Friday, November 21, 2014

The Final Chapter

For me there is no better place for a quilt than a bed.

As Dad came to visit over the weekend, I asked him to send me a photo of his quilt on his bed... so now I can imagine him all snuggled up underneath it.

He is loving his new quilt, and appreciated how easy it is to make his bed look nice with minimal effort.  While the quilting community is slowly gaining momentum in NZ, it will be some time before quilting in general becomes a household name.  After all, the first quilt I ever saw was the first one I made.  What a long way we have all come!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Just playing

I didn't feel in the mood for much yesterday afternoon, so instead of actually doing something constructive, I perused the stash, to find a suitable backing for the applique quilt I am going to quilt next.  This dandelion and bee print picked up nicely on the different neutrals and will work well with a light thread in the bobbin.  All my new threads got unwrapped and joined in the audition.  Looks like I did a good job with the thread selection!

With my head poked into the magic fabric cupboard, I finally started pulling fabrics for a scrap busting quilt that Charlotte has been making.  I'm sure she won't mind me stealing one of her photos.

It's a Scrapitude block... and you can read more about it  here.

I knew that there were fabrics in my cupboard that while I don't hate them, they just haven't fitted into my aesthetic style over the last few years.  These piles have just sat there looking sad.

The neutral pile...

The green and blue pile...

And as I started to look at these fabrics... I pulled out some feature fabrics that I thought might help to pull the whole look together.  Quite liked this one...

So I pulled the reds that I have... not many.

And added in some browns.

Now I have an enormous pile of fabric on my floor.  Too much to actually take a proper photo of it.  But what do you think.  Would you just stick to the blue/green/neutral bundles... or would you add in the red/brown/bird print too?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I'm BACK! Grab a cuppa!

Where have the last few weeks disappeared?  If I am not regimented and post on a weekend... somehow it ends up being a new week... and sometimes even a new week again.

I've been plugging along quilting the Baby Bunting Quilt.  I had hoped to have this finished in time to exhibit at the Waimate North Agricultural &Pastoral Show last Saturday (think lambs, cows, horses, produce, floral, hand crafts and baking competitions), but by Wednesday I knew that it wasn't going to happen.  So over the last week I finished up the last of the quilting and the scrappy binding - now just the threads to cut, and a little bit of hand applique to tidy off the bit that I missed with the machine.

The stipple quilting has made the applique and star points pop - plus provides a lovely all-over texture.

I also disappeared off to The Auckland Festival of Quilts with Charlotte and Mathea... a mere three hour one way journey (time for lots of girl talk... and oh, the range of topics discussed!)  We walked and walked... looked and looked... and shopped and shopped.

I took a series of random photos - mostly to remind me about something in particular rather than showcasing the gorgeous quilts that were on display.

I really liked how this double wedding ring quilt included this applique border.

I really like this somewhat Hawaiian applique style  - stylized pohutukawa pattern.

It also had some wonderful quilting.

While I'm not usually a fan of diamonds, I did quite like this log cabin like arrangement.

And this one also had a great quilting pattern in the background space.  It can be hard to fit daisy like flowers together, but filling up with pebbles seems to work well.

 And I don't think I even took a photo of the rest of this quilt - but was fascinated by the precision quilting... computer aided I am sure.

A variation on a disappearing nine patch block.  This had a really interesting setting.

A nine patch sliced somewhat off centre... very clever!

This panel was just interesting...

Combining both machine and hand quilting.

I still gravitate somewhat towards the low volume backgrounds... also the soft colour variations in the feature areas.  This one very cleverly had a graded colour wash of plus shapes - something not noticed until viewed from a distance.

Similar but different...

Check out Charlotte's blog  here for more FOQ (really, do you think this abbreviation will catch on... after all, how would YOU pronounce it?) pictures (of some actual full quilts) plus more links to other blog photos.

In the shopping basket I have some new thread to try... plus a new (unphotographed) quilting ruler.

 And what's a quilt show without some new random fat quarters?

Adding to the wee random collection I had purchased from The Country Yard at their exhibition a couple of weeks ago...

Random + Random = a new wee bundle.

Ahh... love these soft soft colours...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

On the agenda

As one project comes to an end, it is a natural progression to start thinking about what is going to appear on the agenda next.  Something new and exciting.

Just not quite yet.  I have a couple of projects that I have committed to... the Baby Bunting Quilt which I was commissioned to do for a baby due to appear in December, and quilting a top that was a group effort - made by my old Friday stitching group (only old in that now that I work 5 days a week, I am unable to attend) from stash of one of our members who passed away - with the intention of donating the finished quilt to Hospice in her honour.  So really, I am not free to pursue my own creative dreams yet.  But when I am... watch out... I have plenty to get off my mind!

This week has been spent blanket stitching around my applique shapes.  Somehow I managed to miss this one!

And today I started the FM quilting - just stippling, but exactly the look I wanted.  This is my Ronan Keating thread... (you quilt it best, when you quilt nothing at all...) a very fine polyester Wonderfil thread, that practically disappears, but leaves all that lovely texture.

All the background fabric areas are quilted the same... it really makes the applique and star points pop.

Even though I started this quilt with no intention of keeping it... I could SO keep it!  Although what I'd do with a cot size I don't know, and NO - there will be no more babies in this household!  But with my queen sized quilt obsession... I could do four blocks with different applique patterns in each, set in a four patch with sashing and corner stones... and the beautiful applique around the outer border.  This would come out to about 85 x 80".  Maybe one day :o)

We've also been making progress in Nadia's room.  With a very clever husband, it only took a day to knock up a headboard - it finished off this view of her room.

The angle to the left shows that every thing has a place... and it's just a matter of someone putting all those things back into their right place to keep things tidy.

And the mirror did get hung...

Just a bit of a close up of the headboard... made from off cuts of our lounge-room laminated flooring - with a timber trim.  Fab!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Small and Intimate

My local friendly quilt shop, The Country Yard, hosts an exhibition each year, inviting customers to display quilts that have been made from items purchased from them.  Kerryn's house is the venue, a lovely old farm house, which showcases the quilted items beautifully.  It's not a large and blowsy exhibition with millions of quilts of all different genre - it's small and intimate... casual and friendly, a time to catch up with friends over a cuppa and a nibble...

I've exhibited quilts for the last three years... and desperately wanted to get my Berries and Bluebirds quilt finished in time to exhibit this year.  Nothing like a little bit of deadline pressure!  Yay... I did it!  My green thread arrived last Thursday, and I quilted the green border Friday afternoon.  Then the outer printed border was quilted over Saturday and Sunday in a feather design in the same thread.  Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons were spent binding, and Friday afternoon cutting threads.  All ready to be displayed on Saturday.

It was such a delight (and totally blew me away) to have my quilt chosen as the Viewers Choice this year! You can find more photos on The Country Yard's facebook page here.

I also exhibited the Japanese Ladies quilt which I sold to raise money for Dylan's ski trip for school.


It was such a fun day.  Thanks to the lovely ladies at The Country Yard for making it such a successful event.  Now... what can I finish for next year???

Sunday, October 12, 2014

End of Holiday Roundup

Well, as Sunday rolls around, with back to school and work tomorrow; checking through The List, I achieved some of my goals for this holidays.  Woohoo!  Unfortunately I never did catch up with the washing pile - it just seemed to get bigger no matter how quickly I tried to fold it, and the floor got vacuumed several times, but never mopped.  I swapped around my room and cleaned one of the windows... but never quite got everything tidied away or that other window cleaned.  We didn't finish Nadia's room renovations, but I have paint, and will finish the furniture repainting another time.  Perhaps Christmas?

Some of the smaller projects did get finished for her room - after looking all over for a pretty mirror, I ended up painting the ugly orange varnished wood one that she already had - and applied some pretty chipboard 3D scrapbooking stickers to make it pretty.  On the schedule for this afternoon is to get hubby to hang it (I do know my limits).  We also made up a small Kaisercraft chipboard/cardboard drawer unit which I painted and decorated with pretty papers.  This is supposed to be the new home for all her hair ties and clips.

There were a few new things I wanted to buy, and was lucky to find this purple bedside table and funky flower rug... we are getting there!

On the quilting list, I wanted to get the applique border quilted on my Bluebirds and Berries quilt, and the quilt top constructed for the Bunting Baby Quilt.  Woot!  Finished the quilting on the applique border today - and didn't run out of thread!

 When I started quilting, I kinda forgot that the bottom border was wider than the other three borders.  It took forever to get this border half quilted (using the vine as the dividing line) and I really despaired of getting this finished.  But once I got used to weaving in and out of the applique, and changing between the different quilting elements - it sped up heaps, and I could get half a side done in a day.  So pretty much eight days of quilting dedicated to this!

The ruler is there to remind me that the side and top borders are 8" (looks like a quarter inch has been taken up in the quilting)... and the bottom border (shown side on) is 10".  Now I just need to wait for the thread to arrive which I'll use for the narrow dark green border and the outer printed border.

I haven't quite finished the Bunting Quilt construction (would have if I hadn't added the extra applique) - but I've made good progress with getting the applique stems attached.  On the top vine I started on the right hand side and attached one side of the stem all the way around to the other side; then coming back I am up to the black spot almost in the middle.

And I've attached one side of all the stems on the bottom border.

I had another Amy Gibson Sugar Club BOM day, and worked on this lovely block.  Not the easiest to construct - well, more not the easiest to press nicely - there are a few lumpy seams hence the ripple in the photo on the right.  But it is a lovely looking block.

Right, that's me for another week.   Catch you next time...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Beauty is in the focus of the camera

Quilting has resumed... two sides of the applique border are completely finished, the other two are half done.  Whew... so far the thread is holding on - hopefully enough to get to the end of the last panel!  Although I wasn't prepared to risk it - more thread is on order!

I've started hand stitching down the stems on the Bunting Quilt.  Working with a large applique like this is awkward.  I like to work on the stem and leaf placement together to ensure both are nicely balanced - but you do end up with a lot of unattached bits.  It is not practical to shift something so large to the ironing board, neither was it practical in this situation to pin every leaf.  My solution this time was to iron on the floor on the carpet!  I was very careful to apply just enough heat to tack it down - not enough to cause major damage to the carpet underneath.  [Although with wool carpet - I'm not sure what it would do?  Shrink?  Definitely do not try doing this with nylon carpet - I'm sure that would be a disaster.]

Once it was tacked, I shifted my table top ironing board onto the floor, and gave it a better press - enough to adhere to allow the hand stitching to occur without causing any bits to fall off anyway.  Once I've finished hand stitching, I'll give it another press, and again from the back - before I start machine blanket stitching.

I've also been working my way through the list of jobs I wanted to get done during the holidays.  Clean my bedroom windows... turned into strip the bed... turned into change the whole room around and vacuum all the corners and skirting... perfect time for a new quilt on the bed - Lola's Medallion.

I haven't had this one on yet - and it's been about a year since it was finished.  On the one hand I kinda hoped I would sell it... but on the other I didn't want to.  Looks like this one is going to stay with me.

And just to show that cropping is a wonderful tool!  I still have plenty of mess to sort through, but that will be a job for tomorrow.  At least there is a clear path to get to bed tonight!

And I still only got one of the windows cleaned.  Typical!