Tuesday 15 December 2015

Log Cabin fun

As I continue to work through my list, one item that I'd begun maybe a year or so ago was some log cabin squares. Since the central square was 1 1/2", strips were 1", and the whole block 4 1/2" I knew it would take me a while. What I actually did was mostly forget about it! Until about May of this year when I decided to make my list.
A list seems to motivate me to keep on going through. So this one began as number 8 on the list of 12 and gradually worked its way up as I completed some.

With binding done its completed so that I can pass it on to the recipient at the weekend. It's going to a couple who have just had their first baby, a girl. While this is not a usual baby quilt, its size and bright colours I hope will mean that it may be used beyond babyhood. 
The reverse means that if they want a quieter feel, they can simply turn it over and its a soft white with a fleck of yellow flower and green leaf. 
Since I didn't quite have enough of the backing, two of the sides also have a white embossed type fabric. Now I know what others mean when they have commented about the challenge of quilting over such fabric. It felt as though I had another thickness of wadding there! Thankfully I only had the two sides where that featured. 
Here's a bit of a close up of the colours since they don't always show so clearly from a distance (which is how my husband prefers to see quilts so that he can recognize a pattern).  
 I did a stipple in the sections, other than the centre shown on the left of the photo above and then feathers down the sides. Its a great way to use up scraps and I'm pleased I kept at it, having a bit of a focus over a couple of weeks to get the blocks completed.

There are now only two quilts left on my list (for 2015 at least) to be sandwiched and quilted. I may not quite get there, but I'm pretty happy with having done 10 since May. I know I'll be making a list for 2016 to keep me honest.

Until next time,

Linking up with a few linky parties,


Friday 11 December 2015

Christmas Runner

I think that's all the Christmas sewing happening round here, having completed this runner I had fun with it.
I did a simple in the ditch around the stars but got more creative in the white spaces. In the border I did a few random things - Christmas trees, a gift, tried a snowflake - its at the top in this shot, not a great idea, but still fun to have a go. 
I also tried the piped binding which is remarkably easy, just make the binding up of the two colours, the 'feature' in my case red, cut to 1 3/4" and the main (black with white dots) 1 1/2", join together down the long sides of the pieces to make up the binding strip, then press in half as you would usually do. This creates the piping with it just peeping out.  Attach to the back of the runner/quilt, with the 'feature' fabric being the most visible, of facing towards you, then turn/flip over to the front and machine the binding in the ditch of the feature to show your piping. Should have taken photos of the process, but got the tips from an Aunt Marti tutorial page. [] She called it Susie's magic binding so I guess she got the idea from somewhere else too - isn't that what the internet patchwork and quilting community is all about, sharing what we know?
Anyhow, here's another of my runner a little closer up and finally one showing the backing. 
And now to get back to my list for completion (maybe i'm dreaming?) this year. I have 2 to sandwich and quilt and two that are already for quilting - one more than half done the other to begin. So maybe I'll finish one, but you know what they say, if you don't have big goals, you don't achieve anything! This is the one that is partly quilted, done some of that feather work in the cream areas and some straight lines in the darker ones. Really just the edges to go. I'm happy with how its going so far, so I'd better get busy!
Until next time,
Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Runners and Rugs

Its definitely that time of year, the time of making new Christmas runners, small gifts for people and the like.

I've completed one table runner that was just a panel, but I had great fun free-motion quilting the 60 small blocks it had with various patterns - from simple outlining, to stippling and lines like Christmas lights. And it is one that is finished, so that's a good thing!
I've also nearly completed (just binding to add) on a couple of mug rugs for a couple of friends of mine. I also explored the flange or piping addition to the binding on the first one. I didn't realise how easy it was [thanks to instructions from Aunt Marti]

That will be a help when it comes to quilting and binding my other table runner. 
This one was a quilt along that I joined in - hoping to have it done by Dec 4 but that didn't happen! Maybe early next week I'll get it finished then. 

Hope your Christmas plans are coming together. I still haven't put up the tree, but also hope that will be achieved over the weekend.
Until next time, 
Linking up with Quilt Story; Freshly Pieced Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Poinsettia Present

Its the time of year when we think about gift giving. Or if we're a bit organized we do! Our small craft group has been meeting in a community room that is part of a child-care and College and we've been fortunate that the manager asked her cook to leave some type of food out for our afternoon tea - how gracious. So she has made us savoury scones, chocolate slices, and all manner of yummies. As we approach our final day at the centre one of the other teachers asked if I could make her something to say thank you. I quickly and rashly said 'sure'. Then racked my brains to think, did I have time to make a small lap quilt - not really. What about a bag? Hmm, takes me at least 2 days to do that.

I had asked the cook what her favourite colour was and she'd said pink. So I checked to see what I had on hand and found a panel. Of course I forgot to take a photo of the panel before I began, but here's how it turned out after I'd done some framing, quilting and fiddling with some pieces that had been chewed by a huge mouse (that's how they looked before I began).
The panel had been that centre Poinsettia and the four other squares were one whole piece. Here are the edges such as they were: 
See what I mean by a big mouse! I guess that's why the piece was in a remnant bin when I bought it! I auditioned various shades of pink to red to see which would help to feature the pale pink flower that I rather liked and this one won out. 
The green stripe was also something I'd had around for a while - but when you want the right piece its such a good feeling to find it in your stash! I did a simple quilt around the flowers and the pink triangles, leaving the rest as its busy enough in its own right. Here's a shot of the backing which also seems to fit right in to me.
And a final one of the centre just because it looks good in the morning sunshine!
I do like it when a gift comes together. We'll give this to her this Friday so I hope she likes it. 
Until next time,

Friday 20 November 2015

What colour is Indigo?

My husband is a great encourager of my patchwork and quilting. He doesn't comment or complain when I seem to have bits of fabric in almost every room of the house, leave my sewing machine on the kitchen table, take up the floor space while adding borders etc. And he even offers me challenges from time to time. His latest one was to ask: 'What colour is Indigo?' prompting me to order some charm packs of Moda's Indigo and to add a couple of others. The challenge was then to find the pattern that would best show the fabric off. I found this one that he liked (it's geometric, one of his favourite things).
Its rather windy here this morning so I was pleased to grab this one quickly before the next gust came along. Its only a flimsy at this stage, but as its also one of the four on my WIPs before the end of 2015 list I'm pretty pleased. 
A much earlier challenge (2010 - thank goodness for labels and photos) is this one that he saw in a magazine (yes, he even browses through those too).  
But I digress. When I first saw the Indigo pattern I thought, hmm, that looks pretty straight forward. I like half square triangles and a few borders. But I didn't think to count how many borders and how many mitred corners that might be (pardon the pun). 
Here are just some of my mitres and I'm so pleased with how they all line up since there are 24 of them altogether, yes 24! So if you think of putting 6 borders on something just remember that. The other quirky thing I realised when making this quilt is that there is just one fabric that has a 'thread' on it. Not the thread that makes up the fabric, but a strand that wanders across: 
You can see it in that top navy type triangle with the flowers and also in the lighter blue one in the previous shot. I can't tell you how many times I tried to pick that thread off the quilt top!
Anyway now it is all pieced and together so the next challenge is to get the backing organised and sandwich yet another on my list - yay! This is number four on the list but I'm also continuing to piece numbers 2 and 3. One was an earlier post this week on my 'diminishing list'!

Until next time,
Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday and Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Diminishing List

I don't think I could actually envisage the day when I managed to sandwich this quilt, but it came today. I put this top together a loooong time ago, at least a couple of years, perhaps more. And it languished while other quilts came and went. I think it's mostly because this was one I thought I might keep for me - so it kept going to the bottom of the WIPs.
It made up of 2 1/2" squares and is based on one by Debbie Guihot in a copy of 'Australian Patchwork and Quilting' magazine, but I can't find a date on the copy I have. I am looking forward to quilting it with feathers in the cream areas and probably just straight lines in the darker square areas. As I sandwiched and pinned it on my floor this morning, see how the darker areas are really about the same ratio as the cream? Well, what are the odds of me stabbing myself with a pin and bleeding on the darker bits? You guessed it, no, the blood dripped on the cream area down towards the bottom. Fortunately I was able to wet and wipe it out with my magic bar of soap - thank goodness for that. It is now all sandwiched with close to 100 safety pins in it and ready for quilting. 
This is quilt number 2 on my list of what is a diminishing list of 4 now, with my Indigo quilt almost ready to be sandwiched, my log cabin pieces cut and ready for putting together, and then just that 'bug' quilt that I'm not sure what to do with in terms of borders. Might need to post a photo and see if there are any suggestions to help me along.  

Until next time,
Linking with Quilt Story

Thursday 12 November 2015

Two Finishes

It feels rather wonderful to be finished one project in particular this week as it's number one on my 'five WIPs to be completed before end of 2015' list.
I completed the top back in April for my son's 30th birthday. But didn't manage to quilt it until now. I have been quilting it since before August but there's a lot of quilting in this one.

It began with a fat quarter of feature fabric with deer on it - that's the snowball blocks in the centre. It grew from there and the first dark border is a piece of leftover fabric from a quilt I made for him when he was around 17 I think. I keep my scraps for a LOOOONG time.
The geese came together well but there was some creative maths in getting the spacing between the outer blocks I can tell you! Then I spent some time drawing (with a blue wash out type pen) lines to make the cross hatching in that outer border. The wadding is bamboo, which, if you didn't know (like me until I tried it) is quite heavy. So moving the quilt through my machine was quite an effort. But I'm pleased with it now, just to hand sew that binding down and add a label, then it's truly finished.
It's a 62inch square, so nice to snuggle up with if you're in a different Hemisphere to us at the moment where today's temperature is 33degrees Celsius.

My second finish (which I realised didn't even make the list of 5 to go!) is a sampler I made earlier in the year to teach a group of women who had never done sewing before. They have had a great time and I hope to show a photo of their efforts a little later. They are trying 'quilt as you go', rather than quilting the whole thing together. This was much lighter, being cotton and also 20 inches smaller, a 42inch square.
I had great fun with the quilting too.

This centre row of blocks with the house, friendship star and applique is my favourite. I was trying for the effect of curtains in the window, but we all laughed as I pointed out they look more like cobwebs - which is what happens when you get addicted to patchwork, housework comes much further down the priority list.

Well, now it's a list down to four, wow, four. Not necessarily in this order:

  • A 2 1/2" scrappy square top that I've had done for longer than I remember (at least a couple of years I think) but it's for me so ends up on the bottom of the list. 
  •  A log cabin where the strips are 1" wide, so it takes patience. I'm about half done with the blocks. 
  •  What I call 'Bugs' quilt, not the bunny sort, but the insect sort, due to the feature fabric in it. It needs some more borders to complete the top. 
  •  'What colour is Indigo?' this was a question posed by my husband. In reply I put together two Moda charm packs and added a little more. That needs its final borders and the top is done. 

So it sounds manageable, as long as I don't sneak in any more placemats (did 6 recently but the panel was on special and they look good) or table runners (the Christmas one I have begun to quilt will be really quick too).

Until next time,
Linking up with: Freshly Pieced; My Quilt Infatuation and Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Sunday 1 November 2015

I really enjoy making scrap quilts. There's something about using the small pieces left over from a quilt to create something more, something bright, colourful and creative that just makes me smile. So as I completed the binding on this last quilt I had a wonderful sense of satisfaction.
It also brought me great pleasure to know that my list of works in progress is now down to five - and that means I can add others (eventually!). Technically I didn't finish it in October, since today is November first, but it mostly feels like it was done in October which means that I've done six of my WIPs in six months, plus a couple of extra quilts which I'm pretty happy about. 
As you can see from the photo, my 'helper' was in on the action, but only as long as she could look through the gate and make sure we didn't have any unexpected visitors coming along - she's nosy that way!

The scraps for the quilt were from a bit of a 30s collection from a quilt I made back in March (eventually given to a couple with their new born son) and so I continued the blue as a contrast that seemed to work well. As I see it completed now with the thinner blue on the final border, I kind of wished I had made the inner ones a little narrower, but anyway now it's done. 

I had fun quilting a simple loop and then daisy pattern that I'd seen somewhere on Pintrest - though that one was done in a square whereas mine I did more as an all over - though it's free-motion quilted on my Janome PC Q1600. I also learned the valuable lesson of oil - how essential it is to smooth sewing. You'd think I'd know that by now, but I guess when you're quilting and preoccupied it doesn't cross your (or my) mind until you suddenly realise it doesn't sound quite like its purring any more. 
The backing was again from my stash (hurrah!) with a cream border attached to each side of some blue and cream paisley type fabric. Seems to work well. 

So now, I continue to work with my five, yes 5 quilts on the go. I just won't mention anything else that may be lurking somewhere just waiting its turn as well - there just could be some that haven't even made it onto the list yet! 
Until next time, 
I'm linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Slow Stitching Sunday (

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Mocha swirls

I may have been out of action for a month or so, but with good reason. Here's the reason:
Yes, that's an amazing view of Interlaken in Switzerland and I (and man about the house) got to go and visit our eldest son and his wife who live there. We had a wonderful time, apart from my man becoming very unwell for a week while we were in France. Can you imagine anything worse than being in that land of beautiful food (and wine) and not being well enough to enjoy any of it? Well, that was him. It may be a good excuse to go again in a few years though. 
For a month I did no sewing - and I survived! I guess it helped that we had lots to see and do. 

Now that we're back and well and truly settled - the usual routines kick in including weeding the garden, washing the car and the normal housework (occasionally) I've been making my list - not the Christmas one yet, but my WIPs and trying to tick them off. 

Back in May I had 12 that I wrote down (and that wasn't including a couple I managed to do in August) and now it is down to six, thanks to a finish on this one this week: 

It's a basic rail fence that I began earlier this year I think, but having got it together I enjoyed free-motion quilting some swirls and wiggly lines on it, each in opposite diagonal directions.  Here's another shot (sun going down) showing that great border that really helped to finish it well. 

I think quilting really does help to bring a quilt alive, as this one looked quite flat before the sandwiching and quilting process. It still seems quite masculine to me, with the browns and beige and despite the lemon. So I'm sure it will head off to a good home soon. 

I already have the next quilt sandwiched and so hope to have another finish before long too. There's such satisfaction in crossing them off the list. And of course that enables me to add others, maybe even a Christmas runner as well before the end of the year - well, I may be a bit optimistic but we'll see. 

Until next time,
Linking up with: Quilt Story; Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

Thursday 20 August 2015

Heart for Burundi

A friend of mine has a Ball coming up at the end of this month. But it's not just a ball with a meal and dancing and fun to be had, it's to raise funds for a cause called: Villages of Life. Her brother is involved with an orphanage in Burundi and since I can't attend the ball, I went with making a quilt for the silent auction. That will be a challenge - seeing how much people think the quilt is worth, I'll let you know once I find out.

When I saw Sandra's quilt [] I knew I had found the quilt to do - (thanks Sandra for the encouragement) especially when my friend had given me some 10" squares of shades of pink through to red that weren't really my choice of colour. This seemed to be a great use for them.

So I cut out some of her squares down to 5" by 51/2" and then added some other choices of blue/green/teal types. I liked the overall layout, then had a thought about using the leftovers for a pieced backing. The first shot here is just the pieces prior to them being sewn together.

I have worked pretty hard the last few days to get this finished!
I learned quite a lot from quilting this little piece (it finished at 58" square):
  • First of all a pieced backing is fine if you're using a reasonably thick wadding. Lately I've been using bamboo, but I went with cotton because its lighter and I thought manoeuvring through my Janome would be easier. It was easier, but I knew when I came across a seam in the backing. 

  • Secondly, quilting straight lines which create a 'frame' and then doing figure 8s, or capital S or maybe a musical clef type type shapes within that frame, works really well to highlight the centre of the quilt - and it's good fun. 

This is a shot of the body or centre of the heart with a paisley (?) type pattern that I experimented with as well, mostly sticking to one direction but occasionally going off on a tangent - maybe I should have done that more often, not sure. 

  • Thirdly, the scrolls - they take a lot of practise!! I think I improved and I'm grateful that those at the Ball and auction hopefully won't be quilting experts, so they'll think it looks OK. I used Superior Thread, Bottom Line which was very smooth, apart from the times when the machine just chose randomly to snap the thread. I did all the right things: new needle, full bobbin, quality thread and much patience, to get to the end. 

And finally one shot outside, that I managed to grab inbetween the showers here - it is Winter in the Southern Hemisphere after all! This shows much more clearly that the borders really are white and not cream as they appear indoors. 
Feel pretty satisfied with this quilt and I learned a lot which is always a good thing. I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced; Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Free-Motion by the River. 
Until next time,

Thursday 6 August 2015

Square Garden

A friend of mine has a 60th birthday coming up at the end of this month and I am so pleased with myself that I have her gift all but finished (the all but is the binding which will be sewn on tonight and the all important label, which going on past record, will be attached the day I give it to her!).

It began with some left over fabric in small triangles that I just couldn't bear to throw away. So I joined them to make a square and added borders around that. Then I came across some alternate squares that I know she will really appreciate and that helped to make the central panel.

That made it quite busy, so when it came to quilting it needed something quite simple.
Orange peel seemed to fit the bill. You can see it quite clearly here on the back which was pieced in a simple print with the same cream as on the front as well.

The border though, in particular the cream, was crying out for some feathers.  So I obliged and had fun doing them too. They may not be as beautiful as others who may also have a long arm, but my Janome QC 1600P does a good job. I'm pretty sure the recipient will be happy with it and that's the main thing really.

I'm also making another quilt for the same deadline, so it's on to that one now. 
Until next time, 
I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Teaching Sampler

A friend and I recently talked about beginning a new patchwork group for Mums at our local school who may be in need of a creative outlet and some new friendships. So to start the group off, we thought we'd begin with a sampler - not an original idea, but a great way to teach new skills for people.
Of course we needed to choose the blocks and write some instructions - that fell to me.

So here is the flimsy of the sampler. I decided to do it in quite strongly contrasting colours so that things would stand out obviously for people. I thought I'd also use it as an excuse to plan for a baby quilt - we have a number of those expected in our community.
I enjoyed the process, found it a challenge to make sure that I had all the measurements correct so that we would create raw 12 1/2" blocks, then add sashing. Anyway quite happy with the use of the fat quarter of owls as my feature print - that worked well.

We had our first class, beginning with a rail fence block, on Friday just gone. It was wonderful to see people grasping the joy of putting fabrics together. I didn't realise how much skills that I use almost daily, including using a cutter and ruler, can take a little while to grasp. The newcomers gradually got the hang of it though and so begins the wonderful adventure and journey!

This isn't one of my current working list (eight works in progress) but I have made some progress on one I hope to share later this week so I am making some gradual progress and I'm happy with that.

Until next time,
Linking up with Val's Quilting studio and other Linky parties.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Stippled Stars

I've been working for a little while now on these scrappy centred star blocks. They are fun to create, make a bit of a dent in the scrap stash, but I think I'll have to make several more before my box of scraps (plus the other small containers, zip lock bags etc) decrease substantially.

They are 10inch finished blocks so adding the sashings and borders it's a 55inch square - a lap quilt size.
I like the fact that some of my novelty fabrics have a chance to appear there, so a sheep and some spiders!

When it came to quilting I thought I'd give the star pattern a try - a simple corner to corner in the centre of the block first of all, then heading to a dot I marked with fading pen, just one inch from the centre which creates that slightly diagonal line around the centre star. It's a bit clearer on the blue star so you get the idea. 

The backing is a great pattern that picks up the quilting really well, so the recipient can always just turn the quilt over when they get tired of the stars. 

This makes one less on the original list of a dozen I created in May this year, so I'm down to 8 to go now. Two are flimsies, one I've begun quilting and 4 are 'in progress' and the eighth one is still 2 charm packs and additional fabric with the idea brewing in my mind. I know I'll get to it eventually and that's incentive to keep going on these UFOs. 

I'm linking up with Quilt Story; Freshly Pieced and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

Sunday 21 June 2015

Happy Houses

I began making some of these cute little houses a couple of months ago. I said at the time how addictive they are. Well I have paused for the moment, and done the quilting on them too. I was keen to do the Baptist fan pattern I had seen on Bonnie Hunter's quilt so I explored how others had done the pattern free-motion quilting.
I saw one where a very specific ruler had been used, but not having one of those, thought I'd improvise. They say 'necessity is the mother of invention', well I figured a dinner plate, slightly smaller dinner plate, bread and butter plate and dessert bowl were probably the right sizes for the fans I wanted to create. So I just drew around them with a dissolvable pen and set to quilting. I don't have a long arm, just my Janome 1600P QC - it only does straight sewing, not even zig zag. 

The result may not be perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it. And the people to whom I gave it today were also quite thrilled to receive it - so win, win!

Our weather has been quite wild 'down under' so I was fortunate to grab a couple of shots before the rain came down very heavily and the wind really picked up. This is the reverse which may not be wonderfully clear, but you get the idea. 
So as I continue to make progress on my list, I'm down to 9 now, 2 of which are sandwiched, one even begun quilting, 2 tops are completed so I guess that makes it 5 still needing some piecing to complete. Variety is good and certainly keeps me busy. 
Until next time, 

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict.