Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of year catch up...

It has been an insane year, busy and quiet, productive and unproductive... one thing is for certain, I am not sad to see the back of 2013! There has been so much unrest these past few months I don't think I have ever felt quite so torn and mashed up inside.

Here was the list I posted of things to do in 2013...

So left from 2012 I have

Blossom Creek complete block 2 (oh so close), then 3, 4 and do the log cabining
Make some fabric table runners to sell in the 'shop'
Placemats to go with the cushions I made  for Coral's b'day
Blouse for me 
Over skirt for my sari skirt so I will wear the skirt and it won't sit in the wardrobe...
Fabric placemats for us for outside
Apron for Katie

And the things I know are on the list for 2013

Stitch in the ditch the jelly roll quilt 
Make my Material Obsession Dotty for Dresden quilt 
Do something with all fabric that I have got back from the rainbow swaps I was in in 2012!
A beach bag from a charm swap
A table runner from the Christmas swap
Christmas placemats
A replacement ironing board cover for Laura I think with the charm squares (I mean I have 4 of each swap to play with, there will be no shortage of rainbows in our house!)  - BOUGHT one, it was just easier...

Have come up with some other goodies to sell in the shop as well - keeping those under wraps for the time being.
A couple of loose tops to wear in Raro in March - we went, I didn't sew anything, well I did but it just looked like  tent.
Winter nighties for Missy
Another full circle skirt/dress for Missy and one for her friend MMV

Hmm... it would appear 2012 list has largely gone untouched too! But on the up side I did do 2 teachers quilts, 2 Kiwi quilts
2 baby quilts
A bucket load of charity quilt sewing
A BOM quilt that takes a month to finish each block and there were 2 blocks each month and a bunch of other stuff that wasn't on the list!

So 2014

Blossom Creek complete block 2 (oh so close), then 3, 4 and do the log cabining
Make some fabric table runners to sell in the 'shop' & get the other stuff sewn!
Place mats to go with the cushions I made  for Coral's b'day
Blouse for me 
Over skirt for my sari skirt so I will wear the skirt and it won't sit in the wardrobe...
Fabric place mats for us for outside
Apron for Katie
A beach bag from a charm swap
A table runner from the Christmas swap
Another full circle skirt/dress for Missy and one for her friend MMV


Pillow cases to go with the Dresden quilt
Finish the BOM quilt
Summer nighties for Missy 
The cathedral window kit I bought at the quilt fair
Tula Pink 100 modern blocks quilt
2 crochet rolls for 2 very good friends...
master binding

I think that is plenty to keep me busy and out of trouble this year. Perhaps I should print this out to keep an eye on it...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Charity Quilting

There's been some horrific bush fires in Sydney in recent weeks, over 200 houses lost. 200 families without homes or possessions. It really is quite sad. A few weeks ago I met a lovely lady Susanne via a Facebook request for a quilting bee to be held at one of our local public hospitals to make quilts for the baby's and children who for what ever reason find themselves in hospital for an extended period of time. I couldn't make the bee unfortunately but I could take some packs from Susanne and sew them. With the help of my buddies at my quilting group we made 14 quilts which wasn't a bad effort! Here's 9 of them!

So when she put a call out for quilts to be made for the bush fire victims I knew the packs would be organised and simple and the tops would come together quickly. I made the top in about 2 and a half hours and finished this at home. I hope it gives comfort to someone in the mountains next winter.

 I love the backing fabric, it looks like a giraffe!

End of year teachers gifts

Our school is a little different than most. Our school is small (210 students), the children get a meal provided in the middle of the day and they have the same teacher for 3 years of infants and then a new teacher again for the 4 years of primary. We are about to graduate into primary (year 3) so we farewell our beloved Mrs C and from the other class of our year, Mrs T. The children will still see them around the play ground but they change to a different lunch time and the lower first (or kindy) classroom is at the top end of the school with their own playground so they won't see them as often as they are used to. These women are amazing, they are as much a part of our lives as they are the children's. From the first day at orientation till the last morning of year 2 we have just had the best start to 'big school' we could have wished for, they now go back to take the next intake of 3 years and teaching some siblings of the children in our year, as weird for them as it is to see these 'babies' in school uniforms!

I wanted to do something special for the teachers, something to say 'thanks' for all their hard work (and we have had a lot of hiccups along the way) but something that involved the kids too as it is them saying goodbye really. I saw a quilt somewhere (I won't try and find the original source because I know I won't be able to drill down deep enough) but it had kids on it and they were holding hands. It was representing different cultures I think. So about November last year I started planning the gift for end of term 4 this year...

It has been a long journey, especially getting 40 names back from kids but we did it and I can't wait to see the teachers faces when we give theses 2 quilts to them in 2 weeks time!

Each child was given a strip of white homespun with their name written on it (in NSW font!), a needle, a length of thread in their house colour and some basic back stitch instructions. They had about 14 weeks to do this task, some managed it quickly, others lost it or it was too hard so some mums helped me out. The block bottom right on each of the quilts are the children who left the class before January this year.

I used the same fabrics for each but switched the border and bindings around on the quilts to make them same same but different.

The divine and very talented Miss Ellie-Mae did the quilting for me. I love how the 2 quilts have different features on the individual blocks, one has bubbles around the kids, the other has bubbles around the names. She did such a good job and kept me up to date and shared sneak peeks with me along the way. How did I find her? She's a friend! Would I recommend her, ab-so-bloodin-lootly! She's great! She did the job in the time frame specified and her rates are really good too!

So, next step is to make a drawstring bag to keep them in. Another talented friend with an embroidery machine is sewing a simple 'thank you' message for me, the new kids who have joined us this term will have their names added to the bag as it is too late for the quilt (obviously!!) but I have 2 weeks to do this and I am quietly freaking out!

I can now tick 2 more quilts off the 'to do' list and that feels GREAT!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

MSBHBQAL linky doo dah

Almost done! Almost... The blog - famous Molli Sparkles Broken Herringbone Quilt a Long!

So, we have the dogs mini quilt. She appears to 'dribble' when on the couch so I wanted something for her to lay on that could be removed for when a human body wanted to sit on the couch and not get covered in white/black depending on what you are wearing, hair. Molli's Grandma sent me these fabrics, can't remember why but I no complain, it seemed fitting they be used for the QAL and even more so as it was Molli's idea and G'ma Sparkles was visiting - Kismet!

I still have to finish the binding on but Miss Daisy has well and truly adopted this blanket as hers! I have a plan to put it on the floor and see if she will sleep on it there... there is a method to my madness...

I didn't want to have any scraps left over so went on a bit of a piecing journey and did a crazy paving accent to the back.

Then... I decided I liked the BHB pattern and having 2 friends who were both pregnant and having bucket loads of rainbow strips left from swaps I decided to put my own spin on the BHB. I love white on quilts, love white as a colour. I found some cute white on white dragon fly material at my LQS and bought what was left on the bolt, came home and strip cut, found the brightest in coloured strips and put my own spin on the block...

 This is quilt #1... Baby Anna Joan came into the world just 2 days ago so this will be bound in pink and gifted when we meet her, can't wait! She looks like a wise soul, she's been here before this baby! I am thrilled for her mum and dad, dad especially. I have watched him grow into a fine young man and am over the moon he is a daddy.

Using quilt lite as the batting this quilt doesn't need a lot of quilting. I used some King Tut variegated rainbow thread and did a stitch in the ditch around the squares and then a fancy stitch between the rows and around the edges (after the photo was taken). Now to trim and bind...

And this second baby quilt which is taken on it's side, woops but I don't have time to retake the photo! This one is a white dot on white and done the same way. This is for a rainbow baby due in about 10 weeks time. This bubba had older twin brothers who never took a breath when they were born full term. Over the moon my friend is expecting again and can't wait till her new bundle is here and can be given this. I chose not to put a white border around it (a slight stuff up with the batting cut - being resourceful) I will bind it in white instead I think. This is on the machine at the moment being fancied up.

Joining in with the linky uppy think on Molli's blog!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

In overdrive! RBHBQ's here we come!

Most of my friends have finished their families, a bit sad when I have just started sewing quilts really... But I have 2 friends who are currently pregnant. D&M and A&C. This is a post with very mixed emotions so please bear that in mind when reading it.

I used to be D's boss in my last corporate job, then D used to mow our lawns. D married M a few years ago now and I am over the moon they are finally having a baby!

I went to college with C (8 years ago). Tragically 2 years ago she had stillborn twin boys Eli and Cody. Simply tragic that they both passed away. She was 9 months pregnant, a few days overdue actually. For what ever reason these beautiful bubba's weren't compatible with life and it has been a hard road for her and her husband since their birth. But we are delighted she is pregnant again, now 28 weeks and everything looks to be travelling nicely for her. I am sure this is the easy part for her, the hard part will be in 18-20 weeks time as the birth gets closer. I hope she doesn't leave the hospital empty handed again... This will be her rainbow baby... which got me thinking...

I am a sucker for quilts with a lot of white. Love them. I haven't seen Molli's flikr group with everyones WIPs' for his QAL and to be honest I didn't want to quash my idea before it had taken off. Amelia and I have signed up for a few swaps so we had to go to a LQS to choose the fabric. While I was there I looked for a white white on white fabric that would be suitable for a baby.

And then the creating began...

 Sashing ready to go...
 Sewing strips
First up - pink!

Next off the rank is red!

Next is blue, but the family needed feeding last night and I was very tired so I had to stop!

Still working out how much fabric I will need for one of these but so far it looks like I can do a block from one strip pair and one extra strip of sashing. This will mean I will have enough fabric for quilts for both baby's but they won't be gifted till these bubba's are home and in their cots.

Broken Herringbone & G'ma Sparkles FQ's

The lovely Molli has been hosting the webfamous MSBHQAL what a mouthful! I initially thought I would have time to join in but a kitchen reno, mother visiting, school Shakespeare and school holidays (and not in that order) have seen not a jot of anything much sewing related happening...


Last week, Amelia had a sleep over at a friends house and Stef had booked my car in for a service. At home, BY MYSELF for 5 hours, for the first time in SIX months, I had a go at the Herringbone...

Grandma Sparkles sent me some FQ's months ago, lovely fabrics but not really me being black, white and red. Lovely colours but not colours that feature in my wardrobe. I didn't want to give them away, especially as they were a gift to me! I knew I would find something to do with them... cue Daisy!

Daisy LOVES sleeping on the couch, I don't have a problem with that at all but I do have a problem with remembering to de-hair before guests come over and feel dreaful when they walk out with a bottom looking like a lamington a-la-Daisy...

*bing*! Lighbulb moment!!

Pretty happy with how it turned out! Then left with strips of the balance of the FQ's and the bits from the block I had an idea in my head, but it didn't quite work out exactly as I had pictured but, I am happy with it!

I then 'funked' up the back making a crazy block with the cut off's from the herring bone block!

This is a small, I wouldn't actually go  so far as to call it a quilt, let's downgrade it to a mat. It will be perfect for our ball of balck and white to curl up on and be easier to wash than the couch when she makes it up on it before I have wiped muddy (or worse) paws.

I have sewn the binding on it and will join and finish that today/tomorrow...

Then the brain went into overdrive...

Rainbow quilt

I thought I had done a post on this but it would appear not!

One of the groups I belong to on Facebook is a Rainbow Swapping group. I had never given rainbows much thought or consideration other than looking at them in the sky but they have found a place in my heart along with some very special friends from this group. This is the group I went away with the Stroud in January this year. A great bunch of girls and a guy who would bend over backwards for you. They send you random gifts, include chocolates and stuff in swaps when they come back, I love them!

So, one of my first swaps was a width of fabric or WOF rainbow, a bright 90% tone on tone swap. I was blown away by the colours of the roll returned! Not sure what I was going to do with it someone shared or I found somewhere clicking on blogs and Pinterest a link to a 'strip and flip baby quilt'. Looked easy enough and something certainly achievable in a quick space of time.

Armed with some white homespun I whipped up the top and took it to Stroud with me to get some help with the stripping and flipping.

Many months later I got around to basting and trying my hand at some FMQ and while it wasn't difficult and I have a long way to go to be as good as a lot of other people out there I am happy with the result. Quilted with a variegated rainbow KingTut thread left over from the leaves on this with a bright blue back and almost fluro yellow binding!

I tried to FMQ a pattern that was reflected in the fabric of the strip I was sewing on. I only sewed alternate rows as the batting was quilt lite and that doesn't need a lot of sewing. I might get brave and take some close up's of the stitches...

This now resides on the back of my chair and has been used almost every day. 20 years ago I never imagined I would have a quilt on the back of my chair let alone use it if I had one, how times have changed!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Jumping the gun on finishes...

I have other things I have been sewing but to keep Miss Molli happy I will link this up (if I can figure out how to do it exactly) as a TGIF. Technically it was finished last week, just trying to find time to take photos at the moment is prooving difficult, camera location, weather or the all important time don't seem to be aligning in the planets in my wee life at present, let's not mention the headaches - I wish this full moon would get on with being full, I need sleep.

I love these strip and flip quilt tops, they come together really quickly, look fantastic and even my 7 year old daughter has managed one... When I was at home in New Zealand earlier this year I went to Spotlight specifically to buy some 'kiwi' fabric as one of these quilts was floating in my head for a friends kids. She's a kiwi, not sure what her partner is but I don't spend a lot of money on these kids as a rule so it seemed fitting I would give them each one of these just because.

I bought 15 fabrics in Auckland and then added a few more via this website as the fabrics I purchased didn't quite make it long enough. I will admit to one fabric being added in honor of Molli bending the rules with Batiks in a quilt because I like the way she roles and I love the fabric I chose. Can you see it?

So, the strip and flip process... I did my own thang here, I made 2 identical quilts and made the alternate strips cream in one quilt and red in the other then took the middle 'flip' and put them in the alternate quilt, one to break the red up and the other to add a bit of colour to the cream, I like the way it works. I also used the left over backing scraps for the binding for the opposite quilt which I think also works, it makes them individual but ties them together IYKWIM... I stuffed the binding up, slightly distracted by Paul Mercurio spinning his way across the dance floor on his knees, and cut it at 5" 's not 2.5" 's but I think it still works. I am working on the binding on the cream quilt this week and some hand stitched labels so will have another finish in a few days time... fingers crossed!

We have blues - the paua shells

The greens for ToiToi and Tea Tree bushes and Silver Ferns

Red Pohutakawa and Koru

The same fabric but on a black (or dark navy) background, just stunning!

I stitched in the ditch on the wide strips and FMQ'd squiggles in the middle sashing with a verigated Gutterman thread.

The binding, it doesn't look too bad!

Love this quilt.

This is my favourite fabric in the whole quilt. If I was brave I'd make myself something to wear out of it but I am a chicken!

What size it the quilt? I have no idea! It's big enough to wrap yourself up in to watch a favourite movie, large enough to throw over a kids bed and probably wide enough to be folded up at the end of a double bed. I tend to throw caution to the wind. It's WOF for the strips with 5" borders and sashing. The batting is quilt lite which in hind sight, as they are going to Melbourne, perhaps it should have been wool but I work on the prinicipal these might be a summer quilt or an add on quilt to a winter bed. Or perhaps they will be folded away and put in a cupboard! Who knows but I love giving things to people!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Skill Builder

My quilty partner in crime told me about a skill builder quilt at the beginning of this year and suggested we could make the time one day a fortnight to do the monthly blocks and together we would support and help each other. Sounded possible!

I had no specific patterns or stories of fabric in mind butI did have a fat quarter bundle I purchased at a quilt show a few years back burning a hole in my fabric stash. Hobby Sew had 30% off moda fabrics at the time of purchasing so I was largely guided by what was in that sale that matched the fat quarters I had. I was largely influenced by the 'French' aspect of some of these patterns and so the fabrics were purchased...

The original fat quarter bundle purchased from the Blueberries stand at the craft and quilt fair a few years ago
Bundle one
Bundle 2
And all together with 5m of background fabric... I thought I was going to have enough for the back fo the blocks, the borders and the backing... nope!

So CH and I started out on our skill builder journey! The first hurdle was learning the difference between a scant quarter inch and a quarter inch and all those scant differences add up over a block to be quite a lot! We have alo learned to use a ruler and a board to measure cuts, they aren't always the same. We are supposed to put the photos up in a flicka group but I haven't had time to set an account up and asking myself really if I need another account to manage..

Our first block was the sound wave. Quite daunting cutting into these fabrics, especially for little 3 inch lengths 1 inch wide. I played about with the layouts and this was what I ended up with. Apparently this quilt will have no scraps...

The soundwave

The Em Dash (but we did a different payout)

This is an SOS SMS photo to CH to make sure I had it right before I cut it 'again'! The cutting of this block did my head in...

But I did it!

Woven chevron (lots of HST and QST which are officially my nemessis!)

 2 hand sewing blocks were next, a hexi block and a diamond carat. When I was a teenager mum did a tablecloth out of hexi's and I have dreadful memories of that period of time cutting cardboard hexagons out of cereal packets and basically any other packet that was in the rubbish bin. I pulled my head in and got stuck into it. I don't like hexi's but found the hand sewing of these quite therapeutic.

I bought 1 1/2 " papers mainly because I was told the store wasnt' aware of 1 1/4" papers. As a result my finished block is too big but I will make it work for the quilt. Perhaps I won't add borders... I have half of one row left to stitch and then I will know what I am dealing with and come up with a plan!
Hexi's ready to be stitched together...

The hexi layout.

 The next block for me to hand sew (once I have found a you tube video of ladder stitching) is this Diamond Carat. What a lot of fiddly bits of paper... We bought the specially made pattern from the states as it is on washout paper...

I am calling this my stars and stripes block.
I will add finished block images and their proper names eventually. I am up very early with our new puppy 'again' and thought I could squeeze this post in before the house woke... sadly my plan was foiled! Off to get ready for work I go...