Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The culmination of three weeks of thinking

Today is the deadline for the fourth month of The Country Yard's Tuesday Mystery Medallion.

This round involved adding a 3" border, then a 6" border which needed to incorporate a curve of some kind.  As well as including the featured fabric.  We're now up to 42 1/2" unfinished.

After realising that three fat quarters would not a 6" border be... I had to return to my trusty shop for extra supplies.  Luckily it has been school holidays... so I had the bonus of being childless (Nana had offered to look after the kids for a couple of days... was great!).  Just as well because it was a long drawn out process. 

I decided I wanted three fabrics to make the background of the borders and incorporate the first 3" border with the 6" to make a 9" wide playing space.  Then applique a vine with leaves.  To find three fabrics that all read as background, went with what I had started with, and I liked, was very challenging.  We found heaps of two fabric combos, but just couldn't find that mysterious third fabric to make it all work.  Finally, (after going through what felt like the entire shop) Kerryn and I ended up with a winning combo.  Raewyn and Leeanne... you are not allowed to look too closely.

The sewing shed after cyclone applique has been through!

Do you make such a big mess when you do applique?  I have a big pile of fabrics that now need to be folded and put away ready for the next round.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mystery Medallion Month Three

This round was all about adding a border to ensure we were all working with the same size, then pieced blocks incorporating triangles.  I had used this triangle border on a quilt for Dylan many many moons ago... it also gave a nice space to add the feature fabric.

The fabrics I have picked are just so yummy.

Karen and I have also got together over the last month and worked on our Amy Gibson Sugar Club blocks. 

I really like this block - it is one I could imagine an entire quilt made from them.  The corner units are paper foundation pieced.

And I've almost got enough blocks to start thinking about how to set them.  It has also made me realise that I need some more bright orange blocks.

Looking at the next block, I did a bit of visualization - I can really see how this block is going to look now.

I have been commissioned to make a train quilt, so at the moment I am thinking ideas.  Monika and I are also making progress with setting up our Aussie-Kiwi swap... feature fabric chosen and bought, just the details of the exchange to get nutted out now.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mystery Medallion Part Two

I know... two posts in one weekend.  What is the world coming to?

Month Two was all about adding pieced triangles to the centre square.  Once again using the provided fabric (which is the brownish measuring tape fabric - a bit of a Karitane yellow kind of colour, remembering that Karitane nurses used to be the NZ babycare nurses, and Karitane yellow refers to that distinctive colour of baby poo).

When I pulled fabric for this project, in my mind was light and fresh.  I love brown and blue together - so it was a given that lots of blue was going to be used.  A few teals mixed in, and a few more browns to play with the feature fabric.  I liked the neutral tone on tone text fabric which gives a subtle background option.  But going with the more is more design aesthetic, added the stronger text fabric to add a bit of oomph to the project.  Finally I added a grey plaid fabric, just because I liked the depth it gave.

The applique design I chose was from this book by Barbara Brandeburg.

Used in this pattern - Woodland Rose.

This is a bit of a more is more book in its style... some patterns are a bit full on - but check out that border.  Lots of design elements.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Much Ado About Nothing

Well really, no ado about nothing.  That about sums up the extent of my patchwork endeavors and lack of blog worthy news.  I can't believe I didn't even have one post for the whole of April!

I did however get my magazine quilt finished and packed off to the appropriate people on time!  And then spent a week or so finishing up the instructions and getting them emailed away too.  Then was a week of doing nothing... cause I needed a rest.  But really, just didn't feel like doing too much.

I did get my Country Yard Mystery Medallion centre block completed the day before it was due... and showed it off to get my second lot of instructions.

The first block instructions were for an applique block on a background that used more than one fabric, with a narrow border.   I went for a star block as my background, with two different text prints as the fabrics.  Then a mix of blue, green, grey and brown fabrics for the applique elements.  The fabric for the twirls is the provided fabric that needs to be used in every round.

The instructions also stated that the next lot of instructions would set this block on point - so it was important to select a block and applique pattern that would suit.  I liked this applique pattern as it is asymmetrical as well as non directional - you could just about use it any way you liked, although I do think it probably does have a top and a bottom somewhere.  Because you just never know what's going to happen, I also wanted a centre block that I liked both square and on point, and these designs just fit my requirements perfectly.

Making the block the day before it was due meant that some of the finer details... like blanket stitch ,were not completed.  Luckily I didn't receive a penalty! I also may not have pointed this out at the time :o)

Catch up time and today has been all about the blanket stitch.  As the next round is due on Tuesday coming, I wanted to get the first block completed properly before any additional bulk was added to the centre.  I'm using a neutral beige thread for a narrow blanket stitch - it really does finish off the design.

While I have done very little sewing or sewing related shopping (gasp!) I have picked up some fun things on my shopping travels.

I think everyone needs a pair of monster feet slippers... for you know, when you need to stomp around...

And I couldn't resist these cups... cow cups...

Complete with boobies...

The other major occurance over the past month or so was receiving my quilt back from the long arm quilter!  This is the first quilt I have had quilted by someone else, and it really did stretch my Scottish short arm/long pocket syndrome.  However, I knew that the Swoon quilt deserved the best, and I really wanted the Baptist Fan pattern to be quilted on it.  This is almost impossible to quilt on a domestic machine, trust me, I've tried, and the other option would be by hand, and even I'm not that crazy.  I just had to bite the bullet and invited my friend and long arm quilter Leeanne from Quilt Me Kiwi to do the honours... she did a terrific job.

You can probably see it best from the back...

And from the front

And so you can actually see the quilting!  

I love how it turned out, the mix of traditional block pattern and quilting design with the more modern fabric choices - Leeanne, thank you so much.  Now to get onto the binding... one day.  First up I need to finish the rest of the blanket stitch and get that second round completed by Tuesday.  And I promise to not be so slack about blogging (and checking emails) in the future!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A bit of an update

Two weeks from when I started, I finally made it out to my first corner - starting from the centre of the quilt and focusing on the bottom right hand corner.  I was amazed it was taking so long, but the corner just seemed to keep getting further and further away and I just kept quilting and quilting and quilting.  Something was going on here.  A bit of a breather, pause and reflection - I realised that because the quilt blocks are set on point, the natural inclination was to continue quilting along the block lines, in a general diagonal direction.  So while I may have only just finished my first corner - I managed to quilt practically half the quilt in the meantime! 

I also started the hand quilting that I wanted to add... loving it!  As it is a secret project I can't reveal too much - but this should give you a hint.

My rustic hand quilting is neither straight nor even... but I love the definition it gives.  I have been using an Aurifil 12wt cotton thread which suits this chunky quilting style.

My good friend who attended Quilt Symposium in January treated me to a quilty tea towel souvenir.
Little quilty quips... although being white it won't last long in my kitchen, but looks quite at home hanging on my design wall at present.

 Some a bit closer up... makes me think we are a bit of a smutty lot... "quilters do it with a walking foot" just sounds like we have some sort of fetish... but then again, we probably do.  "Quilters do it in the Car" has me rather stumped.  What do we do in the car?  Am I missing something obvious?  Any ideas???

And while we're on the subject of funny little phrases... this is the sign I recently bought for our littlest room.  Although I might need to add "and put the old roll into the bin" to make it a perfect world.

With the colder weather creeping up, it was finally time to sneak a second quilt on the bed.  I just knew that it was finally time for Bluebirds and Berries to get its time in the sun.

I think you can tell that the border size was chosen to cover this size bed!  It is a perfect fit.

And you can also see the dimension from the quilting... although the outer applique border is quilted with a tone on tone thread, it really shows up wonderfully in this light.

Monday, March 16, 2015

And repeat until finished

I've been really good with my quilting this past week, scheduling in an hours worth of FMQ each afternoon.  By Friday and with five hours under my belt, I still was not quite 1/4 finished on the background.  Progress did mean that I didn't feel too guilty spending a bit of time planning for the Mystery Medallion centre block, when it was my turn to host the Saturday patchwork ladies.

Out came the books and the fabrics... lots of ideas... you'll have to wait to see what it all looks like, but it is definitely coming together.

I received in the post the latest Down Under Quilts magazine...

With a wee feature of my Robot quilt in their kids quilts article.

Not too shabby... although I do wish I had a decent hanging space to ensure better photography.  Sometimes it's not what you know but who you know... and a big thank you to that enabling person... you know who you are!

Plans for this week... you guessed it... more FMQ.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sparking the Imagination

I've realised that part of my mojo issue is that I'm not truly excited by any of the projects I have underway.  Yes, I still love them all... but they have all reached that point of being somewhat Blah.  I feel like I have been committed to projects since halfway through last year, and now that the last of the baby quilts have been finished, and I've decided to pass Imogen's quilt on to someone else for some serious straight line quilting (which is beyond my skill level) I'm starting to feel like I can enjoy a bit more of what I want to do.  I still have the magazine submission quilt to finish, and now that I am fully equipped with quilting pins and thread, I've made a start on the quilting.  It's still pretty top secret, but I'm sure a little sneak won't hurt - stippling in the background, while not incredibly creative, is going to give this quilt so much texture and help to link the various beige and cream fabrics I have used.

To help revamp my creative spirits, I signed up for a Mystery Medallion project with my favourite shop, The Country Yard.  The label says it all... 

Well, really the label and the instructions inside.  Each month you receive a set of guidelines, which you must follow.  But you also get to put your own spin on things as you are using your own fabrics and design.  However, the fabric provided with the first month must be included in each round. 

I'm busy pulling fabrics and dreaming up designs.