Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cathedral windows

Never say never. I vowed and declared that after two attempts at making a cathedral Window block or two that it wasn't for me and that I'd never do it again. It's labour intensive and if you're not accurate all the way though, there's no way it's going to look good at the end.
Call me crazy but after seeing it pop up on a few blogs lately, I was bitten by some bug that made me throw caution to the wind and I had another go. This time I was not going to let it beat me.
 So here I am, prototyping again and I've ended up with this cute mini which was going to be a cushion cover. Not any more because I got so carried away that I sewed parts at the edges that I should have left open. I'll call it a doll quilt.
I've been doing a lot of Internet searching for different methods. Okay, read that as the lazy quilters cathedral window method that will save fabric time and sanity. More on those methods in another post.
Just in case you're itching to have a go or you're just curious, I used this one by So Happy. The link to part 2 is at the bottom of the post. I'm going to make a couple of very minor adjustments to make the corners a little tidier for my next effort. You heard it here, never say never, I will have my pillow and I think I'm up to the challenge this time.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A little of this and that

I can't show you what I'm up to this week because it's all secret stuff.  A few weeks ago I did manage to make a couple of blocks. The poor old Mary Mannakee project has been a bit abandoned so I added another block to the pile. Any guilty feelings for not working on it have now abated.
Still on the red and green theme but in modern fabrics, another one for the Cherry Trees quilt.
With all the turmoil going on in New Zealand, I decided I needed a break from the news so I spent the afternoon on the machine which was very calming and therapuetic. Sometimes one just needs to take some time out and t was great to get back into a little machine quilting.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shock and horror in Christchurch, NZ

I'm glued to the television, thinking of everyone from my home country affected by another disastrous earthquake in New Zealand.  News of fatalities seem certain. There is widespread damage in the central business area.
The historic and iconic cathedral has been all but destroyed as you can see in the photo below. In case you're wondering, I don't have family in the area.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


These are all the blocks that I've completed so far for the Flower Garden quilt that I started in Kim McLean's class last weekend. Since I'd done the fabric selection for twelve blocks in one go, it really has sped up production. These have all been stitched in the evenings.
I'm convinced that this method of prep really does save time. You can click on these photos for a bigger view.

I thought putting all the blocks in collage form was a good way to see them together and get a sense of how I'm going with colours.
I have to take a break from these over the next week, I have a couple of swap items that need finishing off but I'll be back into them after that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Workshop news

The workshop with Kim McLean on Saturday was really wonderful, even worth getting lost coming off the Sydney Harbour Bridge, three times. I did get there in the end and not too late either. I have the worse sense of direction of anybody I know but it was the first time I'd driven that far on my own in Sydney, I call it my virgin voyage.
Here's Kim with the Flower Garden quilt that was the class project.
photo credit Belinda Betts
The day was pretty grey and drizzly but that didn't bother us one bit, I think this view is pretty good any time of the year and the large windows gave terrific light.
We all had to get our backgrounds cut out and our templates done for at least six blocks before the class.
All the fabric we were prepared to cart to class was laid out and the selection process started. We were given lots of pointers on choosing fabric and which ones would work well for applique. The shops set up some tables with goodies and I did buy a few pieces of fabric.
Kim was really great at spending lots of time making suggestions for everybody's blocks.
As it turned out, I didn't need my bias strips for class. I pinned them to this swimming pool noodle which I cut down to size with a bread knife, works better than cardboard rolls.
I also had all my freezer paper templates bagged and numbered then I store them on this metal ring I picked up at a craft shop. I needed a system or otherwise I would end up getting everything in a pickle.
Check out that neat and tidy looking block on the left. After that, I abandoned that system and did as Kim suggested which was just to cut out the blobs around the templates which is a faster way of getting more blocks prepped up. I'm pretty cruisy when I'm playing with blocks but I still got a dozen all ready for stitching at home.
I did sneak next door to the Kaffe and Brandon workshop near the start of their class but I didn't have time to go back later.
It looked like they were on a roll and working pretty fast getting their diamonds on the design walls.
At the end of the day we all got together for a cuppa and a small show and tell. I can't show you the students quilts as I didn't get permission but here's one from the Simple Shapes Spectacular quilts book. We also got to see the quilt that will be on the cover of the next book, I better not show it and spoil it for you.
Here are my first three blocks all stitched up. A lot of them only have three or four pieces so can be stitched up quite quickly.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh what a night!

I had an exciting night on Tuesday in the company of all these fabulous people you can see in the photo.
We were all invited to Kim McLean's house for dinner but it turned out to be so much more. Lovely food, super friendly fun people, lots of laughs and a bit of show and tell thrown in.
Left to right.
Sue who made the Flower Pots quilt you see on the Glorious Color site.
Brandon, myself, Cathy from Cabbage quilts, Kim, Kathy from Material Obsession, Sharron from Dragonfly Gypsy in the front who had us in stitches all night and Kaffe.
There was a bit of a book signing going on and no these aren't all Cathy's books.
What a treat to see Kim's fantabulous quilts up close.
That's Sue doing the ta dah for the Princess Feathers quilt which we were all sighing over. These quilts are so much more vibrant in the flesh, they take my breath away.
The Turkish Tiles quilt was one of my favourites. What am I saying, they're all my favourites.
It was a real blast to be there and I can't tell you how happy I was to meet Cathy from Cabbage quilts at last. We both thought the other was just as we had imagined from our blogs. Both of us are going to be doing classes, Cathy with Kaffe and I'm doing Kim's class on Saturday so more excitement coming up.

Thank you Kim, it was a fantastic evening. Mr Q and I even got breath tested on the way home, lucky we were so good.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's all about the fabric

I have a fabric crush on Moomin. I only just found out about it recently because I never grew up with these troll characters.  I needed some of course so got it from here. 
I bought just a few pieces but I'm pretty certain it's not enough.
This is my first reject prototype bag that turned out to be a bit too wide on the top and needed top stitching to stop the zip getting caught up in  the lining. I should have known that.
Prototype #2  I wanted it to be tall enough to accommodate my donut of threads I use for applique. That's much better, I think I'll be making maybe two sizes, one small cosmetic bag size and a larger one for stuff. These aren't loved up hippos, they're trolls, can you imagine it? I still think of hippos.
The weather conditions are so crazy in Australia at the moment but at least the cyclone didn't cause as much destruction as first thought. The last I heard, there was one life lost, two missing and three babies born. There is a lot of damage in some smaller towns. We are in the middle of a energy draining heat wave so it's hard to do much of anything. Lets hope for respite from all this and the snow blizzards on the other side of the globe.
Until next time, Janet

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More disaster

In a matter of hours, this category five cyclone is due to hit far north Queensland, home of the recent devasating floods. This is not in my state but all Australians will be praying or wishing for the best for all those bound to be affected. I'm sure all our friends in other parts of the world are with us on that.
My heart isn't in blogging at the moment but I'm sure this is temporary. I hope to catch up soon. Meanwhile, I've turned the comments off until my next post.