Friday, December 28, 2007

How Not To Join Binding!

I've had a break today from piecing the blocks on the new club banner and I decided to finish quilting the bright Irish Chain I started earlier in the year. A great day sewing, made heaps of progress and only fell at the last hurdle when joining the beginning and the end of the binding together:

Oops, time for a break, time for a Kit-Kat!

Mum, You've Got Coordinates!

Is what he, of Honey Bunch fame, exclaimed last night as he walked by my design wall. "See, maths is useful," says I. He was referring to the little sticky labels I have put on each block for the new club banner. I have added the green quadrilaterals to the centre of half the blocks. I need to get these blocks joined together because my design wall is not long enough to get the other half of the blocks up at the same time. Hence the labels, so they get put in the right place when I am stitching.

Hey, I'm quilting!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Blogger's Block

O my, nearly a whole month since I last posted, how slack is that! I shall blame the busy end of school year and the fact that I have been spring cleaning my house - well parts of it! I am having a bedroom re-wallpapered so all of the stuff in that bedroom is dotted around the rest of the house until after Christmas. I have reorganised all my quilting magazines and I'm not going to tell you how many I have, auffice to say I have a dawning realisation that I need to STOP BUYING so much stuff! (And in the words of the Tui Beer ad - Yeah Right!)

Not much on the actual real-life quilting side:

I haven't finished my Lazygal Winter Class wall hanging :-(

I have made a few more blocks for the new Cotton On Quilters banner :-)

(the colour is not right, deeper and browner in real life)

Apart from that not much else is going on at the moment. maybe after Christmas I will feel more inspired.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Our Quilt is going to America!

Whoa, life has got a bit crazy lately and is unlikely to recover for a couple of weeks.

The quilt Janice and I made for the Human Rights Challenge, (which won one of 2 awards and which you can read about on this blog) is currently being exhibited in Parliament until the end of next week. I attended the opening reception on Monday evening, very nice (Bellamy's does a very nice line in nibbles, including a 'melt in the mouth' beef fillet steak bite.) I found out that the two winning quilts are being sent to the USA to the State University of Michigan Museum's upcoming exhibition called "Quilts and Human Rights" (Jan 15 to May 15, 2008.) What a lovely surprise for us! Apparently we were supposed to already know about this, but due to a glitch in an email addy the correspondence got sent into the ether, never to return! Now all I have to do is win Lotto on Saturday!!

I have my rookie quilt class to teach tomorrow night and I need to buy a new iron to replace the one that died last week.

It is Cotton On Quilters' end of year meeting on Saturday and I want to hunt out some decorations for the lunch.

I haven't done my junior reports which are due Friday.

I haven't done 2 lots of marking which are not urgent but need to be done by the end of this week (ahem maybe the beginning of next week - the reports have a higher priority!)

Saturday of next week I am travelling to Wellington again to meet up with Linda from Canada, who is visiting New Zealand and who I am taking on a quilty shopping trip. We have only 'met' on-line so it will be fun to meet up in person.

After that it will be the last week of term and Junior Prizegiving and then I need to give my house a cleaning blast. That'll take us up to Christmas.

Somewhere in there my son (he of honey bunch fame) needs to have a 17th birthday celebration of some kind.

As for quilting content, I have:

(a) finished the letters for my Lazy Gal Winter Class quilt:
(b) done a test block for Cotton On Quilters' new banner:
Isn't this a cool block? Janice designed it for us on EQ6. My test block doesn't look very square. I think its the way I smoothed it onto the design wall. One down, 47 to go!

(c) finished the third applique test block using the ladder stitch method. Can't show you a photo 'cos Im soaking it to try and get out the supposedly washable kids' felt pen - well, what do I expect with red I ask myself. I'll have to get the napisan out to see if that will help. As far as the method goes I found it took me twice as long as the freezer paper method. Maybe because the daisy flower shape has 8 inward curves. No hand applique method is going to be quick, I suspect.

Well, that is enough content for about 4 post's worth. You are getting it all at once 'cos I know I wont get blogging again until at least next week (see above!)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

More on Applique

So, I still haven't got back to the hand applique. Got side-tracked onto the Lazy Gal class. But my friend Ruth got this book from USA (second hand)
It shows how to use a ladder stitch to applique. I'll give it a go and report back soon (or not so soon, as the case may be - I really don't know where the time goes to)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A rush of blood to the head!

Just because I have nothing to do (ahem!) I have joined an online class called Lazy Gal Winter Class. The challenge is to make a Christmas themed wall quilt. The only rules are you have to make the quilt up out of your own head using no templates, no patterns, no EQ6, not much measuring, just in a free-pieced, improvisational way. I think I'm allowed to use applique. It is being run by Tonya Ricucci of It's called a winter class 'cos it's winter - in the northern hemisphere! I couldn't resist the challenge of adding a kiwi summer Christmas perspective to the group blog. I knew exactly what I want to do almost straight away. It will remain to be seen how far I get :-)

Here is my first effort for the words which will be on the quilt:
You can check out what the other members are doing by clicking on this link or the link in my side bar.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wahoo! Here it is!

I got the binding on the raffle quilt finished so I was able to take it to club today. Pretty darn good even if I do say so myself. Still have to hand stitch down the hanging sleeve and do a label. When that is done we will get a better photo of it.

A big thank you goes to all the club members who worked on this quilt and to Bev Dyke from Nelson for her fantastic quilting, and many thanks to Kim Diehl for giving us permission to use her design for our raffle quilt. Tickets will go on sale towards the end of January next year.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Guess where the fabric was?

I knew the left over backing fabric for the club raffle quilt would be somewhere. I just needed help finding it. See this innocuous pile of left over batting all neatly tied up, sitting on top of a supermarket bag with boxes of Basics Nappy Liners - the kind that melt with heat and are used for art quilts and which are no longer available here in NZ- not that I'm skiting here, you understand, and not that I've done anything with them since I got them :-) Of course this pile is waiting to be put away, along with a myriad of other things of the quilting kind:

Guess what was tied up with the batting underneath?

Yep, the missing backing fabric. It took Frances to find it. I picked up that pile last night, I know I did, but I didn't look underneath did I? Did I remember that it was the left over batting from the raffle quilt? No I did not. I sometimes wonder where my brain is. Still, it was just as well I didn't put the pile away, otherwise we would never have found it!!

The hanging sleeve is machined on and I'm off to do some hand stitching and watch the first episode of Glenn Close in Damages. I hope it's good. It's about time there was something decent on the box.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Back from the Quilter

The raffle quilt for our club is back from the quilters, yippee! Bev has made a fabulous job of it:
I have machine stitched the binding on and it just needs a hanging sleeve put on before I hand stitch the binding down. Then it will be done. I just can't find what I did with the left-over backing fabric. I'm sure it is somewhere. . . around here. . . umm. . .

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hand Applique

Goodness knows, my hand stitching has never been anything to write home about but I am planning to make a quilt from a pattern I bought when I was at the Quilt & Craft Fair in Hamilton a couple of months ago. The pattern is a wall hanging with 16 fused daisy blocks. I want to double it in size to make a bed quilt and I don't like fused applique on bed quilts . What method of hand applique to use?

While I have done heaps of fused wall-hangings I haven't done a huge amount of hand applique and mostly it has been single layer. I've used freezer paper on the back, spray starch painted on the seam allowances and the iron to press them over. I then take the freezer paper out and hand stitch the applique piece on. I thought I would make a couple of samples to try the back basting method and compare it with my freezer paper method. Here are the results so far:

Can you guess which method is which? Which one looks best?

There is a circle to be attached to the middle and the background is cut out as a circle to be appliqued onto another background. Then there are the pieced blocks to do. This ain't gonna be a quick quilt!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Quilting Content - and about time too!

This blog has been bereft of actual real quilting content (as opposed to the fabric acquisition content) so I thought I would post a photo of a teaching sample I have made. Recently I was asked if I would teach some beginners quilting classes as a local fabric shop and this is what I came up with. It measures about 85 cm square and I am calling it the "Rookie Quilt"

I'm teaching it in 6 parts, both in an evening class for 6 weeks and a Saturday class for 3 weeks with double lessons. We have done the nine patch blocks and the inner border(the blue & red bit.) in the evening class and the Saturday class starts tomorrow. I have to say I wasn't totally happy with the design or my fabric choices but deadlines loom and sometimes you just have to go with what you've got.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Final Instalment of Girls' Big Day Out

After lunch we headed for Taia Textile Gallery, the home of the fabulous NZ Quilter magazine. Ann Scott provided us with lovely tea, coffee juice and bikkies and I was humbly thrilled to be presented with a 'thank you' package from the ladies on the trip. I had no idea that a whip-round had been organised - very sneaky weren't they?

Lorraine had made badges for the trip:
Cool eh? I made some giveaway prizes for people who had different things on their badges. Unfortunately some bits fell off during the trip and I couldn't award one of the prizes. So I decided it would go to the "best stripper". I didn't see it, but on one of the other buses Karen got hot and had to remove one of her undergarments!

Our last quilt stop was at Shed 11 on Wellington's wharf for the Quilt Show & Sale put on by Quiltsellers Ltd. A great display of quality quilts, all for sale, and we were allowed to touch them!
Here are some of us discussing the finer points of one of the quilts:
Part of the display. All the quilts folded on the shelves were allowed to be unfold so they could be looked at:
For tired quilters a great little sitting area:

More quilts on display:
A mystery knight in shining armour came to our rescue and took our group photo:
And here we are:

We stopped for dinner at Fisherman's Table on the way home and this is the view from the restaurant:
The weather was getting a bit squally by then!

Post script:
A few days after the trip I got a 'thank you' bag of edible goodies to distribute to the drivers. Audrey signed the card with "blessings from a very tired person". That just about sums it up!

And an apology:
The photos are poor quality because I didn't realise the lens on my camera was dirty. I must have stuck my sticky finger on it by mistake!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More Girls' Big Day Out

After leaving Masterton we headed south over the Rimitukas. Since we had people whose bodies protest at going around bends I had to take things very slowly over the winding road. A challenge for me because I am known for my 'heavy foot', or as a friend puts it, "You drive like a maniac, Helen." Our next port of call was Thimbles and Threads in Upper Hutt. Sharon, the owner was overseas but she had her staff ready to serve us tea and coffee and see to our every purchasing need! Her husband was very helpful carrying our catered lunch boxes up the stairs to the classroom where we partook of more sustanence. I'm sorry to say I forgot to take out my camera at this stop but I did make a couple of purchases:
The bottom ruler is a 6 1/2" by 12 1/2" non-slip ruler from Creative Grids. Gotta love those extra half inches! The top one is an "Easy Angle" from EZ Quilting. I pretty sure it does the same thing as the Fons and Porter ruler for cutting half square triangles from the same width strip of fabric as the matching whole square that I wrote about in an earlier post, but I haven't tried it yet. As you can see it is still un-opened. I think the Fons and Porter product will also do the Quarter Square triangles as well, so I guess it would have been a better choice (had it been available - not sure if you can buy them in NZ)

Hey, no fabric!

Actually, that's not quite true. I did buy 3 metres of black cotton to play with discharge dying but I got that at Quilters' Lane. I also forgot to say in my last post that Lynn and Debbie from Quilters' Lane gave us a squishy packet to use as a club raffle. Very, very generous! Thanks a bunch.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Girl's Big Day Out

It was our club's Mystery Bus Trip yesterday. I took 33 keen quilt shoppers in 3 mini buses on a trip to Wellington via Masterton. I'll post some photos over the next few days (it might give me motivation to blog a bit more often!)

Here are the troops at 7 in the morning on a grey day in Wanganui (the weather improved, thankfully):

Our first stop for shopping was at Quilters' Lane in Masterton. Lyn Bell and Debbie Joblin had their shop in pristine condition with lots of delicious fabrics for us to drool over. They kindly provided morning tea for us, a couple of slices they said. This is the feast that awaited us:

Club sammies, scones with jam and three slices! After 2 hours of travelling it was a very welcome treat. They really went out of their way to make us welcome. Thanks!!

Here we are, tucking in:

The shop offered lots of cool selections for us to choos from:

And the fabric was beautifully presented:
Audrey won the "bargain of the day". She fell in love with a hand bag that had gorgeous feather trim and negotiated to purchase it!
Not a great photo, but she was certainly a happy customer and we were all envious of her successful bargaining:
Pretty cool bag!

Monday, October 8, 2007

I wish this one was mine!

I found some more retreat photos I forgot to get off the camera and here is a quilt on one of the beds. Frances had the privilege of sleeping under this beauty. Karen at Parklee has just recently finished it. She said it was for her son and daughter-in-law but they didn't like the colours, until the quilt was finished and then they liked it very much! (Apparently they were tough out of luck having already turned it down - I guess it was a case of looking the gift horse in the mouth!) I like it too. I wish it was (or should that be 'were'?) mine.
I think Karen said the quilting was done by Jacqui Karl. Jacqui does fantastic work on her domestic Bernina. She is a wonderful tutor and makes beautiful quilts in a wide range of styles. We have her booked for another workshop next year.

This is the quilt that I slept under (an "oldie but a goodie"):

P.S. I forgot to say that Frances said I was allowed to say she was in her jim-jams early of Friday night at the retreat (see her nightie in the photo in the previous post.) She said that a lot of you will totally be able to relate to that!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Quilting Heaven

When I die I want to go to Quilting Heaven which is at Parklee Quilters' Retreat in Kimbolton (north of Fielding, about an hour and fifteen minutes from home - just the right amount of distance.)

Last weekend I had the most fabulous time away with 6 of my quilting buddies. The studio was large and well equipped. I was most impressed with the ironing surface on top of the chest freezer - so much easier having a large ironing surface - I want one! The beds were warm and snuggly with quilt patterned sheets and topped with fab quilts. The food was fantastic! Roast pork and apple sauce with home made gravy and roast veges. Yummy lemon pudding with whipped cream to follow - and that was only Saturday evening. Home-made jams and toast bread for brekkie (fruit and yoghurt for the health conscious amongst us along with the usual cereals.) Delicious lunches and the best part was that I didn't have to cook any of it! Did I mention the chicken and broccoli bake or the tune quiche? I didn't realise how much more quilting time I have when I don't have to stop to get meals ready, clean or do laundry. I could get used to this real quick.

We arrived on Friday evening and soon after (a few wines to wind down) the machines were whizzing along. Carol won the prize for the first project finished (well, she did bring Phd's and the first one was a bag made from 2 fat quarters):

Did you see that Featherweight Carol was using? What a sweet sound to listen to!

Carol also completed this fun top. Some of the blocks were from an internet exchange. The pattern is called "It's always 5 o'clock somewhere" by Pat Sloan:

Frances got comfortable:

And I didn't take nearly enough photos.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fabric Folding Frenzy

Early this year I refolded my whole stash so it would fit better into the shelves (i.e. I could get more in!) It took me 4 days of solid work. My friends scoffed at me (to put it politely, I'm pretty sure the "a#@l" word was mentioned a few times.) because I was using a piece of cardboard to wrap the fabric around so it would be neat and tidy and all the same width piles. ( I got the idea from that fab book about designing quilting spaces. I forget the title and author at the moment, but you all know which one I mean. I borrowed the book from a friend - a great read.) The author suggested using a 6" by 24" ruler as a guide. The 6" width didn't work for my shelves, so I worked out I could fit 3 piles side by side on each shelf if I made the cardboard 7" wide.

Frances came around last Saturday night and asked if I had any spare cardboard. Her shelves were groaning and she need to organise them better. Of course I fell about laughing and "I told you so" was close to my lips, if not actually through them! I made Frances one and a new one for myself as the original was getting pretty tatty.

Since some of you were very impressed that I was sleeping with my fabric and managing to not knock over the lovely neat piles and given that Frances is now a convert to the 'a#@l way of fabric organising I have an illustrated tutorial for you:

Cardboard placed on fabric:
The first fold:
All folded up:
Cardboard removed:
Folded in half:
To get neat piles like this:
Please feel free to scoff at your leisure!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm sleeping with my fabric!

How sad is that?

I have been known to take a pile of quilting magazines to bed to drool over when I am looking for inspiration and this week it has been a just about every night thing, but I have never before taken my fabric to bed to stroke! Today I have been doing a major re-organisation of my sewing area and I had to temporarily move some fabric piles somewhere. The only available space was my bed. When it came time to have an afternoon zzz I was too tired to move the fabric piles back, so I climbed into bed with the piles still there (along with some magazines to the left of the fabric):

I have to say I had a great sleep! There is a quilt on that bed. It's hiding under the duvet which has been on for winter. It is just about getting warm enough to put the duvet away. Today was a beautiful sunny spring day. Roll on summer!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

How come I never knew??

How come I never knew you could make half square triangles from the same width strip of fabric that the matching whole squares get cut from? Last week (instead of blogging!) I was watching a video (is that the right word?) of Elisa Wilson of Back Porch Designs over on Quilters TV and she was showing this method of cutting them using a special ruler. The 45 degree tip has the "dog ear" marked on it and you put this above the strip of fabric and then cut on the diagonal. You get a half square triangle to sew with one dog ear already cut off. Then Janice came to club with this "Half and Quarter" ruler from Fons & Porter she had got in USA on her recent travels to do the same job. It also cuts quarter square triangles from the same width strip.

I have seen a picture of it in the Fons and Porter magazine, but they were only showing the half square triangle bit. They didn't show that the squares get cut from the same strip. I don't have this ruler and haven't seen them available in New Zealand. BUT I do have a triangle ruler for doing side setting triangles. I improvised with a bit of masking tape using Janice's ruler as a guide and had a go:

Two 3 1/2" strips of fabric right sides together:

My triangle ruler with the improvised bit of masking tape at the top:

Two half square triangle units cut and the matching 3 1/2" square. Notice how the left hand tip at the top of the first one, and the bottom right hand tip on the second one, is cut off:

Because I have 2 strips of fabric right sides together it is a snip to pick up these nits and sew without pinning. Here they are. Notice the dog ears in the top right hand corner but not in the bottom left:

The two half square triangle units and the two squares placed ready for sewing:

The finished unit. It is supposed to be 6 1/2" unfinished. Mine is a little on the small side so I guess I need to work on the tip and/or my 1/4" seam!

And four of them make this very nice block"

Now what I want to know is who thought this idea up and how come I haven't seen (noticed?) if before !! Do I need to get myself the Fons and Porter version or will my home grown version cut the mustard?

I feel a quilt coming on!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Ready for Quilting

The raffle quilt got basted at club yesterday and is now out of my hands and will be on its way to the quilter soon. When it comes back all I will have to do is sew the binding on and label it. I actually like hand sewing the binding down. When I get to that last stitch it gives me a wonderful sense of achievement.

Friday, August 31, 2007

It's a Flimsy!

Wahoo, look what I got finished last night:

And look what I got finished tonight:

I'll be taking it along to club tomorrow to baste it ready to quilt. I just wish it was mine. I guess I'll have to buy quite a few of the raffle tickets, won't I? (or make another one for myself - yeah, right!)