Saturday, January 30, 2010

Leftover loveliness....

The paper pieced strip quilt started a week or so ago is now pieced. I decided to add a double border that also incorporates the bright stripey fabric that I've been having a love-hate relationship with. It's the one that I was going to use recently on the Neighbourhood II quilt but it just wasn't working there. However, given all the bright left-overs in this quilt, including some of the aforementioned stripe, it works wonderfully well and highlights so many of the colours. I'll also use it in the binding.
Adding the borders has resulted in a flimsie of around 56" x 63" (135mm x 160mm). A lovely cot or throw size for sure!
Here it is in the sunshine at around 3pm this afternoon on a 35 C day! It's almost a cathedral window!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back to school....

It's happened! We did it! Back to school for 2010. The fully synchronised movement of a family that includes alarms going off, shower shuffling, lunches to be made, uniforms on and bags packed. Now it's wading through the plethora of notes, new diaries and making sure that kids get into bed early enough to do it all again tomorrow and the next day and the next day......

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oh what fun we had.....

...when Tara and S paid us a visit on the weekend.
A lovely catchup with lots of laughs, good food, a 'bit' of wine and recounting old-times. But the best bit was handing over two quilts. Princess Portland for S and Neighbourhood II for Tara.
Tara has been a lifetime dolls house collector and has made several comments via my blog pertaining to her love of little houses and in particular the two Neighbourhood could I not give one to her?
So both little house quilts have been gifted away....I'll just have to make another!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My creative space.....

Was an absolute shamble this morning at 12.47am.
But by 3.30pm this afternoon I had managed to complete 30 x 8 1/4" paper pieced strip blocks made completely...I said COMPLETELY out of scraps. Even the paper was recycled from essay drafts ....I have lots of them!I've been very conscious since I made my first string quilt to sort my scraps. If they were long or rectangle I put them aside until they were burgeoning out of the bag. I had a bit of a production line going so there is a slight repetition of fabric to match up and I would have to say it made the process of making the blocks much quicker than my first attempt.
I love the fact that this collection of blocks is made from little pieces of fabric that will add up to one fairly substantial patchwork top. However, looking at it on the design floor I think I could do with about 6 more blocks.....maybe!
The photo isn't very clear but the central strips are pale pink and I think I'll use the same fabric for a wide border. I reckon I'll bust out the lime hippos from Ikea that I've been stashing for the backing and that stripey binding fabric I discarded earlier in the week will probably make an appearance on this quilt too.
No plans for a recipient just yet.....just a little project to keep me up at night!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A bit of housework.....

It seems that even though I've been on a stay-at-home holiday it's ended up being quite busy. My aim was to finish a lot of half completed quilting projects or at least progress some of them. I've managed at least one more finish this week.....a second little house quilt. All the little houses are made out of scraps which is very satisfying.
However the quilt itself ended up being one of those problematic quilts where so many things went wrong along the way. For some reason my bottom tension started to play up which I've deduced was a bobbin winding issue. Then whilst fixing that I got some grease on the top (bahhh!) and whilst fairy-spot cleaning it, it left a water mark (double bahhhh!). I cut out some binding and then hated it and chose something else. And the stippling itself seemed to take ages. I haven't stippled anything for a while so perhaps I'm out of practice! But then again, it's more likely to be the fact that we decided to paint our bathroom and even though this could be described as the smallest room in the house it's been a labourious task. In between Joe sugar soaping ceilings and painting I've been painting the architraves. When we bought our house all of the woodwork was painted a disgusting mix of puce and 'government green'. When my sister first visited she asked if the house glowed in the dark! I spent years stripping all the old paint to reveal beautiful red pine architraves and skirtings. With our polished floorboards and stripped doors (some of the doors I managed to french polish!) we kept the architraves un-painted. However the bathroom woodwork was always bitty with a mix of woods so I decided to paint it and this is has been a big task with undercoating and acrylic coats all whilst balancing on a very long ladder in small confines. It's been ages since I was up a ladder for an extended period and my legs are really suffering from leaning into the rungs.....however the smallest room in the house is looking pretty grand!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Summer Love....

We're in the last throws of summer school holidays and I've been lucky enough to have some time off. We're not going away. We're mooching. We're spending time at home, relaxing. For me that means a bit of catch up study and sewing in between friends coming to play, visiting friends and movies to see. I'm making an effort to finish some of the projects I've had in the WIP pile. I've spent the last few days piecing this very straight forward 5" square patch featuring Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope fabric. The first time I saw this quilt, I knew that was the quilt for me. I've had the fabric squares cut since October. I just love the nostalgia I feel with this fabric. I reminds me of my Grandma and Great Aunt Nell. It's the sort of fabric they would give me to 'play' with when I was little. Yep. It's summer love all right!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Portland Princess...

Our dear friend Tara moved to the US about a decade and a half ago. We miss her terribly but love the fact that she always makes time to catch up with us when she returns to Australia to visit her family. We love even more that she now has a little almost 2 year old daughter who will be accompanying her on this trip.
Tara is a friend of my blog and has made several comments over the past year so I'm hoping that she's currently winging her way over the ocean and not reading at the moment because this quilt is for little S. It's a bit like sending ice to the north pole using fabric that I purchased from the States but what else do you use for the princess in your life? Far Far Away by Heather Ross of course!
The pattern is inspired by and is a smaller version of Kaffe Fassett's Pastel Floral Parade Quilt featured in his Quilts in the Sun book. I had to work with the material I had so I created smaller squares and used less of them. We have the Princess and the Pea sitting centre stage surrounded by unicorns, frog princes, little snails and fields of flowers. The purple pushed my personal colour boundaries....I've never been a purple person but for a little girl, I think it's perfect. I made my own 'mattress pile' on the back with the left over border fabrics and quilted it in straight line vertical stitching. The quilt measures around 147cm square (57") so it's a lovely size for a cot, little bed or having a tea party with teddy.
Thank you Clare for being my holding up model after our indulgent day of holiday sewing today!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What the....?

Our washing machine died a few days before the end of the year and given the importance of a washing machine in our lives, it's fair to say we were sold before we even got the white goods department. We loved our old machine, so selecting a brand wasn't an issue, we'd be sticking with the same and just needed an update on features. I don't know if the sales man knew he didn't have to try very hard but this weird thing happened. He opened the lid and turned to me and said, "the low profile agitator is excellent when you want to wash your quilts....". I'm serious! Is it that obvious? Have I had some mysterious tattoo appear on my forehead..."I'm a quilter". Well needless to say...we bought that one!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Big finish...

Back from our new year's break at the shack with some big finishes under the belt!
First up....the dreaded 'One-a-day 9 patch'. This was a BIG quilt. I'd got into the habit of making small lap sized quilts and the thought of quilting something close to a single scared me. However, I girded my loins and got stuck into it with a big finish on the 31st! Yay! The quilting did take longer than I thought and I was lucky enough to be able to squeeze the sewing machine into the very full car.
It's quilted just outside the ditch in a grid (some are a little wonky due to lining up) but overall I'm pleased. It feels heavy and cosy. The backing is scrappy and incorporates some of the left over patches in strips. And the binding....oh the divine. It's Heather Bailey's Ginger Buds. Just gorgeous. It was meant for another quilt I'm (still) working on but the colour was perfect for the colours of my patches...I obviously select from a particular colour pallet. I was sewing the binding on in our not very efficient cooled fibro shack at 39 degrees (yes, even Goolwa hit the max that day!) determined to finish before year's end. I think the little buds got me through.
So much so, I started the re-quilting of mum's Paper Dolls quilt later that day. It's quilted in a cross hatch in the centre 6" patches, stippled in the first border and then straight quilted in the second border. Again, beautiful fabric to set your heart racing with each stitch. I'm very pleased with the re-do. And I even managed to pick up some more of the little outfits used in the outer border at Strathalbyn on Saturday....discounted no less!
Here's R & L on New Year's Eve wearing the one-a-day and another little quilt that now lives at the shack. Thank goodness for the cool change. I made the scrappy 'beach house' (that's rich for the shack!) earlier this year out of my then scraps and judging by the condition of my scrap swell, I could do with making another. Happy new year, happy quilting.