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Friday, 13 March 2020

Visits and gifts

We've been very fortunate as a family that our two sons and one daughter in law were able to visit from overseas recently. I say fortunate in the light of all the implications of the pandemic virus sweeping the world.

First of all our son from New Zealand  arrived towards the end of February for 2 weeks. Then his brother and sister in law arrived from Switzerland. They were coming for a wedding which meant that subsequently we were all able to gather down south for a few days of family time.

It was lovely going out for a couple of meals, walking along the beach and generally hanging out together.

When our son and his wife (who had remained in N Z where her parents and sister came to visit) first settled in the South Island, they stayed with a lovely gentleman who, due to some mobility issues, has people stay, cook & clean in exchange for lodging and board.
We also met the man when we visited last year. Since my son had wisely brought a large bag with him, I knew there was room for him to return with a quilt. I also knew that I had done this quilt last October, but it was not quite finished.


It's a simple 16 patch with with what I think of as an egg timer block alternating. It gives the 16 patch a surrounded appearance. I quilted some large spineless feathers in the cream areas and some orange peel in the 16 patch.  The tram lines in the final border just seemed to complete it. I added the binding and it was done!

For the backing, I used some more of a doona cover I had picked up from a second hand shop, in excellent condition. 


I'm pleased that a UFO is making its way to someone who will appreciate it. As for our son and his wife from Switzerland,  they are staying put here down under till early April. Fortunately my son can work from ( our) home. Bonus for us, we get to spend more time with them. 
Stay safe people,
Until next time,
Lynn 




Saturday, 8 February 2020

Bag of scraps

I find it difficult to toss even small scraps of Love and delightful fabric. But when  it comes to making blocks of them I'm quite pleased to see a 6.5" size come together quite quickly.
I appliqued some hearts on a few, intending to sash them and make a small quilt.
But my young niece needed a librarybag and likes hearts, so I kept making squares until I had 18 and made this one for her:

My sister in law saw it and said she'd like one too. So what's a quilter to do, but use up more scraps. The straps this time darker, handles do get a lot of use, so darker colours don't show the dirt quite so much. 


I'm enjoying these, might have to check out my fabric for some favourites for myself. I think the bag I use the most for sewing bits and pieces may be showing some wear itself. I can't even remember when I made it.

Scraps may be a plenty, but bags are a great way to use some up.

Until next time,
Lynn

Sunday, 2 February 2020

When is a quilt finished?

As I began 2020 (and today is already 02/02/2020!) I surveyed my UFOs, or more correctly rather than unfinished, almost finished. Which made me wonder, when do you consider a quilt to be finished?
Sure we can complete a flimsy (top only) but that's definitely not finished, right? But then I realised this quilt
Was all but done, except the binding. I had even cut the binding, but somehow in all the Christmas activity, making some mug rugs for friends, a quilt for the hospice where a friend works:


And even a library bag for my niece. My sister in law asked me to make it and since I had a few of these scrap blocks with applied hearts, I thought they'd work well.
Then I realised I think I work better when there's a goal in mind, rather than just creating a quilt just for its own sake. I'd already made a few blocks, had even picked out some sashing, but hadn't completed it. But once I had a bag to complete, I finished the 18 blocks and here it is.

But I realised I didn't have a destination for this quilt, so even though it was quilted, it wasn't bound, nor did it have a label. 

So when do you think a quilt is completed? Not when it's a flimsy, when it's quilted? Technically it is a quilt, but not really finished. For me it has to be bound AND the label on it. 

I also realised I have 2 others in similar state, binding chosen but not yet attached. Their turn will come. Meanwhile I'm pleased to have this one completed, even the fiddly corners on that border fabric that I've had for years. 

The backing is a sheet I picked up from a second hand shop - I also used this on my niece's bag.

So I'd best find destinations for the other quilts, motivation to complete them.
Until next time,
Lynn

Friday, 22 November 2019

Tale of Two Runners

Table runners are my favourite 'go to' gift at the moment. They seem to be practical, fun to make, take what seems to be an appropriate amount of time and use lovely amounts of fabric - often scraps which I appreciate.

My first was a pattern I'd been wanting to try for a while, commonly known as lozenges I think, though it's bound to have other names as it seems traditional blocks do that.

I began with some  fat eighths I'd bought a few months ago, coupled with a navy that I thought would help things 'pop'.



I really enjoyed adding the apricots and greens, and then added the white with the circles - a leftover from a baby quilt that seemed to fit. Don't you just smile at the serendipitous nature of patchworking? I do.
I then had fun doing some spineless feathers on the colours, just stitching in the ditch around the navy.

But as I had made the corners of the lozenges, I had cut off the two and half inch triangles. I hate to waste such pieces, but rather than put them aside (I have too many of those already!) I decided to try to use them straight away.

So I began with 'windmills' - again, probably not the correct block name, but at least a recognisable shape.



I added sashing and some set in triangles and so a second table runner was created. Same fabrics, completely different design - I like the whimsy of that. Again, I used some of the fat eighths - hence the four corners being in the beige that co-ordinates with the green, white and beige floral, as I didn't have sufficient for the corners too.

Here's a close up of the quilting around the blocks - some stipple and some loops.



And so, I have 2 gifts ready for friends, which is just as well as its birthday season for some of my friends.

Until next time,
Lynn

Friday, 11 October 2019

Catch Up 2

My last post mentioned a couple of quilts that I'd completed in August, but in September I also kept busy, continuing to use up fabrics in my stash.
I cut out some 3.5" squares so that I had the beginnings of a quilt ready to sew as I was heading to New Zealand to visit my son and daughter in law.

The scenery was amazing. This was as I was walking from their place to the closest town, a 30 minute walk.

Below the beautiful lake Wanaka in the South Island. A gorgeous part of the world. 


While my son was at work, I borrowed my daughter in law's sewing machine and began putting the pieces together to make the blocks below. That one is still to be quilted, but is a flimsy now and is next in line. 


On my return though, I sandwiched and began quilting these cute monkey wrench blocks (from Bonnie Hunter's free pattern here).


As is often the case, you keep a fabric for long enough and it comes in just right. The batik for the border was just that fabric. I really enjoyed putting the blocks together using small scraps and co-ordinating the colours. 
For the backing, my mother in law had passed on this butterfly fabric that worked well. I also had fun free-motion quilting the flowers as an overall pattern. 


A bit of a close up on some of the blocks:


This has now been passed on to a friend whose daughter is expecting her first baby. So my friend will be a new grandma! How exciting is that for her. I find such pleasure in creating and then being able to pass quilts on to people where I know they will be appreciated, used and bring joy. 

Trust you're finding delight in creating too. 

Until next time,
Lynn



Catch up time



It feels like time passes at different rates at times, though we know that it actually stays the same, there are still 24 hours in the day, the same number of days in the week and so on. And yet, its been two months since I last blogged. Admittedly I have been overseas to visit a son and daughter in law and also been down to our holiday place for a couple of weeks. 

But I also haven't been doing nothing when it comes to quilting. I realised I hadn't posted about this string quilt that I really enjoyed making as its amazingly easy. It's a 'Spin me round' block, but is also doing the rounds on Facebook on various scrap quilting pages. Its all a matter of cutting  two 9.5" by 6.5" rectangles at 45 degrees and then sewing them (the first one with a partial seam) around the 3.5" centre square. There are so many possibilities, but I found it a great way to use up some of those strings. 

I sashed and used cornerstones before adding a couple more borders. Then I did a simple stipple all over this so as not to take away from the many busy fabrics. It was a really quick quilt to make and then given to a local hospice where I have a friend who nurses. A bit of brightness to peoples' lives when the going is very tough.

For the backing, I had picked up a sheet from our local second hand shop that I thought would work well. So here it is:

It makes the quilt reversible really, so even more variety. 

Then towards the end of August I finally got around to quilting a top that I'd had sitting for several months. I had just not completed the final borders as they were a little fiddly with pinwheels in the corners. Once I had it sandwiched I had fun doing the quilting. 


I did loose spineless feathers diagonally across the half square triangles, then in the borders those loops that always remind me of a musical clef. On the pinwheels I did a bit of a spiral. The pale lemon hasn't come out quite as true as the real colour but you get the impression anyway. 

Here's a closer up of the loops, spirals and some of the feathers. I had begun with a fat quarter bundle but also added some of my own fabrics in but I really like the variety of patterns that seem to work well together. 


The backing was a solid which I had also used in the border, but wouldn't you know it, not quite enough. Isn't that where our creativity comes in? So I added something similar enough in tone to blend quite nicely. The afternoon sun was creeping in when I took this but I do enjoy seeing the quilting, probably as close as I'll ever get to a whole cloth!


And finally for now, a close up of the soft feathers. 


I have made other quilts during September, but I think they'll have to be for another blog. This one has sufficient photos for now. This one has yet to find a home, but I'm sure it's time will come. 

Until next time,
Lynn

Friday, 9 August 2019

So many squares

I know we all say how many scraps we have, but I'm one of those who can't bear to throw away all the small pieces. So when a friend recently commented how she liked this quilt:


I thought I'd have another go and make one for her. So I proceeded to gather all my 2.5" squares and fabric to make the half square triangles (from 4" squares right sides together, sewn a quarter inch around the edge then cut diagonally to yield 4 HST). 

I laid them out as I went along, but somewhere in the transition to our holiday place, I must have moved things around a little, as this is what I ended up with:

As well as the change in layout, it looks brighter than the first one, perhaps more red and yellow highlights. While I stuck with the feathers in the lighter sections, I chose to do curves in the darker squares. 


Then around the edges, I did some spineless or floppy feathers. 


This is probably the closest I've ever come to having the back appear like a wholecloth with the quilting. I delivered it today, much to her surprise and I think she liked it. 


As for my collection of scraps, do they seem reduced at all? Doesn't seem like it, but we know that they multiply in discreet, amazing and secret ways don't we?
Ah well, on to the next one. 

Until next time,
Lynn