Monday, April 21, 2014

A Miniature Family in the Making...

A number of years ago (OK, so I don't actually know the number, and the timespan since lapsed may or may not have moved into double digits, but it was certainly this Century), I took a class with Virginia Enright at Threadbear in Castlemaine.  The quilt for the class was her Fairfax Sampler but primarily I wanted to learn her foundation piecing technique. Designed as five miniatures linked together as a non-traditional (as in not sashed blocks side by side) sampler, I intended to make the whole quilt, even though I wasn't keen on the finished design, preferring the miniatures that made it up.

Worked on very spasmodically over the years, I had stitched three of the miniature designs - the stars, grandmother's braid and flying geese - with a fourth, the log cabins, half stitched. Taking it off the shelf a few weeks ago I looked at the quilt design and made a decision, something I'd toyed with previously - finish the four components already worked on as individual miniature quilts, skip the fifth (it's just half square triangle strips) and ditch the project as a whole quilt that I was never going to really like.
And now, on the design wall, I have four thread basted ready to quilt miniature quilts and that makes me happy.  Each will finish up at about 10 inches square. I found a simple quilting design which I'm thinking will work for all four - a continuity along with the fabrics used, a miniature quilt family. Haven't yet decided whether to machine or hand quilt. I'll probably end up doing it by hand even with the extra layer of the vilene foundation and a quizzilion seams.  Somehow it seems wrong to machine quilt a hand pieced top (not that there is a right or wrong to these things) even though I'll happily machine the binding on - go figure that one out!

And, as a bonus...fabric is liberated back into the wild to play in other projects. Some has already made its way into a different project box for a group challenge quilt we are doing at local quilt group this year - but that is a story for another day.

Happy Stitching...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Attempting to Resume Normal Transmission...

It's been a while since I've had the time/energy/motivation to do much else besides work, wobble head, sleep, rinse, repeat...my very own Groundhog Day without "I've Got You Babe" playing on the wireless alarm clock each morning (don't have a wireless clock so it just does the annoying buzzing thing, no singing)...every now and then the theme varied for a day or two but it didn't really stick for very long...there was a brief interlude when some stitching made it to the sewing room table...my friend E came to stay overnight about a month ago and furniture, machines, etc were pushed to the side to make enough space for the futon mattress so she had somewhere to sleep - took me two weeks to muster the will to roll it back up and reclaim the room. The weekend E was here 181 members from our CFA Group & District HQ were presented with the National Emergency Medal - Vic Fires 09 bar, so it was nice to have a visitor to share that afternoon with...
TAFE held Graduation...I wasn't going to go but my next door neighbour told me the Guest Speaker was really good (her son had his ceremony at a different campus a couple of weeks before) so I figured might as well go and pick up the piece of paper...or as it turned out the sheet that said along the lines of - if you haven't received your certificate please contact customer service!! Seriously??? Said Certificate turned up in the mail during the week with no effort on my part at all. The staff on stage who were making a show of giving the "right" folder to be presented were Oscar potential...they were all the same generic folder!!!!!!!!!!
 
The end of Daylight Savings (thank goodness, it went too long, I don't do still dark at 7.30 am very well when I am trying to get out the door to work sites) seems to have brought with it a return of some stitchy motivation.  For a while now I've had a print out of Blankets of Love information hanging on the design wall (which has more action as a pin board lately) to remind me that I wanted to make a quilt for the cause.  Last weekend I got to and had a fish through the stash box to find some bits with the result being...
a kind of I Spy top, quilted with simple diagonal lines finished 24 3/4" square (the instructions say around 24")...the binding is still pinned on the back, once it's stitched down I'll give it a bath and the way it feels it should wash up very cuddly.

There has been more stitchy stuff going on but as it seems the dam has broken on writing a blog post and I've started with a flood not a trickle that can be for another day...hope your Easter weekend has so far included stitchy goodness...

Happy Stitching...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Has It Only Been A Week?...

Apparently it's only a week since last Sunday but it feels more like a month...I've debated whether to blog about the week we've had here...it's not been a fun week by any stretch...Mother Nature threw the same stunt on our district as the same weekend in 2009 - just for the record Mother Nature, so not funny! Two of us were standing in the engine room last Sunday saying we had a really strong sense of deja vue and then it happened....again!...this time it roared up from the south, to the west and onwards north...I received two evacuation recommendations on my phone - I'd already come home and evacuated Jindi, she was with me being lead around in the fire station as part of the comms team - could really have done with some of that snow the other side of the world is having way too much of...it's still not declared "safe" but it is now considered "under control" so now the recovery begins, a long haul.

Today, vegging around at home, I looked to getting back to my Small Quilt Talk challenge for February...this month rather than one of Kathleen Tracy's quilts it is a sweet little spool/heart block from a group member to do with what we wanted.  When the pattern was announced I got to with pencil and paper and came up with a lovely little design I was very excited about and played about in the fabric boxes (although that part wasn't really chatting too loudly to me in the pick-me pick-me department). Well, you know the saying When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade? In that spirit...When Blocks Go Wrong Make A Pincushion!...
After a couple of hours of non-inspiration with various fabric concepts I settled on scraps of Rocky Mountain (the first range).  Starting with one block as a tester, I ever so carefully cut and laid out my patches in accordance with the picture tutorial...only I didn't did I?...I didn't lay it out in accordance with the picture tutorial and when it came to putting on the sides, nope they didn't fit...and of course that was the last of that fabric which I'd used for the heart so tossing and remaking this block wasn't on the cards...so chuck the dud bits in the bin, chop out two rectangles to make sides, abandon the spool design of the block and make a pincushion.  For now I'm calling the February challenge done.  I don't know how much time I'll have for stitching in the next few weeks as I have to spend a lot of time at work including patches of staying in Shepparton (that's the 120km drive) to be close to that work site as we have to do long days with late finishes but having to come home on the days when I work 10 minutes away from home. Just another unscheduled thing to add into last week's mix, organising that!...Oh, I didn't mention the great endo debacle - destroyed my temporary filling right when the dentist couldn't get in to keep appointments, fabulous, that will be sorted Tuesday...has it really only been a week???

Here's to a better week with all fires in Victoria finally going out - enough already...

Happy Stitching...


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Nate's Quilt...

It's been like a race to the finishing line the past weekend with another quilt done and dusted - a bit bigger this time - 53" square (or thereabouts, didn't re-measure it but that's what I think it was)...
The backing fabric was found at Sew Bright Alpine Quilting when Jindi & I went up to Bright for four days back in November, right after the top was put together. It was all that was left on the bolt and I calculated that it should be "just enough if but maybe a bit squeezy"...well, the bit squeezy came into play. After piecing to the side and one end there was a bit of a missing piece...a bit of lateral thinking and...
The closest I generally come to a label...a patch!...nicer than piecing scraps of the backing fabric to fill the space...

It washed up all nice and crinkly cuddly...I rolled it, tied it with a red ribbon (and forgot the photo of that bit!) and went back to work today with it under my arm to deliver to the intended recipient's Daddy. Almost constitutes a speed quilt in my world - the intended recipient is only 3 months old and already it has been delivered...

Happy Stitching..

Monday, January 27, 2014

Barnabas Presents...

I've had a few of Kathleen Tracy's books of small quilts for a long time and for quite a while I've thought about joining her on-line group to take up her monthly challenge...she chooses a quilt from one of her books each month and puts that to her group to make. Finally, in the closing days of 2013, I got my act together enough to at least put in the request to join the group - the first step! The challenge for January was the Bear's Paw in her book, Prairie Children and Their Quilts.  This is both the first book of Kathy's that I bought and one of my favourite blocks - time to act!  I added an element of my own to the challenge - it had to be made entirely from scraps...no cutting into fat quarters or metreage or anything that wasn't in the scrap boxes (yes, boxes plural, sad isn't it *LOL*) with the exception of the backing...and I managed that...with even the backing coming from a piece of fabric that I had "inherited", thanks Rosie's friend Annie (MHDSRIP)...

Friday it was raining so what better time to start playing with fabric...machine pieced and quilted, washed/dried and all done by Sunday afternoon...

Barnabas insisted that as this was a Bear's Paw quilt it was only fitting that he be in the photo...
 
I do have to thank my 6-12 friend Barb for gifting me a shop paper bag full of what she called scraps (our definition differs wonderfully in my favour!) that included the pieces I was able to cut the borders from (as well as quite a few of the other fabrics used in this little quilt).  I had a moment or two of terror when the chocolate scrap I chose for the binding wasn't going to be workable (not enough of it - darn) but a dig around found some scraps of a darker chocolate that worked - instead of milk chocolate binding it has dark chocolate 70% yum!...

First challenge met...now to wait out the suspense of which quilt Kathy will chose for February...

Happy Stitching...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A New Puppy...

Well a felt one that is…

Last year at Summer School one of Karen's (the tutor) friends especially came to visit and kindly took orders for custom made items to be collected at this year's Summer School.  This post here shows the lovely birdie she made that I won at last year's Summer School.

I ordered…well…um…well…something…I knew I ordered something…had absolutely no idea what it was…simply could not remember if it was one thing or five or what it/they might be…so figured, surprise!

On the way to Katoomba on Tuesday I called in at Blackheath to say hi to Karen and she gave me my Alex goodie bag…inside wrapped in a sheet of dressmaking pattern tissue….O.M.G. what a fabulous surprise…
 How Gorgeous…I just LOVE IT…
Strike a pose...
With a twirl…

Haven't given him a name yet…he is a Scot so mmmm…ha ha a bit of Scot/Gaelic name research and I think this may be pawfect…

Pàrlan (m)TrPAWR lunfrom Hebrew Bartholemew, "son of Talmai (abounding in furrows)"Bartholemew

Stitchy and puppy all in one…so that's it…meet Pàrlan…too fabulous to stick pins in, he is looking forward to helping out in the sewing room supervisory department…

Happy Stitching...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Summer School Workshop 1...

Setting off from Yass Tuesday morning a few hours of meandering through the mountains from Goulburn to Crookwell to Oberon across to the Great Western Highway bought Jindi and I to Katoomba, the destination until Tuesday next week for five days of play at Summer School 2014.

Yesterday concluded the first two day workshop.  Split into two x two day workshops and one sit & sew day I have chosen to just do one quilt this year - May Baskets, a lovely English style medallion quilt.  Wednesday I prepared the centre square background fabric and made templates and chose a couple of the fabrics for the appliqué. For me, that was actually a whole lot of achievement in class.  Day 2's task was to start the tessellated first border and work on a corner...I actually sewed! In class!! Miraculous *LOL*


There was one…
 Then two…
  Then three…
Ready to be joined together and create the first corner

A few lovelies have found their way into the fabric pile...
The little bundle tied up with string is from Karen's Sewing Room (the tutor made up some bundles from her own fabrics) and the others from a very successful trip down the mountain with Summer School buddy "S" to Glenbrook and the awesome treasure trove that is Post Office Patchwork, which as can clearly be seen did not disappoint - especially with a 50% off most fabrics sale! The paisley (paisley? really? me? so not a paisley lover but this one just wouldn't take no for an answer) is to form part of the outer border of May Flowers and the stripe had just the right amount left on the bolt for the backing.  The selection of 30cm strips (which I've washed but not ironed hence the raggedy look going on there) are to fill out the fabric selections for the various components of the quilt top.

Sit & sew day today with Workshop 2 over the weekend….three more days of fun, fabric, food, laughter, sitting and general happy…and maybe even a little more progress on May Baskets!

Happy stitching...