat 1/8ths for $10.95 each... What the? Please tell me none of you actually pay this price!? That works out to over $80/m and I'm pretty sure printed cotton is not made from spun gold! The other pricey fabric I saw was japanese imports that were $32/m... sure they were nice and I was tempted, but ebay is there for a reason! Honestly quilt stores, you have to get more competative!

The fabric that I did purchase was all from my favourite stall which I think was Patchwork with Gailb from Victoria. I imagine her store is a little like Tricia's Discount Fabrics here in South Australia - every fat 1/4 was $3.50 so I spent $50 there! That is how you turn over product. You make it affordable!

What price will you pay for fabric?

My price range is $12-16/m for printed quilters cotton. Under this is a bargain (I've got some for $2/m sometimes), but up to $20/m is acceptable if it is something special. Up to $8/m for flat colours as I can often get a reasonable range for as little as $4-5/m regularly. For fat 1/4s I calculate what I pay based on the price per metre. So that means I will generally only pay up to $4 per fat 1/4 as per my rule with printed quilters cotton.

Now on to my wonderful chats. Yes! People talked to me this year! My first win was talking to a lady who made an amazing quilt with extremely fine applique and hand quilted it as well. She had used batik which is thinner than quilters cotton and she gave me a small piece of batik fabric to take home (I didn't buy any because I need to research my prices as all the batik fat 1/4s were $8 or over that I saw)

A batik weave is tighter - more threads per square inch which means it doesn't fray as readily and you can clip it up to 1/16 from your seam when doing needle turn applique. It is also thinner than quilters cotton so it is not as bulky and can move around tighter corners easier.

She also said DONT IRON your applique! ...but my book on applique says press! Next time I won't be ironing during or post applique and see how it turns out!

My other highlight from the day was discussing a quilt with a couple of ladies while pointing out the flaws and that it didn't matter because all of us would still be more than happy to have such a beautiful quilt in our homes. Then we were talking about whether the quilting was human or computer directed and I recommended they check out the work of Leah Day because it could also be done on a domestic machine!! I hope they follow up my recommendation and check out her website.

All in all, a great 3 hours spent at the quilt fair this year!!