Monday, May 23, 2011

Will power and won't power

I always laugh at that ad that has the girl, the cake, the dog and the blue shoes... you know the one - talking about the will power - and then... the won't power. 

When I decided to take the plunge and register for 2013 Symposium, there was a realisation that this would cost money - real big money.  But also that I have two years to save for it.  So I have set up an automatic payment and should have a nice nest egg by the time I need it.  I also realised that I would need to watch my pennies, and be more conservative in my quilting purchases.  This was the will power. 

Now for the won't power - then The PowerQuilter shut down and had a never to be seen again sale... I tried ever so hard to be good and bought very sensible fabrics - but somewhere along the line also spent an enormous amount of money. 

Then there was a BOM advertised that I adored and just had to have the pattern for...

A beautiful Gail Pan design quilt with piecing and applique.  There are eight
blocks in total - here are the first two.  She is Australian, check her blog.
 and some time ago I bought some chairs off TradeMe for $60 for two, and tracked down fabric that I wanted them covered in... and they arrived today all nice and reupholstered... oh well...

Now I must mention the wonderful shop where I got my pattern from... The Country Yard is on Mangakahia Rd not far from Whangarei and they are just the greatest.  I emailed to find out if they stocked it - they didn't - but said they could get it and how much it would cost - and it arrived a few days later all wrapped up with a gift tag on it.  I have been drooling, and will one day decide which of my lovely fabrics will get cut up.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

An over-active imagination

I've been busy thinking.  Quilt thinking. 

On the one hand, I have several quilts that now need to be basted and quilted.  So in the deep recesses of my mind, I keep a lookout for possible quilting designs.  At this stage, I haven't found "the solution", but I also want to buy some flannel to back my cat quilt and have been trawling through internet sites looking for something interesting (ie not boring tone on tone).  So far, haven't found anything.  So this is something my brain can continue to mull over for a while longer.

On the other hand, I still have little collections of fabrics that have not settled into a particular project yet.  These fabrics always inspire me to look, consider, play with my EQ6 programme, plot and scheme, and usually do nothing further as I ponder the possibilities.  Sometimes, like the log cabin stars quilt, it just all fits and it gets started immediately.   Other times... it doesn't. 

The last few days I've been looking at a mystery quilt I did several years ago, which was basically a sampler with large 18" blocks and an applique centre.  Once the mystery was revealed, I discovered that the design was a quilt from Barb Adams & Alma Allen's book "Women of Grace & Charm - a quilting tribute to the women who served in WWII".  A couple of the blocks in particular keep attracting my interest.  Finally today I had a play with EQ6 and one of the blocks - "Keeping up morale" to see how repetitions of the same block would fit together.

I have long had a collection of blue and cream... and every few months/years try a different combination to use them up.  Will this be the one?  Of course, if I were to make it, the colours wouldn't be quite so constrained, but I sort of like the alternating strong constrast with the softer version.

Now the collection of Japanese Taupes is another story...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Busy busy weekend

Life has once again resumed at the normal setting after all the excitement of the weekend.  Exciting for me because I got to abandon my family and enjoy the company of likeminded quilting friends while we sewed up a storm on our annual retreat.  Exciting for my family because they had dinner at a restaurant as well as fish and chips, McDonalds hotcakes and it seems a cheeseburger meal slipped in somewhere?  As long as everyone was still alive at the end of the weekend - I don't really mind what they got up to!

Right, photos taken... here we go...

Does anybody remember about two years ago when I went to my first retreat and started a cat quilt?  This is a Buggy Barn pattern which is basically stack n whack style - cats and flowers.  To cut a long story short, I started, and actually finished piecing all the cats and flowers before we moved house.  Due to the random nature of my quilt layout - I needed to have it layed out and visible while I did the final applique and piecing... so it has sat in the cupboard in a very neglected, rolled up ball.  This was the end result:

Once again, too large to fit comfortably in a single shot.  The weather is
LOUSY - far too windy for an outside shoot, and the rain has just started
up again.

This one may just be my favourite
I knew this spot would come in handy for something...

I had a lot of fun adding to the initial fabric bundle which started off as a Grandmothers Garden fat quarter special, then deciding what colours to use for the applique swirls, leaves and stems on the flowers.  Each cat seems to have it's own personality, and just need some little close set eyes (buttons) to finish them off - apart from the two flowers which I discovered do not have their swirls on.  Then the quilting process will begin...

I also made some progress with my "pretty" basket applique - and made some applique flowers with leaves using a pressing mat so that I can just apply the finished unit to my border.  Strangely while they look like flowers with leaves when there are three leaves, they seem to resemble piglet when there are only two leaves... I shall leave you pondering this for a while, and reveal the final quilt in the goodness of time.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Quilt Retreat Survived for another year!

I am back home and in one piece after a very enjoyable few days at Lonsdale Park where my local quilt guild hold their 2 night sleepover retreats.  We start on the Friday (I don't get there until late-ish as I need to wait for my husband to get home from work), and come home on the Sunday afternoon.  I am officially knackered!  Have sat down and had a cup of coffee - and that is about all I am capable of.  I did finished piecing a quilt - which was the plan - but I haven't taken a photo yet - and I haven't the patience at the moment to upload it anyway - so watch this space a bit later in the week and I shall reveal all.  The household has also survived while I have been away.  That's good news isn't it?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Nothing to Report

Just letting you know that I am still alive.  Haven't actually turned my sewing machine on since the last post!  Have done copious quantities of washing - motherhood is a crock!  I am mourning the loss of my LQS (local quilt shop) which isn't even all that local - a good 3/4 of an hours drive away, but it was my local.  Damn the recession.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Little Projects

Round Three of the internation round robin through The Patchwork Studio in Australia has now gone into the post today.  I officially received permission to show Cathy's block so here it is in all it's glory.  The third set of instructions were to add the setting triangles and use applique to represent something iconic about where you live. 

I quite like the way the buzzy bees are angled - as if they are coming
right out of the block!  As it turns out, nothing really wanted to be on
the blue setting triangles - so they can either be a "quiet" space, or an area
to display lovely quilting perhaps?
 I have also signed up for a row by row round robin through our local guild.  Instructions for the first part of this are to construct your initial row using whatever techniques you desire to make a 8x40" row.  Following rows are constructed using the guidelines by the other quilters in your group, although the rows won't be attached to the initial row until everything has been done, thereby allowing the owner to add sashing or other rows to make them perfectly unique.

I think I'll call mine "The Leftover Pieces" as it utilises all the strange left over bits
from my layer cake quilt.  Still some leaves to add, and also something on the end of
the vines across the bottom - haven't decided whether to make big leaves, or another sort
of bloom.
 I have also been trying to take a photo of my enormous stars and log cabins quilt which is now fully sewn, with just the enormous task of quilting to do.  Taking a photo is easier said than done as it is just too darn big!

This was hanging on the clothes line on a relatively windy day so it kept
pulling the quilt bottom backwards!  I obviously need to get more creative... watch
this space...
 And talking about the layer cake quilt, here it is... all border issues now finalised - thank you everyone for your advice.  I wanted to make it longer top and bottom so that it fitted nicely on the bed - but the quilt just didn't want to do that.  The quilt always wins!  I ended up removing the previous border, then adding a narrow brown border which uses three different fabrics (and hopefully highlights the variety of browns that are in the blocks and border), then finally adding my "not quite as large as I had originally intended but big enough" border and this one can now also go on the waiting to be quilted pile.

I really should have turned this one as the rectangles do face long-ways down... although
then the background would have been odd??
 That's about all from me.  We survived sickness and the school holidays.  Everyone has now returned to their normal weekday routines - thank goodness!