Friday, December 31, 2010

A Belated Merry Christmas.

Well, a little late, but never mind.  Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas.
We celebrated this year by beating a retreat to a local beach and spending a week there. 
Many fantastic quilt books found their way down our chimney with Santa, and the odd bit of fabric too.  All in all a lovely day.
 I managed to find some time to continue stitching on my Joseph's Coat blocks.  They're coming along slowly but surely.

 I had to leave my sewing on Bonnie K Hunter's latest mystery Roll Roll Cotton Boll when we went away.  I felt quite itchy to keep stitching on this quilt.  Couldn't quite talk DH into letting me take my sewing machine with us on holidays.  Probably couldn't have fit it in the car anyway. 
So I've finished Step 1 ,2 and 4.
 I'm part way through Step 3 with string piecing 60 blocks.  Time consuming is all I can say, but an easy step.
And a little of Step 5 have been stitched. 
I still have no idea what this quilt will look like when finished. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Finally home for a Friday Night Sew In  with Heidi from Hand Made By Heidi.  I love the idea of sewing with people from all over the world, and this was a double world-wide sew-in.  Friday Night and stitching on a Bonnie mystery.   Yaa Hooooo.!
Onwards with Step 2 of the mystery quilt with Bonnie K Hunter.  I finished cutting and stitching triangles together last night.  So big tick to Step 2.
 I bypassed Step 3.  It entails stitching 60 8 1/2" string pieced blocks.  I just need to get my head around that prospect, and the need to cut 60 foundations as well as all the strips.  I don't keep strings of fabric in "stock".  So onto Step 4.  I've cut 30 strips of green, 30 of  neutrals, and 120 green squares to match the green strips.  The green and neutral strips need to be sewn together.  Who knows what is happening to the squares!
 Whilst stripping my neutrals for Step 4, I decided that it would be a fantastic idea to also cut for Step 3 strips and Step 5 (which appeared last night).    So, here is a start at strings and strips for the foundation pieced string blocks.  I just cut a mixture of 1", 1 1/4" and 1 1/2" strips.
 This is my pile of 2" strips for Step 5.  This step entails piecing  600  , yes 600 2" triangles from neutrals and a constant red fabric.  Must start to strip my red today.  I found it interesting to take a fat quarter of fabric, and strip it until it was gone.  I did start by cutting some and setting some aside for "later".  Then I thought - why later?  Just Use it all up!  After all, I can always buy more if the unthinkable should happen and I run out!!  So each piece was stripped for Step 3, 4 and 5 until it was gone.  I have to say it was actually very satisfying.
 So, for many pieces this is all that was left.  These bits make it to the compost bin.  No waste- how cool is that?
Speaking very quietly here, but I've started to save my selvages.  I know, another tub of bits.  They're so enticing though.  Oh, stop me now!  Please.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Everyone is busy at this time of year, but thankfully, the busyness around here is slowing down.
DD's have finished school for the year and their after-school activities have finished.  I've started my yearly clean of the house, (I actually do clean throughout the year, but this is a pre-Christmas big tidy up! LOL ).    I like to pull out furniture, dust and mop, and de-clutter now whilst the  weather is decent and my windows are all open.  The school uniforms are washed and put away, and relaxation can begin.
 The dining room table is cleared of clutter, and the Santas are in residence.  Feels more like Christmas already.  I love getting out the decorations and my Nativity, brightens the house up.
 I've traced out some more pattern pieces for the Princess Feather border.  The preparation takes a fair amount of time, and I need lots of space to work out my fabrics, so this can't be done when DH is home. Horrific thought that he should see just how much Kaffe Fassett fabric I seem to have accumulated!
This quilt just keeps chugging along slowly.  This is Joseph's Coat , a quilt along with Kellie Wulfson that has been going for over 12 months now.  I have found it to be a great take-along project as I have several blocks prepped and ready to stitch.  Great for found time at appointments.  There are 49 blocks in this quilt, I've done about 35 I think.  Into the home stretch now.
 I've also managed to stitch another few Dear Jane blocks in the last few days.  Need to keep up with those or I'll be sewing it in my eighties!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Just for something a little different to throw into the piecing mix at the moment- we have a mystery!  I had to wait until purchasing some pink before I started in on Step 1 of Bonnie K Hunters latest mystery.  Roll Roll Cotton Boll started 3 Fridays ago, but I didn't start until last Thursday.  I must say that the first step was very quick and easy.  Simple strip piecing and cross cutting.
 Step 2 is partly done.  I've cut out the fabrics into paired rectangles, they just need cutting with my Easy Angle ruler into matching triangles.
 Found this piece of green fabric in the bottom  of the green tub.  It's actually from my original wall hanging that started me on this great quilting journey back in about 1989.  It's been cut up now and is in this quilt!
 As an aside, here is a pic of something I said I'd never do.  Save selvages.  Oh no, I'm being drawn down into the vortex captain.  I tried to throw them out, really I did.  But the pull was too strong.  Of course, I haven't actually made them into anything yet.  I'm not totally caught up in it yet!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

After last weeks effort at getting somewhere with the Princess Feather border, I got a little over applique!  Shocking, I know. In reality, I need to spread out all the fabrics and my pattern and choose the colours for the next bit of stitching.  I always end up with pattern, background and fabrics everywhere in my kitchen and dining room.  I do really need to spread out to get a good idea of what I need to use.  (that's my story anyway!) However, to keep my fingers in shape, I decided I really needed to get a wriggle on with some more Dear Jane blocks.  I've been sadly neglecting them lately.  It didn't help that my Dear Jane support group was meeting yesterday and I didn't have any finished blocks to show since last months meeting.
So, during the last week I've finished these little beauties.  Well, the little pink one is only half finished, but nearly!  : c )  We don't meet again until the end of January, so I might put in a huge effort  over the holidays and get lots done to show at the next class.  Or not!
 Of course, then I needed to get some pinks for the next round.
I'm also going to start the latest Bonnie K Hunter  mystery- Roll Roll Cotton Boll.  I'm going to use Bonnie's colours, so went looking in my tubs for pinks, greens and browns.  I've got heaps of greens (some dating back more than 10 years)  and browns, but little in the way of pinks.  So what was I to do but go shopping whilst at my support group at Quilters Bazaar in Gisborne.  Even better, they were having a 25 % off sale!!!  So I helped them out a bit with some purchases.  May have to go back tomorrow as I need some yardage for borders etc., and they had some lovely fabrics that would be perfect.
These are only fat 1/8s, fat 1/4s and a few 25 cm pieces.  I love the checks.  Oh, and I have a thing for dark brown fabric with a dash of pink in it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday Night Sew In....

At last I was home for a Friday Night Sew In.
The last two that were held were on nights where I was working.  Very sad face here.  But that all changed last night.  Yayy, happy dance. 
I was able to sit and sew all night in a nice quiet house.  Well, I did have High School Musical on in the background, but don't tell anyone!
I started by glueing down my circle and leaf shapes for the Princess Feather border, then got stitching.

Those circles take ages to stitch around, luckily they're only small!
Next up is to glue and stitch down the flower shapes at the end of the stems- more circles : )  .

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Feels great to be doing some stitching at the moment. 
I've finished appliqueing half of the leaves and all the birds onto the first border for my Princess Feather quilt.
Quite a bit of preparation involved in this, but once it's done, I can just stitch away.
Off to pick my fabrics for the remainder of the leaves and then it's on to the berries.  Why do these quilts have so many little circles?

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Well, some progress on the Princess Feather border yesterday.
Amazing what a day on your own will bring!  Even better, today is more of the same.
Lots of stitching around here at the moment.  It feels really good.
 Luckily there are lots of large pieces in this border, so it stitches up quite quickly. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Well, I've been very busy lately moving on with my Princess Feather quilt.  I've decided to start a border, having completed the first of four blocks.
I spent ages during the week tracing out my leaf and bird shapes.  I like to use freezer paper to make my applique shapes, then trace around them with a fine pencil, take the freezer paper off and stitch away.  I've recently been converted to using glue to stick down my pieces onto the background.  After years of  being stuck with pins, I'm now free to hold the fabric however I like.
Got out the background and shapes yesterday to start sewing them down, only to realise that I hadn't quite finished stitching down the vines.  Luckily, last night I was meeting up with the ladies from my sewing group so finished stitching down the vines in very pleasant company.
Today, I'm ready to start stitching on the shapes.  I think the border will come together really quickly- well hoping it will really!

These don't look much with the freezer paper still attached, but wait until I stitch them down. 
DD's are out all day, it's raining here, so perfect day for sewing for a few hours.  Housework can wait until tomorrow.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Battery charged, here are some pics of my messenger bag.  Very easy to construct, but DD2 has already put her order in for one.  Of course, she would like some modifications- lining and pockets please.  And I think I'd add a gusset.  Very satisfying.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bags galore.

I've gone off on a bit of a tangent these days.
I've been doing the odd bit of hand sewing, but have also been going gung-ho with a couple more bags!  I've never been a bag maker, so this is a whole new area for me.
Here is my little bucket bag from a retreat in Adelaide with Quilt Fabric Delights.  It's a Natalie Lymer design "Just Darling".  Gorgeous isn't it?  Oh, just handles to be added.
I also started (and FINISHED!!!) a messenger style bag this afternoon for DD1.
Must take a pic when the camera battery is charged.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just a little something...

Isn't this pincushion the cutest little thing?

It's called a Biscornu,  made with just 2 squares of fabric, 2 buttons,  and some stuffing.
I've added  a button for the lovely blog of  Glorious Applique in the side bar.  The blog is showcasing the wonderfully colourful efforts of many stitchers as we applique our way through some of Kim McLean's patterns stitched with our favourite Kaffe Fassett fabrics.
Please go have a look.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Well, this week has been special.  Went on a weekend away with some GFs to Ballarat.  I usually take my machine and sew away all weekend to get a project finished.  This time, I took all handwork bits and pieces to do.  So I stitched a little on my Dear Jane, sewed together the next lot of blocks for my Josephs Coat  quilt from Don't Look Now, and stitched some stems down for a border of my Princess Feather quilt.
This was a job to be done in good company with lots of talking and tea drinking, otherwise it all gets a bit tedious sewing on miles of stems.  I've finished one block but I wanted to have a go at one of the borders rather than start another block.  I think it looks like a very skinny lizard with lots of legs and feet.  And now I can see where the missing bit of stem belongs. 

My birthday presents to me.  I found some lovely fabrics which needed to come home with me.  The two books also wanted to come.  I love buying new books.  The Omiyage book by Kumiko Sudo has some lovely little bits and pieces to make with scraps of silk or fine cotton.  DD2 has already put in her order for time together to make some.

This lovely huge box was waiting for me.  A week ago I ordered a pattern and fabric from Glorious Applique.  I'd been looking at them for quite a while and was waiting for the Aussie dollar to rise in value.

This is another pattern by Kim McLean.  I've been resisting thinking about it for so very long, but I finally weakened last week.  I purchased  the pattern, 28 yards of fabric and 10 yards of background!  It only just fit in the large box.  Thank goodness.

Isn't the background wonderful?  I haven't spread out the fabric individually yet, but I have unwrapped it and fondled each piece.  The  fabric ribbon around the bundle is the stem fabric- should look fantastic in the blocks.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I've finally finished a block that I've been working on for ages.  I kept losing momentum on it, or getting sidetracked onto something else.  Anyway I certainly feel like I've achieved something- the block is 32" square.
This is one block from a Princess Feather pattern by Kim McLean.  Three more blocks for the centre and then a gorgeous appliqued border around it all.  The innies and outies for each of the feathers took ages.
On to the next one.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Besides bagel making, I was on a mission to complete an Artist trading card for a swap I am involved in.
I particularly like using  my own hand-dyed fabrics for a one of a kind look.  I felt like adding a bit of glitz, so discharged the background with an Indian wood block stamp of a flower in a pot.  Interestingly, the green fabric discharged back to yellow not the original white fabric.
Then a little bit of foiling to add some shine  and interest.      
A couple of embellishments, and some free motion quilting to look like vines and it was finished.  Darn, just realised that I didn't get a pic of the finished card before it went in the post.
I so like discharging and foiling to embellish a small art quiltlet.  Perhaps next time some Shiva Sticks for added colour.
Just a quick pic of what I've been up to in a non-sewing way today.
They're a bit of a strange lumpy shape, but they're bagels!  The book says to eat them warm, so I have been.  To the tune of eating 2 1/2, and yes they taste very nice with a spread of butter.  So pleased with myself.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Well, look what flew into my sewing area last night.

Youngest DD attended a kids sewing class at Patchwork House  in Hawthorn yesterday afternoon.  She certainly came home inspired to make more.  "Wonky" the yellow owl came home completely finished after a 2 hour class.  Well, Wonky was soon joined by Sebastion, Violet and Hoot.  Sadie and Marnie are on the construction table.  Such a good class for kids holiday project.   I have to say that I was made to feel extremely welcome by the ladies at Patchwork House too.  I'd taken my Dear Jane blocks to work on in the car whilst waiting, but they offered me a comfy seat in an upstairs area to stitch away the time.  Complete with tea and music.  Very nice.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A little welcome home present for me.  Some yummy Westminster fabrics from Kaffe and friends.
I'm currently working on a Princess Feather quilt in these types of fabrics- so out of my comfort zone.
But so satisfying to use.  In real life these colours are so much more rich and the designs are lovely.
I've ordered some more that hopefully will be here in about a week, and a very colourful Kim McLean pattern to go with them.  In the meantime, more stitching on the Princess Feather.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Whilst eldest DD was away on a school trip, we decided to take youngest DD to a much warmer northern clime for our own holiday.  Well, in theory it was supposed to be that way!  We travelled by lovely little 737 Qantas jet to Queensland for a week r and r.  Apparently the weather Gods didn't realise we were coming so forgot to turn on the sun.  Although lovely and warm, it was overcast each day , and a fair amount of rain was forthcoming as well. 
It wasn't all bad.  I managed to fit in a fair amount of stitching whilst DD was swimming in the pool each day.  Sunny weather or no, nothing keeps DD out of a pool.
So, whilst she was being a fish,  I was enjoying myself too.
My view for the week. 
Of course, some stitching did occur, but strangely enough not as much as I'd anticipated.  The daily morning walk for a good latte took a while, and window shopping must be done.
I'm holding these visions in my head at the moment as we returned to a dead fridge full of warm food, and a distinctly terminal dishwasher.  DH tried valiantly to revive both appliances to no avail, so first thing this morning we were at the shops to purchase new ones.  It's hard to live out of an Esky at home!  LOL.  No room for much.  Thank goodness new things coming tomorrow.  My kitchen looks like a bomb site- holes where new things will live , and bits everywhere as cupboards are emptied to be made larger to fit .

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another finish.

Well. I've obviously caught the finishing bug.  I began a bag with Natalie Ross of  In Stitches  ., at Inspired Stitches Retreat in Adelaide earlier this year.  Well, it's been languishing since then.  I had started the centre panel but couldn't get motivated to finish the actual bag.  That is, until I saw GF Ms A's finished bag and decided I needed to finish mine.  So half a day later, bag is finished.  Too easy.
My first bucket bag!  And my second bag.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I looked at a pile of finished blocks on my work area yesterday and decided it was the day to actually finish the quilt and get them out of the sewing room.  They must have been sitting there, taking up valuable working space for at least 3 months.  Shame on me.
Anyway, half an hour later, and the top is together.
Gosh, the green shows up in this photo.  It's actually much more deep red and gold in real life.  There is supposed to be a 4" ish pieced border around this, but I think if I wait to put it on this quilt will never be finished, so poetic (quiltic???) licence and I'm calling this top finished.  This is Carolina Christmas from about November last year, the last mystery quilt from Bonnie K  Hunter of Quiltville.
Just a little of the Joseph's coat quilt peaking out from behind,  I'm getting a wriggle on with that too.  I've spent nearly every evening of the last week prepping the little wedge shapes for the blocks.
I hope I've prepped almost enough to finish the 49 blocks now.
Excuse the background blocks up on my design board, two other projects that I'm slowly working my way through.  I'm trying to grade my Josephs Coat blocks through the quilt to move the light and dark around.  I think it's kind of working.
It's certainly spring around here.  Our budgies are sitting on eggs, the canaries are friendly and the axolotyls are looking fatter than usual.  Oh my.