Monday, 22 August 2016

Shopping

In my last post I mentioned that Jo and I had "just happened" to do a bit of shopping.  Hee hee.  Jo needed some backing fabrics for 2 quilts, and both were a somewhat unusual colour, so she asked if I minded going past a shop or two on our way to the show last Friday.  Mind?? Does a duck swim??

The first shop we stopped at was on the way to Newcastle, sort of.  It was Patchwork by the Lake in the Main street of Boolaroo.  There's no web page, but they are on Facebook if you have a FB account. 

 
Can you see the fabulous pressed ceiling in the photo below?
 
 
Its an amazing shop actually as Boolaroo is a tiny, tiny place in an out of the way village and yet there is a fabulous shop there, with an enormous range of fabrics.   

I picked up 3 gorgeous pieces of fabric there. 

 
The blue floral is going to be the sashing on a little child's quilt, and the 2 yellows are just because.
 
By the time we headed off we were thinking of morning tea, so we stopped at a coffee shop in Adamstown, just next door to Quilt Essentials in Adamstown.

 
Lovely shop with a great range of fabrics and lovely welcoming staff.
 
I picked up the pattern on the right in this photo.
 
 
Its hard to tell from the photo, but it is a little round bin with a spring which allows the bin to fold up flat. 
 
On the left of the above photo is a Wendy Williams set of pin cushions I bought at the show.  I chose to buy the kit for the middle one.  Such a fun set of pin cushions!
 
Next stop was the Stitches & Craft Show at Newcastle.  I told you about that in my last post here
 
I picked up some Robison Anton threads (which I love to use for quilting), some sewing machine needles, and a quilt weight.


Mr Scissorman was there as always.  I needed a new pair of embroidery scissors.  The little job on the left of the photo below is a pair of travel scissors I will be able to take on planes.


The Western Sydney Woodworking Group had a stall there.  I love wooden things, and found a letter opener, magnifying glass and a thingy to open and close quilting pins.  Anyone know what they are called?  There's also a cute little spinning top which they gave me for my little grandson.


And then it was time to go.  But Jo was still looking for fabrics, so we decided to check out the other shops in the vicinity.

We found Zig Zag Sewing at Georgetown.  Love that shop! 

And then On Point Patchwork & Needlecraft at Waratah where I found a range of Civil War fabrics.

 
You'd think I would have enough of those by now, but no.  These just had to come home with me.
 
So that was our day.  Exhausting!  But so much fun.  Thanks Jo for doing all that driving.
 
And after all that, Jo did find some backing fabric for one of her quilts.
 
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Newcastle Stitches & Craft Show

My friend Jo and I went to the Newcastle Stitching & Craft Show yesterday.  (If you are in the area, its still on and you have time for a visit.)  In this part of the world, the Stitches & Craft shows are basically trade shows which go from town to town with loads and loads of traders coming from all over to trade from stalls at the show.  These are great even for people who live in a major city and have quilt shops nearby.  Walking from stall to stall, there is so much variety and so much to see!

This show had a small display of modern quilts made by the members of the Quake City Modern Quilters (link takes you to their Facebook page only) They are a small group of ladies local to Newcastle and their quilts were stunning.  I thought I would share some of those I really liked.

The photo doesn't do this one justice - you can't see the lovely work on it, and the lighting in this corner was terrible.  It was made by Catherine Mosely from a pattern by Jen Kingswell


Green Tea and Sweet Beans by Catherine Mosely
If you have read my blog before, you will have guessed that I am very fond of applique.  This quilt had a mix of pieced blocks and appliqued ones.
 


This one is constructed using half square triangles.  There was a lot of movement in that quilt.

Pole Dancer by Wendy Nutt
It had some lovely machine quilting on it.

 
The next one is also by Wendy Nutt.

Spinning Wheel by Wendy Nutt
The construction is actually a standard 4 patch block which has been slashed to resemble the spoke of a wheel.  It was stunning, and also had great quilting, echoing the illusion of piecing in line with the pieced blocks. 


I have seen lots of photos of "brick" quilts on the Net, but Susan Horvath has extended that concept and used scrappy fabrics to construct the "bricks".  It is really effective.

Mosaic Windows by Susan Horvath
 And a close up.  Nice quilting here too....


This last one, I can't credit.  :(  There were two quilts side by side, both exceedingly different and one label between the two quilts, with no clue as to which quilt it belonged to.  As the quilts were so different in style etc.  I chose not credit it in case I mention the wrong maker.  If you know the name of the quilter, please tell me and I will edit this post to give credit.

 
Close up...

 
At the start of this post I mentioned that this was basically a trader's show.  Well of course I bought one or two things.  But that will be fodder for my next post, so you will just have to wait a while.  Promise it won't be too long.
 
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Sunday Already

Well I had every intention of doing a post last week, but somehow or other here it is Sunday evening and I'm just getting around to posting.

Part of the problem is that the powers that be have decided that Picasa should be removed from usage.  It has taken me totally by surprise, so when I went to upload some photos during the week I couldn't do it the way I normally do.  It appears that now I have to use Google Photos.  You know something?  I HATE Google Photos.  It is so user unfriendly you just wouldn't believe.  I absolutely loathe the way it wants to group everything for you into themes and insists you tag all the faces.  Well I have managed to remove that, but how do you sort the photos?  Manually of course.  How I wish they would bring back Picasa!!  Any thoughts on that one??

Now that I have had my whinge of the week, I can show you what I have been up to.

First up, Last week I showed you a top I had under way.  It is now complete, and I took it to Stitching Hearts for backing and batting.  It is a small lap size which will likely go to a nursing home or some such.

 
I have called this quilt "U-Turns".  I have also realised that I have not credited the original maker.  I was inspired by a similar quilt at Linda's Quiltmania, but as I made the quilt from memory, mine is a bit different.

This is a closer look. 

 
It was such a great way to use up 2.5" strips, and so much fun!  I just used scraps, but I should imagine that if you used a jelly roll or perhaps one colourway it would look stunning.  Just the fact that Linda used white for her pathway gives a totally different look.
 
Also this week I have (finally) finished off knitting a sleeveless vest for my mother-in-law.  Don't look too closely - it has some major bloopers in it.


It is the second one I have made for her.  I made her one in 2008, and she wore it to death.  So much so that last year when I was in the UK, when we were clearing out her apartment for sale, we found it with all its tattered edges and pockets and bits that were falling off.  Brigid asked me to make another.   I found it very hard work as I have arthritis in the joints of my hands and so it took me forever to knit it.  All done and dusted now, and we can post it off to her in the UK.

Also last week, the friend of the mother of one of my friends at Friday Quilters (did you get that??) sent in 2 quilt tops as a donation to Stitching Hearts. 

 
They were too big for a cot quilt and too small for a single bed.  So I unpicked the centre seam, and ended up with 4 tops from 2.  Bonus!!  Here is one half of the quilt top above.
 
 
A couple of simple borders in primary colours, and the first one is done.  It is now suitable as a cot quilt or one for a small single bed. 

 

The fabrics are all novelties, so they will make fabulous I Spy quilts for a child.  The fabrics in the photo above are all sorts of things, and the close up below, you will see is all food. 
 


I've had neighbours here for lunch, so I think it is about time I wound this up and settled in for a quiet evening.

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Blogless July

And June too..... :-(

I have completely lost my blogging impetus.  I feel stupid talking to the air.  Maybe its because I have never kept a diary.  Whatever, it feels like I'm bragging; blowing my own trumpet.

Maybe my blogging MoJo will come back sometime soon.  Who knows.

My quilting MoJo is in full swing and I have been creating like crazy.  Do they work in opposition?  If I feel like writing, does that mean that my creativity is low and I'm replacing it with blogging?  And vice versa?

Anyway, so that this is not a completely photoless post here are a couple of things I have made lately.

This is a knitted door stop made for the church stall later this year....

 
This top on my design floor I made in a frenzy of piecing from my humungous pile of 2.5" strips.

 
I enjoyed the Scrap Dance Quickstep (see here for more) so much that I just kept piecing and piecing and piecing those strip sets, and so this emerged.
 
Trouble is that I keep ferreting around and replenishing that pile of 2.5" strips beside my machine, so it doesn't get any smaller!  Guess I'll have to get stuck into some more strip sets. LOL.
 
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.
 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Quickstepping

Carole, who blogs at From My Carolina Home, and who has been running the mystery quilts in which I have participated showed us a new quilt which she has called Scrap Dance Quickstep a week or so ago.

I was inspired!!

If you have read my blog before, you will know that I am given a lot of scraps by my friends - they all know I'm a scrappy quilter.  Well a few months ago, Robin, my friend from Stitching Hearts gave me a garbage bag full of scraps....

 
It has been sitting in my work room overflowing everywhere and thumbing its nose at me ever since, but I have been a bit daunted by the sheer volume in it.  I couldn't face dealing with it.
 
Having decided to do the Quickstep, the other day I pulled an arm load of strips, either already 2.5" in width, or ones I could trim down to that.   Here they are neatly piled on my sewing table waiting to be pieced.

 
Mine were not the neat WOF strips Carole used, nor were they co-ordinated at all.  So I decided to cut them down to a maximum of 11" to give me a really scrappy look. 
 
Pretty soon I had a bunch of these....

 
And then these....

 
But the pile of strips on my sewing table doesn't look like it's much smaller and it is now a great messy pile.  LOL.

 
I had my youngest grand daughter here after school on Thursday and she was helping me with this - pairing up strips for me to sew and ironing the blocks.  We had great fun.  And so quick with two of us working on it.
 
By Friday I had it all laid out on my design floor.

 
It needs at least one more row to go at the top.  I took my eyes off it for literally one minute, and Tibby had a field day.

 
I'm pretty chuffed.  From a bunch of disparate bits of fabric, some lots of which were just plain ugly, has blossomed a cute quilt.  Thank you Carole yet again for a great idea and for inspiring me to do something with that bag of scraps.  I am actually going to do a second one. 

Are you as inspired as I was??  Carole has uploaded a pattern with 14 setting designs and three sizes on the pattern to her Craftsy store here if you would like to make one.  Even if you don't want to make this quilt, go take a look at Carole's lovely blog, it has heaps of great tutorials, tips and techniques on it. 

The exciting thing that happened this weekend is that Carole sent me an email to let me know that she drew my name in a giveaway for a $50 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Woo Hoo!!  Hooray!!  Yippee!!  Bit of shopping up ahead for me by the looks of it.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Carole. 

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Monday, 6 June 2016

A Quick Finish

Well it was pretty quick for me!

After I finished working on the Scrap Dance Tango blocks at the Retreat (told you about those here), I still had a couple of hours of sewing time to go before we had to pack up.  The only other thing I had brought with me was a big bag of blue 3.5" squares.  So I started putting together some 4 patch blocks using them.  Sorry, no photo of those in progress.  (Phew! you say)

Back home again, I found some lime green homespun in the stash, only just enough to do some sashing.  To make sure there was enough, I pulled my bag of blue 2" squares and put in some corner stones as well. 

Looking good....


Didn't take long to put the top together.  Then it was time to choose some fabric for the border.  Tibby photo bombed the top when I laid it out ready for some fabric choices.  But then what's a quilt without a cat eh?

 
My choices were these two.....

 
Or these two.....

 
I ended up choosing the one bottom left on the photo above.

All finished in under 2 weeks and ready to go to Cabarita to Stitching Hearts next week.  Pretty much a record for me I think.

 
This morning while making breakfast there was a deafening noise of Rainbow Lorikeets outside.  They are always noisy, but this morning the noise was amazing.  Its the first day of sunshine after several days of torrential rain and they were out and about.  When I went to check, this is what I found.....

 
This shrub has berries on it at the moment.  I haven't seen the lorikeets eating them before.  Perhaps its because the shrub has been pruned and the berries are more visible?

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Scrap Dance Tango - All Caught Up

If you read my previous post about the Retreat, (here) you will have been patiently waiting for my post on what I actually did over the 4 days we were away.  (If you haven't read it, now is your chance!! LOL)
 
I worked on the Scrap Dance Tango mystery which is being run by Carole at From My Carolina Home.  So far there have been 5 steps of the mystery revealed, and I was seriously behind with this project.
 
I have blogged about this before, so forgive me if you've seen the photo.  This is the fabrics I pulled for the mystery.
 
 
For the light fabric, I am using a bunch of scraps and a piece from stash I have had for many years.
 
Step 1 was to cut all your fabrics and begin making 2.5" Half Square Triangle units (HSTs).  For my quilt size I needed to make 630 of HSTs.  I had made just over half of what I needed, so the entire first day, and well into the second I was sewing, pressing and trimming HSTs!  I was determined to get them done before moving on with the next steps.
 
 
I was ready to throw those in the drink by the time I finished, I can tell you!  Sooooo bored with that job!!!  And so glad to close the lid on it.  I'm not good at piecing (and trimming) a bunch of blocks all the same.
 
Step 2 was to make a bunch of these arrow units.  They are made in 3 steps; the first step is to sew a 2.5" square to one of the HSTs, the second step is to sew two 2 HSTs together, and lastly you sew the two units together.

 
I had made all the units of the first part of this step, so I needed to make up the units with the 2 HSTs together, then sew the two units to together to make up the arrow head block.   That got done fairly quickly.
 
Step 3 was to sew a cream square to an HST then pair two of these units up.  Easy.  I only needed to do 32 of these.
 
This is where I discovered chain pressing. 
 
 
I must be the last person on this planet who hasn't known about chain pressing.  When I used to chain piece I would cut all the connecting threads before I pressed, but at the Retreat I started to lay the blocks out still joined up.  It is so much easier!  They all seem to fall into place, and you can go zip, zip with the iron, and then snip, snip with the scissors.  Much easier.
 
Step 4 was to join the units made in Step 3 to the arrowhead units,  Easy! 
 

That's when I discovered I had made way too many arrowhead units!  Oh Woe!  I had actually made enough for the next quilt size up from what I am doing, double what I needed.



But all is well, because Step 5 was to make more arrow head units.  And so I had already, inadvertently made almost all of those.

 
So, drum roll please.......  I'm all caught up on the Scrap Dance Tango. 
 
If you are on Flickr, look for the Scrap Dance Tango group, and if have an Instagram account there are 2 hash tags #scrapdancequiltalong and also #scrapdancetango.  Go take a look at some of the lovely quilts people are creating.
 
Now I'm off to upload my photos.
 
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.