Thursday, 28 April 2011

Better Late than Never

I have decided to join the "Tis The Season" stitch a long a little late than never. I have been sitting on the book for a couple of months now. My thought pattern was, I have a heap of projects on the go - I should finish a few before starting another........ I have been a silent observer of the online stitch along, watching the beautiful stitcheries and their fabrics posted by their creators - the best part being from one design how many different looks that each quilter has chosen. That's it, I would love to be a part of it. Okay, I need a background fabric..... Nothing appealed to me at the fabric shops. Silly thing is as I was searching for another fabric in my stash, I fell on what will now be the background for my stitcheries.

So I have quite a bit to catch up on and have not decided what fabrics to sash my stitchings with but I am sure The light bulb moment will occur.
I have started tracing my stitchery hexagons for the Vignette hexagon quilt, only 29 to go.
 Plus my other little project, not so quilty but has used some of the "skills"- My friends daughter is turning 18 and is having a nautical themed party. While looking on the net for decoration ideas I kept coming across nautical flags. The flags have a double meaning for instance the "Diver Below" is also the letter A. Brain starts ticking . . . .  I can make those . . . . Out comes the graph paper and I started drawing. The end size of the flags is 8". Don't you just love imperial measurement. It just seems to make it simple. Moat of the flags were easy cuts however three letters I foundation pieced and one had to be needle turned appliqued.

I pillowcased the flags to hide the backs added cotton tabs in the seams when I sewed them for hanging. They will later be stitched to cotton rope. I also used cotton drill as it was a bit heavier duty ( I also prewashed - considering the colours)
Altogether 27 flags. I actually had a lot of fun doing these and it only took about five hours all up, including the designing stage. It helps when letters are doubled up. I have shown the birthday girl as I didn't tell her what I was up to and she loves them to bits. She now has her name spelt in nautical flags. Her party is this Saturday and I can't wait to see them up.
Now back to tracing Tis the season and Vignette.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Why delay ?

A couple of years ago Jenny M and I went shop hopping in Melbourne. Jenny knows all the stores and was "introducing" me to them. At one of the shops we fell in love with a book Simple Pleasures by Anni Downs - Hatched and Patched and we decided to do the quilt together. We went halves in a fat quarter pack with fabrics by American Jane - Moda. We had the best intentions of doing our stitching on our Friday night catchup... Hmmmm more talking than stitching. 

I can't believe I finally finished the stitcheries, It took an interstate move and a lot of very hot days. When the temperature is above 36degrees weeks in a row you tend to bunker down in the coolest room. 
I have not followed Anni's pattern for the finished quilt. I didn't have enough fabrics in the right colours so I made do with what I had, however I did buy online enough to do the borders. Luckily American Jane's recent fabric ranges are all very similar in theme and colour. 

I have also discovered  that I don't like white for a design wall. My black wall was in use so I fashioned a temporary one out of batting, and even though my fabrics were bright and stood out it actually made them appear far busier and blend. I know it reads as a contradiction. Let's just say it wasn't for me. 

Now to explain the delay - all I have to do is add the borders and with it being a small quilt, I will quilt it myself and it will be finished. Ok........ question........ Why is it still on my design wall ( 2 weeks ) without borders?  I will put this question out there as I really don't have an answer. I could say it is because I enjoy the process so much that I don't want it to end........ I have been sewing other things on my machine so it's not because I have been too busy to sit and sew. Again why delay?

On another note I have started tracing the pattern for my stitched hexagons. Leanne had a template in her latest magazine Vignette. Only 24 more to go and I will have enough for the single bed quilt pictured in her magazine....


Monday, 18 April 2011

Rachel's Quilt

Rachel and her family were our neighbours in Melbourne for eleven years. Their kids were about the same age as ours and played in the cul de sac most weekends. We would catch up over the fence, wave and help each other as you do. It's funny how neighbours share a certain part of their lives. It's not sticky beaking but you do have a bond. So you can imagine our shock when this lovely person that always has a bit of news to share or time for a chat gives you the news of early stage 2 breast cancer. My life certainly gained an all new perspective. Her family of course stepped up to the plate but as a neighbour I wanted to help but not interfere. They needed their time to deal with things.
With her treatment  and surgeries I knew they would have along road ahead. I really did feel for them. I was in shock and I wasn't the one with the diagnosis.
At this time I worked in a patchwork shop, so when I went into work the next day I started looking for the boldest brightest colours I could find. My boss pointed out a layer cake - Fresh by Deb Strain Moda. The top fabric had been staring at me for weeks and I never really liked it. They were orange and red tulips on a blue background - just not me. However when you actually picked it up and looked through the rest of the layer the, the designs and colours were wow. I did include that top fabric and loved it.

I bought the layercake. I now felt like I was helping. I booked the quilter, and asked her as a favour to do a rush job, and started sewing.
I backed it in polar fleece, and used wool batting, my quilter was a bit nervous using a stretch fabric for the backing but ended up loving the finished product. So did I.

Rachel loved the quilt and would take it hospital for every treatment. She used to get very cold and it was cuddly and warm. When the nurses would come in to see how she was going, Rachel loved the way the conversation changed and directed onto the quilt with it's colours or the pattern of a particular fabric. She liked the way it turned the conversation away from The Big C topic.
I am really pleased to say Rachel's surgeries and treatment were successful and she is doing very well. It has been over three years and she is back at work.


Thursday, 14 April 2011

I did It

I am probably the last patchworker to order fabrics from overseas. I am always a little nervous buying fabric online and support Australian business. With the Australian dollar doing so well against the USD I thought it was time to jump in and "give it a go" So with credit card in hand, heart in throat and husband looking over shoulder ( to make sure I did it right), I hopped on to a very well known site and placed my order. Hubby is not good to go shopping with. When I placed my order he says " is that all you want?" So I went back to buy a little more hehe.

 I was really impressed that the fabrics were plastic wrapped.

Even with postage I was amazed at how much I saved. The best part was it arrive in under 2 weeks so at 8.45am, a knock at the door and 3 bundles arrived. The best way to start the day. With great excitement I opened the bundles.......

The Jelly Rolls will be made into Xmas pressies for the family, the blues are for my oldest son and the rest for me, I have ideas for them but need to sleep on it before I decide.

This week has been a great week for deliveries, I also got one from my Mum in Melbourne. She does a bit of shopping for me from time to time.

The dresden wedges are going to help me with the Jelly Rolls above. I am hoping to start that project this week. The little dish is a garlic and nut grater, there is a brush that comes with it to clean the gratings into your recipe. Unbeknown to Mum I have a matching olive bowl so I was absolutely chuffed that it completes the set.

This photo also arrived in my package. Unfortunately earlier this year Grandad passed away and Mum came to Perth for his funeral. This photo was taken of the four of us using the timer on my camera ( I taught myself a new function) As you can see there are four generations of sewers posing for the shot. It is only in the last few years Nanna has stopped sewing. Now I get to share my projects with her.



Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Vignette Hexagon Quilt

A couple of years ago a friend showed me some work she was doing with 2 1/2 inch hexagons and reproductions. I fell in love with the idea of hand stitching a quilt. It was not going to be finished tomorrow, it was something that would be there as long as I wanted it to be. When I got home I had a look at my stash and just couldn't decide which fat 1/4's to cut into. So after a very restless sleep I woke realizing that this just had to be a scrap quilt. ( I seem to solve a lot of my quilting "issues" overnight when I should be sleeping). And so it began. My theme for my quilt is - the fabric must be a scrap from a project I have made over the years. The colors I have used for gifts and myself are so diverse, it will be interesting to see how it will come together. The best part of this idea was that I used up all those bits of bindings as they are the exactly the right size.
 After seeing Leanne's version with the little stitchery, Yippee....
These are some of my flowers. I have been playing with the effect of stripes but I am limited with them being scraps - the fun of the challenge.
Fabrics cut and stored ready for papers.

I use this little project bag to take my hexagons to any place of waiting - train station, school pick ups, Dr's etc. If I have to wait I might as well see something for my time. I have also found stitching with silk thread an absolute dream. I found the 100% cotton seemed to tangle. 
I now find myself putting aside little bits for my hexagons whenever I cut a new project, and just quietly I probably buy a little more so I have more leftover. After all this quilt is supposed to have a hexagon representing each project I have sewn.  I am looking forward to Vignette Issue 3 to see how Leanne Beasley finishes the quilt. 


Sunday, 10 April 2011

This is it......

After many months, maybe a couple of years (let's start with the truth) of reading the blogs of patchworkers and thoroughly enjoying being a part of their lives, I have finally bit the bullet and started my own.
It is actually quite scary putting yourself "out there" in blog land. I hope you will enjoy reading what I have to share with you. Now where do I start? That I will save for another day.