Thursday 23 November 2017

Generous Scales

Have you heard the story of 'The Rainbow Fish'(c) ? It's a children's book by Marcus Pfister and was originally published in 1992 in German. I didn't know the last 2 facts about it but it seemed only fair to check out who wrote it since I was making a quilt featuring the fish itself.

If you ever want to show children the merits of sharing, this is a great book. It has as its hero or heroine, a beautiful fish which has sparkly scales over its body like this:

The story begins with the fish feeling very proud of its shiny scales (I'm paraphrasing here) but when others admire it, the fish rather jealously guards its scales. The Rainbow Fish, however, begins to realise that its one thing to have admirers, another to have friends. And it begins to give away some of its shiny scales to other fish around it, like this:

If you look closely, the fish in the centre is offering (in its fin) a shiny scale to another fish. 

Where am I going with this fish tale you ask? I have a gorgeous niece who is turning two at the end of this month. Here she is enjoying an ice-cream (almost as big as her!). 

I don't know about you, but in my experience, nearly two year olds sometimes have difficulty in spontaneously sharing with others. So for her birthday, she is receiving from me, a copy of the book and a quilt showing the same story. I was fortunate to spot a panel at our major quilt show back in May this year and so I put it aside to work on at the last minute - no one else does that I'm sure. 

I also wanted to make another quilt with half square triangles - such a versatile pattern I find. But when I looked again at the panel, I realised that the colours I had chosen for the half square triangles seem to complement pretty well. Hurrah, I had my borders beginning to formulate. Of course things don't always go as easily as one might hope, so many calculations, fiddlings and such later, I had the shapes coming together with four extra fish at the corners. 

I have had such fun quilting this - from the stipple in the 'sea', to the swirls on the extra pieces needed to be added to the half square triangles so that the corner fish would fit nicely (sometimes I can see the benefit of a kit all put together and carefully measured by someone else). I even checked into my stash and found a fabric that seemed to have a scaley kind of pattern to it which I thought could work quite well for the backing:

But, as is often the way, I didn't quite have enough, so I used some of the white floral that I'd used on the front as a central piece. I don't think 2 year olds are too fussy about that kind of thing. 

So there you have it, the story of the Rainbow fish made into a quilt for a precious little girl. If you have any littlies in your life I hope you check the story out, it's a beautiful story and book. And of course there are others in the same vein. 
Now, to just put that binding on and sit to hand sew it tonight - lucky its only a small one, not bed sized. I imagine it may get dragged about, shared with dollies and the like, but that's what quilts are for, to be used and enjoyed. 

Quilt Stats:

Size: 40" by 43"
Wadding: 60% cotton; 40% polyester [great for the washing machine].
Thread: Embroidery thread for the top; Superior for the bobbin. 

Until next time,

Monday 20 November 2017

Christmas Squirrels

While there are a number of projects I could/should be doing, I saw one of  these Christmas table runners and it became a squirrel I just had to catch. Plus I felt quite pleased with myself for beginning something for Christmas before its even the end of November!
So from the Christmas fabrics I had in my stash, I cut out the triangles (made my own template and added half inch sashing to the sides). And it quite soon became a flimsy:

The triangles were easy but the 'trunks' which should have been by far the easiest part, took some careful measuring - perhaps my triangles with their sashing weren't as even as I thought? Anyway I got there and now, with the subtle difference below (it's sandwiched and pinned), I'm ready to quilt.

I think I'll stipple where the cream is to help the trees to stand out and perhaps do some straight lines in the trees, or maybe leave them, I'll see how it goes. Hope to have this one quilted and bound by the end of the week. A small project can be fun and quite inspiring in moving on to slightly larger works in progress too.

Until next time,

Monday 30 October 2017

Quilting Coins & Patches

The afternoon sun comes in on the carpet and its often a great time for me to see how my quilting looks. It just seems to get highlighted there really well. I've been having fun on my coin and four patch quilt. I showed this a little earlier this month Here.

On the coins themselves I used my walking foot and a little decorative pattern for three rows on each section. But it's on the four patches I've been having the most fun doing orange peel and some stippling in the triangles. I saw a post on Facebook that said something along the lines of: 'You just eyeballed it, you didn't measure - I admire your daring!' well that's what I went with here.

You can clearly see the difference with the last couple of rows on the right that I haven't yet done. I think I'll also do a small pattern in the first border and then a loopy kind of treble clef shape in the blue. So good to have something on the way like this.

I'm also congratulating myself on having scored a bargain of a second hand doll's pram for my niece who'll be 2 at the end of November.
I saw this advertised, went to see it and said 'Yes please!' for AUD $30. It got the sniff of approval from my dog Abby as well.
And I've spent some of the afternoon making a doll's dress - but I don't have any velcro, so I'll have to show that when it's completed. Having had sons, playing with and making things for this cute niece is such fun. Life is rich and I feel very fortunate. 
Until next time,

Friday 27 October 2017

Whimsical Cats

Hi there,

I need to say up front that I only quilted this quilt, I didn't piece it. My friend did that very cleverly putting her centre shape onto a thin piece of poplin or similar as a foundation piece. She then added strips of various widths around the shape (a great stash buster), trimmed them back to 12", sashed the blocks and voila, a great piece of whimsy for her sister's birthday. But she didn't think she had quite enough time or perhaps bravery to quilt it. So I put my hand up.

We agreed on the yellow border and then away I went. It did grow a little heavy on my domestic, but it was also great fun
The cats come in as several of the blocks have cats as their centre piece.
You can see the two in the bottom right square and also the one with the arched back in the top left square. 
The challenge with quilting on a domestic machine as opposed to a long arm, is that it's best to start in the centre to ensure that you don't create wrinkles on the back. So I don't have the luxury of beginning on one side and going across. I simply roll it up, put some in the throat space and some over my shoulder and away we go. 
An all over stipple is the main quilting, but I included some hearts, spirals and feathers occasionally. 
It's both challenging and very rewarding to have something like this done - hoping the recipient likes it and having the pleasure of doing it too. 
Since my friend is away on holiday at present, she's only seen these photos too, not the quilt in the fabric - so to speak, so we'll see how that goes soon. 
It's a really interesting and effective technique putting the blocks together, so I may have to try this myself in the future. For now though, its on to quilting one of my own. 

Quilt Stats

Block size: 12"
Quilt Size: 62" x 75" (binding still to be added)
Wadding: Poly/cotton blend
Thread: Top - Embroidery silk; bobbin - Superior. 

Until next time,

Friday 20 October 2017

Rainbow Squares

I'm sure I've said before that I can't bear to throw away the smallest pieces of fabric. As long as there's something left after a quarter inch seam on either side I think it's worth keeping and using. But they do tend to gather and take up room so it was time to put some of them together and make some blocks.
I tend to do about three at a time, so they take a while, but once I've got around 20 there seems to be some momentum that happens and I can't resist keeping going. So I put these together - 48 blocks in total. It should make a good single bed sized quilt:
I didn't have anyone around to hold it up for me, so had to make do with laying it down - it's a bit large to fit in it seems. It's fun seeing all those little pieces join together to make something larger, functional and full of memories of other quilts too. 
A little closer of just a few blocks. Those cornerstones are fun to select and see come together too. Just one more of blocks:
Now my dilemma is - what border to put on? I don't think it should be one of the colours in the quilt itself as that might make the particular colour pop out more than the rest. So I guess it's audition time. That could be a while though, as I'm quilting something for a friend first - photos of that next week I hope. 
Until next time,

Friday 13 October 2017

Scraps and coins

We all have scraps lurking somewhere - some in neatly organized piles, or bags, or baskets or boxes, others in strings or slyly skulking in corners wondering whether they will see the light or not.

I can't resist them so when I came across a pattern that looked like it would use up quite a few (see  Vicki's here) I knew I wanted to give it a go.

So 5" strips and some four patches later, joined by some 5" half square triangles and it began to take shape:
And once you get going its a little hard to stop. I thought I'd keep this going until it was close to a bed size. And today I managed to add the borders on so its a finished flimsy. 
The joy comes from also seeing fabric that has been used in many projects before, that have now found homes. Just keeping a small piece that gets to be included in something like this brings a smile to my face. 
And it seems that with coin strips, it doesn't really matter what goes next to what, with a neutral background to give the eye a place to rest, all is well. 
With all that colour going on though, I think a simple stipple may be what is required quilting wise. So we'll see how soon I can get some backing chosen and this quilt sandwiched together. 
Have a happy weekend, this one is a nice way to begin mine. 

Until next time,

Thursday 5 October 2017

Nearly there

I am heartened to see that others have many 'to do' or in progress quilts. It makes me feel a whole lot better about mine, since I'm pretty sure the number is still a single figure (though I haven't actually listed them for a while so I can stay in ignorance about them).
This is one I've been working on for a few months in between others. I could hardly believe when I looked at the photo, how my Jack Russel cross dog, Abby, had snuck herself in posing and all! What is it with quilts and animals? In the photo her eye looks a little odd, so I checked it out, but it must have just been the light or something as she's fine.

Also visible in the top left corner of the quilt is the typical empty spool of thread - yes, ran out with just 3 lines of the sashing to go. 
Here's the back which is a very calming cream, with all that riot of colour going on at the front I thought perhaps a quiet calm spot on the back might be the best idea. 
You can see I had begun those lines either side of the sashing and only got round once then one side the second line. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to go and visit my local quilt shop and try to avoid the temptations of fabric. 
It's fun to use up scraps and squares can go together quite quickly. One of the fabrics in here I realised was left over from backing a quilt I made in 2001. Never throw any fabric away is my motto - it always comes in useful some time. 
Here's a close up of one of the blocks. 
Well it's nearly there - just finish that sashing, put on some binding and its done. I think this may end up with my friend who passes quilts on to an organization placing foster children. Its nice and bright, so should suit the purpose well. 
Now, on to that reducing list, the never ending conundrum, which one to tackle next?

Quilt Stats:
Size: 63" x 53"
Wadding: Legacy 60/40 Cotton/Polyester blend
Thread: Bobbin Superior; Top a variegated embroidery cotton.

Until next time,

Monday 18 September 2017

Gift table runner

A friend of mine is having a 50th birthday this coming weekend. Unfortunately I can't make the celebration as I'll be around 500kms away, but I thought I could make her a small gift. So I worked out this table runner.
The strips were pretty easy, if just a little time consuming, but worth it. They varied in width from 1 and half to 2 and half inches. The lengths I also varied, the total width of the runner 14". Then since the wavy free-motion quilting seemed to work quite well on this table runner I'd made before 

I thought I'd give it a go on this one too. Pretty happy with the result. And fortunately I had just enough of the olive green to make the binding. I'll be finishing up that hand sewing around the binding tonight so that I can pass it on tomorrow. 
Here's a shot of the backing which is featured on the front as well. 

I think my friend will like it. What's your 'go to' gift for a friend at short notice?

Runner stats:
Width: 14"
Length: 50"
Wadding: 60/40 Cotton/Polyester
Thread: Gutterman's and Rasant

Until next time,

Tuesday 12 September 2017

Baby squares

I've been making a baby quilt in anticipation of a couple of babies I know are due either soon or in a few months - no harm in being ready. I've made this pattern before, back in March, called Baby blue. And I quilted it quite simply cross hatching the squares and doing a swirl in the white sashing.

But when I saw what Louise did with her similar Butterfly garden I knew I wanted to try that. So here is my version:
Mine doesn't have that lovely double type sashing that Louise's has, but these were the squares I had, so I went with it. While the quilting is pretty straightforward, the fact that it goes around in a curve means that on my domestic machine I still need to support the remainder of the quilt on my left as I go, which took just a little more organising (chair on the side etc). 

The quilting shows up a little better on the back:

And here's a closer up of those squares:
I needed to include those and the piece of white sashing like the front as I didn't quite have sufficient fabric for the backing but I'm pleased I got to use up that pretty pae green and yellow/orange dots. The colours are a little more accurate on the closer up shot but I'm going to have to get working on taking better camera shots. 
This is a reasonably quick baby quilt and I like the idea of the various ways of quilting. Might even try another and just do a basic stipple. 

Well back to the next project - I'm having fun creating a library shelf quilt, but will show photos of that a little later. As usual there are also projects to complete!

Until next time,

Thursday 7 September 2017

Bows & Swirls

Do you make the same pattern more than once? I decided that since I had quite a good time making a bow tie quilt here but quilted it with a Baptist fan pattern, I thought I'd give bow ties another go, but try a different layout and quilting. Well I've had fun quilting this bow tie quilt.
Since it was more free-motion swirls than the Baptist fan it felt easier. It was also a little smaller - mostly dictated by the fact that I'd only bought one metre of the background fabric and it ran out. If I had thought a bit smarter, I could probably have used a plain background at least for the centre, but of course when you're making the blocks you don't necessarily know what's going to go in the centre. 
Anyway, here's a closer up of the swirls:
I did some large and some smaller to fit in one half of the bow tie. I also did some orange peel on the wider border. I'm still thinking I may add some ribbon candy to that final cream border. Again, since I was using scraps from my stash, I didn't have enough of that border to complete the whole biding, so I used some on two of the shorter sides and a close complement on the longer sides. Since we have two single beds at our holiday place, I think these two bow ties will sit on those. That is, unless I decide to make yet a third, a little larger and then give this one away. Time will tell. 
Here's the back and all that swirly goodness. The photo seems to show as though the needle has made strong indentations, but in reality its quite smooth. 
They may have turned out a little more square than round, but it fits on the front at least. And there's always room for improvement. 

Until next time,

Monday 28 August 2017

Baby quilt and runner

The novelty squares that were once in a panel are now surrounded by sashing, quilted and bound. Its quite bright, but since its for a second child, perhaps the slightly older one (around age 2) will enjoy it as well. Its always such a boon when I can use my stash as I did here. The panel was in a remnant bin for only $2 (AUD) and then in a second hand shop I found the backing sheet also for $2 (AUD).

Its a simple stipple but with all that colour going on I think simple is best. And then around the yellow border I just had to do a bit of a swirl. 
This is the backing - sweet for a new born, I really like Winnie the Pooh and Tigger! And it was just about the right size, just that two and half inch border needed at each end. 

This is the for grandchild of a friend. Nice to be able to make them for others since I don't have any grandchildren yet. 

Another simple make is this table runner for another friend who has her 65th birthday tomorrow. She has a cat and liked this fabric when I made a runner for my sister-in-law. This is an easy frame of squares and the quilting also just echoing them. Sometimes simple is best. 
Hope she enjoys it. 
The border fabric adds a touch of class - makes it look almost Egyptian. 
Well on to the next project!

Until next time,

Friday 18 August 2017

Table runner

I've been fortunate enough to get away to our holiday place for a few days. The weather (despite it still being Winter) has been glorious. Here's a view from my afternoon walk.

While I'm here, I'm doing some sewing of course, and I realised that its been years since I made a new table runner for home. I've made them as gifts for others, but of course home tends to come last. But I saw one on Pinterest that I thought I could figure out. Seems that when I made the small squares I got a little carried away and didn't check back to see that I should have created rectangles rather than larger squares. Never mind, I'm still happy with the result. 
Here's a closer up showing the wavy quilting I decided to do. I couldn't quite face just outlining the squares and I thought the organic lines would help to unify the whole. The splash of turquoise picks up one of the colours in the fabric for the centre of the larger squares and the small beige/mushroom ones. I picked up a metre on special last week, but the rest all comes from my stash. 
The backing is a soft beige with a leaf pattern also from my stash. 
Its nice to know that when I get home I can put this on the table - once I figure out just what to bind it with. Since I'm here till Monday I might get some more quilting done yet too. 

Until next time,

Friday 11 August 2017

Novelty baby

The blogging world can be such an inspiration. Last week I saw a post (apologies, I can't recall just where now) where panels were shown in a new light. I was inspired to pull out an old one I picked up really cheaply in a remnants bin a couple or more years ago.
I forgot to take photos before of course, but here are the banner, bottom and couple of squares before I began working with them:

The animals looked like fun, I was just never quite sure what to do with them. But thanks to the person who demonstrated what she had done with a panel, as well as Nann (thanks Nann) with her bordering of some blocks, I had enough inspiration to begin working with them to frame them and then make up the rest as I go along. 

They're quite cute but adding something a little more than just sashing just helps them to stand out a bit better I think. And the grey is also a bit of a variety on white or cream, so I'm hoping that when I figure out what else to do to put it together (geese, or some other borders/sashings??) it will work well for a friend who's expecting a baby in a few months.  

There's also some satisfaction in seeing the blocks come together pretty quickly. Variety is the spice of life after all. 

Until next time,

Friday 4 August 2017

Productive week

I think this is the most productive week I've had in quilting - ever as far as I recall. Two finishes, both of which had been tops hanging around for quite a while. I think it helps when I know where they're destined to go - to foster children, through a friend made at our quilting show back in May this year.

This string quilt was fun to put together several months ago and I enjoyed stipple quilting it today. Even though the strips are quite short (around 3½" long) its fun to see all the different fabrics that I've used over time. It took a while to put together, but I'm sure someone will find enjoyment in it and its better than just hanging around here. I'm sure I'll be on to another one before long - I can't bear to throw away even very small scraps.

Even though it's only a smallish quilt (43½" by 57½") by the time I got more than half way through I wanted to do something a little different, so I ended up doing some swirls in the blue squares

The backing is just a simple tree pattern which I think is quite cute. 

So that marks the end of my productive week, a beginning with one quilt here and now ending with this one as well. In addition to balloons and strings here that makes 3 quilts to pass over next week which makes me smile. 
It could be a little while before I have some more to complete, but I'm happy with those for now and I'm sure some child will be before long too. 

Quilt Stats:
Size: 43½" x 57½"
Wadding: Cotton/polyester blend
Thread: Embroidery variegated for top; Rasant for bobbin.  

Until next time,

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Shorter list

I'm working through my UFOs and have another finish to celebrate! This has been a top that I've had around for a while - well, sometime this year I think. Its a child's quilt with some scraps that I had left over from a previous quilt.

I realised it's been a while since I did just a simple stipple over a quilt and I really enjoyed doing this one. It also helped that I managed to do it all in one day - can't remember when I last did that either. Its a small quilt, but no matter, a finish is a finish!

I like the backing too with its soft green like a fossil fern and some left over blocks. Its so great to use up all the fabric, as I've done here putting a strip of the border on the back as well. 

My count now is half a dozen, though there could be one or two I've tucked away somewhere and forgotten about. Anyway, on to the next one, another stipple I think I enjoyed this one so much. With any luck I may have chance before the week's out. 

Quilt Stats:
Size: 46" x 49"
Batting: Cotton/polyester blend
Thread: Top variegated embroidery cotton; bobbin, Rasant. 

Until next time, 

Monday 31 July 2017

Squares and Bow Ties

Having made one bow-tie quilt (Bow-tie with Baptist Fan quilted pattern)and enjoyed using up my scraps and the fun variety of colours it produces, I thought I'd give another one a go, using a different layout this time.
The final cream border is not too visible here, but I'm looking forward to quilting it and putting some ribbon candy in there. We've got very heavy rain here today as well as thunder and lightening so I'm not going to get anything other than indoor shots today. 
Here's a slightly closer up (or enlarges when you click on it anyway):
One thing I hadn't quite realised until I began to put some of the ties together, is that the background beige/brown is a directional pattern. When I first looked at it I thought I'd determined that it wasn't, but clearly it is. I think there's enough other colour going on though that it's not a big distraction/detraction from the whole. 

I'm also working on some 2 1/2" squares. These are good to just hand sew together at night - though when I see a few blocks coming together I just have to get on the machine and move it along a bit more too! 
I'm going to put that teal coloured sashing and a small (about 2") cornerstone in as I go along too. Again, a great way to use up some scraps and a fun bright quilt results. These are always fun to make and since my stash doesn't seem to shrink, no matter how much I use it, I could be doing things like this for quite a while!

Until next time,