Friday, February 26, 2010

Slow progress

Unfortunately, I've been a little under the weather this week so I haven't been able to get stuck into the sewing like I had planned.
I'm so glad to have finished vine panel #3 on the Susan McCord quilt. It is a bit long to get a whole shot in but here's a portion. The two hundred and something mumble mumble leaves on the third panel was a bit of a marathon so I was glad to have got this far. Now to draw up #4 of 13.
There was a minor wee glitch when I washed the panel before trimming. In my haste, I picked up a certain marker to use. After three weeks, the blue washout pen had turned black and looked just like permanent pen. See the black line below?
This was the culprit and it got binned straight away. Silly me knew it did that and neglected to get rid of it long ago. I use a trusty and much tested one usually, not sure what I was thinking here.
I have a recipe for getting out pencil marks which has worked for me, (you might know it) which I thought I'd try.

One part water
3 parts rubbing alcohol
a few drops of green dishwashing detergent.

Is the green one necessary? I don't know but it works so why mess with that. I used tablespoons as my measure and a soft old toothbrush to rub it in with. I just might have got a bit enthusiastic during that part.I often add more detergent to the area too and do it on a soft towel.
So you'd like to know if it worked, right? Yes, it got most of it out so I was happy enough with that considering it wasn't pencil, it worked ok. I also then got a run from a red fabric  I hadn't noticed before (leaf on the right) so washed again using Dylon colour run preventer. It worked it's magic.
Onto the good stuff. I have had great sucess with my sourdough starter after putting  about four grapes into the mix, covering it with a cloth and rubber band and placing by a window on a very warm day. It captured more wild yeast spores. I did use organic white flour and spring water too. I've made a couple of hybrid loaves this week using a little dried yeast until it gets a bit more mature. No photos because they didn't look pretty enough but they did taste the part.
I had a huge surprise yesterday. Mr Quiltsalott bought home a something for me, my very first laptop and............
A television for the sewing room!!  How spoiled am I? I think there was a super deal and tough negotiation going on. I can watch movies now while I sew or do the ironing! You probably don't know that I get very bored with sewing seam after seam which is why I don't seem to get things finished.
There's a little story there. The first time I ever went away without him was to a weekend retreat. When I got home, he had built me a small rose garden.
Another time when away in NZ, I came home and he had taken out the sliding door and knocked a hole in the wall to put in french doors. I was glad I didn't know about that one.
As you know, I've just been away for three weeks. Do you suppose there's a pattern here?

Edit: I almost forgot to tell you about those pillows I crocheted the edgings on.  You Go Girl is going to do a tutorial on making them. There is also a button on my side bar which you can click on to go there and sign up or have a look.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm an applique addict.

When I'm away from home on holiday, I have plenty of time to ponder which projects I'll tackle when I get back. This was the one I was wanting to play with, the stars and sprigs. I've done two new blocks this last week and I enjoyed every single stitch. Applique is usually on the top of the list, I never get bored with doing it.
I made a few star blocks as well. Here's the progress shot,  it's looking mighty fine to me, I love it!
These ones were my practice blocks that I did before I settled on doing the quilt in Westminster fabrics.I'm sure the orphan blocks will come in handy some day. Gosh, that sounds like a seaoned hoarder talking.
My thread carrier is a bit large and cumbersome to cart around when I go on holiday or to my stitching group so I decided I needed a smaller, more convenient option. These prewound bobbins fit the bill operfectly. I wish I had got them a long time ago. I got these three sets from Piece O' Cake along with the donut to store them. You can also get them directly from Superior Threads. The thread is a  quality 50 weight, two ply and they perform beautifully for applique.
All 36 threads in the three sets fit in the donut, so transportable!
On an unrelated note, this past week, I decided to start up a new sourdough bug for my breadmaking. My new pet project.
I've never had a problem making an initial starter before but this one is being stubborn and lazy. It's showing slight signs of life but is still pretty dormant. I even put it next to a bowl of grapes to tease it into gathering more wild yeast spores. That didn't work so I draped some grapes over the top of the jar, lol.

A member of the family was a baker and he happened to stop by today and he gave me a couple of tips to try. I added some bread improver and some rye flour to give it a boost. I'll give you an update next time but so far I think I spy some shy bubbles under the surface. Because it is a living thing, a lot of bread bakers give a name to their sourdough starters. I think I shouild call this one bubbles so it doesn't get a complex about being a runt at the start of life.

If you want to obtain a starter, try asking at a bakery that bakes sourdough, they're usually happy to sell you some. I know Bakers Delight in Australia will. I'm not a fan of the really sour chewy bread but I love the milder flavour so I will adjust my baking to accomodate my tastes.
You can get a whole lot of information at Breadtopia.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I'm back with stash

What a great three weeks away,  I love being around my family since I have none in Australia.  It's good to be back and just in time for Valentines day, I hope you all had a wonderful day with your loved ones.
I had one small bag I bought back that was just filled with goodies from the quilt shops we visited. The fabrics are expensive in New Zealand so it was mainly fat quarters that I bought. Feel sorry for them paying $32 per metre for Kaffes. My American friends will be gagging at that.

Some red and whites for my nearly insane quilt which I'm vowing to get back to.
I couldn't go past this wool kit. I'm such a sucker for a kit, I really should tame that beast as I tend to put them away and not get them made. It's a vice I'm trying to curb but I wanted to try it out and a kit is better than buying a stash of wool. See, I justified it, lol.
Romantics, not my usual purchase but oh so very Marie Antoinette that I have a plan for.
The fabric at the back is a Valorie Wells that is perfect for the coloured pencils I want to play with. The linen at the front is a Japanese Echino.
The rest of my purchases were for general stash enhancement that will end up in scrappy quilts or for making small things. Now I think I had better make plans for culling some of my really old fabrics I won't use, I've run out of storage space and I've started taking over the spare room next door to the sewing room.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A quilt finish and a shop visit.

I couldn't be happier with my first quilt finish for 2010. Thanks to Lori for this wonderful doll quilt project. I love it, imperfect piecing and all. I even ran out of background fabric and substituted a few squares of another fabric.
I had a couple of days staying with my sister and brother in law and got a good session of hand quilting in which enabled me to race towards the finish line. For your info, I used a non fusible pellon for the batting to get a thin look and I'm quite happy with it for a doll quilt.
While I was on my mini retreat away from the little ones, I had a play with the camera around the garden. A couple of figs were ready for eating off the wonderful old tree in the yard. I had to add the house across the road, I was enamoured with the view of it peeking through the shrubbery.
I mentioned the quilt shop we discovered in Riverhead, Auckland called All Things Patchwork which specialises in designer fabrics and as promised, I took my camera. On the first visit, the battery had run out, on the second visit, the card had been left in the computer. I had to do it, I needed to go back a third time just so I could share with you. If you must know, I enhanced the stash on each and every visit. That will have to wait for next time, there are lots of photos.
You just know there are good things to come when you get to the entrance of the shop and spy this fabulous covered day bed and Kaffes on the opposite wall.
A better view.
Now I have this urge to upholster some old chairs, can you blame me?
A few of the bright, cheerful quilts just hanging around.
Along with the butterflies, dragonflies..............
and cushions which are offered as a beginners embroidery class at the shop.
Take a closer look, (you can click on the photos) these have been hand embroidered to compliment the fabric designs with one strand of embroidery thread all by Jo Dixey.

We were drooling over all of Jo Dixey's pieces including these embroidered pieces.
This one is a wonderful rendition of a pair of breasts, so clever!
We did go to another shop which specialised in Japanese fabrics, taupes  included. I didn't have my camera so I can't share but I did  get this fabulous book by Keiko Goke. I saw an exhibition of her quilts some years back and was pleased that they were included in the book. I purchased a small kit for a needlecase too, in wool which is a new thing for me to try.
I'm back home in a couple of days time so I'll show you my small  healthy stash enchancement then.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A doll quilt

I'm switching styles here, onto something a bit different. I finished piecing and basting the Cheddar Cheese and Crackers doll quilt from Loris blog before I came on holiday. I thought it would be a good idea to have a wee hand quilting project to do in found time. There is very little of that happening here, I forgot how little people can be time suckers.
Have a little look at the top right hand corner, see the humility block? The four patch got turned and it wasn't deliberate but I thought I would leave it as a humility thing, like those odd quirky blocks in the antique quilts we sometimes see. You know the story, of how this may have been done deliberately because only God is perfect? As if we humans could make anything that could be perfect.
I admit it, I couldn't stop noticing it so I unpicked it and switched it back to how it should be.

Some hand quilting has been done, enough to see how it's going to look. The grid in the cheddar blocks is a half inch apart and I've tried to follow the same quilting pattern as the original full sized quilt. I like the idea of putting a flash of red with this one and will probably bind it in that colour, again same as the original.
Thanks Lori for sharing such a wonderful project. I love it.

I haven't had time to visit a lot of blogs sorry, but hopefully will catch up when I get home. Tomorrow DD and I are off to visit the patchwork shop we discovered last week to get a fabric fix and while two little ones are in preschool, it's a good chance to have a grown up day. I promise I'll take my camera and share since the lovely owner said I could take photos of anything I wanted.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fairy, Flower and Blossom

In a land far far away, well really it was across the ditch, in the land of the long white cloud where Kiwi's roam, three little dollies were hiding,  Fairy, Flower and Blossom were trying to hide their Kaffey goodness.
In their attempts to hide, Fairy, Flower and Blossom were startled by three little girls with very loud voices.  They fell from their carefully selected hiding place (what little girl would put their hand in a bougainvillia!).  Their cover was blown!
A feeble attempt at obtaining another cover was tried......the paper doll disguise was not the success that Blossom thought it would be.
Fairy tired to convince the others to run from the loud little girls. Blossom and Flower knew that the gig was up. Surrender was the only option....
Flower found that being help captive had its up and downs, being used as a pillow was not nearly as bad as......
Being given to this monster, saliva baths! nuff said.
Photos by Quiltsalottt
Guest writer, Sew Stitched up.
Dolly pattern by Jo Dixey.