Sunday, 27 September 2015

Fixing a Quilt - the Backing

What do you do when the long arm quilter phones you to say that 3/4 the way through quilting your quilt, she found the backing was too short?  That is what happened to me this week.

Back a week or so ago, I told you about this quilt here.

Because I was going to be in Melbourne last Thursday, Jan took it down to Stitching Hearts, and our friend Robin said she would quilt it for me on her long arm machine.  All good so far.  However, I had pieced the backing too short.  What to do?
Thankfully, a week or so back I had read a post by Carole who blogs at From My Carolina Home.  She has a great blog and I always love her posts, many of which are tutorials.  She showed a method of fixing a quilt when the entire quilt is completed including the quilting and the binding in a post here.  I am deeply indebted to Carole for her wonderful tutorial because I knew exactly what I was going to do to fix the problem. 
Firstly I had to cut a strip of backing fabric 6" wide.  Fortunately I had enough fabric to do this, but immediately, I made a boo boo.  Its a directional fabric, and I made the first cut with the pattern going the wrong way.  I could have left it, but I can't.  I am just too much of a perfectionist.
The next problem was that the fabric was printed badly, with the pattern not straight.  You can see the issue in the photo below.
Printed pattern is not aligned on the grain
That was just a 6" wide piece.  Across the length of the quilt this equated to nearly 3" off.

Pattern matched on the top edge

Pattern match at the bottom edge
I didn't get it completely right, but overall the pattern match wasn't bad on the seam joining the new piece to the backing. 

Can you see the join?
The next step after joining the new strip to the quilt backing was to prepare for quilting.  Robin had used a computer assisted pantograph on her long arm and I wanted to replicate that on the unquilted portion of the quilt on my domestic sewing machine. 

I suppose I could have just done a meander or tried to simply copy the pattern, but again, I'm not like that.  I wanted it to be right and be an exact match.
To achieve that I used some waxed lunch paper which I laid down along the full length of the quilt over one of the pattern repeats on the quilted portion of the quilt. I then used a 4B pencil to trace the existing quilting onto the lunch wrap.

Preparing to trace the quilting

Tracing the quilting
The next step is to lay the whole length of lunch wrap with the traced design on it, in place where you are going to quilt.  Pin it in place, being quite careful as the lunch wrap is a bit fragile.

Now you are ready to quilt.

Pin the traced design in place
Robin had given me a bobbin full of the thread she used, so I wound some of that onto my own bobbin and used her bobbin in the spool carrier on my machine as my top thread.  I then free motion quilted with dropped feed dogs over the traced lines.

Torn paper
The paper tore in a few places, but that was OK as that was what I needed to do next anyway - take all the paper off once I had finished the quilting.

Remove tracing paper
It came off very easily, but in some cases you may wish to use a pair of tweezers to remove tiny bits left behind.

All done
The next step is to bind it.  I have machine sewn that on, and will complete the hand sewing over the next couple of nights.
Thank you Carole for your very timely post.  If I had not read that, I am sure I would have been panic stricken.


I used waxed lunch paper as that is what I had.  It is cheap as chips, comes wound in one long length on a roll, is very see through and comes away easily after stitching.  You could use tracing paper if you have that.

You must use a very soft pencil to trace.  The paper tears easily so a harder pencil will just make tears in the paper, and will not be visible.

Don't use ball point pens or permanent markers to trace as this could come through the paper and mark your quilt.

I found that my top thread shredded.  I was using Rasant thread, which is a good quality thread, but not my favourite on my machine, and a metallic needle which I use for FMQ.  I wondered if the shredding was caused by the friction of the needle and thread passing through the paper, and not a fault of the thread.

Take care with the paper as it tears while quilting.  I found that my quilting foot caught on the torn bits, so that was an added complication.

I hope this has been helpful to someone, and will put this post into a pdf file and onto my tutorials page in due course.

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Hello Orange

September is the month for orange scraps in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge at SoScrappy.

With all that has been going on here lately, yesterday morning at Friday Quilters was the first time I managed to have a play with orange.  I decided to start with some twinkler blocks, and made a start on 10 little 6.5" blocks.  I got the last of them done this afternoon.

I won't get any more of these done as I have run out of scraps.  If I make any more I will be doubling and tripling up on the fabrics I have already used, and I wanted to avoid doing that as much as possible in this challenge.
One of the things I love about working with one colour each month is that there are just so many shades of each colour.  This one is way on the red spectrum of the colour orange. (Love the little bicycles!)

And this next one is way over on the yellow side.

And this one is decidedly peachy.

I'm hoping to do a bit more orange scrappy sewing through this next week.  In the mean time, head on over and see what others have done this week on this link here.

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Second Deadline - Done on Time!

This morning we are leaving to fly to Melbourne.  We have been invited to a naming ceremony for the baby of a good friend of mine.  Well, at the 11th hour it is done!
Way back at the beginning of the year, I decided to visit the baby after its birth and make a quilt for the occasion.  I chose to make the quilt using the Road to Tennessee block, which is one of the blocks I made for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in 2014.  I have also seen this pattern on the Net titled "XO" and "Hugs and Kisses".  Whatever the name, I think it is a lovely block and makes up into a nice quilt.  I have mentioned it in several blog posts, so you may recognise it.

With our trip to the UK happening in April, I gave up on the idea of going to Melbourne as well, and of course the quilt got sidelined by other more urgent tasks.  I attacked it occasionally and by the time we got back from our second trip early this month, I had begun to quilt it, but had not got much done.  So the race was on.

I quilted it in the ditch in pink to outline all the X's and then marked each of the pink pieces in the centre with my Frixion pen.  Then I FMQ'd it in a tear drop shape using the markings to point and shoot.  At first glance it looks OK, although there are an awful lot of Whoopsies in it.  I didn't have time to pull them and redo them.

Lots of cute fabrics in this which I tried to fussy cut as much as possible.

Bunnies & chooks here.

I had intentions of quilting a simple design down the borders, but in the end I chose to be easy on myself and let it go. 
I had bought a pink spot for the backing, but of course I hadn't bought enough! So I put in a panel of pink check fabric which looks OK with the spots and which I had in stash.  Then I made up a label in a Snowball shape to echo the Road to Tennessee block.  The binding is a sweet stripe which was printed on the diagonal so I didn't even have to do the binding on a bias.  Yay! 

So now my quilt is packed and ready to go.

Also this week, I have finished off this quilt......

One of the ladies at Friday Quilters in in the throes of a torrid time.  The girls decided to make a quilt for her while I was away, and had done most of the sewing by the time I got back, so my input on this has been minimal.  I took it home last Friday to applique the little dragon flies onto it and make the backing.

It will be quilted by our friend Robin on her long arm.  The pattern was "Dancing with Dragon Flies" by Busy Thimbles and is designed to use 5" charm squares.  It was really quick to put together.
Gotta go.  Planes don't wait!
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Monday, 14 September 2015

I've Met a Deadline. Whew!

I've had a project on the go since just before we went away, and I really wanted to get the top done so that it could go to Stitching Hearts on Thursday with Jan for pinning. 

But.  I need to back track.

This is a quilt for a little boy at Barnardos, the latest Stitching Hearts project.  And incidentally the last one that needed making.  I started off with a skateboard themed panel my daughter had bought on-line, and began to build a quilt around it. 

But straight away, I found a problem.....

A hole!  We conferred.  But in the end we decided it would take too long to return it to the shop for a replacement, so I chopped that part of the panel up into smaller pieces - you can see part of it on the right in the photo below. 
Once I had cut the panel, I laid out all the pieces of fabric I was planning to use on the floor in roughly the size and placement I wanted.

But what to use as sashing?  In the end I chose a burnt orange.  It seemed to go with everything.  And I appliqued the boy's name, which is where the fuzzed out bit is.

It grew, with the help of copious notes and my trusty calculator.

I deliberately had the sashing off centre and the pieces an irregular size.  Apart from anything else, I thought it gave the layout a bit of added interest.  But it certainly added to the headache!  Of course I kept changing my mind about the placement of the fabrics. 
And finally the top is done.

I really like the orange.  It is a colour I absolutely never use, although I have made some blocks for the RSC in orange, they aren't made up into a quilt yet.
There are some fun fabrics in this.

Trail bikes, beetles, spaceships & aliens and skeletons.

Snails, grasshoppers and lizards, Transformers, and soccer balls.

Quad bikes, spider webs and red back spiders (for people not familiar with those, they are a venomous spider in Australia and can give you a nasty, but usually not fatal, bite)

I really like what I have done with this quilt, and I hope that my little recipient likes it too.  Wish those photos weren't blurry though!  I must say I am way better at sewing than photography.  LOL

I am linking this post up with Cathy's new link up Design Board Monday at her blog, Bits & Bobs.

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Trifid Update

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the Triffid in our garden here.

The flower stem grew for the first time out of the succulent which I have had for about 7 years.  There is a matching succulent in the pot on the opposite side of steps up to the barbeque area.

I had been watching the Triffid growing for weeks, and was getting totally cross because I was sure it would flower while we were away.

But it hasn't!

Isn't it stunning???
Each day there are a few more flowers open up.  I suspect that it will keep me entertained for a few weeks yet.

Monday, 7 September 2015


This morning I was up fairly early (jetlag still making its presence felt), and after putting on a load of washing I decided to make a fruit cake.  I pulled out my trusty recipe notebook.

It has been around for decades.  When my daughter was about 12, she covered it for me in this cute kitchen paper.  I used to write all the recipes I collected from various people into it, so I have heaps of recipes with titles like "Fiona's Raspberry Slice" or "Michelle's Jam Drops". 

It is chocka block now and no more room in it for anything, so now the recipes are shoved in on bits of paper.  I also have an on-line document to which I add various recipes I use.
More often than not, using one of the recipes sends me off into a day dream about the person who gave it to me.  Today I was making a fruit cake, the recipe for which was given to me by my neighbour Margaret, which is absolutely yum and a staple in this household.  These days I make it with Gluten Free Flour, which does not seem to affect the quality at all.
Our first house was this little job. 

It was a tiny, weatherboard house in Forestville, a northern suburb of Sydney, which was quite out of the way in those days, but a highly desirable area now.  We moved there when my daughter was about 6 months old.

It was a bit of a hard time for me back then.  Most of my friends were working and there was no such thing as a Mother's Group in those days, so I was pretty isolated and lonely, and absolutely terrified of doing the wrong thing for my precious little bundle.   Not long after we moved into that house, I met the woman across the road, Margaret, and a friend of hers whose name escapes me.  They both had school age children, so most mornings the three of us would meet in one house or another, eat baked goodies and watch "Days of Our Lives" together.  I think they saved my sanity.  LOL.  And gave me lots of recipes as well.
We had a torrid trip home last week.  It began with a 3 hour delay on the tarmac at Dubai in the wee small hours of Sunday morning, then a diversion to Perth airport in the wee small hours of Monday morning.  Nearly 500 passengers milling about waiting to be bussed to hotels at 2am, and then only a few hours later, hours and hours of queuing to board on the repaired plane, the delay being caused by computer check in issues.
The National press were there. 

I was astounded to see that it was reported as an "Emergency Landing", which when you think about it, it probably was.  It is not a decision to be taken lightly - breaking the Perth curfew, then landing and accommodating 500 people at 2am.  No mean feat to find that many rooms at that hour of the night.
We finally boarded again at 4pm, but sat for several hours prior to take off, only to be told that we had to disembark and that we would be sent to Sydney via domestic flights.  Several more hours queuing to be allocated seats on various flights.  We were the lucky ones to be sent on the direct flight leaving at midnight.  A lot of the passengers were diverted via Brisbane and Melbourne. 

The offending plane
We finally arrived home 24 hours after the scheduled time. 

This trip has been hard on me, and I am only just beginning to surface from the jetlag.  I have only just managed to do the things which absolutely had to be done, and virtually no sewing.  So now you know why I have been so quiet for the last week or so.