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

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Catching Up and Keeping Up...

I have this very strong urge to start everything I see, telling myself that if it's only one block a week/month, and no worries!, I can keep up. Sadly this doesn't always happen and mounds of fabric collect around my cave. Happily today I can report on two sewalongs that I have been making progress with lately.
First, the Catching Up project; I fell in love with Hannah and Harrington the minute Michelle of Raspberry Rabbits started talking about them, and it didn't take me long to decide to do this one. Now that I no longer have my hand appliqué (Hop To It) to do at nights, I have pulled this project out. It's been the first time that I've done anything  much with wool felt and I am really loving it. The blocks use running stitch on the wool and simple stitchery for the embroidered bits.
Block 4
Oops I've just realised that these bunnies are missing their eyes!!
Block 3
The next 2 blocks are ones I completed earlier on but I'll re-show them so you can see what fabrics I am using.
Block 1
Block 2

As you can see I have labelled them Block 1-2-3-4 instead of January-February, etc - It makes me feel that I'm not so far behind!! If you are interested in this project, Michelle still has all the patterns on her website.
Now the Keeping Up project; Tomorrow when I get up Joanne will have Block 7 of the Threadhead Quiltalong on her blog ...and guess what...I've done up to Block 6!! Once again if anyone is interested in joining in with the sewalong she still has all the block patterns up on her blog....and her instructions are REALLY clear so they are perfect if you are newer to quilt making. (In fact they are some of the clearest instructions that I have seen in blogland).
Bear's Paw
Ohio Star
Frayed Four Patch
 Here they all are together.
Bottom Bear's Paw may yet replaced, not happy with this one!
And to finish's a little tale...
Four baby birds squawking for their mum, hidden behind the whiteboard in my calf shed,
"Mum oh Mum, where are you?" they say,
"Be still, my babies, I'm not coming in while there's a cat up there."
Sorry folks, sometimes I get a bit carried away when I have my camera!
Have a great day everyone, thank you for visiting,
Happy creating,

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Country Yard Exhibition

Every year, about this time, my favourite quilt shop holds an exhibition.
The Country Yard, near Whangarei in Northland (New Zealand) is on this beautiful property.
Come inside the house - what treasures do we see...?
Rooms with quilts displayed throughout.
All made from fabrics, kits, classes from the shop throughout the year.
Also items worked on at the weekly Stitch and Chat sessions.

This is not a judged exhibition, more an excuse for everyone to show their work.
There is a Viewers' Choice Award. Won by this beautiful Sampler quilt made by Jill
in this year's Sampler Class.
See more of this beauty here.

This is the shop. I perch at the door on these days meeting and greeting visitors,
while lots of activity goes on inside.
Raffle quilt on the door.
Inside the shop were more quilts and the challenge entries.
This year the challenge was to create something from the shapes supplied.
Won by the gorgeous dilly bag and accessories on the table.

When you're done with looking at the quilts and shopping, there's always a
cup of tea and nibbles and friends to catch up with.
And listen to the brass band playing in the pergola (vaguely seen in the first photo).
(Or maybe waiting in case your name is drawn out for a spot prize!)
Beautifully manicured gardens make the day a delight.
Our son was married here a few years ago - it was very magical.
 As you can see, we had a beautiful day, I'm sure everyone who attended would join me in thanking Kerryn and Robbie for opening up their home and property to us all.
PPS (Disclaimer statement!) As you can tell I am totally biased, I do work here part-time. Lucky aren't I?
Have a great weekend everyone,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October Free Motion Quilt Challenge

This month's tutor for SewCalGal's FMQ challenge was Teri Lucas. She encouraged us to have a play and, after 'writing' our name, to fill our square with motifs and free-form quilting.
 First up we were encouraged to have a practise on paper. As you can see, I was impatient to get to the machine, however, the practise did make me realise I had to fill my space wisely - on paper I ended up with 11 different motifs and my page was only half full!!
Paper practise.
This month I was also grateful to all those organised quilters who had done their piece early; I got a lot of ideas from looking at their pictures which helped me to understand what I wanted to achieve. (Thank you fellow quilters!!)

 I must say, I had a blast with this!! I loved it!! I did a few guidelines with a marker pen e.g. my name,  feather spines and the nautilus shell 'spine', but apart from that I just sewed and made it up as I went (Gulp!). When I got sick of a design, or colour I ended it and started afresh with a new idea.
This was the first time I had done much in the way of echo quilting - it is completely uneven but when you look at the piece as a whole, the 'little imperfections' barely show.

Teri suggested we try different threads and weights, and also a satin top, and 2 layers of batting (for the poof!). I stuck with the threads I already have (Sulky, Aurifil and Mettler Poly Sheen) and just a layer of cotton batting but I am keen to experiment more in this area.
I used fine Mettler Seralene in the bobbin throughout.
A big thank you to Teri and SewCalGal for this month's inspiration. I enjoyed it a lot, and learnt a lot , too. Roll on next month!!
Happy creating everyone, and thanks for stopping by,

Monday, October 22, 2012

Zig-zagging tutorial

Mini-Quilt top. 16.5 inches square.
After I'd written my last post and received the positive comments with readers saying "I'd like to try that, too", I realised I could have expanded a bit on how I put the zig-zag setting together. I have attempted, therefore, to put a bit of tutorial together.
I used the blocks from the Temecula Quilt Company's latest sewalong. They finished at 4", so were 4 1/2" raw edge to raw edge.
The tutorial, sizes, etc will be based on those 8 star blocks from the Temecula sewalong, but of course you can adapt these to suit your own project.

Zig-Zag setting Tutorial.
One of the outer strips.

Out of the fabric you are using for the sashing/zig-zag setting;
-Cut 4 x 6+7/8" squares; cut each one on the diagonal twice to yield 16 triangles.
-Cut 4 x 3+5/8" squares; cut each on the diagonal once to yield 8 small triangles.

The quilt top is put together in strips - the two outer strips have 3 star blocks in them, and the centre one has just 2 star blocks (refer to main photograph).

I found it easiest to lay all my blocks and triangles out on the floor and sew them together from there. (I tend to get muddled otherwise!)
Arrange the left hand side strip first, as illustrated in the photo to the left. Put your star blocks on point and then add the triangles.
(Photo is photo-shopped as I didn't take photos as I made it!)
Note that 2 small triangles go at the top and 2 small triangles are at the bottom of the outer strips.
To sew; first sew the triangles to opposite edges of each star block.
Centre strip
Match the seams when you sew these units together.

The centre strip uses only the larger triangles. You can see the seam lines on the photo to the right where I have had a play with Photoshop.
You will be joining two large triangles at the top and bottom to create the difference in levels of this row. NO small triangles are used in this strip.

When you have sewn all three strips, you will be able to join them to form the quilt top.

Whew!! I am hoping that this was clear - I found it a fun way to put this mini together and I hope you have fun with it too :-)
Any feedback will be welcome!!
Happy creating everyone,

PS My next challenge will be to quilt this - any ideas of what will work well with zig-zags??
PPS As I have said elsewhere, this is not an original design, one that I have seen around but one that I 'started from scratch' in order to put this mini together :-)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another starry post!

During August the Temecula Quilt Company ran another one of their fun little sewalongs, posting a star block pattern each week for 8 weeks. I diligently sewed along at the time but have only just finished putting the blocks together.
Some of the blocks waiting for further action
I decided to go with a different setting to their one after seeing a zig-zag setting recently and being intrigued with it and it's effect. I realised its just setting triangles with the centre strip 'just moved down a bit' so I had a bit of a play on EQ7 to get the sizes right. This eliminated the need for cutting out lots of testing blocks in order to get it correct! An afternoon of sewing and here is my completed Temecula Stars mini quilt top.
On point and zig-zagged changes the look completely.
The blocks were 4" finished size so this will be about 16 1/2 " when quilted
 and bound.

I have also finished this Christmas Table topper.
 Another fun project where I used EQ7 to help me get sizes and cutting right. I found a block that I liked and adapted it to make the table topper. With pieces this size, the set-in seams were a cinch.
Sorry I've shown this photo before but I just realised the above photo hasn't
 turned out well colour wise. The fabrics are gorgeous!
It feels really good to be getting a bit of sewing done - long may it continue!!
Happy creating every-one,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The last one bites the dust!

I'm celebrating!!
I have finished my last appliqué block for my Hop To It quilt!!!
I seem to have been working on these forever but the home straight is in sight!
Block 1 - Rose Hip Heart
The light blue on the left is a new fabric - why I wanted to introduce a new fabric
 on the last block I don't know, but the colour worked so well!
My 12 blocks of Edyta Sitar's Hop To It quilt - a quick layout to see how they look.
You can see a bit of the sashing on the bottom right hand block.
Now it's just the layout to sort, piles of sashing strips to assemble, border fabric to arrange and the quilting to do---whew, nearly finished!
Have a happy week everyone!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A small finish and a nice day

I'm not sure where this week has gone and when I thought back on it this afternoon I couldn't think what I had been up to (apart from farm and stock work that is!)... a peek on my camera put me right...
... I remember now, I finished this book cover for a friend.
I used some of those stars from this post....
And was really happy with how it turned out.
Love the fabrics!! Hope my friend does too!
I can now report that the book arrived safely at it's new home!

I also finished week 2's blocks for Joanne's Threadhead Quiltalong
Churn dash blocks to go with the Star blocks. I'm just doing 2 of each instead
of the 3 she is doing... and having a play with different colour placements
and effects.
On Friday I travelled down to my parent's place (approx 5 1/2 hours from home). I have left the trusty MOML to look after my calves....
Mum turned 75 today. Pretty flowers arrived by courier. Hard case seeing Sunflowers
in Spring! 
This morning I went with Mum to her Embroidery Guild's exhibition. It turned 30 and I have never seen so many ladies wearing pearls at once!!
Without proper  permission to take photos, I didn't. You'll have to believe
me when I say there was lots of beautiful work there!
Walking back to the car I was fascinated with this street art on a wall.
The outline of the design was marked and the general public
could come along and fill the areas with handprints. Then
the black edges of the pictures were done. Very clever.
 While Mum and her ladies in pearl necklaces had a special luncheon, Dad and I went for a walk around his orchard. I'm a bit late for the spectacular blossom show this year, but there are some trees that still look nice.
Nashi Pear under the shade cloth.
Crabapple bossom.
Dad, Crabapple blossom and the sheep.
Rounded off a nice day with a Roast Pork dinner and Lemon Birthday Cake.
Found the photogenic Nigel on my camera!
Tomorrow I head back home. Hope all of your weekends are going nicely too,
Happy creating,