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

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Tidying up April

Well here we are into another month and once again I have fallen behind on my reporting.
In my last post I was busy working on blocks for my Bear baby quilt. I've made it this far —
— and I feel like I am on the homeward straight now.
I have, however,  just realised that I need another fabric to use in the border. As my bears and paws blocks are basically just 'odds and sods' fat quarters this may slow me down. Hopefully not too much!

Also slowing me down a little is that I had a DrEAMi moment this past week. Suddenly my overflowing scrap bins started screaming at me. 
Drop Everything and Make It!!!
So I've started another scrap quilt project.
This one uses 2" squares. I hope these will chew more scraps up than my Omigosh blocks which only use 1" squares/strips. 
Anyway I'm making 36-patch blocks, using neutral coloured Moda solids as the alternative patches. I have a lot of these as well - trimmings from bigger stitchery blocks, etc, etc.
AND while I am at it, I'm trying really hard to cut up my scraps using Bonnie Hunter's scrap management ideas. I've always shied away from doing this ("What if I want fabric cut in other sizes!!") but feel ready to do this now. 
This DrEAMi moment has caused me to slow down on my bear blocks but it is extremely satisfying, and just a little bit addictive. I'm hoping that as I settle into this (long-term) sewing-of-my-scraps, it will become my leader-ender project.
Thank you to Sandra of mmm quilts for helping us celebrate these moments of madness when we just have to start something new.

Another wee distraction over the weekend was to sew a pillowcase for young Odie. 
There's a delightful story behind this. When I saw the fabric I just had to buy some for our tractor loving small boy Odie. It was still draped over a chair after I had showed it off to the MOML.
Nek minnit (apologies to the non kiwis) -okay- next minute, young George is visiting and asking if it was for him and can I please make something for him out of it. "Of course" I say, mentally adding another metre of it to my shopping list.
Next day, Odie is visiting, and that fabric is still waiting to be put away. He grabs it and spends quite some time carting it around the house while saying "Gandad tractor","tractor" and so on!

So I made him a pillowcase (he is using the ones I made his sisters long ago) —
I used the Burrito method but added an inside flap. I'm going to change how I do these as, no matter how much I fiddled, there was still a raw edge inside the pillowcase that needed neatening, and sewing down.  I love the burrito method but adding the flap just complicates it! Next time I want one like this I will give myself some time to play to work it out better. 
It's fair to say the pillowcase was a huge success. There was great excitement last night when he received it and he carried it around the house until bedtime exclaiming "Tractor! Tractor!" This morning he was still playing with it —
#whyImakethings

This pillowcase was my one and only finish for April.

I had a brilliant walk this morning, up the hills across the road —
You'd be forgiven for thinking we had another flood event happening! I am enjoying the misty starts to our autumn days.
I walked over 4 kms up these hills so am feeling pretty pleased with myself.
But the day has now turned a bit cooler and wet so I'm going to spend the afternoon sewing sashing and sorting scraps. Fun fun fun.
'til next time,
Happy stitches,

Monday, April 18, 2022

Easter Weekend Sew In

A long weekend for Easter was the perfect excuse to sign up with Wendy of Sugarlane Designs and plan a good few days sewing. Wendy cleverly decided to extend Friday Night Sew In to Easter Weekend Sew In.
As we approach Monday afternoon though, I can only say that my results are abysmal!
Firstly, the stitchery. Although I tell myself I'm ready to swap it out for some evenings of needleturn, I've kept on stitching this BOM and feel quite pleased that I'm now up to Month 7 of nine —
Other blocks stitched since I last shared this project —
Yesterday I got to my sewing machine for a bit. I started on some Bear Paw blocks which go with the Bear blocks I've been making lately.
I didn't get very far but it was a good start, getting me thinking about my fabrics and the technique (for example, instead of making individual HSTs I'm using the 8-at-a-time method. I love that method - so much quicker!) —

As you can see, I'm also doing a little extra sewing to create bonus HSTs. I've been doing this with the Bear blocks too and am accumulating quite a pile for another project - another day!
Thank you Wendy♥ for hosting us this Easter. Visit her blog *here* to see what others got up to.

The weekend has been a lot fuller with family fun that I realised it was going to be.
On Friday we gathered at ED's for a family egg hunt —
The two older grandie-girls missed out on the chocolate but they were both busy working or holidaying. 
Even though autumn is here, the kids decided a swim was a good idea. I think they lasted about 20 minutes max!
On Saturday we went with ED to the Big Cat Sanctuary on the other side of town. This was established by 'The Lion Man' about 25 (?) years ago. We had a lot to do with it in those days as it was quite close to where we used to farm and we grazed stock there. The MOML and Craig got on really well. It's had a chequered past with changes of ownership/management and has recently re-opened. It was interesting to go back. We were very impressed with the new enclosures
They had a bit of a family day with a band, sausage sizzle and facepainting which was quite fun.
We've also had YD and her small boy visit. We went for a bit of a farm walk —
Peek-a-boo is fun with lots of trees around!
Yesterday afternoon we (YD,ED and I) got together with some friends for 'fivesies'. It  was lovely to catch up with them.
Whew! So that's been my weekend and why the sewing didn't happen. It's all been great fun though. We're so lucky to have so many special people to spend our time with.
I hope everyone else has had a lovely Easter.
'til next time,
happy stitches,

Monday, April 11, 2022

Trying again....

...to catch up!
(Warning - this post is only a little bit sewing related.)

First of all, a finish from March - which I haven't yet shared.
My wee squirrel project (not planned but I had to do it anyway!) is complete —
This was a SAL run by Larisa (@stitchingnotes) and Irina (@nordiccrafter) on Instagram as part of their Sip Tea and EPP fun.
The inside of the sewing folder —
And the outside, opened up. It looks wonky because I didn't remove the bits and pieces before taking the photo! —
There was lots of scope for embellishing to your heart's content, as and how you like.
I had a wee hunt through my bits and found the wee hand tag to stitch on —
and had fun learning how to stitch these sweet bees —
A few more finds; tiny buttons and some tape tape (!) —
Although this started as a free sewalong, I did end up purchasing the pattern for the extra details as well as saving me having to flick back and forth through Instagram posts. The pattern is available via either of their Instagram sites.

Now a farm catch-up from March. Three weeks ago we had some much needed rain (we were in drought) but unfortunately it all came at once and the farm flooded.
It was an unusual rain, quite localised, which caused the river to flood quite differently than any previous floods we've had in the 18 years we've been here. We had extremely fast rising water, resulting in a flash flood which didn't give us time to move the animals the way we usually do.
This is my first photo I took that day, from the deck of the house. When we can see the river from the house we know it's going to flood. Usually that takes a couple of hours —
But the photo below is only 16 minutes later. The river is usually just beyond the horses. I couldn't get to them to move them, the water was already too deep and too fast - luckily they both swum to safety, although it took us a couple of hours to actually sight them in the distance (on the other side of the river) —
The herd (200 cows) were in a similar situation, we only just got them out of their paddock before it was completely under water.
These photos show all our 'bottom flats' covered about 1½ hours later.
The water trough below is just visible! —
Of course you get to the stage where all you can do is wait for it to go down again. The sun came out and the kids came over to explore. We were able to play in some of the shallower areas!
Out came the kayak —
All the kids got at least two turns, so it was lots of fun!
By 5.30 that night, it had gone down a lot!
And then it was all over, except for cleaning up the mess! This photo is taken from over the river - all of the flats you can see were covered in water the day before. It took nearly three weeks to re-build fences (a lot of posts were broken) and clear the debris.

Co-incidentally there is a weather watch for Northland tomorrow....heavy rain and strong winds (ex-Cyclone Fili). We've prepped as much as we can do but are hoping it's not going to be as severe! Time will tell.
EDIT: it now looks like it will veer off to the east and mostly miss us 😊
I haven't been able to sew for a few days so in between times I hope to get back to my bears and stars -they're too cute to ignore for too long!

'til next time,
happy stitches,


Saturday, April 2, 2022

April again -

Who can believe it, here we are in April already?! I spent my first night of April admiring a stunning sky, and joining in with Cheryll (Gone Stitchin') in another Friday Night with Friends. 
I am up to Month 4 of Memory Lane, a BOM/SAL by The Country Yard. It's just finishing so I am quite behind but making some progress all the same.
Last night I completed this block —
Since I last shared this project, I have completed the following blocks —
I started putting these together last year but think I will wait until all the stitching is done - then I can have a decent play with my fabrics.

Since it was Friday Night somewhere in the world today, I did a bit of machine sewing this morning.
I put together one more star block for my Pop Star quilt which I am sewing with a couple of friends —
This brings my tally to 7... I had thought I was way behind with this, but as we are making only 9 blocks, I'm actually not lagging so much after all! (EDIT - it's a 12 lock quilt so I am well behind!!!)
I'm not so happy with the contrast of the middle star but I think it will be fine, really - I'm not re-doing it - and don't they always say you need a few ups and downs in a quilt to keep the eye moving and spark interest?! (Plus the light wasn't so good for these photos.)

This morning I also managed to sew up one more Bear block. (A design by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts.)
I had previously cut and sewed all the noses —
And now I have three. I need 6 per quilt and am making two quilts so these will be my main focus from now on.

I have four minutes (approx) until three children arrive so that their mother can do a photo shoot in town. So I'm going to quickly finish this post. I hope to come back later and put in links for the patterns, etc, and fix any spelling mistakes. (They're here!)
For now though, a big thank you to Cheryll for hosting us for FNwFs
'til next time,
happy stitches,