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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

End of Month Opam and FMQ

I was going to say, here I am squeezing my end of month posting in at the eleventh hour but when I looked at the clock I realised I had heaps of time left in the month to post this -7 hours in fact!
I don't feel like I've been very productive at all lately; I have been busy sewing but don't have many finishes to report.
My 'local' had a mystery project night recently. No-one had any idea what they would be making; everyone was supplied with paper bags of cut fabrics and verbal instructions!! By the end of the night and after lots of guessing, we all had one of these -

A cool doorstop. This was a fun night.
And this is my second finish; a cushion. (I took the inner out for the photo as I couldn't get a decent shot). I quite like the effect of using an enlarged block for a cushion. This is 16 inches.

I have also continued the free motion quilting challenge being run by SewCalGal. This month the guest tutor was Anne Fahl. She commented that stippling was getting a little 'overdone and boring' and encouraged us to try different fillers. So in spite of spending hours practising my stippling and because I do believe there is a time and place for everything, I set to and tried her suggestions.
Auriifil 40 weight top and bottom. Lovely to sew with.
It was great practise to alternate the direction of my loops (Great Brain Gym exercises!) and to suddenly do straight lines for the stars. I was pleasantly surprised with the end result.
It does actually look pretty good in real life - it just looks like a messy scrawl here!
I filled in a 9 inch square on my fmq-sampler-quilt. I have a block a month
to fill for this challenge.
I commented to someone that I had seen none of these caterpillars below lately but the next day I found plenty on my plants - I just had to look a bit more carefully -

I always find the Monarchs very magical. Love seeing them.
 I took the photo below to show my overseas followers a bit more of the countryside where we live. This is the MOML resowing a paddock with grass seed after we grew a turnip crop for the cows this summer. You can see the flats that were flooded recently, and also our house and sheds in the middle section; in the left towards the back you may just be able to make out the cows grazing.
Man At Work
The same paddock - looking uphill.
 So there we are, nicely caught up. I wonder what next month will bring.....
Happy sewing everyone,  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Quilt Show, blocks and rain

I wonder how many other people took advantage of the free 'Quilt Show' episodes this weekend?  I used up our month's internet allocation but had a lovely weekend pottering in my cave; headphones on, iron going, machine going, listening to and watching wise and entertaining quilters share their quilts and techniques.  Pure Indulgence! (Lucky for me a new month's internet bytes starts on the 20th so I won't have to go without at all).
I have managed to get this round of my Stay At Home Round-Robin quilt done. (This is being hosted by the lovely Sunny over at Quilting Dreams). This round was to be pinwheels or hour glass blocks. I decided the movement of the pinwheels would suit the butterflies. Next round is to be applique which will be a calm round after the previous busyness.

This is the first time I have done this little bit of seam unpicking to make the centre of the pinwheels sit nice and flat. I was a bit unsure about doing it as it seems strange to unpick part of that quarter-inch seam. (And as you can see, I was a bit afraid to go ALL the way).
ONE of the quilt shows I watched in the weekend talked about clipping the seams so that the part that needs to lay one way can do that, and the other the opposite, but it still is cutting into that seam.... the jury is out - any hints or thoughts??
I've also completed my 6th Hop To It block (from the book by Edyta Sitar). Yaay - half way there!!
And now that I have 6 completed I can lay them out for a photo shoot, like Joanne and Wendy have done recently.
I'm loving them!!!
I've also been having a bit of a play with invisible machine sewn needleturn. I do love my hand needleturn but I am always wanting to try new ideas and have an excuse to start more projects!
I found it time consuming to prepare the templates using freezer paper (particularly as my hand applique is done the back basting method which involves no templates) but then found it VERY quick to sew!!
I used a Superior Threads monofilament on top, Bobbinfil on the bottom, a fine needle and a narrow zigzag. Seems to work (the polyester coped with ironing which was another query I had) so think I'll be having a bit more of a play with this.

One reason I was able to hibernate was the rain bucketing down outside... we've just had 2 months' worth of rain in a day. Once we'd made sure the animals were all on high ground, fed and warm, there wasn't much to do but stay inside.
This was the farm yesterday -
-here is it this morning -

 We are lucky that we drain fairly quickly but it will still be a few days before we will be able to get over the bridge to the rest of the farm. As you can tell, our house and main buildings are all up at a higher level than the flood plain. 
Other parts of Northland faired a lot worse than us, and I understand the rough weather is now moving down the country. I'm hoping that anyone else suffering from weather adversaties gets through it safely and drama-free.
On another note, Anne from Rotorua, who emailed me recently about the Hop To It blocks, please can you email me again. My main computer has crashed and I have lost your email so cannot reply to you.
Thank goodness I had done a recent back-up but I do know there are things that I will never see again!
Have a good week everyone,
Thanks for visiting,

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Today I'm joining Melody on her Teddy Bears Picnic - if you go to her blog you can see more picnicking bears.

It's a nice day for a picnic at our place today, a mild autumn day, and these chaps have had a lovely time out in the garden. They have all been created by my YD. She has really got the bear-making bug and has been sewing non-stop! She is already planning the next one while still making the previous - that's addicted, I think!
They found a nice spot under the lilies away from the bees.
Cashious is the first bear she finished. He was put together in super speedy
time for Valentines Day for the MOHL (man of her life) this year. He is made
 from Mohair which gives him a delightfully scruffy look.
Bearbot was finished this week. YD started him about 9 years ago and
he was lying very ungracefully in a box until recently. In spite of his size,
he actually enjoys boxing, apparently.
Billibus was also started about the same time as Bearbot.
A friend designed him and was using myself and my 2 girls
as guinea pigs for her teaching and pattern writing.
Unfortunately a major head injury for one of the girls and then a big
farm shift meant we never finished the classes.
YD surprised me by finding the cap and vest patterns and
adapting them to fit. Very resourceful.
And I cannot let the picnic blanket go unmentioned. This was the first ever
 sewing project by ED. All hand pieced and made from pyjama leftovers,
this was made for and loved by her dolls.
So she finished her first patchwork quilt before I ever did!
I hope you enjoyed picnicking with the bears. Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"On the Edge"

Where the country goes to the city —
On the Edge is a fairly new Art Gallery in our little city of Whangarei. It covers a wide range of art and each month it has new displays.
This month, along with a local photographer, The Country Yard (aka "my local") was invited to exhibit.
I went along this morning and was impressed by what Richard had done with 'our' quilts. He kindly gave me permission to share these photos on my blog.
I loved this view; the colours, the haybales, the paintings and artwork all
worked together so well. On the bales are my 'Simple Pleasures' quilt
and the 3 Stitch-Around-The-Block cushions from our neighbourhood.
You can also see one of Lynette Anderson's Button Club Mystery
quilts from 2010.
To the far left is Jacki's 70th birthday quilt. (I couldn't get a good photo.)
This is a BOM; this beautiful sample was made by Leeanne for the shop.
Loved its setting on this coloured wall.
Noeline's lovely embroidered cushions are on the left, but my photo of
these wasn't clear.
Rachel's 'Journey of a Quilter' is on the table and Mary's 70th birthday quilt is
on the wall.
We each made a block for Mary's quilt which was assembled and quilted
by her daughter. This pic is of the block, the Kereru (Wood Pigeon), which
I made for her. (I haven't shown it here before).
This is the block I made for Jacki's 70th birthday quilt. Recognise him??!!
This was a quilt I hadn't seen before. Rachel made this - gorgeous!!
I haven't showed close ups of everything as I didn't want to spoil it for you locals who haven't visited yet!.
I really enjoyed this visit; it was inspiring to see the quilts in such a different setting.  Thanks Richard, you did a great job :-)

Back on the home front —
— this photo shows YD's latest bear creation (she's made 4 in the past month!). This one is 7 1/2 inches tall, and was helping me make my latest house block earlier this morning.

Thanks for visiting - hope you enjoyed the peek at the gallery, and hope you all have a great week,

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Summer building..(houses)...

I am enjoying building my little houses a lot, sorting through the scraps, finding suitable 'window prints' and then seeing the finished result. As you all know, playing with scraps is a great way of going for a trip down memory lane, thinking about where each piece of fabric came from.
Leanne and I had an impromptu red-scrap-fabric-swap..... it was tempting to sew up some Leanne houses straight away but I did have to wait till I'd found suitable prints to use for the windows and I couldn't just use any old print. After promising her I would use a Goose (you really need to visit her blog for the relevance of this!), I then had to find one!! Easier said than done, but finally, here are two Leanne houses —
Leanne's red scraps;  her Goose house and a Gardener's house.
YD told me I was daft to put secateurs in the window - I told her it was raining
and Leanne had them inside to oil and sharpen!
Here are my other February houses - lots of memories with these scraps, and lots of fun with the windows!

I don't want to re-use my window fabrics so am building up a little collection of spares that may be suitable for someone else's houses..... if anyone wants to do a window fabric swap (of about ten 1 3/4 inch 'pictures' - my window size is 1 1/8 finished) just get in touch with me :-)
Until next time, happy stitching,

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rabbit Report

I finally have some more Hop To It blocks to share. I'm in a Stitchalong where we do one block a month.... Wendy and I are handsewing ours (for hours on end) so aren't quite keeping up with Joan and Joanne who are doing theirs by machine applique.
Here are my most recent ones -
Block Two - Fleur Delight

Block Four - Spring Reel

Didn't like doing the sharp corners on this block and wasn't so happy with
the  tone-on-tone blue I used.
These blues worked so much better.
Keeping with the blue theme, and the Rabbit theme, here are the first two blocks from The Adventures of Harrington and Hannah. This is a free BOM being offered by Michelle over at Raspberry Rabbits. I decided to do it as I really wanted an excuse to play with some felt, and it seemed fairly straight forward with not too much time-consuming piecing. Consequently I'm hoping I can keep up with this one!
Block One
A good excuse to use this yummy Blueberry Crumb fabric too!
Block Two
The felt pieces are fused on with Fusible Web, then running stitched on - interesting.  I couldn't always get the pieces to stay stuck on - it takes prolonged heat to get through the wool to the glue on the web.

I'm enjoying both these projects...roll on the next blocks :-)
Happy stitching every-one, hope you have a great week!