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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cushion Challenge

Tonight I'm linking up with quiltshopgal to join in with this month's fmq challenge.
An expert each month shares a tutorial or similar and we need to complete a cushion/pillow showcasing what we have learnt.
This month' s tutor was Patsy Thompson and there were several different options for the cushion - I chose to make mine using techniques from her Craftsy class, Ultimate Free-Motion Quilting' which I already had in my library (keep an eye out for the Craftsy specials!).  A fun, inspiring class where Patsy shares techniques for hyperquilting, feathers, trapunto and more. Very visual techniques that really show off your quilting........
Ahem... a challenge right from the start for me who likes to quilt in fine matching thread so that those 'not quite up to scratch' stitches remained relatively hidden! Uh-oh!

I decided I wanted to applique something on the cushion, rather than do it whole cloth style. This helped give a starting point for the quilting, I don't think I would have known where to start otherwise. I drew up the sloping teardrop design in EQ7, appliqued it then started panicking!!
I used another piece of the main fabric as a practise sandwich, experimenting with the threads I'd collected which I had thought might be suitable... in the end I really only used 2 of them, in the photo below you can barely see my first thread - I thought a green on the beige would show up more but it didn't.
The hyperquilting involves stitching out a design, then going back with another
colour and adding more detail... then more detail, etc.
This piece has 3 passes, green, light pink, dark pink.
I'm pleased I had the play on this piece as it helped me decide what to do on the main piece.
The flower in the centre is trapuntoed with two layers of batting - the first was
too flat - now it sticks out a mile!
Only ended up using 2 coloured threads but I enjoyed the playing.
This is how I finished the border. Just straight lines and something a little fancy
in the corners.
And this is the finished cushion.
I used 60/40 wool/poly mix batting which really does give a nice puff.
I used the practise piece as the backing. Leeanne shared the idea with me recently and I love how it snazzes up the back, and you only need a bit of binding on the edges.
My practise piece was large so I had a big overlap...may - or may not- come
back to it with a button or two.
I've just realised this is my fourth year of sewcalgal (now quiltshopgal) challenges!! I love them, they always stretch me.
Visit the blog *here* to see what amazing creations others came up with. (You need to scroll down a little bit to get to the mr linky section.). There will be another challenge next month, feel free to join in as anyone can take part.
And while I am here in blogland, I thought I'd quickly share this stitchery I completed last night. It was sitting in a basket of traced stitcheries and at the moment I'm not sure where it is from... I have a suspicion it's from one of Gail Pan's Christmas books. I'll find out for next time I post it, when I've added the borders!
See you next time, happy creating, and thanks for visiting, 
...and Happy Easter!...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Yellow scraps and a finish!

Last month I seriously doubted that I would be able to find enough yellow scraps to make this month's blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, hosted by Angela *here*.
But I did manage to scratch enough together to make them and here they are —
Yellow Great Granny block.
Notice here I use the monthly colour as a guide only!
My first three Great Granny blocks.
I'm really happy with how these ones are coming together.
The 'Sampler' Star block in yellow.

One thing I realised after deciding to do the sampler blocks all with the same centre is that I was ending up with seams all meeting at the same point resulting in a bulky I'm having to remember to press seams apart. It's lying a lot flatter now.
My two yellow cat blocks.
(From the 2103 Oh Franson! Cat quiltalong)
 Last week I shared my current car journey project - this baby blanket. Another trip this weekend (to the polling booth for the bye-election) saw more progress and then another session this morning finished it! It's not huge but by some fluke turned out exactly square! (Considering I used different weight wool than the pattern said, and that I randomly decided 4 skeins of it would be a good number!!)
This is a pattern from Ravelry, found *here*.
There were problems accessing the pattern but the link appears to be working now.
While I was making the green blanket I got thinking about one I had made years ago when I was expecting my first baby. I've pulled it out and given it a wash and a freshen up and I'm happy it has survived the years in a box in the shed!
What's different about this one is that it is Hairpin Crochet.
You can see the lacy effect of the Hairpin lace better here.
 Here is the Hairpin I used; you use it in conjunction with a crochet hook.
Once I remember how this technique goes, I'm keen to make something else with it!
As you can see, I've always enjoyed playing  :-)

I still haven't decided on my next travel project, only a few more days till I hop on the plane so I really must make a decision!

See you next time, happy creating and thank you for visiting,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Winging it

Last year  I was happy to pattern test for Juliet of Tartankiwi (it was some of the top secret sewing I alluded to from time to time). Juliet was preparing for 'In Flight Quilt along 2015' which is now up and running. I've been a little slow to blog about the blocks and each time she does a link-up for the latest pattern I have good intentions but......
In Flight is a series of foundation pieced bird blocks. They range in size and difficulty, Juliet started the quiltalong with the easier ones so sewers can practice the technique and build up to the trickier ones.  I've sewn/tested her designs before and always enjoy the way she interprets her subjects.
The current block; Block 6, the Swallow.
I decided these would become a quilt for YD, so asked her to pick the fabrics for me - I was quite surprised, but quite happy, when she chose French General style fabrics/colouring and this shade of blue. (Both these photos use the same blue  - the colour is more like the top one, perhaps not quite so dark!).
This was Block 2; the Swift.
To find out more about the Quiltalong, click *here*.

Also winging it have been these postcards in February.  Eglea and I were swap partners in Sheila's Valentines postcard swap. I was warned that mail to and from Brazil could be a little slow so wasn't surprised when Valentines Day had been and gone and neither of us had received our cards. What was funny though was that they both arrived on the same day!!
To me from Egléa.
Isn't it pretty - and look at the beautiful thread painting for the grass.
Do visit Egléa's blog, she is very creative and does beautiful work.
And here is the card I sent to Egléa.
Sheila has regular swaps throughout the year (I've just made another one which I posted yesterday) so if you think it may be a fun little way to play keep an eye on her blog so you can sign up. And here is the link to Sheila's Flickr page showing more postcards.

And books have been winging their way to my letterbox as I've been extremely lucky to win TWO recently.
Firstly Wendy of Inky Threads hosted a giveaway - and I was the lucky winner of this book by Jennifer Chiaverini —
Then Lara, of Buzzinbumble had a giveaway for this book on free motion quilting by Christina Cameli. I have taken a class of her's on Craftsy and really enjoyed her knowledge and teaching style - so I'm doubly happy to have won this book.
Both have special spots on my (growing) bookshelves so thank you very much, ladies .
(I always believe that what goes around, comes around so maybe it's time for me to have a little this space...)

I'm getting excited as next week I'll be off to Brisbane to spend Easter with my son and his wife. I'll have finished my small baby blanket by then so will have to come up with another crochet project for the plane :-) They live at Ipswich and I have a day to kill on Thursday while they are both at work. Do any of you who know Brisbane or the general area have any suggestions of somewhere for me to visit that day - maybe crafty or quilty places? (I think I'll have the use of a car.) Thanking you in advance :-)

See you next time, happy creating and thanks for visiting,

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Friday Night Sew Out

After deciding to sign up for this month's Friday Night Sew In, the MOML and I decided we really needed a trip into town for groceries ... sometimes we like to go in later in the day so we can pick up takeaways for my Friday Night Sew In became a Friday Night Crochet Out!
Crochet is my go-to craft for car trips, it's the one thing I can do without getting motion sickness.
Ready to go, handbag, supermarket bags and my
My current crochet project is a baby blanket...a very easy pattern and oh so pretty. I was pleased with what I got done in the car - great how much I can fit into a one hour round trip! After tea I carried on with it and ended up using a whole skein of wool by the end of the night :-)
Thank you for your company, FNSI-ers..... I hope you had a productive and happy time too.
To see more work done on Friday night, please visit our lovely hostess Wendy. Thank you Wendy ♥

Friday also ended up being the day I celebrated a quilt finish! In 2012 I took part in the SewCalGal free motion quilting challenge. Each month we had a fmq design to practise from a different tutor or tutorial. We were encouraged to make a quilt of plain squares and each month we filled in another square with another fmqing design.
It was a great year but I ended up with one blank square so the quilt didn't quite get finished and has sat lonely since then.
The other day I saw a fun design I wanted to play with, pulled out the quilt, filled in the square, found some binding and now it's done!
 Below is the latest design I tried; it's hard to see on my fabric (the whole quilt was like that, not a good fabric choice for this purpose) and I got my plumes back to front but I had fun and it has a nice texture :-)
Here are some of the other designs I stitched during that year —
SewCalGal - now known as quiltshopgal - is doing another free motion quilting challenge this year. March's challenge is shown *here*.
 Friday night ended a little differently with us being woken at 2.30am by the farm dog barking persistently - long story short - the cows had smashed their gate and were having a lovely time wandering up and down the road! So guess who else spent time wandering up and down the road in the dark and the rain retrieving them all! We had a slow start to this morning!!
I'm hoping that is the only drama for the weekend.......and hoping that your weekend goes a bit more smoothly too!
See you next time, happy creating and thanks for visiting,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A little bit of....

There have been lots of bits and pieces going on here...I'm really ready to get up to my elbows in a big project but have a few other things needing attention.....
Hence this post title ♥
We have a little bit of stitching —
Michelle Ridgeway's January's Calendar Bear - what a sweetie.
Yes I was a klux and trimmed my block too small - I sewed the extra back on
but may re-stitch at some stage.
Not a good look when it has to go on the wall at the shop!
This is a block holder we made for our Calendar Bears Club... Michelle kindly
designed us a special stitchery for the front of it :-
A little more stitching on another project —
Love me, Love my Cat is a Bird Brain design.
Another one for The Country Yard.

A little bit of bottling and freezing —
Cyclone Pam was threatening over the weekend so I picked all the peaches
rather than losing them to the weather. The cyclone didn't amount to much
but there was enough wind that I'm pleased I picked them.
Most of it went into the freezer but a few in bottles always looks good!
A little bit of knitting —
It's the Year of the Baby for us this year, family and friends expecting :-)
I'm sure this will be the first of many pair of booties.
 A little bit of yard work —
My horses have been neglected for a while.
How nice to sniff that gorgeous horse smell again.....
...and awesome to hop on for a short ride.
I'm expecting sore muscles in my future!
 And a little bit of socialising tonight - off to sewing with a few friends so had best get moving. And speaking of socialising, this Friday is FNSI (Friday Night Sew In) ... head over to Wendy's to sign up if you want to take part.
See you next time, happy creating and thank you for visiting,

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A flurry of fabric and invisible machine applique

Last week sped by in a flurry of fabric and threads! We were busy at The CountryYard getting ready for our annual 'New Year's' launch.
We had samples to finish, kits and bundles to package, and quilts to hang. We also had a big change around, and know we will spend the next few weeks trying to remember the new home of all our fabrics!!
Sadly I didn't get many decent photos of the new look shop as I thought of it too late and the lights are shining too strongly in the ones I did get. Here's what you see when you first walk in though —
New block of the month (Avalon), class sample (Country Sampler) on the wall.
Leeanne talks about some of our new quilts *here*. Some of them were real team efforts with all of us doing our bit on them!
Another little re-stocked and tempting corner.
I'm pleased this photo turned out ok as it shows the mini-spools I made
(at work) for a class.
I've really fallen in love with this mini-spool block. This one I made at home to test out my (EQ7) pattern. I have high hopes of making more :-)
Here's something else new. This is the block I've made for the start of our Tuesday Medallion Mystery. I followed the rules set for Part One....... of course I cant share them here as we have to sign up at the shop to get the instructions :-). Part Two will see us adding something to the block.
I made this block from one of Kim Diehl's books (I have plenty that I drool over regularly!). It's re-sized to fit the size we needed for the Medallion Mystery. Although I love doing needleturn applique I didn't do it here. Instead I experimented with 'machine needleturn'.
I have done this before but with freezer paper - which can be fiddly to remove at the end. This time I used the water soluble applique paper shown below.
I was able to use the printer to print out most of the shapes I needed. The rest
I just traced on.
One side is fusible, so I ironed that to my fabric then used a glue pen and my
fingers to turn the raw edge under.
There are tools to do this but I don't have them.
A dab of applique glue to position the pieces in place, then sew on with a fine

This photo is just for me - so that if I lose my scrap of paper I can remember what settings I used! I've played with the size of the zigzag so I can get it as small as possible but it does have to be big enough to catch the fabric on the applique and then off to the side on the background. I used to do the zigzag a lot smaller but it was quite slow and, as I say, it was easy to misplace the stitches.

You can see the stitches here - so it's not as invisible as needleturn but it is
a lot quicker! I use Wonderfil Invisifil thread but one of the Invisible threads
would be just as good. (The thread for the centre circle wasn't the best colour
match; I should have pulled out something different.)
This photo is from a post I wrote on this method 2 years ago. You can see where
I cut the fabric to get the freezer paper out. I much prefer using the soluble
applique paper. I haven't done much of this technique since
then so it was good to revisit it.
Update: After Julie's question in my first comment, I decided to have a bit of a play. I had heard that the paper doesn't physically dissolve, the fibres soften, maybe the in-built glue dissolves.
This is a scrap of the paper with a squirt or two of water on it.
I was interested to see what the printer ink did, it left the paper and dissolved into the water - a bit worrying when you think it is against the fabric!
{I mopped up the surplus ink with a tissue and when the piece dried what was left there just dried on the applique paper.
After a bit it seemed to disappear but I guess the next step would be to wet a printed-on scrap against fabric and see what happens.}

 In comparison the scrap with the ballpoint pen written on it didn't have any ink bleeding or mess.
Here is the scrap after sitting in water for 5 minutes. It is very soft, has kept its shape and feels quite nice - I would like this sitting in amongst my quilt. 
It doesn't disintegrate as such - say like washaway thread which you never see again after wetting!
Interesting, huh? I think I would experiment a little more before using it in the printer again - it did save a lot of tracing and I would like to think it would work without putting ink into my quilts! (And thinking about it, the instructions say it's ok to put through the printer so it would seem it cant cause too much harm).

I've more bits and pieces to report but will tackle them another day. I hope your week's got off to a great start and you're finding time for some Creative Me Time.... I'm off to do that now ♥
Happy stitching,