Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Another project on the home stretch ...

I've been quilting like a fool these past couple of days - I thought I'd be done so much sooner, but it's amazing how life can just get chaotic. Today though, I finally finished quilting on the strippy and stitched the bias binding in place on the scalloped border:

I'm super happy with how it's looking, and I'm really hoping that I'll be able to get started hand stitching the binding down tomorrow evening after cardio.

Here's a closer look at the quilting:

I really struggle to take good pictures of quilting, but here's one I took while it was under the machine - the lights under the machine throw some mad shadows:

At least you can see what I was trying to achieve a bit better.

So, that's my effort for the past few days - I should type more and fill you in on what I've been up to, but I'm just so darn tired I'm going to head straight to bed. I'll catch up on emails and bits and pieces tomorrow. Chatter soon! xox

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Dresden Table Topper is finished ...

... and I'm loving it! I've enjoyed working on this project so much, it's fun to work on something small sometimes, you see results so much faster.

Here it is all done:

This was one of my earliest patterns - first made in 2005 - I really felt it needed refreshing with some of the pretty fabrics that are in vogue right now. So, I've updated the pattern as well and listed it in my Etsy store.

Here are some more pictures of the finish:

We're experiencing even more hot weather here, so once again we'll be laying low this weekend. I've chosen a backing fabric for the strippy I made the other day, and if I'm really productive, I may be able to have it all quilted by tomorrow night. Let's see how far I get :-)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Trimming ...

I'm fixing the trims in place with applique glue before I stitch them down using monofilament. I'm just thrilled with how it's looking!

This is absolutely super fun! :-)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A new project ...

On Monday while I was working on the Dresden Topper, I needed a break - so I decided to work on something different for a little while. I made up a whole bunch of half square triangles, and then made them into little blocks:

On Tuesday after I was done quilting the topper, I got busy and made the blocks into strips, cut a bunch more strips, and by Wednesday morning, a new top was born. Apologies for the wrinkly state of the top - I just pulled it out of my bag - it would not have hurt me to press it again :-/

I'm really looking forward to quilting on this top, there are so many opportunities to do something a little fancy. And at this point I'm thinking a scalloped border would be fun too.

As predicted, while at Hettie's today, they had just the perfect trims. The red is a French General trim - very appropriate for the Dresden project given that a lot of the fabrics are FG. The pink ric rac has the sweetest green embroidery, and I'll use that for the centre circle and a couple of seams. I'm thinking about a lace doily in the centre like I had on the old one - I'll see what I have kicking around in the linen press :-)

Tomorrow I have little in my diary, so I'm hoping to get lots done on the home front ... I'm looking forward to it! xox

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Almost finished ... sooo close ...

The Dresden Topper is so close to being finished, all it really needs is the binding ...

But before I bind it, I'm toying with the idea of adding some trim ... I'm thinking a red ric-rac around the center circle, and then maybe some other trims along the outside seams ...

I'll have a looky when I get to work on Thursday, I know they'll have the perfect thing :-)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Just about a Dresden ...

It has been so stinkin' hot here these past few days, there's little a girl can do but stay indoors and stitch. So I've almost got the top of my refreshed Dresden Table Topper put together:

I just need to organise the centre and stitch it together in quarters. I'm really thrilled with how it's looking, and have made a small dent in the FG stash. Actually - I'm almost entirely out of reds (but that's because of the tumbler project I'm hand piecing too).

Yesterday the NTFW sewing group gathered together at Shay's home - it had been such a long time since I've been able to catch up with them due to tennis commitments - so it was great to see the girls. I took a couple of the Dresden blades to share, and Shay was surprised at the size of them. In the last post it probably wasn't apparent how large the pieces are - so I'll share that they're probably around 12 inches in length - and the picture above takes up a whole portion of my kitchen bench and hangs over the sides a bit. I think it finishes around 36 inches across at the widest point.

If I'm a really good girl, I may just have the top finished by the end of the day - and if I'm extremely good, I may get it basted too! Chatter soon :-)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Today I Passata'd and Scrapped too :-)

It's possible that Friday is one of my favourite days of the week - I usually get to spend a fair amount of time in the sewing room, and generally I don't have tiny person commitments - so after school is much more slow paced.

Today I started another French General scrap reduction project. I can't believe how much of this fabric I still have ... is it reproducing? What on earth is happening in my sewing room??

Anyways, here's where I'm at ...

It's the second project I'm refreshing from an old favourite :-) my Dresden Topper. In addition to the FG fabrics, I threw a few red and cream beauties from other collections - I'd used them in recent projects, and they seemed to get along with their neighbours.

Getting back to the scraps - it just blows me away how much can be created from the scraps that you really want to use up - but when you have some yardage, it never seems to be quite enough for the special project you want to use it in. Hmmm ... the ponderings of a quilter ...

I didn't get too much done though, because earlier in the day I got busy picking tomatoes in the garden, so many have become ripe all at once:

And so I got busy making passata again. The small jars in front are about a pint in size, and the ones at the back are a litre, which is (I think) a scootch more than a pint and a half.

Last night I used one of the jars I made the other day to make pasta for the boys. Marty declared it excellent, so I'm super happy. I hadn't tried the recipe before - and if you'd like to have a go, I pinned the recipe here. There are still a bazillion more tomatoes in various stages of ripeness on the bushes, so there will be more of this in my future - and I'm sure we'll be grateful for it later in the year.

Before I dash back to the sewing machine, I just wanted to say a big HI to a couple of commenters I haven't been able to respond to due to email addresses being unavailable: Wendy Phelps, Wendy Caton Reed and Sjoukje. I loved hearing from you, thank you for stopping by!

I'll get busy sewing now. I'm hoping to finish up all the blades of the topper, and then I'm going to pull fabrics for a cute project I designed during the week. Super fun!! xox

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Refreshed Shoo Fly Table Runner

The sewing machine needle has been flying here lately - I have been a busy girl. It has been on my mind to refresh some of my older patterns, and since I'm just loving my French General scraps right now, I put them to work. You saw the Shoo Fly blocks recently, and now I can share with you some of the recent work in progress:

After I got the top together, I had a bit of a hard time choosing a backing fabric. Hunting thru the stash found the leftovers of the spotty backing from my Turning Four-T quilt. I had to make the back up from three pieces, but doesn't it match the front well?

This picture was to serve two purposes - firstly to show you a little of how I'm quilting the blocks, and secondly to share that I had scorched that cream coloured square a little while I was pressing. Oops! You can't actually see the mark as the bright lights under the machine have washed the colour out - but if I'm really honest, it's not too bad anyway.

And a little in progress shot while I was quilting on the hexagons. I'm super happy with how they looked in the end.

And here's the finished article. It looks so much nicer now than the old original Thimbleberries one that I made almost 9 years ago. I've re-written the pattern for my Etsy store, and if I can bear to part with it, this runner is destined to be a gift.

Last picture of the runner for the day - Gratuitous pattern shot :-)

Also, I wanted to share a couple of gifts I recently received - I truly have the most wonderful friends on earth:

My lovely friend Wendy from quilt group found this side plate for me while we were all on our holiday break. She was in a second hand store and stumbled across it for the bargain price of $4.00 and thought to grab it for me. I have plenty of the dinner plates, and it's the side plates and salad plates that I'm looking for, so this was a 'meant to be' find. Thank you Wendy!!

And my sweet friend Bridget from class gave me the most darling gift on our first week back after holidays:

Bridget knows my love of Masons Vista dinnerware, and also my love of Nutcrackers. While browsing Etsy, she found me these miniature plates! Do you see the size of them there? Ohhhh my goodness!!

I'm not sure if Bridget knew that one of these days I'd love to have a Victorian doll-house - but it is actually on my bucket list, I've even been pinning a few lately on Pinterest. I'm just gob-smacked by the detail of these darling tiny things, and also by Bridget's wonderful generosity and thoughtfulness. Thank you so much!!

Well, that's it for today, I ended up writing a bigger post than I intended, so thank you for sticking with it. If you have an inkling that you'd like to make a shoo-fly runner - head on over to my Etsy store. You may well be inching me along to my Victorian doll-house dream! :-)

Friday, February 06, 2015

Starts and Finishes :-)

First up, I'm sharing with you a birthday gift for my sweet friend Roz. I had wanted to show it to you on Tuesday when I posted - Monday was actually the day of her birthday, and I was seeing her at the shirt workshop. I had it all finished and ready to take with me ... except this bear of very little brains managed to leave it on the cutting table at home! Thankfully I was seeing her at guild last night, so I could pass it on finally ...

I've had a small amount of this border print in my stash for a good long time now, and it's perfect to use with the Kaleido Ruler.

Honestly, I think I've use this ruler more than any other that I own! I've seriously lost count of how many spiderwebs and runners I've made, and no one is getting tired of them yet!! Don't forget there's a free tutorial over at my website if you're thinking you'd like to make one. You'll need a Kaleido Ruler, or a similar 45 degree wedge ruler.

I'm really glad Roz liked it, she's the most darling person, I love spending time with her at guild.

Speaking of guild, last night was the most fun night. We had two wonderful guest speakers - first up was our dear sweet friend Michele Hill. She was talking about one of her UK trips, and her visit to the American Quilt Museum in Bath, it was just the most fabulous presentation with all the vingage quilts - you know how I love them! Michele then also shared about her visit to a Kaffe Fassett exhibition which was just fabulous too.

But then we had a surprise visitor - because of a whirlwind trip to Adelaide visiting with friends, Stuart Hillard was able to make time to visit with us and talk about his experience on the TV show The Great British Sewing Bee. Oh my goodness, he's just a riot - such a funny and lovely guy. I was lucky enough to be able to chatter with him for a little while after the meeting, and now I'm determined that I need to see the show. I'm already addicted to watching The Great British Bake Off, so look out, I'm sure to be Sewing Bee addicted too!!

But back to earth and what I've been working on :-) I had another finish this week - one which has been so close for a long time:

I finally wove in the ends to finish up these socks for my sweet friend Viv. I secreted them away in her folder at work, she found them while we were on the phone and just loves them. It'll be a while before she can spend any time wearing them - we're heading for a little spell of hot weather - but I was thrilled to pass them on.

If I remember correctly, I started them on a late night visit to the ER with Amy when she fractured her ankle at netball - that is a good long time ago now!! I'm a very slow knitter, I really just don't make the time for it, so yay for a finish :-)

And so you know I'm actually making baby steps of progress after the shirt workshop a bunch of us attended on Monday, here is where I'm at right now:

I have the two front pieces cut out, and though it's hard to see in the picture above, look below to see the tiny pin tucks that Kerryn taught us:

Ooops, I see a stray thread there! Before our next day together, I need to cut out the yoke and the back, The back needs a small pleat in the centre and then to be attached to the yoke, and then the yoke attached to the front pieces. Aaaargh, can I actually do this?? Garment making??

Today though, it was necessary for me to spend time in the kitchen rather than the sewing room. Marty has been growing tomatoes, and so far we've been able to keep up simply eating them fresh ... but suddenly they're all ripening in a hurry!! So I made passata:

Of course, I found a recipe on Pinterest - the story with the recipe amused me, as it pretty much reminds me of the process my best friend's family use. They have a big ole sauce day involving the whole family. They make enough for everyone for the whole year, and Renee stores hers in beer bottles down in the cellar.

I will need to make more in the next few days, and while today I followed the recipe from the link pretty much exactly, I want to try something different next time: I have a recollection of Renee saying that they squish the tomatoes before putting them through the mouli, and squishing them gets rid of a lot of the excess water and seeds. So I think I'll do that too - the jars will look cuter without so many seeds, and hopefully the passata will be a little thicker without so much cooking.

So that has been my last few days up to this moment. Tonight I think I'll be sewing some more hexies for the table runner I'm working on - I'm half way done with those. Tomorrow may be another sewing day - Camo has a bye from his tennis, and it's very likely that my games will be cancelled because of the heat. Darn it!!

Well that's it from me, so I will leave off here with a promise to chatter soon!! xox

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Slow sewing ...

Wow, a week can disappear in the blink of an eye can't it? It's just amazing how fast time flies. Camo started back at school yesterday for the year, so by the end of the week I feel sure I'll be back into my normal routine again.

I don't have a lot to show for my past week and a bit, but I can show you a little progress from my last post:

The little thought bubbles have turned into a refreshed table runner - using some of my favourite French General fabrics. I'm slowly putting together some hexies for the feature squares - those hexies you see are neither sewn together or sewn in place, so don't feel sad for me and my apparent lack of sewing skills :-) The flower fabric in the middle of the hexies is from the mitre off-cuts from my Montmellick quilt top - how fun to put some scraps to use! I'm looking forward to finishing this little project up really soon.

Yesterday some of my sweet friends and I did a workshop - we were learning to make a tailored shirt. Oh my goodness, it was challenging as we were taught to adapt the pattern to suit our own particular measurements, but I think the hardest part is over now and in the next lesson we'll see how everyone else is coming along - and learn the final assembly.

I don't have an in progress picture for you yet, but here's a piccy of the fabric I purchased for my shirt:

It's a Japanese woodblock Indigo fabric, and the sweet ladies at Hetties helped me choose it. Honestly if it weren't for their amazing help, I think I would still be there deciding what on earth I wanted. Sometimes it's hard to make a decision when faced with so many choices. Don't worry about all the white 'fabric' underneath - that's my interfacing for drawing up the pattern and stabiliser for the cuffs/collar etc.

Last of all, I know you've all heard me lament the state of my stash - the size of my stash more specifically. So I've decided to be pro-active and do something about it. I'm slowly adding yardage that has come into my life that I can't use into my Etsy Store. Check in there periodically, you may find just the piece you're looking for.

Alrighty, it's back to the chores here today, there's lots to catch up on, so I'll chatter soon!


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