Thursday, December 22, 2016

Catching up ...

Hello there Christmas, I am ready for you! The only gifts I have left to bring into the house are anything being given to Camo - and that's only because I'm not entirely certain he might not look for them ... (or stumble across them, as I'm not very good at hiding things ...)

Before I get into the bits and pieces that I'd like to share with you, please allow me to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas. And if Christmas isn't your particular thing, know that I'm sending good wishes from my home to yours, and hoping we'll all have a wonderful New Year!

I have a few things to share, first up, Shay and I decorated cookies for the season on Sunday - I knew I wouldn't have time to put together a gingerbread house this year, so I made a 3D gingerbread cookie tree:

This was fun to put together - and it was nice to have Shay's company while I started working on it. Hopefully Shay was able to take home enough information for her to ice cookies for upcoming celebrations. 

And I can't even tell you how fun it was to see that Mark Lipinski snagged the picture from my Facebook page to share on his own. It was like a little brush with fame!

One of the reasons that I don't have a lot of time to put a gingerbread house together is because I'm really trying to spend as much time as I possibly can working on my hand quilting ... I took the Caswell quilt out of the hoop recently so I snapped a quick pic ...

This is only a little of the work that I've done, but you can see where I'm heading. There are some areas to fill that may not have fitted in the hoop when I was working on that area, and I'll get back to them as I can.

I also had a number of people asking about my hoop setup, so I took a picture of the floor stand to share with you:

My goodness I was blessed that this hoop came into my life. Literally the same day that I heard from Lizzy that she'd finished basting my quilt, I received an email from Lyn, a lovely lady that I used to work with. She had this stand, and wondered if I'd like it as she was de-cluttering her sewing room. Of course it was the perfect thing I needed, at the perfect time - and bless her, Lyn delivered it to me at work the next day. I don't know much about it, but I believe it was hand made by the husband of a quilter that Lyn knows.

Now that I've been quilting on the floor stand, I don't know how I persevered with hoops for so long! It's just so nice not to have to worry about balancing the weight of the quilt. However the only down-side is that my quilt is not portable at all - I can't quilt anywhere but home. But if I'm honest, the quilt is really too big to drag around easily, so it's not a problem at all!

I also had some questions regarding what kind of marking tool I was using to get the blue lines on my quilt. I'm always happy to help with info, and a sweet reader Janet shared that she hadn't seen the blue marker I'm using, so I took a pic:

I use a number of the Sewline products (no affiliation, just a happy customer) - for marking I use this blue marker on lighter fabrics, and on darker fabrics either their white or pink ceramic mechanical pencil. When I finish a quilt, I'm not happy to just spritz the marking lines away, I actually put the quilt through a gentle cycle in my washing machine and then dry the quilt flat on towels. It makes me happy to know that the quilt has been completely immersed in water and then there is no chance that any of the markings will remain or return.

Last of all, readers will know that I recently learned a new applique technique from Teresa's blog - and I in turn passed this technique on to a sweet lady named Pam who comes to my classes. She has fallen in love with applique and is running with it - this is her first project:

Her next job was to place the applique in the borders - and by the last class this year, she had completed all the applique and had moved on to the quilting. She selected big stitch quilting with perle cotton. It's just lovely!

Well, that's it from me for now - I have a feeling I had other things to share, but I can't remember what they were right now. If I remember and I get a chance, I'll pop back in and share, but if not, I'll see you on the other side of Christmas ... chatter soon! xoxox

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Still Quilting!

I'm quilting away on my Caswell quilt, and though I'm just loving it, hand quilting doesn't really make for exciting blog fodder.

So, if you need me, I'll be here ...

... for probably around the next five or six months!

Hopefully I'll have some fabulous progress pictures soon ... because I'm super happy with how it's coming along :-)

Chatter soon xoxox

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Operation Hand Quilting

Hand quilting on my Caswell quilt is continuing in earnest. Every spare moment I have is spent on the 'throne' in the sewing room with needle in hand, and for now, I'm loving it!

It's hard to capture the stitches in a photo adequately, but you can see some of my efforts, and hopefully some of the patterns I've been trying to stitch.

This is going to be a long term commitment to stitching, and hopefully I'll be as enthusiastic about it near the end. So far, all signs are good! Chatter soon :-)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

HOQH - Two more blocks

This past week I put two more blocks together for this sweet project. I am really having fun trawling through my repro scraps to find the perfect pieces to use. Until I get to the stage of sashing etc, I'd like to try not to cut into yardage. Because they're only 6" blocks, it shouldn't be difficult right?

Here are the next blocks:

Block 22 - Leaf Block

Block 55 - Malvina's Chain

With both of these blocks I paid absolutely no attention to the directions whatsoever. With block 22 I made up flying geese units using the flippy corners technique. With block 55 I made up the pinwheels using the doubled up half square triangle technique. I can truthfully say it was much easier than cutting all the individual triangles and worrying about bias edges etc. I'm not sure if I'll be able to do this with all the blocks going forward, but I'll be trying to cut some corners where I can!

These blocks will go on the back burner for an indefinite period of time now though. On Thursday Lizzy delivered my basted quilt top to me, and I'm now quilting in earnest!

This is not going to be a quick process, but I'm enjoying how it's coming along already. I'm playing tennis this afternoon, but as soon as I'm done I'll be stitching those tiny stitches again. Can't wait!

Also - a sweet lady emailed me and asked some questions about having my quilt basted, and I put the message aside to answer once I got my quilt back - but I now can't find the message. So I'm so sorry to that person, do you mind messaging me again? Thank you :-)

Chatter soon :-)

Monday, October 24, 2016

HOQH Blocks 43 and 51

After a busy day of chores yesterday, late last night I was able to put another block together. It was kind of a stressful one!

Block 43 - Flower Pot

These blocks are 6" finished, so you can imagine that some of those triangles are on the small side. Not Nearly Insane kind of small, but small enough nonetheless. This particular block was frustrating me ... for some reason the little triangles just weren't playing nice and I found it hard to get the block to sit straight. I got there in the end, but holy moly. Maybe I shouldn't piece late at night - I think I finished it up at around 11.30pm.

Another busy day today with chores, but I was hoping to have time to get another block together - after I picked up Camo from school, I had my moment!

Block 51 - Toad in the Puddle

This block went together much easier, and I'm super glad! This finish means I've made 14 of the 59 blocks for the quilt. Yay!

Just for fun I made a collage of the blocks I've stitched up so far. The collage repeats two blocks, but it's still fun to see how they're looking:

I'm super happy with how the blocks look together, I'll keep going with the brighter of my reproduction fabrics and keep the brown and black to a minimum.

In other news, I have finally had an opportunity to take a picture of the latest Dresden project I put together. I had made a baby play mat for a gift a while back and wanted to make another to share in my Etsy store:

I have been hoping and hoping for a bright day, but even the brightest of sunlight won't make me a better photographer - hopefully you can see how cute this mat is anyway :-)

Well, that's it from me for today, hopefully I'll have a few more blocks made by the end of the week! Chatter soon :-)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

More Quilting Heritage blocks ...

These blocks have really hooked me in - I do love applique, but I love piecing too - absence makes the heart grow fonder maybe? While I have some momentum, it's best to make as many of these blocks as I can. I was able to put two together yesterday, and I pieced another before my tennis match this afternoon, and then another this evening after I got home. Here they are:

Block 1 - Xquisite

Block 24 - Squares & Diamonds

Block 33 - Double X

Block 54 - Aunt Dinah

Block 33 Double X - I may or may not have put the block together, taken the picture, cropped it down and posted it on the blog ... BEFORE I realised that I'd added a corner back to front ... and then had to delete everything and fix it. Can't prove anything ... ;-)

Once again, a lot of the fabric I used in these blocks was from the various parcels from my friends in the USA - thank you ladies, I always love using the fabric you send me :-)

Speaking of fabric, I didn't forget to take pictures of the fabric I received in the mail this week. I made a purchase at Threadbear after a blog post they put up recently. I hadn't seen this fabric anywhere locally and knew I'd have to move quickly:

I just loved this panel - it's by Howard Marcus Dunn, and the range is Collection for a Cause - Preservation. Wouldn't this look just lovely as the centre of a medallion quilt. I'm so pleased I jumped when I saw it, because they're out of stock of the panel already!

And I had to have some of the large print that went with it:

This would be fabulous for broderie perse too! After the Di Ford-Hall workshop I did earlier in the year, I've been looking at fabric in such different ways.

Anyway, that's all I have to share for today - I wonder if I'll get any more blocks made over the next few days? If I do, I promise I'll share them with you really soon! xox

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Honouring our Quilting Heritage

While I spend some unpressured time waiting for my quilt top to be basted, I've been able to revisit a project I started at the same time as the Caswell quilt. I don't know if you remember, but a year ago I declared that I was going to have two projects on the go - one appliqued, and one pieced. It didn't take long for my true colours to show and the applique project bullied it's way to the forefront and once again I was focusing on one thing only. It seems like that's the way I work best!

So these past couple of days I've been able to put a couple of blocks of the Lori Smith 'Honouring our Quilting Heritage' project together, and tonight I took some pictures to share with you all:

Block 3 - Flutter Wheel

Block 5 - Handweave

Block 19 - Connecticut

Block 41 - Quilters Dream

The blocks are 6" finished and really do go together quickly. Some of them look a little wonky in the pictures (like the one directly above looks crookedy at the bottom) - but it's just because the bottom row was propping up a little when I took the picture. Maybe I should use double sided tape to stick them down in future ... just thinking out loud there ...

I'm using some of the pretty fabrics that were gifted to me by my friends in the USA over a few visits. We share a love of repro fabrics, and I'm determined I'm going to use some of the lovelies they gave me. I think I'll limit the use of browns and keep this quilt on the brighter side of things? This quilt won't grow quickly though, I'm going to be spending a lot of time hand quilting in the not too distant future.

Before I go, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone for the lovely comments on my Caswell top finish. It really made my heart sing to read all your lovely words. I haven't responded to you all personally just yet, and there are a few I won't be able to, but I promise to email those that I can shortly.

Lastly, I received a squishy in the mail today, and I'll share the contents with you in my next post - it's too dark for pictures right now, and this lovely fabric really deserves to be seen at it's best! Chatter soon xoxox

Monday, October 17, 2016

A bit of a reveal ...

I can't even tell you how thrilled I am! My version of the Caswell quilt is a completed top! Initially I had wanted to finish the top by the end of September, but life got in the way ... so I reset my deadline to the end of the school holidays which was yesterday ... and I got there!

Now, I have to tell you, unless you're my buddy on the facebooks and have seen it already, it probably doesn't look like you're expecting it to ... so here it is:

I'm super happy with how it looks - beyond thrilled actually :-) Today I dropped it off with my sweet friend Lizzy, and she's going to baste it for me. After she's worked her magic, I'll start quilting on it ... and who knows how long that will take. It will be so exciting to work on something other than applique though, can't wait!!

And today - because I could ... I worked on a little doodad for a special project:

This is a tiny tile, and it's for a special project being run by one of our guild members for the 'Little Quilts of Love' initiative. If you're interested in how it's made and info about the project, click here.

Even though it's not really time for me to start thinking about my next project just yet, I wanted to share a couple of patterns I purchased from Threadbear from the recent Festival of Quilts:

Both these quilts are right up my alley, and either of these could be contenders for my next BIG project. But I think I've already settled on my next love:

I adore all the quilts Sue Garman produces, I genuinely think she's the quilter I'd like to be. You can visit her website to purchase patterns here, and her blog which is entirely wonderful is here. It just breaks my heart that Sue is currently fighting the battle of her life, she has lung cancer. And just when you thought she really had quite enough to bear, her world was rocked when she recently lost her husband. Just absolutely devastating, I hope Sue finds some comfort knowing that the quilting world is holding her close and praying for her. 

On that sombre note I'm going to leave off, but I'll check back in with you all when I get busy quilting. I cannot wait!

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Plugging away ...

I'm still plugging away on the final borders of my Caswell quilt, it doesn't make for interesting blogging - so many of the same flowers and leaves ... but here goes anyway:

You can just see there is a seam in the cream fabric under the flower. I hope I've done enough applique to make the seams not too visible. I didn't actually have enough of that cream fabric to make a diagonal join - my calculations were too good and I only JUST scraped through. I didn't really want to purchase any more ... though maybe I should - I really like it as a background fabric!

I think I'm just over 5/8 done with the border, and it's my sincere hope I'll be done by the end of next week. I think I can do it ... just give me some uninterrupted appliqueing time!!

In other news, some more bling has arrived in the sewing room ... these days being known as the ladies lounge ...

Love me a little glitz and glamour :-) Shame about my crookedy photo though ... I love how my sewing room is looking, it's not a chore to spend time in here!

And for the last bit of eye candy today, I just wanted to share a quilt one of my sweet ladies Pam made recently:

I just love this quilt!! It's a pattern Pam purchased from Hetties, and the fabrics are largely by Tilda with some linen thrown in too. It's just darling isn't it? I feel like this would be the perfect thing to make while my quilt top is away being basted. I'm looking forward to something that's not so time consuming!

And just before I go, I want to say a quick shout-out to some commenters I haven't been able to reply to, thank you so much for stopping by to Jacqueline, Paula and Лёка,

Chatter soon! xox

Thursday, September 22, 2016

My happy news :-)

Recently the Royal Adelaide Show was held in town - it's a fun week for us here in the city with so many things going on. The carnival rides and sideshow alley for the young and young at heart, the agricultural side of the show with farm animals/equestrian events etc, crazy amounts of showbags for all ages, and also the competition part of the show with all sorts of categories from pets to plants, cookery and craft.

I love to enter a quilt or two when I have something ready, and this year I decided to enter two projects. You've seen them both before, but it can't hurt to revisit them right?

My Montmellick quilt fitted right into the hand quilted category, and this year there was a special category for nine patch quilts, so I decided that Omigosh! would be perfect for that one. After I knew the judging was completed I waited a few days before I checked the show website, and received the happy news that both quilts had placed first in their categories!!

Here is my Omigosh with her first place ribbon. I'm so happy it did so well! :-)

And I also had the happy news that my Montmellick quilt won best quilt in show! I was just so thrilled! You can see her two ribbons in the picture. Yay!!

Amy and I visited the show one evening after work, and we had a really great time. My sweet girl is a real thrill seeker and wanted to hit the rides in sideshow alley. I love roller coasters, but some of those rides at shows leave me a little sweaty ... I don't know how she did it, but Amy convinced me to go on the biggest scariest ride there. It's called Speed 2 - I found a video on YouTube from a few years ago:

It was actually really fun, but I definitely didn't need to go on any more rides after that!! We got busy eating the obligatory carnival food, and after purchasing a bunch of show bags and watching the fireworks, we were super tired and ready to head home. What a great night out with my girl :-)

In other news, I wanted to share a quick snap of Norma's finished peacock block:

It's really cute isn't it? She's made it up into a cushion as a gift for her daughter. I am absolutely certain she  must love it! :-)

And finally for today, I just wanted to share a couple of fabric purchases I made at work today. There's a 50% off sale in the back room, so I was determined to give a few pieces of fabric a good home :-)

How could I leave behind a couple of Di Ford-Hall fabrics? And the Jo Morton in the middle there too? They'll live nicely in my stash until I have a project ready for them.

And this fabric will be super cute for a Christmas project I'm sure. I don't have any ideas right now, but I won't be able to think of anything until I've finished the top of the Caswell project. Surely it can't be long now?

So, today I added 5.5 metres of fabric to the stash. At the beginning of the year I stated that I wanted to end the year with less fabric in my sewing room than I started with - it's fair to say that I've done very poorly with that goal. Maybe next year I'll work on much faster projects and I'll get through more of the stash? Who knows??

Thank you all for the lovely comments you send my way. I'm behind with mail at the moment and promise to respond as soon as I can. And a big Hi to Janet who always sends the kindest notes - your email address doesn't pop up with your comments so I'm not able to reply.

It's getting late now, so I'll have to dash and catch some zzzz's. Chatter soon! xoxox

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

More border progress, and a sewing room update ...

I've been super busy working away on my Caswell quilt. In my mind I'm thinking I'd like to have the top completely finished by the end of this month so I can send it away to be basted for hand quilting. If I'm honest with myself, that goal is unrealistic, but it doesn't stop my from trying.

I've completed all the applique on one of the borders, and I'm plugging away at a second border. Here are some progress pics:

It's really fun making up a whole bunch of flowers and leaves and then throwing them on the border to see what happens. Of course, my perfectionist tendencies won't let me be completely random, but I'm doing my best to make each border different. My sweet friends from the USA will recognise some of the fabric they sent me in a recent care package making up some of the green leaves. You girls are all awesome, thank you!!

With less than two and a half weeks until the end of the month, the more I think about it, the less likely the applique finish will be, but at least it keeps me motivated and stitching. I'd like to have as much hand quilting time as I can possibly get.

In other news, I have some new additions to the sewing room. I'm not sure if I've shared that I've been looking for the perfect side table for my hand stitching throne. The item I particularly wanted is something I've been seeking for YEARS, mostly at auction because they can be pricey when new. I'd only seen three since 2010 and had devastatingly fallen just short placing absentee bids at auction. I finally decided to bite the bullet and see if I could find a new one, and here it is:

The side table I chose is actually a cocktail cabinet! I just love it! And because I finally got the 'table' I could go ahead and order the lamp I'd coveted for the longest time. It's a repro Tiffany lily lamp. I'm just the worst for having a vision in my head of the items I'd like in a space, and then tearing my hair out looking for the pieces in my mind, not necessarily knowing if they actually exist or not!

Hubster was actually away when both these items made their way into the house - it's actually funny - he teases me that whenever he's away with work I always seem to drag new furniture home. It was the same thing with the dumbwaiter (bookcase) at left in the picture, and I think the chair too. I joked with him that I must get so bored when he's away!

I also had some good news recently with a couple of my quilts in the Royal Adelaide Show - I had some happy wins. I'll share some pictures with you in my next post - I can feel my fingers itching to get back to some applique work. Chatter soon! xox

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Border Progress ...

I had a bunch of things I wanted to share with you in this post, but they'll have to wait until next time ... woe is me, I have a horrible cold - and it's all my fault!! Just last week I thought to myself "I haven't had a cold in ages, I am soooo healthy". Almost immediately the universe responded giving me a doozie! Darn me and my cocky thoughts!

Anyway, I have done just a little work on the Caswell border ... I'd have done more, but energy levels have been low:

I'm having fun with the placement of the applique pieces, and I can't wait to share more with you.

Just for fun, I thought I'd share my sweet friend Norma's next project with you - she's the lovely lady that appliqued the chicken I showed you recently. Her next piece is a peacock:

Isn't it coming along wonderfully? I predict that she'll have it finished by the time I see her on Thursday. I can't wait to see it.

Well, that's it for now - hopefully I have more energy to share a newsy post with you soon. xox

Monday, August 01, 2016

Caswell Border

Today I had some time to myself, so I set about putting together some flowers for the border of my Caswell quilt. My border will be more elaborate than the one in the pattern, and though I have some ideas, I feel like it's just going to evolve ...

I'll put a bunch of flowers together, throw them on the borders and see what looks good. My new favourite technique for applique was learned from Teresa's blog, and while I don't use it all the time, I love being able to put flowers etc together before actually placing them on the quilt. Check it out, you won't be disappointed. I should have time to put a few more bits and pieces together tonight, so it'll be fun to have a tidy pile of blooms put aside.

In the last few days I also finished work on the play mat - it's embellished and bound now, but I'll save that for my next post - so I'll chatter soon! xox

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Small Projects ... finally!

Hi there, I'm finally checking in! Thank you to the sweet ladies who emailed to check on me, you're adorable, but me, I've been busy being a slacker :-)

Well, not really, but definitely slack at photographing and sharing what on earth I've been up to. But here you go, here are a couple of things:

This is a table runner I made last week and just finished off the binding yesterday. It's for one of my Aunties who will be having a significant birthday soon. I hope she likes it, it was really fun to put together. And fast which is something I haven't done much of lately - I've been working on that looooong term project mostly!

And today I put together this baby play mat. Not for any particular reason but that I had the fabric sitting around for a while and I've been meaning to get it in my Etsy store. I've had some time to myself in this last part of the holidays and I've been trying to get a few things up to date that I've let slide. The picture is really washed out, but the fabrics are really cute with little critters on them.

Last of all, early last week I knitted a beanie for Camo to take up to the station. Darn it if he didn't leave it behind when he was packing! I know he likes it because he barely took it off after it was finished, but I think he was rushing at packing time - it eats into gaming and play time!

The beanie was super easy to knit and I had it done in only a day - and for the first time ever I used a circular needle. Marty wanted one too, but I didn't get it done in time. If you'd like the pattern, it's from here: Notes from the Slow Lane. You'll see that I made some changes - Camo didn't want to have a rolled up hem, and that's cool - a bit less knitting!

Ohhh, and I have to share - the beanie is sitting on the head of my childhood teddy bear in the picture - and in front is my favourite doll also from when I was little. I just looooved her so much - her name is Jenny. Teddy was just called Teddy - and to the right mostly out of picture is Amy's childhood bear. They're just treasures to me :-)

I've also been working away at the Caswell project, and I have all the blocks stitched together, and half the final border constructed. I'm getting prepared for all the applique to go in the final border, I really do have a ways to go.

Well, that's it from me for now - hopefully I won't leave it so long next time. I need to get better at recording the things to share! Chatter soon xoxox

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!


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