Thursday, July 28, 2011

Some Tutu-ing around

The last couple of days have been a bit of a non-event.  I bought a pile of American magazines from my local quilt guilds sale table for $7 - so spent quite a few afternoons doing random flicking and reading.  The weather has been beautiful, so lounging reading in the sun was pure bliss.  I also tried to draft the hexagon block (that looks like flowers from one of my previous posts) in EQ6 and discovered that it just doesn't do it.  So I photocopied the templates and carefully cut them out... only to find that the pieces are not symetrical, perhaps a fault of the copying process.  So back to EQ6 and after reading through numerous help screens, ended up altering a different hexagon design and at least getting the three pieces I needed to complete the petal  component. 

Now, the instructions for the quilt are for machine piecing - but me and Y seams just don't go together, and I can't really admit to being the best hand piecer (well, have never really tried it) - so off I went and had a bit of a go.  So far so good - i don't know that it's perfect (but honestly, what is?), and I'm sure I'll pick up a few tips and tricks as I go.  At the moment it feels a bit awkward... but I think I'm getting there...

I'm using the same fabrics as the applique block, only because
they're out and accessible.
 I've also had a little play with the bag kit I bought from The Country Yard.  The deal is, you buy precut strips all rolled up in a little bundle, with instructions and a little tag, then make a reuseable bag that if you remember to take in with you when you shop, you go into a monthly draw.  So saving the environment and the possibility of winning something, all in one go.  To make it even more enticing, the little kit was only $5 - a bargain!

So far I have ummed and ahhed, scratched my head, measured, sewed a few things together, gone back to the umming and ahhing... and came up with this.

Wasn't quite what I was going for, but it has a nice proportion.  Only problem is that I didn't add the red strip to the rectangle construction because I couldn't decide what order to sew it in... it didn't really go with any of the other ones... so decided to use it as the handle.  The problem then became that I don't have enough to sew two of them.  Oh, well, back to the drawing board.

A close up of the little tag - very cute!
 Have you been up to anything exciting?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Guess what I got on the weekend

I'll give you a clue:
 Can you tell what my husband is doing??

No, well, he's attaching something to the wall...

Can you guess now?

 That's right - my very own design wall - huge brownie points being accumulated... I just had to stick some stuff up on it... (that's my row for the row by row round robin in the middle - almost finished, and after some nifty sewing last night was finished in time for today - whew). 

And look at the little egg that was in the nesting box last night - we have normal chickens, three that lay smallish (maybe size 5 eggs), and three that lay much bigger ones (size 7ish)... so I don't know who crept in and laid this teeny tiny one?  It's so cute

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Finish

Finally, a Friday Finish.  How's that for alliteration??  This is the final applique border for the internation round robin I have been participating in.  I think it is only about 2 months late... well, maybe not quite but not far off.  I decided to do hand blanket stitch around the leaf shapes, but it has taken considerably longer to complete than I had intended.  But I am pleased with the overall impression, and the blanket stitch repeats the theme started with Linda's butterflys, which she also hand blanket stitched around.  I think having continuity is the most important thing about round robins, and participants need to repeat elements to keep the final design strong.  I used fabrics both in my leaves and backgrounds that picked up the colours from the original block plus additional rounds.  Also some more sublte continuity - the cornerstones have a print on them that reminds me of scales - referencing the gecko, plus the actual shape of the leaves resembles the geckos toes.  Anyway, I like it and I hope Viv does to.

Whew - Viv - this will be in the post on Monday.

Riley's Blooms from the beginning

When I did my first post, I didn't really know what I was doing and where I was going.  Now don't get me wrong, I still don't - but I have decided to approach my actual projects like a real grown up quilt blogger - and do LABELS, and show progress, and techniques I used... and so on.  I may still do a once a week "in review" type of thing, and also have bits labelled under "inspiration", to keep track of ideas and stuff.  Hopefully one day I'll learn how to do those little things down the side so you can click on a project and find the whole process in one easy step.  Hopefully, there will also be some "finished" items, instead of a steadily increasing pile of started but stopped.

So, with no further ado, I give you Riley's Blooms (note the name - flash aye?)  Named for the designer of the fabric - Riley Blake, from the "Lola's Posies" line.  This project appeared in American Patchwork and Quilting February 2011 and was designed by Lorraine Hofmann.

This is one block of 9 identical, then there is a swagged border.  Blocks are 25" so
combined makes a very large quilt - even for me!
 The original has needleturn applique on a variety of black backgrounds, then a scrappy mix of greens and reds for the buds and leaves.
I hadn't really intended to use these fabrics for this project (does anybody actually plan things like this?), but with my day off sick with the kids last week, I bought the fabric on a whim, then looked at Ivory Springs post about applique and thought - why not - no reason I couldn't use these yummy fabrics with a contemporary influence, for a rather more traditional design.  And a new project was born.

A bit closer...

... and closer
 Following Ivory Springs suggestions, I used a thinner thread (not sure what size but it is finer than Aurifil 50) and set my machine on the narrowest width blanket stitch.  My machine has a minimum width of 2.5 and so I set the length at 2 - and off I went.  Looks very neat and tidy and I decided to use the same grey thread for all the pieces.  I also used a bias strip maker for the first time, and got very nice stems very easily although they are narrower than the original design - I quite like the space it gives around the design elements.  So far I have blanket stitched the larger shapes, and just have the leaves and smaller buds to finish.

Somehow I don't think I am going to complete nine of these blocks - but haven't decided exactly how it is going to pan out.  Maybe do four blocks and then sashing and borders, or I could do one block as the central medallion, and work outwards from there.  We shall all have to see what happens...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Inspiration, Projects and a bit of a photo montage

Wednesday turned into Thursday - Ground Hog day - just a change of child.  This time it was Dylan's turn to be sick.  Friday also.  Saturday was not only the start of the holidays, but the start of my cunning plan.  Put the kids into the same bedroom and turn Nadia's room into a sewing/computer room.  Wow - wonder why we never thought of this before.  So we had to buy bunks... and the kids are really keen (at this stage) to be sharing a room.  I realise I will only get so much mileage out of this - but plan to enjoy it while it lasts.
 This is what happens when you get your husband to buy you new gum boots...

 Time for a new look - yes, that is PERMED hair... is it coming back into fashion - don't care, just love that curl.
 New book out from the library (Fresh quilting by Malka Dubrawsky) - and loving these pieced hexagons... I have always sort of hated the Grandmothers Garden flower thing with the hexagons... but this one has grown on me... now, am I keen enough to work out how to piece it... not sure.
 Different book - but same idea... this one would be a huge challenge - the 9 patches have 1" finished squares... then pieced around a hexagon with inset triangles in the gaps... what, do people not have lives??  But isn't it cool...

 And finally, the project I have chosen to initiate my new room with... thanks to "Ivory Spring's" post about applique, with a gorgeous example of a traditional pattern done in slightly more contemporary fabrics inspired me to pull this American Patchwork & Quilting magazine project that has been tagged... I acutally really liked the fabrics used in the project, but there's no reason I couldn't like something more...
 Enter my new fabrics from designer Riley Blake (plus a few extras I threw in for good luck)...

And I have the beginnings of block number one.

The background blocks are 25" - huge - and I am going to do fusible with machine blanket stitch instead of needleturn like the instructions.  At this stage not sure how many I'll do - we'll see how the first one turns out...

I am also falling in love with the quilting style of "Oh"  Especially her pieced backs - definitely something to think about.

That's my day so far... how is yours going?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stay at Home Wednesday

I am home today with a midget who is not very well.  It's the last week of term and the kids always seem to just get to the end of their immune system tolerance.  We didn't have the "wellest" of weekends, but coped, and everyone got sent off to school on both Monday and Tuesday.  But by Tuesday afternoon, it was apparent that the littlest member of the household had turned well and truely pear shaped. 

On the positive side of life, I can catch up on washing!  Woohoo!

I can pat myself on the back because my bench is clear and the dishwasher is finished - and that would have been done even if I hadn't of stayed home.  The rubbish had been attended to and the older munchkin got to take his bike to Wheels Wednesday at school.

I can slap my hand because I have ordered some fabric and a book off TradeMe.

I now have to read a book... to my daughter.  Part of the Scooby Doo range where you keep track of the clues and suspects... sort of interactive, we'll see how we get on.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Sunday Report

 A good day was had by all at my monthly Teachers patchwork class.  Today we looked at borders and fusible applique - after spending a bit of time extending skills, including half square triangles,

Love the way you can do so many things with this block.
Snowball blocks... and flying geese. The other blocks went home with people so they remember how to do them, so will have to wait for another time for a photo shoot.  Amazing what can be achieved with a few small techniques.  My teachers now feel ready to take on the quilting world - well, maybe not world, but have a good old go at things anyway.

This was the block we started practicing with when we first started.
We spent quite a bit of time talking design - and then thinking up all sorts of ways to add our borders.

Mine was pretty simple:
Then time to look at fonts that suit the whole applique process:

Then lo and behold, how to fuse the bits together...

Just realised that I have fused the stick bit of the D backwards - do
you think anyone will realise?
 The teachers were much more ambitious than I, and have planned all sorts of pieced blocks and applique letters and critters.  I am pleased to have not only passed on my knowledge, but to have shared my passion and instilled some degree of passion in the other participants.

I just have to show a photo of my funky orange quilt actually on a bed because I have sold it!  My first sale... so my first baby going off to another home.

I have also made a start on the row-by-row blocks - can you start to see the square dancing theme appearing?  Just say yes...

I need to do 10 across the row, so another 16 blocks to go...
Dinner time has rolled around again, so I suppose I had better start something.

Incase you're wondering, I have kept true to my domestic goddess duties - and have kept the bench clear all week.  Baby steps I know.

Bathroom update: hardboard flooring now going down in the hallway/laundry - to get ready for lino.  Bit of a disaster as we found out that the metre box on the external wall of the laundry has been leaking for quite some time, resulting in rotten floor and internal wall - however, super hubby has cut out and replaced all the rotten bits - so we are back on schedule.  Yay!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ahh, Friday

The best thing about Thursday, is that you know Friday is only a day away.  The best thing about Friday is that it's not a work day.  I visit with my little group of patchwork friends, do jobs around town - banking, buying chicken food etc, buying shoes... then I have a couple of hours before I need to pick the kids up from school.  Today I did some scheming.  Patchwork scheming is the best kind.

Dylan's camoflague quilt (aka the teachers project) has had the central square pieced - so time to think about borders.  I had already decided that I would be appliquing "DYLAN" across the top of it, but not the specifics.  Practical requirements - Dylan has five letters - so five background squares.  The top measures 32" square at present, we like easy maths in this household, so a 4" border magically brings it up to 40", which divides nicely into 5 x 8" squares.  Brilliant.  Time to check out different fonts.  Dylan (the actual Dylan) had his opinion as well, but we both chose the Stencil style of font, which seemed to go with the camo/army fabric theme.  Then I just had to work out how big to blow it up to fit the background square.  So, no real imagination required so far - the design has just evolved from a purely practical point of view.  I am also envisaging an outer border of half square triangles... but we'll see how we get on fist.

Also on the scheming agenda is my row for the "row-by-row round robin" - this months row is to be inspired by "Square Dancing".  The inspiration row has a bar theme with motorbike fabric with the message "for a son".  Square dancing does not leap to mind in relation to Harley Davidsons, so I have been checking out different blocks and settings that could interpret this theme loosely, and  I'm playing with the idea of a little square offset inside a bigger square - rotated so that the square seems to "dance" along the row.  We shall see what happens over the rest of the weekend...

Hope you have something exciting planned for the weekend - and we don't get (a) blown away by these strong winds or (b) get washed away with the tsunami threat.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

All about being organised

I spent some considerable time over the weekend tidying up my kitchen, clearing the bench and doing extensive floor cleaning.  I have now decided to become a domestic goddess and keep my bench clear at every available moment.  Well, maybe not all the time, but actually set aside some time for cleaning maintenance on a daily basis.  Maybe then when the weekend rolls around, I can spend more time crafting, and less time cleaning!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Righto - try something different...

I hate having to do things differently - doesn't really matter what the subject is, but I don't like clicking on new buttons, after all, what will they do??  As a consequence, I follow the same old pattern to do things and it is usually because the tried and tested doesn't work for some reason, that I attempt new technology.

What I am getting at, is that I am now uploading my photos dirrectly into Picasso - thanks Rona - and had to click on lots of buttons that I didn't know what was going to happen, and viola - I have photos!!  This has taken up the better part of my weekend - and I must also thank Katney who answered my Blogger help question and is currently trying to work out what the heck was going on.  She is BTW a fellow quilter - aren't we just a great wonderful bunch of people??

Now - back to the projects:

I purchased an online download of a workshop by "The Rebel Quilter" - which is lots of fun and inspired a "just have to have a play with this" moment.  Basically you freeform cut fabric with fusible on the back and fuse onto a felt backing.  Freemotion quilt to your hearts content and add any embelishments then follow her steps to complete your abstract piece - without batting or binding.  Great Fun!

I have started fusing, need to decide if I want to add more, and
then quilt with black thread.

I was trying to get a nice photo of my monsters kids - they just went

This is my round robin row... in all it's glory.  I love it.
 Now, what has been happening in my world.  Well, Nadia had her school trip on Wednesday, so her and hubby departed on the bus to Auckland to go and see Walking with dinosaurs on Wednesday night.  They had a wonderful time - and came home on Thursday very exhausted.  Dylan and me went to McDonald's for dinner on the Wednesday so we had a special treat too.  It is quite a different household having half of it away.  Good on the school for organising a trip for 60 odd five and six year olds.

Then yesterday I had a good old clean at home, so I can now see most of my bench in the kitchen and our floor is clean.  Whew!  What a mission.  We had a lovely day most of the day and jobs got done outside too, we have let the chickens start roaming while the vege garden is in such a state - nothing really that they can destroy and they are enjoying all the bugs and new adventures outside "the pen".

Today it was Dylan's turn to have a surprise - as we had bought more tickets to Walking with the Dinosaurs for him as well - after all, it is a 7yr old boys dream.  So hubby is off again on the 3 hour drive to Auckland to see them again.  Aren't dad's just neat?

So today, I have spent an enormous amount of time on this blogger thing - and folded about half a basket of washing.  Nadia is still in her jamies - we've just had lunch - and it has once again started raining.  Must be winter.

I'm sure I have much more to share - but after all this hoohaa - I can't remember it all.  But we are still all alive and well - and I just need to get a bit more housework done to enable me to return to my normal crafting self. (Did I really just say that...)

It has been suggested to me by a fellow quilter - blogger helper - that my photo size is "larger than normal" (a bit like my quilts).  So I have compressed these photos to a size recommended for "web publishing".  The first one came out OK.  The second and third not so good - although much better than what I had before.  Driving me mental!  Anyway, the top one is the international round robin I was participating in - with my initial block returned to me with rounds attached from three other participants.  PS I'm still completing the round that finishes Viv's one - although it was supposed to be in the post about three weeks ago, but it is progressing, and after all, good things take time.

The middle picture is a bit of a play with fusing onto felt to create an abstract - although the photo upload has added it's own abstract quality.  So we might come back to that one.

The last photo is my round in my guilds row by row round robin.  This row was to be inspired by stars, so it has pieced stars in the background, and appliqued star flowers and stems.

So this is what I get when I upload photos

<> <td class="tr-caption" style="text-ationLng=
It just all goes nuts.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Me again

Hello everyone.  I'm still alive but experiencing all the problems as everyone else uploading photos and things with Blogger.  I'll keep this short to see if it works.  I actually have some things to share!!! Very frustrating.