Thursday, July 3, 2014

June Mystery Quilt Weekend



JUNE MYSTERY QUILT WEEKEND
A report from Brandy Gully's Newest Quilter.

Quilters beware there is a man amongst us..
This last weekend saw our shop host its third 'mystery quilt' weekend. To my greatest shock and amazement, my middle child, Matthew at the age of 22 decided he wanted to join in and try his hand at quilting. He figured if he was going to work for me then he ought to have a first hand knowledge of what happens and what's involved in the making of a quilt.
Don't tell him, if you see him that just making the top is only half of the experience as I think he needs a bit more time to wrap his masculine head around the process.
I simply can't tell you the fun I had watching him learn to sew (which he had never done before) let alone wield a beer in one hand and a rotary cutter in the other....
So without further words from me, here is Matt's story in his own words, about the first quilt top he began to make and I am proud to say he now owns his first UFO.
Go Matt!!
What a weekend! I have always appreciated the detail, effort, love and skill that goes into quilting, but WOAH! I had no idea!

Unfortunately, I had some other commitments during the weekend and was not able to attend for the full amount of time.  I must say, however,  I am feeling pretty proud of my efforts!

The weekend began with a night of fabric selection, cutting, and a sneaky beer (to steady my hand for the rotary cutter). Although the whole night was very light-hearted, I don't think I have every been so nervous measuring such small amounts! Every time I felt that I was getting the hang of it enough to start showing off, I looked down and remembered that cutting fabric strips an inch too short was a big 'no no'....

With a wide range of skill and experience levels in the class (mine being the lowest) I felt very well looked after. Not only was mum watching to make sure that I left the cutting table with my finger tips intact, but there were decades of helpful hints and tips being shared all night from every member of the class. It is amazing the difference that "hold your hand like this" or "I find it easier in this order" can make! These helpful words of advice, along with the support from the lovely community on our Facebook page, I now see why so many ladies love the experience of drinking tea and turning beautiful fabric into something truly amazing.

The Saturday began late for me. I had to squeeze in a few hours of weightlifting training to make sure that my testosterone levels were high enough for a day behind the sewing machine. As I am not quite the fabric cutting ninja that mum is, I still had some fabrics to cut. Mum offered to do some cutting for me and speed me up, but the idea of sleeping under a quilt that I did all of the cutting for just sounded too rewarding! After finally finishing my battle with the rotary cutter and ruler I learned that that was the easy part!

"How hard can a quarter inch seam be... right? Stick two bits of fabric together, step on the pedal and BINGO! You've got yourself a quilt!" That's how I saw it going anyway... It was more like "line up fabrics... wait... that's not even... there we go... put it in the machine... step on the pedal... Why aren't you working?... Oh yeah! Lower the foot... WHAT?! I bumped the fabric... lift the foot and redo it... ok start sewing...... whoops... seam is too wide... now it's too narrow!!... NOW IT'S TOO WIDE AGAIN!!! OK I think I did a good job of that one now... I'll just check it.................. MUUUUUUMMMMMM!!!! Can you unpick my stitching! I don't think I did it right!"
Anyway... after a long battle with my strips, I was almost there! I had a big bunch of strips, "I am flying through this! It must be pretty close to putting it all together and finishing it". NOPE! Turns out, once quilters spend ages cutting up a perfectly good bolt of fabric, they not only like to cut it into small pieces and sew them together, but then they like to cut them into SMALLER pieces and then sew them back together! When I read the next instruction that said I had to cut my beautiful strips, not just into 4 or 5 pieces, but 40, I started to take a long hard look at the quilts around me. The ones that I had admired on the walls of the shop or slept under for years. These weren't just beautiful, these were AMAZING! The amount of cuts and stitches that must have gone into them was truly beginning to sink in!

With this new found sense of appreciation, I was back into it! If mum had made me so many quilts with so many little fiddly bits, I was going to make her one that she could be proud of! (I wasn't going to give it to her... It was going to take me too long to finish this thing. I don't want to give it away!! But I will let her show people I guess...).


By the time Sunday had come around, I felt like I was in a storm of coffee, fabric, and the most delicious cake I have ever eaten! The quilt was starting to come together! ...and then back apart when I realised I had yet again gotten my seams wrong! But all around me, the ladies with a bit more experience than me were really flying along. What had started as sets of four bolts of fabrics, was now beginning to turn into absolutely stunning quilts, right in front of everyone! By the time the machines were being packed up at the end of the day, there were quilts in a wide range of stages. Each, however was gorgeous! Mine, (the slowest of the group) was still only a bunch of squares, but I was stoked! I had learned a new skill, spent a whole weekend in the company of lovely people and had enjoyed every minute of it!

So I would like to end this by saying, on behalf of all of the non-quilting recipients of all of your lovely quilts! Thank you! We love your quilts and think they are beautiful, but until we sit behind a machine and try it for ourselves, we simply don't understand!

So whether you would like to educate someone on just how difficult and rewarding, making a quilt can be, or would just like to be a part of a friendly and fun atmosphere, I would thoroughly recommend our next mystery quilt weekend! I loved every minute of it!


Matt Tervo

Monday, June 9, 2014

A few Funnies that tickle my days..

Some people hate Facebook and I guess I can understand their view. I however have a personal page and also one for the business.. So I seem to nonstop be on a computer somewhere.. Oh how my life has changed!
Mainly I use it to keep up with friends I grew up with, stalk my kids and their friends LOL and use it to find wonderful and inspiring craft ideas.. The talent the world has is certainly very humbling!
If you wish to join me on Facebook then you can find my personal page, Nikki Tervo or Brandy Gully Patchwork.

But then there are lots of laughs too and when you work on your own like I do, and appreciate a good laugh, then I will take them from wherever I can find them..

So for the 'non Facebook fans' here are a few of my favourites.. For no other reason than I hope you too can laugh a little..


Found this one at 2am this morning.. Would you have thought of this?? I wouldn't!


Some days..


Gotta get in on some 'scissor action'


Don't I wish...


I think I love Downtown Abbey even more now..


Definitely my middle child..


Good advice..


Yep, I could be a best friend some days..


Gotta laugh..


Every day seems to be a day like this..

Anyway I hope some of those bought a smile to your face..
Remember,
'If you're happy and you know it.. tell your face'..
Hope you are having a happy day
Nikki

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Loving all the color..

One of my very favourite things about being a designer, is watching what other people do with my design.. Their interpretation of something I made.
I think that's the greatest part about handmade things is that no two can ever be the same!
Last weekend I was at the 'Henzel Street Quilters' quilt show in Redcliffe.. We took the shop up and had a great time with all the girls


And whilst I was sitting, chatting, eating and stitching (as you do while at a quilt show :-), I was asked if I had seen Fay's quilt? Answer was no, but I soon found it..


Fay had done her rendition of my 'Quilting Mouse' pattern. Using more vibrant colors than I had in her fabrics, Fay had also meticulously coloured in each little part of the stitchery.
WOW..
So I just have to show you as it was just gorgeous!


Miss mouse goes shopping..


Then home for cake and a cuppa..


Does all the appliquƩ..


Then pieces by machine..


Quilts whilst in bed..


And then finishes with Show and Tell..
The quilt is made up using 2" squares and in amongst it I drew all the things that I loved about stitching with my own Grandmother, as a child..


My Gran always had jars of buttons for me to play with, an old tape measure is a must, and as a kid I used to play on an old treadle sewing machine.


Grandma carried all her sewing in a cane basket back then and only ever drank tea from a teapot and fine china cup (no tea bags were ever allowed :-)


I always stitched, sitting on the floor at night, under the big frilly lamp and loved to poke flowers into the tops of Grans cotton reels.


The scissors gran used were big red handled ones but here Fay made her own choice.. Whilst Gran and I never quilted together, I am sure she would have preferred hand quilting.


And finally, the one thing that always stuck in my mind as a kid, Gran was always so tidy but her reels of thread were always just tossed loose into a drawer..

So as you can see Fay certainly has done a wonderful job.. Sadly I couldn't get back far enough to take a photo of the whole quilt. (You can go onto my website to see my version if you like www.handcraftedbuttons.com )

I asked Fay about her technique for colouring to give us all some tips..
Fay used watercolor pencils and built the color up gradually.
She said 'the hotter the weather, the darker the pencil seems to come out. I'm not sure if the hot weather makes them softer.'
If any lines appeared in the coloring, Fay's comment was 'its just like drawing on paper. You have to be careful which way your strokes go and if you get too many lines in the drawing then, wet the tip of a paintbrush, remove the excess water on a paper towel and then carefully swirl the brush over the pencil to remove the lines.'
Then I asked the dreaded question about 'washing the quilt'. Fay assured me that she uses a color fixative over the top and it is colorfast. (Sadly I didn't ask brand etc of fixative paint) She did however say that it can make the fabric a bit stiff at first but it softens up over use of the quilt.

So there's a few tips on colouring quilts from someone who assures me she is no expert but seems to look like one to me!

If you are interested in doing this quilt it is a 6 month pattern set available either month by month or as a whole bundle on our web site.
Quilting Mouse
www.handcraftedbuttons.com

I have some photos hiding somewhere of other versions that people have made and hope to show them soon in another blog post.
This quilt is also available through different shops around Australia as a Block of the Month programme.
Hope you are having a happy stitching day
Nikki

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A little nifty pin cushion

Recently I have seen some cute little pincushions so thought I would have a go at making one. Then it all seemed to go a bit further...
I was originally given one that had a 'timber turned' base but there was no point in showing that, because how could you make one?
So whilst wasting a bit of time making some little things here's how my little projects were made...


Starting with a little pack of 21/2" squares that I had, I picked out four and sewed them together...


These are only 2 1/2" squares so 4 1/2" square finished.


Then using a 4 1/2" circle, trace the circle on the back.


Then cut circle out..


Gather up the circle like a suffolk puff by using a running stitch 1/4" in from the edge of the seam.
Then stuff hard with toy fill and end off but keep your needle and thread attached..


Then place a tiny button on the top centre


and stitch it onto the little stuffed cushion. Pulling it tight. I passed the needle back and forth through the button and the whole cushion.


Then you need to make a couple of decisions..
Do you want a ring to wear on your finger or do u want it to be on your sewing machine?


To make a ring, you need a plastic bottle top from a bottle of soft drink, a small length of hat elastic and a drill with a small drill bit.
Drill two holes in the lid that are big enough to thread the hat elastic through and tie the ends together inside the lid. Then use some good strong glue and glue your cushion to the lid.
(The flat part of the lid sits on your finger so you need to put the glue on the rim of the lid to stick it to your cushion)


I used a small amount of ric rac to decorate my lid and Voila it was finished.


Your pins can be quite long as they go into the lid and don't stick your finger.

Then the second option is to make a cushion that you sit on your sewing machine. (some of us are lucky enough to have a second holder on our sewing machines to hold our thread and this is ideal for that)
Instead of gluing the little cushion to a lid, glue it to a cotton reel..


I cheated and used a cute little wooden reel but any cotton reel will do.
If you don't have a second thread holder on your machine, just sit your little cushion next to your machine.


Perfectly cute and perfect fun.
Ideal for gifts or any little sewing stall.
I hope you are having a happy day
Nikki

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hats, glorious hats

For the last 20 years or so I haven't been able to wear a hat.
But as the fear of skin cancer increases with age, a sun hat seems to be a necessary item.
So for the past few years I have been trying all sorts of different hats. Leather acubras- the good old Aussie hat, peak caps, sun visor caps, slouch hats, cricket hats, quilted hats, and the list goes on and on..

2014 has finally drawn me some results. YIPEE I now own some hats.

Only thing is I feel a hat is not a hat, unless I love it so much and it makes me feel happy, then it's a hat.
This particular girl has requirements...
If I bend over, it can't fall off.
If its windy, it can't blow off.
It has to match a variety of outfits.
It can't get too hot to wear.
It must be washable if possible.
It must cover my ears from the sun.
It must fit my head, as I have a huge one.
It must be able to have my hair tucked into it and still stay on..
And lastly, preferably, I have to either think it looks fashionable (and not much does on me LOL) or it must make me smile which ultimately makes my family cringe. šŸ˜ƒ
Wrap all this up and I will wear this hat!

So with much excitement this year I discovered crocheted hats. I thought I would share what I have bought and where I found some amazing zany hats.

Before I continue, I also want you to know a couple of things that I have just learnt in 2014...
I have just learnt that bright colors touch all your 'chakras' thus if you wear rainbow colours it is impossible to feel low in happiness or energy.
I have always been a bit of a hippy naturalist at heart.
I love zany things.
I am sick of trying to please every one with what I wear..
And no I don't do crazy things to be the centre of attention, I do them because it makes me laugh and freaks out my kids LOL
So on with the hats...



Dreadful photo as i had to take it myself, but the hat is awesome. it is crocheted in cotton, that is obviously varigated, bright, matches my crazy beach cover up, inspires every 'chakra' i could possibly have, has a broad brim that covers my shoulders, i can swim in it too, and it has a wired brim, so i can shape it or squash it. Plus, it stretches over my hair and doesn't fall off. this one i bought in the 'hippy shop' in Malanda and is made somewhere overseas.. Awesome!

Then today I went to the local markets and look what I found..


Modelled by the artists friend, and all these hats are made by hand here in Brisbane..


The crochet work is Devine.. and this one wasn't bright enough to inspire my happy gland...


Lousy photo but awesome yet again.


I liked this one but it wouldn't fit and must say not too keen on yellow...


I thought i was going to break this trying to fit it on my head... so creative.


Brown was not my colour but in any other color this one would have been a keeper!


I had bought one already and then went back to get the blue (too small for my head) so I settled on the black and white for a more sophisticated look...


This was my first choice. Fabulous colors and every way you wear these hats they look different.


The photos are a bit crazy because I took them myself but check out the vents for air circulation.
Then here's a close up of the black and white hat


The reason why I thought I would share these hats on my blog is to give a 'well done gold star' to the creator.


With all her details


Because if u are interested in thread, crochet, soft sculpture of any sorts of craft, these hats might be a bit 'out there for you' but the workmanship is nothing short of Awesome. And I just needed to share them with you.

My sincere thanks to Jenny Racine, for the marvellous hats, your inspiring art work, the solutions to my hat head problems.. and your talent is nothing short of amazing!
Please go visit Jenny's website as this girl is going places...
I Hope you are having a happy hat day
Nikki