Monday, May 21, 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

It's time for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival. So many quilts to look at and new quilters to follow - and possible new friends too. Click on the link above or the button at the bottom of this post for the festival.

My entry is the first painted quilt I did using LuAnn Kessi's technique. This is my nephew, my daughter and her husband. I love this little quilt!

Things I learnt while making this piece:
  • less is definitely more. Stop when you still think you have more to add and it will look just right.
  • Curls don't need to be painted. An impression of curly hair is enough
  • lips are only dark in the corners
  • in fact, the main thing I learnt was to really look at the photograph and see where to apply highlights and shadows
  • let your paint dry before adding the shadows. It makes it less muddy looking.
  • Blonde hair that has darkened to a fair brown is really difficult to replicate!
  • The flange border (the cream bit) makes a good frame but remember to allow for seam allowance and the depth of the flange when trimming the painting square.

This is the original photo after I had manipulated it in FastStone. It printed out a little lighter than this. I think I would have preferred it darker and I have tried darker prints since then with interesting results. They look a little freaky before painting!
I print on to a piece of fabric ironed to the back of an A4 sheet of freezer paper. My printer only goes up to A4 which limits the size. I have access to an A3 printer so I may do some bigger ones soon.

As you can see, I only really quilted the background and the border. I outlined the main shapes with coloured thread.

Have a look at the festival by clicking on the button below.

Amy's Creative Side

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the mums out there. I had breakfast in bed, crepes with chicken and mushroom and then one with lemon curd and chocolate. So I'm all set for the day!

It was lovely to relax and read my book. I'm reading Pam Holland's 'The 1776 Quilt'. Very appropriate for Mother's Day as Pam is the mother of 11 children and numerous foster children. Pam is an amazing person and I had the privilege of taking her class at the Auckland Symposium in 2005. Her 1776 quilt was exhibited at this event and it is just stunning. This is the quilt I made in that class.

My colours were very different to everyone else's in the class. They had all bought nice muted folk colours, cream backgrounds, very pretty. Mine was made with what I had to hand! I had just finished a year at university training for teaching and I was skint! I brought my whole stash in a small suitcase. Pam must have thought that she had a right nut case when I showed up!

Then since I'm an over-achiever, I was on to the satin stitch stage before everyone else. Pam's technique is to satin stitch around the raw edge applique after the quilt sandwich is made so it becomes part of the quilting too. I figured I already knew how to satin stitch so I just went for it. I was always taught (from books) that you stop with the needle in the outside of a curve at you turn through the curve. I've blown up this picture so you can see what a lousy job I made of that.

Pam says that on these tight curves with a small satin stitch that the build up of threads makes it ugly (I agree) and that stopping on inside makes a neater job. Ignore my quilting! I wasn't very good at it then. Also ignore the little bump on the top side of the branch. The point is that the end is much neater.

I liked her technique with the fabric pens too. You can add a lot of detail with a pigma micron pen and some fabric pens. This little house is two pieces of fabric, pigma pen and blue, gray and beige pen for the shading and windows.

I've used the techniques I learnt in this class is various quilts. This wallhanging was the next one I made after this class.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Colour Palette Challenge

Way back in January when I thought I had time, I decided to have a go at Vicki Welsh's colour challenge. Vicki is putting up a new palette each month but I've only just finished January's challenge!

Her palette made me think of a dark shiny eggplant on a blue gingham tablecloth so I bought an eggplant, photographed it on various fabrics, printed and painted a manipulated photo and then I ate it. The eggplant, that is, not the quilt! I love eggplant! Recipe below but let's look at my quilt first.

Comparing Vicki's colour palette with mine - not a bad match. I created mine by taking the photo of the painting into Paint, drawing some boxes underneath and then using the colour picker to pick out colours and fill the boxes.

Vegetarian Moussaka

Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 onion
2 sticks celery
2 cloves garlic
4 medium size flat mushrooms
tin tomatoes
herbs and seasoning to taste

Souffle top:
2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs separated
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese to taste

you also need:
3 medium size baking potatoes
1 large eggplant
olive oil
200g mozzarella

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • Slice the eggplant lengthways and brush with olive oil. Bake on an oven sheet/cookie tray until slightly coloured and soft. (about the time it takes to make the tomato and white sauces)
  • Scrub the potatoes (I don't peel new season potatoes) and par-cook in the microwave for 4 minutes. Turn the potatoes over and cook for another 4 minutes. Slice into rounds about the same thickness as the eggplant.
  • To make the tomato sauce, saute the finely sliced onion and celery in oil until soft. Add the garlic (crushed or sliced thinly) and mushrooms and saute for another minute or two before adding the tin of tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and herbs. I used the Italian herbs in a tube that you can buy in the veg section at the supermarket. I think I also added cumin. A touch of cinnamon would be authentic.
  • Make a thick white sauce for the souffle top. (I didn't record my measurements. I just eyeball it but I started with about two heaped tablespoons of butter.) Let the white sauce cool a little before adding the egg yolks. Beat the egg white to a soft peak then fold in white sauce.
  • Assemble the moussaka in a deep baking dish, starting with half the tomato mixture. Then a layer of eggplant and potato. Dot the top with slices of mozzarella. Spread the remaining tomato sauce over the top and then spread the souffle mix on top of that. Add a layer of finely grated parmesan and put in the oven to bake for about 35-40 minutes. Turn the temp down if the top is getting too brown.
  • Serves 6, 320 cals per serving and a whopping 48% fat but it tastes great and if you have it with a green salad (lettuce, cucumber and celery), I guarantee you won't be hungry for ages!