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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Challenge

Another month where I have met the deadline!!
This month's tutor for the SewCalGal FMQ challenge was Paula Ryan who shared with us her feathered wreath stencil design.
I can't get a photo that shows up the stitching very well.
(If you click on the photos to enlarge them you can see the detail better!)
After all the freehand fmq-ing I did on Dad's quilt, I found staying on the lines and having to be controlled for this quite difficult!
I traced the stencil onto fine tulle and used that to transfer the design to the fabric, as described to us in Don Linn's April tutorial; interestingly the new tulle I used this time was a lot finer and the transferred pattern was a lot clearer than my previous attempts.
I also had needle issues while sewing this piece - I had put a new quilting needle in but it kept lifting the fabric up and down - it wasn't till later when I realised this pack of Schmetz quilting needles had a variety of sizes and the 90 was far too big for this weight fabric and batting. You live and learn.
While I was in fmq-ing mode and mood, I completed July's sample block. July's tutorial was by Angela Walters and was a tile design.
Angela didn't appear to pre-draw her straight lines/tiles but I did go around with a marker and do that first - but still had trouble keeping to a straight line! It was a good piece to practise control and a slightly different filler pattern with.
The fabric I chose for my fmq sampler quilt doesn't photograph very well - the quilting patterns show up a lot better in real life.
So a big thank you to SewCalGal, Paula and Angela for the tutorials and inspiration. I am really enjoying the opportunity to play with different designs and techniques.
Happy creating, everyone, and thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Seeing Stars

There seems to have been a bit of a Star theme going on here lately —
Maverick Stars - a surprise for a friend-nod-nod-wink-wink.
I love making these stars.
Christmas Table Centre Star.
Something is wrong with this picture - can you tell what?
(Yes, I've run out of fabric).
I made one of these as a class sample for The Country Yard,
and loved it so much I'm making one for myself!!
Yummy Christmas fabrics making me drool!
(And hum Jingle Bells in my head).
Farmers Wife blocks #31 and #41
(Evening Star and Friendship Star)
It's been a while since I did any of these.
First blocks for Joanne's Thread Head Quilt Along
I had some Kansas Troubles fabric sorted out to do this with but decided
at the last minute I didn't have enough colour in the range.
So I'm using the Moda Special Basics range instead - these were the only
fabrics of it I had at home but there are lots of muted colours in it which are lovely!
Seems like I need to go shopping!
I don't think one could get bored with Star blocks - there are so many variations around... but for now, I'm all starred out so I'll do a bit more on my Hop To It sashings!
Have a great week everyone,

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday Night Sew In and a Surprise Quilt

Again this month I took advantage of the excuse to sew in the evening and joined in with  Heidi and Bobbi for the Friday Night Sew In... I do sew most evenings but it is usually some hand stitching in front of the telly, interrupted by milo making, pets and dishes. Last night I decided to have a lock down in my cave and have a good session of machine sewing. I told my family I was sewing from 8-10 pm; as I also said it was a bloggy thing, they left me well alone (well nearly!).
I was keen to make some progress on my Hop To It quilt. I still have one more appliqué (by hand)  block to do but there's also a lot of machine sewing to do with the sashings, borders, etc.
8 pm. An appliqué block and a pile of cut quarter square triangles waiting for action.
9pm. Progress being made.
Just after 10pm-calling it a night- lots of sewing, pressing and trimming done.
I joined one length of sashing to a block to give me an idea of
how they will look.
 It has taken me a while to decide which fabrics to use  for these sashings. The pattern suggested rusts, oranges, reds and purple but I wasn't happy with how the ones I had collected looked.I then decided to make it really scrappy with all the leftovers from the appliqués. That didn't work for me either; so I took out all the light fabrics and used just the brown shades, green and reds and I'm pleased with their look. Now that I've made a decent start on it I'm hoping it wont take me long to get them all together.

A group of friends had a fun start to the day this morning with a surprise morning tea for a friend of ours who has a special '0' birthday this coming week.
We each made her a block which we put together in a quilt for her. Many, but not all, of the blocks came out  of the Some Kind Of Wonderful book by Anni Downs.
Happy Birthday Aurely!!
Don't you just love the setting the girls came up with? We used the Putting on the Ritz range by Bunny Hill and the addition of the green really makes it sing.
Leeanne (Quiltmekiwi) did the fabulous quilting. My block is
 the Angel on the moon -top left.
 It was a fun surprise and she loved it!  For lots more photos visit Leeanne's blog.

And another nice surprise - for me this time - I came home to see that my YD had assembled my new bookcase for me - the next stage of my cave makeover! It's actually has deeper shelves than a normal bookcase so it is perfect for my magazines. 25 years of magazines got to go somewhere!!
The bookcase fits in the wardrobe in my cave so I can close
 the doors and not be embarrassed by all the mags I have!!
As you can see, my weekend has got off to a great start!! I am hoping for more creativity this weekend so watch this space!!
Hope you all have a happy weekend too, thank you for stopping by,

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fruity finish

Today I was so happy to (finally ) finish Dad's Fruity Quilt and pop it in the post for him. It was a bit late for  Father's Day at the beginning of September but I'm sure he won't mind...sometimes life gets in the way of the best laid plans!
Dad has been a keen orchardist and his challenge in his later years has been to determine what fruit or nut tree will grow in his tricky climate... and see how many different varieties of a certain fruit or nut tree he could find.
So here it is —
My version of Snow In Summer by Kim Diehl from the book Simple Charm.
Lap quilt 56" x 56"
This is the first time I have sewn one of Kim's quilt, although I do have many of her books. The instructions were great and I enjoyed making it.
 I adapted the flower applique —
I changed the flower to represent the Feijoa flower (which is very similar
to the Potutukawa one). Possibly the most popular fruit that Dad has grown
has been the Feijoa. 
Having photographic fun, playing with our mirror. 
Quilting was kept relatively simple. All the snowball blocks
were quilted with the heart/leaf design we learnt from
Frances Moore  in SewCalGal's FMQ January challenge.
I outlined the appliqué and that was all.
A tree shot - this old Plum tree has seen better days but we don't have
the heart to do anything about it. 
You can see the brown backing - I used minky which I thought might be a bit tricky to quilt but it was actually very easy and came up beautiful and soft. 

And now a plea for help - I used a 50:50 woollen -cotton mix batting in the quilt, which is the first time I have used it. When I washed the quilt, tiny fibres came through from the batting to the outside (front and back)  - what a shame!! - does anyone know why this happened, is it just a wool batting thing, should I have  gently hand washed it? (I only ever buy quality fabrics etc). Any advice for next time will be greatly appreciated, I quite like the warmth of the wool compared to the cotton I usually use, and would like to use it again.

Whew, now that I have this quilt lovingly posted I can get onto another project - I am trying not to start anything new just yet, still have plenty to get on with, although Joanne's quiltalong does start next week...!!! Ah, one new project won't hurt, will it?
Happy creating everyone,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

YD has a finish!

Celebrate!! YD has finished her first quilt!
Before Christmas last year, our Youngest Daughter decided she really needed an advent calendar for HER house... she's a chocolate fan, my girl, and she knew an advent calendar would be a perfect excuse to have a little more sweet stuff in the house!
She raided my Christmas stash and came up with this design. YD hasn't done a lot of sewing - a bit of dressmaking at school and the odd outfit for her pets but that's about it, so I was as proud as punch of her efforts here. (Although she has hand sewn at least 6 teddy bears).
Cross hatched the 3 layers together, and added the pockets afterwards.
She got it to a usable stage by Christmas (ie it could be hung and filled with chocolate Santas) and it has sat until now waiting for finishing...yes, it became her first UFO - or was it just a wip?
Love what how she did the borders and corner stones. Plus the binding fabric
is perfect. See, she even fussy cut that cream border so the writing was the correct way!
We finally tracked down some numbered buttons for it (Nikki Tervo Designs) and she spent this weekend tidying it up and sewing them on. Her mum (yes muggins here) then unpicked the tacked on binding and sewed it down properly for her. All finished!
Isn't it lovely? Well done Laura!!

The reason she was at our place visiting was to be nursemaid for her little dog ... he had to have back surgery last week for a prolapsed disc. Very ouch-y and if we hadn't operated when we did he would have ended up paralysed. SO it was a worrying time.
Oscar-riley on bed rest.
Now the worry is to keep him calm, not jumping around and keeping him off the stairs.... he is feeling so good about himself again he wants to do everything he used to do, but hasn't healed enough yet.

I got some stitching done while sitting with him too  - it was actually nice to have an excuse to sit and stitch during the day - usually I only do it at night. This is what I've been working on lately - I don't think I have shown it before. Each year my local and favourite Quilt Shop (and home away from home!) runs a mystery stitchery BOM programme. This year's one was very popular and all the places sold out so I have to do my own version in my own fabrics.
These are narrow strips, I kept them in one piece to make stitching easier.
As you can see it is a seasonal theme - only a few more months to go.
I haven't yet decided what other fabrics I will put with it, probably some reds (me being me) and I will pick out more colours from that gorgeous Cottage Gardens variegated thread I am using.

SO I've managed to fit some creative time in lately :-), hope you can all too,
Have a lovely day,