Monday, June 27, 2016

Bits and Pieces ...

This week I had to make up another block for my Caswell project. I was putting the top together when I realised I'd appliqued one of the bird blocks on the wrong background fabric. Luckily it was a block that wasn't a favourite, and rather than make the same block again, I opted to make a completely different one:

This is the one I chose - it's F1 from the pattern. Apologies for the poor quality of the picture, I had to nick the picture from my Facebook page and it doesn't seem to have copied across well. I have no idea what I did with the picture from my phone?? My friend Wendy came over not so long after I made the decision to replace the block, and she took the reject home happily and is going to make a cushion with it. Happy days!

The next picture I wanted to share with you is one from class last week. One of my sweet ladies Norma is working on an applique pattern by Wendy Williams:

This is one of her first serious attempts at applique and doesn't it look just fabulous? Some of those points are tricky even for a seasoned stitcher! The original pattern was done in felt, but Norma wanted to use regular cotton fabric, and I'm thrilled that she's doing so well!

In other news, at work recently I was able to do a little machine quilting on a machine I've never touched before, it's a big beastie!!



I'd like to spend some more time playing with this bad boy, I love all the space around the needle. At home I still have Bernie to play with, but it never hurts to broaden my horizons!

Last of all for today, exciting times ahead for January:

Fair to say we're addicted to cruising now, and we've booked another one. I simply cannot wait ... 6 months and counting! :-) :-)

Chatter soon!


Saturday, June 11, 2016

A weeks work ...

Just wanted to share a couple of things I've worked on this past week:

One of the blocks I made quite early on for the Caswell quilt had embroidered stems. As I worked through the quilt and appliqued many bias strips in place, it bugged me that this was the only block put together that way ... so I changed it:

Apologies for the terrible shadows in the picture - I think it was pretty dark when I snapped it. But you get the idea, and I'm much happier that the block matches all its buddies now. It was a job I put off for a little while thinking it'd be a bit of an ordeal, but it actually didn't take long at all. Happiness!!

After the Di Ford-Hall workshop, which I just LOVED, I was dying to work on some more paper piecing. I hadn't done any in quite a while, so I'd kind of forgotten that I really enjoy it! So when I needed a little hand work for yesterday, I got out this slow going hand work project that I have had for a little while:

I have no idea what the future holds for these hexies, but at some point they'll look like something fun. I'll keep plugging away at them in stolen moments and maybe in eleventy years time I'll have a fun quilt put together!

Well, that's it for now, I'm getting back to assembling the top of the Caswell quilt (minus borders). It's not going to sew itself, I need to get busy! Chatter soon :-)

Monday, June 06, 2016

Pendle Hill Workshop

This past weekend I attended a two day workshop with the wonderful Di Ford-Hall where we worked on the gorgeous project Pendle Hill.

Di is the quilter I'd love to be, and I can't even think of one of her quilts that I wouldn't like to make some day. A bunch of them are on the MUST MAKE SOON list - and those words are in capitals completely intentionally!

I'm never good at getting work done in class, I'm usually busy chattering with those around me, busy taking pictures of the workshop samples, or generally just being star-struck, and this outing was no exception. Here's what I'm up to:

On Saturday we began by focussing on fussy cutting our broderie perse fabrics. I have to admit I got bored with that after I'd cut out only four pieces. All I could see was that amazing vase and I wanted to get busy cutting it out and get it ready for appliqué, so that's what I did. Di was wonderfully understanding, and thankfully because she'd taken my Mountmellick quilt across the world with her, she knew I'd be fine striking out on my own a little.

For homework on Saturday night I cut my background fabric to size, reverse appliquéd the square to the circle, pinned the vase in place and appliquéd some of it in place.

Sunday we started to work with the little 5/8" pentagon shapes. Di explained her wonderful technique for fussy cutting fabrics, giving us an entirely new perspective on how to place our papers achieve pretty designs on the pentagon flowers. I only got two made up in the morning before I was wishing I could have brought my entire stash with me to choose fabrics from. In the afternoon I started to work on the placement and appliqué of the broderie perse pieces, and though I still have so many more to cut out and place, I can see how wonderful this centre panel is going to be. The workshop was over so very quickly - doesn't this always seem to happen when you're having fun? All the ladies in attendance had an amazing time and it was so much fun to see the different variations of the same project. Di is a wonderful and very generous teacher, and I can't wait to spend time with her again!

Also, Di has some pictures to email me of my Mountmellick quilt hanging at the quilt show in Nantes France, so she has promised to send me copies. I cannot wait!

Sadly I'll have to put away the Pendle Hill project for the time being, I need to get back to working on my Caswell quilt - I'm dying to get it to the hand quilting stage, but first I need to get all these blocks together and a border in place. Must get busy!!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Life goes on in the Sewing Room

It would not suprise me in the least if I downloaded my mail someday and learned that my blogging licence had been revoked. Much has been happening, but I've either been remiss in photographing details, or things just don't seem blogworthy. But here goes anyway:

The week before last I was playing doorbell tag with our friendly Fedex driver. He'd either ring the bell while I wasn't home or I'd wait most of the day for him. Finally we caught up, and my Montmellick quilt came home from France:

She's living happily with other quilts on the new rack until I decide what other outings she can go on this year :-)

I've also been spending a little time sewing. For baffling reasons I felt I needed to sew a bazillion one inch finished half square triangles. I think I'm about one third the way through that bazillion, and I'm pretty much worn out ... 

But I'll keep going, because they're just so darn cute. Wow, doesn't that close up photo show a million tiny flaws? We'll just pretend all my points are perfect and I'll be happy :-) And just FYI those green bits are half inch finished strips with mitred corners, they took some doing!!

I'm also slowly collecting fabric for a worshop I'm attending next week with the wonderful Di Ford-Hall. I've got a few bits and pieces together:


My goodness, the workshop is next weekend!! I really need to ramp up the pace on the collecting of requirements and doo-dads. I am really hoping I'll have most of what I need in my stash ... and I'm not sure about the background just yet. But honestly, I've been joking with some of my friends that you can see my stash from space ... there must be something suitable in there ...

Well, that's about all I have to share for now ... I need to get busy in the sewing room. Sadly not continuing on my HST journey, but rather making up a William Wallace costume for Camo's history assignment ... how on earth do I get roped into these things???

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sewing Room Update

I didn't mean to be absent for so long - there has been much going on but things have been disorganised and I find it hard to work properly when life is chaotic.

My sewing room was completely emptied some weeks ago, and on the middle weekend of the school holidays I painted it in readiness for new carpeting. After that was done, I could start moving bits and pieces back in, additionally I needed to find a few new pieces for the room, and I wanted them to be mainly vintage (this translates to time consuming to find)!

Here's where I'm at right now:

My brother and I dragged this home from the auctions today - it's a 19th century mahogany dumb waiter. In my sewing room though, it's serving as a book shelf and storage unit. I really love how it looks - as soon as I saw it I knew it was the perfect thing, and had my fingers crossed that I'd be the lucky bidder. I need to find a way to hide those cords though - that might be a job for when Marty gets home.

Not vintage, but sturdy for fabric and quilt storage, a huge rack from the hardware store. I'd love to have a vintage something-or-other, but does such a thing exist??

My sewing machine corner. I'm working on a quilt for a sweet friend and it's just a delight to quilt. It was so nice to have Bernie home after her two week visit to the health spa! You can see Bernie the elder and my featherweight tucked behind the cabinet.

Cutting table corner - it's still very messy looking, but I'm refining and working on things all the time.

Bookshelf and fabric closet corner - looking forward to Marty hanging up the cross stitch I did for Amy when she was a baby - it's super heavy and not something I can tackle myself!

The Grandmother's bedroom chair is another auction find from not so long ago - and it will be a cosy spot for hand stitching when I find the perfect side table. My little trolley can wheel around with me if I'm being sociable and stitching in the family room or lounge.

So that's where I've been spending my time - emptying the room - refilling the room - as well as sorting and purging. It's truly amazing how much stuff was in here, and how much I genuinely don't need. I haven't done any work on my own projects since the last block I shared, but I know I'll have some free time this weekend, and believe me, I'm looking forward to it!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Caswell Block F3

Raise your hand if you knew I'd find every spare moment to finish the last Caswell block I've been working on! Sleep is overrated right? Of course it is ... so to that end, here is my last block:

Caswell Quilt - Block F3

In my haste to take the picture, I've managed to take a blurry shot and haven't pressed the block well at all - but it's done and I'm just thrilled. I think this may be my favourite block so far. What a wonderful note to end on!

My sewing room is still in disarray, and will be for another week, so I can't get busy doing anything else just yet. Also my sewing machine is having a visit at the Bernina health spa, so even if I could find myself a quiet corner, there's not a great deal I can do.

Before I go, I'm so happy to be able to share some pictures that my sweet friend Janet took of my Montmellick quilt hanging at the AQC in Melbourne:







Now that AQC is finished, my quilt has travelled to Nantes in France with Di Ford-Hall, it'll be displayed in the special exhibit at Pour L'amour Du Fil. I genuinely wish I could be there, but this year it's not to be. I have some lovely friends over there, and they have assured me they'll be sending me lots of pictures, so I'll update you soon.

Well, that's it for me today - I have the last items of furniture to move and then it's time to get busy painting. Chatter soon! xox

Monday, April 18, 2016

Almost Caswell F3

I'm getting so close to finishing block F3 of my Caswell project - and though it's my 25th of 30 blocks, it'll be the last one that I make (for now at least). Stitching time has been so very scarce, so rather than just let time drag on, I thought I'd quickly share where I'm up to with this block:

I'm using quite different colours than the original block, and I'm much happier with how the block looks. The blocks on either side are heavy on purple and blue fabrics, so these lovely pink and red flowers should look cute. I do hope to have it finished in the next couple of days, but there is so much going on right now, I just can't be sure!

One of the things that has kept me on my toes was some drama in the kitchen. I smelled gas in there one evening and after Marty investigated, it was discovered that my gas cooktop had developed a leak. It was too old to be repaired easily, so I was able to shop for a fabulous new stainless cooktop. Once it was installed, the old oven looked tired and worn, so we determined it was probably time to replace it too - and happily that took place late last week, and here's the result:

I'm loving the cooktop, and so far I've used the oven twice with good results, but I've yet to do any actual baking, so fingers crossed!

Some exciting news is that my sweet girl Amy and her boyfriend purchased their first home and moved out over Easter. To that end, we've been busy doing a shuffle at home - Amy's room is being re-purposed as an office, and I'll have my sewing room reorganised and all to myself. Both rooms at this time are almost completely empty (soon to be completely empty - and what a big job it has been) I'm in the midst of painting both rooms and next week they are being re-carpeted. It's exhausting work, but I know it will be worth it in the end. And that's why stitching time has been limited - but there is an end to the hard work in sight.

I'm a little behind again on emails, so I'll catch up with them in the next few days, and hopefully check back on here soon too! xoxox

Friday, April 08, 2016

Caswell Block E5

This block has taken me a few days longer than I anticipated. Not because it's tricky stitching or anything, I just haven't had so much free time lately. In fact, free time has been very hard to come by for some reason!

But here it is:

Caswell Quilt - Block E5

This block was super fun to work on, I really liked putting the big flowers together, and the leaves were a breeze with their gentle curves.

A decision I have made this week is that I'm going to make 25 of the 30 blocks. I've wrestled with it for a while, and I did some sums - I worked out that with the sashing selection I've made, the number of blocks and the applique border I want to work on, the quilt was going to end up just way too long.

It was a tough realisation, because I really wanted to stitch all 30 - but there is nothing stopping me from making the extra blocks later on, and perhaps a few more for a wall hanging quilt or some such thing.

At class yesterday I threw a whole bunch of the blocks out on the cutting table so the girls and I could have a look at them, and I took a picture to share with you all:

They're not in any particular order, so this isn't how they're ultimately going to be laid out, but isn't it fun to see that they're playing nicely together!

Lastly - at guild night last night, I handed my Montmellick quilt over to our Show Convenor for the first steps on it's journey to France. It's first visit will be at AQC in Melbourne, and then from there it will travel to Pour L'Amour Du Fil in Nantes. I'm more than a little sad that I won't be able to see it hanging at either location, but the timing of school holidays will mean that I'll be hanging with Camo rather than jetsetting. If any of my sweet buddies are going to either show, I'd just love it if you could send me a picture of my quilt in it's surroundings. Thank you so much!! Chatter soon xoxox

Update:  I almost forgot - I had a question from a lovely reader that didn't remember to sign their name and their email is set to no reply. They asked what size betweens I use for stitching. Most of you will already know, but just in case you don't - betweens are hand sewing needles, and are sometimes called quilting needles. My favourites are size 8 Piecemakers needles. No affiliation - just a very satisfied customer. I use each needle for ages until it's no longer shiny or gets blunt, I think they're just fabulous. Hope this helps, and thank you for your question!

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