Upholstery projects

 

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I am developing a real love for upholstery although I have to admit to a bit of a love hate thing going on with it!

I am in the process of recovering all 8 of my dining room chairs.  The current ones are looking way too old and worn.  I am not doing this as an upcycling project and the fabric is not cheap or recycled.  I am doing this for no other reason other than a complete love of colour and that I want spectacular and flamboyant dining room chairs surrounding my favourite place in the house!  Consequently, I am aiming to do this properly and for me properly means that all of the new covers are sewn beautifully and finished perfectly, even the areas that can’t be seen.  That is where my ‘hate’ thing comes in- it drives me crazy to see how often in upholstery projects, there is very little actual sewing involved.  Instead, everything is just stapled together, like a kids’ school project!  Even piping can be stapled on and often seams aren’t created but instead folded over and stapled in hidden places.  I also hate the fact that when you take a piece of furniture apart, you see that areas have not been covered completely and the fabric instead has just been cut off.

A few years ago I recovered an old Ikea sofa we had. As you can see in the photo it was certainly nothing special and needed some serious tlc. It did have armrests as well but they have already been removed in this photo.  I accept totally that I am being stupid, but I am very proud of the fact that my re-upholstered settee would look as beautiful when taken apart as it currently does in use!  If the arms were removed it would look like a perfect futon, as the sides are completely covered.

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This having been my first attempt at this, it never really crossed my mind to consider the finer detail of the fabric. Hence, it was only after I had bought the fabric and started to cut it out did I realise that I would now have to match up all those stripes and also make them run straight down the armrests!

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The original settee didn’t have any piping either, but there was no way I was going to not add piping as its like a secret weapon!  IMAG1496

This settee has now been sitting happily in our dining room for a few years and still looks as good as new, although I have to admit that that could partly be because it’s the only settee that the dog isn’t allowed to sit on!

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Happy Creating!

 

 

 

 

Rediscovery.

I had some time a few days ago and so decided to rootle through a basket of stuff in my sewing room to see what was in there. Turns out, I have more ufo’s than I thought!  I find it is sometimes quite nice to put things away for a while and then look at them again with fresh eyes months or even years later.

Often, I get either fed up with something, or end up feeling that it isn’t going right or is not going to be what I expected etc and then I tend to put it away and start something new.  On getting out these ufo’s though, so many of them I still love and they need and deserve to be finished.

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Playing around with foundation piecing for the first time.  It’s not perfect but it does certainly need some custom quilting to enhance it now.

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I do love these but I am not really hand on my heart sure that I will ever complete this idea and funnily enough I made these very early on in my quilting life and my taste in colours has become deeper, although I do still adore these.

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I seem to have a thing for stars and points don’t I! This was always going to become a lap quilt for a course for a Christmas design. This needs finishing!

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Playing around with a flamboyant fabric. It would still make a cool summer bag.

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Awww, this one has always been one of my favourites and my daughter has had her eye on it for years.  The piecing had become a labour of love, hence why I had stopped for a long while.  I fell in love originally with that funky 70’s type brown flower print creating the centre star. Can’t get that fabric any more.  I am also not quite sure as yet as to how to match the spotty brown fabric, but I am certainly going to finish this quilt.

And finally, This is the one I am going to work on for now, in between all the other stuff I am doing.

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Again, another stupidly involved piecing commitment!  But I love it. I really fancy making this into a double quilt, but do I have the energy?!

How about you, have you searched out all those ufo’s recently to see which ones are crying out to be finished?

Meanwhile, happy patching. x

Returning to blogland

I met with an old friend yesterday.  She is a fellow creative and is an inspiration to me as I have watched her skill and business grow solidly over the last few years.  Returning home from spending time with her made me return to my quilting blog, as I have allowed it to lapse over the last year.

I’m sure there are many of you with a love of vintage fabrics and creations and this is where my friend excels.  She makes beautiful hand embroidered items, such as wall hangings, pictures and cushions etc.  I am lucky enough to have one of her larger embroidered art pieces already hanging in my sewing room and I have my eye on pretty much her entire home!

Homespunstitchworks

Homespun Stitchworks..... For the love of vintage

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile back to quilting.  Whilst I have blatantly neglected my blog, I haven’t been neglecting my sewing.  I have been creating all sorts of treasures, starting with this colourful wall hanging that now hangs over my daughter’s bed.

I began by outlining the design onto white cotton fabric, using a blue washaway pen so that I could then quilt over the top and remove the pen marks.

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Once all of the pen was removed and the stitching was done, it was time to have fun colouring it. For this quilt I used my Prismacolour pencils.  Have to admit, this stage took many many hours, probably far more than I had appreciated it would initially! It was worth it though.

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The final stage was to add the obligatory bling, in the form of Hot-fix crystals. Voila, all finished bar the binding.  ( which is now done!)

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Hope you all have a good and peaceful day!x

Quilt progress report.

Hi Everyone,

Now that my wrist has recovered enough to get back to quilting, I have finally managed to complete the quilt that was sitting on my frame for weeks untouched!

I am very proud of the lady who pieced this quilt.  This is her first ever quilt, so she decided to make a Hunters Star king size quilt!  And trust me, a Hunter’s star, with all those bias edges, is no easy task.  She also has some health problems and so pieced this whole quilt one handed, whilst supporting her neck with the other hand.  It took her pretty much over a year of dedication and resolve, before handing it over to me to quilt.

35As you can see there is loads of blank space throughout this quilt to have lots of fun with the quilting.  I wanted to give this special lady a quilt to be proud of.  To create a soft, romantic and beautiful quilt for her.  I chose feathers obviously for the borders, with a bit more structure on the outer border, which helped to bring the quilt into shape.

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There you go.  I have to admit, seeing this lady’s face when I handed over this quilt, was such a wonderful special moment.  I don’t think she ever truly realised that she had made a beautiful quilt until then and I hope it has given her so much more belief in herself.  ( of course, she still hasn’t finished her work, as she still has the binding to do!)

Graphik pens

Well, I have been away from here for a long time!  No other reason but life getting in the way. I stupidly managed to break my dominant left wrist in Feb- iceskating with the kids!  In my defense, I had spent an hour happily on the ice the day before and had enjoyed it so much, I booked for us all to go again the next day!  I was nearly at the end of the session, ten minutes before the end, when I had my only fall.  I knew I’d broken it as soon as I registered the pain, but I wasn’t expecting to have fractured it in 5 different places!

I am at least now out of plaster, but there is still so much I can’t do, not  least being driving!  The other annoying thing I am finding uncomfortable is drawing and writing.  Despite the difficulties I have had a fab afternoon today doodling on our garden wall!  We have finally had our patio done and it looks fab.  We now have a big table and we have a great big expanse of white wall which was in need of something!

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I have been wanting to try out my new graphik pens from Derwent.

Graphik Line Painter Palette 3

They are permenant ink in a pen.  I have been so stunned at the coverage they allow on such a difficult surface as a wall.  Thanks to the consistent flow of ink, it creeps into all the tiny nooks and crannies of the wall and the vibrancy of the colours makes my flowers look like stickers that I have bought!

However, this is very slow going and is likely to take me all summer, if not into next summer.  It takes me almost an hour to do one flower!  And it is uncomfortable work, so I have to rest my arm lots.

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Take a look at my bird- I realised after doing the flowers that I could treat this ink in the same way that I could if I was using paper, so I started using a paint brush with a bit of water to create some tones and shades to the colours.

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This is so much fun!

My plan is to cover the whole wall with individual flowers and butterflies etc and then to start filling in the gaps and see where that takes me…..It’s going to be a busy summer.  I promise to show you where it’s at by the end of Sept okay?!

Love Suzy

wadding trial.

I had the chance to have a bit of a play over the last couple of days with a new wadding type. I had had a large bag of ‘Dream Puff” wadding sitting unopened in my studio for a long while now. I figured it was about time I tried it, as I had recently been reading some positive reviews about the amount of loft it provided.

Well, I wasn’t disappointed. It is lovely. It feels great when you take it out of the packet. It wasn’t creased, despite me having had this bag for probably at least the last two or three years; It feels wonderfully light and airy and it is a dream to quilt through. Best of all though, it looks amazing! Admittedly, I did try it out with two layers, for my first try, being determined to ensure it had good loft.

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Over the next few days though, in the interests of science, I will try it out with only one layer and then compare the two!

Jay, It’s finished!

Happy new year everyone!  I think I am almost pretty much past the acceptable point of saying that!

I had a lovely Christmas, with lots of family around.  I did no quilting at all though over the whole school holiday.  The only thing I did do was all the annoying ‘frogging’ ( unpicking) of Jay’s quilt.  I lost count of how many hours this took, probably because to count the hours would have made me despair even more.  Suffice to say though, that it was probably enough time for Jay to put in adequate work for her final Aeronautical exams!

Once that bit was over though, I could take a very deep breath and start quilting the dresden plates ( again!).  It was actually pretty good to have a complete break from it, as this time, I just decided to play around and not think at all and just quilt.  Finally a load of stuff appeared that I am happy with!

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The whole thing is finished now and off the machine, as of yesterday.  Overall I am happy with it, although I wish that the background showed more than it does.  I put it on my bed and walked in and out a few times during the day, and each time, I could not see enough of the background swirls unless I went closer.  Without a loftier wadding though this was never going to happen.  At least what the dense quilting of the background has done, is allow the dresden plates to be the centrepiece, which is fantastic!

Now, I just have to sort out the best way to get it to Canada!  ……..  Maybe as it wasn’t hand quilted, it should be hand delivered!

Hope you love it Jay and give your granny a very big hug!

PROGRESS

Its beginning to look a lot like christmas!

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I adore this time of year.  I am one of those annoying people who like to be ready all early.  So pretty much everything is wrapped and sorted.  I then like spending the month of december simply enjoying it for what it is.  All of that seriously gets in the way of quilting though!

In fact, last week was even worse than I anticipated, as I got exactly zilch done.  Didn’t even step in the room.  First off, I ended up with five days of a various kid off school sick!  That, was never part of the plan! Aside from that, It always was going to be my busiest week, due to my husband’s’ and then my eldest’s’ birthdays a day apart; then to make it worse I organised my usual massive xmas dinner party- it took me two solid days of cooking and preparing to get the food done for the party, and have to admit, by 3pm on the saturday, I was beginning to think I had been a bit too ambitious! Heres, what I made:  Slow cooked onion and cider soup and freshly homemade cheese and onion bread for starter; followed by slow cooked roast pork in white wine and fennel sauce, along with roast potatoes, mash, roasted veg, separate roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes, parisienne potatoes and a winter root mash.  Pudding was a chocolate log with baileys cream and home made apple and custard tarts, and yes, I stupidly made the pastry and the custard from scratch!  However, by 8pm all was in control again, except deep down I would love to be the kind of host who manages to do all of that but who also has beautiful nails and hands!  I had painted my nails a  really cool colour the day before, all ready, but fifty million bowls of washing up later, it had all chipped off and my hands were raw and red and almost bleeding.!  Who are the women who manage to do all of that?  and more importantly how?

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The rest of me looked okay luckily, it was just my hands which always give me away!

Lis, this bit is for you, don’t know if you will recognise this dress? It’s the sister dress of Rachel’s’ fantastic green and black one!  I found it in a second hand shop two days before the party and had to have it, so that one day Rach and I can wear them out together and get into a lot of mischief!

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Anyway, the party’s now over, so back to the quilting! ( It was really good though!)

I found a few hours this week to get back to Jay’s quilt.  i have now completed all of the centre background quilting.  Still have a lot of unpicking to do but I keep putting it off.  I had promised Jay that I would find a way to put a bit of beach into her quilt, so I managed to quilt in a few shells for her.

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I was really enjoying doing these!  All those swirls get a bit boring when you are trying to keep them all similar!  By this stage, I had also found the confidence to turn my machine to manual and take away the ruler base I usually always leave on- much more fluid and responsive now!

Today, then I found a further one hour, just before rushing out to walk the dog before going to the second of my three nativity shows this week! Just enough time, to take a deep breath, a very deep breath and try something out on a couple of the dresden plate designs.  I think I to had said in my last post that, as these are not completely traditional dresden plates, i didn’t want to quilt them completely traditionally.  I decided instead to go for different types of feather designs in each large plate.  Here’s where I’m at so far.  They are not perfect, not like i would want them to be, but overall I am happy and I think the design is beginning to give me a bit of a buzz!

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If I don’t get a chance to write again before Christmas, I hope you all have a wonderful special time with your families and that all is at peace in your worlds.  Love Suzy

progress.

Hi everyone, especially Jay!

You, lovely Jay, are probably wondering what is going on with your quilt! Have to admit, over the last week it and I have been having  a little bit of a love/ hate thing going on!  Now, though we seem to have sorted through our differences and have become friends again!

I was struggling for a while with how to quilt the  dresden plates.  I had decided on the thread, silver glide, to match against all those colours; then I thought I had decided on the design-feathering each individual fan.  However, I didn’t like it.  my work wasn’t good enough and it didn’t look like I wanted it to look. So then I tried using a silk thread with the same design- still not happy.  Part of my problem was trying to create feathers off the straight spine of the fan.  I realised then though that I have never liked creating feathers off straight spines, as it is more difficult to get them to look pretty! I won’t bore you all with the many many options I then went through, not to mention the choice language, but ironically, I have ended up coming full circle.

I have lots of threads to pull out, and I have already spent many hours pulling out lots, but I have come back to my silver thread and my feathers.  This time though, I have created the feathers more how I usually do, rather than trying to match them against the spine so much.  They are much better and prettier.  I am now toying though with doing a different feather design in each of the large dresden plates!  This is afterall, a traditional quilt, that is branching out way past it’s traditional roots!

Right now though, having created my first happy plate, I have moved on to quilting all of the background filler.  All swirls, kept simple and unassuming against these amazingly vivid colours.  I am having fun with these swirls.  There is so much emplty space here to practice them on and no matter how many times I draw them out on paper, nothing compares to the feeling of the machine under your hands as you curve around the swirl!  It is so easy to create new swirls, that I find I am needing to hold it back, as I don’t want to suddenly have a different design appearing here and there!

Anyway, I am enjoying where this quilt is going, although this month is always my busiest of the year, what with Christmas and two immediate family birthdays!  I am not getting nearly as much done as I would like, but slow but steady is winning the race.

I will leave you now with a few photos of where it is at. Aren’t those colours fantastic! Love Suzy

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Progress report.

Hi Everyone,

First off and most importantly, thank you so much to all of you who commented so incredibly thoughtfully regarding which quilt design option I should go for.  It has been fantastic to read through them all and such a useful learning experience.  Particularly great, was a reminder that the last time I didn’t follow my original instinct, I regretted it.  That was a fab comment, as it did exactly what it was meant to do and made me go back to my quiet deep down thoughts about this quilt.

In some ways, this is a tough quilt to quilt.  There are a few things I have been fighting against. First off, the wadding is a beautiful likely 100% cotton, which although feels gorgeous, is flat to quilt and so I am unable to create the type of texture and highlight quilting that I would really like to create.  I did consider contacting my aunt in Canada to query if I could change the wadding.  However, in practical terms this quilt needs to be posted back there and two layers of wadding would be a huge extra cost.  Then, as you know the lack of structure in the quilt has meant I need to be very careful to create a design that suits it.

Sitting quietly and listening to my instincts again, found me going back to my original thoughts…. and that was that the background needs to be simple, so just the dresden plates take centre stage.  I had been fighting this partly because I knew my aunt and cousin wanted me to do some cool custom quilting, but when I had first seen the quilt, I had not felt that it would warrant this.  Every time this quilt talks to me, it tells me that it wants a simple flowing background design.  maybe swirls, maybe small flowers… not fully decided yet!  So, deciding to go with what the quilt wants, freed me up to concentrate on the dresden plates.  They are the part that need the cool quilting!  So, I am now playing around with some different designs for the plates themselves, maybe feathers,maybe straight lines, maybe something else.  ( I have a bit of an idea, but I will play around with it a bit more first!)

In the meantime, I have almost finished the first border:  Go Space!

I wasn’t quite sure at first and as always wish I had a small scrap version of the quilt to practice on!  The bit though, I know I wasn’t quite sure of, was the flatness of the quilting, which I knew would be there.  Although, you know what, now I have done a lot of it, I like this design.  It is really subtle, being quilted in the same colour thread as the fabric and so you have to look closely to see the shapes of the planets and whatever else is there!  I can already imagine though how much this design will frame the whole quilt in an unusual, funky, modern and playful arena of space, well suited to it’s recipient.  ( Jay, I will find a way to get the beach in there some where else, promise!) even better, i didn’t realise at first until I had quilted a bit, that the colour of the border is perfect for my creation of space!

Here’s some photos so far.  Let me know what you think! Love Suzy

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About quiltedhappiness

My name is Suzy.

August 2012

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