My quilting thoughts and inspirations sprinkled with a glimpse of life down on the farm

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sewing and stitching again

Since my last post, when I wrote about being a bit of a ditherer, there's been no time for slacking... Mum was here for a week and she kept the whip cracking as we got stuck into some secret Christmas sewing. Of course, I have nothing to share with you... because it's Secret Sewing(!) but I can share that it involves hours of me sitting tied to the machine with Mum standing over me cracking that whip :-) Actually she was a dab hand with the iron and a pile of pins, together we made a mean team and were the ultimate in efficiency!
But I did get a chance to do a little stitching in the evenings, when Mum decided it was time to put her feet up and rest the whip.
Here is where I am at with the Country at Heart Alphabet. These are a RagTag Stitchin' design by Michelle Ridgeway - I'm continuing to LOVE these :-)
 I've also made a little more progress on the Christmas Sewalong blocks by Wendy of Sugarlane Designs.
These will make a delightful wall hanging for a special friend - I'm looking forward to getting them finished and sewn up for her. (Wendy has a Craftsy store if you are interested in stitching these).

While going through my photos recently, I came across my Spring mini hanging (below) which I had forgotten to share.....I made this as part of a seasonal series for my favourite quiltshop. It's on a 12" stand.
And this was a little belated gift for Mum; she commented once that she had made many scissor keeps as gifts over the years but didn't actually have one herself! (Isn't that the way?) I've remedied that!
Popped some Ric-rac in the seam for a bit of extra charm.

There are a few other things to share with you also.
First up a big Thank You to Carrie of A Passion for Applique. I was one of her giveaway winners after she received and shared a prize after donating a quilt. Carrie is a talented quilter who is currently showing sneak peeks of a King George III coverlet re-creation  - I'm enjoying watching her progress on it.
And I have two new thimbles for my (so far) small collection. The pretty one on the right is a Yoko Saito thimble. Fellow blogger Raewyn wrote about Yoko and her thimbles *here*. I haven't actually got the hang of using a thimble but if I did, it sounds like this one would be an ideal one to use!
 The one on the left is one Mum bought me in Dubai, on her way to Italy recently for a holiday of a lifetime with her 3 sisters. This thimble brings back memories of a photo of the four of them clowning around at the top of  the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa :-)

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my Red and White quilt. Did you get a chance to go to SewCalGal's site to what others had designed and made? And did you know that you can vote for your favourite quilt? And that you can be entered into a draw for a prize just by leaving a comment after you vote? This has been a fun year of challenges. SewCalGal works hard to get sponsors and prizes so if you get a chance, please head over *there*, enjoy the eye candy and vote for your favourite :-)

And speaking of eye candy, on Saturday our local quilt shop, The Country Yard, has its annual exhibition. Quilts, a beautiful garden, a band, yummy morning tea and a sale; where else would one want to be?! It's always a pleasant day :-) When I was there at work yesterday the quilts were busy arriving so I'm looking forward to seeing them all displayed in the house. (Hanging them is tomorrow's job!).
I think that's all for now.... I need to sort exactly what I am doing for some more of my Christmas sewing (don't you hate it when people say how many days until Christmas? It always makes me feel panicky!) so I really must sign off.
As always, thank you for visiting, Happy creating,

Monday, October 13, 2014

What now?

Since finishing my Red and White quilt top, shown last post, I have been feeling like a lost soul in my Palace; you know that feeling you get when you've been pouring lots of energy into something that is now ended?
That doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do, there's ufos, wips, qiw (quilts in waiting) galore, it's just taking me a while to work out where to start!
After a bit of dithering, and thinking that maybe a jolly good tidyup would help, I noticed my butterfly block lying on the bench. Rather than putting it away I got Proactive and made it into a cushion.
I made this block for the Butterfly challenge by Juliet of Tartankiwi. (More detail shown on my blog *here*)
Borders, some quilting, an interesting back all made this a fun little project.
'Scuse the loose thread! Didn't notice it till just now.
Oh the power of photography!
Played with using feathers as the fill, with the edge of the butterfly and outer
edges as the spine - so a little like one sided feathers, I guess.

I love playing with the backs - A - it uses up the leftover fabric and B it means
there's something nice to look at if the pets upset the cushion pile.
 I finished sewing the cushion binding down on full moon-eclipse-blood moon night. What an exciting spectacle it was. There's a couple more photos on my 365 day blog *here*.
Then, more dithering, but luckily DH's 12 year old nephew had come to stay and I was able to stall some more. He visited about this time last year. As well as doing motorbike, calf and farm things—
— he continued his interest in sewing which he'd discovered last visit. Making more postcards.....
doing some handsewing this time (he'd learnt running stitch at school and now knows backstitch).
Culminating in several trips to the post office!
While he was sewing I got through a mammoth pile of ironing; shirts, tablecloths and pillowcases all got dealt to in between answering questions and helping with the postcards. Made me feel quite virtuous.
Now he's gone and I'm back to my dithering.

There are a few distractions while I keep stalling. We just have five two cows left to calve, we've been weaning calves left, right and centre, and all is busy and growing on the farm.
When we took some calves out the back (to wean) yesterday we detoured to see the Kowhai Trees in flower. (Apologies to those of you who have been reading my blog for a while; you would have seen similar photos last year. And the year before!) (But I love them so there you go).
At the back of the run-off, there is a large area of bush, where many Kowhai trees
grow. Kowhai is the Maori word for yellow - you can see them in this photo.
Click on the photo so it enlarges... I just love how this one came out.
The Kowhai flower is particularly beautiful. The sun was very bright and because
the trees are so tall I was looking up into it so I didn't get many good shots.
The Tui love the nectar in the flowers and the trees are full of their unique sound.
I tried taking a video but it didn't come out so well - I had loaded it into this post but it's not particularly clear so I've removed it. The birds quietened down (might have been something to do with DH sighing rather loudly and saying that he was slowly dying of boredom?!) so head over to Leanne of Cottagetail who has a good video of the Tui's 'song' on her blog today.
Here's another picture of the Tui...also known as The Parson Bird
because of the white throat feathers.
Ok so for someone who's been dithering I've managed to fill a whole post. I think I need to revert to some list making and get myself moving. For now, it's calf time anyway so I've been saved by the bell, so to speak!
Happy creating, and thanks for reading along.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Red and White Quilt Challenge


Earlier this year I decided to commit myself to the SewCalGal 'A Year of Red and White Quilt Challenges'. The year started with an EQ (Electric Quilt) Bloghop which I took part in. After having no idea where to start with that post, I had a lot of fun with the Serendipity function and the coolest discovery was transforming this Bear's Paw block —

to this — (Serendipity>Kaleidoscope) —
Then in March there was the Design it! Challenge. I decided to play with EQ7 again and came up with several ideas I thought would look great as a quilt. This was my favourite —

At our annual retreat in May I started sewing up this quilt, and made another major EQ7 learning....look at the block below, the way I put the chains together while designing meant that the centre of this block was rather stupid.... 4 small squares joined together to make one big one - duh! I've always known that you cant just design off EQ7, you also need a working and practical knowledge of quilting and how blocks go together. Back to the drawing board and replacing that tedious centre of the block with one simple square!
 Fast forward a few months and all of a sudden the deadline for entering the SewCalGal Make It challenge was rapidly approaching..time to get busy and concentrate on a little red and white sewing!
First this emerged —
Then this —
 This area is foundation paper pieced. Rather daunting at first but broken down into all its parts it wasn't so bad! (Hehe, when I opened up this block to play with it, EQ7 took great delight in telling me something like Serendipity blocks are not really designed to be sewn and played with. I ignored the warning, so pleased I did!)
Put them together and below we have the result - Choice!! I must admit I raced home from work this afternoon to do the last few seams.... and it still needs a jolly good press, some de-threading, some papers removed and the odd seam resewn (whew) but yaay, I'm pleased to have got to this stage.
And I'm in time to link up with the SewCalGal Make It! Challenge... with an hour or so to spare! Go *here* if you want to see what others have made. It didn't have to be our own design and thank goodness unquilted tops are permitted!
EDIT - I'm also linking up with SewCalGal's Show It! Made It! Designed It! Challenge. To see more original designs go *here* and scroll down a little.
Thanks for reading along and letting me share my quilt (top). It feels great to be able to do that!
Happy creating,