Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday windup

I have had a busy two weeks, and find that although I have the best of intentions to tell you all about it... I get home from work, I check my emails and my blog list to see what everyone else is up to... then it's time to start dinner... then evening jobs and time to roll into bed.  So today is the day... I've checked emails and everyone elses progress, even planted some seedlings and hung out washing, so I have a few minutes of guilt free time to tell you all about what I've been up to.

Well, after my day at The Country Yard and coming home with an assorted pile of bits, I now have more order in my life.
 My pile of strips with freezer paper attached have been reorganised back into their proper places, all ready for me to start sewing again.  This is 9 layers so I will end up with nine blocks.

And I had a little play with placement of the blocks I have already sewn.  There are twelve star blocks, and 9 of the wonky log cabins with dark centres. There are still the 9 unsewn cabins with light centres, but I won't need all these log cabins as some will get cut in half and form a border around the central panel. 

As you can see, the design wall is working great.  And it makes it so much easier to take pictures without getting that distortion thing going on.

Last Friday I had to take my truck in to get a new windscreen.  So had a three hour wait in Kaikohe instead of visiting with my patchwork group.  Not quite the same!  But I took along my applique, and made myself at home in the library stitching away.

Then Saturday morning was spent at the hairdressers with Nadia having a special 6th birthday treat - pink highlights!  It was a bit of a mission... a total of three hours mostly just sitting waiting for chemicals to develop... but she was a very happy wee girl once it was all over.  She also got her ears pierced... all of a sudden so very grown up.

I baked a cake for her to share with her class, which we then forgot to take to school... so she took it the next day.  Then her class had a trip to Puketi Forest, and Dylan's class had a walk up to Taiamai Rock as part of the school wide focus on forests this term.  Today Nadia's Kapa Haka group went to perform at a local retirement village, which I'm sure enjoyed the kids performance.  Roll on school holidays which start at the end of next week.  Unfortunately daylight savings has started mid term, so everyone is really suffering from the extra early starts.  I think I could just sleep for a week!  Well, sleep and sew!

Sunday was a teachers class, and we investigated different ways of making quilt sandwiches, then basted three quilts.  Everyone was keen to learn free motion quilting, so we started practicing using large sheets of paper and sewing machines with no thread.  While I wasn't entirely sure whether it would work - it certainly helped to get everyone started and give them the idea of what was required.  They have all realised that practice is the key to success, and that they will get better.  It is hard when you are not instantly good a something... perhaps a good lesson for teachers to learn or be reminded of.

So, do you feel caught up?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Have you joined...

the Sew Happy Xmas Sew-along?  The first week of instructions and pattern are out today and will remain available for two weeks.  New pattern each week, which will then be available for one week only.  Don't blame me if you miss out!  If I was clever I would have one of those buttons you click on and it takes you straight to the blog, but my blogging repertoire doesn't extend that far as yet.  So if you're interested, click on the Sew Happy Me blog link shown on my LH side bar.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Courthouse Stars

Saturday was day two of The Country Yard's Courthouse Steps workshop.  It was now time to start on the courthouse steps blocks - which was interesting because they were really log cabin blocks, but with the colouring of courthouse steps with the dark logs on alternative sides, then the light logs on the opposing sides.  Anyway... great progress was made although it did put more strain on my brain requirements than the stars had... but got there in the end.
This was my pile of partially completed log cabins... all
joined up in a long chain.
These were the remaining logs required to add to the above
This is the pieces for the second lot of blocks that are as yet unstarted.

And this was the little princess butterfly that greated me at the end
of my day.
You may have noticed the sew along button on my left hand side bar.  This is for a Xmas stitchery project with Sew Happy Me.  Thought I'd give it a whirl... after all, how bad could it be?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Baby Billboard Progress

I know, I know, three posts in one day is just ridiculous, but I wanted to track progress - such that it is.

Firstly I finished the squares for the rest of the letters - aren't they gorgeous??  Now I just need to buy some more fusible so I can carry on with them.

Next, I attached the letters I had already done onto the background squares.

Starting to look interesting isn't it?

Bias Stem Tutorial

I was quite amazed to find out that not everyone creates their bias stems the same.  A friend requested that I post a tutorial on how I do mine - so here it is.  Now, this is not something I invented... just a technique that I've picked up along the way (as you do).

Step One: cut strips on the bias a bit longer than the length you require.  For a 1/4" stem, you will need a 1" strip.  Fold strip in half and press with raw edges together.

Step Two: pin strips onto your background, easing in fullness as required to achieve the desired curve.  This is not the final placement of the stems, as they will be flipped over the stitching line.

Step Three: stitch quite close to the raw edges - about 1/8" - along the length of the stem.

Step Four: flip the stem over the stitching line into it's final placement.  Pin in place.

I added smaller stems into this longer stem - unpick small sections and slip the small stem under, attach per the large stem, then restitch the large stem down. 

Step Five: using your usual needleturn applique stitch, sew the folded edge onto the background.

Voila - your stem is sewn.  From small stems gardens and bouquets grow...

What's Up?

So what's been going on at the ranch?  We went for a Saturday drive (obviously, on Saturday).  Went all over the place and succeeded in getting just about everyone car sick.  Aren't husbands great?  Then Sunday we built a new run for the chickens to keep them enclosed once again.  They have been roaming wild over winter, as the vege garden had run its course, and didn't need to be protected against those pecking beaks and stomping feet.  Now that summer is somewhere over the horizon, we shall once again plant some bits and pieces and see what happens.  This is pretty much as technical as the vege garden gets.  Most of our fruit trees have either burst into blossom or are pretty close to it.  Not sure if this is a good or bad sign.

I haven't done much on the sewing side of things.  Sounds a bit like a broken record doesn't it?  Today my littlest munchkin is home from school, decidedly under the weather.  I also seem to have developed a serious case of washingtobeputaway-itis and have a huge pile sprouting limbs on the floor... this needs to have something done to it before it takes over the room.  So my enforced day off work may not lead into the crafting direction... we'll see what happens.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Baby Steps

I have officially started my sister-in-laws baby quilt.  Inspired by Oh Fransson!'s billboard quilt along - it was just a matter of deciding what I wanted my quilt to say.  Hmm??  By chance, Dylan had a reader one night that had the Maori word "moemoea" which means sweet dreams.  Perfect.  I also had a jelly roll without a purpose which combined beautiful rainbow colours... and Grandmothers Garden had some fabrics on blowout sales... so 3m of a lovely grey/blue-black mottle became a perfect background.  The letters would have looked STUNNING on a white background - but let's be practical for a moment, white and baby quilt just don't go together.  And I couldn't quite force myself to choose a black background.  So this seemed a good compromise.  I have also hmmed and ahhed over the choice of font - as nothing really matched the image in my mind.  But a bit of googling, downloading and playing - and this will do.

I have now run out of fusible web so the rest of the letters will just have to wait.  But looking good so far aren't they?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Followup

Whew, how did we get to Friday already?  Today I have Nadia home from school as she has been suffering from a hacking cough - survived cross country at school on Wednesday, then it all turned pear shaped on Thursday.  I survived doing three lots of baking on Tuesday night (including frosting!) which was needed for the cross country (in between working and my new job on Tuesdays - but that's another story).

The splinter - which was embedded in my husbands hand - required minor surgery to get removed (think split open and peeled back).  It was truely cringeworthy, and resembled a small branch poking out of his finger, both where it went in, and then again where it came back out about an inch further along his finger.  Ouch!

I have been suffering with an almost head cold/possible hayfever.  As a consequence of this, I have not done any crafting.  Also haven't done any washing and have barely survived cooking meals... but we are all still alive.

We had four eggs on Wednesday.  Go girls!

Now that I have finished knitting my beanie (still to be sewn up yet) - the weather has turned from "hell freezing over" type weather, straight into summer weather (well almost - pretty much).  So don't be surprised if (a) the beanie never gets finished or (b) it won't be required until next year.  Typical.  Last year there was snow in NZ right up until Xmas time - so I suppose there is plenty of time for it to get back to being cold again.  Unfortunately now that Nadia knows I can knit she wants me to teach her - her being right handed, me being left handed.  I am already dreading it.  But with the goodness of motherhood, we bought some very pretty wool... we shall see.