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

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,

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A day with Yoko Saito

My friend Barb and I had the most wonderful day yesterday in our class with Yoko Saito. Yoko is well known for her "exquisite designs and ingenious use of 'taupe colour' " (words borrowed from the blurb inside one of her books).
Because Yoko knows very little English, she was accompanied by another lovely lady, Satomi, who was able to translate for her.
However Yoko's hands told us much that we needed to know, she was very patient and clear in her demonstrations and there were many "Ahhh!" and "Wow" moments throughout the day!
Yoko and Satomi are in New Zealand for eight days I think and are squeezing in 6 workshop days in that time!
The project we were making was a notebook cover; in reality, what we were making was immaterial, what we learnt was invaluable.
Yoko's work is small (tiny at times!) and the way she works is simple, deft and efficient. What she showed us was that if you use the right tools or technique, doing small is achievable. Not that she has a vast repertoire of tools that she required us to buy, mostly it was using items that are already readily found in our craft rooms... although I think many of us will be purchasing the clever cutter she was using...(it's on her thumb in the photos above and below).
The notebook/diary cover we were making
Here is how far I got with my piece, doesn't seem a lot for a full day but there was lots to see and talk about of course!! (And morning, afternoon tea and lunch were all very well catered for!)
And Barb got about as far along it as I did!
Yoko finished the class by showing us two of the quilts which had travelled with her. Amazing!
And she tirelessly and graciously signed our copies of her books we had brought with us :-)

An added bonus of the class was meeting a fellow blogger. Fairly recently I have been delighted to come across another Raewyn in blogland!! Since I've been blogging I have had many comments and questions about my name... which intrigued me as it was a pretty common 60's name in New Zealand (I often seemed to have another Raewyn in my class while at school!)
I was excited to learn that she was doing the same class as us. Raewyn from Reconstructed Fabulousness is as lovely as her blog suggests. And she does the most beautiful handwork, her blog is well worth looking at and drooling over.
The two Raewyn Anne s in Red.
In case you think I may have neglected my animals for the day, this was how my day started (before the 3 hour drive!)
And I didn't get a photo of how it finished...dinner at the neighbours' place - the roast mutton was just being pulled out of the oven as I arrived after the big drive home. Absolutely fabulous!
A truly fantastic day!!