Monday, 24 June 2013

Very Wet Sunday

Its been raining for most of the day today, and very heavily right now.  A perfect day for some crafty things.

This morning my daughter brought all three of her girls for morning tea, and two of them stayed for some Baba time.    Now Miss 10 isn't really keen on sewing, but both of them love making cards, so out came all the card making equipment, and we proceeded to make a crafty mess.   We made two cards each, and two chuffed girls left a couple of hours later, clutching their booty.

I haven't had much time to sew this week.  I have "busy" weeks and "slow" weeks alternately, and this last one was a busy week.  Added to the normal busyness of my "busy" week, were two forays into car yards looking for a long overdue new car.  We are thinking small SUV and currently the short list is a Subaru, but we have yet to drive one.  A test drive is planned for Tuesday.

Despite having no time to sew, I still managed a few finishes.

First cab off the rank was the Snowball block leader & ender project I started to put together a week or so ago.  I made the blocks ages ago, and have only just got them together.  Bonus is that there are enough blocks to make a second lap quilt.

Bearing in mind that it was a exercise in depleting my stock of 5" squares and a piece of ugly fabric, I think it has turned out super!  I also think the dark green fabric on the border looks great.  It is a lap size charity quilt for Stitching Hearts.  I try not to buy fabric for charity quilts, as there is just so much donated fabric in our store cupboard, (and also in mine), so I prefer to use that.  And that is the challenge - use what is there.  Usually it turns out OK.
The next thing I worked on were three laundry bags for Aussie Heroes.  I made this lot from a batch of fabric given me by my lovely friend Joyce. 
I do like the way they turned out too.  Joyce has given me another batch of fabric as well, so I cut out three more from that at Friday Quilters (photo will appear when I've done them) and got started on the sewing on them.
My friend Jill from church came with Joyce and I on Friday morning.  She is usually tied up most Fridays, but this one popped up free, so she came along to meet everyone.  Think she enjoyed it, judging by the big grin on her face all morning!
Yesterday, while reading a back issue of "Patchwork & Stitching" (Vol 9 No.8), I found an article on the X-Blocks Rotary Cutting Tool, with some accompanying pictures of trial blocks.  It was one of those light bulb moments!  I just had to make it myself, so this afternoon I made up some trial blocks:
Basically all it is, is a nine patch with a cut made across from the top right corner of the middle block in the top row to the bottom right corner of the right hand block in the middle row, and continuing around to make a skewed square. 
If you cut some to the right and some to the left, this is what it looks like:
This is nine blocks.  I think it is a bit small, so am intending to make another 7 blocks so that I can lay them out 4 x 4.  Isn't that just super??  Planning to put a border on that, and make it up to lap size for another charity quilt.  Such a fun block. 
Only downer is that there is a fair amount of waste from the pieces you cut off.  I started with 4" blocks which made up to a 10.5" nine patch, but by the time I chopped off the edges, it ended up 8.25" square.
I have also finished the applique on Verna's Garden quilt.  I plan to add a couple of borders to it before quilting it.
And one of the corners.
I had wondered if I should add some more flowers into the corners, but I think there's enough.
Tomorrow my friend Di and I are booked into a machine maintenance workshop in the morning, and I am doing the overlocker maintenance workshop in the afternoon.  So looking forward to doing that!  With 4 sewing machines and an overlocker, if I can save myself a couple of trips a year to the mechanic for servicing, I will be one very happy chickie.
Til next time..... Keep on stitching.  

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Darling Harbour Quilt Show Part 2

Here are the rest of the photos I promised you from the quilt show.  Sit back and enjoy.

Zen Magpies by Helen Godden.  The birds were painted on silk sateen, then free motion quilted.  Black thread on white fabric.  How hard is that??  Every single misplaced stitch visible.   
Just look at that quilting!!  There were dozens of FMQ designs across the quilt. Centre bottom is a jigsaw.  Did you see that?  And a teeny dragon fly dead centre.

Fantasy Meets at Midnight by Anne Keys.  A fun mixture of machine applique, beads, and fantasy figures.  Lots of colour too which was a great contrast to the black background. 

Ethel's Diary by Eileen Campbell.  This was an awesome quilt.  The quilter used her Great-Aunt Ethel Booth Seward's diary, kept between 1876 & 1904.  There are photos of family, friends and home and text from the diary itself, all with a feathery quilting surrounding it.  Not only was it beautifully made, but it appealed to my love of family history.  I also thought it was one of the most beautiful ways of immortalising a family.

Close up of one of the photos & some of the text.  Wish I had had the time to read it all.
The homestead "Tyntyndyer". 

Overgrown by Wendy Williams.  This quilt was inspired by the annual Floriade festival in Canberra.  I loved the colours in this and the naive flowers.  Such a happy profusion of colour.
The felt flowers showing the embroidery and the quilting.
Each year there is a section with miniature quilts.  I guess there are about 25-30 on display at any one time.  I am always dumbstruck by the time and patience of the people who make them, as some of them are incredibly tiny.  The criteria for a miniature is not just that it be small, but it has to be a replica of the "real" thing in miniature with all the parts of the quilt in proportion.

Micro-organisms by Chrissy Sheed.  Lovely riot of colour, and only about 12" square. 
Silken Treasure 2 by Rachelle Denney.  The tag says that Rachelle felt like doing something small.  Well she has, and the quilting is gorgeous.  I am a big fan of fans, and these were superb.  Two very well deserved ribbons!
This year was apparently the 30th Anniversary of the Quilter's Guild Show, and the symbol of the 30th Wedding Anniversary is pearls, so the challenge this year was "pearl". 

Embrogenesis the Birth of a Pearl by Gabrielle Russell.  Ribbons, laces, beads, satins - loads of lovely texture.

Pearl, Ribbon & Old Lace by Yvonne Line.

Esmerelda's Pearl Wedding by Wendy Vermuelen.  The tag reads "Esmerelda Emu is celebrating her 30th wedding anniversary.  She and Edwardo are about to light the candles on their cake.  Esmerelda is resplendent in her diamond encrusted pearl earrings and a string of Lombok pearls which Edwardo has given her to celebrate their 30 years of wedded bliss"  Chuckle!!

On the Wing by Pam Hill.  Coloured with ink pens and Inktense pencils and blocks and embellished with crystals. 

I didn't bring home any fabric for myself, but I did come away with two lots of fat quarters.  In the photo above, are 6 pieces of Riley Blake fabrics to be shared between my daughter & Miss 7.  Miss 12 is angling to make a "cat" quilt, so the ones below are for her.  Not many catty fabrics around at the moment sadly. Still, this is a good start, and I am bagsing the left overs (grin)

Having talked about all these gorgeous creations, I'm off to make some.
Til next time...... Keep on stitching.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Darling Harbour Quilt Show 14 June

Three of us from Friday Quilters got on the 7.58am train and headed to Sydney for the Darling Harbour Quilt Show on Friday.  We met up with Raelene mid morning as she was coming direct from her Mum's.  The train was packed and it was obvious where the little groups of ladies were going!   We made it not long after the doors opened.

Di and I went to an absolutely amazing free workshop on threads.  I thought it would take 15- 20 minutes, but the presenter talked for almost an hour.  It was just so informative.  And we were given a 16 page handout on the types of thread available, their characteristics, needles to use with each type, and a discussion on tension.  An absolutely invaluable piece of information.

I had always intended to track down the traders who carried the less often seen threads, so that I could buy a selection to trial and spent some time at the Wonderfil stall, and also at Punch with Judy who carry a range of Superior Threads.  Unfortunately none of the traders were selling the Aurofil threads, and I particularly wanted to trial some of those.

There were some great quilts.  Here is a selection of some I thought were brilliant.  The rest I'll post next time.

Civil War Journey by Rhonda Pierce


Crazy Anne by Chris Serong and Desley Maisano.  I love this block - there is so much movement in it.  Love the cheddar background too, which is amazing as I have never said that about cheddar before.  LOL

And a closeup of the lovely quilting in this quilt.
Big Blue by Joanne Barraclough - with a very well deserved medal

Closeup - Lovely quilting, and some nice piecing too

Rainbow Connection by Sydney Modern Quilt Guild and is a group quilt.  Love the colour and the way the blocks are arranged by colour group.

Closeup - each block was actually made up of a bunch of scrappy hexagons squared off and sashed.  Great idea for a scrap buster quilt.

A Golden Age by Isabella Klompe

All creamy gold fabrics and old lace.  Nicely quilted too 

Its the Singer not the Song by Ming Hsu.  A brilliantly quilted wholecloth design inspired by the inlay on an ancient Chinese bronze.  Quilted with a vintage Australian made 1957 Singer machine.

The quilting was with metallic thread, and the entire quilt shimmered, which you can't see in the photo.  Absolutely stunning!  And we all know what a pest metallic thread is to use, let alone an antique straight stitch machine to quilt with.  Definitely worth the ribbon it received.

More photos next time.
Til next time....... Keep on stitching.  

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Carl's Quilt is a Flimsy

WooHoo!  I have finished Carl's quilt to flimsy stage.  Here it is:

Now for those of you who were intrigued by my mistake, which I told you about here, here is a close up of the top border of the quilt before I fixed the mistake.  Can you see that the two HSTs on the top row either side of the blue strip are actually two dark triangles, and their mates in the row below them are two light triangles??    
That was the mistake. They are meant to make up a pin wheel block split by the piece of blue fabric, as in the photo below:
This meant that when I went to sew the fourth border on, the top pinwheel didn't align with the blocks on the top border.

So now all I need to do is get this baby pinned and quilted.  I have a backing fabric in mind, but the jury is still out on how to quilt this.  It is rather larger than a single bed size.  I will be doing it on a domestic machine, so I am limited by that and the ability of the operator LOL.

After finishing that off, I got one of my old leader and ender projects out the other day.  It has been hanging around howling for me to complete the top for weeks, probably months, so I laid it all out on my trusty flannel backed tablecloth, and have constructed 4 of the rows already.  

This was an exercise of using up the 5" squares, and an absolutely filthy fabric, which is now the little triangles on the snowball blocks.  It doesn't look too bad there, which is testimony to the adage that you only need to cut the fabric small enough for it to disappear in the quilt.  This will be a lap sized quilt for Stitching Hearts.  I have made a heap of snowball blocks, so there are probably enough to do a second quilt out of them.  I have found some dark green fabric which looks pretty good with that lot.

One of the challenges of sewing charity quilts is that we use donated fabrics, so you use what you have.  I do so many, that I just could not afford to buy the fabrics to do them all.  Its a win/win situation really, as I have the pleasure of being creative and sewing to my heart's content without the drain on the pocket.  I also like that we mostly make lap size quilts.  They are small, so they are done and dusted quickly.

The other very exciting thing is that I have signed up for the .......

that Cheryl is organising here.  I haven't been involved in one of those before, so this is really exciting for me.  So looking forward to planning and making the goodies for my Swap Sister.

Tomorrow Friday Quilters (me included) are off to the annual Quilt Guild Show at Darling Harbour.  It is the biggest show held in Sydney, and always fun - lots of quilts, lots of traders, and usually lots of people.  It will be a long day as we are catching an early train to make the most of it.  We will also be meeting up on the train with several friends from church who are also off to the Show for the day.  We will have to make sure we aren't in the Quiet Carriage - I expect there will be a ton of gossip and laughter.  Can't wait!

Til next time..... Keep on stitching

Friday, 7 June 2013

Windowsill Garden

A week or so ago, I got to and filled up two plastic containers with potting mix and popped some seeds in them.   I have beans in one and heritage spinach in the other.  I have put the trays on the windowsill in the kitchen.

And before you ask, I have no idea what the heritage spinach is going to be like, but going by the blurb on the packet it has different coloured stems - some are green, some yellow and some red.  I bought the packet last year at Captain Cook's Cottage in the Fitzroy Gardens when I visited Melbourne.  I tried to plant the first batch out directly into the garden, which was a spectacular failure.  If any of them did actually germinate, I never saw them.  Probably a combination of heat, bugs and lack of water for which I am famous.

So within about a week the first of the shoots began to peep out.  Here is the spinach with three tiny shoots and a new one just breaking through the surface of the soil.  The baby shoots come up really quickly - if you can pick out the one at the back centre which has just broken through the soil, that one was as big as it's mate to the right within 24 hours.  The shoots follow the sun and are usually bent over at right angles like the one in the bottom left.  Their rotten mother spins the tray around all the time, so the poor little things go backwards and forwards like a clock pendulum.  LOL  And they do have different coloured stems - you can see the bottom left one is green, while the one above it is red.
The beans are a failue.  After what looked like a shoot coming up within 2 days, there has been no development at all.  I am not really surprised as the seeds are a few years old.  Still not past the use by date though, so I was moderately hopeful.  Bit disappointing really.  I might try something else.
About the same time, a friend gave me a couple of chokoes.  I have this colourbond fence at the back of the garden with a garden bed in front of it.  The whole lot is shadeless and faces west.  Furthermore, there is a concret path which runs the length of the garden bed directly in front of it.  In summer its like Dante's Infereno up there.  Now chokoes grow anywhere with virtually no attention, and are famous for covering the outdoor dunnies so prevalent in Australia.  We had the dunny was a child but not the chokoes.  We had some other vine I can't quite remember other than it was prolific and very green.  So my thinking is that if I plant a couple of chokoes along the back fence, they will a) cover the ugly fence, b) provide some shade and cool down the garden bed a little so I can plant something else in it and c) provide me with lovely chokoes. 
So out came trusty Google, which told me I had to sprout the chokoes on a sunny windowsill, and when they are around 3" - 4" tall, plant them out with a trellis behind them.  So here they are:

Its terribly hard to get a good photo with the light at the back, but the one on the left is about 3" tall here.  The one on the right had not begun to shoot when I took the photo, but I see this morning that there are signs of life.  Woo Hoo!!  I plan to plant out the one on the left over the week end.  It will have about 5 months to grow to a decent size before the summer heat hits it, so hopefully my plan will work.  If it does, I will be able to use the garden bed in front of the fence.

During the week I dragged out Carl's quilt again and worked on that for a bit.  Then it came to adding border No. 4 and the pinwheels didn't match!!  Now pinwheels are symetrical, and I had 3 sides beautifully aligned, so why was No. 4 such a problem.  I looked and looked, and looked again.  Couldn't see where I had made a mistake.  This morning I took the whole lot to Friday Quilters thinking someone would see my mistake.  Spotted the mistake at once.  Can you?

In this photo, the left hand border has not been pieced yet, but the mistake is quite visible.  And I'll give you a hint - its not on the left.

So this morning's job was to unpick and resew the mistake, and then finally put the last pinwheel border on.  The plan is to put on another 3" border of the blue fabric, and then it should be about the right size for a single bed.

Tomorrow, the girls are all coming over in the afternoon after netball.  Ruby wants help with borders for her quilt.

Til next time.......keep on stitching.