Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Quilters Guide to Life

A girl can never be too skinny, too tall, have too many projects on the go, or have too many greens in her stash!

Block Two (Charlotte: clue number one, check out the centre of the block)

And do you do your planning and scheming visually?  Sketching?  Or computer design?

I do all of them, but this time I just wanted to see how it would look on the bed, to confirm my NEED to buy more fabric.

Because when you look at it from this direction... there is a bit of a problem. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Need for something Bright & Cherry

You know when you have days that look like this?  The view from my bedroom.  Grey and boring.

That's the view of the orchard and vege patch, chicken coup and guinea pig cage.  The farmland behind belongs to the neighbours.

Makes me feel like raiding my fabric stash and pulling out something bright and cherry, and whipping up something fun.  Just like this!

This design is from the Buggy Barn Blooms book, which has a variety of 20" floral applique blocks.  There are two quilts displayed in the book, both very traditional - but no reason why I can't add a bit of fun with a more whimsical fabric selection.

Just one more flower to blanket stitch around, and this block is complete.  I haven't fully decided what I am going to do with this lone block.  While searching the stash I found my last piece of Valorie Well's wren fabric, I really like the way it makes sense of the colour palette.  But there's only a narrow width left... hmm, thinking cap required.

Maybe an asymmetrical quilt layout?  We'll have to see what happens.

Even though it is a large scale print - there are so many interesting little details in the pattern.  Note to self, see more, buy more.

Arisen from the dead is my huge hand blanket stitch project.  I haven't done any since well before Xmas.  It did go along to retreat with me, and I did actually do some of it.  Yesterday Monika and I had a fun play day at Charlotte's - fun for the kids, and the big kids made a mess with fabric paint.  Except me of course - I stayed on track and did some more blanket stitch.  As I approach the four year mark with this quilt, I'd really like to get it finished, or at least the top finished, this year.

Hand quilting has been progressing slowly.  I'm onto Block Three (of nine).  I've been having some blah moments with this one, and to be honest, if I could think of a great way to machine quilt it - I would have ripped my hand stitches, and started over.  But Charlotte and Monika talked me down from the ledge, and hand quilting continues.   We agreed that it probably needs more quilting in some areas than originally planned, and have come up with some options, then I had a brainwave last night, and can't wait to buy some darker thread to start the next phase.  Well, once the first phase is finished!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Will you not get bored?

I spent the weekend away with 9 other members of my local quilt guild, sewing, eating and chatting.  I had no major goals for the weekend, and took along some basket pieces and modern cross blocks to keep my busy.  Lets just say I did plenty of eating and chatting!

This basket is called "Picnic Basket" and the colours seemed very appropriate to me - bright and sunny.  I also completed the Sewing and Cherry baskets while away.  Lots of little pieces to keep me entertained.

The modern crosses are growing... it's been a while since I committed to a quilt with more than 9 blocks... if I ever do get to 60 it will seem like a huge accomplishment.  I wonder whether I will have any followers by the time I finish it?  I love making each block and putting them up with their whanau (Maori for family), but even I can see how this could become a little boring.  Maybe I should do a monthly update on this to keep things moving along a little bit?

And the basket/sampler blocks so far... the setting triangles are just placed there for effect at present, I need to cut more to get a bit of variety - but I just wanted to see what it would look like!  I need to get instant gratification when I can :0)

Since the final layout will be 5 x 5, I have got more than one whole row completed!  Woohoo!  Don't you find it interesting how the setting triangles/sashing help to make the busy background pieces recede and the jelly roll/basket colours come forward?  I am really glad I didn't choose cream for the background!

Maybe it's time to do some more applique to keep things interesting... what would you like to see??

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lots of time - Little Progress

It's been a funny old time in the "All the Good Ones" household.  Firstly, we have had road works outside our house over the past week - much to the disgust of the dog (who has barked at each of those cars and trucks creeping along at 30km instead of whizzing past at 100km) and as we already live with quite loud road noise, the extra noise from the new layer of chip seal has made life rather unsettled.  On top of that, Dylan has once again been home sick (although he is now back to his normal self) - and our weather has turned into that headache inducing windy yet muggy that Northland seems so good at.  This month is crazy season at work... let's just say life has been rather busy.

Now enough whining, more sewing.  I have been doing some... although not as much as I would have liked :0)

I've started putting together a few more baskets... playing more with contrast and colour placement, until I hit upon the perfect combination.  I couldn't help myself, I just wanted to give all these ones a try.

And adding the setting strips and triangles for the background sections on the sampler blocks that have already been finished.  It will be a basic alternate block layout... every other block will be a basket set on point with the setting triangles.  The remaining blocks are set straight, and are either 8 or 12" - with the necessary sashing to fatten them up to the desired 14" finished size.  Happy so far!

This is the newest addition to the sampler series:

And I couldn't resist this fabric from Spotlight, even though it was $24.99/m

In other news, I have made another couple of modern cross blocks... still love this block and it's a nice leader and ender.  Not too complicated, although I do need to look at the placements and scratch my head before turning the pieces right the way around before sewing them together!  I was a bit disappointed that the instructions for this block avoided any mention of pressing instructions... it doesn't matter which way you press for most of the seams, as they don't match or intersect; but you really want to make sure that the third log is pressed in the opposite direction to the fourth log, as these ones will meet up when you add the four sections together.  It's really tempting to just press all the seams outwards, as this is the natural way they want to fall.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Just Swooning Along

You do know what these little orange tags on the floor mean, don't you?

Yip, I don't need them any more to identify which block goes where.

After pondering placements: do I like the green blocks in the corners with the two navy blocks in opposing corners?

Or do I like it better with the green blocks in a slightly more random placement?  Is it just me or does that big navy star just look huge?

  OK, I'll look at it from the other side... bugger, that way catches a beam of light right in the middle. But you know, the navy is not so imposing.  That's good!  There was no chance of sewing any more blocks!

And so we have, drum roll please, a finished quilt top!

And just because the white on white prints just showed up so well with the quilt hanging over the window like this, a photo to show just a few of these prints.  You know how hard it is to get these guys to show up in photos, don't you?

I've been pulling possible contenders for the backing... nothing doing yet. 

But in breaking news, I have just finished piecing together the inaugural basket block - following the tweaks mentioned last post... much better.

I bought some fancy triangle rulers, and just to prove that they seem to work really well, just look at the piecing!  No pinning or starching took place in the creation of this block.  Now, not every seam is absolutely perfect - but heck, it's pretty good!

Linking up with Lyn at What a Hoot.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Design wall Mon... Tuesday and Lovely Finish Goal

Design wall Tuesday is a bit of a mess... but lots of fun.

I've got my Craftsy BOM blocks up as I get started on the March ones... also everything else I'm working on at the moment :0)  The basket block is still unpieced as I add in extra fabrics as I cut them.  I am really starting to see the basket appearing from the background, but the pink section  is still a bit washy, I might recut these elements to make them more contrasty.

Anyhoo, the March blocks are both string blocks... this one didn't quite turn out how I had it pictured in my head.  But it is kinda growing on me.

And after playing around with a few different layout options... I DON'T think I'll be going with a no sashing option... just too BUSY!!

The second March block is a spider web star block.  Haven't started this one yet.  I've had a peek at next months blocks, and they are EPP hexagons... I hate hexagons!  Do I force myself to do them because it's all about learning new skills, or give them a miss because I really want to enjoy what I'm doing?  I know which option I'm voting for - what would you do?

Also racing around my head has been choosing a possible finish for the Lovely Finishes challenge.  After my epic fail last month, I'm choosing something that I can finish.

Finally, after much too-ing and fro-ing, I'm going with getting my Swoon top together.  I still don't have a photo of the last two blocks... SLACK!

I can do it!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Again

Here we are Sunday again, so it must be time for another project roundup.

Tokyo Subway: This month is Dark Blue month.

And we're doing Block 6 and 12.  Of course, Block 7 has the same colours too, so if you're feeling super enthusiastic, you can do this one too.

Here we have Block 6 all laid out... the grey background is more subtle than say a white or black choice, but the colours still look radiant.

I sewed together another Modern Cross block... wasn't until I took the photo that I noticed the problem with the contrast.

While I thought it wouldn't bother me... it did, in fact, bother me heaps... this ones much better

And the two little blocks side by side... one day I hope they'll have lots of brothers and sisters... cousins... second cousins etc etc.  Well, there are 60 blocks in the quilt, so I will probably be doing this one for quite some time.

I also put together the rest of the trial Plus/Cross block started last weekend...  

Still no Swoon progress.  Although I have made progress on the third dresden fan block.