Thursday, January 31, 2008

Daisy Chain

Recently I was asked when I was going to release a couple of my patterns from a few years ago for sale. Because I've been working on other people's quilting, and other magazine projects, some of my quilt work has fallen by the wayside.

Because of the 'free' time I had recently, I was able to finish up the pattern for my Daisy Chain quilt, and uploaded the details to my pattern website.

This is one of my dearest quilts, because one of my favourite friends made it up for me. I had designed it at a time when I had a LOT of quilty work going on, and my wonderful friend Linda offered to piece the blocks. I had a selection of pink prints I liked, an example of the background fabric, and sent them with a very rudimentary diagram across the Pacific to her.

To my wonderful surprise, a short time later, a completed top winged it's way back to me. Linda had sourced a background fabric, added more pink fabrics, and had also selected a border and cut binding strips. I was amazed, entirely thrilled and so thankful. Linda is such an amazing friend, and does so much for me, I am so lucky to have her in my life. Love you to pieces Linda!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Somebody stop me!

Wow have I been motoring along on this quilt. Last night I quilted it all and attached the binding. I just need to do the hand sewing now.

For the purposes of stash reporting - last week I did have five metres of fabric come home with me, but this week I used up four metres for the back of this quilt, and about 40cms for the binding. So 60cms more, and I'm back on track :-)

The family have just come home today from three days at the sheep station, so my completely uninterrupted sewing time will draw to a close. I'll also have to give up on the mega-late nights too. I was on such a roll with the machine quilting, I didn't want to stop, and when I saw that Citizen Kane was on TV, I knew I'd be in for a late one.

Ever since my wonderful friend Linda and her husband Jerry kindly took me to see Hearst Castle when I visited with them, I've wanted to see the movie. Because it's so old, it's not the kind of thing you can pick up anywhere. What serendipity that it would be on late at night when I had no time pressures. I loved it, and I'm glad I've seen it.

This afternoon I just need to package up the patterns for the store, and I'm all caught up with work I needed to do by tomorrow. I still have another pattern to write up and get ready, and a lot of things I need to add to my website, but that's 'nice to do' work, rather than 'have to do' work. I'm really feeling like some pressure has lifted!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A little hand quilting ...

The last couple of days I've been working on things that really just aren't that interesting to share. My classes start again next week, so I've been preparing a project for the students. I've also been working on some new patterns, and preparing a pattern order for the store. That coupled with all the machine quilting I've been doing, last night, I was just mentally worn out. There was a movie on TV that I was interested in seeing - Gosford Park - so I thought I'd pick up some of my hand quilting that I hadn't done in a while.

I've shown it to you before, it's called 'Holiday Wholecloth' and it's one of those Benartex Holice Turnbow pre-printed kits. Linda kindly sent me a different one of these many years ago, a cot size one, which I made up for Cameron when he was on the way. I love it so much. So when I saw this one advertised many years ago I snapped it up. I haven't quilted on it much this past year, I wonder if I'll have it finished in this decade? At my current rate, the odds aren't good. I really enjoy hand quilting, I hope I can make more time for it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Raspberries and Peaches

First up, I just thought I'd share with you one of the customer projects I've been quilting on lately. This one I started yesterday, it's Helen's quilt, a Thimbleberries club project, called Raspberry Swirl. It is very cute. I'm enjoying the quilting, and having fun adding dimension to the leaves and applique.

It's my hope to have this one finished today, so I can start working on the Royal Cross quilt.

And in peachy news ... Kathy asked if I could share a picture of our peach tree. Of course I'm happy to oblige. The tree is only around three or four years old, and it only started fruiting last year. You can see that there is still a lot of fruit ready to pick - I'll have to get busy this afternoon and pick some more. In the lower right corner of the photo is our little orange tree. It's very young too, if you click on the picture, you can see that there are a few green oranges on there - can't wait until they ripen!

Wow - didn't the flash wash this picture out? I still have a lot to learn about taking pictures! Here are the results of the last few days of 'canning'. I used 1.5kgs (3 and a bit lbs) of fruit to make the 9 jars of Peach Conserve. And 2kgs (about 4 1/2 lbs) of fruit to make the stewed peaches in the background. I added a touch of cinnamon to the stewed peaches, should be super yum!

I can't wait to make up a peach cobbler, and I'm looking forward to trying the Peach Freeze recipe that Toni sent along earlier this week. Mmmm ... in peach heaven :-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Top Finished

Finally, the top is finished. (It looks a little bumpy in the picture, but that's because I just didn't lay it out very well) Thank you all for your wonderful and supportive comments on my progress with this quilt. I always feel like it's not very interesting for you to see blow-by-blow pictures of my projects in progress. But I guess that's how I'm working on stuff, so you get to come along for the ride :-)

I'd like to get quilting on it ASAP, but I forgot to buy batt at the quilt store, so I will have to make some time to go there soon. The back will be made from stash, and I'd like to think I'll put together a scrappy back for it ... let's see how far I go with that idea :-)

Who knew there were so many fans of Lego out there? So you can see how I've been occupying my time with Cameron, here's the city we've been working on. The picture makes it look small and not so interesting, but to give you in idea of size, that red boat to the right of the picture is around 16 inches in length.

He also has a really large passenger airplane that we're dying to put together, but he has misplaced one of the crucial pieces, so I need to decide whether I order a new piece or wait for it to materialise. Lego are wonderful like that, you can get spares as easily as can be.

Last night I made up some peachy goodness - 9 jars of peach conserve. I have never tried it before, but it looks and tastes just lovely. I meant to take a picture to share, but I'll do it next time. I got the recipe from the back of a packet of Fowlers Vacola Jamsetta. I will need to harvest some more peaches tonight, and perhaps this time I'll stew and bottle them. This year we lost most of our apricots to birds. Next year we must remember to net the tree. I think we may even get some oranges later in the year. We have a mini orchard happening!

That's it for now ... catch you later :-)

Monday, January 21, 2008

One stash reduction step forward ...

... and many stash reduction steps back! It's okay though ... you all know I don't shop for fabric that often, and I was struggling to find an outer border for the Royal Cross quilt.

I used around 40cms (half a yard) for the inner border on the quilt, and about 5 metres of fabric came home with me. First up, I purchased the navy on the right at Quiltaholics. Later on in the day I had the chance to visit a store I've only been to once before - Hettie's Patch. They had a sale on their reproduction fabrics 30% off, so I treated myself to a few that I wouldn't normally have access to. The blue fabric on the left is the one I've decided I'll use on the quilt, as the first blue fabric I purchased I've used before on a different quilt.

I haven't gotten as much sewing done lately as I'd like to. I've been spending some time with Cameron, building up his Lego city. He just adores his Lego, and I have spent seriously hours and hours helping him out. It's actually kinda fun, like reliving my childhood a little :-)

And time will become scarcer soon ... our peach tree is ready to explode with ripe fruit, so I've been researching peach jam, peach butter, peach cobbler ... all peachy all the time. I'll fill you in with pictures as I have them. TTFN :-) x o x

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Royal Cross Home Stretch ...

I'm on the home stretch now with the Royal Cross quilt. I've completed the middle section of the quilt top. Now I need to select a fabric for the inner border. I'm thinking of a red coloured reproduction style fabric, what do you think? I haven't decided on the outer border fabric either, but I have an inkling I'll be using a navy blue reproduction.

It almost did my head in putting all the blocks together, I'm not sure why, but toward the end I was really having to force myself to work on the quilt. Not something I've experienced a lot in the past?!?

I will probably start working on the borders this evening - it will be fun to rifle thru the stash :-) Today I've spent the day quilting on a log cabin quilt for a customer. I've just now finished, and have only one more top to do, and then I'm up to date (for now) :-) Well, I should get busy, I'll check in with you all soon ... TTYL x o x

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dear Jane-ing

Here's something you haven't seen from me in a while - a couple of Dear Jane blocks. After finishing quilting a customer quilt last night, I wanted something small and easy to work on, and the DJ just fitted the bill.

On the left is E13, Moth in a Web. It's sitting under my ruler, because the corners wanted to pop up and I couldn't get a good picture. You can still see the details tho. I made some alterations - in the book, the outer pink triangles are much more pointy, which are at odds with the picture of the original, so I added a couple of seams and pieced the triangles in rather than the applique which would have been required. I used the freezer paper piecing technique which is great for the DJ blocks.

And on the right is C3, Rayelle's Fence. This was an easy one to just cut out and piece. You can see in the background there my colour and progress chart for this DJ. I'm using 30's prints in a Trip around the World colour scheme rather than the Civil War reproductions like I used for the last DJ quilt.

Completing these two blocks means I've now made 69 blocks. Ohhh my goodness, that means I've still got 100 to go!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pay It Forward Update

Thank you so much to Joan, Debbie and Nancy for jumping in to Pay It Forward. If you missed out and are keen to participate, run along and check out their blogs, you can keep the process going, or you can also visit with Kathie who I signed on with, I think she may still have a place available.

I'll be in touch shortly girls to collect your snail mail address. This will be sew much fun!

Update: Debbie, could you email me via the address on my profile page. Your email has come up as 'no reply'. Thanx in advance :-)


Finally I have completed the last six of the Royal Cross blocks. I can now start putting the top together. I was growing weary of the curved seams toward the end, but it's hard to be tired of a block that looks so good put together.

Also another accomplishment - I'm up to date with the latest installment of the Carolina Crossroads mystery. I'm loving these blocks, and I'm thrilled with the scrappiness!

While I'm posting, I should also make a note of my stash busting for this week. No fabric purchases at all. I haven't darkened the door of any quilt stores, but I will be heading to Quiltaholics tomorrow. I have used I guess around one metre of fabric. Around a fat quarter was used for the back of the placemats, another fat quarter for the binding of the placemats. Approx another half metre was used for the additional pieces for the mystery quilt, and also for the remaining pieces I needed to cut for the Royal Cross blocks. I may have used a little more, or maybe a little less, but it's used just the same. I'll really bust some stash when I add the borders and make up the back for the Royal Cross quilt - that will be a good feeling!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pay It Forward

I have been meaning to post about this since last year (makes it sound like such a long time doesn't it?) I signed up on Kathie's blog for her Pay It Forward offer. So, this means I get to Pay it Forward also.

I will make a gift for the first three bloggers who leave me a comment wishing to participate. They in turn will need to make the same promise on their blog. I'm not sure what the timeframe is for the promise, but I will say that you'll be receiving some quilty goodness from me within the next three months.

C'mon - don't be shy ... I'll quilt something up real nice ... honest!

Ohhh, and for my Thimbleberries Student - my guess is Dena. I hope I'm right? I guessed you because I don't know about Jenny getting an Apple computer recently ... so ... was my 50/50 shot right??

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Carolina Crossroads Pt. 6

I had a productive day yesterday, I was able to put a further six Royal Cross blocks together, which means I have only six more to make and I can assemble the top! Yay!

And as soon as I saw that the next installment of the Carolina Crossroads mystery was ready, I had to start putting a few blocks together. I've made eight so far - the next eight that I make will have brown centres, and the nine patches will have three brown squares rather than two. Does that make any sense? I hope they'll work out in the big scheme of the quilt. I'll need to do some pressing too - I was way to busy having fun piecing to move over to the ironing station!

A couple of other things ... Deb asked in comments yesterday what model sewing machine I'm working with. I have a Bernina 1080 - it's my faithful friend. Many times I've considered updating to a newer model with BSR, but I just can't do it. I adore my little buddy too much. It's a wonderful, solid machine that has been with me for so many of my favourite quilts. Our dear friend Bonnie has the exact same machine as me :-). Also ... I need to take a guess at which of my Thimbleberries Club students has been stopping by. They left a clue that they like working on big quilts ... so I'm going to choose two names ... either Dena (I hope I spelled that correctly), or Jenny S. If I'm wrong, you'll have to give me some more clues ...

I'm off to the sewing room - I hope I can be productive today too!


Thank you so much to Manxgirl/Loulee and Eileen for presenting me with the You Make My Day Award. What an honour, you are so sweet *hugs*.

The rules of this award are: "Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on." I'm a rule breaker (and would hate to leave someone out), so rather than nominate individuals, I pass this award to all my blogging friends - if I've ever visited and commented, you're nominated!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

One placemat quilted

I'm being brave and playing with the new camera again. It's a little scary but I'm getting used to it. I have been busy quilting on a customer quilt which was picked up today, so stitching time has been a little scarce. I have managed to quilt one of the placemats I made earlier and put the binding on. Just need to get that binding stitched down on the back, maybe I'll wait until I finish the other and then do them together.

Since our camera is so much more clever, I thought I'd share how I quilted the mat - I know it doesn't look 'amazing', but I'm really excited about the feathered border. I freemotion quilted it on my Bernie. My confidence with my machine is building daily and I love that I'm getting more even, and trying new things. It would still be daunting on a full size quilt, but who knows what the future holds.

Ohhh, and I wanted to mention about the back of the placemat ... it's the ultimate in stash usage. I had made a calico bag for a quilt I put in a show quite a long time ago, and it had the name of the quilt on it. I didn't need the bag anymore and it was taking up space among my fabrics, so I decided to cut it up and use it for backs of bits and pieces. It's like fabric recycling. Feels very thrifty!

Also today, I managed to make up another Royal Cross block, and hopefully tonight I'll make up another. It has been a good day for crossing things off the to-do list. My Mum and I went out and purchased the kids school shoes, lunch boxes and drink bottles etc for a the new school year. All in all a great day for getting stuff done :-)

Last of all, a big hello to my 'Anonymous Thimbleberries Club Student' who left a fun comment with my last post. I have a couple of clues about who it could have been ... I think they're a Bigpond customer, so that narrows it down a little ... but I'd hate to guess the wrong name ... so you're going to have to leave me another clue ...

Over and out :-) x o x

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

2008 First Stash Report

Yesterday I felt like piecing on something different, and I'd had an idea for a placemat I thought I'd like to try. I put one together last night, and I've put together the little four patches for the second one. It's kinda cute I'm thinking, and I'm thrilled to be using the William Morris print I purchased while I was in Paducah in 2006. I still have a lot of fabric in my stash from that trip!

So, reporting on my stash for the past week:

No fabric purchases at all. Good going considering that Quiltaholics has a big sale on this week. I haven't been by, so let's see if I'm that strong when I actually go there.

In fabric use: I cut up four fat quarters for use in the mats. Not all was used in the mats, the excess was put into my strip containers, so they will be used up in other scrap projects. Two of the background fabrics actually came out of the strip containers. Also, I worked out that I used 1.3 metres of fabric in parts four and five of the mystery quilt. So, by those calculations, I've used around 2.3 metres of fabric this week. Not a huge amount, but still used just the same.

I don't think I'll get huge amounts of stitching done today - I need to go grocery shopping, and I have a customer quilt to finish quilting on. I'm about two thirds done. It's warming up again, so lots more indoor activities are on the agenda. Hope you're having a great day! x o x

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Carolina Crossroads Pt. 4 & 5

Here you have it. A picture of my stitching efforts while the family were away. There are additions to the pile of Royal Cross blocks. I completed parts four and five of the Carolina Crossroads mystery. There are 100 hourglass units there, and forty of the little triangle half nine patch units. I am sooooo looking forward to putting the components of this mystery together now. Super fun!

I purchased a companion angle especially for Bonnie's mystery. I had never used one before, and had always used the half square triangle (line diagonally across the back - sew either side of the line and repeat) technique to make hourglass units. These came out just great using the template, and it was wonderful to be able to use stuff from my strip boxes, and not cut squares in a special size. I don't know how much yardage I used, but I'm sure I can nut it out. I got eight hourglass blocks approx from two 2" strips ... I'm feeling lazy right now ... I'll work it out when it's stash report time.

Last of all, just want to say a big HELLO to my wonderful friend Linda from San Jose. We spent 80 minutes on the phone the other day - gosh that few by. Can't wait to see you in September. *big hugs*

I'm heading into the sewing room now ... let's see what I can create today :-) x o x

Friday, January 04, 2008

Hermit at work ...

Just a quick picture for you - thank you to my DH and wonderful technology allowing him to send pictures of their mini-break. Here's Cam out fishing on my Dad's boat. Looks like he's having a wonderful time :-)

They'll be back tomorrow - just in time, because I need a rest! I have been burning the midnight oil stitching and watching my favourite series Sex and the City. I've watched all the discs thru to the end of series 3, and I'll start series 4 tonight. I know I won't get to the end, that'll have to be for another time.

I don't have a camera here with me right now - the family took both of them - but tomorrow I'll be able to share what I've achieved. I've made more Royal Cross blocks, finished step four of the mystery quilt, and almost done part five too.

A big thank you to Kath and Andrew for hosting me for dinner tonite - an Indian feast with Cosmopolitan cocktails too. Very nice :-) Kath is a SATC tragic just like me - we'll be at the movie with bells on when it comes out.

Well, that's me signing off for the evening - I'll check in really soon so you can see what I've been stitching. TTYL *s*

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to an entirely wonderful 2008.

Marty and the kids have toddled over to the beach house for a couple of days. I volunteered to stay home to look after the kitties ... and the thought crossed my mind that I'd have uninterrupted sewing time :-)

I predict many late nights, and I feel sure I'll have some stitching to show off ... ttyl :-)


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