Tuesday 12 August 2014

Orange peel scraps

There's such satisfaction when a project is completed. At least, that's how I feel with this one that's been hanging around in its 'waiting to be quilted' state for a while it seems.
I did the scraps into squares quite easily, added some sashing (which was the wrong one of two greys I had, but no matter, I hadn't realised until I stood back, looked at it and thought it looked darker. Sure enough I found the lighter grey short while later).
Then the border was found and helped to bring it back to life a little more after the sashing. Then I deliberated for a while about how to quilt it. I had considered an all over swirl or generous stipple, but thought I'd give the 'orange peel', I think also known as 'dogwood' pattern a try. It was quite easy and looks quite effective I think.
Then in the sashing I went for a simple swirl that ends up looking a little like a treble clef! This quilt is destined for one of many babies I know who are about to make their entrance into the world, so I hope Mum and bub like it.
The photos make the border look a little skewed at this point, but it's drying on the line, so it should smooth out a little better once it's dry. Had to take advantage of the weather while I could!
Until next time,

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Broken dishes

Hi there,

It's been a couple of weeks or so since I had something to post. Been working on a couple of things that are now close to completion.
The first is a 'broken dishes' pattern (I presume like most other traditional blocks it has other names too), looks more like an hour glass or egg timer to me, but maybe people don't use those any more.
Excuse the plant pots beneath the quilt, it's a sunny spot so my husband puts his Gerbra seedlings there for Winter warmth!
The simple two colours seem to work well and the narrow border gives it a bit of a lift. That will be the binding too, once I've completed the quilting vertically as well as the current horizontal. The wavy line was fun and easy and gives the quilt a bit of movement too.

I thought it would be versatile enough and suitable for a new niece that has just joined the family. Looking forward to seeing a 2 week old shortly.
Since I thought it would be softer as a blanket I backed it with a fleecy, rather than the usual wadding and backing. The quilting still worked fine and it's lovely and soft.

Until next time,

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Friday 27 June 2014

Tumbling Elephants finished

HI there,

What a good feeling to complete a project. I began this quilt earlier this month and it's finished before the month's end - that is good.
I had intended to try some free-motion quilting scrolls or similar, but having begun, it didn't seem to be working. So the handy unpicker came into use and I went with the usual straight lines. No matter, it seems to have turned out Ok. Thanks to others who commented as I was auditioning border fabric too, that came together in a way I'm very happy with. Rather than self-binding I went with the black to pick up the first border and that unites it well too. 

It's funny how once something is in place and we're happy with it it just looks right and we wonder why we were uncertain - perhaps that's just the novelty before something is familiar. 

Enough philosophy, my elephant fabric is now all used up and happily so. 

This will go to another friend who I discovered recently is partial to elephants.

Until next time,

I'm linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday [My Quilt Infatuation] and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

Friday 20 June 2014

Plates and templates

Hi there,
Whoever invented the saying: 'Necessity is the mother of invention' knew what they were on about. When you have no templastic in the house and you really want to get on and put the stencil work on a quilt so you can sandwich it and then get quilting - what do you do?

Well, you try out some dinner plates around the space you want the design to land and hey presto there's your stencil ready to go - the word plate is part of template anyway! Works for me.

Now to spread it out (grovel) on the floor with backing and wadding then I'll be ready to get busy with a needle and thread. This will then be a lovely lap quilt for me to spread over my legs as I hand quilt over the next 3 months to finish this for an October birthday. A great way to spend Winter down under!
Until next time,
I'm linking up with My Quilt Infatuation and Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Work in progress

Hi There,
This really falls into the 'ready way ahead of time' projects, a first for me I think, though I may be counting chickens a little soon. I almost have the top finished for this gift for a friend's 50th in October.
I still need to add a lovely Jinny Beyer pale grey - similar in value to the corner blocks of the sashing, as a border and eventually also bind it in that. Then it's on to the sandwiching and some hand quilting. It's winter here in the Southern hemisphere, so great weather for having a quilt over your lap and doing some relaxing, soothing hand quilting. It's been a while since I've done some of that and realised I'd missed it a little. Sure I'd been more productive with the free-motion quilting, but there's a time for hand quilting too. 
I tried a close up of the fabric that is on the sashing and in 2 of the blocks, but not sure that the wording on it came out too clearly. The phrase I like best is: 'It takes a long time to grow an old friend'. Since I have known my friend for around 30 years it seems appropriate. There is also a bit of tongue in cheek about the 'old' as we joke about how she is the youngest in our group of friends and is still only 30.

The blocks came together quite quickly and easily and the quilter's muslin will leave lots of space for people to sign to make her birthday memorable. 

Until next time,
I'm linking up with

Saturday 14 June 2014

HI there,

A good way to end the week, handing over a finished scrap quilt to my friend who works at our local hospice. 'Squared away' is the third quilt I've passed to her. She nurses at the hospice and she tells me she enjoys seeing the splashes of colour on the end of the bed and knowing I made it - how nice is that?
I enjoy using up scraps and it helps me explore new things, like being random rather than so regulated and more free-motion quilting too. So I think it's a win win all round as I find a home for another quilt.
Now, on to my pile of 3 flimsies ready for quilting, just some wadding to add and then the sandwiching (is that really a word?)
Maybe I'll get another one crossed off the list next week so I can start yet another project!
Until next time,

I'm linking up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Half Century

Hi there,

This is the first time I've put instructions (and photos) for a block and it's quite basic. However, I have occasionally stumbled on such posts and found them helpful, so I hope someone might find it useful.

A friend of mine is turning the big 50 in a few months and I wanted to make her a quilt. But I wasn't sure what pattern or design to use until I saw one on (check it out). It was a table runner and so I set about exploring dimensions for myself. Below is a bit of a tutorial on how mine is going and I will keep things updated as it becomes a flimsy and then I may hand quilt it - depending on how the time goes.
First of all the blocks can be made from fat quarters, plus a neutral background fabric - a quilter's muslin, or calico, homespun, that kind of thing. One fat quarter will be sufficient for 2 blocks.

Firstly cut a 9.5" square from both feature and background fabric. On the background draw diagonal lines from each corner, like so, as well as vertical and horizontal lines at the half way mark:

Sew a 1/4" seam on either side of the diagonal line, then cut along the 2 diagonal lines, as well as the vertical and horizontal ones. This will yield 8 half square triangles - how good is that? They should be 41/4" squares.

Cut 4 rectangles 41/4" of both feature and background fabric, plus one 41/4" square of the feature fabric.
The overall block goes together like a 9 patch, this is two thirds of that 9 patch
 If you press to the 'dark side' (ie the feature fabric) your seams should abut like this: (or you may choose to press open as I do from time to time).
These cute blocks come together so quickly they are quite addictive. And they will leave some great space for a number of friends to sign the quilt for the 50th birthday - a great win in my book!

I'm linking up to Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts

Until next time,

Friday 6 June 2014

Elephants tumbling

Hi there,
I can't believe I had 5 days away from home at our holiday place (still sounds so novel and exciting to be able to call it that) and did NO sewing, not a border added, not a block put together, none at all. We did, however, enjoy some beach walking, some bush walking, reading, gardening (ie weeding) and general relaxing, so I'm definitely not complaining.
I was persuaded to make a small purchase, since the local fabric shop had a sale on - and who can resist a sale? I was restrained though and bought just 4 metres of different prints that will most likely work well for backings as I join them to some leftovers from the front of whatever quilt I'm putting together.

Speaking of restraint and leftovers, I have been trying to do a fabric famine, (which sounds quite painful, so I prefer to call it a stash spend, which sounds like much more fun) so am 'auditioning' a border fabric that I've had in my stash for a little while, for this tumbler quilt.
I think it works Ok. I've used some of the leftover 'elephant' fabric I had from the previous quilt (now on its way to Hungary as far as I know) and teamed it with the various colours in that main novelty print. While the border fabric is none of those in the main section, I'm hoping the pattern kind of echoes the tumbler design a little and the greyish tones match in with the grey in the body and the black of the first border. I think it's always amazing how black just works to frame the body of a quilt, no matter the colour contained in it. 

Then I've begun working (because I just need to have something else on the go as well as the many other UFOs I need to get to) on these cute bug print half square triangles. The challenge is that there are so many lay out possibilities as I add other colours I'm not sure how to go. I find digital photos are such a help as I can snap away at different layouts before I sew and see how they might look. So, on with that and maybe next week I'll get to quilt one of the tops/flimsies that IS completed and just waiting to be joined to its wadding and backing. 

I'm joining up with My Quilt Infatuation and Confessions of a Fabric Addict,
Until next time,

Friday 23 May 2014

Elephants and Rails

It's hard to believe it's almost winter 'down under'. I spent last weekend about a 4 and a half hour drive away at our recently acquired holiday place. It's so exciting after 10 years of dreaming. Why would I drive so far for 2 nights? Well it is SO peaceful and serene. And it has a beach that is a 5 minute walk from our place. Here's a shot around 7:30am and remember this is the end of Autumn (Fall) here.
It was so warm by the afternoon that I thought I'd wander down and see if a swim was a real possibility. When I got there seems I wasn't the only one with the same idea. Two other women were already in! It was beautiful and amazing. I wouldn't have expected to swim in late May.

I was also able to do some patchwork - pure pleasure. So I now have my Elephants and Rails sandwiched and ready to quilt. It's only a small cot sized quilt for a young couple who are sadly leaving Australia to return to Europe. I thought the 'elephant never forgets' idea would be a reminder to them of the community they connected with here, in the fabric. 
Here's the 'before quilting'

 And then the 'after' with some cross hatching on the turquoise frame and some squiggle free-motion on the lime frame. The elephant blocks I did some 'Baptist fan' pattern, which both tends to outline the elephants and is a shape like an elephants ear so that's fun.
Here's a close up of the fan pattern: 
And then on the back, I found this cute all over elephant fabric which just seems to go: 

So a fun baby quilt for a lovely couple. Hope they like it. 

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

Friday 16 May 2014

A friend of mine is having a birthday party and being a creative person, it has a theme: 'Mat Hatter's Tea Party' - doesn't that sound like fun? And of course we have to wear a hat. So I put my thinking cap on first and thought I'd make a few tumbler coasters for fun - and a small gift at the same time. I remembered one of my sons once bought a bit of a crazy hat with small bells on the end, so the plan is to attach the coasters to the hat. Sure will be crazy, but they were fun to make too.
My friend teaches children aged 4 or 5 so I think she'll enjoy the child friendly scraps I used for these. There were good fun to make - though the binding was probably the most time consuming. They were also a good trial for a similar quilt I'm thinking of making - yet another way to use scraps productively and I seem to gather quite a few along the way. 

I'm linking up to My Quilt Infatuation and Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Until next time,

Friday 9 May 2014

I've been busy putting together a couple of quilt tops together which I will shortly be quilting, but I've needed to focus on this one below, for my mother-in-law's 80th birthday. I'm sewing the binding on tonight as we will gather as a family to celebrate tomorrow. We celebrate Mother's Day here in Australia this weekend and my mother-in-law's birthday is always a couple of days either side of it, depending what date the 2nd Sunday in the month falls on. So it's a matter of 2 gifts in a short space of time. The quilt is her main gift, with flowers as an additional gift. 

I started the quilt with the 'garden' fabric, which doesn't look very prominent now at all, but never mind. I particularly enjoyed doing the free-motion quilting, having seen something similar I thought I'd give it a go. I improved as I went along, with the squares on the right and bottom edges working out the best. 
I love it when 2 simple blocks, a 9 patch and a snowball block come together and seem to create a different block like this. The blue really makes it sing. I think she'll like it!
Below doesn't have the binding on, but it does show a closer up of the quilting. 

I found the perfect backing fabric in my stash, but as often is the case it wasn't quite enough. So I gave a pieced backing a go too. 

Until next time,
I'm linking up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict 

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Squares and Rails

Well my rainbow quilt was received in the way it was given, with much love and thanks - from us to the recipient. It is lovely to see when a quilt touches the right spot and is like a big hug in itself. This week though I'm working on trying to put the scrappy 2" squares together with a fun alphabet border. Then comes the sandwiching - anyone else not a great fan? Once it's together it's fine, it's just the grovelling on the floor, the taping etc that makes me use my non smiley face!
And then there are elephants and rails. While I like the colours which have come together well, wouldn't you know it, the fat quarter I bought is 5 squares short for the size I wanted to make. I did buy a second fat quarter with the same colours, but not elephants, more like bunting. It's amazing how things just stand out so much more when you take a photo as opposed to the naked eye. I had thought of scattering the bunting squares in 5 spots, but having seen the photo I don't think so. It means I just have to go back to the fabric shop and get another fat quarter, which will leave/create more scraps, and so the circle goes on and on! The dark grey narrow border I was thinking of using also looks far darker by photo, but a lighter grey just seems to wash things out, so I think I'll end up going with that anyway, unless a better idea grabs me before I go to cut and sew it. 
The aqua forming a square around the elephants looks far better than the lime green too, so maybe some more adjustments coming up. How did I cope before digital photos? And how handy are mobile phones for that purpose?

Until next time, I'm linking up to 
and Needle and Thread Thursday (My Quilt Infatuation)

Sunday 23 March 2014

Two Finishes

It's been a busy week but it feels good to have quilted and finished 2 quilts. Sad that they are both destined for women who have the terrible disease of our generation it seems, cancer. I hope these 'fabric hugs', as I like to think of quilts, brighten their day a little.
The first is my 'low flutter' quilt, low volume in blues and a butterfly feature fabric. I wasn't sure how to quilt this one, but thought I'd give an all over free-motion swirl a go and I think it worked out OK. The weather was glorious and my roses just peeping over the top make me smile.

The backing is a soft apricot with the off-centre feature fabric, which I've also come to like, despite the fact that it wasn't originally destined to be off-centre!

The second quilt is my rainbow connection. The timing worked out well for a number of people at church to sign in the spaces of quilter's muslin and I quilted it with a simple line from the yellow sections, like rays from the sun. After auditioning a number of fabrics for the binding, I think the 4 colour variations seem to fit. Again I trust it will bring a tangible sign of love and care.

This week I hope to be onto fun children's quilts as I seem to know so many who are pregnant and due very soon - such are the varied experiences in the spectrum of life.

Linking up with Confession of a Fabric Addict. 

Until next time,

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Novelty Print Squares

I seem to have quite a stack of left over child friendly fabrics. As I've made various baby or toddler quilts over the years, there's always just a bit left over and then I need to purchase more for the next and so on it goes.
So in an effort to keep using them up, I'm starting on what I suspect may be a few 2 inch block quilts with various homespun fabrics as sashings. This is the first.
This is my work in progress to date, just the squares done, not even joined up yet. One of our local fabric shops had a special on homespun ($2 AUD per metre). I bought 3 different colours/shades one a pale pink and the other 2 shades of grey. I carefully auditioned and chose a lighter shade of grey and put it on top of all my novelty prints. Then somehow as I moved things around I managed to pick up the darker grey! I'm hoping that once I have the quarter inch seams and a brighter border, the grey will look less prominent. 
Meanwhile I'll also continue to quilt my low flutter - so far about half done and happily a loopy free-motion pattern is working out quite well. 
Until next time,

Linking up with Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts (work in progress Wednesday)

Thursday 6 March 2014

Low Flutter to Quilt

My low volume flimsy I blogged about on Feb 5 is now together, with its pale sky-blue border. I'm quite happy with how it's come together.

I also have the backing pieced. I used the fabric that I had fussy cut the butterfly squares for the larger pieces in the top. It worked out off centre, though that was not quite the plan. Somehow when I carefully measured and then halved the pale orange fabric, then cut, it didn't end up where I expected! I realised I cut the whole of the backing in half, rather than half of just the orange. No matter I'm sure the recipient won't mind.
The challenge now is to sandwich and then quilt. How to quilt, isn't that often the dilemma? I don't have a long arm, so my free-motion quilting is very free. I'm thinking to try something swirly, so I'll try and take it slowly starting from the centre and take frequent pauses. 
Then my next challenge is my rainbow connection quilt top. There's always something else to be going on with isn't there?

Until next time, 

I'm linking up with Work in Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieces and Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation. 

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Rainbow connection?

It's been a little while and I've been working on this top I started and then put away, mostly because I wasn't sure what to do for a border - and I wanted a border.
So having looked around a little (and trying to be good and not buy new fabric unless it was absolutely necessary) I thought I'd give a piano border a go.
Well, it was both fun and frustrating. Using the scraps for the initial blocks was fine, but then of course I'd used scraps as they were 'small left over bits' not necessarily 4inch squares. So the hunt was on through my stash for about 5 kinds of various colours, or 10 in some cases. Now that I'm almost there I'm not sure whether it will be too much!
This first shot shows how I'm also auditioning the idea of framing it with the quilter's muslin/calico once the piano border is there (at the top left). How do you tell when it's too much?
I can always reuse the border pieces in a coin type pattern, but you know when you become so familiar with a piece you can't see it objectively any more, or is that just me?

This one shows the gaps I still have in some places, like the greens and the beige/brown - since I needed about 20 of those since there is brown in 2 corners and I've followed it round on both sides. I really do enjoy scrappy tops, but they often bring me undone in trying to piece the blocks together so that they don't overwhelm the whole. 
I'm also working on another that I think I'll intersperse with a broken dishes (ie 4 triangles in matching pairs) block so we'll see how that works, but that's for next time. 
Until then, 

Friday 14 February 2014

Arkansas Crossing

I've finished my Arkansas Crossing quilt! Having been working on low volume, it was quite a shift to go back to the bright squares and to further complicate things, the walking foot on my machine that has more throat space (1600P QC) broke recently. I've ordered a replacement but it hasn't arrived yet and I really wanted to get on and quilt those squares. So my domestic Janome Excel 5024 had a work out today. And it's a faithful little machine.

Straight lines are what I chose to emphasize the 'crossings' but having looked at some others on Pinterest (should have looked before I began!) I think if I did this again I may do something more free-motion. But this is for a child's quilt, so plain is probably best. There are some fun prints in there that I hope siblings will have fun pointing out or maybe playing games with.
There are some fruits, animals and so on, and the backing is a quite cute one with 5 different children playing games. 

So having completed that one, it's back to the low-volume piecing and maybe some other bits and pieces I should finish up - but at least that's the norm for quilters, a number of works in progress.

I'm linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Until next time,

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Low-volume piecing

Mid-week and here's my progress this week, making what seems to be working out as another low volume quilt.
I had some fabric that I thought would work well as a feature and wanted to give the pattern on Sarah's Confessions of a Fabric Addict blog, (tutorial by Lisa Roddy) a go.
I adjusted the size though, so I could use the 'butterfly squares' of the fabric I had. Mine is smaller with the feature fabric 5.25" and the smaller blocks 2.75". It will be more of a lap size quilt, but perfect for someone I know who's recently had a sad cancer diagnosis.

There are 16 blocks in all and I have about half done and the rest might hopefully get together by the end of the week. The sandwiching and quilting may take a little longer, but I'll get there. Sometimes you just need to do some piecing and enjoy that stage and other days just feel like quilting days - unless that's just how I feel!
I'm thinking of calling it a 'low flutter' quilt. 

I'm linking to Work in Progress Wednesday (at Freshly Pieced) and Bee Social (at Sew Fresh Quilts)

Until next time,

Sunday 2 February 2014

Summer in the Hamptons

It's been quite a while since I made a Queen size quilt, but when I saw the fabrics for this 'low volume' quilt some time last year I thought it would be ideal for our bed in summer. It was a kit from a local shop, Carols of Midland. I thought I had carefully saved the selvages to help identify the fabric, but now all I can find is 'Alchemy'. No matter I'm quite happy that the easy square pattern is now put together and I've had my long arm quilter, Mandy Cusack quilt a lovely loopy pattern on it for me.
This outdoor shot (thanks to my husband's supporting hands to hold it up) shows the border fabric too, as well as the size.
The ones below shows some of the backing and a close up of some of the fabric and quilting.

I'm really happy with this one, but I was reminded why I don't usually do such large quilts. They are fine to put together, but I haven't yet been game enough to try to quilt one on my own machine.
Nice to have such a big one completed early in the year.
Until next time,

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Half square place mats

Disappearing away down south for respite from the heat and to enjoy the glorious coastline is all very wonderful, but it doesn't get much quilting done. Having had a few delightful days away I hope to get back to doing some patchwork and quilting this week.
Last week I did manage to complete, prior to going away, some place mats for the friend who lives in Albany. Blue and white are her favourite colours and the colour scheme of her home so I knew as soon as I saw the blue and white fabric it would be for her.
I did some free-motion quilting of feathers in the white sections, along with some simple large stippling on the outside borders. Machine binding also helps to bring the process to a swift conclusion, though had I more time, there is something very relaxing and pleasurable about completing the binding by hand.
Small projects are satisfying for their prompt completion, but also whet the appetite for larger ones. These place mats use half square triangles and it is such a versatile and useful shape. I had earlier made this lap quilt for another friend on her 80th birthday.
Thanks to Nicole (Sisters Choice Blog) for displaying such variety that different arrangement of these shapes can create - it was great inspiration for the place mats.
Now to get back to adding some borders and doing some sandwiching on my next current 'flimsy'!

Until next time,

Sunday 19 January 2014

Pooh and me

I've had a wonderful week - a few days spent in one of the best places on earth to me - Goode Beach in Albany. It's about a 4 and a half hour drive from Perth, but such beautiful coastline.

As you can see from the photo, it was a quiet day at the beach, other than a woman in a black and red bikini. She inspired me that my 'shocking pink' bra wasn't too different from her two coloured two piece. And it was my 55th birthday, so what did I care? I stripped off and entered the opal like turquoise water - it was magnificent - refreshing but quite warm and I revelled in it. The only other woman I passed as I returned along the beach was so busy searching for a signal and then talking on her mobile phone I don't think she'd have noticed if I'd been in my birthday suit!!

So to home after a restful stay with a friend there whose home has magnificent views of the ocean - very peaceful. And back to my 'Pooh bear' quilt for a friend who is due to deliver her son in March. 

I've now added the binding and the stipple quilting in the squares plus a daisy on the nine patches. I took my 'better half's advice' - (he really does often know best) and used a flash inside with a 'day time' globe. Getting better at the photos. I do enjoy the free-motion quilting and gradually am improving, as everyone says it just takes practise, practise, practise. 

I'll link up with Confessions of a fabric addict. 

Until next time,