Monday, June 29, 2009

Bethleham star

If I finished every project I'd ever started before starting the next one, I wouldn't be able to make the things that I do now nor have the ability to do them. This UFO is from a class with an amazing teacher, Val Moore. Australians know and love her very well. It's a variation of a cover quilt from a Quilter's Newsletter magazine a few years back.
This is as far as I got in one year. There is a lot of embroidery in the applique. There is still another border of roses and rose hips and another very narrow pieced border after that section is done. When I get back to it, I'd like to change the arrangement of the applique that's to go in between the star points. There's no doubt that this is a big project to tackle.

Sometimes the term UFO brings up negative thoughts and even though I have quite a few of them, that's not my way of thinking. I worked full time and had a young family and huge garden to take care of. When I started quilting, I tried to take classes whenever I could. I would have walked on broken glass to learn how to make quilts.
Some I've finished, one top was even thrown away, some languish in a cupboard, but every single class I ever took gave me the skills and knowledge to pursue what I wanted. I loved all the lessons and classes but I didn't necessarily love everything I made.
The quilts I finish are the ones that give me joy to work on because for me, it's the journey not the destination. The quilts I choose to make are the ones I have to own or the ones I want to make and give away. If I see a quilt to put on my list to make, it'll be because that's the only way I'm going to own it.
I hope you all remember to embrace the joy of quilting.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Jumping all over the place

I try to make weekly goals on what I want to work on, notice I said want not need. I have no deadlines or urgent finishes really. Maybe just a cot quilt but that's small stuff, right? So today I just couldn't get going so dragged this old thing out to photograph so I could have a photo of my colours and setting. That way, when I want to work on it again, I don't have to get it up on the wall every time.
I hate that heart block on the bottom left, it's going to have to go.
In the block with the urn you can see the red rose fabric that's been a feature. I only ever bought a metre and it's nearly all gone. Same with the fabric for the little blue flowers. I'm going to have to improvise for the last blocks.
I've decided to get on with at least another block and put out of my mind the other applique projects for now. I get easily bored with my projects and just can't seem to stick to a few. That's the way I work and I don't think I'd change it. I jump around from project to project, It's a wonder I have anything finished.
I must tell you about my glue I use for applique. I like basting glue, I don't use it for everything but it makes life so much easier sometimes. The quilters basting glue is about $16 for a small bottle here and I'm not that fussed on it. I wash my blocks after using it and it still leaves some residue. I've switched to this fully washable school glue which takes more seconds to stick but it washes completely out. I just use one of those other empty bottles of basting glue to put it in. It's really cheap. Elmers washable school glue is what you'd use in the States.
Here is the next block I'm going to tackle which looks a little intimidating because of the number of pieces. I've traced them all out on freezer paper and I'll probably spend time in the weekend prepping pieces.
I'm going good on pies and tarts, well I was a month behind but I'm just about caught up now. I only have 10 more pies to applique to the backgrounds.

Excuse me for the weekend while I try to focus on some sewing. Have a good one peoples.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My struggle with machine quilting

My experiences with machine quilting has been limited , you could say it's been a saga over the years to get to the point where I'm not hyperventilating when I have a quilt under the foot to quilt or seriously considering a few glasses of wine to relax enough to just do it. I had done a couple of quilts before I got the Bernina 440 with the BSR foot and this quilt was the sacrificial one where I just went at it, doodling and making it up as I went. After all, the quilt was so busy, it didn't matter if I stuffed it up. This quilt freed me from my hang ups and the BSR foot gave me the confidence. Then I found out about these Patsy Thompson DVD's and they changed my whole attitude which went from too hard to I can do this. I no longer had to stick to stippling.
I did what was suggested and made a pile of little sandwiches to practice on. I'd just like to say that these were the first ones I had a go on.

Free form feathers! I was so proud

I keep a folder of the free downloads from Patsy's site to give me ideas for background fillers. I also look at quilts at the shows and in magazines to sketch out other ideas. I'm happy with how my machine quilting is going, I'll never do one of those amazing quilted works, I'm happy to be at the point where if I want to do all over quilting or background designs, I can do it, after all finished is better than perfect.
If you don't have a Bernina with a BSR foot, did you know that you can do free motion quilting with the darning foot keeping the feed dogs up? Yes UP! Pam Holland does amazing quilting doing just that. You'll have more control and you don't have to go at the speed of lightning..

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Picking up the pace

I've fallen behind on my goal of a wee basket block a day but I have been keeping up a pretty good pace and have about 60 of these done now. Not too shabby I must say. Great excitement at the Quiltsalott house today with the delivery of my big beauty. I think I've watched the DVD three times and have the basics sorted. My DH got to work straight away and dug out an old solid wooden table from the shed and customised it to fit the machine. Being a shorty, I couldn't have it at normal table height.
A recess has been cut out and brackets attached to support it and a hole drilled for the hands free. I think he's going to shorten the table further and add lockable casters so I can wheel it. There's not much room left in the sewing room, it's pretty chocka block.
The next two photos are an encore just for ratherbquilting (no blog) who has begged me for these photos of quilts I have hanging on my rack. I can't answer any comments or mail if you are down as no reply blogger sorry.
Original posts are here and here.

This is the system I'm using to help me keep track of my Nearly Insane blocks. They are all safe in a folder with stickers on each page of what number they are and they get crossed off a master plan when I've done them. The book is Nearly Insane by Liz Lois. No instructions on how to do the blocks but I found a great blog that posts a block a week and suggestions on how to tackle them. Amazon doesn't have this book at the moment but try a quilt shop.
Go see another fabulous blog Supergoof, that has gorgeous quilts to look at and also nearly insane blocks done in the red and white colour scheme. I might have mentioned it before, it's in Dutch but we all speak quilt, right?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Its all about the fabric

First of all, I knocked off another nearly insane block, #21For fabric Friday, I'm showing the most expensive and special fabrics I'm hoarding. All of these except the red and yellow are American folk art. The one on the bottom right is a French border fabric, I love it but it's rather firm in texture.I had fun making up a couple of things from the show last week. I got a pouch pattern from Studio Mio which was very simple and quick to whip up. I like to make my bag patterns on freezer paper so that I can iron it to the fabric then cut around, easy peasy.
Here it is and I shamelessly copied the fabric idea from Jean who made one as a giveaway that Cathy was lucky to win. I don't miss much, lol.
Love the spring strip in the top, a squeeze opens it.
I got to use a snippet of my Aunty Cookie fabric and made this bucket from a free tutorial that Jodie from Ric Rac has on her blog. It was a quick thing to make also and is a decent size, 6" in diameter.
I couldn't resist this photo doing the rounds in email. Swine flu has got closer to home.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Busy sewing again

I've been needing a little nudge to get into some sewing again. I think it's the wet cold weather slowing me down. I didn't know what I felt like doing until Ranette gave me a little nudge to get back to my Nearly Insane blocks. Thank you Ranette, it was just what I needed. They are not as distorted as they look, honestly, it's the angles.

Block 29 Block 9
Block 11
I have been busy hand quilting, mainly in the evenings and sometimes it takes me a little while and much wrestling of the quilt to see where I last finished. Here's my tip, tie a bright ribbon to a rust proof safety pin and pin where you finished last. Much easier to spot where you need to go back next time you pick it up.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The loot from the show

How can you not come home with some fabric after going to a show? These reproduction fabrics came from Somerset Patchwork and Quilting, they had a great range and most of these were discounted, even better! DH picked out half of these, he did well. Every year I go for a type of fabric that I need more of, it makes the shopping easier to have a plan.
There were two ladies I kept bumping into checking out the repros, honestly it was so funny, they thought they could save time and money by knocking me over and taking off with my bag when I left but I had a bodyguard! From Material Obsession, I found this funky backing fabric and bought the kit to make this clock for my sewing room of course. I'm going to have fun with this!
Two great patterns from The Quilted Crow, another wonderful shop that has a great blog where you can see these quilts.
I couldn't resist yet another pincushion kit that's filled with Silica sand. From Hatched and Patched.
Check out this great screen printed linen from Auntie Cookie! I think this will be great as Journal covers, sewing accessories and other small things. What was that? oh the pamphlet, well that just happens to be the purchase DH surprised me with. Please don't hate me, lol.
Apparently he had been planning this surprise. He's good at keeping a secret. I was in shock and tried to talk him out of it but now I have graciously accepted this early birthday present. Delivery next Sunday, now where can I put it? Oh he has a plan for accommodating this too. Eeeeek! I can't believe it, excuse my excitement at a dream come true.

I couldn't resist a bit of fun with the three ladies hanging on every word as DH started talking turkey to the rep, Oh I say to DH, what are you going to be sewing on that and why do you want that machine? Ok, I have this wicked streak, so funny, I think their mouths dropped as they inched closer to hear more.
Now race over to Kaaren's at The Painted Quilt to enter her 4th July giveaway, She makes the most amazing things. I know I'm lessening my chances here but that's ok. Click on the button or the link to leave a comment.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pondering or ruminating

How many quilts live at your house? Here's my pile, it doesn't include the finished tops or the works in progress, the kits I have stashed or the ones I've given away. What about all the quilts on my list that I want to make one day? I won't be the old woman who lived in a shoe, I'll be the old woman who had so many quilts she didn't know what to do! I'll bet money that many of you have a load more than I do so when someone says to you "what do you do with all those quilts?" What do you say? Would you ask an artist who has done X number of paintings for pleasure, what are you going to do with them all? That's after you've given them as gifts, to adorn the walls etc.
I've been thinking on this and after much thought, I've decided I'll keep doing what I love to do and I'll have something tangible to show for my time besides memories. I was feeling slightly defensive over this question but as long as I know why, that's good enough.

The piggy has been fed for sometime with golden coins and now it's time to swap them for notes and head of to the quilt show in Sydney this weekend. The show started today and the winning quilts are up for viewing here. Click on the pink bars near the top to view the quilts in the different categories.

I'd love to take photos for you but on the Guild website it states that photos are for your own use and that they must not be shared or copied electronically unless you get permission from the quiltmaker. Shucks! That's not likely to happen, for a start, how are you supposed to do that? I do understand the rule that you must not take pictures of stalls, on the threat of being thrown out.

And I'm getting on my soapbox to ruminate on another subject.
If I'm making a quilt from a pattern, which is what a lot of us do, am I breaching copyright if I post my progress or the quilt when I've finished on my blog? Most designers are thrilled because it gives them exposure and they get added sales from their designs. Some of them even encourage it and approve of yahoo groups for people wanting to share the experience. If a designer of a quilt doesn't want photos posted of their designs that have been done by students, I guess the'd say so and I guess we'd respect it. It's so hard to know what is allowed these days.

I don't want to go into the whole copyright thing but this is a subject that can get a bit touchy. If that's going to be the case, I might as well delete my blog and hide away my quilts. I like to share and I love what I do. Your thoughts are welcome.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Play time

I had the intention of catching up on my pies and tarts this long weekend and this is as far as I got. I'm a month behind so now I have 20 pies and 20 tarts to sew. I got busy cutting and pairing them, made three pies and then I got to thinking about the small triangular pieces left over from the strips.They were the perfect size scraps for a doll quilt. I've wanted to do a mini tumbler for ages. I got busy, this was Sunday afternoon. I had the template and it didn't take long to cut and piece them.
Time to play and I like to have fun so I don't let anything stop me once I get an idea like this.
Here it is! machine pieced and hand quilted by Monday night. I love it! I did add a few more scraps from my scrap bag that have some meaning for me.
It measures 10" x 12.5" and has cotton batting.
I did manage to get in before the end of the month and knock off these nine patch blocks for the swap I'm in.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Don't fall for the Tagged invite

Just a quick note to warn you to ignore any emails that says Tagged or with the above logo, I got sucked in, if you want to know more go to Michelles post to read about the scam.

Random things

I thought I'd do a post about a few random things, mainly about me. Now I'm fairly cautious about revealing too much, after all, I'm a fairly private person but I don't mind telling you a little just in case you are curious. I've dabbled in a lot of different crafts, mainly involving thread and a needle. I've had a go at Temari and wish I had time to do more.
I love doing Hardanger embroidery when I make the time and I'm not quilting which is not very often these days.
I have a lot of projects Ive started and not finished. You knew that, right?

This is me and DH in Darling Harbour a couple of years ago. Excuse the cropped photo but I have to protect an identity here. I hardly have any photos of me, mainly because I'm behind the lens and because I am just not photogenic so get all shy about it.
Now I've seen those posts where bloggers give up some information on themselves so in the spirit of sharing, here are..........
ten random facts about me!
  1. I'm half Japanese but can't speak the language.
  2. I'm under 5 foot tall.
  3. I worked for 25 years as a school dental nurse in New Zealand, the last four of them as a team co-coordinator.
  4. I've been married twice. ( the first one didn't take)
  5. I taught bread making for six years back in NZ.
  6. I eat avocado nearly every day but it's not my favourite food.
  7. I'm the sweetest person after my morning coffee but don't try to converse with me before that.
  8. I'm allergic to cats.
  9. I struggle with my weight, ooh, that's personal!
  10. I always drive the car when we go out because I'm uncanny when it comes to finding a park, it's like the red sea parting, it's true. Plus I'm a rotten passenger.
I love dogs but only when they are trained. This is my beloved Bonnie who departed two years ago, and who I miss every day and was my constant companion.

In the past, I've had an Irish Water Spaniel, Linus, another Jack Russell, Becky and my DH's dog, a Doberman, Pasha, the most gentle dog I've ever known.

Actually that was really 11, I threw an extra in for good measure.