Thursday, 23 June 2011

Just one more...........................

.............and then I'll step away from the rotary cutter.................or maybe not - I have gone nuts and made another 8 FWQA blocks - staying up quite late too - but there's a reason for staying up late - Wimbledon is on and I do love to watch the, routine is:  make a couple of FWQA blocks in my sewing room, then make a coffee, pick up my hand quilting project (Double wedding ring) and into the front room to watch the tennis - sorted (said in a dodgy London accent).

Here's the result of my labours so far:

L-R.  Bow tie, Broken dishes, Autumn tints, Basket,
Attic windows, Birds in the air, Box, Buckwheat,
Basket weave, Big dipper, Bouquet, Bat wing,
Calico puzzle, Buzzard's roost, Broken sugar bowl, Butterfly at the crossroads.

The names of the blocks are authentic (and very traditional) and some are easier to put together than others - there may have to be some remaking of some blocks, but then again, there's 111 of them all together so I may run out of enthusiasm by time I get to the last one!
There's over 450 crafty people that have signed up to do this quilt along and the sheer range of colours, fabrics and creativity is absolutely fabulous - pop into Flikr and check them out - absolutely awesome.

OK - have to go and pack - away for the weekend so ttfn.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Family and friends

Just spent a wonderful few days with my most favourite people and I am basking in the warm and fuzzy glow you get when you spend time with people who 'get' you.  Last week I packed a small overnighter and joined my bff, house and cat sitting for a friend.  We had a fabulous time - went to the movies, went out for breakfast (deliciously decadent!), did some shopping (I'll show and tell later) and generally pottered about.  It was all sooooo easy and I am a very, very lucky woman to have a bff like her - she always makes me feel I'm alright, that who I am is ok - and I love her to bits.

Next, we donned fancy dress and went off to a party on saturday night.  It had to be something beginning with L, for the birthday girl, so I went as Lady of the Lake (which I had to keep explaining!), my husband went as a lieutenant, my bff went as a labourer and her partner went as a linebacker.  What a fabulous party - danced my socks off - and didn't get home toooo late.

Then today, my side of the family gathered at our house to celebrate my husbands' birthday - I just love it when we all get together - it's noisy, but it's the best type of noise - the noise of a family creating more 'ties that bind' - just love, love, love it.  So I've loaded the last of the dishes in the dishwasher, washed the stuff that won't fit in and I'm enjoying a coffee while catching up the blog.....and smiling to myself.

So.....other things to share.  Before I went away last week, I made a few more FWQA blocks - it's soooo addictive - like chocolate - just one more......and I got another 4 done, so have now completed 8.

8 down, 103 to go........

I also spent time with my sister before I went, at our weekly Scrabble session - and of course, after skiting about my sensational hands the week before, I kept picking up rotten letters and I was positively trounced.  My sister said that I wouldn't mention this fact on my blog - so there you are gorgeous, enjoy your win!!

As mentioned above, did some shopping - we went the long way home and called into a couple of patchwork shops that I'd heard about but hadn't been to - the first one,  Patchwork House in Hawthorn, has a wonderful, fresh feel as soon as you walk through the door and the lovely staff couldn't have been more helpful.  I bought some Liberty fabrics to add to my collection and also this beautiful 100% organic fabric.....

Nature Walk - Grove in Straw by Cloud9 Fabrics

The camera hasn't done anything for the colour - trust me - it's gorgeous - and the fabric is so soft - feels like an old and well loved flannel shirt.

Next stop was Amitie in East Bentleigh - what a feast for the eyes - the range of fabrics was just sensational and the staff very, very friendly - I wanted everything!!!  In the end, and trying to be disciplined, I purchased the makings of a quilt for one of my nieces who is expecting her first baby.  This gorgeous print, 'goo goo socks' from Alexander Henry, and a few toning solids will be cut into circles and stitched down onto the appropriate sized blocks (likely cream or white - whatever looks right with the print).  I also bought some DMC threads to do some decorative hand quilting once it's together - maybe spirals, but then again, maybe echo quilting around the circles - not sure yet.

So, that's it for this post - time to have another coffee before calling it a night.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Long weekend bliss

Just spent the best part of the Queens Birthday weekend with my bff, who has happily come on board for the Farmers Wife Quilt Along - so we cut and sewed and caught up with week 2 and we each now have 4 blocks completed.  Luckily I have EQ (version 6) so I've been drafting the blocks and creating rotary cut instructions for each one (so far I've drafted the first 24 blocks).  Here's my bff's blocks:

Fabulous collection of black, yellow, white and grey prints - and I'll dye some grey fabrics for her to use too.  This is going to look fabulous.

Here's mine:

I must have done the handle on the Basket block 3 times - in the end I used the iron-on bias binding and stitched down the edges with ladder stitch.  I also had to repeat the Basket weave block - I usually cut all my patches a smidge bigger so I can trim the block back once it's all joined together - but this block doesn't lend itself to doing that - I trimmed back a good 1/4" on the first one I made which made the long white patches too narrow, so back to the cutting mat......

In my last update, I mentioned we have 4 new additions to the family......

Meet our new chooks - we've been assured they're all hens and it'll take a little while before we can verify that - but they're very cute, very noisy and very messy.  They're enjoying the sunny days we're having but have to come inside the house at night with a warm lamp.  This brings our little flock up to 10 chooks and 1 rooster - but 3 of the chooks are pretty old and we're only getting the occasional, gigantor, misshaped egg from them - I think they're nearly ready to go off to that big chook shed in the sky........

I also joined Elizabeth Eastman's Red and White Challenge at Occasional Piece - so looking forward to receiving the fabrics to make her blocks.

I'm loving this whole community of creative folks.................

Friday, 10 June 2011

Productive day.....

Got up this morning and looked outside - no rain!  Excellent, time to wash the PDF (Prepared for Dyeing) fabric - I bought a bolt and I'm not really sure whether I needed to wash it, but I did - and now it's all dry and ready to go into the soda ash solution - I'll get that sorted tomorrow when I think about what colours I'm going to dye next....actually, thinking on it, it was probably a better day to get outside and clean up the vegie patch, but.......

Feeling all smugly righteous, (because I've had that bolt of cloth for over a month and it's been calling me to get it prepared since it arrived!), I picked up the cut-out pieces of a bag which I'm making for my sister and........... finished it - had a couple of moments - like completing sewing 2 edges of the strap (the looooong edges, of course) before realising I had placed the stiffener between the 2 right-sides-together which would mean it would show when i turned the strap the right way round - duh - so, a little bit of un-sewing ensued - but, persevered and got it made - all beautifully lined with an inside pocket with her initial on it for her mobile and keys.....

The bag is from a pattern by Monica Pool for Moon Shine called 'Elle'.  It's basically a pleated circle on 2 bands with handles and magnetic popper closures - it's a lovely shape and I think I'll make it again - the instructions aren't written for beginners but they're not too bad.

I then went on to make a little purple pouch for my dil (cos that's her favourite colour).................

The purple and turquoise fabrics in the pouch (the pouch pattern is a bastardised version of this one from the very clever Noodlehead) are hand-dyed - the turquoise was also used as a lining - and the HST's are leftovers from a quilt.  I also clipped on a zip puller, which I got from Zipit Zippers - fabulous selection of zips and other amazing stuff.  The photo above doesn't really do the colours justice - they're very vibrant - and my dil loves it.  She popped over this evening with my eldest son and shared pizza in front of the fire, after delivering 4 little gorgeous additions to the family.  (More on that at a later date when I can get a decent photo.....)

So there you have it - now, I can get onto making a few more blocks for the Sashiko quilt-as-you-go and think about which red fabrics will be used in my next 2 FWQA...........a bientot....

Thursday, 9 June 2011

WIP Wednesday - (although it's Thursday in Oz, so the date above is a bit misleading)

Another cold and wet day on the Peninsula and sooooo much nicer inside playing with fabrics and thread....

This week I joined the Farmers Wife Quilt Along (FWQA) with  Angela   and Amanda , and lots of other very clever and creative people -  and I've completed my first two blocks.  We have to make 2 a week and given there's 111 of them, this will take a while.  The one on the left is Attic Windows and the one on the right, Autumn Tints.  I had been talking to my bff about making the Dear Jane quilt together - but I'm thinking we can do this instead (sorry bff - will talk to you about it on the weekend!!).  I'm going with red (my favourite colour) with a creamy vanilla solid to be incorporated in each one and I'm hoping it will make a good sized dint in my stash.

I've justified starting a new project by convincing myself that as I'm hand quilting the DWR, it's as good as finished (even though it'll likely take another year to be completely finished) and it wouldn't be fair to deny myself the opportunity provided by the wonderful ladies hosting the aforementioned quilt along (works for me!!)  I have been quilting along - fingers looking like pincushions - so reviewed my decision to not use thimbles and after being shown by an expert, will try again.

I've also been continuing with a Sashiko Quilt-as-you go class - it's not true sashiko because it's done on the sewing machine, using upholstery thread - but you get the general drift - and funnily enough, I've chosen red for this project too......

The line you can see in the top left corner of the photo is where I'm joining the blocks - so only 2 joined but I want to get a few more made so I can try a few combinations first.  I'm also adding a little applique into some of the blocks, which adds interest - I think this is going to be a really striking quilt.

Lastly, I added the appley green border to my sampler quilt - but have to say, not loving it.

I'm waiting on delivery of the Amy Butler fabric I'll be using as the final border so I'll wait to see how that looks before I decide whether to rip the appley green border off.

Okey dokey - that's it for today - oooh, except on Monday, I had my weekly Scrabble session with my sister - and it was one of those days - I had 7 seven letter words, 3 in one game and got them all oon the board except one - so needless to say, I blitzed it!!!  Sorry sister (hee hee - we're pretty even but I do like to rub it in when I win!!)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


It is a very cold, wet and windy day on the Peninsula today so what's a girl to do except surround herself in fabric and cogitate about the possibilities.  I say possibilities because I'm trying to be more disciplined and only start another project when another one is finished - it's VERY difficult!!

Last week, I popped into Spotlight to find a green solid for a sampler quilt.  Whilst there, and despite my agreement with myself to not purchase any more fabric 'til I'd reduced the stash a bit, I couldn't resist some sale yardage (the best laid plans and all that):

A mixed bunch to be sure, but most go with other fabrics I already have, and a couple I've bought to start creating items for my market stall....I can already see them sitting beautifully on the 'counter' all zipped and stitched and ready for sale..............

....................and despite me thinking I wasn't at all that caught up in the 'Picnics and Fairgrounds' range that's sweeping the blogs - when faced with them in the flesh, I had to have a couple.......

This is the second time I've bought fabric in this colour palette - not usually my style (I prefer scrappy multi-colours) but I think my bff is influencing my choices.

So, now off to light the fire and get out the double wedding ring (DWR) quilt to continue hand quilting, but then again, might connect the sewing machine and start using some of the above.......

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

WIP Wednesday

I really like reading where people are at in their creative endeavours - and it's a fabulous time line to review progress as you go along.  I don't know about anyone else but I have a memory like a sieve so any method available to help jog the grey matter is a good thing in my book. (a friend of mine said that at the end of the year, she prints out and binds all her blogs in a journal - loving this idea and one I'll happily pinch!)

So, without further ado, I have several things in progress and here's some of them......

Last Easter, my husband and I (with a queenly wave) packed up the camper trailer and trekked across Oz to WA.  Prior to going, I cut out all the doings to piece a Double Wedding Ring quilt (most of the fabric is Kaffe Fassett).  Given I usually machine piece, a hand pieced quilt was going to be a novelty and possibly a permanent UFO - I ended up making 3 melons while we were away (that's 3 of the eye like shapes). We had the best time - and on our return, I was diagnosed with breast cancer - so all of a sudden, I had time on my the point where I am now hand quilting (I usually use my long-arm to quilt, but this is hand pieced, so I thought it deserved to be hand quilted - and the long-arm certainly comes in handy to put all the layers together - sure beats grubbing about on the floor!).  So, this is one of the items in progress (it's lovely quilting in front of the fire now that winter is officially here).

The next thing.....

I'm a newbie at dyeing fabrics, and this is my 3rd bundle - these were dyed (with the help of my DIL) using red and turquoise.  I love them!!  The only problem is I love to look at them bundled together (I'm going to tie them with a ribbon later) and can't think about cutting into them.......but they are destined to become items for sale when I finally organise a stall at the Mornington market, so I'll have to grit my teeth - and obviously make them into something worth their glorious colour.

And the next thing (I'll stop at 3 - really, I am still amazed that I had time for paid, full-time work before BC........but nothing like a health scare to focus where your bliss is!!)

I finally found another green I can use around this little sampler - I didn't have enough of the other green I used for the sashing, so happy to say, after a trip to Spotlight (sale day!!) I can now complete the sashing, then add the final border - this is all Amy Butler fabric (not the solids) and I'm teaching some newly addicted quilty friends using these blocks.

I do have other things on the go, but this will do - actually, it explains why the house is a pigsty and the ironing has taken over the laundry.......................