Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On the design floor....

The design floor. That makes me laugh! It's the patch of floor in the lounge room that's large enough to take on bits of fabric to form quilt tops, bottoms and basting activity once the rug is rolled up and the coffee table is pushed back. It's not near my sewing machine and periodically piecing mistakes are made as I've generally forgotten which side I'm meant to stitch by the time I get to the machine. Oh well....if I win the lottery....!
This quilt is a pattern from Patchwork at Central Park and was displayed at the recent Australasian Quilt Convention and also appeared in the May edition of Better Homes and Gardens. Silly me didn't buy a copy of the magazine when it was available, not even from AQC. When I got home the next day, the June issue was out and after a failed attempt to buy a back order (who ever heard of a Better Homes and Gardens not being availalbe on back order?), I managed to score it from my local library.
It uses a combination of prints and solids. The pattern recommends fat quarters but equally, you could use metreage as repeating a print or two pulls it together. The squares are huge. I cut them to 18" (not 17 7/8ths) to compensate for cutting inaccuracy in the first instance and have trimmed them back to 17". I found I did get some slippage joining the 1/2 square triangles. Smaller ones are way simpler to piece accurately. I'm using some of Sandi Henderson's Ginger Blossom fabrics and a few fat quarters I've picked up along the way from Spotlight.
I'm intending on giving this quilt to my sister in law who has a birthday coming up very soon. The top should come together quickly but I seem to be doing a couple of other things at the same time and that's slowing down the process. Nothing new there!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Squaring up....

Working on another quilt started a few weeks back. Squaring up giant (well 17") 1/2 square triangles. The pattern was created by Patchwork on Central Park and appeared in the May edition of Better Homes & Gardens (Australian edition). Mine features some long time stashed Ginger Blossom by Sandi Henderson.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Time for a payback.....

A little over 13 years ago, my dear friend Leonora presented me with the most beautiful quilt celebrating R's arrival. A hand quilted cot quilt featuring a star pattern in pastel colours. At the time I was honoured that one of my friends had planned a gift that far ahead because the time involved in creating it was evident in the pattern, the piecing and the stitching. She had even embroidered a pink 'R' in the corner. And not only that, I knew Leonora had made two quilts as another of our friends was also having a baby roughly around the same time. (I ended up with a premmie baby, so poor Leonora must have really felt the pressure when R arrived 8 weeks earlier than her pre-determined date.) I remember receiving the quilt when I was quite overwhelmed with the whole 'having an premmie baby thing', wrapped in the hand made box that her husband Michael had crafted. It was a gorgeous thoughtful gift and it was practical. That little quilt lived on R's cot or on the floor when I needed something to pop baby down on the ground. It's been put carefully away for years now and it wasn't until today when I pulled it out to take a photo that I revisted those lovely memories.
However, they were always there because I think it was that little quilt that actually inspired me to take up quilting. So when Leonora's '0' birthday rolled around earlier this year....the first of our group.....I thought it was time for a payback!
Leonora and Mike were lucky enough to be overseas having high tea at the Ritz for her special day this year and even though we only live a few streets away it wasn't until today that we had a chance to catch up.
Her payback present was a quilt featuring Amy Butler's Lotus collection and used Amy's Brickpath pattern. It looks fantastic in its new home! Happy '0' birthday Leonora and thanks so very much for the inspiration.

Lessons learnt....the hard way

I was recently inspired to make the strip quilt that appeared in the May edition of Australian Better Homes and Gardens. I started work on it during the week and was having a lovely time matching the gorgeous Woodland Delight in coral and aqua and Flights of Fancy fabrics by Paula Prass. Everything was going swimmingly until I realised that the little bits on the end that I was trimming as I was going were getting bigger. Sadly it was late at night and I was head wasn't joining the dots so to speak. Whilst I was aligning one side of my fabrics, or so I thought, I was actually coming in slightly with each strip, so the other end was being trimmed far more than it should have been. The next bit was a disaster. Once I realised what I'd been doing, I had to rectify the alignment as best I could. So trim away I did. What should have been a 111cm(43") wide quilt ended up being 93cm (around 36"). This meant that the length was all out of proportion, so I had to adjust that too by taking out several rows.
I've rescued the quilt as best I can but I am worried that the sides may still be a little on the diagonal and not sit as straight as I would like.
I'm thinking that for future strip quilts I'll iron the strips in half (or finger press) and align from the middle.
The left over bits have not gone to waste. I've used them in a peiced strip of piano keys on the back.
I'm quilting in straight lines of quilting using my walking foot and aligning the rows either side of the seams and if the strip is wide enough, just in again the width of the foot.
Looking at it now, this was probably not the ideal quilting method for the pieced back because the quilt lines haven't matched up perfectly on the back with the pieced section. I should probably have stippled and then it would not have been so obvious. So whilst I haven't wasted any fabric in the scheme of things, I'm not totally thrilled with the outcome. Just lucky I haven't any plans for a recipient just yet. I'm holding out that it still might all work out in the wash but if not, I'll put it down to a very big learning experience!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Party on.....

L celebrated his 9th birthday with his school friends today. It's funny....parties seem to be standard fare these days, most often outsourced at a huge price per person, sometimes competitive, and with a winter baby, hard to come up with something that's out of the elements and different from what has already been done.
We decided to have his party at home this year. Guess what....everyone said 'yes' and after chatting with the parents, an 'at home' party was a major reason behind them all coming. A few mums stayed, most left with a sly grin and a 'have fun' blessing! But with the plethora of 'stuff' we have in our back yard...not one of the 13 little boys was bored. The trampoline got a major work out but sadly left a lot of socks very, very muddy!
L had one game request. The donut game. We tied donuts to the clothes line at strategically appropriate heights. Oh....the power of asking 9 year olds to take a step back, hands behind your back, ready, steady.....GO! Too funny and a great game every time!
L asked for an Iron Man cake, so all the rest of the food had a red and yellow theme (albiet lost on 9 year olds but I like to do it....). We jelly with chocolate cup cakes in red patty pans and yellow icing....honey joys in red patty red toffees in yellow patty pans and of course.........the cake. He was a little pink thanks to cochineal and not pillar box red food colouring....but apart from looking a little like the complained.
We also had the Twisted Balloon lady who made a balloon for everyone....including me! My bunch of flowers and R's lady bug were a pleasant surprise amongst the boy bazooka's. A great party!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Eye candy....

Just arrived in the mail. Lots of inspiration, lovely images and 'how to's'.
I've only had a chance to look through Jane Brocket's 'Gentle Art of Quiltmaking', it took so long I ran out of time for Kaffe's 'Simple Shapes'! Mind you, if I hadn't spent so long stroking and staring at the cover, I might have used my time a little more wisely.....then again....

Monday, June 14, 2010

9. 9. 9. How many is 9?

It's funny how you remember things from your childhood. For me, I will always remember the Sesame Street song for nine. And when someone is nine, that's what you sing.....all day. And because my baby is nine it will be a long time before I sing it again.We had a great day, thanks to public holiday day off and thoroughly enjoyed by a little person who had been counting down the days till he was actually nine, who loved his presents and really appreciated his big sister's cake making efforts.Happy birthday L.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sweet baby marmalade

This is a little quilt that had been on the no-go pile for a couple of weeks. I had it cut, pieced and basted before the self imposed hiatus. Being small it was a great project to pick up and finish.
It's made of the orange and green strips from my Sweet jelly rolls (I had 2 sets) and measures around 1m x 1.2m. Looking at it now I realise that I should have walked away after I laid them out and had another look. I've ended up with all the birds in one corner. I remember at the time trying to mix up one of the other patterns and this was the result. Oh well....I'm sure the recipient won't notice.
The binding uses the last of the green strips - polka dots, stripes and flowers and it's quilted in free motion stipple.
Baby Hunter is the new baby of one of Joe's work colleagues. I've popped his initial on the back....I'm glad his name had a straight letter instead of an 'O' or an 'S' or a 'U'!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Getting to the other side.....

There hasn't been any sewing going on lately which I'm not very happy about but it was a choice I had to make. You see, I'd been shirking my study responsibilities because of said sewing and fallen way behind. I hadn't done particularly well in the assignments so the pressure was really on for the exam. But I'm pleased to announce that the aforementioned exam is over and it went pretty well and therefore the self imposed sewing ban has now been lifted. I've taken this next study period off so I don't have to launch straight into (or to choose to ignore depending on which way you approach it) a fresh text book. But I did have to go interstate the very same day of my exam for work and spent all of yesterday working from start to finish to hop on an evening flight home. So up until now I still haven't had a chance to fire up the Husqvana or caress any fabric. But that should all change tonight with our weekly Sew & Sew's catch up.
The photo I've used for this blog post makes me laugh. As I was trying to negotiate myself back to Sydney airport yesterday afternoon, I found myself ON the harbour bridge instead of taking the underpass. It's such a spectacular bridge so I reached across to my bag, grabbed my camera, opened it one handed, pointed and shot. Now I wouldn't recommend the technique whilst driving over the harbour bridge but when I finally sat down at the airport to look at it I thought it was a pretty good shot. Sometimes you just have to do things and it all works out OK.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A gift for a quilter...

Joe has just returned from an interstate conference bringing back a lovely gift of three antique wooden cotton reels.
I'm going to wind my left over binding and ribbon on them.....way tidier and prettier than the zip lock bag that's currently employed!
They're from an amazing antique shop called Tarlo & Graham in Chapel St, Melbourne. You'll be surprised what you can find there! They have job lots of lots of 'stuff'.
He also bought back a box of cup cakes from Little Cupcakes in Degraves St. They're a bit dinged and worse for wear (a bit like him!) from the flight home but I'm sure still just as yummy. Now for a nice cup of tea.