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

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Butterfly Challenge

I changed my mind this morning...... I woke up and decided that maybe I would take part in the Butterfly challenge by Juliet over at Tartankiwi after all.
Juliet is a talented designer of many unique foundation paper piece patterns; I have pattern tested some for her, and am in awe of her latest designs, among them the Big Bear, a 30" handsome fellow.
Anyway, she sent out a challenge for us to show her our interpretation of her butterfly pattern and the deadline for entering the challenge is tonight.
I'm always one for a challenge but had decided not to take part as I really had too many other things I should be doing. However, it was a wet day and I thought maybe a sew day was in order.

First of all though, there was this to do —
And a bit of this —
Later on there was more of this —
But amongst it there was some of this —
And finally, there was this —
As with all Juliet's patterns this was a great pattern to sew- her designs are always straight forward, and while they seem a little complex, the detail really makes them shine. I'm not overly convinced that I have chosen the right fabrics however it's done now and I'm fairly happy with it :-)

There is a Mr Linky on Juliet's blog *here* if you want  to go and see what others have sewn up. Thank you Juliet :-), I had a lovely day!
Now it's back to doing what I should have been doing!
Happy creating, :-)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sewalongs progress

It's one of those glorious days when you can fling all the doors and windows open and let the sunshine and warmth filter through the house.
Lovely peaceful view from the deck today :-)
A nice day to have a quick sit out on the deck with a coffee after spending the morning moving calves around - older ones to paddocks, not-so-old ones to another barn, leaving plenty of room in the main calf shed for the youngest ones.
A nice day to take a photo of my completed top for Pam Buda of Heartspun Quilt's Market Day mystery. This was a fun sewalong, easy blocks each month- and look how they came together! Wonderful!
As you can see, I chose to mine in Christmas colours, inspired by the fabrics left over from the beautiful quilt sample Leeanne made as a BOM for The Country Yard. She chose such yummy fabrics for it that I really wanted a piece of the action :-)
You may remember that Pam offfered two sizes for this mystery sewalong; naturally I succumbed and sewed up the small sized blocks as well. They are all made but not completely joined up yet, this is how they are looking so far.
The size of these blocks is 2". Too cute.
I find the small blocks a fun little challenge and they aren't really as scary as they seem. Janet O, rogue quilter, recently did an interesting post about mini quilts where she included some tips on sewing up small blocks -- *here*
The Market Day mystery sewalong instructions are still on Pam's blog if you want to make one yourself; around September 15th she is doing a Show and Tell and I am looking forward to seeing the versions that everyone has made.

From time to time over the last few months I have alluded to a project I had shamefully started when I didn't really need a new one :-) I had figured that if I didn't mention it on my blog it didn't really count as yet another project. However I have kidded myself too long, so now I will share! Soupcon is the name of the project; a sewalong by the talented Karen of Faeries and Fibres......I began mine well after it had started and have had quite a few little breaks along the way but I am loving it so far!
The intriguing point of this one was how it began - we fussy cut a fabric and English Paper Pieced either a star or flower —
Part one and two of Soupcon.
My resulting block in no way resembled my original fabric and it threw me for a while, trying to work out what to use next! Totally different to the fabrics I had originally chosen for this project.
I"ve never fussy cut like this before and loved the effect.
Now I know why lots of people are getting hooked on Patchwork of the Crosses!
Below is my Soupcon at the moment. Partway through part Four.

It's fun how this project changes so much with each round. The flickr group for the sewalong is *here*

And that's about it for today. It may be time to get out into that sunshine again (at the washing line!).
Thank you for visiting,
Happy creating!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Around the World Bloghop

I've been tagged!!!
Joanne of Canuck Quilter has invited me to take part in the Around the World Bloghop which is currently doing the rounds in blogland. Joanne has written her post *here*; do check it out as she has made some lovely quilts and produced several patterns for them. I enjoy the way she uses colour and I think her quilts work really well.
The topic for this Bloghop is our 'Creative Process'. There is a list of questions we can answer but I feel more comfortable just winging it for now...
While I am winging I will share some photos of some original projects of mine, just because I can!
'A woman's place is on her horse'
Possibly my first original quilt.
A wallhanging for my Aunty.
To be absolutely honest, I have spent a whole week thinking about my creative process. And to be equally honest, I don't feel any wiser :-)
When I worked in early childhood I not only worked with the children but also the adults. My favourite workshop to lead was 'encouraging creativity in children'. An aspect we talked about was giving children the time and the opportunity to play and explore the world around them, not just let them look at a pinecone for example but to have the time to feel it, smell it, roll it, take it apart even, if appropriate!
On reflection, I find this to be a very important part of my own creative process.
I play and explore - taking part in quiltalongs, blog reading, magazines, books, classes, chatting with others (email, skype, in real life) all add to the pool of information - blocks, colours, techniques and so on -  I have to call on when I'm in creative mode.
I made this block holder based on a block I had drawn up for a friend's Round Robin quilt.
I need time - my creative process requires a lot of time. When I am designing something from scratch, often a picture appears in my head. Sometimes it's just a glimpse of something and my mind needs to chew it over, get it all sorted before I can slice into fabric or sew a stitch. That thinking may just be a case of deciding what fabric to use, or the appropriate technique. Subconsciously my mind sifts and sorts.  Sometimes that initial mulling will form only stage one of my project so more mulling time is needed later on...this helps explain why I have projects banked up resting from here to Africa, but actually, I'm ok with that.
A table runner I made for a special friend :-)
Some of this thinking time is well away from my sewing space and I find my most valuable thinking time is when I'm outdoors (usually) going about my everyday life on the farm. Not that I am influenced by the grass and the trees but I think my brain must relax more then when I'm occupied with something else!!
[Of course there is other mulling time too, I can tend to dither over a colour or what should be a simple decision (Mum would probably tell you I've always been like that!); for that part of the creative process I need to trust myself more.]
Once the initial idea has come, my creative process is further enhanced by tools such as pen and paper, playing with the fabric, or EQ7.
The small runner shown above was made for a challenge I had with some friends. By using EQ7 I was able to easily play and change the colouring to get the heart effect, which wasn't evident in the initial block.
Let's do a Free Motion Quilting BOM!
'Birdy Love'.
I am lucky in that I work part-time at my local quilt shop, The Country Yard. Opportunities for creativeness abound there. Sometimes projects are technique based. Birdy Love (above) resulted from the desire to create a programme to help quilters with their free motion quilting.
The cushion cover below was the result of a series of technique classes; simple stitchery, needleturn, foundation piecing and English paper piecing.
I've just realised something that might sound kinda dumb. Some of my friends tell me that I have a definite style and say they can tell a 'Raewyn' thing from a bunch of other stuff. And now that I've been scrolling through these photos editing this post I can see there could be some truth in this! And I feel happy that I have chosen to call any designs that I do write up "Whimsical Miss" as I actually do now think the name fits! Woohoo! **insert a  very loud Penny Dropping sound**
(Whimsical Miss is the 'show' name of my little horse; I thought it sounded good for my patterns too!)

So there, in a nutshell are my thoughts and perhaps a little insight into what goes on around here.

Finally, I have invited two talented ladies to join this bloghop —
Suz, from All The Good Ones Are Taken is a quilter who always delights with her colour combinations and the personal touches she puts into her quilts
and —
Karen, from Karen's Quilts, Crows and Cardinals, has not long started up the Redbird Quilt Co. Her delightful work uses wool felt, applique and often features birds and flowers. She also has numerous tutorials on her blog.
Thank you both for agreeing to play. I'm looking forward to visiting you both on Monday 25th August and seeing what you have to say about your own creative process.

Thanks for reading along while I have been soul searching. It's been a worthwhile process for me - I'd be interested to learn about your creative processes too - have you ever thought about what makes you tick, what helps you to work, do you have a muse?
Happy creating

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A little sewing time

When Raewyn is all quiet on the blogging front you know there is plenty happening on other fronts. As I hinted in my last post, calving has started and we have been busy looking after the girls and their babies. 200 cows isn't a large dairy farm by New Zealand standards but as it's just the MOML and I doing it all, it does take a bit of time.

We're happy though, the weather has been pretty fine and mild and the calves are 'hitting the ground running' (that's farmer talk for nice strong healthy calves).
You cant stop my fingers itching though so I have been squeezing in a bit of sewing and stitching in our down time.
I finally finished this cute wee cosmetic (or similar) purse... pretty happy with how it turned out. I used byAnnie's Soft and Stable as the batting - we discovered this product while at Quilt Market in May; and I love the look it gives (and yaay, it is easy to sew). It holds its shape really well. YEARS ago when we were first married and we were very poor I remember making some toilet bags as gifts; I did a nice job but towelling as the 'batting' was about all that was used and recommended at the time - they were a far cry from what we can make with the quality products available today.  

I've decorated another handtowel. I love this fantail fabric, it makes a unique gift —

I've also stitched my first letter from Michelle Ridgeway's Country at Heart alphabet book.... I may do H-O-M-E for a cushion but I also would love to do the whole alphabet as I think it would make a beautiful country quilt, so we shall see what happens :-)
So much detail in these stitcheries.
'xcuse the lack of a press and tidy-up.

I've become increasingly frustrated with not getting to my quilting. I started quilting the MOML's quilt a while back, but sadly my lovely machine did not come with extra hours attached! Deadlines on some projects push the -must finish it one day- projects to the back of the queue. So recently I have started the 15 minutes a day thing and I am happy with the progress I am making.
Some days it really is only 15 minutes to quilt so my progress is pretty slow. Also I am stitching in the ditch free motion style but I figured there is only one way to learn and get better at that and that is by doing it. 

Some of these ditches look quite ok..
...others not but I'm not sweating the small stuff :-)
At last I am making progress!!
And to get back to the farming theme, here are a couple of my favourite photos from those I've taken lately —

 And this is how a stitching farmgirl looks most of the time at the moment; not particularly glamorous but that is how it is :-)
That's about it for now, thank you for visiting, I do appreciate your visits.
Happy sewing,