Monday, February 23, 2009

Bits ‘n’ Bobs

Well I got my room straight again after a week or so of feverishly sewing strips, strips & yet more strips. The stack of blocks are now sitting waiting, a little impatiently, for me to source some nice quality purple homespun to join them together. I checked out Lincraft today & although they had a nice ‘colour’ purple the homespun itself was not nice, it felt more like headcloth, course rather than nice & smooth. I wouldn’t buy homespun from the other store after a bad experience with it a few years back. I used their navy homespun to sash a really special quilt, a set of swap blocks from my online family of quilters. I’d actually handquilted a half dozen or so blocks when it got put aside for something else, the story of my life. Anyway, when I pulled it out again to continue the homespun had faded even though it was in a cupboard. It was a horrible patchy mess so it went back in the cupboard until I could come up with a solution. In the end I bought a new sashing fabric & carefully unpicked all the sashing, queen size quilt, & replaced it all without having to undo the hand quilting. A little tricky but I got there.

So the blocks are on hold until I find the right fabric, maybe a marble might be the answer because they are usually a nice quality. I’d hoped to get to the Newcastle Craft Show, which was on over the weekend, & look there, but things don’t always go as planned.

hilly

In the meantime I made an ATC over the weekend for a birthday swap. I tried something different this time. The flowers are made with a foam stamp, I dipped it in water, took off the excess water than coloured the stamp with a water soluble oil pastel. I added a little detail with a watercolour pencil, embroidered them & added a few extra bits.

 Simon's beanie

This is a beanie I knitted to send to DS#1 Simon. He’s been living in Canada for over a year now & it gets a tad cool there!!! It was his 27th birthday last week so I knitted this & bought some very thick sox to send. Rowan bought him a Hawaiian shirt which might have to wait until Summer to make an appearance. He was off to California for a week or 2 to celebrate his birthday so I decided to wait until he got back to post. The postal service to Canada is not great so I didn’t want anything to go astray.

I really enjoyed knitting the beanie so I bought some more wool & started another one. The 2nd one is a variegated green. I sit for an hour at tennis & an hour at 10 pin bowling each week so I need something to do with my hands as I watch.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday’s Blocks

Yay!!!! The last of the blocks. I ended up making 6 more as Rowan loves the block he chose the fabrics for & asked if he could have it made into a quilt for his fave bear, Stanley. Not a problem.

blocks6

Now I have to source some good quality homespun to sash & bind them with. I’m still thinking purple but I’ll lay them all out tomorrow & audition a range of colours. That should be fun but i know I’ll wish I had someone on hand to give a second opinion.

Anyone care to offer an opinion????? I must admit I think black would make the blocks pop but under the circumstances would not be appropriate.

I couldn’t help thinking about who might get the quilt. I decided I’d like it to go to a lady, my age or older, who loves to read & has cats who’ll like to curl up on the quilt with her. Lol.

Seriously I’d really like to think that whoever gets it will have fun looking at the different fabrics & will say things like, ‘Oh I love that fabric, but that one’s awful!!!!’. 

Who knows, all the quilts that are being made & given might inspire some of the recipients to take up quilting. That would be a good outcome.

Time for tea & I might even watch some tele tonight. I really need to catch up on Corrie (Coronation Street.)

But wait there’s more!

Tuesday’s & Wednesday’s together this time.

blocks4

Tuesday’s: 11 today, getting there.

blocks5

Wednesday’s: I was a bit slack today & went shopping, so only 6.

At this stage I’m thinking purple for the sashing & binding. Yes it’s my fave colour but I also think it goes so well with other colours, purple & yellow, purple & green, purple & blue, purple & red……………..ok you’re getting it. :-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday’s Blocks

I made 9 today, this is getting very addictive. :-)

blocks3

I’m posting the day after. I tend to finish sewing late, 10 or 11pm & it’s no use taking pics then because:
a. the light is bad &
b. I’m cross-eyed by that time.

Here I am doing the bit that takes the most concentration & freaks me out the most, trimming the blocks back to 10 1/2”. I always worry I’ll stuff it up!!!!

trimming

The room looks surprisingly tidy, it’s actually a total tip. I literally hoy all the offcuts on the floor as I go. Later I’ll sit on the floor & sort through them all to salvage the useful scraps. I make miniature quilts with 1” squares so most scraps are usable.

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Blocks

Back to the machine & I managed to make 11 blocks today.
Mind you I had some help with these. Dh offered to help so he ironed the strips back after each row which really sped things up & saved me being up & down like a yoyo. I work on 3 blocks at a time so I can chain piece. I asked Paul to choose the strips for some blocks & the look I got was somewhere between bewilderment & terror. He needed a few pointers to begin with, & we’ve always had a difference of opinion over blue & green, but I think he must have been listening because by the end of the day he was questioning whether I had enough variation in the tonal value of a block I was working on. I have to say his choices made into some of the nicest blocks of the day. Now if I could just nurture this interest we might have another quilter in the family!!!

blocks2

I have another stack of blocks all ready to sew so I’ll get on with it!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Strips & Blocks

I spent quite a while choosing fabrics from my stash for the bushfire appeal quilts. I also have Mum’s stash here to use. She can’t see to sew anymore because of Macular Degeneration, so she concentrates on knitting instead, which is really her first love.

Here are some of the strips.

green purple strips

yellow strips

pink blue strips

I absolutely love the scrappy look & the blocks on Jan Mac’s site look wonderful but when push comes to shove I just don’t seem able to achieve the look. I started out by laying random strips together & they just looked awful so I’ve agonised over each block trying out lots of combinations until they looked ok.
If I did this again I would cut longer strips.

blocks1

7 down, lots to go :-)

Early in the Week

I pieced managed to piece 2 Dear Jane blocks this week.

red blocks

I did quite a bit of unpicking on the block on the right. I’d forgotten there were 3 different sized triangles & strangely enough when you try to sew it together with them in the wrong place it doesn't quite work.

I thought it might be a good idea to write a list of the UFO’s I’d really like to finish & a list of the things I plan to make this year. I’d wrote the list & found I had about 30 things I really wanted to finish & about 25 more I wanted to start. Oh dear!!!!

The first thing on the list was my red Crazy Heart Wallhanging. I started this in 2007. It took me just a day to finish the quilting & I planned to do the binding the next day. Then of course I decided to set that aside to start make some blocks for Jan Mac.

tabitha on the crazy heart

Here it is ‘put aside’, guess who was sprung minding it. Love the guilty expression.

I really should teach her to sew she’d be such a help.

With the weather being cold & wet this week Tabitha & Sybil have both decided they’d like to sleep in at night, on my bed of course.
It’s amazing how much space 2 little cats can take up.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Challenge

I don’t think any of us aren’t feeling terrible sorrow over the loss of life in the Victorian bushfires. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to help those poor people, but as a way of showing the survivors who have lost everything that we care, quilters everywhere are putting their hands up to give &/or make quilts.

For those of you following my blog you will know that finishing projects is not something I excel at, let’s just say it’s not my forte, so I don’t have a stash of quilts I can dip into to donate, BUT I do have a stash of fabric that I can dip into, so I will.

A suggestion has been made on one of the Oz quilt lists that we make qayg (quilt as you go) blocks to donate. Here is a link to a tutorial on the blocks. They are very quick & easy & make up into beautiful quilts.

http://sewmanyquiltstoolittletime.blogspot.com./

qayg

Jan Mac has been a friend of mine for over a decade now & in that time she has made 100’s probably 1000’s of quilts for worthy causes so this is her forte!!!!

I plan to start pulling & preparing fabrics tomorrow, cutting on Friday & sewing from Saturday until I………….. well until I fall in a heap.

I will document my progress, actually that might be Rowan’s job, I’ll be busy sewing. Please feel free to join in & make your own blocks. Let’s see how many we can produce between us.

I’ve added some positive pics after all the terrible images we’ve seen this week.

Koala2

 

image

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday

Surprising how fast the week flew by.

block 2 applique

Today I ironed-on all the shapes for Block 2 of Red Delicious. I taped the pattern on my light box, taped the fabric on top & then it was easy to get everything exactly in place. I ironed it on the lightbox. I’ve marked in the stems & twiddly bits that attach the little balls to the petals, I will embroider them. I’ll put some lightweight iron-on pellon behind this before I start the embroidery.


block 1 applique

I made a start on Block 1 the other day. I will needle turn appliqué the birds bodies in place, the cloth, cherries & tail ‘balls’ are ironed-on ready for blanket stitch.
I will embroider the lines to the tail balls, cherry stems & the bird’s legs. I think I might give them stripes so they stand out against the cloth.

ROWAN

Rowan’s bus was due back from camp at 2.30. I rang the school info line at 1.45 to find they would be back at 4pm. It was hard to settle to anything so I ironed some of the piles of scraps I’d sorted last week. Good job done.

I was organised to go out to wait for the bus too. I packed up the monkey wrench block, my scissors & thread & headed out to arrive at 3.30pm. Feeling quite smug that I managed to get a spot in the shade I got out my sewing to find I’d forgotten to put in a needle. Duh!!!! Seriously though it was way too hot to sew. They arrived back at 10 past 4. Smelly, dirty, hungry & tired, it was a good week.
He did just as I said & put his wet towels in a plastic bag, pity his clothes were in the same bag.

smokey wyoming

I’ve got the 2nd load of washing in but I can’t hang it out as I came home to find the suburb absolutely blanketed in smoke. Yuck.
There’s actually a suburb & hills behind the smoke.

smokey tree

This is the view from my sewing room window. Though usually there’s no smoke. Note the magic tree in the neighbour’s garden. Everyday it is full of the most incredible range of birds. Cockatoos, kookaburras, galahs, rainbow lorikeets & loads more. If you look closely you’ll see some cockatoos sitting in it.

closeup

 

smokey sunset

A smokey sunset tonight.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday

Well not a lot of sewing today. I decided to pop out to Lincraft to check out the 1/2 price fabrics. I did really well, as you can see.
19 metres in all!!

 

lincraft

The top one will be the backing on a quilt I started last year.
The blue under it will be background fabric for the quilt I’m planning for ds#1, it’s a lovely bright sky blue. The others just go in the stash. I have to say they are all a lot richer & brighter than the pic shows.

It was just too hot to do anything that required much effort when I got home so I put on a Midsomer Murder & pieced another Dear Jane (Marple) block. I’ll start piecing the red & white monkey wrench tonight.

churn dash

A simple churn dash. I’m not sure if there is one in the original Dear Jane. My quilt is simply blocks I like drafted to 4 1/2”, some are from the Dear Jane, others wherever.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday

Red Delicious Day

I’m making two versions of the Red Delicious BOM. The first I started is a combination of needle-turn appliqué, blanket stitch appliqué & redwork. The 2nd is redwork on a white on white fabric.

redwork 1, 2

The first version was put on hold while I looked for some more reds, now I’ve added to the collection I can get stuck in. There seems to be quite a few red & white quilts popping up in the quilt magazines & I thought it would be easy to find some more reds. Wrong, when your only local choice is Spotlight you have to pick through the same old bolts that have been sitting there for years to find something.

Well I did get some work done to block one & I’ve vliesofixed & cut out all the components for block 2. I have to say I’m a little concerned about how I’m going to blanket stitch all the very pointy bits. I guess the answer is ‘very carefully.’

I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped coz a friend rang for a big chat, so I think I’ll work on these blocks again tomorrow.

I also marked all the sewing lines on the monkey wrench block I cut out the other day & cut & marked a 2nd one. One to send & one to keep.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday

Tuesday was French day. Well it was in my sewing room. I even played my Piaf cd’s without any children on hand to moan & groan.

I started this bag a couple of months ago & it keeps getting put aside as I work on too many other projects. The pattern was in Magic Patch magazine late last year. I’ve made a few changes to the original design.

I started the day with a bag in 7 pieces. I was hoping to end the day with the bag in one piece & layered ready to quilt.

I laid the pieces out yesterday & decided I really needed to add something to the back panel, at this point it was just 8 windows. I cut out some freezer paper ‘bushes’, chose some great green bush fabric & tacked the first bush on ready to appliqué. Only problem was it looked like a blob or a big green rock. Not quite the look I was after. Even dh agreed it didn’t look good & he usually lies to save my feelings, so I knew it was really bad. :-)

This morning I browsed through some quilt books thinking I would find a good bush pattern. Funny they all looked like blobs or big green rocks, soooooooooooo I decided to simply add some more of the trees I’d appliquéd on the front. So three trees later I was ready to join up the pieces.

frenchback&front2

frenchfront

Here’s a close-up of the front.
The little mini quilt will be pegged on later.

I decided to use cotton batting & would you believe I actually had a piece big enough left over from another project & it was washed. I’m sure this bag will be washed in the future & I don’t want the batting shrinking.

tabitha layering

Just as well Tabitha was on hand to help with the layering. I’m not sure I would have managed without her.

So I now have my bag all ready for quilting. I would have taken more pics but the camera battery is on it’s last legs.

Tomorrow I’ll be working on my Red Delicious blocks.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday

With Rowan off to at camp this week I’m going to get stuck in & achieve heaps this week. I hope. :-)

year 7 camp

Well at least it won’t be cold in the tents with the weather we’re expecting.

 

movie title

First I planned to finish this set of ATC’s.
I nearly finished, then I ran out of green cotton for the edging.
The theme was ‘Fave Movie Title.’ I bet you can guess the movie. The little white blobs are meant to be sheep. I love this film & there is a family history. My Uncle’s family owned the land & still ran sheep on it after ‘The Dish’ was built.

 

dragonfly

I made 2 of these dragonfly ATC’s, one to send for a Birthday swap, the other to add to my collection.

 

janmac block

I also cut out a red & white monkey wrench block for a Birthday swap. It was only after I cut it out I realised it was for a 12 1/2” finished block & I needed a 12” finished block. I usually draft my own patterns & handpiece but I thought this time I would choose a block from ‘Around the Block’ & just cut it out to machine piece. I should have paid more attention to the finished size. So now I’ve drafted the block & will mark the pieces & hand piece. I’m just glad I realised before I sewed it together!!!

Tomorrow I’ll be working on my French bag, it’s absolutely yummy!!!!

Too hot to handle

 

tabitha hot

Tabitha decided it was just tooo hot so she went in search
of a cool spot to chill.

What you can’t see is the air conditioner on the wall above the TV.

Cats aren’t silly. :-)

Dear Jane (Marple)

I finished one block on Friday.

1,2, buckle my shoe

1, 2 Buckle My Shoe.

tabitha sewing

Here’s Tabitha helping me make this block.

Rowan’s First day in Year 7

 

year 7

The years from Kindy to Year 7 have flown by!!!!