Friday 22 November 2019

Tale of Two Runners

Table runners are my favourite 'go to' gift at the moment. They seem to be practical, fun to make, take what seems to be an appropriate amount of time and use lovely amounts of fabric - often scraps which I appreciate.

My first was a pattern I'd been wanting to try for a while, commonly known as lozenges I think, though it's bound to have other names as it seems traditional blocks do that.

I began with some  fat eighths I'd bought a few months ago, coupled with a navy that I thought would help things 'pop'.

I really enjoyed adding the apricots and greens, and then added the white with the circles - a leftover from a baby quilt that seemed to fit. Don't you just smile at the serendipitous nature of patchworking? I do.
I then had fun doing some spineless feathers on the colours, just stitching in the ditch around the navy.

But as I had made the corners of the lozenges, I had cut off the two and half inch triangles. I hate to waste such pieces, but rather than put them aside (I have too many of those already!) I decided to try to use them straight away.

So I began with 'windmills' - again, probably not the correct block name, but at least a recognisable shape.

I added sashing and some set in triangles and so a second table runner was created. Same fabrics, completely different design - I like the whimsy of that. Again, I used some of the fat eighths - hence the four corners being in the beige that co-ordinates with the green, white and beige floral, as I didn't have sufficient for the corners too.

Here's a close up of the quilting around the blocks - some stipple and some loops.

And so, I have 2 gifts ready for friends, which is just as well as its birthday season for some of my friends.

Until next time,

Friday 11 October 2019

Catch Up 2

My last post mentioned a couple of quilts that I'd completed in August, but in September I also kept busy, continuing to use up fabrics in my stash.
I cut out some 3.5" squares so that I had the beginnings of a quilt ready to sew as I was heading to New Zealand to visit my son and daughter in law.

The scenery was amazing. This was as I was walking from their place to the closest town, a 30 minute walk.

Below the beautiful lake Wanaka in the South Island. A gorgeous part of the world. 

While my son was at work, I borrowed my daughter in law's sewing machine and began putting the pieces together to make the blocks below. That one is still to be quilted, but is a flimsy now and is next in line. 

On my return though, I sandwiched and began quilting these cute monkey wrench blocks (from Bonnie Hunter's free pattern here).

As is often the case, you keep a fabric for long enough and it comes in just right. The batik for the border was just that fabric. I really enjoyed putting the blocks together using small scraps and co-ordinating the colours. 
For the backing, my mother in law had passed on this butterfly fabric that worked well. I also had fun free-motion quilting the flowers as an overall pattern. 

A bit of a close up on some of the blocks:

This has now been passed on to a friend whose daughter is expecting her first baby. So my friend will be a new grandma! How exciting is that for her. I find such pleasure in creating and then being able to pass quilts on to people where I know they will be appreciated, used and bring joy. 

Trust you're finding delight in creating too. 

Until next time,

Catch up time

It feels like time passes at different rates at times, though we know that it actually stays the same, there are still 24 hours in the day, the same number of days in the week and so on. And yet, its been two months since I last blogged. Admittedly I have been overseas to visit a son and daughter in law and also been down to our holiday place for a couple of weeks. 

But I also haven't been doing nothing when it comes to quilting. I realised I hadn't posted about this string quilt that I really enjoyed making as its amazingly easy. It's a 'Spin me round' block, but is also doing the rounds on Facebook on various scrap quilting pages. Its all a matter of cutting  two 9.5" by 6.5" rectangles at 45 degrees and then sewing them (the first one with a partial seam) around the 3.5" centre square. There are so many possibilities, but I found it a great way to use up some of those strings. 

I sashed and used cornerstones before adding a couple more borders. Then I did a simple stipple all over this so as not to take away from the many busy fabrics. It was a really quick quilt to make and then given to a local hospice where I have a friend who nurses. A bit of brightness to peoples' lives when the going is very tough.

For the backing, I had picked up a sheet from our local second hand shop that I thought would work well. So here it is:

It makes the quilt reversible really, so even more variety. 

Then towards the end of August I finally got around to quilting a top that I'd had sitting for several months. I had just not completed the final borders as they were a little fiddly with pinwheels in the corners. Once I had it sandwiched I had fun doing the quilting. 

I did loose spineless feathers diagonally across the half square triangles, then in the borders those loops that always remind me of a musical clef. On the pinwheels I did a bit of a spiral. The pale lemon hasn't come out quite as true as the real colour but you get the impression anyway. 

Here's a closer up of the loops, spirals and some of the feathers. I had begun with a fat quarter bundle but also added some of my own fabrics in but I really like the variety of patterns that seem to work well together. 

The backing was a solid which I had also used in the border, but wouldn't you know it, not quite enough. Isn't that where our creativity comes in? So I added something similar enough in tone to blend quite nicely. The afternoon sun was creeping in when I took this but I do enjoy seeing the quilting, probably as close as I'll ever get to a whole cloth!

And finally for now, a close up of the soft feathers. 

I have made other quilts during September, but I think they'll have to be for another blog. This one has sufficient photos for now. This one has yet to find a home, but I'm sure it's time will come. 

Until next time,

Friday 9 August 2019

So many squares

I know we all say how many scraps we have, but I'm one of those who can't bear to throw away all the small pieces. So when a friend recently commented how she liked this quilt:

I thought I'd have another go and make one for her. So I proceeded to gather all my 2.5" squares and fabric to make the half square triangles (from 4" squares right sides together, sewn a quarter inch around the edge then cut diagonally to yield 4 HST). 

I laid them out as I went along, but somewhere in the transition to our holiday place, I must have moved things around a little, as this is what I ended up with:

As well as the change in layout, it looks brighter than the first one, perhaps more red and yellow highlights. While I stuck with the feathers in the lighter sections, I chose to do curves in the darker squares. 

Then around the edges, I did some spineless or floppy feathers. 

This is probably the closest I've ever come to having the back appear like a wholecloth with the quilting. I delivered it today, much to her surprise and I think she liked it. 

As for my collection of scraps, do they seem reduced at all? Doesn't seem like it, but we know that they multiply in discreet, amazing and secret ways don't we?
Ah well, on to the next one. 

Until next time,

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Baby rectangles

I do enjoy making baby sized quilts, I've probably said that before, but the size, the variety and the way that they come together quite quickly gives a great sense of satisfaction. And I can pass them on to friends which is always lovely.

I thought I had posted about a couple that I made recently, but found I hadn't done that, so here are 2 that are the same pattern, but appear quite differently because of the different colourings of them.

This one for a friend's grandson:

Rather than using a white for the obvious 'ladder' that appears in the centre of the quilt, I chose a softer cream and interspersed that with a light patterned block that has the key colours of the quilt in it: turquoise, yellow and brown. The darkest fabric, the brown also features those colours. 

I also really enjoy doing the free form feathers or spineless feathers and doing those diagonally helps to focus the eye in that direction. Having the narrow half inch colour between the cream borders also helps to frame the centre well.

This one is also the same pattern, though I have also added another border onto it.

While having someone to hold it up is great for the quilt, having it flat on the ground does show the quilting more clearly. 

So that's a recent couple, on to the next one!
Until next time,

Monday 29 July 2019


I bought a 6 pack of some fat quarters recently and it didn't make it into my stash, I saw a very simple pattern that I thought would work well for a baby quilt, so I began with the fat quarters. I did add or substitute one for some fabric from my stash as the fabric was too light to complete the pattern. The turquoise at the top here is the one I added to the quilt rather than a golden tone. It seemed to add balance to the quilt to me.

Windmills are very easy, particularly if you begin with two squares right sides together and sew the quarter inch all around the sides. Then all you need to do is cross cut diagonally as well as vertically and horizontally - that gives 8 half square triangles, making two windmills! All I needed to do then was work out how long I wanted the chunk of fabric to be and add some sashings. 

A friend had also given me some really cute fabric with foxes and other animals to use as backing. So it was on to the free-motion quilting. I thought I'd give swirls a go and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. 

And the backing worked really well with the few colours on the front, so that was a win all around. This was always destined to be a baby quilt, it was just a matter of which baby. A friend told me today that her niece is pregnant with her second child, so I'm ahead of the game!

I've even got the top of the two and a half inch squares together, I just need to join the backing and then sandwich it up, then on to more quilting. Just as well I love it!

Until next time,

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Baby Squares

When making a quilt from two and half inch squares, (as I'm currently doing) the appeal of 3 inch squares is quite strong it seems. Just that extra half inch - and the fact that a friend had gifted me some strips that size, called my name and I had to make some four patches. Beginning with the brightly coloured squares (second from the edge) I found colours that were either included or co-ordinated well. 

The centre went together quite quickly, then what to put on the border? I auditioned reds, blues, greens and then hit on this one that seems to work, perhaps because it links to the centre green. Since I'm also quilting another quilt that is a bit more intensive in the specific repeated pattern, the simplicity of the orange peel quilting and spineless feathers, which I really enjoy, made this a far easier and quicker finish. 

Here's a close up of some of the bright colours:

And I am so fortunate to have such wonderful friends who share their scraps, or pieces of backing they don't currently have a purpose for. Another friend gave me this cute sheeting that just seemed perfect for this baby/child quilt:

So I guess its on to the other works in progress now - amazing how much fun a small (this one's 45 inch square) quilt can be, very satisfying. I'll get the binding on and pass it on to my friend whose new baby grandson came three weeks early and has spent some time in intensive care.  

Until next time,

Friday 28 June 2019

Christmas in July

Technically I am a little early for July, but a friend of mine asked whether I could quilt this panel for her. Her mother had done it some time ago, but hadn't got around to quilting it.
So here it is, the man himself with his reindeer across the sky.

I had fun with this, look at those reindeer go:

A simple stipple can be so effective in making the background recede and the main attraction pop a bit more. I did an orange peel around the squares in the border and then had some fun on the trees and roof tops:

Perhaps its only Down Under where we think of having a Christmas in July event, since its our winter and thoughts of cooking a turkey or hot dinner seem far more sensible. Perhaps in the northern hemisphere it seems a bit strange - but imagine Christmas in your summer and you'll experience what we usually do in December. 

So while I didn't put this panel together, I did enjoy quilting it and my friend seems pretty happy with it too. 

Until next time,

Thursday 20 June 2019

Four Bears

I enjoy using scraps, making smallish quilts and particularly making quilts for new babies. So my latest finish ticks all my boxes. I have made one of these before and since its made from 2 and half inch strips, it goes together quite quickly. The fun comes in the quilting.

I managed to get a photo just as the sunlight was beginning to fade so there is a little shadowing but it also shows up the quilting quite well - just a fun loopy feather type shape that adds texture but leaves the quilt feeling nice and cuddly soft.

The gender of the baby was not known when I made the quilt, I thought it was quite nice that the first time parents wanted a surprise, so didn't find out what they were having (since knowing seems to be the norm). I found out last night that they've had a little girl, so these reddish/pink bears will be just fine - not that it would have mattered for a boy either since the bears are mostly brownish and really do we care about colours for babies?

The quilt finishes around 46" square and I had a lovely buttermilk yellow for the backing which was the right size - another win. So here it is:

Kind of looks more beige here, but trust me it's a lovely creamy yellow. I had enough of the brown from the top right bear for the binding, so this was all from my stash. 
All I need to do now is add the label and it will be on its way to the family by the end of the week. 

Now, back to all these 2 and half inch squares:

Keeps me busy and out of trouble!
Until next time,

Sunday 2 June 2019

Runner and Rainbow

I have been busy during the month of May, three projects to show here, the first a table runner for a young couple getting married.
I chose some batik strips I had, joined them with a batik background and then it was just a matter of making it the appropriate length. The quilting I wanted to keep simple so that the fabrics still stood out. Since the groom was born in South Africa, I made the label with a saying I had heard from his father: "God writes straight with crooked lines" - it seemed appropriate with the quilting.

The second was a rather quick make for a young woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She loves rainbow colours, so it seemed appropriate. 

Its a quickly pieced large block with 3 and half inch squares and the centre diamond made from four half square triangles - a great scrap user. I auditioned all kinds of border fabrics and finally settled on this one I've had in my stash for years. 
And the backing a sheet I've also used on a quilt in the previous post. It shows the quilting well and is quite neutral with the large circles.

My third project I enjoyed, beginning with the fabric I used in the border then pulled out co-ordinating colours. The simple brick pattern goes together quickly and easily. I've made a couple with this pattern before. It also provides a lovely space to quilt spineless feathers on a diagonal. 

My handy holder up was around so I put him to work. Shame he's not around more often in this way! Just ignore the feet and slither of head showing at the top. I can't tell you how fiddly the small nine patch squares was in the first border. I think it's to do with my maths, but they seemed to take the same time as putting the centre together!
The backing was a couple of pieces plus a little left over batik to complete the centre section. Since the front was all stash I didn't mind buying a couple of small pieces for this. 

It went to a friend who's recently had a first grandchild. She seemed delighted with it. And I had fun putting it together. 
So it's on to the next project or projects, just a few on the go still.
Until next time,

Monday 1 April 2019

Hearts and babies

I mentioned in my last post, Here, that the craft group that I, along with a friend teach each week, had been making a bag and quilt for a little girl aged 4 who had open heart surgery.
The quilt my friend and I put together is now completed and will be popped into the bag this week and given to the little girl.
Here's how the quilt turned out:

We had fun piecing the coloured blocks to co-ordinate with the rainbow blocks. And also the 'fun' of doing the calculations to cut the set in triangles! Phew, lucky my friend has taught maths. Anyway, I left the quilt with my friend all pinned in rows ready to be joined up. After completing the appliqued hearts, she very promptly (within a couple of days) passed it back to me. It was then up to me to find a backing - a sheet I had picked up that is proving to be very useful and versatile because of its large circles. 

And here's just a close up of the stippling around the hearts and the spineless feathers. 

When I mentioned to my friend that I would likely quilt spineless feathers in the white border she said: "Oh, couldn't you do hearts?" I answered truthfully, "Well, spineless feathers are much easier and I think they look rather like hearts anyway". She hasn't seen it other than a photo yet but she seems fine with it (thank goodness).  Looking forward to seeing how the recipient and her Mum like what our lovely group has put together. 

Then I went on to complete a quilt begun a couple of months ago in anticipation of a friend's grandchild to be born in April. As things often do, it didn't work quite to plan in that I hadn't quite completed the quilt and the grandson made his appearance a little early! 
I had fun with this one which was one that Sarah made Here, that she called 'Place Your Bet'. I adapted to make the size a little smaller (50" by 43") and was very pleased to have all the fabric on hand in my stash. 
Its a simple quilt that comes together quite quickly:

Again you can see the spineless feathers in the border, but also in the body of the quilt this time too. I think I may have to find another 'go to' pattern for variety's sake, but this one is really so easy. I don't know how you learn new patterns, but I spend some time doodling on paper first of all before giving the pattern a go on some real fabric. Then I progress to a quilt. Mine is all done on a domestic machine, my Janome that I'm very happy with. 

The pattern on the green I think of as loop de loops but they also remind me of the start of a musical clef. The backing was also another sheet I had been given, this time very suitable for a new born, with cute teddy bears and balloons. 

So this one feels like a win on many fronts - using up some scraps, a U.F.O. now completed, a gift for a friend's new grandchild and I'm feeling freer to move on to a new project, unless I really should sandwich and quilt up the 3 tops I know are lurking in my sewing room.....Oh and the table runner I need to complete to give to a couple getting married next weekend. Oh well, its all sewing that's what counts. 

Until next time,

Thursday 28 March 2019

The clever women in the craft group that I, along with another friend teach each Tuesday, have been making some scrap blocks. We wanted bright colours as we are making a quilt and a bag (to put it in) for a four year old little girl who has recently needed to have open heart surgery. Isn't it lovely and bright?

A heart was appliqued on (which also helps to tell the front from the back) and it co-ordinates with the hearts on the pocket inside. 

You might also be able to see that the handles are made from the 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' fabric that was around a little while ago. 

So I'm still working on the quilt itself, so will show that a little later, but for now I think this is a very cute bag for a 4 year old!

I've also completed another quilt this month, hey I'm on a roll, this is my 5th item (4 quilts, one table runner) so far this year. You'll have to excuse the terrible background, no helper and I seem to have lost the crop ability on my photos (will explore that a little later). This has been mailed off to a friend who has been diagnosed with a rather horrible disease for which there's no current cure (motor neurone). I can't imagine what that journey is like, and it seems like such a small thing to send some care in the form of a quilty hug. 

Here is a close up of the squares and some of the quilting - spineless feathers, that I had fun with. 

This is a great pattern to use up scraps. The green I had only a metre of and the cream backgrounds are actually 2 different fabrics, but so similar the eye doesn't initially notice. And as for 2 and half inch squares, doesn't everyone have some of those? Hourglass blocks are great to bring out a secondary pattern to otherwise quite ordinary squares. I'm sure I'll be making another of these soon. 

I hope to be posting again soon, pictures of the finished quilt for the little girl.

Until next time,