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

Friday, April 10, 2015

My Easter -

I hope you all had a lovely Easter and were able to spend the weekend doing things that make you happy.
I spent Easter with my son and his wife, who live in Queensland, Australia. It was great - I cant say we did lots of touristy things but I really loved spending time with them and enjoyed the outings that we did do.
Me and my boy ♥
As our dil is halfway through her first pregnancy there was plenty of baby talk and baby related purchases... I spent some time sewing up fitted cot sheets after we found some wide flannelette on sale and have some lovely bamboo towelling (also on sale) to play with; maybe bibs and burb cloths - and whatever else we think of :-)

I had a special time on the first day I was visiting - I got to meet and spend the day with Michelle Ridgeway.... I have followed her blog and loved her stitchery designs FOREVER so I was tickled pink to actually meet her!
She is such a lovely person - after swapping gifts —
A lovely bundle of Aussie goodness from Michelle, including some of her
designs :-)
we shopped a little —
and visited Ipswich's Queen's Park where we drank coffee and talked for ages and found their small nature reserve where quite a few happy Australian animals lived —
If you look closely you will see the croc in the stream... and the only barrier there
was a rope fence!
If you look even more closely you'll see it's just a floating head! hehe!
I've borrowed this photo from Michelle; the Wombats' burrow was up against
the glass so we got an awesome look at them.
There was also some mosaic work, Aboriginal style, gorgeous!
and sheltered from the pouring rain —

The lovely Michelle
...... and all too soon it was time for me to to be dropped off and both of us were off on our merry ways. Thank you again Michelle for a lovely day :-) I hope we can do it another time!

My son and dil are still unpacking after moving house but they did make sure the wall hanging I made them was unpacked and up for my visit! This is the very first project I made when I first discovered The Country Yard and started attending Stitch and Chat Thursdays. I made it for their first Christmas in Australia. I think the design was in The NZ Quilter. I smile when I see it, I'm sure it would look a little different if I made this up now but it is still fairly cool!
The label says something like
"a bit of New Zealand to remind you where you come from" :-)
Pretty certain this was made about 7 years ago.
I had some special mail waiting for me when I arrived back home .... I'd taken part in another postcard swap recently, hosted by the lovely Sheila of Sheila's Quilt World. This time I swapped with Annette of in stitches and seams and this is the card she sent me —
Isn't he sweet? He is beautifully embellished!
Annette enclosed the postcard in a clear envelope and also sent this special card
commemorating the 50th anniversary of their flag.
Here is the card I made and sent to her —
Thank you Annette for the lovely swap and also of course to Sheila for organising us all!

I haven't had a chance to do any sewing since I've been home - roll on the weekend! - but did sew up these booties last night... I knitted them while at my son's but we kept forgetting to buy a darning needle when we went out. I had to bring them back home to complete!
This is the same pattern I knitted up *here* and found on Ravelry *here*.
That's me about done for the night I think...sorry, I do seem to have rambled on a little :-)
Thank you for visiting and taking the time to read (or look at the photos!),
Happy creating and have a lovely weekend,

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cushion Challenge

Tonight I'm linking up with quiltshopgal to join in with this month's fmq challenge.
An expert each month shares a tutorial or similar and we need to complete a cushion/pillow showcasing what we have learnt.
This month' s tutor was Patsy Thompson and there were several different options for the cushion - I chose to make mine using techniques from her Craftsy class, Ultimate Free-Motion Quilting' which I already had in my library (keep an eye out for the Craftsy specials!).  A fun, inspiring class where Patsy shares techniques for hyperquilting, feathers, trapunto and more. Very visual techniques that really show off your quilting........
Ahem... a challenge right from the start for me who likes to quilt in fine matching thread so that those 'not quite up to scratch' stitches remained relatively hidden! Uh-oh!

I decided I wanted to applique something on the cushion, rather than do it whole cloth style. This helped give a starting point for the quilting, I don't think I would have known where to start otherwise. I drew up the sloping teardrop design in EQ7, appliqued it then started panicking!!
I used another piece of the main fabric as a practise sandwich, experimenting with the threads I'd collected which I had thought might be suitable... in the end I really only used 2 of them, in the photo below you can barely see my first thread - I thought a green on the beige would show up more but it didn't.
The hyperquilting involves stitching out a design, then going back with another
colour and adding more detail... then more detail, etc.
This piece has 3 passes, green, light pink, dark pink.
I'm pleased I had the play on this piece as it helped me decide what to do on the main piece.
The flower in the centre is trapuntoed with two layers of batting - the first was
too flat - now it sticks out a mile!
Only ended up using 2 coloured threads but I enjoyed the playing.
This is how I finished the border. Just straight lines and something a little fancy
in the corners.
And this is the finished cushion.
I used 60/40 wool/poly mix batting which really does give a nice puff.
I used the practise piece as the backing. Leeanne shared the idea with me recently and I love how it snazzes up the back, and you only need a bit of binding on the edges.
My practise piece was large so I had a big overlap...may - or may not- come
back to it with a button or two.
I've just realised this is my fourth year of sewcalgal (now quiltshopgal) challenges!! I love them, they always stretch me.
Visit the blog *here* to see what amazing creations others came up with. (You need to scroll down a little bit to get to the mr linky section.). There will be another challenge next month, feel free to join in as anyone can take part.
And while I am here in blogland, I thought I'd quickly share this stitchery I completed last night. It was sitting in a basket of traced stitcheries and at the moment I'm not sure where it is from... I have a suspicion it's from one of Gail Pan's Christmas books. I'll find out for next time I post it, when I've added the borders!
See you next time, happy creating, and thanks for visiting, 
...and Happy Easter!...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Yellow scraps and a finish!

Last month I seriously doubted that I would be able to find enough yellow scraps to make this month's blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, hosted by Angela *here*.
But I did manage to scratch enough together to make them and here they are —
Yellow Great Granny block.
Notice here I use the monthly colour as a guide only!
My first three Great Granny blocks.
I'm really happy with how these ones are coming together.
The 'Sampler' Star block in yellow.

One thing I realised after deciding to do the sampler blocks all with the same centre is that I was ending up with seams all meeting at the same point resulting in a bulky I'm having to remember to press seams apart. It's lying a lot flatter now.
My two yellow cat blocks.
(From the 2103 Oh Franson! Cat quiltalong)
 Last week I shared my current car journey project - this baby blanket. Another trip this weekend (to the polling booth for the bye-election) saw more progress and then another session this morning finished it! It's not huge but by some fluke turned out exactly square! (Considering I used different weight wool than the pattern said, and that I randomly decided 4 skeins of it would be a good number!!)
This is a pattern from Ravelry, found *here*.
There were problems accessing the pattern but the link appears to be working now.
While I was making the green blanket I got thinking about one I had made years ago when I was expecting my first baby. I've pulled it out and given it a wash and a freshen up and I'm happy it has survived the years in a box in the shed!
What's different about this one is that it is Hairpin Crochet.
You can see the lacy effect of the Hairpin lace better here.
 Here is the Hairpin I used; you use it in conjunction with a crochet hook.
Once I remember how this technique goes, I'm keen to make something else with it!
As you can see, I've always enjoyed playing  :-)

I still haven't decided on my next travel project, only a few more days till I hop on the plane so I really must make a decision!

See you next time, happy creating and thank you for visiting,