Sunday, April 29, 2012


I love this blog (& this pillow especially) and read it regularly, Svetlana's style and use of colour really speaks to me. I was hitting a wall with the hand quilting on the "fenced in" quilt...too much of the same block and a bit of a sore wrist. I needed a break. I had been thinking about making a(nother) quilted cushion cover, they are such a quick fix. So I followed the links and picked up Tamiko's tutorial with printable template from here. I think I didn't resize it properly 'cos my inside square was the weirdest dimensions. Anyhoo, I stuck with it figuring I'd just fudge it if it wasn't big enough for my 16" cushion.

While paper piecing brings so much joy in the precise points, it creates a lot of chaos and waste. All that paper to be ripped off at the end and I still feel I am wasting fabric with the cut-larger-trim-after strategy.
I am an impatient paper ripper outer, so I thought my unpicker might speed things up a bit. It did. And it ripped through the fabric too. Arrrggggg! I had already put the whole shebang together.

So, I did a fix-it with a teeny tiny zig-zag and a little piece of material for reinforcement. It's a cushion, and it's for my house so no biggy. I think it worked out OK.
Here is the finished product posing nicely. Can't even see the boo boo. The centres are from a FQ of 'dandy kaleidoscope' for Alexander Henry that I got at the quilt show last year. Really had no idea what to do with it when I got it but I loved the big, fat and bright flowers. I thought it'd be perfect for this cushion project.I filled the rest in with scraps of this and that. It is sashed in a light denim/heavy chambray. Weird perhaps but I reckon it works. It's a nice weight. I machine quilted the chambray and then hand quilted the inside of the centre square.
The back is chambray and the envelope close is a smaller version of the fussy cut prints. I am so pleased with how it came out. Even with the little tear.
Oh, and a little off kilter. Imperfections...make me human. I am embracing it, overall this is a great little cushion.
Some more detail. I can't even see the repair job. Glad I didn't unpick the whole thing and do it again which I thought about doing for about......a microsecond.
Lastly, this is morning tea for today. we had some very dear friends come and visit us from the city this morning. Luckily my boy had me up at 445 (am!!!!!) so I was able to bake a batch of almond macaroons and a butter cake with vanilla icing. The kids loved the cake icing on the cake.

Friday, April 27, 2012

And another thing

This is turning into a rather blog heavy week. There's some stuff I made that I haven't blogged about for all the normal, baby, too busy crafting to blog about crafting.
 This is the bundle that became Finn's quilt, a little baby boy born way back in Feb (I think?). He is the baby of one of my sister's long time best mates, and a friend of mine too. I was more than happy to make a baby quilt for my sister to give to the new Mama's and bubba. I was given two green Alice in Wonderland themed FQs. They were quite tricky to match out with some coordinating fabrics but i think I did OK in the end. It is backed in the white and green checked flannel - I'm thinking I will back all future baby quilts in flannel...except it gets so hot here in summer.

I went with simple strippy piecing and it was done in no time at all. You will have to take my word for it that I hand quilted it in a clam shell pattern (made my own template that I just traced on as I went) with quilting cotton. There are no images of the finished product cos, umm, I forgot. The pics you see here were taken with my crappy phone. Sorry.*Must try harder*
Some softies that I finally sewed up. I picked up the softie panel at Saffron Craig's stall at the Sydney quilt show last year and finally got around to stitching them together. They are too cute. My little boy likes to make them go weeeeeee down the slippery dip.
The detail is pretty cool. The koala has a koala backpack. Cute!
HORSEY! Horsey is a toy from my childhood. I really wish I had before and after photos *Must try harder* and some of the actual process. He is a piece of rubbery foam cut into a horsey shape for little cowboys and girls. You'd be amazed how many small children can fit on. He used to be covered in a bright red terry with a vinyl base and saddle. I decided he needed a new coat before my little boy was going to ride him. My Mum was my assistant in this process. The measurements and pattern writing alone took hours. First we made a calico trial cover to make sure it would fit. And it did. Like a glove! It is now a liner. Then my Mum sewed this great chocolate brown fine corduroy - I was afraid of all those bumps and tight corners, look at that head. To our complete astonishment it again fit like a glove. It took us the best part of an afternoon to do but now he is back in full employment as a child's plaything.
Googly eyes came afterwards and completed him. They are big sew on ones, I didn't trust the sticky type. I think he needs a saddle and perhaps a halter but at the moment he's much loved as he is. Great to recycle such an old, old (I am old) toy.
One day when I was in the middle of about 56 million things I decided I NEEDED a needle book. Right now. I googled. Et voila! I stumbled across this nifty tutorial
I used some of Heather Bailey scraps. Hand quilted. Improvised with a covered button.
Then I had to get back to my 56 million things I was doing before, but it felt great to have  a needle case.
Lastly, I have just picked up a bonanza of men's cotton shirts to add to my stash already hoarded from the hubby's throw outs. For free. There is an exchange of sorts that occurs in the ferry shed on this island. You take the stuff you don't want down there for others to recycle. Every so often you hit the jackpot. All sorts of things; clothes, toys, books, blenders, toasters, cushions etc. The shirts have quilt stamped on them, so watch this space.....must finish some other things first.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Pics Old Quilts ( A self indulgent post)

I have a bit of a Goldilocks thing going on with getting decent images of my quilts. Too rainy and overcast, too windy or too sunny and bright. Never really just right.

I have been meaning to get better photos of the two quilts that live on our bed these days. Today started out so beautifully. We packed the bubba into the stroller and headed to the cafe for a coffee and for me to shoot some quilts on the wharf. It was still pretty bright but they're better than any previous attempts by a long shot.

I have called this Bright Stars for want of a more imaginative title. Hand quilted in Pearl 8 cotton. 6" Piano key border.Scrappy binding.

It is made up of so many wonderful fabrics; Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, lots of Heather Bailey, Jennifer Paganelli plus some other odds and sods.
It looked quite chaotic in the early stages with all that colour and pattern everywhere. I think it works. I even used purple. It's kind of my signature to NOT use purple but I tried this time and I think I like it. My only regret was not making it one row bigger. It is 6 x 5 star blocks, it could have been 6 x 6 as there's not much overhang on the bed.

 The Ocean Quilt. This one is so hard to photograph. A combination of it's size, a generous queen (each block was squared up to 20' and sashing and borders an extra 2.5") and all the white make this baby a nightmare. I love it. I love the colours. I love the ocean. I love my ocean quilt. Is it weird to love something so much that you made yourself?

 The back is a bit ugly to be fair. If i had my time again this quilt would be backed with panels of solid. There's a lot of hand quilting and it gets lost in all the busy-ness.
I love these Amy Butler fabrics. They are so vibrant and fun. I am itching to get my hands on some Lark and Gypsy - hint hint hubby if you're reading this.

Another reason for revisiting these quilts is I have got up the gumption to submit these babies to the Fresh Modern Quilts Flickr administrator. Now I must play the waiting game. The quilts on this site blow my mind so it would doubly blow my mind to be accepted. Anxiety levels rising..... I GOT ON I GOT ON I GOT ON. Where to from here? I am dizzy with this small success.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Stuff I made

I may have been quiet on the blogging front but I have been a busily crafting. Here are a few things I have made, or am making since I last blogged ( excluding QAL progress which gets a post all of it's own).

Some big, soft, fat, fluffy cushions. Here they are on our day bed on my new favouritist quilt ever. More on that later.

This little pink and yellow beauty is made up of Tallahassee blocks from here and totally inspired by this cutie . I just hand quilted it with Pearl 8 cotton.
Close up of my courthouse steps showing X detail in the hearth. Inspired by this pillow
And my latest and bestest quilty finish. I don't really know what to call it. It's a bit dappled as I took the golden photo opportunity when it arose yesterday. No mean feat as the following needed to occur simultaneously - baby needed to be safe in bed, preferably asleep AND it needed to stop raining long enough for the railing to be dry and mud free and so I could take the pic. The stars aligned and voila! a dappledy picture. It hasn't been washed yet, it'll be very interesting to see how it looks after a wash. Hand quilted in Pearl 8 (my new thing for sure) in all the white sections, each border piano key and tied in the centre of the multi coloured squares. Did I mention how much I love it?

I LOVE IT! It's backed in a super wide special backing fabric, hot pink. It was nice to not piece the back for a change and it makes the basting process simpler as no bows and puckers to deal with due to crooked seams.
An icky, big and cranky spider. I accidentally busted up her web when I hung my quilt over the deck railing. I dislodged several smaller residents but was mighty pleased this big girl didn't get on my quilt. I don't like spiders very much which is problematic as we live in a spidery kind of place, and with all the rain we've been having they seem to be more visible than normal. I like mozzies even less so she gets to stay. She's outside at least. She is a golden orb spider, and spins enormous webs to catch her prizes and they grow pretty big - her abdomen is about an inch long. No joke!!
A close up of my quilting. So happy with this quilt.

A bright and scrappy 'fenced in' quilt from Elizabeth Hartman's Practical Guide to Patchwork. I have added extra border to give it enough drop for my sisters queen sized bed. Yesterday morning when I got up at 5:30am I had 36 trimmed but separate blocks. By 1pm I had a basted quilt ready to be quilted. I went pretty hard to get this done. As I baste outside on our deck, which is covered, I need a rain free period to do it. It started raining again last night...and hasn't stopped!

Doesn't that fat red strip in bottom right stand out? This is the 4th biggish quilt I've made with these bright materials. I never thought I'd say it but I need a break from them. I love this quilt but I am glad it's going to live somewhere else. I have just 3 weeks to get this baby done and gifted before we head OS for a month. Eek, can I do it? We will all have to wait and see.

Have a fun and safe week. Ness xx

Quilting along x 2

I have joined a new quilt along! It's a half square triangle block of the month quilt along hosted by In Color Order, I was sold as soon as I read that it was suitable for a layer cake. I have had a layer cake of Moda's Le Petite Poulet for almost a year and this seemed a good thing to do with it. Each month for a year there is to be a new HST block, at the end I will have 12 blocks to make a little quilt.

So, in no particular order...

These are my blocks so far, I especially love that star block. I am up to date awaiting Mays block.

The Skill Builder Sampler is nearing completion, with just 6 blocks to go. I have started thinking about sashing and layout etc and even bought some fabric for just this purpose.

This month was all about irregular shapes, some of which posed quite a challenge to me.
Block #28 - Tumblers. I have made a tumbler quilt before so this was fun. It's not quite square - oops. This is where my cunning sashing plans will come into play.
Block #29 - Apple core. Holy moly! This took forever. The template making. The tracing and cutting. The pinning, oh, the pinning and then the stitching. It paid off though, my block lies nice and flat. I deliberately chose busy fabrics to hide any sins should I commit them. As it turns out it wasn't needed as it all worked out and now I'm a bit sorry as all the other blocks on flickr look awesome. You'd think I'd have learnt by now!
Block #30 - Equilateral triangles. Wow! This looked easy enough. Wrong. I lost some points and in one of the rows seams don't match up. I thought I'd like to make a triangle quilt but it's harder than it looks. A hot tip I got from the flickr group is to press seams open. I will try it next time for sure.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Quilting wonkily along

Blocks 26 and 27 in the Skill Builder Sampler quilt along continued in the wonky fashion. The first was a wonky star. I made a whole quilt worth of these way back..last year. It even used the same Silly Boodilly tutorial that I had used.

Even after the break in the SBS it was nice to have a familiar and relatively simple block to piece.

Block #27 - wonky or liberated fan block. Now, this was fun! No templates, no intricate piecing, no curves (unless you count ironing a curve under). I really liked this block.

This month is irregular shapes like tumblers and hexagons etc. Looking forward to a new challenge. I will get a pic of all my blocks together soon, I am loving this quilt. Big and bright and fresh. Only 9 blocks to go. Whew!

Finishes and beginnings

I am H.O.P.E.L.E.S.S. But I am trying to be a better blogger.

I have some stuff to share. My Sherbet Pips tumbler quilt. Hand quilted with red and white embroidery cottons. I ended up with a pink binding because my supplies shop was all out of the fabric I had in mind. I really like how it looks. I opted to keep the odd shaped edges and bound it with a straight (non bias) binding, pivoting and folding at each point. Needless to say for such a little quilt it took a bit of time to get the binding on but it worked out really well. A good learning experience.
And the back. Pieced with some red and blue and a strip of tumblers I had as extras. This quilt was really an experiment from start to finish and it came out better than I could have hoped. I will definitely being doing more tumbler quilts in the future - a great way to show cute fabrics like these. It's a bit of a weird size - 41" x 62" and shape but I reckon it's pretty cute.

I have been on a bit of a cushion making rampage since Christmas - an awesome way to use up scraps, extras and all those batting cut offs. So we have...
..from L to R ; Sherbet Pips tumbler, ugly wonky square in a square (reject and reminder from SBS) and little squares in mostly Heather Bailey. They are posing on our day bed for the photo but spend their time squished under us on the couch inside.

I have some more that haven't been photographed yet. This post is turning into a to-do list. Eek!

A finish. HST hot and cold ziggy zaggy. Hand quilted in all different hot and cold embroidery cottons (am yet to see how this method holds up). Bound in a black and white stripe which makes for a good, crisp finish I think.

A bit of a closer look at the quilting - I first quilted 1/4" from the zig zag seams then did varying width zig zag straight line quilting. It is more densely quilted than I anticipated and took longer than expected as it's not especially big - a good lap size I guess.
And the back. Pieced in some upcycled off cuts from my Mum's next door neighbour. A few extra HSTs in there too. Oh, and my cheeky monkey boy who likes to ham it up for the camera.

This quilt has gone to live with my Mum who gushed over it every time she saw it, or it was mentioned. Works well for me too, I get to see it occasionlly.
I love hand quilting! :)

A sneak peek at my latest obsession. This quilt got in my head after seeing this picture
I couldn't stop thinking about it. So, I made up one block. and continued making them until I had 30. Added a piano key border and voila! another bed sized quilt awaiting my stitchy fingers.

I also managed to make and gift a baby quilt to a perfect little baby boy. I have been busily crafting away just not reporting my crafti-ness.