Sunday, 11 March 2018

Around here

My sewing at the moment seems to be focused on a couple of quilt-a-long projects I've joined.

For a while now I've wanted to use up some of my older scrappy fabrics in a way that made them look a little fresher.  The Square Dance mystery quilt at My Caroline Home seemed like the perfect project to give this a try.   The fabric requirements are quite simple - just dark/light, and best of all I got to use some pre-cut 2&1/2 inch squares for the darks.  For the lights I've thrown in some modern low-volumes, so I'm mixing the old and the new together and I'll see how that works out.

When I bought my new sewing machine my plan was to get better at quilting my own quilts.  As soon as I read about the Free Motion Quilt Along that the Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild is running this year I was "in".  This is a great way to practice new quilting designs because each month you work on a fat 1/4 sized quilt sandwich  - nice and easy to manipulate.  At the end of the year there's going to be a smart way to join these pieces a-la quilt-as-you-qo.  I'm using up hand-dyes from my stash.  I love love love hand-dyes and I always have a stash of them, though some of the backs are the ones that don't seem to have found loving homes LOL.

See that middle one has a blank 1/4.  Well.... there's a design I haven't got my head, or my hands around yet.  I'm going to have to come back to that one.  I'm enjoying this project.  It's fun and I'm learning as I go.

Linking up with  Sew-Stitch-Snap-Share  a regular meet up where you see what other blogging quilters are up to.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Under the needle

This week I've been tidying up the Quiltery which was looking a bit the worse for wear and working on some nearly finished projects.

First up is this baby quilt for a friend's 4th son which I finished quilting over the Christmas holidays.  I was waiting for my friend to decide on the name for her baby so I could finish up the label for this quilt and gift it.  I made wonky stars in 2016 for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and have since made a couple of other quilts with those blocks.  For this one I had enough blocks for just a small quilt so to make it a little bigger I sashed the blocks and pieced smaller stars in the intersections.  I love the result. 

The second project I've been working on is a Crosscut quilt.  This was originally a QAL at A Quilters Table.  I fell in love with this design when I made one for a quilt buddy in a swap.  I had some leftovers from that project and decided to put them together into a similar quilt for myself.  This one is special because some of the turquoise strips are from a hanky that was my mum's.  Finishing it hasn't really been a priority though and has been on the back burner until I got my new sewing machine at the end of last year.  It was a good project to try out the machine on because the construction method was quite forgiving and meant my seam allowance wasn't too critical (getting a new machine is a bit like learning to quilt all over again).  After quilting it with lots of straight lines, I parked it again, but now (finally) it is getting facing. 

I just wish these were the only two long term projects lurking the Quiltery. 

Linking up with Sew,Stitch, Snap, SHARE to see what other people are up to. 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Happy New Year and what's on the machine

Happy New Year from the Quiltery!   It would seem that I hardly blogged in 2017, perhaps because I hardly quilted for a big part of the year.  I'm planning this year to do more of both; quilting and blogging.  I think for blogging to work for me I have to keep it simple.  While the Finish A Long (and others like it) encouraged me to set goals, it was all about finishes, so when I didn't finish I got discouraged that I didn't have anything to share.  Really I want my blog to be about what I'm doing, and most of the time that is not finishing.    So I'm going to try and blog once a week about what I'm doing, connect up with Julie and Linda in their Sew, Stitch, Snap, Share get together that embraces blogging and sharing work in progress.

For the past couple of weeks I've been quilting this quilt, made from the Project 48 Quilt blocks I made.  The quilt is square and I'm quilting a continuous spiral on it.  The outer spirals are a long way around but I love the effect.  On the down side, some of my blocks are bit on the big side, and I've had to do some gathering to get them to lay flat.  I must have skipped the step of measuring and trimming the blocks before I put the top together.  It has been a good lesson for me to remember these simple steps, especially with this much quilting. 

Talk next week.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long: Q2 Goals

With the first quarter finishes accounted for it is time to turn my attention to what I hope to complete in the second quarter (Q2) of 2017.  Linking up with Marci Girl

First up is the most ambitious but most important because it has a mid-year deadline for gift giving.  This pile of blocks needs finishing, putting together and quilting.

This sampler quilt is ready for quilting.  It's made from last year's Project 48 blocks.  I stopped at around block 38, so it uses 36 blocks with a wide sashing to make it a better size and add some calm between all the  colour.  I did wonder if needed some more borders, but that would make it a funny size, and I'm "a bit over it" really.

Next is a much easier project.  I'm remodeling this sunflower quilt, but it has sat for several months and I want to get it ticked off and back on the wall.

Grand Illusion  just needs the binding hand stitched down, but this the point where my quilts stall.  If I put it on this list I'm hoping to motivate myself to get it done.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long: Q1 3rd Finish

This quarter seems to have flown by, so I'm really glad I set some quilting goals to which meant I could measure my progress during this time.  And I'm proud to say I finished all three of the projects on my list here.

My third finish for the Finish-A-Long is what I call my "Sew-A-Long Sampler". Back in 20T14, Erin at Sew At Home Mummy ran a the Classic Meets Modern QAL.   Erin challenged us  to put their own interpretation of a modern spin on classic, traditional blocks, and this really suited where I was at with my quilting.  I started out really enthusiastically with all the bases covered - white background fabric, recycled shirt fabric, funky modern fabric, solid fabric...  okay so I wasn't actually at the solid fabric stage when I started and I had lots of great hand-dyes so I used those.  I went well for 3 months.  Then in months 4, 5 and 6 the blocks were a bit more difficult and one turned out a bit 'off-size'.  I started to question this wild assortment of fabrics I was using; were they really going to work?  Was that white just too stark?  The project went in the box and it sat around for a little while.  Every now and then I'd dig it out and feel guilty about not progressing it.  I'd look at the blocks I had made, and the instructions for the blocks still to make and worry about my fabric.  Part of me felt that I was failing to be a modern quilter if I couldn't even follow a quilt-along.   And so it sat a while.

Actually it sat around until 2016.  At some point in 2016 I listened to a great podcast (which I've lost the link to thanks to having my laptop stolen) about how to get past procrastination and creative blocks.  The quilter talked about reassessing your UFOs and deciding why they are UFOs.  This insightful quilter talked about identifying what you liked about the project in the first place and what is needed to finish it.      This helped me find a turning point.

I decided on a setting I liked, and  then found blocks I wanted to make.  I added in more of the strong yellow and blue fabrics, and added some small areas of solid.  And all those funny fabrics and blocks I wasn't sure about came together with the new blocks into a quilt I liked.

The idea of quilting a sampler made me feel really nervous.  I had been looking at lots of quilts with spiral quilting on them and I loved the idea of it.  There are lots of tutorials around on how to quilt a spiral on your home machine and they make it seem achievable so I decided to give it a try. I can only say that this is the perfect technique for a big quilt on a domestic machine.   The hardest part is in the middle so its out of the way first, there are no stops and starts to tie off, and it looks great.  The quilting really brings the design together.

Lastly I finished the quilt with "Susie's Magic Binding".  I love the effect of the little piping, and I really love that I didn't have to spend a long time hand sewing it down.

This quilt is a donation quilt for  Foster Hope a group which supports children in foster care.


Linking back the to finish up here where there are lots of other lovely finishes to see.

2017 Finish-A-Long: Q1 2nd Finish

My second finish for Q1 of the Finish-A-Long is an art quilt piece for an online group I belong to.  This is the 3rd in a series, and there is still one more to make.  I've never worked in a series before so it has been a new experience.  Our challenge theme was 'Gondwana'. 

My series has been about reinterpreting my place in the world. I wanted to explore how New Zealand is portrayed in a style that was different from green scenery and endangered native birds and to make a strong statement.

I chose to create an abstract image of the continent Zealandia in the warm colours like those used in undersea maps. After breaking from Gondwanaland Zealandia has been mostly under the sea. Scientists argue about whether it submerged completely then partially rose, or whether it only partly submerged. In either case only 10% of Zealandia is visible above water; this part of the continent forms the islands of New Zealand.

The fabrics are my own hand dyes (with maybe a borrowed green; green is my dye weakness), cotton batting, backing is the drop cloth from a dying session (perhaps my other dye weakness is my messiness).

I'm pleased to say I finished all three of the projects on my Q1 list here.  The linkup for the finishes is here and there is lots of eye candy representing lots of hard work.

2017 Finish-A-Long: Q1 1st finish

Its the end of the first quarter (Q1) for the  2017 Finish-A-Long Q1 and I'm pleased to say I finished all three of the projects on my list here.   First up is this Wonky Stars Quilt.   I haven't quilted any 'real' sized quilted for quite some time because I've had the joy owning a long arm machine.  A couple of years ago when my husband received a cancer diagnosis, we had an out-of-the blue offer to buy the machine, and we accepted it.  It relieved us of having to rent studio space for the machine, and at the time was a load off our minds.  Good outcome.  But it has meant I've had to face quilting my own quilts.

This wonky quilt is intended as a donation for the charity Foster Hope, which helps out kids in foster care because the often go into care with nothing.    The blocks were made by a couple of friends, and there is another quilt from the blocks, which my friend is quilting.

I kept the quilting simple with some wonky, wavy, lines spaced well apart and the quilt is lovely and soft.

I'm really pleased with this quilt - wonky stars are one of my favourite blocks  - and look forward to being able to give it away.

There are lots of finished on the link up.  Check them out here

Around here

My sewing at the moment seems to be focused on a couple of quilt-a-long projects I've joined. For a while now I've wanted to use u...