Thursday, July 14, 2016

Baby it's cold outside....

I am very lucky to have a group of extremely creative and crafty girlfriends with whom I catch up with most Thursday evenings. We began as a quilting group and then as invitations extended to a few who are more inclined to knit, crochet and spin I began to understand the world of wool that currently exists. Up until a few years ago I only knew about wool purchased from a department store, that which is found in balls, matching dye-lots in a range of ply and is either pure or poly. And in so far as needles....well they certainly didn't screw off to become interchangeable and had nothing to do with 'magic'.

So after lugging my machine over most weeks for a bit of sewing I decided it was probably easier to yield to the masses and reignite my knitting skills.

A year ago I was lucky enough to accompany a few of the girls to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show  and with my spending money in hand purchased my first skein of indie dyed sock wool, Rose Gardens by Kathy's Fibres.

And now, after weeks of sitting at drum lessons (which causes me to miss some Thursdays) and just shy of this year's Bendigo show I'm celebrating a pair of finished socks, an item of clothing that two years ago I wouldn't have dreamed I could have attempted. And, I'm so glad I now have a beautiful warm pair of hand knitted socks to wear in the middle of this bitter winter we're currently experiencing!

So thank you crafty friends for inspiring, coaching and above all, sharing.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Out of the blue....

Well haven't been blogging. It seems life, the universe and everything has been conspiring to use up every second I have to put a stop to anything more than an instagram post every now and then. I'm not saying that's going to change very much any time soon but I've noticed a few blogs I read have also surfaced to say they're back...but no promises. So I thought, well perhaps I should make an effort at least. So here I am.

Quilty efforts of late have been sporadic and I've found myself assembling tops and not getting much further. However I have had two babies arrive (both on the same day actually!) and that gave me the opportunity to enjoy the scaled down, fast finishing that comes with cot sized quilts.

Foolishly I didn't get a photo of the first finish which was a scrappy 16 patch using 2.5" squares beyond the instagram layout on the floor. I'm hoping that as this one was gifted to Joe's nephew's brand new daughter we'll get to see it again. This quilt was pot luck and I was very much relieved that the baby was a little girl as many of the colours from my scrap bucket tend to be pinks and reds.

The other was for a dear friend's first grandchild which I patiently waited until I learned that he was indeed a little boy. This gave me the opportunity to play with blue fabric and everything either side which I pulled out of the cupboard and put back in (and took out again and put back in!) trying to decide what I could possibly make. I ended up settling on solids and isosceles triangles using up some fabrics that I had just enough to cut out a 6" strip.

For the back I used the absolute last of the strips and the corners of the triangles. I can honestly say I used absolutely all of the turquoise, grey, ochre and green and ended up with a back that looks like a front. Not my usual style but so pleased with how it turned out.

And then I bound it all with the indigo which turned out rather smart.

And whilst we're talking about blue, a message popped up on my email a few weeks ago which was totally out of the blue. I received an email from Artsy asking me to link back to a blog post I had made way back in 2013. I had mentioned in that post how I thought a piece of fabric (which was in fact an up-cycled shirt of Joe's that I couldn't bear to part with) looked like the work of Yayoi Kusama. Artsy strive to make all the world's art accessible to anyone online and as part of their site feature the work of Yayoi Kusama and asked if I would be kind enough to make a link from my site to theirs. How they found me from my one little mention I'll never understand but seeing as they had gone to so much effort and were so nice about it (I did email back to make sure it was a real request!) I thought, why not. So if you have a moment check out their site and of course Yayoi Kusama.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Plus One....

This is the year of the '18th' in our household with R seemingly at an 18th party just about every second week. R requested a Plus Quilt for a special friend's birthday which is coming up mid month.

Even though she actually asked way back in July....I still managed to only find time for it these past two weeks. Whilst it was a bit of a rush to the finish line which reduced due to booking in a machine service, I still managed it in good time and to actually take some photos before it leaves. (I made another quilt earlier this year and it left before I could get any photos and I'm still kicking myself.)

R and I discussed favourite colours and I could see her staring at my lovely stash of DS Quilts Picadilly which was released through Spotlight. It has the perfect amount of vibrant green, blue and pink which were all requested and even though based on traditional fabric designs has a modern edge perfect for an 18 year old.

I reluctantly agreed, dreading the prospect of cutting into much loved and hoarded fabric. But to my absolute delight it was being discontinued and discounted at Spotlight and I subsequently ran around to the four that span my area and picked up all bar one of the designs.

And because the prices were so cheap I managed to get two lots of yardage for a back...I had options even! I opted for the tiny blue flower and bound it the blue mosaic (my name for it!).

The plus quilt pattern is by Jeni Baker and is perfect for featuring a whole fabric line. I was a little short on the specified quantity in the range so I added in a bright yellow and orange micro gingham.

Now that the photos are taken, the quilt is ready for wrapping, and the blog written, I'm linking up with Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Scrappy pineapple....

Blogging is rare these days but this quilt finish is so lovely I just had to share....or at least record it so I can review in years to come!

This is my scrappy pineapple quilt that I started to make blocks for last January.
After falling madly in love with Crazy Mom's Plenty of Pineapples version that capped off her 2014 year and her 101 scrap finishes, I had to have one.

It was the perfect sewing project to take away to our shack last summer where I have limited sewing facilities. I set myself up for sewing all of my 20 blocks at once, each growing at the same level of intensity, row by row. It allowed me to balance my colours matching each strip opposite each other. I guess this ensured a little bit of colour continuity for me. I managed to get to 11" sized blocks before having to come home. And once we did, we all went back to work and school and those blocks have sat in their unfinished state for the last 8 months or so.
I rifled past them in the storage box every now and then and funnily enough started to like the blocks less. I was using scraps, many of which had been turned over in the scrap pile for some time so I was probably a little sick of them. Other fabrics had been gifted, thrown into the blocks because they weren't really my usual choices. So the whole idea of a pineapple quilt of my own loomed less and less on the near horizon.

That is until L invited us to her 'Girls Night In' fundraiser for cancer research which also came with a request for raffle items. Naturally, I thought I could easily make a quilt and set about sorting through the cupboard. My first instinct was to make a kitchen sink quilt out my orphan blocks. (Which I did make but fell soooo in love with it couldn't bear to part with it...but that's another story.) Another sort through bits and pieces and I chanced upon the now very buried pineapple blocks. Bingo, these only needed corners and they'd be finished! That done, multiplied by 20 blocks and a 5" border delivered a lovely little lap size quilt of 52" x 64".

And guess what? I love it again. Isn't it funny how that happens? But I had the good sense after my first about-face to tell L that it was for her straight away, that way I couldn't change my mind again!
The binding is scrappy, cobbled together from left over ends of quilt bindings. The backing fabric was gifted by M. Add that to the gifted scraps that appear in the blocks I feel so many of my sewing friends have made this quilt come to life for L's fundraiser. I'm almost wishing I might be able to win it back!

And to celebrate this finish, I'm linking up to this quilt's inspiration, none other than Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One for the school and one for the!

Our family were firmly in the 'we're not cat people' camp. That is until we found a kitten abandoned in our outside laundry back in December. I'm not sure who adopted who, but in that short amount of time George* has become the fifth member of the household. So much so, after a little health problem recently I decided he needed a little quilt of his own to snuggle. (I've clearly run out of babies to make quilts for at the moment!)

I had a block in my head based on a quilt I had seen in the b&b we had stayed at in Culemborg in Holland a couple of years ago. I searched all of my block books and found that it could be made several ways, depending on how you placed your fabrics. Additionally, the block came with a plethora of different names! The one I opted for was Father's Choice and set about making George's quilt in a scrappy fashion.

I've used 9 blocks and I really love how the joining of the blocks makes for another star appear in the centre.The binding is also a combination of scrappy blacks...all bits of binding that I end up having left over from other bindings. My only problem with using these binding bits is that I bind by hand at 2.5" width and by machine at 2.25". Luckily I was machine binding this one as I figured that it would be in the wash more often than usual, so was able to trim down the wider bits.

There's been a bit more quilt action happening in between life as we currently know studies, R's year 12 studies, L joining the rowing team....all of which cuts into my sewing time!

This past Easter, Clare invited the girls around for a sewing day and to catch the last rays of warm autumn sunshine before the chill set in. I used the time to cut up a bunch of solids from the stash and ended my day with a pile of lovely triangles.

The autumn weather was obviously influencing the selection as I had initially intended something with a bit more of a pastel outlook.

But I love this colour scheme nonetheless and whilst the photos seem a little dull due to late afternoon photography, it's really quite vibrant.

The back is the last of some Ikea fabric I purchased way back when Ikea first opened here in Adelaide. I think it was part of the Cecilia range that also included the 'birds'.

The orange and pink co-ordinate beautifully with the front. This one will go to school as a fundraiser.
Oh...and here is George checking out the quilt action....cheeky orange cat!

* George is George because he has quite a definite cross across his back, a little like the St George Cross in the Union Jack.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Modern Maples.....

Way back in October my sister commissioned me to make a birthday quilt for her friend. I suggested the Modern Maples pattern which is a free pattern that has been floating around for some time. The recipient lives in the Adelaide Hills which is the city's home to autumnal foliage....even when it's not Autumn. (It was actually Spring time when she received her quilt in late October!)

I loved making this quilt. The blocks are really straight forward and is a great way to feature individual fabrics in a large-sh way. I chose to make my maple leaves traditionally autumnal so I got to use quite a few fabrics that were languishing in the cupboard because they don't usually go with my other fabric pulls. But together in this quilt....they were awesome.

The back features the last of my Ikea bird fabric in the brown. In fact, it was several long strip pieces that I jigsawed together in Kona Snow frames. My photos don't show this but it merged together really well.

If you'd like to make this quilt you can find the free download here!

Linking up to Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday....even if I did finish it a few Friday's ago!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Strips from the scrap bag....

I've often said how I don't throw away any of my fabric off-cuts. These are stored various storage systems around my sewing space. I have zip-lock bags of triangles from bindings and selvages. Bigger pieces are 'filed' in other receptacles. But my best bits are the strips that get cut from backing sides or rectangles left over from cutting out blocks. These are all filed in my strip scrap bag which is one of those study studded plastic bags that you get when you buy a set of sheets.

The strip scrap bag has been bursting at the seams for some time now and needed a little urgent attention. So with one of my client's baby due date drawing closer, I thought I'd merge the two situations to my quilt making advantage. I love a small baby quilt finish. It delivers such satisfaction.

Ready made strips are ideal for scrappy log cabins. Very little preparation aside from straightening an edge or two...unless you're purposefully going for wonky....! I chose a range of centre squares of varying sizes and rainbow colours to start me off and worked out from there. I was aiming for 12 blocks around 14" right from the start, so it was a really simple process of chain piecing each one. I had the whole cot sized top done in  a day.

The binding is a Sarah Fielke black and white from Spotlight that I had in the cupboard...I've cut the selvedge...for storage of can't remember the name but Mondiali rings a bell. The back is a piece of Ikea's Cecilia bird fabric in green that my sister gave me recently. (But not shown.)

All in all...something lovely from seemingly not much at all! A cot sized quilt (41" x 54") that was gifted today and received with overwhelming delight. Yay!

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday.