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 (