Monday, May 24, 2010

 Seems like lots of people want to know about how to take cuttings; it's not hard, but some plants grow as cuttings more readily than others.  Chrysanthemums are among the easy ones.  This site had good instructions, but there are plenty more out there if you google it.  A lot of commercial flowers from florists are treated so as not to grow as cuttings; something to do with the plant breeders wanting to retain control of their products. That's why I used bouquets grown locally, in an ordinary garden.

I use a mix of sand, peatmoss and perlite as a growing medium, but you can buy bags of  it from any garden centre.  I sometimes use a hormone powder to dip the ends of the cutting; it promotes lots of root growth, but I've hade good results without it. 

And to answer another question from the last post; a heavily quilted custom quilt like that, 98" square, doesn't leave much change from $500 (Australian, of course).  And while some readers are gasping at how much that is, others are thinking that it's awfully cheap.  It was on the frame for 5 days, a whole working week; it's always a relief to get those huge custom jobs finished and out the door.

I put in a huge amount of time and effort over the weekend, and finished the main piecing of my commission quilt.  British police drama DVDs get me through a lot of duty sewing; this time it was Prime Suspect that helped me stick to the job at hand.  Midsommer Murders has been a helpful in the past (√≠mprobable plot lines and beautiful English scenery in equal amounts), but Inspector Morse is my all time favourite.

I have two borders to add, and then my design wall is clear.  I'm sure it will take a while to get going on another project, so I'll just putter around with some longterm UFOs, and more crumb blocks, and I just may make a DJ block or two.  One of the girls in my piecing class has begun a Dear Jane, and her excitement is infectious. 

I actually have photos to load, but blogger is being obstinate and won't co-operate; maybe tomorrow...

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

I've been busy this week quilting this very large machine embroidered quilt and finally the end is in sight. It took four whole days, hovering over the machine, making sure that the quilting was in exactly the right place.  The embroidery is beautifully done, so the quilting had to be spot on. 
The centre and sashes still needs some freehand work, which Mereth will do on Monday, and then I need to clip about a thousand thread tails.  I feel like my life is not my own until this quilt is finished and back with it's owner.  She's going to be surprised when she sees it, she had no idea what we would do with it. 

Cross-hatching at this density doesn't always work with embroidered quilts, as the quilting can pull the fabric in too much.  Luckily with this top there was a bit of fullness in the blocks, mainly because they were all separately backed with pellon before embroidering. 

The fullness meant that the heavy quilting actually made the block flatter, all the puckers quilted out like magic.
I will put a flower in the middle of the heart shape on this block, and that will tame the centre fabric.  This is going to be one gorgeous quilt when it's finished.

Once the owner picks it up I am going to have a day in my sewing room, puddling around in my stash and making progress on my projects which have been ignored for too long.  I miss my  sewing room. But while I was quilting all day I had to spend the evenings catching up with other business things, so I had no spare time.  Next week should be quieter. Mereth will be glad to have the machine to herself; we had to take turns with Millhouse, zipping my quilt off so she could go to work after I'd finished for the day.

I really enjoy Mother's Day flowers, they are always chrysanthemums for me.

My kitchen table was covered in vases of them; one from each of my kids and I bought two local bunches so I can grow cuttings from them.  Three of the cuttings from last year grew and are blooming, so it's definitely worth trying again. 

I just can't decide what my favourite colour is, so I'll have them all.

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

It seems as if I've loved florals with a blue background forever.  And I certainly have collected a few of them.

I used this one as the backing of a favourite quilt.

And I have 2 metres of this one

1 metre of this one;

2.5 metres of this one;

4 metres of this one;
3 metres of this;

1 metre of trhis;

and 2 metres of this latest one, which is my current favourite.

I just adore this, couldn't leave it behind.

I'm sure, absolutely positively sure, that I have enough blue background florals to make all the quilts I could ever desire.  But this little beauty, from a Charity charm pack, has my fingers itching to go shopping online.

It's in my shopping basket at Hancocks, I just haven't pushed the button yet.  How much is enough? It's useless to ask if I need it, of course I don't.  But it's pretty, and I want it.

Below is a picture of the fabric that caused this obsession. 

My Mum had a bedspread and curtains she made from this beautiful barkcloth; it's so faded now, but when we were little it was a beautiful vibrant sky blue.  The set was in constant use until we were 15, and they're a bit dingy and damaged, but I still love them.

It's interesting to think that this material had such an impact on my tastes; as a child I would sit by Mum's bed admiring the pattern and the textured fabric.  It was as good as a picture book in my eyes.  I'm actually very grateful that Mum never made us go to Kindergarten; we spent all those years before school at home, playing with fabric and books and amusing ourselves.  And if I wanted to lie on Mum's bed for an hour, looking at the roses and dreaming, then she let me.  A little quiet contemplation is a good thing.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I felt the need to deal with my scraps last weekend; for the last two years I've been throwing little snippets and strings into a seagrass basket, and it was full.


So I sorted it out into little scraps, and longish strips, and large scraps, and then started sewing them together.

It;s lovely mindless work, no decisions to make; if two pieces are roughly the same length just feed them through the machine.  I had a lovely time, enjoying the simplicity of sewing, not even caring if it was a proper quarter inch seam.  I love crumb piecing because there are no rules to obey, you just do what the pieces dictate.

I only finished three blocks, but I sewed nearly all the small scraps together into larger pieces.

Next time I work on this project I'll concentrate on using the strips and large scraps to build the blocks large enough to trim to a constant 10.5" square.  None of the blocks will resemble each other, but that's the way a crumb quilt should be.

Last time I did this I ended up with this top; it's still not quilted, but it's on the list and waiting it's turn.  I like it a lot; it has something in it of just about every quilt I made in the last 10 years, and I love looking at it.  It's not something I'll get tired of in a hurry.

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