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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Monday is the new Sunday

It's become a bit of a routine that Sunday is My Day - when I selfishly shut myself in The Palace and sew and craft with little regard for the rest of the world (hmmm, well sort of!). We even have a very regular and easy Sunday night dinner of toasted sandwiches so I don't need to spend the day thinking about what to dish up - all I have to do is make sure we have enough bacon, eggs and cheese on hand.
Lately though my Sundays have become fuller and fuller - and some weekends not even a stitch is sewn - horror!
This week I decided to put that right and decided that Monday would be a Sunday! Great idea.
So after a morning (yes!!) of stock work vaccinating the herd and getting a jolly good workout, I started.

I didn't think I was going to make any yellow scrappy sprouts for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this month as I don't have a lot of yellow, but after seeing Kathy's sprouts over the weekend, I decided I really needed to try :-)
I managed to find a few yellows....
(Here I 've decided, gold counts as a yellow!)
And sewed them to my previous greens.
I'm pleased I made the effort - the splash of yellow will be a nice touch :-)

I then had a play with my Friday's Village blocks (aka Moda's Be My Neighbour). I was tossing up whether to use more of my backgrounds for sashing, or use another fabric... I've decided on this cute grey print —

— and sewed it on before I could change my mind! 
And here is what will probably be my only finish for the month! The wee Milo vest I was making in my last post is finished and washed and waiting for my next visit to town to mail away.
It will end up in a baby pack...these are for needy babies, put together by the Little Sprouts group.

And so ended my Sunday on Monday :-) And I am thinking Wednesday afternoon is the new Sunday (or Monday?!) evening - that is when I thought I'd have this blogpost written!

This coming weekend I am tutoring a class so I had best be off again and get some prep work done.
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Sunday, June 18, 2017

FNSI for June

On Friday night I continued on with some knitting I had started earlier in the week. With the All Blacks vs Samoa on the telly and fellow FNSI friends from around the globe, it was a very enjoyable evening. 
Last weekend the MOML (hubby) and I spent a few days away (as our son put it; the MOML's annual weekend away because the cows are dry!). I had hoped that we were going to do enough driving that I could start and finish this wee vest in the same trip.
First time I've done knitting in the round with these cable needles.
Because the cable was too long I had fun and games... I changed to
a shorter one the other night and it was a lot easier!
Typically for me I got sidetracked and spent one leg (or maybe two) of the trip crocheting before I even started the knitting.
Fancy little cable - first time I've done this for a while!
However, I think one more session and it will be done. It's a Milo vest which I am making for the Little Sprouts group here in NZ. I'm officiallly making the 3 month size but as I haven't done any tension/gauge testing, it may be a surprise size!
This is a cute little stitch/row marker my lovely friend Joanne made me.
Much nicer to use than the plastic ones!
Thank you everyone for your company and to Wendy for hosting us :-)

The crochet that sidetracked me - progress on the assymetrical shawl.
I'm still making my way through my latest Evandale blocks, basting another one the other night as well. Getting there with this border :-)
Outer shapes basted on and waiting for hand stitching on - maybe tonight :-)

I mentioned a (long) weekend away that the MOML and I had; we spent time with family and visited a few friends.
I barely took any photos while we were away but here are a couple to share —
It was nice to see Mum's cross stitch on our bedroom wall. These have been framed since we last visited. She bought these when we visited my son when he lived in Rockhampton a few years ago.
'scuse the reflections in the glass!
Very Australian looking!

A gentle frost one morning made a lovely scene.
It's the end of the weekend already, this one has flown by really quickly. I managed a little sewing this afternoon but nothing much to share just now. I'm looking forward to a peaceful week with not too many things on which means I may fit in some quilting time :-)
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Round Robining finish

I've written about this quilt a couple of times lately but not since it's been finished.
Yes, it's finished!!
Back in 2010 a group of friends and I spent a year 'round robining'... we each made the start of a row-by-row quilt, then didn't see it until the end of the year when it was returned to us at a grand revealing. We had a lot of fun, meeting monthly to exchange bags; each being banished from the room as our own quilt was brought out and discussed before being passed onto the next person to work on it.
I was so in awe of mine when it returned home that it sat awaiting attention until this year, when I finally pulled it out and worked on it for April's One Monthly Goal challenge. It took me a long time to work up the confidence to work on it myself!
But first, I will get sidetracked... about the same time that we were doing this Round Robin, Dad was quite ill and I was spending regular time at my parents' helping to care for him. One of his interests became fashioning walking sticks out of wood from his vast and intensive orchard. He'd find interesting shaped prunings and spend hours sanding and oiling them.
Some of Dad's collection of walking sticks he made.
He found the stag antler at a Treecrops field day.
As he was collecting quite a little pile of these, I thought it would be nice if he had a change of scenery and instead fashion me a hanger for this quilt.
Finally, after too many years, I am hanging my quilt from 'Dad's hanger'.
Sadly we got a bit muddled early on as to which tree the branch came from; he made a bundle but this is the only one I ended up with.
And so I present my finished quilt :-)
Previously, I have promised a few more close ups of it.
I made this first row as a representation of our journey to our current (and final!) farm.
Each letterbox is for somewhere we have lived (and farmed),
from Taranaki to the Waikato to Northland.
For example, the right hand side shows our present farm with
an unsealed road and a river running through
it and ruling our life (at times!) 
Barge On Inn is a a clever sign friends made for us when we left the Waikato - a play on our surname, Barge.
Mary very cleverly and seamlessly added to my block, extending the river, adding in the native bush, adding 3-D riverstones and trees.
Leeanne continued on with that theme/idea, adding in the horses - one galloping madly on the riverbacnk, and another being ridden by one of the girls in the arena. (See above and below photos, there's some overlap between the pictures).
After Leeanne came Patsy. She added in the appliqued family members - our three kids and some pets.
Kerry added the row with the chickens, cute detail in hers with grains of wheat for them to peck at.
When Jacki did her row of the herd of cows grazing she told a delightful story of shopping with her husband (an ex-dairy farmer). He found the cow fabric and declared it was perfect for her row.
Next was Ans who supplied us with some sheds and a tractor..... plus a quilt hanging on the line.
Janis and Megan shared the next row (as the quilt was becoming longer than I had wanted it).
Janis went back to the bush and horsey theme.
Megan added 'our' house with lots of pretty detail.
Aurely's row included Mr Piggy and a spilt bucket of milk :-)
To complete the quilt, Jenny decided it needed the MOML and I,  to (quoting her) "represent the partnership that got us here".
I love how everyone worked in their own style but that the quilt flows so well. And it covers so many aspects of our farming life. There's so much detail I cant show here, like wire fences with stapled posts.
I quilted it relatively simply, outlining various aspects, doing a bit of filler where it was a 'bit baggy' in places. It was a lot of fun to quilt as there was lots of detail to smile at! It now has pride of place in our hallway where it is easily seen by us all :-)
{And of course for me, Dad's hanger is the icing on the cake.}
I hope you've enjoyed my indulgence with sharing this quilt - it really is a 'one of a kind' piece!
Happy stitches,

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Chooky's Party

Chooky threw her annual Chookshed party this weekend and invited us all along; naturally I accepted the invite...but, to be honest, I didn't quite make it :-(
I was the one who had the flat tyre, or who couldn't decide what to wear...while I squeezed the odd bit of sewing in, you couldn't really say I was there with bells on...maybe next time!
But I've got a few photos to share, things I've been working on lately.
I've joined up with the Holly Cottage Christmas SAL this officially started this month...this cute wee bird is appliqued to a cute wee stocking.
And I'm making good progress on these Evandale blocks. (I last shared a progress photo of this quilt *here*)
I'm getting a good little pile of English Paper Pieced stars.
And also getting some block assembly done!
We spent a day out as a family over the weekend. Sitting-in-the-car time meant a good chance to pick up my latest crochet project.
I started this on my trip over to Australia to visit my son.
The night before I flew out I had to get the wool into a useable state!
The stitch is easy but it took me a bit to understand it :-)
It's like a herringbone pattern.
After the car time on Sunday.
I'm making a Main Street Shawl by ktandthesquid. This is an asymmetrical pattern - you start off with just a few stitches and increase regularly on one edge until it's either grown big enough or you run out of yarn. (Each row gets a little longer). Once you master the pattern it is pretty mindless and a perfect travel project. I like No Thinking Required!
We don't need too many winter woolies here in Northland but there are times when they are hugely appreciated!

This weekend I also had to decide what to use as my project for One Monthly Goal. A mystery quilt I did last year was this one, Friday's Garden (more about it *here*). I started the quilting last year but life got in the way and I never got back to it. I am hoping that this month I can complete the quilt!
Pop on over to Patty's Elm St Quilts if you would like to join in with this motivating link up. I'm very pleased as last month I won a Fat Quarter Shop voucher for taking part - I was happy to meet my goal so this was the icing on the cake!
Friday's Garden needs finishing!

I'm also linking up to Linda and Julie for their regular Sew-Stitch-Snap and Share feature. A nice way to see what others are up to - click on the logo to get to their blogs and the link up.

Something else that kept me occupied over the weekend —
Some new little chickens, they are too cute really.
My kids say I am in danger of becoming the Mad Chicken Lady.
Or perhaps the Mad Quilting Chicken Lady?
Thanks Chooky, for inviting us all along to share in the fun at your party! Sorry I didn't really turn up, but, as you can see, I was nearly there:-)
Happy stitches!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A small quilt or a large cushion? (and more)

At what stage does a cushion become too big to be a cushion and really should be made into a small quilt? That's what I was thinking as I was putting the finishing stitches into this......
It was an(other) 11th hour finish for goal for May was to finish this cushion I'd started several years the start of the month it was in several pieces, waiting for attention,
My 3-D cushion needing some love.
More about it *here*.
There were some small blocks to go around the above centre block —
And that was about it. A concentrated sewing effort has seen it become this —
Wall hanging?
Or cushion?
The original design didn't have the outer border but I decided I wanted one, it means as the cushion curves, the outer blocks don't disappear off the edge! But it also meant that the cushion grew a little - it finishes at 24" square :-) That's where my dilemma as to whether it was cushion or quilt came from! (However they do make cushion inners this size so I guess I'm legal!).
You can see why it's called a 3-D cushion —
And to finish the 3-D effect, I did some trapunto in the blank areas. This is easily done by putting a bit of batting behind the area, sewing the outline of your design in washaway thread and trimming the excess batting before doing the normal quilt sandwich/layering process. Naturally, you re-sew over the washaway thread with standard thread. (Note to self, next time remember that you have used washaway thread and don't try to spray your outline lines away too early!)
This is all quilted in Aurifil #50 weight - it's becoming a firm favourite quilting thread of mine.
I'm linking up to Patty D of Elm Street quilts for One Monthly Goal and Joy from Days filled with Joy for Finishing Stitches. Thank you ladies for the little push I needed to complete this UFO.

Over the weekend I made a few more scrappy sprouts blocks...I'd made some green ones for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge earlier in the month but they were all quite dark and I wanted some lighter ones too.

Deciding that was enough green scrappy sprouts, I put the sprout box away.... but then after working on another project (which I cant share much of just now), I had these delicious, perfectly sized triangles left over....

So one more sprout appeared! Scrap sewing is very addictive!!!! [Linking up to soscrappy, thank you Angela :-)]

In my last post, I was just getting ready to hop over to Australia to visit my son and his family... I had a fabulous time...the wee girls are nearly two now; they've grown and developed so much since I last saw them.
The Buzzy Bee toys got a good work out while I was there; they make a great noise being pulled around behind the bikes. (All good kiwi kids need a Buzzy Bee, even if they live in Australia!) (They have a traditional red one too, it doesn't show in the photos).
Ahh, precious times ♥
Whoops the best 'family photo' we got!
Before I got to my son's though I braved the train system and visited my gorgeous friend Michelle of Rag-Tag Stitching....... I spent a lovely time chatting with her, and it was also lovely to see her quilts and artwork up close, after admiring so many of them on her blog. Thank you for your hospitality Michelle :-)
I've had a little time away from blogland, with one thing and another...I'm hoping for a quieter weekend now and some lovely catch up reading ♥
'til next time,
happy stitches,