Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From shed to studio... an ongoing story

Janet now has her own furniture, and it is finally time to show her off in all her finery.

For those of you still wondering... no Rona, she's not an illegal immigrant from eastern europe with an extremely large tush... she a second hand Handi-Quilter frame.  A few years old so not the latest model, and not a long arm which was the other most common suggestion... that would have been way outside our budget - but my Brother Innovis sits happily in the tray, and whizzes backwards, forwards and sideways - OK my 8 1/2" throat space could be an extra few inches bigger but it will do.  I appreciate the limitations of these sort of gadgets, and approach the purchase the same as buying a new tool... it simply gives me a larger range of options.  I am looking forward to basting with water soluble thread and machine quilting on my normal machine as per normal - just without pins!  I really hope this works as I won't have to crawl around on the floor anymore.

The tools came out, and there was plenty of noise and sawdust... I knew it was serious!

Although I wasn't sure how the table would look when finished... I was pleasantly surprised to see the progress (although upside down at this stage)... it looks a bit rustic farmhouse...

And this is the garage space that will one day be finished off, beautified and turned into my studio space.

Looking back at it the other way:

One day when my kids are a bit older and more responsible... I'll be able to disappear into my studio and create.  Until then, I still have my sewing space set up in Nadia's bedroom.  It works.  But I sure do have huge dreams about this new space - some of which include walls, carpet and lights!

A bit of reorganising and viola... a new table (all 3.6 metres of it) on wheels no less, so it can be pushed up against the wall when not in use... note the handy shelf underneath... all ready for me to baste Nadia's winter quilt...

And talking of Nadia's winter quilt... border all finished... ready to go.

Have I finished my April Swoon block?  Not yet.
Have I finished the blanket stitch on My Tweets Block 2 & 3? Not yet.
Did we have a lovely family ANZAC Day?  YES!  I heartily recommend the Monopoly version which has EFTPOS card - great fun.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I do believe it's TUESDAY

For those of you keeping an eagle eye on the calendar, you will have realised that the weekend has been and gone... and no expose on Janet!  She had to be dismembered... it wasn't pretty... but we're now in the reconstruction phase and she just needs some minor plastic surgery to become fully active.

Never fear... it's coming.  In fact... I might just go and take some photos now... if I can stir up enough energy after a busy first day as official treasurer of my patchwork guild.  I'm shattered, and sorry Ms Lottie, I took my camera with every intention of taking photos of the show-and-tell for you, but remembered about 3/4 of the way through, so my camera remained unopened.

For those NZers and Australians about to enjoy a day off work tomorrow (ANZAC Day), I hope you enjoy your holiday, we will remember them.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday followup

It's the last Friday of the holidays.  To be honest, I haven't accomplished as much sewing as I had initially hoped, but at the same time, I'm quite pleased with what I have got done.  If that makes any sense??

Today was a morning at my place for my merry band of stitchers.  I started appliquing stems onto block three of My Tweets, and tracing the pattern pieces onto fusible web.  As the day progressed, and everyone went home (and in between feeding the kids), I've managed to get all the pieces fused onto the background.  Now I just need to get settled into some serious machine blanket stitch, as I see that I still haven't quite finished the February block stitching (well, that really should read, haven't started Feb).

Progress has also been happening on my Swoon block under construction - with all the smaller components sewn together, and the central star sewn, now it's just a matter of piecing it into ever enlarging segments.  Should get finished by the end of April, I would think.

Yesterday we visited Whangarei (which is our nearest city) and travelled slightly out of town to peruse the goodies on show at The Country Yard.  It was a lovely day and the kids enjoyed the time playing around in Kerryn's gorgeous garden.  I, of course, enjoyed my time oogling the fabrics and threads, and catching up with the lovely ladies.  I came home with some fabric to add a wee final border to Nadia's Princess winter quilt, plus some wool/polyester batting so it will be all ready to finish off.  You get extra special attention at The C-Y, so not only did I come home with the fabric I needed, but the instructions for cutting the border strips using the sizes we worked out in the shop - do you forget what you're supposed to do with your border or binding fabric once you get it home?  I know sometimes I've had to rework things out before - but not this time!  Just a little touch, but it was really appreciated.

Thanks for all the comments about the mysterious Janet, hopefully there will be some photos to share over the weekend.  I've had some real laughs!

Linking up with What a Hoot on Monday...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Guess What I Am?

I've got a new friend. 

Her name is Janet. 

She's been chilling out in the garage, just laying around, and we've been getting used to each other.  It will take a wee while as we don't quite speak the same language yet - but it is a promising relationship as we share the same hobby and love of fabric.

We will need to build some custom furniture for her so that she is at her most comfortable (she's a pretty big girl) - this may or may not happen over the weekend.

If you need a clue... she doesn't have red hair or write books like her namesake.

Any help?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

There's Progress Jim, but not as we know it.

We are all having a little bit of chill out time throughout these school holidays.  This means I get to sleep in a little bit, read my book when I want to, and sew when I want to.  Or at least that's the plan.

I finally finished my Swoon Block Number Three (this was supposed to be the March block - whoops) and started cutting Block Four for April at the same time.

Have I mentioned before that the Swoon blocks are 24" finished?  That's big.  This time I experimented with some home made starch.  So these plain tan units not only look like manilla folder cardboard, they feel like it too.  Starch helps to keep the many seams from shifting too much as you sew - not a failsafe system, but pretty good.

I'm popping the completed smaller units up on my design wall as they get sewn together.  This is one block where you really need to keep an eye on placement.

Friday quilting with the ladies yesterday, meant a bit more progress on my Gail Pan B&B BOM - see, it's getting bigger.

I really should have cropped this photo shouldn't I?

I've got all the applique components finished, just need to sew them together for a finished Block Number 5.  Has anybody noticed the difference between my version and the link picture at top left?  You caught me, I haven't reversed my images... pure lazyness.
While it may not be readily apparent, I've slowly been nibbling away at some old and not so old WIP projects.  So far this year I've finished the Log Cabin Stars, Buggy Barn Courthouse Stars, Russian Nesting Doll baby quilt, Baby Quilt/Raffle quilt and the AMQG Challenge bassinette quilt.  This time I've released this one from the box... it just needs the yellow border section put onto the last row, and decisions made about whether it needs a final border (now that she's got a bunk, the blankets don't need to be quite so big).

A close up of the cute as fabric.  Nice and girly without being too young or old.

While it has been quite a while since I put this together, I hadn't remembered that this block got a mix of fabrics.  Did you notice it in the first picture?  Amazing how the brain reads similar fabrics as the same.
 I picked up the princess, stripe and green floral fabrics online through Equilter with one of their el cheapo sales.  A yard each and worry about what to do with them later.  A few fat eighths and fat quarters rounded it out.  This explains why I didn't have enough fabric in the first place - there is something to be said for planning first, then buying the fabric.

This pattern is a blown up version of another quilt top I made, and one day it will be it's turn to be finished!

I have been slowly putting together some ideas for my stash of bluey/greeney with a touch of gold/mustard solid fat quarters, and have got to the stage where I would quite like to start cutting them up... but you know, while I haven't actually been that good at my resolution to only buy necessary fabric (there's been a whole lot of unnecessary going on), I have been not too bad at not starting new things.  Well, apart from the challenge quilt and the Russian nesting doll quilt - but they were baby things so do they really count?  With my main projects on the go at the moment, they mostly have quite subtle colour combinations - and I'm itching to do something totally bright and loud as well.  Will I succeed in keeping a lid on these urges... you'll have to stay posted and see what happens.

Hopefully I'll remember to link up with What a Hoot and Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Auckland Modern Quilt Guild Challenge

The Auckland Modern guild is running a challenge: to create a basinette quilt of approx 20x24" using a block or design that you haven't used before.  Entries to be donated to Starship Hospital’s NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit) or PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit). How on earth do you change font size??
Challenge accepted!

When I started thinking about babies, my first thought was of rainbows, which lead to drunkards path blocks, and a tutorial I had seen not so long ago on Dining Room Empire's blog (  So, I give you:

"Rainbows and Butterflys"

I used the remains of the batik jelly roll I used for my nephews cot quilt to create both the rainbows/butterflys and border.  A few leftover bits of white on white for the background.

Had a bit of fun with the quilting... incase you can't read it, it spells LOVE - and now I can't claim that I've never done stippling before... although I'd much rather use a different sort of filler - it is way boring and too easy to get stuck in corners with.  Variegated Aurifil thread 50wt.  Also did three rows of freemotion straight line quiting - didn't turn out as bad as I thought it would... however, it was also very boring to do.

A bit of a fun and funky backing... one of Nadia's fabric choices left cluttering up my stash.
I'd never done a drunkards path block before... and certainly never with freehand cut circles.  The blocks are also rectangular, which gives it a point of difference.

I've got it hanging on the line and will post it off tomorrow, to hopefully arrive before next Tuesday.

In other news, I've spent quite a bit of time cleaning up my quilting space and reorganising stash, storage, threads and all the bits in between.  As Nadia and I share space... we now have better defined areas so I won't keep taking over her space.  Although, sometimes she does take over my space too.

I've also been battling away at the ever increasing pile of washing requiring folding.  It just never seems to end.  However, fingers crossed that I should get the last bit done today... knowing that will only last until the next load comes in... and that there are already piles of dirty washing hovering...

A few more small units have been constructed towards the March Swoon block... but all in all, a pretty poor effort to date.  With school holidays looming from the end of the week, I am hoping that some quality quilting time will improve matters on the BOM front and it would be nice to not only get April's blocks completed, perhaps even catch up with the March ones??