Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No Willpower

Well, I tried really hard.  Honest.  But somehow this afternoon I started cutting out my new fat quarters.  On the positive side, I did wash all the fabrics for another project that have been waiting for the perfect moment to be started... and I had a look at another quilt that is up to the border stage, and still doesn't quite feel right - now I remember why it is still sitting there.

This one started with a beautiful fabric that I could just imagine as a big wide border.  It had a matching layer cake... and I found the perfect pattern.  The rest would be history - but now that I have pieced the top and added the first border, I am struggling to work out how the following borders should look...

This is a close up of some of those lovely fabrics...
 On the one hand, I quite like how it looks at the moment.  On the other hand, it is not quite big enough for a queen size.  Could make it more like a throw - but I'd prefer something that would also fit the bed.  I did a narrow border of the border fabric with the intention of adding another pieced inner border, then a wide 9" border all around with the border fabric again.  Any suggestions?  I'll check with my Friday girls and see what the concensus is.  I even have the backing fabric for this... just need batting and I could be quilting (and then moaning about binding...)

I have been loosely collecting Japanese indigos... and other indigo-ish fabrics and they have been waiting in a box for Hmmm, several months.  So now the background and cornerstone fabrics have been washed, and I might just start cutting that one out to.  Ironing and chopping are so meditative - especially with a new cutter blade!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Everybody else has been so busy!

I've just spent the last half hour catching up on what everyone has been up to.  You guys have been busy!  I feel only moderately busy.  My main goal over the last week has been to finish my placemats for the Ohaeawai school batons up.  As it is on Friday, I was determined not to be up late Thursday night sewing down the binding (flashback to KK Quilters exhibition in January).  So at every available minute last week I finished the blanket stitch around the applique, and then Saturday I did the machine quilting and started applying the binding.  I attempted the machine binding method - but after the first attempt worked out that this was probably not the right situation to be doing practicing, so reverted back to the old faithful method.

I quite liked them all laid out together - it would make a nice quilt...
maybe one day with a few more scraps!
 And by late Sunday afternoon, I had all 6 placemats finished,

1, 2, 3, 4...

5 and 6!

 and even a tag to hang on my bucket.

All ready for some lucky prize winner!
I desperately want to start cutting up my new fabric.  I am resisting the urge.  I don't have enough room to do two different things at once.  Where we rented before buying our house, I had a huge room where I could spread out at least three, if not more projects at the same time, and could just pick and choose which bits I wanted to work on at a particular time.  I always sewed two things simultaneously - one thing that required thought, and one thing that was more methodical.  Then when the mess got too much that door would just get closed on it all.  A bit different now when I have to pack it away each night so I can sleep in my bed.  Of course, I could probably sleep on the sofa, but hubby might have something to say about it.  So I am going to look through my projects and try and be good...
This is what I'm planning to do with my new fabrics from my last post.  I have 13 fat quarters.  I just need some more!  And it looks like I'll be buying some white on white... The blocks are 15" big buggers, so the idea is to just mix up all the fabrics and cut them big enough that you get a good showing of the actual fabric.  I'm sure if I cut it up I could sew it while working on something else...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A week in review

Tuesday already.  How did that happen?  Maybe it would be a good idea to go backwards from today for a change, perhaps it will help with the remembering side of things.  Today was the Kerikeri Guild AGM and shared lunch - we had a guest speaker who was a judge at Calico Xmas and I bravely took along a couple of my quilts to be critiqued (the big purple one and the funky orange flowered one from the exhibition photos).  While she seemed enthusiastic and did mention WOW factor several times - she also didn't say a bad word about any of the quilts viewed - so I do wonder how one would fare if I attempted submitting a quilt for a real show (NB: the annual exhibition Kerikeri Guild runs is not a judged show - we just do it for fun! :) Yesterday was work.  Sunday we had a family outing to Whangarei where I exercised my right to shop - as did my children - and came home with some shoes.  Shoes make me happy.  Also some fabric.  Fabric makes me happy.  The kids each chose a metre of fabric of their own choice - scary stuff - as Nadia seemed drawn to the most hideous florals. 

We finally found a nice - bright - girl friendly print.  Dylan obviously went for the camo animals look.  They both seem to expect me to make quilts for them - boy are they lucky that I like to make quilts!

I found a bundle of fat quarters and just picked other fabrics that vaguely looked good that I liked.
You can never have too many fabrics! And no I don't know exactly what I'm going to do with them at the moment.

I have been making progress with my placemats, of which I am now making 6: 2 x kai, 2 x eat, 2 x Yum.  And have been busy doing the blanket stitch now that my big beast of a machine has been returned from the repair man.

These are due back to be part of the raffle before Friday next week - so looks like it will be a busy weekend.  Nothing like a deadline to get things done.

Saturday was one of those mothering days from hell... the less said about that the better.  Although the shoes and fabric on Sunday did go some way towards improving my aura.  Friday I did groceries, went to library, dropped off Nutrimetics brochures in all my Kaikohe locations, bought trackpants for lovely husband, bought skirt and trousers from op shop for me, got hair cut... just while the kids were at school.  It was a busy day.

Tue, Wed, Thurs were all work days... and then we must almost be back to the last post.

I have been lead astray by one of my new followers (I'm easily led), who has a lovely profile image - inspired by the book "Ghost Layers & Colour Washes" by Katie Pasquini Masopust.  So I've been naughty and ordered the book too... I do seem to remember something vaguely similar on Simply Quilts that gave the impression of layers overlapping, and it will be interesting the refresh and remind me of what it was all about.  While shopping also ordered Gaudynski's Machine Quilting Guidebook and Quilting Possibilities Freehand Filler Patterns which I have actually looked at from the library and reckon it is well worth owning.  I am looking forward to getting back into some machine quilting - so will start with the placemats and maybe carry on with some of the other tops waiting for that all important next step...

Tomorrow I am going to be mother helping at school with the junior classes making mosaic tiles, and then the kids race in their annual school triathlon.  Hope the weather holds up...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Busy busy weekend

I spent my Friday morning with the new entrants class at my kids school looking at halves and quarters - as they have been doing fractions.  Between their teacher and me, we organised them into cutting curtain fabric into the desired shapes - squares, triangles and rectangles.  We only ended up with one circle!  So the weekend was spent in leisurely piecing - making all those shapes into pillow covers.  I've finished two, and have another three to complete.  They look great (even though I say so myself - trust me, Friday morning could have gone in any direction...)

While my sewing space had so many items missing due to Friday's adventures - I took the time to reorganise my bits - and finally I feel like it is a space I want to work in.  Unfortunately it is in my bedroom which is space limited - but now I have a lovely display basket, my tools stored in a pretty cup/vase and there is actually space to lay out a few blocks!  Now I just need to concentrate on keeping it organised.

Nadia brought this picture home from school.  They have been doing selfportraits and looking at how to create eyes, noses and mouths.  Looks pretty good to me!


This is what the real version looks like!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm on a roll...

Well, you start with one small idea and it just grows and grows.  When I first thought about doing the placemats for the school fundraising.  I was thinking... NZ kiwiana fabric and log cabin - work it out as you go.  When I went to buy fabric for said project - didn't really get excited about Kiwiana fabric available - even though it was on special.  So only bought one fabric - the pukekos.  Bit difficult to do a log cabin with one fabric.  Time to rethink idea.  Next came using KAI (meaning food for anybody who was wondering) as an image on the placemats - and I used fusible web to applique the image using both the positive and negative images - getting two for the price of one.  Thanks Charlotte for the inspiration.  (I now believe you to be the ultimate positive/negative woman - we may have to make you a cape - as how do you get your scissors into those little gaps without making a mess??)  Anyway progress so far...

Then dipping into my pile of scraps and bits - I returned to the log cabin idea, making four small court house steps style blocks with uneven logs and the end result...

Perfect because they're not too precious to use,
the colours should hide most mess and they look fun. 
Ideal for a family with primary school age children.

Just three more to go.  Do you think I should make 4 with Kai on them, or two with Kai, and two with Yum?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Basket block update

I think I'll name it Charlotte's Basket after a certain friend who
decided only to use fabric from her stash for a year.  These fabrics were
the only ones in my stash that went together... and a great chance
to try before you buy so to speak.

Found something that was started and didn't require too much brain effort to do a bit more.  So, does anybody remember the basket block?  Think back to having a day in the sleepout due to the house being de-flea-ed, and a blissful day spent with the cat, sewing and playing with little triangles?  Of course, once the day was over - it was all put tidily away in a plastic bag until I could work out what size my applique handle should be.  The instructions in the book were for a much smaller block so I couldn't just trace the pattern.  It has now been many moons since that day.  Thanks to hubby's idea, I copied around the lid of a Glad handy container which gave me a roundish square handle (or squarish round handle depending on your perspective).  Using the freezerpaper machine zigzag thing (which is really growing on me) I used my old machine, and finally found the lighter version of the invisible thread after much looking... damn my disorganised quilting space, and after setting my thread tension to 2 and a 1 whatever long by 1 whatever wide zigzag - my stitching finally disappears into the applique piece.  Woohoo!  So I now have one fully completed block, and have today finished piecing three more blocks, with just the applique bit left to do.  Should have these finished today?  Maybe.  Did I mention the intention to just do 4 blocks?  Is this cheating?  Problem is that it has hardly made a dent in my stash, so does that mean I should do more blocks to use up more fabric?

This is a picture of the quilt the block came from. Amazing the
difference different fabrics make to the overall look of things
isn't it?

On a different note - we had a very interesting vehicle parked at our place last night - which only caused one phone call wondering why it was there!  We were just baby sitting it as the Kaikohe Fire Brigade had their 75th anniversary and had a big do on Saturday.  My sisterinlaw/partner came up from Kamo with their fire-engine - as people do, and we had it at our place while they went wining and dining.  The kids loved it!

Also on a different subject - one of these eggs is not like the others... one egg so far has been ginormous, eye poppingly so!  Bet this caused a few squawks...

And last but not least, the beginnings of an idea for placemats to put into my "bucket" for fundraising for the kids school Baton's Up.  Haven't quite worked everything out yet - but "kai"...pukekos... placemats... we'll see what eventuates.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quiet & contemplative

I have been a bit quiet lately.  Maybe it is the overwhelming effect Christchurch's last earthquake seems to have had on the country.  Although completely unaffected by the physical effects of the quake - the media coverage has really effected everyone including the children.

On the other hand - I don't really feel like I've achieved very much - so haven't had much to report in.  My large sewing machine has gone back for repair.  It started doing strange things last year and it finally got serviced, but it has continued to skip stitches and has never gone back to doing beautifully smooth machine quilting like it did when I first got it.  So I'll keep my fingers crossed that it will come back all better.

I am not committed to any particular project at the moment.  I have several... well, quite a few, unfinished projects (well, who hasn't), but nothing that is compelling me to finish them.  I also have some projects that are unstarted.  But they also haven't sparked the flow of mojo.  My little Friday quilting group have planned a roadtrip on Friday to visit The Country Yard and Grandmothers Garden so hopefully a little bit of retail therapy will have a positive effect.  It is something to look forward to anyway - who isn't inspired by beautiful fabric...