Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Hard Day At The (Quilting) Coalface

Today is one of those days where I know life is good. I went out to my friend Janice's place ( a leisurely 15 minute drive into the country on a perfect late summer/early autumn day) and spent the day sewing. At 9 am this morning I still hadn't decided what I was going to do. It was a choice between sewing more blocks for a Single Irish Chain quilt or piecing a background for the Jacqui Karl class I am doing in May. So I loaded up the two fabrics and the already made blocks for the Irish Chain and a pile of fabric for the background. When I arrived at Janice's we started straight into the coffee (which was great since Janice has an espresso machine and mine died and has gone back to the shop. I am waiting for a replacement so I have been without decent coffee for over a week!)

After being coffee-ed up I decided I would work on the background. The idea was to make a piece to put a dragonfly onto. It needs to be already quilted before the class starts. My idea was to cut straight strips of uneven sizes from across the width of the fabric, sew them together and cut vertically, then sew them back together in a jagged fashion. Janice suggested I cut the strips in a free-form curved fashion and this is the result (none too flat I might add!)

Then I cut strips vertically and sewed them back together. I had to keep trimming bits off so the thing would lie flat. Not quite finished yet but I like what I have done. Guess what? It is not going to be a background for the dragonfly. I have decided it will be a quilt in it's own right.

Janice made a delicious lunch of chicken breast chunks and chickpea salad. Sitting on the table were a couple of mini bottles of wine and a bottle of non-alcoholic Bundeberg. I was allowed to choose so I had a lovely glass-sized bottle of Jacob's Creek Chardonnay. Janice had the other wine and the Bundeburg was left behind. She said (tongue in cheek) that she noticed I had NOT chosen the non-alcohol one. "No contest" says me. I don't often get offered wine at lunch. I know when I'm onto a good thing. Janice's excuse was that she was trying out the theory that free-motion quilting goes better after a glass of wine!

Here is the progress so far:

To round off the day nicely my friend Frances came to dinner (as she usually does on a Saturday night) and I sewed the rest of the binding of the second community quilt while she pieced together the log cabin blocks of her community quilt. So now both of mine are now done, already for club next week-wahoo!! Picture of the second community quilt tomorrow - I need to go to bed now after a hard day at the quilting coal-face :-)

I forgot . . .

. . . that I found the pins. In the mess!

One is done!

I thought I would have both of my community quilts done by last Saturday but life (and work) got in the way. One is now done. This top was pieced by another member of Cotton On Quilters for her son, but she never finished it, decided she didn't want to finish it and donated it for a community quilt. I added the blue border, basted it and quilted it. I had hand stitched down all but about a metre of the binding and there it sat! For over 2 weeks! Kirsty over on two time leaves made a post this week titled "Drowning In Failure". That title pretty much summed it up for me, nothing done for ages!! (the story of my life?)

I had my Friday night group last night and I decided that this was the time to get it finished.

I also got the binding on one side of the second one done. I wonder how long it will sit? Better get it done by club next weekend. Which is Easter. Which is the start of the holidays. Yeah! Which is just as well because I have just realised I have booked myself up for just about every Saturday for the next couple of month! All for something quilty of course. The house work will just have to sit and sit and wait.

Today: Off to a sewing day with my friend Janice. She makes wonderful, innovative quilts, has won awards for them, and she now has her own blog, Quilts, Grandkids and Delphiniums. I invite you to go visit.

Next Saturday is Club day. We are having the Head of Art from the school I teach at to come and give us a basic colour theory lesson.

Saturday after that is a get together for members of my online yahoo group Kiwiquilters.

Saturday after that is a class with well known and international award-winning NZ quilter Anna Williams at the Cloth Shop printing photographic images of flowers onto fabric to make a wall hanging. This will be completely new to me!

Then I have one Saturday off.

First Saturday in May I am going to a big regional show and tell day organised by Rose City Quilters called "Tote & Gloat".

The Saturday after that our club is running a workshop by another well known NZ tutor Jacqui Karl (no link for Jacqui. I don't think she has an internet site).

So I am going to be a very busy bee and more stuff will sit unfinished! Oh well, never mind.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I have lost my........

pins. I know I had them at the community quilts sewing day. Now I can't find them. They must be buried under the mess in my sewing area. Either that or they have left home and run away!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Standing Up For Sewing

I was checking all my blog reads last night and was admiring the new sewing cabinet that Helen has shown on her blog Patchwork of Mini Grey . She was talking about now being able to sew sitting down. My goodness she sewed standing up! I asked her "Don't you know that the only reason all of us (un)famous quilters didn't get to feature on Simply Quilts is because we can't sew standing up!? Can any of you other lovely quilting bloggers out there sew standing up? Perhaps in the days of deep vein thrombosis we should all do it that way.

Bobbin Failure

I tried to make this post last night but my computer lost its internet link, so I decided to go to bed instead since the resident computer expert had retired for the night. Some people (who shall remain nameless) think I may have writer's block since I haven't posted since 10th March. I assure you, the words are still as plentiful, just not making it to the computer. ( TOO MUCH MARKING LAST WEEK!)

Look what happened to me in the weekend:

I was winding thread and didn't think about what I was doing when it was finished. I pulled the bobbin up, instead of left then up, and the end came off! I guess they don't make parts like they used to. Just as well I have a case full of bobbins, so I could keep on sewing. I have been quilting the two community quilts that I started a couple of Saturday's ago. I now have to do the bindings and I should have had them finished by now, but work keeps getting in the way of the weekends - oh and a fabric buying trip last Saturday also meant not much sewing got done.

I know I am not supposed to be buying fabric this year (or any year for about the next thousand) but there was a new Quilts Japan magazine waiting for me at The Cloth Shop over in Palmerston North, so I decided I would have a nice day out on my own. I came back with 6 metres of fabric for the background and borders of our next raffle quilt at the very reasonable price of $10 per metre. I was very happy to get that. I won't bore you with the details of the other fabrics that just had to walk out the shop with me, but the good ladies of Arthur Toye's had just unloaded a new shipment and temptation grabbed hold of my wallet and flung it at their cash register! Well, okay, here is a photo of a lovely graduated fabric I picked up:

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The President Won!

It was our Community Quilts sewing day today and to add a bit of interest to the day I decided to donate a quick raffle prize with the proceeds to the Cancer Society. Guess who won her own prize!! How come I when I win it isn't Lotto? (First division of course - not much to ask for is it? You know I could just quilt all day instead of having to go to the work house - Yeah Right!)

Here are some of the ladies busy stitching:
And here is Georgia Rose enjoying some of the finished quilts:

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Fabric Amnesia

Lynne from kleinmeisjequilts made a post about a great fabric for the border of her quilt which has been on her shelves so long she has no memory of buying it. I commented to her that I have lots of fabric on my shelves that I have no memory of buying. Is it Fabric Amnesia? I know I've got them but I don't know where they came from and I don't know where they're going either. At the moment they are just happy living at my house.

My string blocks have come to a rather sudden halt. I have made 5 more blocks since my last post but marking and prep has had to be a priority this week. Mereth of Pages from me asked: "Do you think you'll use up all your cut pieces? No matter how much I piece I never seem to empty a drawer completely." To my surprise I have nearly come to the end of the 1 1/2" strips that I had in my icecream container. I thought I had heaps, but obviously not! That's not to say that I don't have heaps of scraps, just not already cut and organised ones. Now I am cutting up my 3" strips in half to use. And I'm feeling really good about it. It's great to get rid of some of those scraps that have been hanging around for years and outstaying their welcome.

To finish a photo. Not a quilty, but quilty related. Last Sunday I went up to the Wintergardens here in Wanganui to take some photos of the huge begonias that are flowering in the glass house at the moment. I need some images of flowers to do a workshop with Anna Williams next month. The outside garden at the Wintergardens is currently designed to look like a typical Kiwi back yard complete with shed. Of course my back yard looks just like this - NOT!

Here is one of the begonias:

PS: The shed is not real!!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Thirtyfive percent done.

Thanks everyone for your comments on my recent posts. Don't we all love feedback!

I have done a few more string blocks this weekend and I am over one third done! Our local quilt club is having a community quilts sewing day next Saturday and I am hoping to get 64 of these critters done by then! But, I have heaps of marking and prep to do for school this week, so I'm not sure if I will reach my goal. ( A little calculation tells me I will need to make 8 a day - not going to happen. I wonder if I can get 48 done instead?) Anyway, this is the progress so far:

My friend Joy, who tells me she is really enjoying my blog, (Hi Joy, here is a challenge: leave me a message!) wanted to know if I was foundation piecing these. No! I dislike foundation piecing with a passion because I don't like to take the time to rip out heaps of paper and have a big mess to clean up (well bigger than what I had before - it probably wouldn't get cleaned up since the mess I already have isn't going anywhere anytime soon!).

What I have been doing is grabbing any old strip of fabric and sewing them either side of a black homespun strip until I have enough 'fabric' to cut out a square using my 8" square ruler. A little "photo tutorial" follows! The colours are not great, all 'blued out' (and I haven't got the inclination to fix it up with photoshop - I need to go and have my Sunday afternoon zzzzz...)

The strips sewn together:
See that pink strip on the bottom? That is from a kit for a grandmother's fan cushion that I purchased at least 25 years ago!

What it looks like on the wrong side:
With the squsre ruler placed ready for trimming:
Edges trimmed off:
I'm so a*** that I am saving the wider trimmings:
To make these (who knows what they will turn into!!):

Thursday, March 1, 2007

I have done a little sewing!

I have finally got a little sewing done. I am such an organised person (sometimes - see previous post on the state of my sewing area!) that I have all my scraps pre-cut into different widths from 1" up. These have been annoying me lately as I now want to organise my scraps by colour instead of size. I've been inspired by the heart string blocks everyone is making over on the Quilt Mavericks blog, so I have decided to make up the 3 narrowest widths (1", 1 1/4" and 1 1/2") into string blocks using a 1" finished strip of black across the centre:

I'm quite pleased with how they look considering a lot of these scraps are from when I first started quilting (way, way back) and a lot of them are dullish country type colours. I used to buy scrap bags before I got sensible and bought lengths (yardage to you USA quilters) and some of these scraps date back over 25 years!.

These blocks are just stuck on my design wall at the moment, not yet sewn together. I am cutting them 8 inches 'cos that is the size of my square rule, so they will end up as 7 1/2 " finished. An odd size but I guess it doesn't matter with this type of block. (why the square ruler is not 8 1/2" I will never know!). I have made 12 and I guess I will need about 64 to make a decent sized quilt, so I am 20% there.