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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Big achievements and small sewing

One proud mother here, on Friday our YD graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. 
Congratulations Laura, here with her hubby.
Both relieved that she's finished!
The MOML and I had a nice day off the farm and ED flew up to celebrate as well so it was great.
Family selfie
And yummy dinner afterwards.
On the crafting front, things have been a little quiet... I got my Chookyblue's SSCS gifts in the post...after a bit of an oopsie - I decided to do a last minute removal of a tiny bit of a pen mark but ended up with some colour bleeding - ouch - and of course trying to fix it made it worse! An extra day to remake my ornament and all was well and my gifts are now posted!
Crocheted on our way down to YD's graduation. The afghan is slowly growing
and gobbling up my scrap yarn well.
Recently I took part in a postcard swap...Sheila of sheilasquiltworld organises these regularly and it's always fun to play with different techniques on a small scale and see what other people make.
This time I swapped with Marsha (quilterinmotion). She was doubly organised, sending her's off before she made her annual migration from Canada to Florida for winter —
It took me completely by surprise, arriving before I'd even thought of what I
would do on mine! Looks like autumn in Canada to me!
Thank you very much Marsha :-)
Finally I got inspired by some NZ fabric which I fussy cut. I love the Pohutakawa tree, which we also call our New Zealand Christmas tree as it flowers in December. (And I've probably raved about it in previous years!)
I added some french knots and a little extra Pohutakawa bloom.
I also experimented with the script on the card by doing it FMQuilting style using hand embroidery thread (Aurifil #12). Scary but it worked - next time though I will loosen the top tension a little more as some bobbin thread showed on top.
 Speaking of postcards; when our nephew was staying in October he started making a couple... he's made them in the past and gets a buzz out of sewing them and then receiving mail himself. He hadn't finished them when he left our place but I understand they've both now been delivered to bloggy friends of mine in Canada.
Max's postcards when he left our place. All done by hand.
He wanted to get his techniques right so he could make more at home
where he doesn't have access to a machine.
[The L and P is a NZ drink, and Gilbert is a sportsgear brand name :-)]
 Speaking of the mail and cards, I think I can segue nicely into my last photo - check out one of the most gorgeous Christmas cards we have ever received ♥
The girls are about 4 months old now, at a happy chortling age.
Have a lovely week, and happy creating,

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Secrets and Stars

I wonder who else signed up for Friday Night Sew In and then realised that most of their sewing at the moment is SECRET??!! 
The posting date for Chookyblue's Secret Santa Christmas Swap is this week... I'm at the last minute tweaking and titivating stage so that's good - although I had a semi-brainwave today which I think is a good idea but may mean a little more sewing....
So Friday night, I did a bit of this —
Hand sewing on this is now complete
One last french knot added here
...and that's allI can share for now... :-)

On Friday afternoon, before settling into my comfy chair for the evening's handsewing, I did a little more on my stars..... here's my recent starry post ... the rainbow scraps (RSC) has remained my leader and ender project lately... and a good one to do when I'm feeling like a bit of a sew without much thinking...
I finally made some orange stars - I didn't think I had any but found a good little pile of country oranges and rusts - and a reproduction orange - perfect for me...
This one's more red than orange but works in the centre of the row
I'm loving how it's growing ♥
And it is growing - it will be about 84 " square without borders!
Indigo fabric for my last three stars is my last challenge - I've decided to assemble everything else and see what I can get away with using.

Thank you to Wendy for hosting us all for FNSI (click *here* for her link-up post) and to Angela for her Rainbow Scrap Inspiration (click *here* for her latest link-up post).
This must be the shortest post I've done for a while, aren't I full of surprises? - I can sense a sigh of relief through the airwaves so I will stop now,
Wishing you many happy stitches,

Friday, November 13, 2015

~Catch up after the Show~

It's hard to believe that this time last week I was down in Auckland at the Festival of the Quilts and run off my feet at The Country Yard's booth. It was a new experience working at such a big show, a lot of fun and I really enjoyed soaking up the buzz that happens when you're at a quiltshow.
Setting up the day before was a big job!
But it finally all came together.
A bird's eye view - the netball centre was a spacious venue.
I was just working on Friday so on Saturday I treated myself to a 'play day', and spent my time having a good look around. There were lots of gorgeous inspiring quilts and lots of gorgeous inspiring booths :-) so it took me quite a while!
I had read that any photos of the quilts could not be posted online so didn't take photos for my blog... instead my photos tended to focus on a clever bit of quilting, great block, colour and so on...however there was no signage or notices about this so there are a lot of blogs showing pictures so if you're interested in seeing some of the variety there was, have a browse through the Kiwi blogs listed on my sidebar. Hopefully the Auckland Guild will have some photos on their website sometime soon.
I can say that Best of Show went to a Dear Jane quilt. I thought it was beautiful and a well deserved win - such a lot of work goes into a quilt like this... who knows maybe I'll have to pull out my DJ book one of these days!
I was delighted to meet some bloggy/online friends while at the show. One of them, Linda of Koka Quilts, has introduced me to a new hobby... a while ago she offered me her mother-in-law's loom. She'd seen that I was learnng to spin and thought I might like to give weaving a try as well!! The show was a good place to meet up so that I could collect it. Once I have mastered the spinning I will play with the loom. Thank you Linda, it was lovely to meet you :-)
Another plus for me during my few days away was that I got to spend time with YD and her hubby. They live only 5 minutes away from the venue so that was great :-)
And isn't it nice to see things we do rubbing off on our children? I felt very welcome when I saw this small bear sitting on my bed waiting for me ♥ YD made this wee fellow a few years ago.
Since the show I haven't had a chance to turn my sewing machine on - apart from giving both machines a good clean, needle change and oil at the start of the week. I have squeezed in some evening handwork though —
Another one of my Country at Heart stitcheries, isn't she a sweetie?!
And I've been hexing a bit lately [not related to Halloween or Guy Fawkes :-)] 
Some of these may or may not be part of a new project.
Some of these may or may not be part of my Chooky-blue SSCS gift.
Rounding the week off nicely, we had a skype session with our wee family the other night. Our son has bought a new web-cam - wow what a difference that made.

Finally, last post I mentioned the super-dooper Ganma cotsheets I've been making. Below is a picture (an old one apparently) showing the sheets in action. A noodle fits in the flap and keeps the girls close but with no roll-together :-)
hehe a good excuse to show a baby photo!
Till next time, 
happy stitching,

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

TWO finishes!!

After a bit of a drought for the last few months, I finally have not one, but two finishes to share!!! My OPAM page is looking very empty this year but oh well...
I've quilted both the quilts I've been talking about lately, first up, it was Love Me Love My Cat -
It's a bit hard to see in this photo that I have actually quilted it.. but yes, I have :-) I used Aurifil 50 weight which is reasonably fine and gives the effect I like.
 I cross hatched in the stitchery blocks, stopping at the stitcheries - I would have hated to plough through those hours of hand stitching!
And I did a feather border, you cant see it very well but it gave a lovely texture and something was needed to balance out the quilting in the main body of the quilt.
The sun glaring on the back in this photo shows you the feathers, and also what I
did in the star blocks.. a small amount of curved cross hatching and then stippling
in the background areas.
The quilt is actually quite square but it was a little windy when I took the photo!
The second finish is the French General one I've been making. It took me a while to determine what quilting it needed. Searches on pinterest (etc) showed that most quilts of this type are quilted pretty simply. The fabrics/pattern do all the work; a lot of them are just stitched in the ditch. I decided against that as every second seam is pressed a different way (for easier assembly, see *here*). Also diagonal lines weren't going to work for me as the quilt already had a diagonal stretch. And I didn't have a thread colour that would work with all the different colours it would have gone across.
(AND OF COURSE the pattern said 'quilt as desired' so that was no help!! Don't you hate that?!!)
In the end I went around the inside edge of the cream squares —
A good chance to practise some ruler work!
As always it shows up much better on the back. Looks boring, huh?!
I'm wondering if the quilt will tell me it needs a few more lines of stitching; for now though, I think it is enough.

Both these quilts are samples for The Country Yard so will be off into the shop for a while :-) And speaking of the shop, this week we are heading down to Auckland to be vendors at the big Festival of Quilts Show put on by the Auckland Quilt Guild. We've been slowly dismantling the shop and making piles...below is how the workroom looked on Monday afternoon, and the heaps have grown even more since then! I'm looking forward to the show - I couldn't go last year so will enjoy it doubly much this time round :-)

I was lamenting my lack of finishes then realised I could count the cot sheets I've been making. I sewed up a couple more for 'our babies' last week.... yes I know cot sheets are a dime a dozen really but these ones have the special Ganma touch, with velcro flaps to insert a divider while both babies are sharing the same cot. 
 I've made about 8 I think -first were winter ones from brushed cotton and more recently I've made cotton ones - do you think that would count as 8 finishes or would it be one set of sheets - or maybe even two sets, the winter set and the summer set!!
Easy enough to remove the flap when the girls are into a cot each.
So finally I feel caught up! And I'm slowly starting to catch up on my blog reading too and enjoying seeing what you have all been up to. Thanks so much for visiting and reading along,
till next time,
happy creating ♥

Monday, November 2, 2015

Shirt quilt challenge

There's nothing like a good shirt challenge to pull me out of my unofficial blog, family and all the rest has kept my head down and tail up for the last little while - oh and a couple of quilts that needed finishing ... but more about those in another post :-) {Apologies to those of you I haven't visited lately, I have some catch up reading to do.}

Last year Tracee of Farmgate Creations invited us to join her (in a cyberly way) in the shirt quilt challenge her quilt group was doing. Her group shared a bunch of shirts so they all had the same fabric but us on-line challengees were able to do it our own way.
It took me a while to decide what to do. One day though the penny dropped - I had a stack of Dad's old farm shirts in my wardrobe and we had our first grandbabies on the way.
Out came Dad's shirts, and a couple of hubby's old shirts as well.
Yes, Dad's were well worn, collars turned and mended
and cuffs frayed but I couldn't bear to get rid of them!
These shirts made their first appearance on my blog way back in early 2014 when I used them on my Pop Monkeys. (More about them *here*).
Unpicking released some interesting debris... goodness knows how long this
hay has been hiding in the pocket!
I decided a heart block would be perfect for a baby quilt.
I had quite a challenge working around all the worn pieces and the warped plaids after years of wear and washing. I really couldn't get it any bigger as I was running out of decent fabric!
Completion :-)
Simple piecing, flannel on the back and simple quilting.
And simple binding too; all machine sewn, the first time I've done it this way.
My idea with this wee quilt is that it will do the rounds of what would have been Dad's great grandchildren, as each one arrives it will move house.
The first babies have christened it, these photos were taken in September when I visited. The girls have grown a bit since then.
Thank you to Tracee for inspiring me to make this quilt. Tracee has photos on her blog from her quilt group's challenge and also a link up for the blogger challengees. They are over several posts so just scroll through to see them all - it's neat to see what others have done.
Thank you for visiting, 
till next time,