Friday, June 29, 2012

More old friends

Some days when you decide to just do a little bit, and then a little bit more - you get quite an amazing amount done. 

I had borrowed an audio book from the library, so with the narrator merrily prattling away in the background, I finished putting together Block 6 on my Gail Pan BOM.   Now I just need to release my Brother sewing machine from the clutches of the quilting frame, and settle in to doing the machine blanket stitch.

My Swoon quilt has been calling to me too...

I had hoped to take it along to retreat in May to make some progress on Block 5, but after the burgulary just couldn't face trying to decide what fabrics to select.  It was just too hard.  I find this whole process really interesting, as I normally have little problem making fabric choices.  For some reason it is a huge consideration for this quilt! 

Today I pulled out the remainder of the original FQ bundles and made some decisions - yay!

Bundle One: brown/tree as centre star, cream as accent, green as outer ring

Bundle Two: navy as accent, floral as centre star, plain aqua as outer ring

Bundle Three: large circle as centre star, aqua as outer ring, cross hatch as accent

Leftovers: well, these ones don't go together!  I need to make two more blocks!

This was the thing that worried me most - coming to the end and realising that the leftovers just wouldn't cut it together.  After a bit of playing with the bundles, mixing them up and trying "creative solutions" without much success, I just decided to start cutting up the bundle I liked best and worry about the other blocks LATER.

I absolutely love the fabric in the central star. I have also developed a love of the Heath fabric (the cross hatch in the outer accent pieces), they are awesome, and I've got a couple of metres of the grey/charcoal version jealously guarded in my stash.

So now I just have the background pieces to cut out... it doesn't seem so bad splitting the cutting load up between different days.  Helps to stay fresh when doing so many pieces.  You never know, I might get this block finished by the end of July!

On family news, last day of Term Two today... so school holidays for the next two weeks.  I just want to sleep, well, sleep and sew...

Edited to add: linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Abscence makes the heart grow fonder

I finally have a terrible photo to share with you of my finished "Log Cabins at the Beach" top.  Terrible because unless you have a really good space to take photos in, it is impossible to fit these large type of quilts into one shot and you get freaky perspective angles going on (the desk in the bottom RH corner doesn't help either).  Standing on a chair and holding the camera above my head can only achieve so much! 

I was unsure whether the top right hand corner would appear too dark, as it has more than it's fair share of the deeper stone colour in the background, and several blocks around it appear to join on creating a large block of colour.  Plus I ended up using a grey strip in this background section (the only place which uses grey other than the actual log cabins) - due to my poor non-existent planning skills when calculating fabric requirements (she'll be right mate).  Surprisingly I don't mind it, it can be amazing what disappears once you view the quilt as a whole.  However, I would be interested in what you think... please leave me a comment, as it is easy enough to change at this stage, not so easy once I start quilting! 

Talking of quilting, I have a rough idea of what to do... if you can imagine a square spiral falling over the log cabin areas (pretending where there are partial blocks that the log cabin does make a full square), and then doing quite a tight all over round spiral in the background areas (ever seen Tula Pink's quilts in her book??)  I am semi-tempted to do the square spiral quilting in large/naive hand quilting... but does that sound like a lot of work or what??

Now that the design wall is clear, I finally felt it was again time to bring out an old friend, and my faithful box of scraps.  No, I haven't become a "modern" only girl... nothing like the soft, subtle blend of fabrics in my mock Japanese Taupe collection.  I say mock because while there are some proper Japanese taupes, they are mostly just a mixture of all-sorts left over from other beloved projects.
Gail Pan BOM Bluebirds and Berries

It seems I'm up to Block 6.

It doesn't take long to go from a blank canvas... an almost finished vine
(there is always more blanket stitch to do!)

Tomorrow I can tackle the bird block...

How's your spelling?  Is that how you spell "abscence"?  I've done a spell check and it doesn't pick it up as wrong... but it looks so weird!

Sunday, June 24, 2012


My Log Cabins at the Beach quilt WIP photo appears on the latest post on the Auckland Modern Quilt Guilds Blog.  Click on the link on my blog list to the left to read more about Modern Quilts and Log Cabin Designs.

To update progress, I've finished putting this quilt together - haven't taken a photo yet or really looked at it as an entire piece (remember how it didn't fit on my design wall?)  At the moment I'm pondering possible quilt backs and quilting designs... any suggestions welcome.  I've been busy looking through some of my books for ideas, but nothing has leapt out as yet.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Another one...

... bites the Dust. 

That makes 11 completed
1 left on the wall.

I'm sure there's a song in that?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Simple Maths

TEN Completed Blocks on the pile

Plus TWO Left on the Design Wall

= Not all that much left to get this top DONE

Now I realise that the photo of my pile above could have been more aesthetically pleasing... but are any of these other photos really any better?  I must work on my staging... as apparently good photos = a good blog.

In home news, Nadia has had a friend stay over for a sleepover this weekend.  I thought it was all going to turn pear shaped about 2 o'clock this afternoon, but after a bit of solo play, they made up. Twenty seven hours is a long time to fill in!  Escaping a house full of girls, the menfolk went fishing today - unsuccessful I might add.  But they had a good time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And so we have blocks

After tweaking my final arrangement of the various sized log cabins, I started adding background filler strips and rectangles of cream, sand and off white - to end up with 26" finished blocks.

Is it all starting to make sense now?

Monday, June 4, 2012

And onto some real sewing

I've been beavering away at my half log cabin blocks, and can see real progress now.  Still a few more (but not that many), and then once I have the final placements confirmed, just a matter of filling in the blanks with more cream, sand and off white.  Unfortunately my desk obscures the bottom corner of the design wall... will need to come up with a cunning plan when I get to that stage!  As you can see, the Swoon quilt and both BOM's have been "put on hold" to reappear at a later date - maybe next month.

OK, this one is going to be a big-un as well - approx 75x100" which is pretty much what I've laid out here.  This works out to the large block (which combines the three different sizes of block) being 25" finished.  I'm contemplating just padding it out a little more, maybe 28" to give a bit more space between the elements.  Will see how it goes together.

Studio progress: great progress was made this weekend lining the walls of my studio space.  Two walls down, and one bitty one left.  I though I'd share some photos of my existing sewing area, which I share with Nadia.   Basically one long wall where everything resides, with an adjoining wall covered in a design wall.

The business end

Storage: this holds partly finished projects in the upper section, and lower coloured drawers.  Also larger pieces of fabric, bins with sorted scraps, weirdo stuff on top... and the filing drawer holds my business filing stuff.  Note the pile on the floor?  This is new fabric bought since I degreed that I wasn't going to buy any more stuff... and for good reason, because it doesn't fit!
The bit with the sewing machine (currently with a huge bag of hobbyfill squashed underneath the desk), book storage, and ironing station.

The cutting zone with storage containers underneath, FMQ supplies in one container, threads in another, and assorted sewing stuff in the other.

On top of the cutting station... a container for rubbish at the back, and a new scrap selection in the front. When I can manage it, the kids can sometimes be convinced that sorting scraps is fun... and then they get shifted into the bins at the start of the room.

And under the curtain... magazines (a small selection of my favourites), FQ storage bins and tops awaiting quilting in the bottom right. The curtain/teatowel just keeps the sun off it.

I am sort of looking forward to reorganising my bits into my new space.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Having a bit of fun with the camera

This was having a bit of fun with the pencil drawing filter on Picasa 3 - no, I can not really draw!

A close up of Nadia's Flower Quilt

Quilted blocks

I need to practice with the lighting to get the colours so that they don't wash out

A pretty quilt I made with a FQ pick and mix bundle from Grandmothers Garden and 1m of a feature fabric

Remember this one?

Finally I can show some decent photos of what fabrics actually look like

Aint she cute?

This was a photo I took while the TV was going... well, everyone else was in bed!

And I have finally finished zigzagging around my circles, onto the next stage, cutting the background fabric away from the reverse

To reveal the back of the appliqued circle and the freezer paper template

Just a bit closer because I can.

Action shot removing the freezer paper (whew-wee, I can even take photos of my own hand!)
This weekend NZ celebrates the Queens Birthday with an extra day off work on Monday.  So far we have had gorgeous weather, and I've managed to get a bit of sewing done too.  Looking forward to the sleep in tomorrow.