Sunday, 18 June 2017

Connecting love

I often find that when I begin a quilt I don't necessarily know who it might be for. Instead, as I continue to create it, a person comes to mind for whom the quilt seems appropriate.
I don't often name quilts either, but I thought this one needed a name. I have a friend who has been a minister (now retired) and was a great source of support, resource and voice of experience to many other ministers. So when I thought this quilt might be for him and his wife, it seemed fitting that I did most of the quilt on the 'cross' that appeared when the blocks were joined. He has connected with so many people across Australia and beyond, that the connecting shapes seemed appropriate too. But cross connections doesn't seem like a great name for a quilt. And I think its really concern or love for others that is at the heart of this man's ministry. His wife has final stages of cancer, and so 'Connecting Love' also seemed appropriate on that score.

I managed to get a shot of the quilt just as the light was dimming. You need to get a close up to see the quilting. I did have fun doing various things in the cross sections. 
The back tends to look as though its puckering, but I think that's more the way its draped over the balcony. It seems to sit nice and flat when its horizontal. 

So just binding and label to add tonight and then I hope to mail it off tomorrow. 

Quilt Stats:

Size: 52½" x 62½"
Wadding: Cotton/poly blend
Thread: Rasant 

Until next time,

Monday, 12 June 2017

What's Up Pussycat?

I've heard it said that people are either dog people or cat people. I guess if that's so, then I'm a dog person. My sister-in-law, however, does not fit the saying - she has 2 dogs and 3 cats. So when I saw some Michael Miller fabric with cats on it, I thought of her, with her birthday this month.

These were fun to make. I had the other fabrics in my stash and the organic (sounds so much better than free-range or wandering which is what I think of) quilting works well for placemats. I began by thinking I might go around the cats - as cats prefer people to do! But in the end the lines won over.
While the fabric calls these Siamese cats, I think my sister-in-law's may be Burmese. When I look after my niece (a very cute 18 month old) one of the cats comes and sits beside me as I read and my niece naps. So I wonder if the cat doesn't realise I'm a dog person):

I realised that I don't often use the varied stitches that are available on my machine - its mostly a hard working piecing and quilting machine. So I thought on the binding I'd try one of the many shapes. I chose hearts (because my sister-in-law will like those) but once on I thought they looked a little like cats paws or even cats ears. I also used a thin flange (?) or piping around the binding - mostly because I was concerned I would run out of the black, but also because it does tie in with the light brown that I'd used in the mats.
The backing is just a light beige - could be a change from the cats.
So now I'm looking forward to passing then on as a gift on Wednesday. One squirrel less to chase.

Until next time,

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Quilting in progress

Our small craft group (around a dozen women who began a couple of years ago with pretty much NO sewing experience and are now making quilts) went to our State's annual Craft show and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the beautiful quilts on show, as well as the various stalls, machine displays etc.

One of the workshops had someone speaking about free-motion quilting and giving some great tips. One that I took away was to put 2 small door wedges beneath my machine to tilt it to give better vision of what is beneath the needle. While she suggested putting the wedges at the back of the machine, I found it more helpful to put mine at the front as that helped with the arm of my machine being a little bulky. I love my Janome S3 for free-motion and the tilting just gives me that bit of extra vision.

So I'm working on this one:

While this photo shows the quilt more generally, the parts that I have quilted are the cross type shapes in the background/neutral fabric. 
This closer up of a couple shows more clearly what I'm doing - having fun once I've drawn around a template I made up. Its shadowing one half inch in from the 'in the ditch' sewn first of all. 

I'm doing various patterns - triangles, some ribbon candy, simple stipple etc in some of the half inch sections and leaving a couple vacant so that they stand out. 
I always take some time to figure out how or what to quilt on a quilt and this one has been waiting for a while as I considered various options. This one is a good mixture of manageable and fun to do. 
It's likely to be a gift for someone I know who is sadly in final stages of cancer. I hope that it brings some small comfort to her and her husband as they face life's journey. 

I intend to get it finished within the next week at most and mail it off. 
Then on to others that are waiting in the wings. 

Until next time,

Monday, 29 May 2017

Two at once

Having completed quilting one quilt, having 2 that are ready sandwiched and pinned up, I really ought to get on and quilt them next, but....
Sometimes piecing is just fun. I like to see what fabrics will look like alongside others and which colours will play nicely.
So I've ended up doing two things at the same time. I began with these churn dash blocks:

I'd seen a pattern quite a while ago from Denise Russart Barn Dance 2016. It looked like fun, different sized blocks and scrappy colours - just my thing. So I began some of those. Here's one with a small one inside it - appeals to me.

But as people have commented, sometimes those squirrels just distract us and take us off on another tangent. So I also saw a simplified log cabin type block that also looked great from Tanya's blog (thanks Tanya). And I really want to use up some scraps, so they looked like a great pattern with some 2 and half inch strips and some narrower cream pieces around the edge. I know I have bits of cream around the place, so off I went.
These are quite low volume so I'll have to be careful as I go to make sure I select similar. Some of those greens and one of the mauve already look louder than the rest but I'm hoping when all the blocks get together they'll be Ok. As you can see from this single block, it has the quadrants to make it up but the 2 and half inch colour pieces mean that it goes together really quickly. 
So that's how my week is beginning. We'll see what I get to by the end of it. 
We have a long weekend coming up here towards the end of the week though so we're doing our 4 and half hour drive to our holiday place. That takes up a chunk of time, but hopefully once we're there I can make use of my quilting table down there. 
For all of you in the U.S. Happy Memorial Day. 

Until next time,

Friday, 26 May 2017

Sailing along

What a difference a couple of days can make. Having had a cold that left me lacking in energy, I didn't look after my 16 month old niece mid week as usual. That did give me a day where I was able to do some marking up of a quilt though. And then on the next day, I was able to quilt it! What fun. Waves everywhere, thanks to a small piece of templastic cut into a wave and my trusty wash out in water, marker.
This is a view of the back, but you can see the template here and the pen - very useful tools!

Then the front, which reminds me of sail boats. Its wall hanging size and I plan to put it up in our holiday place which is near the ocean - so that's quite appropriate.
This is the front and I haven't quite finished the binding as you can see on the right hand side, but the shadows were coming in and so to get a daylight shot, I raced outside with it. 
This is a closer up of the quilting on the cream:
It was fun because I'd been quilting something else (hope to finish next week) that has more formal sections to it and this was just so free and easy. Its good to do something like that every now and again at least.
Our small quilting group (about a dozen of us) had fun at our local (city) craft fair. After walking up the half dozen aisles full of displays of fabric, notions, machines, new techniques etc and then viewing the 100+ quilts from the quilting association, we were exhausted. Some of the women were both inspired and excited, though, to have a go on a long arm machine. They cost about $10K (AUD) and so we will need to do some research to see whether, if we make community quilts, we can source a grant or fund-raise in some other way to purchase one in a year or so. It would certainly increase our quilt production to say nothing of the fun to be had along the way!
Meanwhile, we happily continue on our domestics. One last shot of my recent one, from indoors this time:

Size: 42" x 46"
Thread used: Bottom line for bobbin, Rasant for top

Now onto the next of my waiting in line quilts, so that I get that list down from around 10!
Until next time,

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Friends and stars

When I looked at my last post I was rather surprised to see it was March - and here we are in May. I haven't been inactive, however, one project has needed to be a secret until it was given away. I have a friend who had a special '0' birthday (not saying what number goes in front of the '0', I'm in awe of her).
I enlisted her family and colleagues as well as women who share our patchworking enthusiasm. Many people contributed their lovely words, some the blocks and one wonderful friend helped me to piece the quilt.
I then quilted a loopy flower in the sashings and into the border. She seemed to like it. 

The square within a square, or exploding square blocks were 4" for the centre, then the first square placed right side together on top of the centre, also 4", sewn around the edge with a quarter inch seam (then cut diagonally).The third square 5", again sewn right sides together with the newly created 5" square, which then once cut diagonally, opens up to around 6 and 1/2". 
While I had originally suggested to people that our friend might like greens and browns, some contributors understandably wanted to put their own personality into their blocks. For the assembly though, this led to some challenges of how to best place the orange and pink blocks! At least the whole seems to work. The final border which is a green based batik fabric, seems to help all the blocks play together nicely. 
This indoor shot shows the blocks a little more clearly, as well as the quilting. 

My second project is one where I now have the flimsy together: 
This will be a fund-raiser quilt for my mother-in-law. She asked whether I could make a quilt that her Weightwatchers group might raffle. She gave me several months notice which was good of her - I still have 5 months to quilt it, so that's plenty of time. 

This design was one I saw on Pinterest and made my own measurements, based on the thought that the centre square would be 2 and 1/2". 

The best part is, I had all this fabric in my stash. Most of the centres or stars, I think I've had those bits of fabric for years. The navy I bought sometime earlier this year and it looked so versatile I bought quite a chunk of it at the time. And its proven to be useful at least twice so far - a real win. 

I really enjoy making half square triangles from 7" squares right sides together, sewn around the edge, then cut diagonally to create 4 half square triangles. I trim the squares back to 4 and 1/2" and then the blocks go together quite easily. 

So, another project to add to the list of those not yet completed. Something must happen as we approach the middle of the year that makes these UFOs multiply it seems to me. 
The challenge is NOT to begin new projects - how hard that is!
I do hope to post a completed project soon, but with family visiting from overseas for such a short time, sewing has not had much of a look in recently. 

Until next time,

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Scraps and stash

I think my new approach in 2017 will be to follow the advice about being inspired by something and beginning it - read that somewhere on a quilting blog recently, can't remember where but it obviously struck a chord with me.
So I saw a quilt on Katy Quilts [] thanks Katy. While she mentioned a pattern from the Moda Bake Shop, I couldn't find that, so just worked out the sizes - not too challenging when you know it's a 2 and half inch strip start.
And I came up with this:
While I really enjoyed making the pattern, the bonus was that all the pieces came from my scrap box, or from my stash. I'm really trying to use up a lot more of what I have on hand and its such a good feeling when a piece you've had for several years (wow, have I really had that since 2011??) and to find just the right quilt to use it in.

So for the borders on the quilt, I auditioned several and then found both this deep brown Bali fabric that, along with an Autumn themed one that seemed to work and bring it all together.

I had fun including some pretty fabrics that surprised me by how they went together and 

how many 'neutrals' I had, that I hadn't seen before as a potential for that role in a quilt. So all in all I'm pretty happy with this flimsy and the next quest will be to check the stash again and see if I can locate a backing fabric.  Then will also be the challenge of how to quilt it. Part of me wants to do an all over, as this one is likely destined for our local hospice and an all over makes it softer and perhaps more suited to the undoubted number of machine washings it will get. But then look at all those intersections of neutrals - couldn't I have fun doing something interesting in there?

We'll see what wins. 
Until next time,