Saturday, 31 May 2014

Green Beans Please

Green is the colour of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and today is the last day of May.  The last few months I have been colour co-ordinating my sewing with the colour of the month.

A few months ago, I told you here about a bundle of goodies sent me by
Jackie who blogs at One Creative Cat.  Thank you Jackie!!

I have been using the stack of 6" blocks she sent bit by bit.  Last month I made Purple People Eater.  This month I am using green 6" squares, and to that end, I have appliqued a bunch of purple flowers in the evenings while watching TV.  Yeah, I know.  Purple flowers aren't green, but bear with me.

When I laid it all out initially I used the green blocks randomly, but then I noticed that there were a lot of checks and plaids.  Almost enough to use only those in the quilt.  So I cut a few extra 6" blocks and here it is - Green Beans Please in the making.
I have also started to create a design with the blue blocks sent to me by Jackie, and have prepped red flowers for the red blocks.  I will show the reds when we get to the red month for the RSC, you'll see the blues as they progress.
A couple of days ago, I finished off the Road to Oklahoma blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

I quite like this look - with the dark blocks fading out to the light ones. 
I am not being very random with selecting the fabrics for my blocks any more. I'm finding that I prefer to sew all the light pieces with the lights and all the brights with the brights etc.  I think it will give the overall quilt a better look with a variety of shaded blocks in the quilt, and the illusion of more colours.  Never having made a rainbow quilt before, that's what I am thinking now.  Might change my mind later. 
I have also decided to join in the Santa Sack swap again this year.  It was great fun last year.  You'll see the little graphic on the side bar at the right.
Meanwhile, I am linking this post up here with the rest of the gals doing the RSC.
Til next time.....Keep on stitching

Retreat Part 2

This post I thought I would show you what some of the ladies were working on at the Retreat. 
Fiona came armed with several tops.  These two she wanted to get sandwiched ready for quilting.  One for her eldest son.....
And another for herself.....

She was also working on a top for her mother-in-law which I think she managed to get finished.
During the previous month or so we all made up one (or more) 12.5" blocks.  Colours were white, lime and navy.  The idea was to put together a charity quilt while we were at the retreat.  This is Fiona trying to work out where the blocks had to go.  She had taken a photo of the layout before we began to sew on the sashing.  It was a jigsaw putting it all back together again.

And here it is in its final layout.  Sorry about the light flash at the bottom.

There were so many blocks made for this that we had enough to put together a second quilt.  Well, almost.  Robyn made a block on Friday afternoon to make up the numbers.  We put it together yesterday at our usual Friday meeting.
Back in Katoomba, Robyn was finishing off this gorgeous pay mat for her first grand child who was born the previous week.  It is made of woolly fur, and each of the bit was made of different fabrics as a tactile experience for the baby.  So cute!
At our retreat last year, we handed over the completed Round Robin tops to each of us.  Robin has had hers quilted, and she brought it to put on her bed and to show off.
Ralene's daughter married Fiona's son recently, and the two ladies worked on a wedding quilt for them.  Each of the blocks has a marriage theme.  Don't know all the names but there is "Steps to the Altar", "Contrary Wife" and "Wedding Ring" in there somewhere.  Raelene's work is the Celtic design applique, and Fiona's are the pieced blocks.  Here it is on Raelene's bed.  I wasn't smart enough to photograph the bed freshly made - this was early one morning after the bed was slept in.

On Friday morning Di and I went to visit a new venue in Lawson.  The house we stay in is closing in a few weeks, so we had to find somewhere else to stay for next year.  Looks like we have a winner, so the retreat is booked for next year.
Then on Friday afternoon several of us went up to Blackheath Haberdashery & Fabric, a new little shop found by Jan.  I think we all manage to spend a $ or 2, LOL
Dinner on Friday night was at the Old City Bank Bar, which is part of the historic Carrington Hotel in Katoomba. 
After dinner we wandered up to the Carrington.  You approach it by a circular drive.  I can just see a carriage pulling up at the front stairs!  The Carrington originally opened in 1883 & was the premier location in the mountains for a holiday for many years.  It was restored in the late 1990's.
There are stunning stained glass windows which open onto the enclosed verandah at the front.  I think this faces East, so this would be a lovely spot to sit on a wintry morning.
Inside was magnificently restored, with a huge ballroom, library, dining rooms, bars, and a fabulous staircase.  At the foot of the stairs are life size models of Laurel & Hardy.

And here are some trendy Misses on the Carrington Hotel's staircase.  Don't you love the fashion of the 60s?  We went up there mid-week for a couple of days and thought ourselves so cool.  Couldn't afford to eat in the dining though, so had to go down the road for a burger LOL.

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

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Retreat Part 1

Have you been over to the Blogger's Quilt Festival yet?  I have entered my Summer Evening in a Garden Maze in the applique section.  I would love it if you could pop over and give me your vote here
Last Thursday some of us from Friday Quilters set off on a Quilt Retreat to lovely, leafy Katoomba.  For those of you who live o/s, Katoomba is dead west of Sydney about 100km.  For us on the Central Coast, this means we head south towards Sydney, then skirt around the north of the city until we hit the M4 which takes us up to the Blue Mountains.
Our car stopped for a break at Glenbrook, and we just happened to waddle off down to Post Office Patchwork.  I showed you the goodies I bought here.
After settling in and a late lunch got stuck into some sewing.  Here are some of the action shots from the weekend:
Joyce getting a lesson on FMQ from Di
Robin with a Trip Around the World quilt she completed over the week end.  She quilts with me at Stitching Hearts

Raelene concentrating hard

Joanne preparing to quilt a UFO
Rosanne & Robyn. These two were totally engrossed in their work. 

Fiona.  These were the sashing strips for a charity quilt our group is doing.

Evelyn - another Stitching Hearts friend.  She powers through an awesome amount of work.  I lost count how many quilts she made over the week end - 3? 4?

Georgina pulling a face

And me.  Jan is in the background.  I have not posted the other photo I took of Jan.  My life would not be worth living if I did that.  LOL

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

Lets Book It - Progress in May

Have you been over to the Blogger's Quilt Festival yet?  I have entered Summer Evening in a Garden Maze in the applique section.  I would love it if you could pop over and give me your vote here

Its the time of the month that we hook up for the Lets Book It Challenge run by Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts

This month, you might remember, I pulled on old magazine out to make this:

My baggy containing pre-cut 4" squares was overflowing obscenely so I wanted to use up some of the green 4" squares. 
I got as far as this, without really making a dent on the 4" squares:

And this is where I got stuck.  Reason?  The original pattern called for 4.5" squares for the centre medallion, and I had used 4" squares.  Therefore the medallion was not the right size for the cutting instructions for the triangles to turn the medallion on point.  Now I have talked about my nil ability in the maths arena, so it got put into the "too hard" basket.
Looks like I will need to buckle down and finish this project next month.
Now my lovely blogger friends.  How do you work out the size of the triangle required when you put something on point? 
My usual method is to draw a square the size of the centre block and then draft the triangle.  Then measure all the results.  But this is way too big to do that, and I don't want to cut a square for the triangles something like 20", only to find that the thing is 1/2" short!
Any tips would be appreciated!!
I can also reveal some secret sewing I did quite a while ago.  Both recipients have their gift, so here it is:
Two little crochet hook holders.  The one on the right I gave to my daughter as a present for her anniversary.  The second on I posted off to my bloggy friend M.K. Her poor hubby had a fairly bad bike accident and she was feeling stressed & upset.  I thought she might like something to cheer her up.
Linking this up to Lets Book It.
Til next time.....Keep on stitching

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Sew Cute Tuesday

I found myself the Guest Speaker at the Rotary Club of Drummoyne's meeting last week.  Rotary has supported Stitching Hearts for several years, and had decided to make another donation to our cause.  I have put up a blog post about that here, if you are interested.
It was a bit of a battle to get that done actually, as I had to drive down on Wednesday night, and then the following morning it was the Friday Quilter's Retreat in Katoomba. 
I had been so looking forward to that Retreat!!
Jan, Joyce & I drove up together and on the way up we stopped at Post Office Patchwork at Glenbrook.  Love. That. Shop!  Sadly, the shop is for sale, and will close at the end of this year if not sold beforehand.  While there, I just happened to find some fabric........
A lovely little bundle to add to my Civil War stash.  It looks a bit washed out and pale there, but I have a lot of dark fabrics in my stash and I particularly wanted some lighter shades to vary the stash.
At the Retreat, I began to make a quillo, but I got fed up with quilting that.  Mostly because I am used to having my machine set into a table which means that the machine bed is at table height.  At the Retreat my machine was set up on top of the table, and therefore much higher than usual.  Plus I didn't have the width of my table to lay the quillo on as I was quilting it. 
So I abandoned that at began to sew some blue four-patches which I am going to sash with this lovely lime green fabric I picked up in Blackheath (can't remember the name - sorry!).    

The four patches plus sashing end up at 6" square, and will be alternated with plain blue 6" squares.  It will be a Stitching Hearts quilt when it is finished.
The weekend was hectic because the Dearly Beloved and I played in the State Country Pairs event held at the Bridge Association.  We were ecstatic when we came in 2nd!
This morning, I was desperate to get to my machine!  So I grabbed my green scraps and started to put together the Road to Oklahoma blocks for the RSC.  Here is the first - 3 more under construction.
I have decided to link up this post with Sew Cute Tuesday, which is being run by Melissa this week on her blog, MsMidge.
Sew Cute Tuesday
Now I absolutely HAVE to go back to that machine!  Got about an hour before I have to come back upstairs to cook some dinner.
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2014

I have decided to enter a quilt for the first time ever this year in the Blogger's Quilt Festival run by Amy.

The quilt I have chosen to enter is "Summer Evening in a Garden Maze" and it will be in the Applique Quilt category.

This quilt began life in a class some 6 years ago.  I had wanted a challenge.  Most of my quilting these days is for charity, and I was a little fed up with the quick, quick, squares and triangles I was making, so I wanted something slow and complex.  And I sure got that!
Within a week or so of starting the quilt, I changed the design of the centre medallion.  Instead of a completely scrappy medallion made totally of diamonds, I chose to use a hexagon in one colour between the stars.  I felt I wanted a more cohesive centre to the quilt.

I also chose to make it a single size instead of the queen size suggested by the pattern.  I wanted a challenge, but I DID want to finish this quilt some time!
This of course meant that I had to alter the vine & floral applique border to fit, which added a further complexity to the quilt construction.

And then of course the outer border needed amending too.  Well I decided to completely change that.

Most of the quilt is hand pieced.  All the stars, applique and hexagons I did by hand, but I decided to sew the long straight seams of the borders by machine.  All the fabrics came from my stash except for the green in the centre of the medallion and the borders, and the backing fabric.  The wadding is wool/poly.  The quilt itself is 68" x 78". 
The custom machine quilting was a brilliant job done by Jenny, a local long arm quilter.  It has absolutely made this quilt!
I am so utterly delighted with this quilt, I wanted to share it on line at the Quilt Festival. 
Voting begins on 24 May until 29 May and there will be awards given to the quilts which receive the most votes.  I do hope that when the time comes (and I will remind you LOL) you will go take a look at the quilts on display and most importantly vote for mine!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

RSC - May is Green

I have been working with Green for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge the last few days.

First up, I made my Road to Tennessee block at Friday Quilters yesterday.

And here are all the RtT blocks set out together.

Then today I set to and made the scrappy 16 patch.

Now all I need to do is make the Road to Oklahoma blocks and I will have done the challenge blocks for this month.  I am way behind with my Civil War BOM.  With a bit of luck I'll get at least one of those done before the month ends and I am hit with yet another block.
This afternoon I finished making the centre of the green medallion quilt I am making.  I spoke about that earlier this week here
So the centre is done and the fabric on the left is what I plan to use to set it on point.  It is a tone on tone cream and will have some applique on it.

I didn't think this one through though.  There are several squares in there which are directional, such as the horses dead centre.  I carefully set those blocks all one way so that they would be going the right way, completely forgetting that the centre would be on point!  So the horses will be galloping on the diagonal in a downward direction.  Boo Hiss!!  I could easily have substituted something else for those squares, but I thought the horses in particular were fun.  Oh well.
Hooking up to Angie's RSC post here.
Til next time..... Keep on stitching.

Ancient Travels

During the week, I was blog hopping, and found a blog by Jen at the Bower Bird Patch where she mentioned that she had been on a trip to Portugal.  She showed some stunning photos of the tiling that is prevalent on buildings in Portugal, and which she called azulejos.  Now I hadn't heard that term before, but I had been to Portugal, and I remember that beautiful form of decorating, so I thought I would share some of my photos from that trip.

We stayed in Braga, which is in north western Portugal.  According to Wikipedia it is considered the oldest Christian archdiocese in the country and one of the oldest in the world. Under the Roman Empire, it was known as Bracara Augusta, and was the settlement at the centre of the province of Gallaecia.  It is a beautiful city, and for a history nut like me, full of glorious buildings and churches, so I was in seventh heaven.

The Bom Jesus Cathedral on the hill just outside Braga was stunning. 

Access was via a long flight of stairs, on each side of a massive fountain.  Along the way, by the side of the stairs were dozens of statues and little grottos recessed into the rock face with dioramas of biblical scenes such as this.
The view from the top of the stairway was well worth the climb.

The colours in Portugal were wonderful.  This is the Rooster of Barcelos. Barcelos is half way to the coast from Braga. 

And the entrance to the market place in Barcelos.

But what really took my fancy in the places I visited was the mosaic tiling or azulejos.  This is just an ordinary house in an ordinary street in Barcelos.

And here is a whole row of terrace houses in Oporto (and a fountain too).  Each one is tiled with different coloured tiles.

Even the ordinary everyday train station in Oporto has magnificent murals on the arch ways through to the platforms, albeit in need of some attention.

By contrast this is a particularly elegant private building in Oporto.
Apart from the intricate mosaic on the face of the building, there are beautiful arched windows and doors each one accented with tiles, little ornate crenulations on the roof, and lovely iron lacework too.
An ancient church in Oporto. 

And the detail from the photo above.  This is just a small section of it.  Looks like it is the section to the left of the lamp post and under the window.

Unimaginably difficult jig saw puzzle!  These days tiles come in sheets of a couple of dozen tiles webbed together on a stabilizer so they get slapped up on the wall or onto the floor and glued as is.  The tiles in these murals would have been placed one piece at a time.
To finish up this post a couple of photos from the coastal town of Poavo de Varzim.  We came across this old boy and his wife, who were collecting seaweed.  Here he is clambering up from the rock pools with a load on his back.  What a tough way to earn a living!

The seaweed is built up into these stooks and left to dry.  It is then sold as fertilizer.  Bit fragrant in that area!  I am glad I don't live in that block of units.  LOL

Well not much on the sewing front in this post, mostly because not much was done all week.  But I hope you liked the photos I have shown you.  It was difficult to pick just a few from the dozens I took of the trip.