In the Arms of the Angels: feathers…

I’ve been making some progress behind the scenes.

Firstly, the scroll that goes at the top of the centre panel. It’s slightly padded with a batting layer, which gives it a bit more dimension, I think. I chose a pale green-beige batik that looks a bit like stone, and I’ll get the words embroidered in serif capitals if I can, in teal thread. It’s not as dark as it looks in the photo – indoor lighting 😦

And then the wings… There’s going to be lots of feathers. They need to be stiff, like real flight feathers, and layered so as to have depth, instead of being just flat and one-dimensional. This is going to mean a fair bit of weight, so I had to create a stiffened foundation shape on which to stitch them so that they don’t pull at the surface of the quilt. This foundation will itself be sewn to the background by hand with invisible stitches, so that it doesn’t affect the quilting and is invisible on the back.

I’ve used a fairly stiff non-fusible interfacing between the front and back layers of each feather, so that the shape is firm and sword-like. Once the feather is turned through, it’s topstitched around the edge to keep it crisp, and will have a further topstitched shaft down the centre. The feathers are overlapped slightly, as in nature, and the colours are varied to give added visual interest. I’m mixing a grey and beige overprinted with a little silver for the leading edge feathers, with lots of different beige and cream prints to give texture as well as colour variation. It’s very labour intensive, but I really like the effect.

And Kathy’s lovely pale background block has arrived, which is really going to help with the soft broken-colour I’m after. One thing I’ve realised is that I need to keep the tips of the wings as free of the pale background as I can or they’ll blend in too much, so the tips of all the feathers have to stay separate, but I may also need some sort of ‘shadow’. I’m thinking some very fine grey tulle laid over the background under the tips of the wings may give the effect I’m after, as it’ll allow the background colour to show through instead of being solid. Anyone have any other suggestions for achieving what I want?

Still lots more to go… Meanwhile, keep those background, border and cornerstone blocks coming, my lovelies!


Decisions, decisions…

If it’s the beginning of January, it must be time for new glasses.

Every year since I turned 45, I’ve needed a new optical prescription. My already long sight is getting longer and longer, to the point where I can’t see the type on this blog at all without specs. My health insurance rolls over at the beginning of the year, and I tend not to delay getting a new pair because by that time I really need the upgrade. My triple progressive lenses are not cheap, but they’re vital to getting through life without bumping into things!

My other problem is frames. I have a wide head, and because of the progressive lenses, I need a large lens. My face also seems to demand an assertive frame style. Sunglass frames are the answer. I’ve found frames that are comfy and have a large enough lens. But they’re Boring. Black. Blah. There’s a great place up north in Cairns who’ll paint your frames for you. They do a beautiful job, are reasonably priced, and have a really good colour range. I’ve had navy, red and raspberry pink so far, but don’t really want to repeat myself.

So, here’s where I need your help. There are four colours I really love, but I’m finding it impossible to choose which one. I’m opening a poll to get your vote on which one to get. You get an option to suggest something completely different if you want to.

Too much choice… Any of these colours would be fine, they’re all in my wardrobe and would look good with what I wear. All would be fun with my now very grey hair. All would be bright enough to help me find my glasses if I put them down and can’t find them again 🙂

Thanks for your help!

Looking back, looking forward

It’s traditional, isn’t it?

We bloggers tend to do a retrospective post at the end of the year, summarising what we’ve made or achieved in the past year. I tend not to do this so much any more; it began to feel like I was being a bit boastful, or a bit competitive. I didn’t want to feel disappointed with myself because I hadn’t made as many quilts, or garments, or… (fill in creative sewing activity here) as Blogger X. We all have different amounts of time, motivation, energy, money, fabric or space, and we each make according to our resources. Last year, I posted about how many metres of thread I’d used. That seemed like a fun and different thing to do, and didn’t create any direct comparison benchmarks.

This year, I kept my thread reels again. I’m purposely not looking at last year’s sum-up to see how much I used in 2017. Suffice to say that in 2018 I used 5km (3.1 miles) of thread. Is that a lot? I don’t know, but it’s a nice round figure 🙂

I want to thank everyone who’s participated in making quilts to benefit Ovarian Cancer Australia, everyone who’s joined in with ScrapHappy to make something lovely or useful from unpromising scraps, and everyone who’s joined in the Footsquare Freestyle (F²F) block swap collective to help friends create a beautiful quilt in their chosen colours. I want to thank friends and family who have given me an opportunity, a challenge and great motivation to make them a thing of beauty and a quilt to love, made especially for them. Thank you for coming along on my travels in the caravan and on the motorbike, for enjoying my weird, rampant and bug-ridden garden, and for listening when I indulged in a good rant about issues that set me alight. Let’s do it all again this year! I especially want to thank the Husband for enabling my creative habits, enjoying what I write and taking the trouble to find out what on earth I’m talking about when I speak Quilt.

Have a great 2019, y’all. Be kind to each other, and share pretty things. See you soon in Chiconia. 


F²F³: December round-up

December was Esther’s month in F²F³.

Esther had a lovely and unusual colour palette for her, based on a photo of the plants and pots in her garden. There were shades of soft green, blue and grey to play with, lots of fun and a total change from the brights of the month before.

She made a couple of her own blocks and got them up in the gallery in time to give the rest of us an idea of what she was thinking, always helpful when faced with colours and combinations you wouldn’t have thought of yourself!

Because of Christmas, we’ve all been really busy, and I was amazed and delighted when we ALL finished on time 🙂  Congratulations, all of you! By the day after Christmas, all photos were up, a stellar achievement.

January is Kathy’s month. Here’s what she said about her colours:

My colors are sky blue, a sort of cornflower blue, and gray: from silvery gray to as dark as charcoal, with white as my neutral.  I don’t see having a dash of other colors in a print being an issue, but would prefer they be more on the cool side. I am seeing the sky blue, grays and white being the main focus with smaller bits of the darker blue.    I made a Pinterest board with some photos, here’s the link:

I think I’m going to enjoy working on this one, I this cool palette of greys and blues!

If you want to see all the finished blocks, go to the F²F 2018 gallery here, and if you want to check out all the colour palettes, go to the Members/ Colours page here. F²F reference and finished block images are now maintained on a separate blog due to their image-heavy nature, and the home page is here, if you want to bookmark it or follow it. The galleries are a useful library of colour and block designs, and the previous session is also stored there.

F²F³ has been great fun so far. I wish everyone a great start to 2019 and the final two sets of blocks to complete it!

Bee, Myself and I #34

Despite the festive jollities, I’ve managed to quilt another block 🙂

This is Block 27. It was just the next one in the layout series, but don’t you love how appropriate that fabric is?  White poinsettias, sheet music for Christmas carols, white-berry holly, etc… It’s like it was meant. As it happens, this fabric was sent to me by Esther in a fabric giveaway a few years ago, and I loved the vintage feel of it. Christmassy without being in an obvious colour scheme.

Three more blocks to go. It would have been great to get two done, but at the current rate of progress, it’s going to be February (ie, moving house month, going to Melbourne month, working on ITAA month). Yeah, right! So we’ll just call it March or April before all the blocks are quilted, shall we? And then it can join the stacks of blocks waiting to become quilts. Like F²F² (aka Bougainville Nights) and Pastel Rainbow Scrappy, and by mid-March, F²F³ (aka Amethyst & Slate). I need to make a rule that I can’t start anything new next year until I’ve finished those three.

Anyway, to return to the subject…. Bee, Myself and I is a forum for ‘selfish sewing’; any stitchery which is purely for pleasure and not to a deadline or for anyone else. The original concept belongs to Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl. To find out more, you can click through on either her blog link, or using the button a fair way down in the left hand column of this blog.

Till next time.

In the Arms of the Angels: we take flight

Christmas is over and my cutting table was empty, so…

So of course, it was time to start work 🙂 Already, I have received four blocks and made three of my own. There’s more en route and still more promised. I could have waited a bit longer, but the deadline is looming large in my brain and making me restive, and anyway I wanted needed to do some exploratory work.

First out of the traps were Robin’s four blocks, two pale background squares and two dark border squares. Gorgeous, aren’t they?

Then I made three light background blocks myself. Two of them are scrappy, as I don’t want things to be too tidy; I’m hoping for a soft, broken-colour effect.

And finally, using butcher paper, I blocked out the size and shape of the light background on which the wings will sit so that I could work on the banner, hook, L-plate and wings. It doesn’t look like much yet, but I really needed to look at size, proportion and placement.

 All these elements will be separate pieces which will be appliquéd to the background. The edges of the banner and L-plate will be free of the background, and the wing feathers will be substantially free of the background along their length, I hope, so that there will be some movement. I’m still working on how exactly I’m going to achieve that, but at least now I have sizes and shapes blocked in.

The wing shapes are just foundation pieces at the moment; the actual wings will be larger, and they’ll also look fuller with the feathers lying thickly over the background.

So, In the Arms of the Angels is off the ground.

SAL #73: back on board again

I’ve managed to find some embroidery time 🙂

Here’s where I was the last time I had progress to show:

And here’s where I am now:

Another petal completed and another begun (the green bit) on the left. And a little bit more grey background filled in.

Do click on the links below and go and look at what everyone else is working on. If there’s no post up yet, try again later, as we’re a scattered bunch, all in different time zones.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnn, JessSue,
CindyHelenStephLindaHeidiJackie, Sunny,
HayleyMeganCatherine, DeborahConnie
and Clare

The next SAL will be on 13th January next year. See you then, and have a great Christmas.