Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A break in the whirlwind that is my life

Wednesday already - I'm exhausted.  Work has been busy.  Extremely busy.  Kids have been overactive and grumpy as a result of it.  We had two "accidents" last night - different circumstances, but same end result - wet children.  This also resulted in a slow start to the morning after disrupted sleep for everyone.  Things to do... but still building up the energy required to even contemplate starting.  Hmm, things can only improve can't they?  (You are not allowed to comment that things can get worse - I'm putting my fingers in my ears and chanting)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Taking a break

My head is whirling from all these projects whirling around inside it.  So time for a break, and a quick project update.

Did I mention my bathroom has been ripped out?  Thought not, so while I'm trying to concentrate on really important sewing matters, there is a lot of banging and crashing going on... very disturbing.

However, I shall perservere.  Right, international round robin row number 4.  I have finally received the final round in this project.  It was a bit late being sent, due to a few technical hitches - but has finally arrived into my hot little hands.

This one is from Viv in Western Australia - and my job is to add a border upto 6 1/2" which is pieced on two sides, and appliqued on two sides, which represents my favourite season.  Hmmm, well, we'll get to that.  I wasn't really inspired by the challenge, so tackled my fabric stash to see whether anything materialised from the material (so to speak).  Luckily for Viv, I had some lovely reddish browns which brought out the colours from the earlier blocks - so I have decided to choose autumn for my favourite season, and represent the leaves changing colour.  I have to admit that I do like both spring and autumn, basically because you get lovely days, but the nights are cool enough to sleep comfortably.  I tend to be really practical about stuff like that.

Now, for the half applique, half piecing, this is why my brain needed a break.  I have decided to piece a brown stem between two different background fabrics - and then applique leaves around it - this forming the pieced element, and then use an appliqued winding stem/vine (also with the appliqued leaves) on the appliqued element.  It is just working out the niggly details that is causing my head to explode!

This is the pieced border section - still waiting for some leaves to be appliqued
either side of the stem.

Viv also sent along a lovely little quilt label for us all to sign so she
can add it to the back of her finished quilt.  What a great idea!

I have also made some decisions regarding my guilds row by row round robin.  I received Carol M's first row, with the instructions that the next row is to be inspired by stars.

Sorry, but the photo just doesn't do it justice.  The dresden plates
are needle turn appliqued in teeny tiny stitches... hmm - it is a bit
daunting to add my row

Close up of the centre dresden plate - Carol has chosen a lovely mix of fabrics.
I was of two minds... pieced stars or appliqued stars growing off a stem... so have decided to do both!  A subtle pieced background using star blocks, with a continuous vine across the row, with star flowers growing out of it.  I liked the idea of the flowers meandering over the blocks... in contrast to the geometic placing of the first row.  The hardest bit has been choosing fabrics, and I'm still not sure whether I'll go with what I've picked out.  You'll have to wait and see.

Oh well, I suppose the great big mess I've made of my sewing space is not going to disappear by itself.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day One of a busy weekend

This weekend is Queen's Birthday weekend, so that means Monday will be a holiday.  The weather is absolutely appalling - so nothing else to do but sew.  What a shame!

Right, project update:

First off this morning I caught up with my teachers project and Dylan's fabrics.  It is square but managed to chop some off with the camera.  It has been a good exercise in practicing 1/4" seams, accurate cutting and basic piecing theory, without being just boring old squares.

Then it was time to start something that has been loitering for quite some time.  I have wanted to do something with Japanese indigos for ages, and it was just a matter of waiting for a pattern to jump up and down and say "me, me".  When the fabric and pattern had all come together - well, it just sat there.  Today that all changed!

The first of many

This is the book the original quilt came from
Very floral!!

A few tweaks, and it became my own

There are 52 nine patch blocks - but I'm constructing them as one large unit to get my seams to intersect nicely. 

Now, this is the fabric from Grandmother's Garden.  I chose the large bird print and then asked for 10 FQ to go with it and something as a background fabric.

This is the bargain bin fabric they chose for me to use as a backing.
It's almost as pretty as the feature fabric!

and this is the rough blue print of a possible design.  The feature fabric
will be a full length panel, with pieced blocks featuring lots of the cream background
and highlighted by the colourful FQers.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Won't power is winning

So far my quest to curtail my fabric/book purchasing habits have failed abysmally.  Grandmothers Garden in Gordonton are in the midst of their birthday sale and I just about always fall for their fat quarter smash and grab deals.  They also have yardage on special, so this time I have ordered 2m of my all time favourite, droolable fabric, 2m of cream tone on tone as a background, 10 fat quarters that fit into the scheme, plus 3m of something suitable as a backing fabric (about $160.00NZ).  As always, they have done a great job of doing the actual selecting - the only downside of the sale is you don't get to pick which fat quarters you get.

I have also found the whole Project Modern style of quilts pulling me to try something a bit different from my usual quilts.  While I struggle to label my quilts with a particular style, I do what I love and that changes from quilt to quilt, I would probably describe my quilts as traditional.  Traditional patterns, traditional layouts... I find it interesting how different patterns go together and the secondary patterns that are created through different repetitions.  I haven't found the need to express my creativity by continually creating "something new" as far as design goes, rather I find the fabrics are the area that feeds my creative spirit.  Although I do tweak designs now and then... who doesn't?

So, what exactly is Project Modern?  Not really sure at this stage - it seems to combine a minimalist element with strong, bold fabrics.  Perhaps tending towards solid fabrics.  And the rules of patchwork are loosely adhered to.  So seams don't necessarily have to match, or points may or may not be cut off.

Today I have finally remembered to buy a gridded maths book... and so have pencilled in the beginnings of my first design... 

Pictures will have to wait for another day...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Busy busy weekend

It has been another busy busy weekend.  And look - it is Wednesday already!  I haven't caught up with life since my weekend at retreat which was a whole three weekends ago.  Today however, if it doesn't rain, I will be as close as I will ever get to peace and harmony as far as housework goes.  (You know that since I've written this, great big black rain clouds have appeared... grrr).

Now, what have I been up to?  Nothing as exciting or productive as I would like and I'm starting to itch to get back behind my sewing machine.  We took a family trip to Whangarei on Saturday and had a quick visit at The Country Yard, bought some thread but was otherwise very good.  The trip was planned to look at hand towel rails, which would explain why we bought a dishwasher and a sofa!  I also got backing fabrics for my cats and stars/logs so technically speaking these projects can now move along. 

My Sunday was preplanned as I had agreed to give some of the teachers at the school my kids go to, a Patchwork 101 type of lesson, and considering that I have never taught patchwork or even attended a patchwork class (other than hand quilting) - it all turned out rather well.  This of course help attribute to the bomb site my house had evolved into.  But we're getting there.

Now, I must post this photo for Rona because it has been driving me mad looking at it and thinking of her citrus quilt.  Now, wouldn't it be exciting to do a few double crescent things???

Sorry about the sunstrike - this is the pattern on the side of a box... cool aye?
I have also put together a few fabrics to go with Dylan's camo fabric and will in time piece the top that my little class are doing.  I know, I probably should have already started it so I could demo it - but in the end, we managed just fine without it!

Have I already posted these???  I love the spot and bought extra just in case...
This photo is the outlook from our ranchslider door a few mornings ago when the fog was just rolling in... or was it out.

It is really all farmland but doesn't it look like the sea?

And finally, I was treated to this new book at our local library:

and fell in love with this block.  There are a few quilts with appliqued circles on them at the moment, and wouldn't it be fun to take them one step further with a circle in a square?  Does anybody have any idea of how to do these shapes in EQ6?

And I may just have some fabric set aside that would
look good in this sort of design... hmmm