Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Where Plan C became Plan D

Plan B had the most obvious problem of not having enough fabric.  Thanks for pointing that out Rona!  I looked at plenty of other options, including adding a contrast border to the bottom but in the end didn't want to stray too far from my original idea - so decided (after receiving much needed support from Monika) to try attaching my 1/4yard length of the same fabric to the bottom.  Yes, pattern matching!  I used the technique Elizabeth Hartman describes in her Modern Pieced Backs Craftsy Class, and am happy to report it worked like a treat. The join almost lines up with the LH corner of the bottom block.

As you can see, a length of grey got added, and the green split between both sides.  I like the balance - the mix of hectic and plain, and the strength the green gives to both sides.  I've got the blocks pinned on, and will handstitch them down once I've finished some of my other hand work.

I'm also thinking about possible backing fabric... the brown??

Or the blue??

Plus the eternal question of how to quilt it.

Talking about hand jobs (boom boom) - the hand quilting is roaring along progressing quietly...

From the back...

And the front...

I love the texture.  I've got 3.5 circles which need to be echo quilted.  Then 5 circles need to have the internal petals done.  Two lengths of sashing need to be outlined, then last up, circles done around the cornerstones.  But good progress.

And the last news for today is these three orphan blocks finally have a home, or at least a quilt to call their own.

From Material Obsessions Book One... a little lady:

A wonky-ish house:

And another wonky-ish house.

I started these blocks using leftovers mostly from Nadia's bed quilt made when she was about two.  After making these few blocks, I realised that my idea of scraps was quite different from the books idea of scraps - and that I really didn't have enough pieces big enough.  So they have sat for the last five years doing nothing, occasionally being looked at, and put away again.  It does feel good to get these to a useable state.

Don't you love this birdie print?

 And look, some quilting from the back... those squares again...

FMQ straight lines with curly-wigs in the middle...

A feather up one side...

From the front...

And a still to be stitched on binding... what a busy day it has been!

More things crossed off my to do list.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Plan B when Plan A didn't quite work out

So, I had an idea in my head... and laid out on the bed.  Remember this?

I finished the third and final block, and ordered yardage from the US...

When I laid it out it just didn't quite look right... I knew the blocks were too big, making the layout disproportionate.  The tricky part of the design process - what to do when it doesn't work out??

Usual answer, is ask your friends!  Leeanne (Quilt me kiwi) suggested doing another block to make a more traditional medallion setting - me, not so keen to do any more blocks.  Ms Lottie suggested an on-point setting similar to a streak of lightening... I quite like just putting it on point - slims the blocks down, and makes the asymmetrical layout flow into the block layout, making it more cohesive and correcting the proportion issues. Plan B has been hatched.

Laid out on the floor - standing on the sofa with the camera held out as far as the arm can extend. Remember these are 20" blocks - I'm sure there is some maths that would tell me what the measurement is across the diagonal - Rona??).  I'm planning for a roughly 70" x 70" finished size.

And from the other end standing on a step ladder - glad you can't see my shadow... the things we do!

Now it's question time for you - if I was to piece this, it would mean cutting the feature fabric up for the setting triangles, and then sewing a straight strip on - obvious ugly seam lines - somewhat disturbing the flow of the fabric pattern.   So I was thinking about appliqueing the blocks onto the pieced background (pieced in that the green would obviously extend the full length of the feature fabric, and they would then be sewn together).  What's your opinion... would that be wrong?  How would you go about it? 

Today is a NZ holiday, ANZAC Day, when we remember the Australian and NZ soldiers that have fallen... we will remember them.

Monday, April 22, 2013


First official day of the holidays, and I wake up with the beginnings of the flu.  Great!

Luckily flu like symptoms are not enough to deter the sewing frenzy.

Today's lucky project started as three lonely orphan blocks - so old I'm not even sure when I brainwaved this idea - a jelly roll pattern, a roll of bright geometrics and dots, and an eye popping combination of black and white prints - it was going to be queen sized but I realized after the first three blocks it would have driven me insane.  WARNING:  your eyes could explode, implode or start bleeding from overexposure to these blocks!

The ever faithful newspaper print carries on the black and white theme, without requiring medication...

and the bluey/green fabric reinforces the boyish tones in the blocks without imitating them.

The top construction was quick and painless... roll on FMQ using Angela Walters book and Craftsy quilting negative space class as inspiration (if you've bought the book and are struggling to implement the designs, I really recommend the class).

The back of the newspaper print strip...

The back of the blocks...

The front of the blocks - funny how the light parts of the four patch don't show the quilting at all - so it looks like radiating lines in the dark sections, where above you can see the star shape.

A dividing line of pebbles, with a forward/backwards stripe and signature AW swirl...

You can see the irregularities better from the back :0)

This quilt finished up at 36" square(ish).  Now I'm tucked up on the sofa with a hot chocolate, home decorating programmes on the TV, and binding to hand attach.  This will be the first finish of 2013.  Fancy that!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

And so progress continues

Four more blocks knocked off the list.

The Temperance Block:

Birds in the Air (some birds were slightly damaged in the construction of this block, damn all those little pointy bits):

Yankee Puzzle Block:

Progress so far:

Those of you with eagle eyes will have noticed that I've removed the less than impressive crazy block.  It is just plain ugly and I'm a bit cross to have wasted this much fabric on it.  Click to make it bigger if you need further proof of it's ugliness.

This string block had the thin yellow strips removed and I'm much happier with it now.

While all these pieces have been put together, Block 17 from the Tokyo subway quilt also got finished as my leader/ender project.  After battling with the triangles, it is so *NICE* to sew squares.

Last up is my quick sketch of a possible idea using the greek cross block with sashing with corner stones... same idea as Ms Lotties Creme Brule quilt click here - just because I'm not allowed to start it yet doesn't mean I can't add it to my sketch book :0)

Using some of this luscious bundle that has a bit of a funny story behind it, can't you just imagine the snowball blocks made out of the bird/floral fabric, and greek crosses madefrom the selection of co-ordinates?   I'd need to buy something for the corners... something to think about anyway.

Like I need anything else to think about...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Not a bad start

So far so good in the progress department. 

I spent far more time than I should have looking for things first thing this morning.  First the fabrics, then the completed blocks.  Like, I knew I had seen the wonky log cabin block - not even that long ago - but could I find it???  Determined that I wasn't going to start it again, I just kept looking, and luckily did manage to find it lumped into other projects.  I will never get a good housekeeping award :0)

I finished the wonky log cabin... which I LOVE

made the Greek cross... which I LOVE

and then finished the Octagon block (which turned out better than I thought even though I chose the ugliest fabric out of the bundle) and the wonky 5 sided shape block (not the greatest improv block ever made - the top block in the first picture), so will reserve judgement until all the other blocks have been made.

As you may remember this project is a combination of two separate Craftsy BOM classes.  So far most of these blocks are from the BOM with Amy Gibson.  A lonely two blocks belong to the Civil war quilt with Kaye England.  I really need to do a couple more of these blocks (maybe tomorrow), but they involve a lot more pieces and tricky triangles... then once I've got some more scraps, I'll reread the instructions for the spiderweb block - we'll see how it goes.

All in all, not a bad start to the holidays.  Now I suppose I should do the dishwasher which has been somewhat overlooked in the order of things today!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Plan of attack

School holidays for the next two weeks means lots of sewing in my immediate future!  Making specific goals for the Lovely Year of Finishes seems to really have an effect on my productivity, so I think I should make some goals for this time off work.

I realize I've let my various BOM commitments slide recently... unfortunately it is impossible to do everything :0)

* So first up on my list is to do the Craftsy 2012 BOM blocks for June, the Greek Cross block and Octagon Orb block (both nine patch variations).  I need to finish start my spiderweb block from the March blocks and do surgery on the other string block.  I need to find finish the April log cabin blocks and I am not going to do the EPP blocks that I detest.  Making this decision, and mental distance has reignited my enthusiasm for this project. Unfortunately the Greek cross block is calling out to me as this would be the perfect block for a particular bundle of fabric (especially if I steal Ms Lottie's quilt layout)... but no, no more, I am going to exercise enormous restraint and only complete what I need to do for the BOM - no tangents.  Enormous restraint!  Enough said.

* Make another basket block and two more sampler blocks from the jelly roll sampler book.

* Piece block 17 Tokyo Subway quilt

* Wagon wheels quilt hand quilting finished... but that might just be dreaming.

* Make something out of three orphan bright blocks, and three orphan pastel blocks.

* Buggy Barn Folk Bloom applique blocks - turn into a modern styled quilt top.  It really bugs me when I read the various definitions of modern quilting and they always diss applique... I'm sure you can make a modern applique quilt... I intend to do it... whether it gets finished over the next two weeks is really the question.

No photos to tempt or tease... is anyone still reading??

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Busy! Busy!

I have done hardly any sewing this week - it's just been a long tiring week.  But the weekend has proved to be a lot more promising.

I have completed my goal for the Lovely Year of Finishes... already!  I know... amazing.  The problem with bags is that when you are in the middle of construction, they don't play nicely with other projects - different feet, machine settings, needles... aahhhh!  So I figured it would be easier to just get it done.  And I did.  Behold, one bag completed up to step 45 - and I've set the exterior aside until next month before I dare look at the instructions for the interior.

Lola's Medallion has also been growing.  From this on Friday...

To this, this afternoon...

Even Dylan was impressed.  He's nine.  That's saying something!

I am auditioning different ideas for the cornerstones this round... big enough for something a bit more adventurous than a plain square.  I'm also thinking about future rounds, and considering different ideas from the Marcelle medallion quilt... it was after all a starting point; now I'm quite liking the circles on this quilt pattern...

From the Material Obsession Two book (although there are other aspects of this quilt I'm not so fond of).  HMMM, I think I have a bit of figuring to do.

Friday, April 5, 2013

New Goal for April - LYOF

So much is on the go at the moment, but after lots of thought and new inspiration I have decided to tackle the Sewing Circle Tote by Elizabeth Hartman and conquer my fear of bags.  I thought this would be the perfect addition to my ensemble for Taupo Symposium (the two yearly quilting event in NZ) which is happening in July this year.

By the end of April I want to be up to step 45 - and set the bag exterior aside.

After a long and tedious trip to Whangarei including a visit to Spotlight, I have chosen the following fabrics: solid grey as main exterior, large spot for handles and interior, other prints to feature on pockets etc.  I had bought the funky prints from the Auckland Festival of Quilts last November - and they've quietly waited for the perfect project - like good fabrics do :0)

In other news, Lola's Medallion is progressing slowly:

Block 16 and 17 are this months goals for the Tokyo Subway quilt.  Block 16 currently under construction.

And the newest little addition to our family - a currently un-named guinea pig to be a friend for Cream.  For those readers who don't know what guinea pigs are, they seem to look rather like rats with no tails, judging from this photo - but I'm sure it will grow to be much cuter!

Linking up with Fibre of All Sorts linky party.