Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spiderweb Binding

As promised, here is the spiderweb binding information I talked about. What I can't promise is that it entirely makes sense ... it does to me, but I've done this a bazillion times ... (perhaps a slight exaggeration there) :-)

And of course, click on the pictures to embiggen. Gosh, is that even a word??

For four mats, cut six strips from the width of your fabric, the strips I've used are 2" wide. Sew all strips together using a diagonal seam to make one long binding strip, and press in half, wrong sides together.

Pic 1: I always leave a long tail on my binding, and because the mats have 8 short sides, I pin the first corner in place and start sewing on the second 'straight side'.

Pic 2: Mark the location of the corner seam with a pin. Stitch right up to the pin, and take a couple of back stitches.

Pic 3: Fold the binding strip upwards, and make sure the raw edge of the binding is running parallel to the raw edge of the mat that you'll be sewing onto next. (Just the same as if you're making a 90 degree corner)

Pic 4: Fold the binding strip back down again, pin in place and continue sewing.

Pic 5: Continue this process until you've rounded the second last corner, and stop. Break off the threads, and pin the last corner in place. This is to ensure you have long binding tails to make the final join easier - it's tricky tugging all that mess under the presser foot!

Pic 6: Because I've used a 2" wide binding, I overlap the ends by 2" and cut away the excess binding. If you used 2.5" wide binding, then overlap by 2.5" etc.

Pic 7: Remove all pins, and execute your final diagonal join. I like to pin far enough apart so that my sewing machine foot fits thru the middle without removing the pins.

Pic 8: Now you'll have the exact amount of binding to finish up binding your placemat, and the final join is neat and tidy. You're done.

Just an aside: For small projects like this, I love to be all virtuous and use up lots of small pieces of batting. To save myself the trauma of sewing all the bits together, I use my little friend 'basting spray'. Cut your backing fabric an inch larger than the mats, spray the wrong side of the fabric with basting spray, and arrange the little pieces of batting so that no pieces overlap. Then spray the batting, and place your mat carefully on top. Works every time!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The last of the great procrastinators ...

"We'll be in to help you with the chores later Mum ... we're sleeping here ..."

In other news: I've finished quilting on the spiderweb mats, and I hope to get to the binding this afternoon. I promise to share how I do it :-) Gail asked if I quilt on my longarm? I wish! But no, I quilt all my projects on my Bernina. I've only ever sent one project out for machine quilting, and though a longarm machine is on my wishlist, I don't have one on my horizon right now. Trust me, anyone can quilt these mats ... really!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A little quilting & fun with EQ

I've been busy quilting away on my spiderweb mats, and since I've made a few of them lately, this is my favourite way to quilt them right now. Half feathers with a shadow. The centre section is too small, so I just do arcs in there. Looks like I just got bored quilting and wandered off sometime last night :-)

And while I was waiting for Amy to get home last night, I thought I'd draw up a little something I'd like to make for the dining table. A nice big fat runner. This block is called 'Lady of the Lake'. Sounds a little 'Anne of Green Gables' to me :-) The blocks will be 12", and I'll need to make 14 of them. Seems like I'm always drawing things up in shades of green lately - I know it goes so well in my home ... but blue is my favourite colour!

If I'm a really good girl, maybe I'll get this runner made up before I return to work on the 18th January? Let's see how much I get distracted by other things ...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Spiderweb Placemats

Here it is the day after Christmas here in Oz, and instead of finding new homes for our gifts, I'm blogging. Look at me with my fancy collage pictures. I'm like a kid with a new toy!

But seriously, I had quite a number of people asking about the pattern for my spiderweb placemats, and while I was able to answer some personally, there were a number of people I couldn't respond to as their email address hasn't been enabled on comments. So, I decided to make up a quick tutorial:

Pic 1: You'll need four coordinating fabrics - from which you'll cut 2.5" strips (you can use any size you like, but that's what I used). If you're making two placemats, cut two strips from each fabric. If you're making four placemats, cut four strips - you get the idea :-) Make up however many strip sets you need using each of the four fabrics. Makes more sense when you see the second picture.

Pic 2: Using your Kaleidorule (from Marti Michell) cut your first wedge, and then trim off the jaggedy bit on the other side.

Pic 3: Flip your ruler over and cut the opposing wedge. Keep going with this until you've used up the whole strip. You'll likely get your 8 pieces plus 2 extra. If you make four mats, you'll have enough spare pieces to make an extra mat for a table centre :-)

Pic 4: I sew my units into pairs, and I press the seams open. I don't really have a sciency reason that I do this, but I think maybe it helps that final bulky seam go together a little easier. Then sew your pairs into quarters, and the quarters into halves ...

Pic 5: And finally you'll have a completed spiderweb placemat top.

Note: While I use my Kaleidorule template, there may be other products that do the same job, so check your supplies and see what you have. Also, this is not my exclusive pattern (far from it) - it has been shown on other blogs, in books and magazines. No claims to fame here.

I haven't finished making all my spiderwebs yet, so when I'm done I'll check back and show you how I've quilted them, and also the binding. It could be a little while, so please don't hold your breath :-)

Also, I wanted to throw a shout-out to the following commenters who I wasn't able to reply to regarding other posts:

Heidi: How fun that you met Donna at Quilting Corner. You guessed right about her NI friend! I'm hoping to be over in March/April and vacationing with the lovely Donna. The world really is a tiny place!

Allyson: Thank you for stopping by. I don't have the Among the Evergreens pattern out yet, but if you can email me and let me know that you're interested, maybe I can put it on the fast track :-)

Sue K: I think maybe the Baptist Fan tutorial you're looking for is over at Bonnie's blog, or maybe Tonya's. Though I'd love to have the patience, they're not something I've undertaken :-)

Though there have been many more lovely comments from people without their email address enabled - I think that's all for the most recent direct questions. I know it's usually an oversight, but please do check your settings and enable your email, it's truly so helpful! *hugs*

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ho Ho Ho

Merry Christmas to all my buddies out in cyber land. We've survived the flurry of present opening, the food-fest of lunch, and the lazy dinner that followed, and we've thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Today my side of the family visited, we had twelve for lunch, and I think that's the max we can cater for on one table. Any larger, and we'll be calling for backup surfaces. It was wonderful to share meals with my parents, my brothers and SIL, my grandparents, along with my own little family and Amy's boyfriend.

Marty's family (being European) traditionally celebrate on Xmas Eve, so we were out last night at the St Kilda Yacht Club with his extended family which was wonderful. And to add to the celebrating, the surprise wedding of one of Marty's cousins. So much fun.

I hope everyone is having wonderful times with friends and family, and now I'm off to rest a little, and then see if I can put my house back to rights. It looks like a wrapping paper tornado swept thru here!
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm a learning creature ...

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Just having a little play with Picasa ... I had no idea I could use it for blogging! Clearly I'm very much behind the times! xox

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas is how many days away?!?

I have been a neglectful blogger of late - but I hope in the immediate future I can remedy that. As of 5pm yesterday, I'm officially on holidays until the 18th of January. After Christmas, I'll have expanses of free time (hahaha) and tons to share I'm sure!

There is still stitching happening in my sewing room sporadically, and as I'm still working on a couple of Christmas gifts, I can't share just now - but if I remember to take a picture before I frantically wrap them up, I'll share the end results.

One thing that has entertained me (often late at night) is that I have discovered some wonderful home decorating/house blogs. And I really love them!
This one is my current favourite: That Old House
So much fun to peek into other peoples homes, and great inspiration for decorating my own.

Since I don't have any quilty loveliness to share, I thought I'd show a couple of Christmassy things.

Though it's nothing like the fabulous vignettes you'll find around blogland, this is what you see on my china cabinet in the front entryway. You'll find Nutcrackers all over the house - I went mad for them last year. The Mikasa Santas have been with us for a long time, and some day in the future I will find the creamware Nativity scene. You just can't rush these things.

Each year I add new decorations to the tree, and though I purchased many more, here are some of my favourites. Three birds came home with me from the Christmas shop on Goodwood Road. I should have purchased more - they're adorable.

And three of these adorable Faberge style eggs. They open up to reveal a little treat inside ... though mine are 'treat free' today - who knows what Christmas day will bring?

Today I'm doing chores around the house to get ready for the big day - and I'll probably dash to the store for a couple of last minute things. Tomorrow Mum and I are setting the table, and Friday I'll be doing the grocery shopping. We have 12 coming for Christmas lunch, and everyone is bringing something - so I predict it will be a wonderful and relatively stress free day! xox

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Stitching

Isn't this always such a busy time of year? Before I can seriously think of Christmas, there is first my birthday and then Amy's birthday to deal with. And deal with in a lovely way of course. Miss Amy turned sweet sixteen yesterday - she is such a treasure. How ever did those years fly by so quickly? Before I know it, it will be Cameron's turn!

I have still managed to get in a little sewing for gifts - but I really must get busy, as there isn't much time to go now.

First up are some spiderweb placemats for a dear sweet customer at the store. She gave me the most beautiful crinoline lady stitcheries earlier this year, and I really wanted to give her a treat in return. Just need to stitch on the binding, and they're good to go :-)

Cameron's family day care lady is like part of our family, so I wanted to make her a little treat too. This is the candle mat I made up for her. I've had this Thimbleberries fabric for such a long time as it is a feature in one of my patterns. I estimate I've had 150 yards of it pass through my hands over the years.

And here is the lantern with a pine tree candle, all packaged up with the mat ready to go. I may make a couple more if I have the chance ... still so much to do, but the days are ticking away ...

Monday, December 06, 2010

Dinner Party

On Saturday evening, Marty and I hosted a formal dinner party for six of our best friends. I had such a great time organising the menu, gathering supplies, and my favourite of all, making and folding the napkins. I found a fun method of folding on Martha Stewart's website, and really wanted to give it a try. They turned out wonderfully, and were much commented upon. I even googled the proper way to lay out the table, and gave it my best shot with the supplies I had.

The dress code for the evening was formal, the company was fabulous, and the evening declared a great success. We're already in the planning stages for the next event, and I simply can't wait.

With all the fun of the preparation, (apart from making napkins) my Bernina has been much neglected, and I'm looking forward to a reunion with her this evening :-)


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