Sunday, September 30, 2012

Random Sunday Rundown

Cake shot.  Check.

Gosh, I'm feeling so Masterchef-ie.  Cake decorating is not one of my skills.  I STRUGGLE regardless of my other creative endeavors!  But I'm quite happy with how this one turned out.  Unfortunately the handle wouldn't stay nicely curved and ended up being refined into a slightly lopsided square handle before the party started - but the kids weren't bothered by it.

Birthday girl

Action shot just after the candles went out

Now, onto more interesting fabric sort of matters.  Last weekend I visited my favourite quilt shop (The Country Yard) and bought... really exciting cream fabric!

And really exciting black mottled fabric!

OK - so no prizes for creativity here, but now that I have some more cream, I can turn these uneven nine patch blocks...

into more circles...

And finally into some more of these...
One of these blocks are not like the others... Sesame Street flashback

And the black fits nicely into this mix of fabrics destined to become The Groove Quilt.

I had to do a closeup of the light fabric above - it's a grid pattern!
 And this is what it's all going to turn into...
Totally Groovy Quilt Along Giveaway!
Remember this one?  Well I've been waiting for the considerable fabric required to sort itself out.  Now I just need to get my A into G and try cutting all those millions of pieces.

 I also visited Spotlight and bought a couple of metres of Denyse Schmidt's DS Fabric line that is stocked exclusively in NZ and Australia by Spotlight (I understand) which was on special (only $8.00/m).

This was added to my slowly growing DS pile:

Slightly retro - but oh, so cool. This pile is going to be fun.

Yesterday I started my challenge entry for The Country Yards exhibition.  We were issued with 9 precut fusible backed shapes cut from the new Stof line of fabrics and given the instructions to make whatever you want under 20" in size, using as many of the shapes as you want.

Here we have the small and medium stars and the medium heart.  These shapes didn't make the cut!  For some reason the reds didn't play nicely with the other shapes, and even though the grey star played nicely, there just wasn't the space for it to fit.
This is the small and medium circles
This is the large circle (which I cut the centre out of) and the small heart
The large heart
and the large star (see I'm pretty good with shapes too! all that 70's Sesame Street must have had some sort of impact on my learning)

Now, I'm going to warn you that if you don't want to see how it is all going together... don't scroll down any further.  I'll even leave you a bit of a gap...

now was that big enough?  There was never any doubt that I would make a wall hanging.  I'm not much into bags (or anything else that's not a quilt).  The pieced blocks are 5" - which meant that because I'm not a miniatures expert either, the blocks were destined to be simple.  I think it suits the other simple shapes.

I really should have cropped this!

 It's a little bit of Gail Pan, a little bit of Pat Sloan and a little bit of me.  I have blanket stitch to do... when don't I?? and the final assembly, quilting and binding.  I'm not really making this with any hope or dream of winning.  But I do hope that those people who matter look at it and think of me :0)  and it's a great bit of fun.  Then I'll be quite happy to have it hanging in my studio.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Progress Report

This week has been the last week of Term Three at school.  The last couple of weeks of the winter terms always seem so long... kids get tired and grouchy, which means tired and grouchy parents.  So as a real wind down... we decided to hold Nadia's 7th birthday party on the first Saturday of the holidays.  On the good side - it meant that we start the break with a clean house - woot, I can spend the next two weeks sewing!!  On the down side... oh, all the stuff about tired and grouchy plus a couple of over-excited, sugar crazed kids.  But it's now over and done with, we have one special friend staying for a sleepover, and they can sleep as long as they like tomorrow - so all good.

During the week I took photos of my large log cabin quilt with the intention of entering it into a large quilt exhibition.  I've never submitted photos for anything before.  Makes me wonder about the quality of my photos.  However, they are all now sent off, and I just need to wait to hear news, good or bad.  And finally, an almost complete photo to share.  Remember, I couldn't even fit this one on the design wall!

This was probably the better shot - being held off the deck by my husband, but his arm span doesn't quite reach from side to side, hence the empty top right hand corner.

This one had two helpers - husband and still 6 year old daughter - they struggle to co-ordinate tension issues.  And by this stage, husband was well and truly sick of the process.  I only took two photos!!

A few close up shots of the quilting.  Suddenly it doesn't seem that flash when you look at it closeup.

And a couple of shots of the back.

This is one quilt design I could imagine doing again.  I really should write up some instructions for it so I can start earning my millions as a quilt designer...  well, I'm sure that Tula started somewhere!

Next time I'll treat you to a shot of Nadia's cake!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's all in the details

Now you see it...
A couple of photos of the half finished My Tweets block.  I just wanted to highlight how much difference the blanket stitch makes to the final look.  I use a polyester bobbin fill as the top and bottom thread (probably not something you would read in the instruction manual) with a stitch setting of 2.5w x 2.0l - the thin thread suits a slightly closer stitch length.

Now you don't.

Back again!
Also, a photo of Janet with the quilt top in her grips. 

This is an older style Handi-quilter frame - yeah, I'd like to have a long arm to play with, but like that third sewing machine, it's not going to happen.  This gives me some of the technique, without the price tag.  Although it's not without its problems.  Because the rails had been cut - I now have joins...

you know what joins in your rails means???  Really bad wiggly bits.  Worse than just the normal wiggly bits.

 Also some issues with thread building up on the pause points - I must pause slightly longer than suits the speed I'm running at.  All things improve with practice... or at least I hope they do :0)

This quilt is from this book


Sunday, September 16, 2012

What have I been up to? Do you really want to know?

I've spent a couple of days doing a bit of sewing, a bit of housework, a bit of laundry and a bit of gardening.  A great way to get things done without feeling like my entire weekend has been spent doing mundane chores.

I've been piecing together the vertical rows of the handbag/vase layer cake quilt.  I am going to put a narrow sashing on this (due to the fact that the blocks don't line up - but don't tell anyone), and I also need to do the blanket stitch around the fusible applique flowers - two sewing machines are not enough - I really need three.  But as that is unlikely to happen (without winning Lotto) I need to organise my jobs to make the most of the sewing machine that is available.  So this will need to go on the waiting list.

I put an oldish quilt top into my Janet frame a few weeks ago and it's just sort of sat there (I don't think I even have a photo of this one, so its probably pre-blog).  Last weekend I set up the Brother machine all ready to do some FMQ with Janet.  This time I chose a more complicated pantograph pattern in the hope that it would hide some of the imperfections that were a bit too obvious in the simple pattern I used for my first quilt.  But it does take quite a while to complete each row - so I'm just slowly plodding my way along... trying to get a row done every few days.  Once Janet has released my Brother from its clutches, it can get back into the blanket stitch jobs that will be lining up... the flower blocks and the My Tweets block which is only half done.

I've also been plodding my way through the half pieced Swoon block that has also been sitting on the design wall for quite some time.  Yay... they're starting to look... cohesive.

Laid out like this, there are more completed blocks than empty spaces... I can almost see the end!  I can also evaluate what colours I would like to include in the remaining blocks.

I've also got three round blocks completed... no photos... but I need to order more fabric - so this one is now on hold.

Whew, it's been a busy weekend!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


It's been one of those sort of weeks.

WIP No: 1

WIP No: 2

WIP No: 3

WIP No: 4

But I did get a chance over the weekend to play with my Hometown layer cake, making pretty groupings...

And yesterday, experiment number one... Block Number One SUCCESSFUL!!  I love it. All pieced.

And the Heath crosshatch in grey... perfect for the sashing.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I don't think I do anything unusual?

I often receive comments about the choices of fabric I have made, particularly in my applique blocks.  Do I have a secret?  No, I just love fabric and always attempt to add as many different fabrics as humanly possible.  I feel like there is no perfect colour - but there are ten or so pretty good colours that will do the trick, and all of them look pretty good together.  This is my technique in a nutshell.

My Tweets quilt started life as a selection of Japanese Taupe fabrics - some from being a member of a monthly club - some I just liked, and some fabrics that I thought just played nicely with the others.  So no, they are not all part of the same collection.  They all got happily jammed together in an old shoe box.

I then selected a bunch of fat quarters that I wanted to use as backgrounds which also included quite a mixture - from some quite light ones, to some darker plaids, a stripe and a few in-betweens.

These are the ones I have left - two creams, another plaid, and two mid value.  I don't think that adds up to twelve... but that's OK - I can choose some more when I run out.

Once I've decided which background I am going to work with this time, I start pulling fabric combinations from my "box of tricks", making piles of fabrics that I want to use for particular areas, in this block the bird/feathers are in the bottom left (sort of placed to represent how they will appear), a selection of leaf fabrics in the top left, my choice for the flowers/centres top right, and the start of a pile for the second bird in the bottom right.  I look to get a good contrast between the background and the applique pieces, and try to achieve some differentiation between the various elements.

This block is quite different with the darker background so I chose a few lighter fabrics for the flowers and feathers.  These fabrics would have blended too much with the lighter backgrounds if I'd used them in the other blocks.  I'm quite happy with how this one turned out... although the blanket stitch will help to further define the petals in the flower as each petal is a separate piece.

And how it's all starting to look together...

Oh dear, just another eight blocks and a full on applique border to do... one step at a time!! I am amazed at the difference adding this fourth block has made... it has all started to make sense from a visual point of view.

How do you approach projects?