Friday, 24 April 2015

Works in Progress

Aiming for a bit of a quick progress report here:
Put together a quilt back for the shirt quilt, really nice cozy flannels, the blue stripe is from some much loved old kids' pajamas.

Pepi is getting the idea that walking/lying on the quilt when I'm taking photos/basting is not always appreciated. What a good dog!

Hoping I won't regret cobbling together some batting. I had some big offcuts of batting left but not a single piece quite large enough for this fairly large quilt so I butted them together and zigzagged. It looks as good as new... Does anyone have any experience of joining batting? Please tell me... how is it holding up..?

Anyway I basted it using my favourite pin method.

My Oakshott order for a few more blues came incredibly quickly halfway round the world.

Yummy yummy!

So now adding to these and trying for some colour decisions.

At this stage the ones on the top are possibly not going to be included, although I'm dithering about that decision (no surprises there!)

(which reminds me have you seen this? Maybe a bit of background re the love hate Kiwi Aussie relationship is necessary?)

maybe some yellow and green would be good (nod to the dear friends across the Tasman), but I don't want it to be too rainbow...

or to cut up too many samples trying to work it out...? Give me your 2c worth.
don't like this yet

Finally I've started cutting up old jeans

beginning with the lighter colours

My problem here is I'm set on largish HSTs with some corner sections like this or this but the leg width of the jeans defines my squares as a bit smaller than I'd ideally like and I'm worried about too many thick and bias seams. I do have some denim yardage and old skirts I'm using to supplement, which could yield wider bits, so the narrower jeans could all become smaller corners, but I think that might get fiddly... I'd rather make HSTs by the two squares method. then improvise colour placement on the design wall. More dithering...Could be overthinking this...?

Celebrating ANZAC long weekend here (TransTasman mateship in the trenches in Gallipoli 100 years ago) there won't be any sewing progress as we're looking forward to having some friends visit, though this lot are fellow kiwis this time round.

What have you got planned?

Monday, 13 April 2015

Q2 Goals

Well it's time to put forward our goals for the second quarter in the Finish Along And I've decided to put down anything I have even a chance of completing, though I'm not promising I don't start new things not listed here...!

1. Shirt quilt  

Left over from last time -this should be achievable and it'd be lovely to have this before winter really sets in -she says as she watches snow fall up on the hill!

2. Our Son's 21st Quilt

He's still 21 but would be nice to do while he is...technically this means it can roll over into Q3- but let's not anticipate that! You can see this has been kicking around too long already. Don't like this colour arrangement or balance and hence this has been in my too hard basket for awhile.

But who couldn't be inspired by this lovely pile. He'd like a bit more blue so will invest in a few more shades and variations and dig in.

I managed a couple of smaller projects last quarter which I hadn't listed so this time I plan to list some...

3. A Knitting Bag for my Mum

When I was up visiting my parents recently Mum passed on this old favourite duvet cover of theirs, which has a few rips, but is largely sound. So I plan to use it for a bag in the same pattern as this one I made for a friend.

Mum suggested also from the same fabric

4. A Music Case for my Dad 

who is having lessons to improve his keyboard playing so he can better enjoy the clavichords he built.  and I thought perhaps this might lend itself to a bit of appropriate fussy cutting. I'm thinking of one of those cases with one handle and a bar that folds across the handle  to close the case if I can figure it out? Anyone seen a pattern for anything like that?

5. Oven gloves or Pot holders 

from this improv fiddle I did ages ago

6. Jeans quilt

 I know it's not a small project... but for a while I have been collecting a pile of jeans with overly ripped knees, or outgrown by the kids, or now unfashionable shapes and am thinking a string quilt with large blocks maybe like this or an improv approach something like  this would be a good use for them.

Well there's nothing like itemising things! Roll on Q2 is all I can say!

Friday, 3 April 2015

On Reflection

The moral of the story is that it's good to think up all the things you think you'll have even a chance of making at the beginning of the quarter, because I have actually made a couple of other things which I didn't list. So actually I haven't been quite as unproductive as I thought. But overall it's a great thing for me to have a deadline!
This is my second finish for this quarter's Finish Along.

This quilt is my last and most recent finish for DoGood Stitches Cherish Bee.  (I blogged about the first one here) I based my request for blocks on Leanne's lovely quilt Reflections. It's always interesting to analyse what makes a successful quilt, or at least one that I particularly like and I don't think I managed to give instructions to end up with the effect that I love in Leanne's. While ours is bold and effective in its way, it doesn't have the subtlety of Leanne's. I think Leanne's quilt is particularly effective because of the variation in value she has used. I asked for red and blue tones and these perhaps weren't quite as varied in value as I'd anticipated. It was a good block for  bee members to use scraps and I suggested people could vary the width of their strips to suit what they had, so it's a bit more random.

I'd like to have another go at something like this to see if I can get closer to the original Reflections quilt on my own.

For the back I used a piece of blue Kona (Copen I think) I had in my stash and made up the width of this square quilt with the red check and an extra block.

This time I used the Nummer print for the binding.

I quilted the diagonal lines to form diamonds first, with the walking foot then in lines, (free motion and a bit wobbly if we're honest!) horizontally in line with the piecing across each diamond and really I should have done it more densely, but I admit to being in a rush before the finish deadline. Anyway I hope it'll add a bit of cheer to the recipient who will be at the Hospice or Women's Refuge or Night Shelter. I have one quilt to donate to each organisation from our bee.

Thursday, 2 April 2015


Right down to wire of the Finish Along deadline, I've finished this quilt for our Cherish Circle of Do. Good Stitches

and as we speak I'm stitching the binding on another.

We have had a bit going on personally lately in the old circle of life with a Golden Wedding, 21st Birthday and a funeral in our close family so I haven't got much done, which I kind of anticipated here, but these quilts have been hanging over me a bit, so it's been really good to have the deadline of the Finish Along

This one was made with Ashley's (from Film in the Fridge) String quilt instructions and was always going to be wild with a free for all amongst the bee members, in terms of colour, with the only proviso being to use white or low volume centre string.

I made a backing using two extra blocks and good old Ikea Nummer print

I was pleased with the binding which is a Carolyn Friedlander Architextures crosshatch.

I quilted a grid along the low volume crosses then a simple free motion square spiral for two rounds of each coloured square.  Once I wash a dry this it should be a bit more textural.

I have three quilts to gift from my months as part of Cherish Circle and I think one will be going to the Women's Refuge, one to the Hospice and one to the Night Shelter locally, where they should add a bit of cheer.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Recent Makings

While I'm not getting on very well with my first quarter finishes...!
 I have managed to make a few things for gifts for January and February birthdays amongst friends and family:

Firstly  a bag and zippy pouch for my dear friend Liz who was celebrating a special birthday.
When we lived in Adelaide I used to get together weekly with Liz  to sew (ostensibly at least) and I miss her so much. We speak regularly but there's nothing like being present with someone. So while I was making these she was especially in my mind.

I used the Runaround Bag pattern from Anna of Noodlehead. For the outside of the bag I used a black needlecord, which is hard to photograph!)

I added a magnetic snap to contain the knitting or whatever and decided on both a zipped internal pocket and a divided slip pocket to keep necessary items handy and secure.

The lining is from Carolyn Friedlander's  Botanics collection.

There are a couple of things that were tricky with this. One is finding which interfacing to use. Here in NZ I haven't been able to find the Pellon SF101 interfacing specified in the pattern and have struggled even to find what is equivalent. I wonder whether the one I opted for was too stiff. Any info from Antipodean or non-US readers about this would be gratefully received. If I made this bag again I'd fuse the interfacing to the lining instead of the outer fabric, which might make the bag feel a little softer while retaining its structure.

The other thing, which I'll say a bit more about in a minute is that the piece I had for the lining wasn't quite the dimensions specified so I had to piece it. I've realised often my projects take a bit longer than they should because I have to fiddle about like this so I've made a new resolution about the way I buy fabric...

The zippy pouch is a little extra because Liz had mentioned how much she loved this soft floral lawn I was cutting up from one of my husband's shirts which had gone at the collar and cuffs to use in the shirt quilt.

I cobbled together a few different approaches to this, gained from various tutorials and adapted to the size and shape I wanted. I always think this afterwards and I still don't do it, but I really should have made notes on what I did. I always think I'll remember and then I spend ages trying to figure it out all over again...

Next up was some hot pads/potholders for my sister.

Both Liz and my sister are among those poor unfortunates whose birthdays fall in the early January post Christmas hole, when people are just recovering from thinking of gifts and probably away on holiday too, so I often am late recognising my sister's birthday and often mired in good intentions which don't get realised!  To be on time I really would need to think of and send the gift before Christmas. So although I was late again, I enjoyed making these using some of the fabric I used in some mats I made for her another year. In fact this (grey floral) fabric was originally from Liz. Isn't the story of where fabric comes from part of its joy? I think the reddy orange is Kona Flame.

For the back I used a couple of different black text prints

I just made log cabin blocks and cut and reassembled them. Finished with a black binding and loop made using an idea by Mary and Patch who is a Swiss quilter and fabric artist whose work you should check out if you don't already know it. 

My final make this last month is for my mother-in-law's birthday. She is unfortunately quite sick and I thought she might make use of some fresh cheery pillowcases, which I hope are her colours. I used a Jay McCarroll Habitat print which I paired with an aqua shot cotton

It's easy enough to figure out how to make a pillowcase which has to be one of the most simple shapes to sew; but I used this tutorial (from a lovely little Adelaide based store called The Drapery) because everything's measured and set out, why re-invent the wheel?  I wanted to do French seams to make the insides really neat. that's really easy, but it took longer than it should have because I made a couple of silly mistakes. Old habits of right sides together die hard and I folded the tuck in part the wrong way so had to tediously unpick.

Anyway I'm satisfied in the end and I hope my mum-in-law likes them.

When I'm planning projects other than quilts and choosing fabric, I am inspired by what I have in my stash, but often I find I'm limited by not having enough of the one I choose. These things are relative I know, but I don't really keep an enormous stash. There's a tipping point between having enough on hand for the current inspiration and buying lots of fabric without a particular aim in mind. So I have decided that sometimes, instead of buying a fat quarter or even a half yard, which I've often found is not enough, I'll buy a bigger piece which will give me more flexibility in my making. Perhaps instead of buying a whole collection  of fat quarters which I've only ever done once with Carloyn Friedlander's Botanics and Architextures anyway,  I'll choose only the prints I love the most and get bigger pieces. I'll just need to allow myself to use them and cut into them rather than save them, which can be a barrier for me. 

It'd be great to hear how others approach this. 

It's so nice to have favourite fabrics on hand when I want to make something like a bag or pillowcases, which can't just be constructed from small pieces. Tough decisions, like buying more fabric, just have to be made sometimes!

Friday, 16 January 2015

Late to 2015

A Belated Happy New Year to You Dear Reader

While some of you winter away, we are just back from two glorious weeks camping here in NZ

It was our first camping trip where we stayed put for more than 3 nights.

Blissful kayaking, walking, running, reading, sunning, swimming, playing, chatting, eating and no electricity or even phone coverage. Wondrous...even though that puts me quite behind back in "normal" life!

The area near here is called Golden Bay for obvious reasons.

Hard to believe this bay hides 850 people in 23 camping bays

 and now I'm rushing to join the Finish Along for the first time, in the hope that it will increase my accountability to some unfinished projects...??

I'll list a few but that said I'm not being too ambitious this quarter since we have a few lovely celebrations in the pipeline: my parents are  celebrating their Golden Wedding and we are hosting our eldest's 21st for which we've (perhaps over keenly) decided to build a wood-fired oven and having a few visitors before and after that on top of normal working life.

For Do Good Stitches Cherish bee I  have to finish :

The September Reflections Quilt

The January String Quilt (this is optimistic since I may not even have all the blocks in time)

Then there's The Shirt Quilt
Which (already?!) has another section since this photo.

And finally (except there are a few other WiPs not on this quarter's list) our son's 21st quilt. Which is at the stage of a fabric pull and an idea and trial snippets stuck on a piece of paper. I'd show you except this computer's on a super go slow and so I'll save it til next time.

That'll do to start with...Truly if I finish all those it will be completely miraculous!
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