Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Wet again

Oh dear, another dreary day. I was pleased to be back in my workroom for some machine quilting. I decided that since I had been practising the stippling pattern, I would go with that for this project. I also considered following the pattern of the log cabin, but the irregular patchwork put me off a bit. 
 I use a free machine embroidery foot for this job. It is transparent plastic, so is invisible under the intense machine light (like magic!). The feed dogs are dropped - those are the cool little teeth that move the fabric along from underneath. I control the movement of the fabric with my hands, so no need to release the hounds. There is a wee switch on my machine to keep them caged. Some machines don't allow you to do that, but you can be cunning and cover them with some tape.
 Then off I went, meandering here and there, avoiding crossing my path. So much fun when it all goes well. My machine was on fire. Luckily not literally. Even the reverse side looks good!!!!
 I think my machine has seen me on the internet studying options for a replacement. We have had some challenges in our relationship of late.

Supervisor Mouse kept a close eye on proceedings too. Miss Dog was there, but she chose to avoid the camera, creating a confused black blur whenever I pointed it at her. She gets the most dopey embarrassed look in her eye, and then tries to upset Mousie. Note the large beanbag and the rather ugly plaid patterned cat house next to it. Mouse lives a life of utter luxury. Comfort is not always pretty.
 I got a bit of cabin fever at that point, and Johnny and I went out for a drive to do a couple of jobs. I persuaded him to pay a visit to Art of Sewing, which is on Division Street, Riccarton. I have not been there in many, many years, so wanted to take a look. It is a smallish shop absolutely jam packed with sewing and knitting/crochet goodies. They sell Janome and Elna machines, and have some at heavily reduced prices at the moment. They have a real mix of styles of quilting fabrics, something I find a bit off putting in a smaller space. It must be very hard for quilt shop owners to know what market to aim for. They've got so many ranges from batiks, a little Kaffe Fassett, earthy toned fabrics, New Zealand and other novelty prints, right through to the Lecien flower range I just adore.

When a shop has a really wide range of styles I think they need to be able to stock plenty in each range. Thimbles and Threads (Upper Hutt) and Cushlas (now in Mapua, but I see them at quilt fairs) have huge stocks of a wide range of styles. For example Cushlas had a brilliant range of 30s feedsack fabrics that I loved, but also lots of ranges that I would never want to work with. I guess more traditional patchworkers would find plenty to put together at Art of Sewing, but I would need to go elsewhere to put together enough fabrics for a project, I think. I was impressed with their haberdashery department, and could have hung around looking at the books for a while.

 The other quilting shops that I frequent all have their own niche, so I can decide where I'll go for a particular project based on what I know they stock. I guess you could call Art of Sewing quite a traditional sewing store. Stitch, at the top end of Colombo Street, is a much more modern quilting shop, with lots of bright colours and fresh looks. Make at Church Corner specialises in children's fabrics, but has some sweet Tilda fabrics and other things that young at heart grownups would love. They are a modern crafting shop too, and even have cake decorating supplies. Cottonfields, which I love to visit too, has lots of pretty things, and they have a wide range, tending towards the traditional. They also cater for the American style fabric crafter.

I have been thinking about where I want to go from here with my quilting style. For me, it is largely about the fabrics. I have been drawn towards the Kaffe Fassett Collective aesthetic- especially the work of Phillip Jacobs. I worked on this hand quilted panel a while ago, and pulled it out today to turn into a cushion. It is actually much brighter in real life than it looks on my screen. It is Kaffe Fassett's paperweights design. I ran out of steam hand quilting, so just finished stitching around the circles while I watched Breaking Dawn Part Two.
I dug out some denim to do the back of the cushion from the stash. It is just a simple envelope cover, and I stitched the leaf pattern to put my machine through its paces.
Wow, it behaved perfectly!
One plump cushion finished. Another work in progress extracted from the craft cupboard and finished. Very satisfying, and so easy. Maybe I should start doing some simple tutorials.
The trouble is that I'm really confused about what I really love. I seem to have clashing preferences. I do know what I definitely don't like. Maybe I need to explore this over the next couple of weeks. 

PS- It might be fine enough for a ride tomorrow morning. Yay! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The cushion is beautiful!xxxx