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

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Churndashes large and small

(And a few other things)
(Hmm I've just had a thought - I think these are Shoo-fly blocks not Churndash blocks. Never mind!!!)

I had a  couple of quiet days recently that I spent catching up on some sewing. Days like this are few and far between at the moment so I must say I did enjoy myself.

Since my last post, I've made four more Churndash blocks for my scrappy Omigosh quilt (a long term project). I know churn dashes can be whipped out pretty quickly but when they're made up of lots of little units they take a bit longer!
But oh so satisfying!
And because it was too tempting not to, I joined a few blocks. Looking good! Busy but good.
Very scrappy :-)
The next bunch of churn dashes made up even more quickly when I remembered there's an 8-at-a-time method for making the half square triangles. Yaay for google which helps out in times of need!
There's quite a few tutorials if you do a search, here's one for starters.
Two larger squares, two drawn lines; 8 HSTs
Not much to trim, just a few dog ears.
And, pretty quickly, a wee pile of churndashes for my row-by-row QAL.
I'd gotten quite behind on my Row-by-row QAL being run by The Country Yard. Five row ideas have been released and before the weekend I'd done only the first two.
We get a suggested block, a required size and a piece of feature fabric which must be used.
One reason I stalled (aside from a lack of time!) was that I realised I'd become too mitchy match with my fabrics and I was going to end up with a whole lot of samey samey.
Rows One and Two
It took the house row for me to break out of the rut and add some more colour and variety.
The four rows I've done together —
I don't often use a darker background fabric but I'm loving this one! The compulsory fabric is the pastel coloured script you can see in some of the blocks.
Four rows done now - just one more (some stars) to catch up on.
One of the ideas of QALs like this is to use scraps and claim a bit more storage space. I decided to rebel and am trying to create scraps of these fabrics for another fun quilt I've got my eyes on (hehe).

In other news, I've been chipping away at the blocks for my One Monthly Goal of getting Whimsical Woodland to a flimsy state. This is the last of the stitchery blocks that needs assembling.
I'd like to do a shout out to QuiltGranma who has been leaving me some lovely comments recently. Thank you! Sorry that I can't reply as you show up as a 'no-reply commenter' and I don't have your email address. You asked specifically about the possum fur in the yarn I used for the shawl I made for Mum. It's fairly readily available as a mix here in New Zealand, although it is a little more expensive than standard sheep wool. Here's an article that might be of interest and explain New Zealanders' keen use of this fur in our textiles.
The morning has disappeared on me - it's time to go get some firewood in and let my chickens out for a run.
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Friday Night with Friends

With no knitting on the go and my Whimsical Woodland stitcheries all done, I thought I'd best get working on my 'Not Even A Mouse' Christmas mystery stitchery. I haven't touched this project for a month or so. We got month six the other day but I have a couple to catch up on before I start that one.
After working on it for a few nights this week I got block four out to complete on Friday night when I joined in with Cheryll and a group of lovely ladies for Friday Night with Friends .
I had a bit of evening left to trace month three —
Thank you for hosting us Cheryll. Pop on over to her blog to see what others got up to.
After going into town to watch netball on Saturday, my day fell apart. I came home and slept most of the afternoon away as bugs I'd been fighting all week hit me.
The only handwork I did on Saturday was making the cords for Lily's slippers...she just needs her sheepskin soles and then she'll be stepping out in fine style, like her brother
You may remember me harping on about all the satin stitched leaves on block 3 of Foxley Village. Yaay, I did actually finish them, plus the berries - hehe so pleased I persisted!
Making a start on month four of Foxley Village will happen after I've done the Christmas stitcheries - I'd better get stitching as I'm looking forward to some more applique :-)
My cold seems to be coming right, I didn't think I'd get this blog post written today but I have so that's a good sign. A quiet day tomorrow and I should soon be all better :-)
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Thursday, June 6, 2019

One Monthly Goal and some woolly finishes

I thought I'd have another try at setting a goal and getting it done this month - it's a while since I've successfully signed up to Patty's OMG. (One Monthly Goal link party). As we all know, life sometimes just gets in the way.
However, as I've been working on my Whimsical Woodland blocks lately, I'm now pretty keen to get the top together. This is where I'm up to at the moment —
Hopefully by the end of the month I can show a picture of a flimsy :-) Thank you Patty for the wee push and motivation.

As I looked through my photos the other day, I realised I'd been a bit slow in sharing some of my finishes lately. I've actually had more than I've accounted for!

A while back I showed you an in progress photo of a cardie I was making for Lily. Well that's already being well worn and, if truth be told, I probably should have made it a little longer. For now, though she's getting good wear out of it. The pattern is *here*.
I had trouble finding the right buttons...I couldn't find anything the right colour until I finally found these little flower ones. Although I decided the colour worked, I worried that ED would curse me when trying to push the fiddly shape through the button-hole....she does curse me, but because the buttons are so attractive the babies spend a lot of time picking at them and eyeing them up, making dressing difficult!

These slippers were classed as a finish last month, I've had to come back to them and put a cord through them to tie them on. I did wonder at the time, but the pattern was for 9-12 months old kiddies so I figured they were tested and the ribbing was long enough to keep them snug for this age. Maybe these two are too active - I'm hoping the slippers will be more useful now.
I used this french cord maker to make them - a handy wee gadget to have!
('scuse the blurry photo!)
A project I kept under wraps while I was working on it was a shawl for Mum. I started it in the plane on the way to retreat and worked on it fairly steadily until Mothers' Day, when I finished it. I fell in love with the yarn (merino and possum mix) and had admired the Nessa pattern by Libby Jonson. A good excuse to purchase both and do some knitting.

Trying to establish a lace pattern while flying and road tripping is a bit of a tricky thing, and I spent a fair bit of time frogging (as they call it in the knitting world). There's a few errors I've left there for humility (and also because I couldn't be bothered with more unpicking!) 
But it's knitted up lovely and soft and I hope Mum enjoys wearing it.
I hope you'll indulge me as I throw in this cute photo. Our DIL is a professional photographer and ED arranged a photoshoot of her growing little family. I went over to help child mind while it was all happening. After it was over we had a quick 'random' photo - please excuse Ganma in her farm clothes, but isn't it lovely?!!
The two older girls belong to my DIL who was taking the photos, and the
two babies belong to ED.
It's time to go and stoke up the fire, then settle down with some handwork  :-)
'til next time,
Happy stitches,

Monday, June 3, 2019

Sunday sewing at the Chookshed

Sunday wasn't such a productive day for me at Chooky's Chookshed party. I'd like to say, too much chatting, but when you're at a virtual party, that can be a pretty poor excuse :-)
The day started off quite cool so I got busy with wheelbarrows of wood and fire lighting paraphernalia to get our winter warmth going. The day quickly changed and it wasn't very long before I was turning the firebox down, opening the windows and taking off my sweatshirt!
(I may have even pulled out the vacuum cleaner which, I know, is not appropriate behaviour for a party!)
I did still have my winter warmer soup for lunch though. The sunny deck called so I ate outside. I'd just picked some scrumptious 'spring flowers' and took them out with me to enjoy their company while I slurped. (And for a pretty photo too, of course!)
After lunch I pulled out my Whimsical Woodland blocks - actually they were already out - carefully arranged on the floor of the spare room.
This has been my play, close the door and walk away project!
I bordered four more of the stitched blocks with 2" squares. Just have a few more to go and then I'll nearly be at the assembly stage :-)
I made one of the churn dash blocks for the Omigosh quilt - it's been good to spend some time remembering what sized scraps I need for this project and doing a little planning. Light coloured squares that aren't quite 2" are perfect as the setting triangles for the 4-patches. More great scrap sorting.
(I forgot to add yesterday that these blocks are 5" unfinished size!)
While I was playing with this block I could vaguely remember having small bins of this project prepped and ready to sew. A quick look and I found these stacked behind some books - I'm too organised for my own good sometimes - but I'm pleased to have them now. The other scraps in bins under the ironing board can wait while I sew these all up into blocks.
Such a bonus finding these, all prepped, ready to sew :-)
After dinner I finished the stitching on the last Woodland block for my quilt. It's an extra one as I'm making the quilt bigger. I've put together elements from a few of the other blocks to make a new one!

All in all it was a productive weekend. I think Chooky has sent her guests home but as it's a long weekend here in New Zealand celebrating the Queen's Birthday,  I may continue partying today!
'til next time,
Happy stitches,

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Scrappy sewing Saturday at the Chookshed

Every year about this time Chooky celebrates her Chookshed's birthday by spending the weekend sewing with real and virtual friends.
They say every cloud has a silver lining - my niece and her family were coming to visit this weekend but a bad case of the flu has kept them at home. We were disappointed that they couldn't come and stay but it did mean I could sew along with Chooky and friends.
I had been going to make the 3 year old visitor a pillowcase to use while he was here (after deciding all the snuggly pillowcases in my cupboard were rather girly) so while the fabric I'd pulled was out, I decided to carry on with the plan.
I found some brushed cotton pieces leftover from a quilt backing and some Happy Pants for a son-in-law. Of course none of the pieces were the right shape, and I had to do some joins - the back is two coloured and the contrasting flap is made out of several pieces.
The front
The back, it's supposed to be all the feature print but you can see I didn't have enough!
I've seen these burrito style pillowcases called 15 minute ones (or similar). Because I was sewing with scraps and figuring it out with extra piecing to make it work, it took me a bit longer than that!
But it's done :-) It will go into the post this week sometime.

Last week I tested another pattern for Juliet of Tartankiwi.
Here is the gorgeous hedgehog I made. Isn't he cute?!

This was another gloriously scrappy affair —
All lined up ready to sew
Juliet's pattern was for a 16" square cushion. Here it is made up to that size —
I decided I really need to carry on with my hedgehog so he doesn't end up in my Pile Of Ufos - he's too cute for that.
I also decided he will join a couple of other cushions on the couch which are both a bit larger, so I've altered the outer borders to enlarge him a little.
I spent some fun time scrappy sewing; finding big enough pieces to make the back, fusing together bits of batting. I do enjoy the challenge of scrappy sewing but it does mean the job always takes longer while I fuss and trial and join and measure and trim!
Joins here there and everywhere!
This leaves me with a wee pile of quilting to do today :-)
Juliet has now released the pattern for the hedgehog cushion. Details of where to buy it are in her profile on her instagram page.

And in between it all, I've been leader and ending with some of my smaller scraps. I've been making more 9-patches for my Omigosh quilt using 1" scraps. Once again, quite messy and time consuming in a way as I try to use every last inch!! Usually I just sew the strips together until I get sick of the piles of them taking over and then I focus on pressing, trimming and joining.
One of the many of these I've assembled lately.
I haven't made any of the blocks below for a while so think I might start on some of these next. The HSTs take slightly bigger scraps!
Last night before I went to bed I put some soup in the crockpot - I woke this morning to the delicious smell of bacon and vegetable soup wafting through the house. The weather has suddenly changed and we are finally going to give in and light the fire this morning.
It feels like another perfect day for spending celebrating Chooky's Chookshed Birthday!
'til next time,
Happy stitches,

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Weekend bits and pieces

I've been doing quite a lot of knitting lately but for Friday Night Sew In I decided to pull out my current Foxley Village block... I say current because it's the one I'm working on, but it hasn't been worked on at all for well over a month, I think!
I was getting hassled by all the small satin stitched leaves which seemed to be taking me forever. I was tempted to change the stitch for the second tree, but in the end carried on with the satin stitch.
After a false start —
Hehe cuteness galore
We're looking after this grand-baby this weekend.
— and a bit more stitching on Saturday night, I've got this far —
There are also some berries to be stitched amongst the leaves! Sigh!

I finished off these wee slippers during the week. They have sheepskin soles so I'm hoping they will be 'just right' for the three walking babies in our lives at the moment.
I've cast on for another pair which I hope to make some progress on this afternoon in the car. The big grandie-girls came back here after netball yesterday and we'll be taking them home later.
As always, they've had a nice visit, and there's a batch of muffins being made, as I write :-)
They might even be ready now, so I'd best get upstairs and see how they are....
Thank you Wendy for hosting Friday Night Sew In. Head over to her blog if you want to check out what others got up to.
'til next time,
Happy stitches,