Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Planning for the 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge

I have participated in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge that Angela runs on her blog, SoScrappy for a couple of years, and am planning to do it again this year.  I have enjoyed the discipline of piecing in one colour each month and the friendships in the link ups each Saturday.

This year I made piles of Twinklers, Bow Ties and Crossroads blocks.  Still haven't done anything about putting them together.  In fact only this week I made a bunch of Bow Ties in dark blue - catching up from several months back.

That is the last of the blocks I need to make, so I guess I need to set to and actually piece some of them into tops.

But what to do in 2016?

In 3 days time Angela will be announcing the colour for January, so with that in mind I have been doing some planning.

I have loads of precut 2", 2.5" and 3" strips in all the colours of the rainbow.  I would dearly love to make a dent in those this year.   I spent some time trawling the internet for ideas, and found this strippy block which appeals to me:

Its called the Stacks & Stacks quilt block and there is a very detailed tutorial on the Little Lady Patchwork blog which Stephanie wrote for the Blogger's Block of the Month in January 2013.  I think it will lend itself to being made in one colourway each month.

I also have what seems like a bazillion precut 2", and 2.5" squares.  It doesn't seem to matter how many I use, they just breed.  LOL   Anyways.  I had intended to do a postage stamp quilt out of 2" squares this year, but then I found this gorgeous design:

I found it on a sweet blog called Dear Lissy.  Rebecca, the blogger, calls this a "controlled scrap quilt".  There is no tutorial, but it is simple enough - a 9 patch and a snowball.  I reckon that will do me for one of my choices, and I will do it with 2" squares for the 9 patches, and white fabric for the snowballs.

Hopefully, those two blocks will help to dent the baggies of scraps I have.

Lastly, I am toying with the idea of making a Sunbonnet Sue quilt in rainbow colours.  I love hand sewing, and this should make a perfect night time, in front of the TV project.  I think I will choose the one of the patterns in the book 501 Quilt Blocks by Better Homes & Gardens.  There are several in there, and perhaps I will do a variety of Sues and maybe a few Andys as well.  Hopefully it will look cute in rainbow colours.

Are you planning on playing in the 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge?  If not, have a go.  Its great fun.

Off to do a test block or two.

Til next time.....Keep on Stitching.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Fessing Up

On Friday, my quilt group got together for the final meeting of the year - a Christmas lunch at Elaine's.  Thank you Elaine for hosting a lovely day.

Instead of doing a craft as we have done in previous years, we decided that we would bring in a UFO to show.  Mine was so old, I was totally embarrassed showing it, and now I am going to tell the world.  I'll have to do something about finishing it now, won't I?  LOL

Telling the story
This quilt was born in 2005 (actually I thought it was much older).  Back then I was a member of the Quilter's Guild in Sydney.  Each quarter there would be a Block of the Quarter printed in their magazine, and the idea was, if you wanted to participate, you made one or more blocks, which were then posted to the office.  Little baggies were made up with the contributions, and drawn at the next meeting.  The winners of the baggies got an unspecified number of blocks depending on how many were originally contributed.  I was lucky enough to win one of those little bags, in which from memory there were 9 blocks.

This what the block looks like, and it finished at 12" square. 

The Block
The top came together rather quickly despite me having to make a few more to make a 4 x 6 layout.  The brief was Autumn colours, which I love and have heaps of in stash. 
The next problem was what to do with the border.  I chose to piece a Seminole border using yardage I had in stash.  I didn't have a pattern for this, but that was OK - I had pieced Seminole before.
Seminole Border
Of course about 2/3 of the way in to piecing that border, I realised I didn't have enough of either of the green fabrics!  Murphy's Law - none in the store I purchased it in as it was so old.  I couldn't really substitute another colour, or add one for that matter.  So the quilt got stored in the cupboard for a (long) while.....

Some time later, I was talking to a friend who was a member of Southern Cross Quilters online group.  She offered to post a photo of the fabrics in the hope that someone had some.  Success!  The dark green was found in outback Queensland, and the light green came from Western Australia.  I set to and completed the border.

Got the maths right on this corner!
Now anyone who knows me, knows that my maths is that of a first grader.  So I drafted the corner pieces to make sure that it all fitted neatly.  Somehow it even worked (not showing you the other corner which is distinctly dodgy).  The trickiest bit was working out how wide to make the gold framing border to bring the quilt to the right measurements for the border to work.
Then to quilt it.  But how???? 
You know the answer - the quilt languished in the cupboard for a while longer.
Fed up with seeing the quilt sandwich taking up room, I began quilting a couple of years back by stitching in the ditch, hoping that inspiration for the rest would hit once I had done that.  But I wasn't real good at FMQ in those days, so once I had finished stitching in the ditch, back it went into the cupboard.
Then about a year ago, I felt confident enough (and inspired) to quilt a design in the neutral sections.

Neutral Section Quilting
And here it is from the back, complete with threads, still hanging.

Back view of Quilting
But the quilting inspiration did not extend to the rest of the block.  If you look at the next picture, you will see that the blocks are arranged in a design where your eye sort of follows the patches of colour on the diagonal, and the design looks almost like circles.

Can you see the circles?
What I had in mind was to quilt along the diagonal so that the circles would be more defined and the neutral areas would "pop" a bit.  All good in theory, but how do I achieve it?  And then there is the border.  How on earth do I quilt that.....

That is when the quilt went back into the cupboard. 

At the time I was doing the quilt, I decided to piece the backing from scraps.  Some of those fabrics are in the top itself.  I was chuffed with how this back turned out.

The pieced back
I even managed to use up a piece of cat fabric some sweet person had given me which I didn't really like.  It is lost in amongst all the rest of the fabrics, and actually blends quite well.

The offending cats.
So now that I have outed myself, I need to schedule that quilt and finish it.  Maybe if I leave it lolling about where it is in the way in my workroom that will be sufficient to prod me into action.

I am going to finish off now, with a photo taken through my kitchen window the other day.  This is a Crested Dove, native to Australia, and he has been visiting me regularly for the last couple of weeks.  They are very timid and I am amazed he is comfortable enough to get that close to humanity.  Isn't he handsome?

Crested Dove
Apart from the cute crest, his feathers are a beautiful shade of grey.  He has a gorgeous blush of pink on his shoulders, and a stunning set of purple feathers at the tips of his wings.  They make a curious whirring noise as they take off to fly, but I haven't heard their call.  When he is courting, the tail feathers spread out and stand upright into a fan shape, and he does a little dance in front of his mate. 

Love watching the wildlife.

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

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Ancient Stitching

Since I have been blogging I have kept a photo record of all (well, almost all) that I have sewn, but the stuff I did years ago is not recorded very well.  So in the last week or so, I have trawled the photo albums and all the loose photos, scanned them all, and got them sorted on my computer.  I thought I would share some of these with you.

My patchwork journey started in 1989 with an all night class at a shop in Bondi owned by Toni Lober. 

It was a mad, crazy, fun, exhausting night, but at the end of it I had an almost complete top.   The class was for a diamond log cabin table cloth, and I was ignorant enough in those days not to know that was different from a regular log cabin.
This is what we made.....

These days I use the tablecloth sometimes with a clear plastic on top to protect it.
I wanted a log cabin quilt to go on my bed, and the plan was to use the fabric in those curtains in the centre of the block. 
The knitted blanket on the bed is one I made in the last 2 years of school, so it was completed in 1967 and is still in use occasionally these days (showing my age here.  LOL)
I did end up making that log cabin quilt I was planning, but by the time it was completed and quilted I had moved house and the curtains were long gone. 
In 1999 I decided to take the backing off the tablecloth and put a nicer one on.  I then requilted it, much more densely. 

About 1992-3 I found a kit which I made up into a wall hanging.  I have no idea where I bought it or the name of the maker.

I was so proud of it!  My first attempt at applique which now after years of patchworking I reckon wasn't all that bad.  I entered it into one of the local Agricultural shows and actually won a ribbon!  I was beyond delighted.  Think in reality, they must have struggled to find a quilt to award a ribbon to.  LOL
Then there were a raft of baby quilts.  Here are two that appeared around 1997.  There are at least a dozen more quilts I've made for babies in several Australian states, and several overseas for which I have no photos.

In the middle 1980s and through to the early 1990s I was doing loads of cross stitch.  Here is one I loved doing.  It is an Amish pattern by Told in a Garden, and there is quite a range of them.  I just checked it out and you can still buy it.  I completed it in 1994 and it currently hangs in the little hallway outside my bedroom door.

I have always been a knitter, and made these little jobs for my cousin's 3 kids in 1996.  These are 3 of Jean Greenhowe designs.  Loved making them and have made quite a few more which are scattered around the world.

By the late-1990s I was feeling confident enough in my patchwork to begin creating my own designs.  This little wall hanging was for my friend's daughter when she turned 18.  I called it "Baringa"
And then I learnt to foundation piece, and designed this one.
In 1998 I did a Mystery Quilt class with Joy White at my then LQS, Country by Design, sadly now no longer.  This photo was taken before the top was complete - you can see a few of the pieces on the outer border aren't sewn down.

I really enjoyed the class - fun teacher, and a great group.  There was lots of applique and hand piecing in that too.
Then my grand daughters appeared, and I started making them quilts.  These are the crib quilts I made from my own design for my first two, in 2001 & 2003.

Now that I have started on collating all the photos, I realise that there are bits & pieces all over the house that I need to go and photograph!  Guess it will be a while before I finish off this job.
So that's a bit of a story about my quilting journey.  Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed scrabbling in my old photos. 
What do you think about a link up where we show our earliest quilt creations?   If there's any interest, I'll see if I can work out how to set up a link.
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.