Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rainbow magic finish....

Quite possibly the only chance to see a rainbow in today's dreary sky as I managed to dodge the rain and sneak some shots in of the now completed Rainbow Magic baby quilt.
I'm very pleased with the finished result and am sure that the soon-to-be parents will be as well. Mind you, they're still getting over the 'magic' of having a baby....but that's another story for another time!
The back features a stripey fabric from Ikea which apart from the co-ordinating splashes of colour it provides it's also very wide and meant that there are no joins in the back....kind of a blessing with all the other joins of the 1/2 square triangles! Just a bit of a challenge to make sure that the backing fabric was straight. Mine is slightly skewed!
The binding is tiny white polka dot on orange. Lovely!
Now to package it up and send it off to Surrey in the UK.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rainbow in the winter sky....

The little 1/2 square rainbow zig zag top is finished. I think it's lovely and will be perfect for a little baby. I love how the white makes the colour shine. I'm still debating how to quilt it but am leaning towards stippling.
It measures 40" x 48" and was a great exercise in cutting, trimming, piecing, matching up and ironing seams!
Today is a lovely clear winter's day....albeit a little cold and windy.
Here's a quick snapshot of the back.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The New Quilt 2010 Exhibition

I have been interstate for work these past few days but managed to steal away to have a peak on the very last day at The New Quilt 2010 exhibition at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum. A collection of 26 works by the The Quilters' Guild of NSW.
To be honest, quilts on walls are not my cup of tea but it was lovely to indulge my obsession with something other than work! And was extremely lucky that the exhibition was literally across the road from where I was staying. Bushwalk:Flora by Anna Brown

Mantle/Dismantle by John Parkes

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rainbow magic.....

I mentioned in my last post that I'd started a practice piece. It's a little 1/2 square triangle quilt for a yet to be born (and gender unknown) baby.
I've got another 1/2 square triangle quilt running around in my head so what better way to familiarise myself with the 1/2 square triangle process again than by producing a small scale version.
This quilt was inspired by the scrappy zig zag quilt made by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew but I've inverted my zig zags and added a couple of extra blocks and another row. Mine will end up around 40" x 40". I've had rainbows on my mind lately too so I tried to make it as close to ROY G BIV but seeing as I'm just not a purple person my Indigo and Violet stash was pretty limited. (It's funny how everyone seems to say they're not purple people but they can usually find a bit or two in their stash!) So for this quilt I and V have been incorporated into one. Funny thing is, I really like the purple row! There's hope for me in the colour spectrum yet.
I love how 1/2 square triangles can take on so many configurations. I haven't done it, because it was so late when I laid this version out and I really liked it, but you could turn the blocks and end up with something completely different.
I'm absolutely thrilled with this little quilt and have taken a lot of time to make sure that my squares are trimmed to size.....that's the daunting bit for something bigger!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Left behind....

It's back to work today after a week and a bit off and I'm finding it hard to focus whilst I'm dreaming of what I've left behind! And yes. I started another quilt top. It's a practice piece....well that's what I'm telling myself.
It's also a very foggy morning in Adelaide today - the first for the year. Not extreme by some city's standards but I find it so unusual when it strikes our dry little town.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Munki Munki rainbow top

I've finished my Munki-ing Around quilt top. It's modelled on the recently completed Fruit Salad quilt, using the same measurements for the coloured blocks and sashing. Some of the blocks are set off-centre and this was primarily on a needs basis to have a more efficient cut and use up scraps of solid colours in my stash before cutting into the new stock. I'm glad I did set these blocks off because some of my sashing was a bit out of kilter and I had to trim a few blocks down to make it work. Thankfully they don't look out of place. I was pretty sure that I'd trimmed the blocks accurately before piecing in the white so I'm guessing that my 1/4" seams are the problem. The top took a long time - about 3 days. A lot longer than the few hours it takes for this quilt top normally. But the culprit was the fussy cutting, adding small borders, matching solids and individually measuring the coloured borders to obtain an 11" finished square from various sized centres. But all worth it in the end. It's a bit of fun and lovely to see the individual Heather Ross illustrations in one collection.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Munki-ing around.....

It's hard not to get caught up in the fabric crazes that you observe when you're a blogger and it's nothing short of disappointing when you've realised that you've missed one. I'm sure there's a thesis in consumer behaviour there with the roller coaster of emotion you feel when the last of fabric is sold out or you can't replace what you've just used up!
Being newish to quilting and fabric worship and living in a far flung continent with shops who have to charge double for dollar conversion or don't even carry some lines has resulted in me coming in very late to the 'Flea Market Fancy' and 'Munki-Munki' obsessions. Thank goodness for Etsy and Ebay (and boo to sellers who charge as much as a replacement body part!) because I've managed to accrue some small semblence of a minor collection in both of these ranges.
My Munki-Munki bits are just that....small bits of fabrics purchased as a job lot. It's a risky way to buy because you don't really know how the piece has been cut until you get it, whether it's cut from used pj's or off a roll and there's usually other bits in the bundle that you don't really need. However it's a good way to buy if you want to create something at a reasonble price that features a selection of Heather Ross illustrations. So I've commenced cutting out little squares of images and have made 20 blocks. (And I still have some left for another something later on.)I've taken inspiration from Film in the Fridge and Me a Mom and am incorporating a rainbow selection of solids around each of the mini blocks. The solids are mostly Kona Solids from my stash and purchased online from The Fabric Shack. Delicious!
Stay tuned for the Flea Market Fancy quilt.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fruit Salad....

I have finally finished this quilt that has been a little bit over 12 months in the making!
When I originally constructed the top I was really miffed that the colours seemed to all merge -my first lesson in understanding the concept of contrast and colour density. I was so miffed in fact, that I folded it up and popped it back in the cupboard.
I recently posted that I'd pulled it out again on a mission to finish this long abandoned WIP. I received a lovely blog comment from Dirt Road Quilts who referred to the citrus colours it features and it got me thinking of the other fruity colours that are also in the quilt. So 'Fruit Salad' was born to reflect the citrus, honeydew and rock melon, strawberry, banana and persimon colours.
The quilt measures 80" x 65" (203 x 165cm), is stippled and bound in Amy Butler's Martini Dot in orange. All the fabrics are Amy Butler (midwest modern and Lotus) apart from the border and the back. The back is a mixture of pale pink tiny polka dot, fuchsia and white tiny polka dot, orange and white medium polka dot and Kona Celery - all from the stash!I was lucky enough to be stitching the binding on in the sunshine for an hour or so today but by the time I finished the rain rolled in so my holder upper models had to stand on the front verandah. The colours are a little washed out due to the speed in which I had to take the photos. At least the clothes line doesn't answer back or muck around after I take the photo!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Catching up....

A long awaited holiday day off spent catching up with dear friends from interstate in town for the school holidays.
A gorgeous winter's day, chatting, laughing, eating and an afternoon walk and tram ride around the neighbourhood. Happy days!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

On the Q.A.Y.G. bandwagon....

I know I said I wasn't going to start anything new....but surely reducing scraps is completing a process rather than starting afresh? Well that's my theory and I'm sticking to it!
'Quilt as you go' has taken quilting blogland by storm, seen here and here and with a great tutorial here. The concept first appeared in Suzuko Koseki's Patchwork Style, which is a book I've owned for some time but was never brave enough to try but now there's no stopping me....except more scraps!
I cut my batting to 13" square and have trimmed them down to 12 1/2". I've also used a layer of bleached calico on the bottom to keep the fluff out of my machine. And because I had a plethora of shorter strips I've also made some 7"-8" versions that I will trim down to 6 1/2" to piece with the larger blocks. The prccess takes a while but the logic is that you don't have to heavily quilt the finished product - just a few rows of stitching in the ditch to hold the backing onto these blocks. In a night and a day I managed 5 large and 2 small blocks.
It will take quite a few more blocks to create something worthwhile so I'll shelve these....make some more quilts....have more scraps....and make some more Q.A.Y.G's. Simple!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Doin' a Nigella....

The only cakes I seem to make these days are birthday cakes or cupcakes so I really stepped out my comfort zone in order to make a 'proper cake' for a recent afternoon tea. I chose Nigella's Chocolate Guinness Cake, from the 'Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame' section of her Feast cookbook.
Instead of Guinness, I subsituted our local brew....Adelaide's own Coopers Stout. I'll attempt to describe the process as Ms Lawson would.
The buttery, beery, chocolatey brew.
Fresh out of the oven. The majestic black stouty cake. Iced with creamy cream cheese icing to resemble the frothy head of a classic pint.Extremely rich.....but force yourself! Yum!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Maybe it's not so bad.....

I've dug out a flimsie which according to my little book of quilt notes, was started in June 2009. It's based on Crazy Mom's Flea Market Fancy Quilt. I recall at the time feeling really disappointed with the outcome, particularly the mass of the same density of colour and limited contrast. I folded it up and put it in the cupboard. But I'm on a bit of a 'you can't start anything new (again) if you don't finish off a UFO' drive.
This quilt top is a lot bigger than I remember. I must have been braver a year ago!
Looking at it lying on the floor a year's actually not that bad. Maybe it was the afternoon winter sun pouring through the window that pepped up the colours from how I'd remembered them. Or maybe it was reminiscing about the lovely Amy Butler fabrics that I loved so much when I first started quilting and the few fat quarters that I purchased on our road trip to Melbourne a year ago....maybe I just take better photos! Whatever it was that caused me to fold it up and push it to the back of the cupboard didn't seem so bad this time. So this quilt top is out. It has a back. It's basted and it's ready to get quilted sometime soon. Stay tuned....hopefully not another year away!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

S.I.L. Quilt

I've finished the over-sized half square triangle quilt for my sister in law's forthcoming birthday.
This quilt is bigger than I'm used to lately (69" x 69"/175cm x 175cm) so I decided to straight stitch along the seams and on the diagonal. In some ways I regret that choice. It often mucks up for me when the lines meet and try as I did to really stretch out the fabric during the basting process, it still managed to do it in a couple of places. But on the up side....the rest are perfect. There are also large areas not quilted so I'm hoping it holds together OK.
The back is a pink and very pale yellow polka dot on pink. I didn't quite have enough to get the whole back so there's a little plain pink panel at the bottom. I'll use that as label space.
The binding is a fine stripe created out of tiny dots and pinks up many of the colours used - brown, pink, blue and green.I'm in two minds about pre-washing. I managed to get a spot of grease from the machine on a red patch. Spot cleaning might look obvious but pre-washing makes quilts look used. Dunno?
I'm sounding like I'm not that enamoured with the quilt and that's probably true. I love the fabric and I still like the pattern but if I made another, I'd do it differently. I'm sure S.I.L. will appreciate it.
Speaking of appreciation. Clare took me to a newly renovated pub in our neighbourhood - Benjamins on Franklin. I managed to sneek back for lunch on Friday. Check out the ceiling of the restaurant!
This wave of glass is completely made of upturned cut glass salad and trifle bowls! How gorgeous is that!

Friday, July 2, 2010

I'll take average any day.....

L's school conducts a Junior School Cross Country event each year in the last week of second term.
I'm not a runner and think that forcing little legs to run long distances is cruel. I heard yesterday that the sports master uses the event to identify talent and select the candidates for the inter-school cross country events. All that aside, L's a little like me. He's not sporty and his dispraxia makes physical activity and interaction between his body and the world difficult. Now in grade 3 he was about to have his 4th go at this event. Each year the distance gets longer and this year his class was supposed to run 2km. 2KM!!! 8 and 9 year can't be serious! That's torture! Mr C, L's class teacher started to lobby that once round the two ovals was good enough (that's 1km). Luckily the under 10's who ran beforehand took so long to complete their 2km circuit that Mr B relented.
L wasn't keen. He'd already asked me to talk to Mr C. We both told him to just have a go, do your best and have fun. He told me I wasn't allowed to call out or cheer. Last year Joe did and L stopped in his tracks with embarrassment and finished by walking last over the line with one of the teachers. So with lips sealed, I held my breath.
It was the same start as last year. Last one off the start line.
I couldn't look. I chatted with the mums on the side-lines as we lost sight of the group and it started to split up clearly separating the runners from the non.
4 minutes and 48 seconds later the first runner crossed the line. Followed by the next one and the next one. I cheered for every boy crossing the line and wondered how painful this finish was going to be for L. Then I looked up. Who was that....running up in the red house top? It couldn't was L! I let out a 'come on L!' by mistake. The look of determination on his face was magnificent. The teacher handing the position cards said she thought he had more in him! I thought I was going to cry. My little boy was 13th out of 26. Perfectly average.And as he sat down with the group of other 'finishers' in his class, you couldn't wipe the smile and sense of achievement off his face. You can't ask for more than that now can you? Well done L!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

All's well....

My strip quilt disaster has turned out OK given the circumstances leading up to its completion.
I finished the quilting on Monday and noticed that one of the ends was a bit 'rounded'. This was more than likely due to cutting this strip out of some left-overs and cutting it down the selvedge side and not cross wise, so it had a bit of 'stretch' in it. But because I was straight line quilting, I couldn't trim it straight. So I decided to just bind and see how it worked out....figuring that wear and washing would hopefully make it all settle.
The quilt is bound in an aqua stripe that has tiny little dots in it. (I can't remember it's name unfortunately having cut off the selvedge for my collection.) It suits the Paula Prass fabrics perfectly.
Because of my earlier trimming panic I had used my blue washable fabric marker to mark sides and much of this remained. So after binding I did something I don't normally do. Wash and dry the quilt. I know quilters in the US are keen on this to give the quilt instant softness and crinkliness but I'm a bit of a 'keep it pristine for as long as possible' sort of person. But the blue ink had to go so the dryer won. The fabric has faded slightly and it may have shrunk a little but the quilt is certainly softer and very crinkly, particularly with the straight line quilting.
The back features a panel of coins from the left overs set in Kona White and Kona Coal.
Overall. I'm pretty happy that it turned out OK. I still love the fabrics, the quilting is lovely and it's not as wonky down the seams as I feared. Phew!