Sunday, June 09, 2019

Trimming ... and then some ...

This past week I've been lucky enough to see the Rajah quilts belonging to a couple of my sweet Thursday ladies grow some more. Betty is just finishing up her pieced borders, and Jean has started working on the final applique border. This reminded me that I haven't picked up mine in a while, and I know exactly why.

The next row on my project is the first of two rows of about a bazillion one inch finished half square triangles. I've gotten the ball rolling on them, but the next step is cutting them into individual HST's and trimming them to size. And I don't mind confessing to you that I find this part ... tedious ...

So, I'm going to do what Betty did for hers ... I'm going to leave it out on the cutting table, and set myself a goal of doing a few here and there between other things until they're all done. It won't be so onerous that way, and hopefully they'll be done before I know it!

And for a little extra eye candy, here's where Betty's Rajah quilt is at right now. Isn't it fabulous?

It never ceases to amaze me how a group of people can all have the same pattern, and using their own interpretations and different fabric, end up with such different looking quilts. It's one of my favourite things about this creative process.

After I finish my allocation of HST's for this evening, I'm going to get myself set up with my hand quilting again and I'll put a few stitches in while I am distracted by the French Open tennis final. I've been riveted by it this year, and it has been keeping me up very late at night. So lucky I'm a night owl.

And speaking of things TV related, I was watching an old episode of Modern Family this past week, and in the background I noticed something very familiar. Please forgive this terrible photo  I took while I hurriedly paused the TV:

In Gloria's home, they have the very same dumb-waiter in use as a shelving unit that I have in my sewing room. It it silly that I was super excited?

This is mine in use:

It's one of my favourite things I bought at auction. By brother and I picked it up after I was the successful bidder and we tossed it in the back of his ute. I waited until we'd got it home before I told him is was an antique from the late 1800's, because I knew he'd be worrying about it all the way home!

Last of all, I had a comment from Quilt Granma on my last post asking about the pointy border on my Phebe quilt. I would have loved to reply to you personally, but your email address isn't enabled on your comments. But in response to your question, I'm sure that the tri-recs ruler would make a great job of your pointy border, the angles wouldn't be as sharp, but they'd still be wonderful. I foundation pieced mine, mostly due to my laziness about not wanting to worry about cutting out fabric super accurately. I hope this helps!

Well, that's it from me - I'll check in soon - hopefully with all my one inch HST's trimmed :-)

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Fabric Acquisition Team

On Monday some of my lovely quilting buddies and I headed over to Tricia's fabrics to hunt down fabrics that needed to be ours. I haven't shopped for quilting fabric in quite some time - largely because I have SO MUCH already, and also because it seems irresponsible to just buy it when I'm using it so very slowly. But when one of us decides they're making the journey across town, it's amazing how quickly you can get a car full!

Here's what came home with me:

The cute map fabric on the left really caught my eye, I thought it would make up some really lovely placemats for the kitchen table - I love the retro colouring. The purple is a 'just because' fabric. I don't have much purple or yellow in my stash, so I need to remedy that. The next fabric was another that just grabbed me - I've never seen it before and thought it would lend itself to some fabulous fussy cutting opportunities. The stripe on the right I'm thinking I'll use for sashing strips for the HOQH project that is on a slow-go at the moment.

I don't think I'll be doing anything with any of these fabrics for a while, so for now they'll be folded up and put in the stash with all the other lovelies :-)

There have been some more spare minutes in the past week to work on my hand quilting, and I'm enjoying every minute of it. The weather is bad here right now, so I'm hoping I'll be able to do some more this weekend too:

For me, hand quilting is pretty slow going, so there's not a great deal new to see. It's going to take me a while to get through this applique border, but I'm really looking forward to getting to the pieced stars so I can work out how I'll quilt them.

Well, that's it from me for now, I'll chatter soon! xox

Monday, May 06, 2019

A little quilting ...

These past couple of weeks I've been able to get some things checked off my stitching list - even though they were things I love to do, they were weighing on me because the wedding had taken first priority.

First up were some secret squirrel blocks that I can't share, but will be able to do so in time, and second I got all the star blocks made up for the exchange with my lovely USA friends - I have shared photos of the blocks before I'm pretty sure, and I'll share again when I have all the blocks in my hot little hands. Lastly, I quilted a really sweet cot quilt for one of my Thursday girls, and of course I forgot a photo of that too. I really need to lift my game!

But all those finishes meant that I could try and get back to hand quilting - I haven't been able to do much since my injury. I've moved the hoop twice now, and while I'm still nowhere near healed, I'm not in quite so much pain.

In this picture you can just see the small clamshell design I used in the grassy area:

The sheep look a little naked though, so I may come back and quilt them a little more too.

And this is where I'm working at the moment:

There is still some marking that needs to be done, and I'm going to finish that as soon as I'm done on the computer, then I can get busy with a little more stitching.

I have an appointment at a spinal specialist this week who will hopefully be able to get this nerve pain in my arm sorted out. I'm so missing all my tennis and being able to stitch for longer. Don't tell anyone, but I've been getting a few cheeky coaching sessions in here and there, so that means it's not as bad as it was ... it's all up from here! Chatter soon :-)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Back to normal ... or something like it ...

Hello! It has taken a long time for life to return to normal after Amy's wedding. The lead up to the big day was pretty exhausting, the celebration was so much fun, the days afterward during the 'take down' exhausting once again ... and what I wasn't expecting was the fatigue for weeks afterward!

I should explain - Amy and Mark were offered the use of a family friend's vineyard as the location for the ceremony and the reception. It was so very generous of the lovely people that owned the property, but because it's not a place that hosts weddings on the regular - we needed to do so much to ensure the 150 guests would have everything they needed. This is the very picturesque location:


I enlisted the help of a wedding coordinator, but there was still so much to be ordered and delivered into the foothills: A marquee that could fit the guests and all other items in the event of inclement weather, a bar, fridges to accommodate all the drinks/alcohol - and then we had to load them, bar tables, benches, tables and chairs, pews, electrical for lighting, portable bathrooms, photo booth, lounges, catering, speakers for music and speeches ... ohhh it went on and on.

Amy asked me to make cupcakes and a top tier cake for cutting, as well as gingerbread people for bomboniere, and the cakes I did do, but I outsourced the gingerbread, thinking I just wouldn't be able to juggle all the things in the time I had available. I haven't managed to find a picture of the top tier, but here are all the cupcakes and the flowers I made for the cutting cake:



Hopefully I'll be able to share some more pictures once we receive everything from the photographer.

Because I had such a busy day running around working with the wedding coordinator, I didn't manage to find myself in front of anyone's camera that I've seen so far, but there will be some of the official pictures I'm sure, but I can share what I wore on the day :-)



It was hard to find a dress that I liked as I'm not in great shape at the moment. Five months of not being active on the court has taken it's toll. But I loved the dress when I saw it, and then had the fun of finding some shoes to match. These ones winged their way to me from Tasmania after a little while of searching. I'm truly a lucky girl that I have a sample size foot - shoes just seem to fit me well!

Anyway, we made it through all the things, a lovely day was had by all, and here is the first pic sent through by the photographer:


Isn't it a lovely picture? I'm looking forward to seeing more of them, shouldn't be long now!

So now that all the wedding fun is behind us, I've been spending a little time in the sewing room and also working on things that I selected as my goals for this year. Last year I made it my mission to make macarons, and I managed to do that in a passable way. This year it's my goal to pick up the French language again, and also to learn how to make clothes.

I studied French while I was in high school for two years, so I can sort of remember the basics, but certainly couldn't carry on a conversation. I've been using the DuoLingo app for a little while now, and I can definitely see improvement. I hope I can keep it up.

And regarding sewing garments, I had tried a few bits and pieces, also as a teenager, but that was limited to running in the seams on a pair of jeans, or very minor alterations/mending. I have been inspired by Laurie Perry (crazytourist.com - but honestly her Instagram is the place to go), and then lately I found the blog of Gertie - so much more inspiration! I bought her book and I was ready to rock and roll!


Next up, supplies:


And before you know it, I'd made the pencil skirt in her book. I was assured by people in the know that a skirt is the way to go for beginners, but that I'd chosen a challenging fabric to start with. Here are the results:



The skirt fits well and I'm pretty happy with my pattern matching on the side seams. Yay! Who knows what I'll tackle next, but I know I have a boiled wool coat in my future, because I found a brooch on Etsy that had to be mine ... and I made it so:

Isn't it just adorable? Apparently it's from the 1950's - I just know I'll be able to wear it with lots of things. Nothing like planning your winter wardrobe around a cute piece of jewellery.

To keep things quilt related, here is something I worked on for a sweet friend. Lovely Betty made this quilt top from Jo Morton's Little Favourites 3 book - she's not much interested in quilting, and since it was not large I said I'd quilt it for her:



I loved the look of the top, and was so happy with the quilting that I've added this to the list of projects I'd like to make in the future, it's just darling.

And last of all, I'm back working on the star exchange that I'm doing with some of my lovely USA friends. I'd best get busy on it as I understand they've finished their blocks, I've a way to go, but hopefully I can get it all done in the school holidays:

Well, I've pretty much written a thesis here, so if you're still with me, you're all caught up on what's going on in my world. Hopefully I'll be able to write more regularly now that my life is all back to normal. Chatter soon! xox

Friday, February 15, 2019

Fun things ...

In honour of St. Valentine's Day this week, I thought it would be fun to make up a block that I've admired for some time - it's an applique block, so I've been able to do everything apart from actually stitching the applique shapes down (they're glued down for now) - stitching will happen when I'm able to hand sew for a length of time.

This block is called Tangled Hearts - it was designed by the lovely Teresa Rawson from Fabric Therapy and was featured in Quiltmakers 100 Blocks #10. Isn't it just so much fun? I can imagine a whole quilt made from this block, and that might be exactly what I do some day.

Marty and I don't really do a whole lot on Valentines Day, but yesterday he surprised me with something really interesting. He found a pattern for a thread stand for Featherweights  and 3D printed me one - isn't it neat?

In the background a picture to show how it works, and in the foreground is the one he printed. I can't wait to give it a try!

Speaking of featherweights, I found one at auction during the Christmas holidays and absolutely had to purchase it, the machine and it's box were in such lovely shape - I knew I could give it a good home. I'm thinking that I might sell one of my featherweights though, it really does seem greedy to have four of them when they're so sought after. I'll have to think on it, I love each of them as they're all slightly different, and a couple of them I have an sentimental attachment to.

Also yesterday was the day for the lovely ladies of my quilt class to gather, and as promised I took pictures of the other two Rajah quilts in progress to share with you:

This one belongs to Betty, she chose a William Morris block by Michele Hill for her applique centre. And from that point she's following along with the pattern more closely. It's just so pretty, and inspires me to get out my William Morris patterns and start working on some more applique. Though it doesn't show well in the picture, there are lovely hints of gold in the fabric, and it all looks so luxe!

And this one belongs to Jean. As you can see, Jean is following the pattern as it was written, and it's coming along so well. I love the bright colours and the bling of the fabric. Jean and I are at the same point with our tops, and our two projects could not look more different.

I can't wait to see how all our quilts come along going forward. Very exciting!

Well, that's it from me for now - I hope you're all having a great week. Chatter soon xox

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Busy, busy!

My goodness, the past week has been super busy! Today however, I have been able to catch my breath a little and put the next borders on my version of the Rajah quilt. Here's where I'm up to:


Wow, is this quilt busy or what? I really should have taken the time to press it a little better, but I've folded it and put it aside for now - let's see if I can do better for the next picture. I think there are three more pieced borders and a final applique one, and then I can call this top done. It has come together quite quickly really!

So, the thing that really had me occupied over the past week was the final organisation and then the actual happening of my sweet girl's bridal shower and then hen's night. The bridal shower was here, and we had the perfect day for it to be out under the pergola. Amy had lots of lovely friends and family attend, it really was such a fun afternoon:

And then after a short break, the evening celebration was at Amy's house, also a super fun time, but more for the young girls than us oldies. I won't share any pictures of that party, but be assured a great time was had by all, and it was a very late night!

That's all I have to share for now - I have to get busy in the sewing room putting a little Valentine project for my Thursday girls, and then a few chores are beckoning. A girl can never get bored! Chatter soon :-)

Monday, February 04, 2019

So many pieces!

I didn't have much time for piecing on the weekend, but I managed to find enough time to put two sides of the next row on my quilt:

The next row after the one I'm working on is simply a strip of fabric, which makes me so happy, there are so many seams jumping around between the rows that it makes it so hard to press my work neatly. All those seams and lumps and bumps are going to make it challenging to quilt, that's for sure.

Yesterday I only stitched for a short time, and Saturday wasn't that much better, but I do try and sew a little each day. A few years back at a quilters guild meeting we had a guest speaker - the lovely Irene Blanck. In addition to sharing her lovely quilts and talking about her quilting journey with us, she shared a pearl of wisdom that really resonated with me. Irene shared that despite her full time job and other significant commitments, she always makes time to stitch for 15 minutes each day. No matter what is going on for her, she could always find a 15 minute bite of time, and so her quilt projects are always moving forward. Now there are times when I haven't been disciplined enough to do the same, but I try really hard to put in a few stitches even on the busiest of days. I'll see how that works for me as Amy's wedding draws closer - I can't even believe it as I say the words out loud ... it's next month!

Lastly, in my previous post I mentioned that some email comments hadn't come to me - well imagine my surprise when I found them in my junk mail folder! I can't even imagine why that would happen all of a sudden. Anyway, I'll get busy answering comments as soon as I hit publish here - if you don't hear from me, please check that your email address is enabled so that I can get back to you.

Chatter soon! xox

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

This project has me gripped!

I'm really gripped by this quilt, as is often the case when things are going well. I'm able to piece away at my machine with little trouble, and so that's what I'm doing - in every moment that I can!



Some of the fun in this quilt is choosing the fabrics, and I knew I wanted greens with the florals for the next border. This is my favourite green tone, and I was thrilled that it played nicely with the other fabrics. The photo above is a bit crookedy, sorry about that - and I'm too lazy to fix it!

Those two green triangles in the middle - the fabrics I've used in them are from DEEP stash. The bottom one is all gone now, there's not a skerrick left - the top one I stumbled across at the bottom of a green pile while auditioning fabric from my stash. They're both from the Smithsonian Collection which is a line of reproductions from way back when I was very much a beginner quilter. The Smithsonian collections were released in 1995 and 1996 I understand. For my stash, 23-24 years old is practically antique! The print in the top triangle I had in pale blue as well as the green, and the bottom triangle I also had in pale blue and a cream colour. I wonder if there are any shards of those left in my scrap boxes?

And this is where I'm at as of last night. I've placed two sides of the hourglass borders. All the hourglass blocks are made for the other sides, I just need to get them into strips and sewn in place. How fun!

Next is another border using the same shapes as the green border, I just need to decide if I'm going to make it with a different colour theme, or attempt to emulate the green border with a few different fabric additions.

Thursday classes begin again tomorrow, and two of the ladies are also working on this project. I'll snap some pictures to share with you so you can see how entirely different our quilts are. I'm always amazed how quilters can take a pattern and make such different and beautiful pieces of art.

Before I close, I just wanted to let you know that all but the last one of the comments from my last post weren't emailed to me. Fortunately, because it's happened before I knew how to fix it - but it means that I can't respond to those messages. But please know that I love hearing from you, and always respond when I can. Chatter soon! xox

Friday, January 25, 2019

A little progress ...

Just a quickie post today to share that I've added a little more to my version of the Rajah quilt:

The applique has been a little hard on my arm (as is the case with hand quilting) so it happens in small doses, and there is still just a tiny bit to finish stitching down.

Beyond this narrow border are a bunch of pieced borders, so hopefully by the time I need to do a whole lot more hand sewing I'll be fully healed. So next up there's plenty of cutting to do, and lots of time spent at my sewing machine.

Well, that's it for now, chatter soon! xox

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Rajah-ish

Hi there friends :-) Not a huge amount of news, but thought that I'd share ... last week I was working on some secret squirrel stuff, I popped it all in the mail on Monday so it could get to its destination in the USA on time ... and realised that I forgot to take pictures so I could share the results of my labours with you later on. Oops! One of the items was a Christmas block for the Quilt Batts annual exchange, so hopefully one of the sweet ladies over there will share a picture with me, and I can in turn share with you. I really need to better taking picture of happenings here!

I can share that after the 'have to do' work was done, I was able to do some more 'nice to do' work too. Rather than the applique designs used on the Rajah pattern, I was inspired to do something a little 'Pendle Hill' like, from the pattern by Di Ford-Hall:

The little pentagon units are so cute - this picture was taken while I was testing to see if they'd all fit along the border, and also making sure I was happy with the placement of the colours. You can see a couple of the other ones scattered around. One destined for another side of the quilt, and the one just out of shot on the left will be for another project - not this one. Nothing is stitched or glued down at this point, and I still had to remove the papers.

And in this picture the pentagon units have been stitched together, the papers removed and I've glued everything in place. I still have to stitch it all down, but it was getting late last night, and I needed some zzz's. The hot weather we're experiencing is quite draining and I find myself very lethargic. I keep telling myself that this happens every year, and it will pass ... it's perfect weather for staying indoors and stitching!

I'm looking forward to the next borders which are very busily machine pieced - it'll be fun to choose lots of lovely fabrics from my scraps.

Well, that's it from me for now - I'll check back in soon with more progress :-)

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Happy New Year 2019


Happy New Year to all my lovely readers. I hope you've eased into 2019 doing some things that you love. As I mention each year, it is thought that what you do on January 1st you'll continue doing all year. So to that end I always try and do some things that I love, as well as some things that keep my home running along happily.

I did some sewing, so that's good news for my stitching prospects each day - but I started a new project, and I don't need to be working on a new project each day. 

Anyway, here's what I've begun:

This is  where I'm at with my interpretation of the Rajah quilt that I mentioned in my last post. I'm using the lovely pattern by Lessa as a guide, and I'm changing things up here and there to suit myself. I didn't feel like doing the applique block in the centre of the quilt, so I used this lovely printed block and a border print from the Windermere collection by Di Ford Hall.

It's strange for me to be working on a new project when I'm still working on the quilting of the Phebe quilt, but I really felt like having some machine work when I'm not feeling like hand quilting. I don't think I mentioned it, but I injured my right arm playing tennis a little while back, and hand quilting is hard on it while I recuperate.

I'll keep you posted as I progress with the Rajah quilt - though it might be slow - there are so many things going on right now, not least the planning and preparation for my sweet girl's wedding!

Something I'd meant to share with you in the last post were some little gifts I made for the sweet girls that come to my class:

I enjoyed making the trees from Marcie's sweet pattern so much, and I thought they'd make pretty little Christmas mats, so I made a bunch of them, and I'm fairly sure I'll make more. They were great for using up random strips of fabric, and I'm always thrilled to find ways to use up my scraps!

And in my post from before Christmas, I promised to share a picture of my Nutcrackers, and then promptly forgot ... but here's a quick piccy, because I'll have to put them away soon:

These are just the ones that live on my china cabinet, there are some larger ones on the floor too. I have some favourites, the one with the cloak is really neat, and the music box is a special favourite too.

I just noticed I've made a new years ooops, and I'm too lazy to change it right now - I've neglected to change the date on my photo watermark. I'll have to make sure to do it before the next post. I'm sure it won't be causing any international incidents, but clearly my attention to detail is lacking - I'm still in holiday mode :-)

Thank you to my commenters from my last post - some were set to no-reply so if you didn't hear from me, that's the reason. Equal numbers encouraging blogging and Instagram, so I'll waddle along as best I can. Chatter soon! xox

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