Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cutting, cutting and more cutting!

Where does a week go? It's Thursday already, and yesterday seems like Sunday. Next week school is back for Camo, and I'm sure before I know it, it'll be the end of the term. Time really does fly when you're having fun.

Thank you all for your lovely comments regarding the progress with Mrs Billings. It's so exciting to see the top grow, and hopefully soon it'll grow some more. No slacking here in the preparation dept. I have been cutting out the pieces for the next border, and also more and more hexagons. It's fun to baste and piece the hexagons in stolen moments, so that's happening too.

Even though it doesn't look like it, there are 420 (plus a couple extra) of those triangles up there. So. Much. Cutting. And on the left, I'm half way cutting out the 200 or so little squares. In the baggies are hundreds and hundreds of hexagons. Blue bag - both basted and cut individual hexagons. Top right bag, completed hexagon sections. Bottom right bag, hexagons in groups of nine - that's the number required for the outside of each section, and I don't want to use them accidentally.

This is what the sections look like when they're completed - I haven't decided if I'll make up the background fabric hexagons for in between  or if I'll appliqué these pieces onto the background fabric just as they are. Probably the latter - I'm all for getting it done at this point. And just for interest - those little hexies are 5/8" inch in size. I think they're so cute :-)

Back to the comments again - I have some more no-reply comments to respond to. A big hello to Celia in England, Sjoukje from the Netherlands, Tricia from Scotland, Phyllis, Frances and Christina Street.

Lastly, I had a request from a commenter to add a Pinterest button to my blog. Probably the best way for you to handle that Judy is to attach the 'Pin It' button to your tool-bar. When you're logged into Pinterest, if you go to to the 'About' menu on the top right hand side, you'll find the info for adding a pin it button there. That way you'll be able to pin from all your favourite sites whether they have a Pinterest button or not. Hope this helps.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mrs Billings Kite Border

I'm so excited to share that I finally sewed the completed kite borders to the Mrs Billings top last night. It feels like such a major achievement! Here is the top so far:

It's growing so large I won't be able to lay it out in the lounge without moving furniture soon. And though the top really needs a good press, it just thrills me that it's still laying nice and flat. With so many pieced borders you just can't guarantee that it won't end up all wavy and puffy.

And here is a close up of one of the corners - and though it does need a press, you can see that the corners were tricky to piece too, quite a few additional inset seams.

The next border is an easy one, just the same as the one with the tiny squares, but the squares will be the background fabric, and the triangles will be the patterned fabric. I haven't any pieces cut yet, so need to get busy! How fun to be moving along! :-)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy Australia Day

Happy Australia Day to all my fellow Aussies - those living here and Aussies living far from home too. I'm so thankful to live in such a great place - I truly believe it's called the lucky country for a reason. I hope you're all able to spend time with family and friends, and celebrate in your favourite way :-)

And while we're celebrating here, some of my dear sweet friends in California are on a quilt retreat in Grover Beach. I was with them last year, and believe me, I would love to be with them again this year. Last night they did their Christmas block exchange, and I was able to see (via the wonders of technology) the block that Kate made for me. I just love it!

Cleverly, I forgot to take a picture of the block I sent over, so hopefully someone will remember to take a picture of it for me :-)

And because I got my Mrs Billings kite borders all pieced, I was able to reward myself and make up some of the star blocks. This time I decided to make the reverse colourway:

I still don't seem to excel at making scrap blocks scrappy enough, but regardless they're really cute. It's likely that they'll get scrappier as I go along, as I'm cutting extra pieces for future blocks. The fabrics in my scrap boxes are cut into strips, but not into squares and bricks, so I trim them down as I need them.

The block at top left is a bit messed up, I pressed it out of shape somewhat. Hopefully it'll work itself out when it gets put into the quilt. And I've made one other decision regarding this quilt - I've decided to make the pinwheel blocks that are between the stars consistently from the same two fabrics (which I haven't decided on yet). I'll keep you posted. How fun :-)

Chatter soon :-)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Kite borders complete

Can't believe I've finally finished putting together the kite borders for Mrs Billings. It seemed like a marathon effort, but completely worth it!

Next up is to give them a good press and attach them to the quilt top - this project is moving along!

I made a deal with myself that I couldn't make any more stars until I completed this step, so this evening I'll make a couple more. My plan is to make four or so each week for this year - and I may work a little faster depending on how quickly my hand quilting goes later on. Of course, because we're a few weeks into the year, I have a little catching up to do. How fun to have a plan :-)

Before I get busy making dinner, I have a project to work on that has been bugging me for a while. On top of the microwave in the kitchen there is a basket that has become a dumping spot for all kinds of miscellany. I would really like to get it all cleaned up. Wish me luck people!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two small wins :-)

I have had the best 24 hours, sometimes things just line up in a way that entirely thrills me!

Firstly, I had a little auction win yesterday. A Masons Vista tea caddy was being auctioned at Small and Whitfield, and because I couldn't be there I placed an absentee bid.

I got the call just before 5pm to let me know that I was successful. Isn't it a beauty? And it's in great condition too. Double bonus :-)

And before I went and picked the china up, Camo and I popped into school to pick up some uniform items for this year. While we were there, one of the coordinators let me know that a teacher issue that I had been concerned about has been resolved. Yay!

It really doesn't take much to make me happy, but today I feel like I'm walking on cloud nine :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Scrappy Star Start

I had a fun day out with Camo today at Victoria's house, I got some more of the hexagons for Mrs Billings put together while Camo played happily with the kids. Victoria is about as far along as I am with Mrs Billings, and she was working on hexies too. If I remember, I'll share a picture of the hexies tomorrow, they're awfully cute. 

It has been impossible for me to get the Scrappy Stars quilt out of my mind, and what a delightful surprise this morning to receive an email from the lovely Joyce from Arizona who made the quilt. She is such a sweetheart and so supportive of my interest in making my own version of this quilt. So, this evening I was determined to put a couple of stars together to get me on a roll :-)

I really like them, and while I'll make future ones more scrappy, these controlled scrappy ones are nice too. It's always fun to look at the fabrics and remember the original quilts they were in. The burgundy fabric in the star points of the block above was the binding fabric from one of my scrappy nine patch quilts.

Some of the fabrics in the above block are OLD.!! I think the blue was from the Sarah Johnson collection, which came out while I was working on my Dear Jane quilt ... could be pre-2000!

These are my 2.5" and 1.5" scrap boxes - I'll use these in addition to Donna's fabrics. You can see that just from these boxes the potential for scrap quilts is huge! I do worry that I'll never be free of my scraps! In the foreground there you can see the next of the Mrs Billings kite borders to have triangles inserted. Slowly, slowly they're getting done :-)

Now this is something I hardly ever remember to do - I took a picture of our dinner tonight! I was watching Everyday Gourmet yesterday, and Justine made some meatballs which looked really nice and not too tricky. Since I grocery shopped last night I was able to ensure I had all the ingredients, and this afternoon I got busy in the kitchen. The family has declared them delicious and they'll be going into the regular rotation.

You can get the recipe here: Giant Meatballs stuffed with Mozarella I added olives, roasted capsicum and artichokes to the sauce to jazz it up a bit, and served it with garlic bread and salad. Yummm!

Lastly, I've had a couple of sweet ladies stop by and say Hi but no email address for me to respond to them - A big hello to Soikku from Finland, and to Tina who is a new reader!

So now it's back to the sewing machine to get some more of the Mrs Billings kite borders put together. Chatter soon :-)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stars on Bonnie's Blog

Have you seen this photo on Bonnie's blog? I just love, love, love it!

The quilt was made by a lady named Joyce who was in one of her classes. Those stars are 4" finished, and just darling.

The reason I'm borrowing and sharing this picture is because I'm thinking I might actually make these stars during the course of the year, rather than the LeMoyne stars I was contemplating. They'll be much easier, and still ever so cute. I'll be able to use my 1.5" and 2.5" scrap boxes, in addition to using the fabric in the 'Donna's scraps' tub. How fun!!

Thank you for sharing this picture Bonnie, it's very inspiring!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

One kite border attached :-)

After my marathon stitching effort today, I've put one kite border in place on my Mrs Billings quilt top. It's looking good if I do say so myself :-) So many set-in seams!!

This is just a tiny snippet of the quilt - I think it's around 80" at this point, and each one of the four kite border sections has around 200 pieces in it. I cut the top off the picture above - it looked so confusing with the centre of the quilt hanging down the back of my ironing board.

Next up is to finish piecing the other three kite borders and put them in place, and then add the corner pieces. After that is a relatively simple border, and then the final border with tons of hexies. It feels like the finish line is on the horizon!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Inserting triangles ...

In yesterday's picture I showed the four triangles that I had inset completely - I really wanted to see how they looked and make sure the size was okay. In reality, I find it's easier to inset one side of all the triangles, and then come back and do all of the other side of the triangles. I'm not sure why, but it just seems to go quicker.

Today Camo and I have no plans, so I'll be spending time with him, and also the sewing machine. I'd love to have one border finished - let's see how far I can get!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

More and more piecing ...

I'm still working away on my Mrs Billings border. There are just soooooo many pieces, but I reached a milestone today. I've finished putting all the kite pieces together:

All 400 or so of them. The next step is to inset the triangles between the kite shapes. Background fabric triangles on the top, and coloured fabrics on the bottom.

I've made a great start ... four down ... three hundred and ninety six to go :-)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

ADD Piecing

Today has been cool and rainy - the perfect weather to stay in and piece. I've been wanting to work on the occasional something - just to break up the endless sameness of this Mrs Billings Border. I found this little block pattern and templates that I picked up in November from Somerset Patchwork & Quilting.

But did I have the perfect fabrics to go along with it? I thought it would be fun to use some of my dear friend Donna's scraps. Whenever I visit with Donna in the USA, she always manages to secret some of her scraps into my luggage. It's really the funniest joke that we share. I keep her fabric all together in a container, it's precious to me!

 The fabric is precious, but imagine how wonderful a quilt from the fabric would be?

The little pattern comes with a cute selection of fabrics and laser cut templates. Aren't they all just darling?

I put one block together, and it's really sweet. Sadly though, it hasn't come out at the exact right size. It needs to be 4" finished, and it's around 3 3/4" finished. I've had a look at the templates, and it's my fault. The diamond shape is directional, so I'll have to take care with cutting and pay careful attention when piecing, and then it should all work out fine. You can see a little fullness in the middle where it's pulling.

LeMoyne Star

It's really cute though, and I can see more of them in my future. And then it was back to working on the Mrs Billings border. This is tricky chain piecing, I have to start and finish in between the seam dots - once this part is done, then I have to come back and insert triangles between all those points.

It's coming along well, and I can't wait to attach these kite shapes to the body of the quilt. Alrighty - I'm off to check on the oven ... dessert is cooking, and it smells yummy!

Friday, January 11, 2013

More fusibles ...

Here is a portion of another fusible applique block I was working on last night. I have yet to finish all the blanket stitching (and some decorative stitching) but it was getting late ...

I'd work on it again today ... but I feel like piecing on Mrs Billings, so that's just what I'll do :-)

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Fusibles ...

Endless chain piecing can get a little boring after a while ... so for a change of pace, I'm working on a little fusible appliqué:

This is part of a larger project that I can share later in the year. I had fun making the block - I started out with a paper square and folded it up drew on the design (had a couple of goes until I was happy) and then traced the shape onto fusible webbing. I believe the name for the cutting technique is Scherenschnitte.

So, now I'm just working through the blanket stitching, and it'll probably be my last job for the day. I've used a gold coloured thread - it's a cute contrast for the red fabric.

Better get back to it, I can't believe it's after 10pm already!

Monday, January 07, 2013


It's surely no secret that I'm one of those people that gets hooked on things easily. I wonder if lots of quilters are like that? Fabric is my drug of choice ... but something else has hooked me lately. It's Pinterest. Have you checked it out? A blissful time-suck of inspiration and eye-candy. I watch as my friends pin lovelies to their virtual pin boards, and before I know it, I'm madly pinning too. If you'd like to take a look at what I've been inspired by, you can find me here. Ohhhh, and consider yourself warned ... Addictive!

I've got the old girl out on the dining table. We're having a sewing session, and it's like visiting with an old friend. New Bernie is having a visit with Otto at the health spa. Nothing serious, just a tweak. I miss her already! That's a good sign - we're bonding :-)

I had some recent comments from lovely ladies, and their email addresses weren't available in the comment. I do like to respond when I can (I'm usually way behind with my mail), so a big hello to Jenni, Loralie and Mimi from my last post.

I'll check back in soon - the tennis is getting interesting, must watch!!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Laying low ...

It is soooo hot today, 39c, which is around 102f. I won't be doing anything strenuous, just some hand stitching in front of the TV with the air conditioning cranking.

These are the hexagons for the outer border of the Mrs Billings project. I need a BAZILLION of them. I'm not really at the point that I need them yet, but as per the Scout's motto - 'be prepared'.

Looking at the long term forecast here, I see that it's going to be 44c on Friday, which is 111f. Ohhh my goodness, think cool thoughts for me!! xox

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone. I genuinely hope that 2013 will be a wonderful year, and I look forward to sharing it with you.

It is said that whatever you do on New Years Day you'll end up doing all year long. So If that's true, I'll be doing the following:

Sleeping in (and thankfully making my bed when I get up)
Tidying the house and doing laundry
Having leftovers for lunch (and yummy champagne) with friends
Watching Pride and Prejudice and napping on the lounge
Easy dinner followed by a little play with my Mrs Billings pieces

All these things I could get used to - even a sprinkling of housework :-) What does your year have in store for you?

Here are the Mrs Billings pieces that have kept me occupied for a while. There are over 400 little pieces there - and in addition to the cutting out, I marked the seam dots on the reverse side of each of them. Not the most exciting work, but I'm glad it's done.

And here is all the sewing I've done so far. I'm not getting along 100% with my new machine just yet. I'm not mad about the 1/4" foot on the wide set feed dogs, so I've been experimenting with other feet and moving the needle position. I really like the 1D foot, but I can't see in front of the needle very well, so at the moment I'm trying the open toe foot. I know with persistence my new Bernie and I will be best friends - I just have to remember that old Bernie and I had 15 years to get to know each other :-)

Well, that's it from me for now - I'll check in soon and let you know how I'm going. xox


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