Thursday, 29 January 2009

Emily's Coined Phrases

Here's one last competition quilt. Emily made this quilt also to fit the Money theme. Emily used a traditional pattern called Chinese Coins; it went well with the theme. Chinese Coins is a well named pattern as the tall strip pieced columns in the quilt look like stacks of coins. Emily used an old Singer hand-crank sewing machine to piece these strips. We have a friend who collects and renovates old sewing machines and as you can see in the photo, Emily enjoyed getting to use the antique version.

During the project, Emily brain-stormed a list of phrases that had to do with money... a penny saved is a penny earned, a fool and his money are soon parted, money can't buy me love, some people have more dollars than mention a few. Then she free-motion machine quilted these sayings across the quilt top. She used an old 807 Bernina on a SuperQuilter frame. It was a clever idea and it was fun to go from an antique hand-crank to, what was at that time, a brand new table top frame. Emily called the quilt Coined Phrases and completed it in the summer of 2004.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Kate's Klimt

Kate's inspiration for this quilt was a painting by Gustav Klimt called Expectation. I've included a copy of the original so you can appreciate Kate's take on it. Kate had been learning about Klimt in an art class at school. She had an art book full of Klimt patterns and looking at the spirals, I commented that she could make the same pattern on the quilting frame. She needed an end of year art project so she decided to do it in textiles. There was also a youth quilt competition coming up in the summer with a Money theme. With a bit of tweaking, the quilt was able to do both.
Kate created the girl's figure in the quilt with a combination of bond-a-web and machine applique. The triangles were first strip pieced then cut and fitted together like a puzzle. Kate used fabric paint to make the face. Kate used free-motion machine quilting to create the spiral patterns. It was her first try and she did a great job. The quilt was heavily embellished. To make the quilt fit the money theme, Kate changed the position of the figure. In the original the girl had both hands on her hair. Kate's version has one hand outstretched with a hand full of coins falling to the floor. The end result was amazing! Click on the photo to get a better view of Kate's quilt.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Emily's Saturn

Emily is musical. Like most teenagers she listens to music all the time. But unlike most she actually plays the piano. So it was not a big surprise that Emily took a 'music of the spheres' approach to the Time and Space challenge. Holst's Planets was the inspiration for this quilt with a particular focus on the planet Saturn who is considered to be synonymous with Father Time.

Emily created the planet using a combination of bond-a-web and machine applique. I think her depiction of Saturn is very striking. But my favourite part of the quilt is her free-motion machine quilting. She came up with her own design incorporating stars, loops and a many-ringed Saturn. She used a variegated thread, #918 from the King Tut range of Superior Threads. You should be able to see a good close up of this if you click the photo at the top of the post. Emily used this to quilt the area above the planet.

Below the planet, Emily machine quilted a series of Saturn's attributes. Then she quilted a musical phrase from the Symphony in, you guessed it, glow in the dark thread. As you can see, all the kids thought that thread was brilliant. Emily went on to sign and name the quilt again using free-motion quilting and finished off with her unique stars, loops and many-ringed Saturn design. I think this is a fantastic piece of work for a 14 year old!
Being able to move the sewing machine like a pencil, while the quilt sandwich was held steady by the table top frame made this easier for Emily. For this project, Emily and Ben were using a JUKI sewing machine on a SuperQuilter frame. I was surprised how quickly both Ben and Emily became adept at using the machine quilting frame. Emily and Ben are twins. Double the trouble but twice as nice! So I've posted both their quilts on the same day.

Ben's Parking Ticket

Ben's take on the Time and Space theme was a 'parking ticket'. You have to admit, the idea was cool. With a parking ticket you get your 'space' for a certain amount of 'time'. He did need some prompting to take part. But he was keen to have a chance to try out the new sewing machine on the frame. Ben also enjoyed the computer generated part of the project. We kept the project small so it could be completed in a weekend.

Ben strip-pieced brights and space fabric and cut and pieced this to go with dark space and planets fabric. This small quilt served as the background for Ben to velcro his parking ticket.

For the quilting, as I mentioned Ben was keen to use the table top quilting frame. Ben used metallic and glow in the dark thread to machine quilt a variety of straight and curvy patterns down the radiating stripes.

The actual ticket was designed on the computer. Ben modeled the design on a real parking ticket, but adapted it to suit a futuristic space theme. Then he printed the ticket on a piece of specially treated fabric that was designed to go through the ink jet printer. This was bond-a webbed to another piece of fabric so the parking ticket was detachable. All in all - a clever idea!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Rosie's Cuckoo Clock

Same theme, different kid, different quilt. This quilt was inspired by the same Time and Space theme but with a very different result. Rosie was 8 years old when she made this quilt and Rosie was and still is interested in design technology. She likes to make things out of Lego and K'nex and old cardboard boxes and toilet paper tubes. So she wanted her quilt to have some 3D elements.

This took some trial and error to figure out. We ended up using a chunky wooden coat hanger to 'hang' the clock. Rosie designed a cuckoo out of yellow fleece and hand stitched and stuffed it. Then she cut a door through the quilt top so the cuckoo could pop out. For the weights, Rosie hand stitched, stuffed and embellished a rocket out of pink fleece. Rosie cut the hands of the clock out of special craft foam and hand tacked them to the face.

We thought that the log cabin block could be used to good effect to make the clock face. I rotary cut the strips and Rosie pieced the 4 log cabin blocks to make the clock face. This was her first solo machine piecing project and she made a good job of it. Later she added borders out of a darker space fabric that blended with the fabric she'd used in the blocks.
The wall hanging was backed in pink fleece, with a triangular pocket at the top to fit over the hanger. This quilt was also hand quilted by Rosie using glow in the dark pink thread. This was her first effort at hand quilting and she took care to make straight and even stitches. Finally, Rosie went on to embellish the quilt with buttons, beads and star sequins and also the special heat gun dots. I added the binding.

Rosie was really pleased with how this project turned out. I liked the way that Rosie used her talents in design technology to think up and construct a unique little quilt that truly exemplified the Time and Space theme. It hangs now in the upstairs hallway and it brings a smile to my face every time I walk by. If you click the photo at the beginning of this post you should be able to see the quilt in much greater detail.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Ellie's Pegasus

Ellie loves horses. So even though the theme of the Childrens Quilt competition was Time and Space, we were going to have to work a horse into it somehow. Ellie got the idea from the Greek myths of a Pegasus pulling the sun across the heavens. It was perfect.
Making Ellie a part of the planning process helped to keep her interest throughout the project. Ellie started a planning book. She kept sketches of the horse, the layout of the quilt and ideas about threads and embellishments.
We wanted to use fun fabric so Ellie went online to choose. Lots of online shops offer a design window so it was posssible to try out the fabric before we bought it. We also got exciting thread. It glows in the dark! Ellie used it for the machine quilting that radiated out from the sun and also for the hand quilting and embellishment.
Ellie sketched a small version of the horse. We enlarged it on a photocopier and used it for a pattern to cut out the image from white felt. Felt was ideal because we could leave the edges raw. Ellie was able to hand sew it to the top. Ellie used special fabric paint to draw the feathers on the wings. The slices of the sun were put together using bond-a web and later machine appliqued. I helped with the ironing and machining. All the hand work was completed by Ellie.
Embellishing was a big part of the quilt. Ellie used beads and sequins to make the stars twinkle. We also used a special heat gun that would instantly attach gems and glow in the dark dots to the top. This was fun and quick. The end result was fantastic. To see a better view of Ellie's Pegasus quilt, click on the image at the top of this post. I think you'll be able to see a larger image. You should be able to zoom in and see lots of detail.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Kids and Quilts

I love kids and quilts. For me, January often ushers in a time of reflection. The ancient Romans, the makers of our current calendar, named this month after Janus - a two-faced deity, who looked both forward and backward.

As I begin the new year I like to pause and and look back, I look ahead too, and hope to use the precious time wisely to hold on to what is of value and to let go of what is not.

I think that passing on what we love to who we love is one of the most important things that we can do. It's why I find teaching my kids how to piece and quilt so rewarding. I'm going to use the next few posts to talk about kids and quilts.


Apologies for the gap in the posts. Everybody at our house came down with an epic virus over Christmas which coincided with computer meltdown. After a long series of unfortunate events including one dire day when I thought that my past six years of computer files had all been erased, all is now well. The files have been retrieved and life is just about back to normal. It's good to be back!