Sunday, December 13, 2009


My friend Ruth turned up the other night with this little baby (on the left) which is exactly like my little baby (on the right). We think they are the exact same model since both have the light switch in the exact same position and both have the Singer 50th commemoration plaque on the front. The code number on the bottom starts with different letter though. Ruth hadn't had time to search on the net for the year of her machine. Of my Friday night group 5 of us now have these little Featherweights. We shall have to have a light-as-air sew-in!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A sight for sore (quilting) eyes

I have not been on my computer in over a week to even read blogs, let alone make a post myself. School has been incredibly busy with 3 prize-givings in 2 days and junior exams (which I am still marking the tail end of - darn, still need to finish them before tomorrow!) Then I have to have my junior reports done by Wednesday and I had a bit of the 'lurgy' for a few days as well. I had to cancel my Friday night group, something I haven't done since we started it years ago. Needless to say I haven't touched the sewing machine either. To cheer myself up I am posting a photo from our Mystery Bus Trip which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.
This was the fence outside Griet Lombard's new home when we arrived (and I humbly apologise for incorrectly spelling her name in previous posts) and isn't that a sight to gladden the heart of any quilter?? What a fantastic welcome. I wonder what the neighbours were thinking (garage sale perhaps :-) or did Griet warn them, I wonder)?

It is interesting to see the sun was shining because about 20 minutes after we arrived the heavens opened and the rain pelted down. I was pleased to see Griet's husband Willem (I think I've got the spelling correct) had taken the quilts in before they got wet:-)

PS: Thanks to Judy for the photo and Griet for permission to post it

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A bit of a brag

I had a lovely surprise yesterday when I checked my emails. The quilt I had accepted for the NANZQ Illumination Challenge has sold at the gallery in Whangarei. I won't get the dosh until June of next year, but somehow that is secondary to the delight in knowing that someone values my work.
Thanks to all in NANZQ who work so hard to give us challenges to work towards.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quilty Weekends

I have had two really great quilty weekends in a row. Last weekend was our club's mystery bus trip and this time I wasn't the organiser. So I got to sit back and enjoy (well, 'sit back' probably isn't quite the most accurate description since I was driving one of the mini buses and it was a manual gear change and the ladies started counting how many bunny hops I did!) The day was fantastic and the highlight was visiting Greit Lombard. She made us feel very welcome and gave us THE best afternoon tea. Thank you Greit, your generosity was awesome!

I didn't take my camera on the bus trip so I have no piccies - darn!

Today I visited the Taranaki P&Q annual show. I loved Sharon Duthie's quilt "Inner Peace Evolving to Chaotic Existence" which won first prize in the 'Log Cabin with a Twist (wall hanging section) challenge. It was beautifully, beautifully hand quilted. Here is a detail shot:
I thought is was a well-deserved winner. And, yes, I did remember my camera this time.

Back to the more mundane things. I have finally finished this scrappy strip pieced quilt which I started a couple of years ago. I am calling it God's Eye because it reminds me of the "woven on two sticks with any scraps of wool we could find" God's Eye's we used to make as children. I think they are American Indian in origin (but don't quote me. I've been known to be wrong before, vbg!)
Only a million more scraps to use up :-)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Still Back Blogging!

Here I am, blogging again - two posts in three days! Can I keep it up?
Hmmm . . .
Anyway, the club raffle quilt top is now finished (yeah!) and is ready to be sent away to the quilter. I am so glad I don't have to do that job :-)
I think this quilt will look great on someone's bed. I hope everyone we ask to buy a ticket does too.

It was our Mystery Bus Trip yesterday and we had a fantastic time. I'll post about it next time. Unfortunately yours truly forgot her camera so I am going to have to beg some photos from someone else, otherwise there will not be much eye candy.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Back to Blogging !!

Well, I have been a really hopeless blogger this year. My visitor stats have gone way down, as can only be expected when I don't blog for 6 weeks! I have actually been quilting and have a few things to show you but I will drip feed them otherwise it will be another 6 weeks before the next post.

I have just finished two weeks of school holiday and since the weather was horrible nearly the whole time it has been a perfect opportunity to quilt. I used the first week to cut pieces for Cotton On Quilters next raffle quilt. It is a design from an Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine Vol 16 #8, called Westward Ho! It was designed by Frances Leate. We emailed her to ask permission to use her design, which she willingly gave and it is a good thing she did because she alerted us to the fact that the templates for the design in the magazine had been reproduced at the wrong size. I'm not criticising the magazine at all. It is a huge task to publish patterns in a magazine and even when you think you've got it right it the gremlins can take over while you are not looking.

I organised the cut pieces into bags for people to sew into blocks and we made very good progress. The first picture is of the borders in progress:
And this is the body of the quilt:
We changed the centre block from the original design because we thought it had too much white space and it was an Ohio star, rather than a 54-40 or Fight star. We like the result. I have now put the borders on and I just need to put up my big design wall so I can take a decent photo of it. We will then send it away to be quilted. It is so good to have this done so far in advance of our next exhibition which is not until March 2011. I'm not working to such a tight deadline this time :-)

Monday, August 31, 2009

At least it wasn't a finger. . .

You know how they say to be very, very careful when wielding the rotary cutter? (Don't worry - remember what the title of this post is.) Well, I was busy on Saturday night cutting strips for a quilt I am going to be making at our up-coming retreat at the end of the month (yippee, it will be the first weekend of the school holidays - what a great way to start them). I layered up the fabric to cut 2 fabrics at once. When cutting strips it is oh, so, easy to get the ruler not lined up quite correctly, like this:
It's a bit hard to see what is wrong so here is a close-up:
Now can you see? I'm 3 1/2" on one end of the ruler and 3 1/4" on the other end. Blast! I need an extra strip. So I cut one, without checking what was going on at the other end of the fabric. When I flipped back the top fabric this is what I had oh, so, cleverly done:
The perfect 'V' cut!
As my friend Frances said "at least it wasn't your finger". No, it wasn't :-)

But I did manage to take the top off the knuckle off my index finger when closing a door at school today. Ouch!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I know different quilt show clubs/venues/organisations have a different variety of quilt stands available to use, but this is really frustrating. The first set of instructions are for attaching velcro to the back of the quilt for Symposium earlier this year.

You probably can't read the words but it says the soft side of the velcro is sewn to the hanging sleeve of the quilt and the hook side is pressed to that. That was quite easy. The soft side of velcro on the back of my quilt wasn't too hard to sew.

The next set of instructions are for Quilt Aotearoa which is being held in Hamilton in a couple of weeks time.

Notice the difference?

Yep, I had to remove the hanging sleeve from my quilt, remove the soft-sided velcro, remove the name label from the hook side of the velcro, sew the hook side onto the hanging sleeve, sew the hanging sleeve back to the quilt and sew the name label back onto the soft side of the velcro. Let me tell you, hand stitching a hanging sleeve onto the back of a 2.2 metre wide quilt with the hook side of velcro sewn onto it is no fun at all! The thread kept snagging on the hooks of the velcro and I kept cursing :-)

Still, I got it done and sent the quilt off. I just have to wait to see if it has been accepted.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's a finish!

Yes, I finished a quilt.

No, it's not the Ugly, Ugly one. (But maybe this quilt might be in the running to win the Ugly, Ugly prize??)

This is a quilt for a 7 year boy called Brian who likes sport. I don't know Brian but I hope he likes the quilt he is going to receive. Our community quilts project this year is to make quilts for children who are under the care of the Open Home Foundation. They provide respite foster care for children at risk. We were given a list of first names, ages and interests from which we could choose someone to make a quilt for. I really like this idea of making it more personal.
The name of the quilt is "Golf Plaid Here". The green fabric is a print of golfing motifs. Sporting themed fabric (indeed, any 'boys' fabric) is a bit hard to come by. I found the golf fabric in one of our local shops. I had probably been there for a while because it was very reasonably priced t under $20 per metre. There was just enough left on the bolt for this single bed sized quilt. I drew up the woven stripe pattern and it was pieced with partial seams. It took a while to figure out how to put it together with the least mucking around and the most chain piecing, but once I had it worked out I got the top done in 2 sewing sessions. I can't say I love it I don't like that particular shade of red) but I trust Brian will like it enough to cuddle up in it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ugly, Ugly?

Do you ever find yourself making a quilt which seemed a good idea at the time, but when you get nearly all the way through you decide it is the most hideous thing you have ever seen? I was trying to come up with a relatively simple design for a beginner quilt using just half square triangles and a minimum amount of cutting. I came up with this:

Now, the maths of this really appealed to me. 8 fabrics of 1/2 metre each in a 'rainbow' effect. With an extra metre to do the extra strips at the top and bottom, making a total of 5 metres of fabric. Cutting was easy, with 8 triangles from a width-of-fabric strip. Piecing was easy, big triangles, not too many pieces. No border, just needs a binding after quilting. Comes out at single bed size - great size to make. Easy to quilt if you do zig zag lines. Simple huh? So simple I cut another one out of floral fabrics before I pieced this one together.

So why do I hate it? It is very bright, much brighter than this picture shows. It probably looks better on a bed than it does in the vertical plane. But it is just not 'doing it' for me. It has been hanging around my sewing area half quilted and I just can't get enthused to do any more. Mind you I am free motion quilting it fairly densely. I am considering it quilting practice. I'm doing different free-motion pattern in each of the colours. I will get there in the end. The floral one is still languishing in pieces, aaarrgh!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Great Tutorial

No picture today, but at least it is a post! I want to recommend you visit my friend, Janice's blog. She has just posted a great tutorial explaining how to make an original quilt from a photo. The thing is, I could have been watching the tutorial for real because Janice and Frances have just completed a 3 part Techniques Training at Cotton On Quilters yesterday (and for June and July) but I chose to sew instead of watching, how dumb is that? The thing I am excited about, though, is the use that Janice makes of Press and Seal. Brilliant! Check it out You will need to read some text, but it comes with pictures :-)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Yep, It's August Already!

Totally, totally slack I have been. Three months since making a post. I won't be surprised if there is no one still looking out for me, but I'm going to give it another go to stay connected to the virtual quilting world. I have just spent the last 3-4 hours updating the Cotton On Quilters blog with 3 month's worth of Show & Tell, so take a hike over there if you are in the mood for a quilt show.

I have actually been doing some quilting. My friend Rosie from school discovered at the beginning of the year she was pregnant. Remember the "I'd rather be 40 than pregnant" coffee mugs that used to be around a few years ago? Rosie is proof that the pill does not always work. Rosie and her husband have 2 children already. Daughter, aged 15, was highly disgusted when told the news and had to ask Dad if he knew about the 'birds and the bees'. I think there was also some discussion about 'the snip' :-) Never mind, the baby arrived on Wednesday. I haven't met her yet but her name is Kaylee Grace and I made this quick quilt for her:

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I haven't posted for a couple of weeks but I have been busy sewing. After taking Dena Crain's Darned Quilts class at Symposium I decided to try the technique again, this time with a different shape. The motivation was a very quickly arriving closing date (2 weeks!) for the National Association of New Zealand Quilters Illumination Challenge. Well, I do work well to deadlines :-)

My inspiration for my Illumination Challenge quilt was the prologue to John's Gospel which talks about the light shining in the darkness and darkness has never put it out.

I started with this free-curve pieced background:
Then I added embellishments and decorative stitching:
I cut flame shapes and ended up with this (sorry, the colour in this photo is a little bleached):
It has been selected to tour as one of 20 quilts. I will find out after 6 June if it has won a prize. All quilts in this collection have to be for sale, so you never know, even if I don't get a ribbon someone might buy it. Wouldn't that be nice?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Symposium classes

Now I have recovered from a full-on week at Symposium (well, not fully recovered - I still have some things to unpack from my bag - at least all the washing is now up to date) I thought I would show you the results of the two classes I did. The first is the 2 day Layer By Layer Landscape class with Gloria Loughman. Instead of doing one of the patterns she provided I decided to draw up my own design based on what I could see out of the window of the cricket pavilion at Wellington Girls College. With windows all along the front it was an excellent place to sew. I took the class because I thought I would be doing a more abstract landscape, like Gloria's class samples. I am no artist so it was with some surprise I found myself sketching out an 'original' design!
I didn't get as far as other students and there is still quite a bit of work to do to get it finished. There are 5 sections to this small quilt and I pinned them together so I could hang it up for the other students to see. The big blank space in front of the 3 town houses need some greenery and there is still a tree to put in and the Mt Victoria tower to add in the sky line piece. Gloria is an excellent teacher and I enjoyed the fact that there were a variety of techniques we could use to put in a 'layer'. The houses look like they are on a bit of a lean - windy Wellington :-) Actually the weather was great for the whole week, only one slightly yukky day.

The second class I did was also 2 days, with Dena Crain, called 'Darned Quilts'. The technique involved curve-piecing a graduated background, adding embellishments and then cutting shapes (circles were the easiest to start with) out and swapping them around and re-stitching them back in. Very interesting and a great way to try out all those fancy stitches on the machine that I normally never use.
I think I'll call this one 'Sunrise, Sunset'. It just needs basting up, quilting and binding. It will measure about 53 cm wide by 74 cm high (21" by 29"). I wonder if I can finish this one before the end of the holidays?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

In the Exhibition

My quilt, Poetry in Motion, did not win any ribbons (boo hoo), but it was very well hung at the exhibition, facing the entrance to the main part of the Academy of Fine Arts. I don't think I posted a photo of the finished quilt so here it is:
Some people liked it enough to take pictures of it :-)
And some very nice comments made by people visiting the exhibition were overheard by my 'spies'. So I shall have to be content with that, and the fact that it was accepted in the first place.

Apparently, so I am told, Quilt Wellington 2009 is the first quilt show any where in the world to require only original designs or designs that no one else has any copyright claim to. So is this where I stake my claim to the design of this quilt, the block, block sashing and border design, and the right to vary the centre design of the block in any way I see fit, since any variation in the centre of the block will not, in the opinion of the judges, create a new original design?

Best in Show was Petone Hospital Blanket by Katherine Morrison:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Back to the Stash

I wasn't sure about my selection of fabrics for Dena Crain's class at Symposium so I emailed her, asking if she could take a quick look at my blog post to see if the choices I made would work. She replied promptly with some very good advice and suggestions. In fact my email prompted her to add some images of fabric graduations (gradations as they say in the USA) so I'm glad I asked. Here is part of her reply:

Your printed gradation is fine, but not for this class. Save it for future Darned Quilt projects, ok? I really want you to assemble your own gradation. It's a good exercise in color and value, as I think you will realize once you've seen my blog page and the WebFabrics page.

As for your collection of gradated fabrics, compare it with what you see that I have posted. Look, Helen, for higher contrast in the gradation. Without that contrast, the Darned Quilt won't work very well.

The way to test contrast is to place the fabrics from each end of the gradation next to each other. If the difference between them is low, as it is in your posted set, then your Darned Quilt will be less successful than it should be. Make sure your gradation covers a lot of territory from one end to the other, and you will be a happier Darned Quilter!

The internet is so wonderful for things like this. How did we manage 'before sliced bread'?

You can see what the class is about and the examples of the fabric graduations here. You can also see more graduated collections of fabric on the WebFabrics page. I've pulled more fabrics from my stash and put others away. I'm going to think on it overnight. I keep wanting to pull 20 fabrics when I am supposed to have only 6-8. This is a bit of a challenge for me. I guess I can take 20 and then make a final choice on the day. The trouble with taking classes is that I want my whole stash with me!

I also see on her blog page about this class that I need a "Good selection of cords, ribbons, laces, trims, yarns, 6-10 yards of each, and decorative threads". This part of the needs list seems to have been missed from the Symposium printout. Yikes, now I'm very glad I asked! I'd better start looking for some.

Monday, March 30, 2009

33 is a good number

No, not my age (unfortunately)
No, not the number of ufo's lying around (I think the total is way more than 33)
No, not the number of days until Symposium (that number would be 10)

33 is the number of unread blog posts I have at the moment. This is a very good thing because for months it has been hovering around the two thousand mark. No, I haven't posted a comment to every one of the formerly unread posts, but I have read them (well, okay, skimmed them)

Speaking of Symposium I decided it was high time to get some fabric sorted for my 2 classes. This first lot is for Layered Landscapes with Gloria Loughman:
The second is for Darned Quilts with Dena Crain:
I don't think it is a very good idea to select fabrics for 2 quilts on the same day. My colour palettes are very similar. It will be interesting to see how they turn out. I'm not even sure I've go the fabric selection right for Dena's class. She says to have a "gradation from value to colour and from dark to light". Oh well, maybe this piece of fabric will do:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Final Arrangement - Leftover Tabasco Sauce

I finally got all the blocks sewn together. Now I have to decide if it needs a border or whether a dark brown binding will do. I took down from the design wall today because Jo, Frances and I were selecting fabrics for Symposium classes. I thought it was about time I got my 'a' into 'g' and got ready for these classes which are in less than 2 weeks. Next week is really busy with parent interviews, marking, haircut, appointment for the flu jab, church AGM, a 16 inch block to be made for a round robin I am doing and quilt club next Saturday (the marking really should happen before the parent interviews.) The week after that is only 4 working days and then we're off. Yikes!

Do you like the title for this quilt?

Monday, March 23, 2009

What I'm doing

Well, it feels like not a lot over the last week. I did finish quilting the green strippy community quilt and sewed the binding on. I just need to hand stitch it down. I'm saving it for club next week.

I need to get fabric and sewing supplies for my Symposium classes organised, not to mention some clothing. I'm hoping I can shop from my stash for both classes. But I can't seem to get started on pulling a few fabrics out. No doubt that deadline I am good at working to will come around soon enough.

I went to Wellington last weekend to see the Monet paintings at Te Papa, ab fab! If I could make my quilts glow like the haystack at sunset I would be a happy chickadee. This is as close as I can get:

These blocks are the left-over blocks from the Cotton On Quilters new banner we made last year. There were exactly 126 blocks (14 by 9) and I made this temporary arrangement on my design wall last year. There they have sat for months while I worked on my Symposium quilt. I have rearranged them endless times since I took this photo. I have now stitched some of them together but I can't seem to get into a rhythm to get it finished. Maybe I should get off the web and get onto the sewing machine!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Visual Corridor?

I know I am now in what is politely called 'middle age' and I know that language is a living, breathing, changing thing but what ever happened to Plain English??

I was at our town library yesterday looking for some books to read. One I wanted, by English author Mark Billingham, was apparently 'on the shelf' according to the computer catalogue. I looked and looked but couldn't find it anywhere. Finally I asked the lovely Colm who was on the desk. Colm is married to a lady who teaches at the same school as me and he works part time at school and part time at the library (the students tell me he is the only one who knows anything at the town library, but that is another story).

Colm checked the staff computer and told me the book should be in the 'visual corridor'. The what? What the heck is a visual corridor?Now, Colm has a lovely Irish brogue so it did take me a few goes to understand the words he was saying, but even when I did understand that he was saying the words 'visual' and 'corridor' I was stumped. Okay, 'visual' is something you look at and 'corridor' is something you walk down. Hmmm, the only corridor in the town library is the one that goes to the toilets, and I'm sure he doesn't mean there! After giving it a few seconds of slow thought (well, it was at the end of the working day) I translated his words into 'display shelf'. When did a display shelf become a 'visual corridor'?

It turned out the book was not in the visual corridor but out the back, waiting to be shelved. Colm very kindly went and got it for me. After I got it home I realised I had already read it - b*****!

On a quilty note, I am in the middle of quilting this thing (which is destined to be a community quilt) It has been basted up ready for quilting for nearly 12 months - other quilts (or quilt, to be specific, have intervened):
Nice and easy meandering, no pressure, and I am NOT ripping out any stitches, even if they do go wonky.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Don't Panic!

After getting my quilt down to the courier's on Monday in time to be delivered I have been spending the ensuing time relaxing going through my collection of Quilters Newsletter Magazine. Issue 189 with Judy Mathieson's Nautical Stars is still a stand-out cover. When compared with other cover quilts in those years (late '80s) this quilt is still as fresh looking as the latest prizewinning quilts.

But, I digress. I had an unexpected phone call today from the exhibition convenor asking if I had sent my quilt because it had not been check off their list. Is my quilt jinxed?? I raced home at lunchtime to get the courier receipt so I could go and check with them. Yes, they said, their records said it had been delivered at 4.05pm on Monday. Back to the convenor I phone. Apparently the lady whose home the quilts had to be delivered to was away on Monday and other people were at her place to receive deliveries. It appears that they left before my quilt was delivered. The husband of the house had got the package but somehow it had got tucked behind something and was temporarily lost. Whew! That was a tad stressful!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Slack ex-President

I have been so consumed with getting my quilt ready for Symposium that I have been sadly neglecting my club duties as chronicler of Show & Tell. I promised at the last meeting that now I am no longer president I would be much more diligent in keeping the club blog up to date. Now that it is 3 days before the next club meeting I have finally got February's offerings posted but, alas, I cannot remember some of the quilt's makers. If anyone from club is reading this can they please click on Cotton On Quilters blog and let me know who made what so I can give credit where it is due.

Here is a wee taster of Amy's bag:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Down to the wire !!

It was a close run thing but today I did get my quilt down to the courier to be delivered to Wellington in time for the closing day of getting the quilts in, which is today. Let's hope 'Same day Service' lives up to its name.

It is just as well I inspected each block individually 'cos I found this little mistake:
My mind must have wandered off into a dream while I was stitching this poor, unfortunate deformed star. (Yes I did fix the star.) And now I look at the pink star in the corner I see the seams are not quite matched. (No I didn't fix the seam.) Alas, likely to be no prizes for me :-(
(but one lives in hope)

It is 6 weeks to Symposium. I have been so focused on getting Poetry in Motion finished that I have done nothing to get my class materials together. Oh well, 6 weeks is heaps of time. After all, I am the Queen of Deadlines!

Google chat is a great thing. As I was writing this post my son sent me these links (blog post and photos) to this great garage makeover. My son knows me well.

Speaking of aforementioned son, he must have absorbed some of my (bad?) habits. He cheerfully texted me at the weekend to say he had bought some new clothes. He saved $110 because it was a 40% off sale. I couldn't help myself. I had to ask if he had managed to wash any of his old clothes or did he just throw them away :-)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Farewell Juki

Sob . . . I had to take Juki home to Janice today . . . sob!

Juki, you have been a perfectly wonderful house guest. You stayed where you were put, stitched a fine line, had a wonderful flat bed and gave me plenty of room to move. Your foot control was very comfortable to use and I love the needle up/down button you have. The only thing I don't like is that you are no longer here! You are very welcome to come and have another holiday at my house anytime you like (hint, Janice, hint, hint).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Honey Bunch Leaves Home

Such a strange thing to drive my son to the Halls of Residence and leave him there. I mean, I have driven him to his father's plenty of times but somehow this feels different. That's 'cos it is different. Now, I've got him all "growed up" and he is off on the next step of his life. He is technically no longer living at home. I don't know what to feel. I didn't cry, but I was very proud of him as he said hello to every one he met. I still have 2 homestay students at home so I am not totally alone. But ...

... and, darn it, I completely forgot to take the camera with me. He dyed his hair in the weekend using some 'wash out in a few weeks' dye. He is naturally blonde but now is red. Kinda suits him but he didn't like it ha, ha. Le's hope the dye is true to label, otherwise he is going to have a 'roots' problem :-)

I forgot to say he is only 1 hour away and will be home in the coming weekend so I guess that is why I don't feel tearful. He has been away for longer than a week during holidays in the past. This is nothing!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Over the first hurdle

The selection letters arrived today. It was a bit stressful as I had entered 3 pieces and there were my 3 self-addressed envelopes. I gathered them up together from the letter box and could tell they contained CD's. Oh well, I thought, at least the pressure is off to finish the quilting since it has been more like quilting undone. I was not at all pleased with the quilting I had done and decided to do it again. This is what half a quilt's worth of ripped out threads look like:

There has been a hiatus in replacing all that stitching. The new school year has started and I needed to do some serious prep which took a week out of my quilting time. But I started back on it in the weekend. Which is just as well because only the first 2 envelopes had rejection letters along with the CDs. The third envelope had an acceptance letter and no CD's. Poetry in Motion has been selected for the judging process. I have 3 weeks to get the quilting finished and send the quilt off. Let's hope it passes the 'decision to hang' test so I can get to look at it from a decent distance.

I am not at all hopeful of any prize. The jurors' comments were 'most interesting', to say the least, and I think there will be some very disappointed quilters in New Zealand today. The emphasis was definitely on 'original design'. I have a lot I could say about it but it is way past zzzz time.

ZZZzzz z z z z z z z z . . .

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This is called "cutting it fine"

I know I work well to deadlines, but this is a bit ridiculous. See the last box on this timetable? It says 'Drive to Wellington and deliver" and that is what we did today.
I didn't get my quilt photos onto a cd for the entry in time to post it yesterday. (I don't know what it is with computers and me. Apparently I was doing the right thing but my computer was not playing nicely at all. My son rescued me last night and did them on his computer. He says it has something to do with the fact that I had bought cheap and cr***y cds.) I was also up until 4 in the morning the previous night sewing on the binding and washing the quilt to get out all the quilt markins so I could photograph it. Remind me to start the next Symposium quilt at least 2 years before it is needed. What? The next Symposium is in 2 years already? That means I have to start now? Sheesh, I've only just finished this one!

So my good friend Jo (she of the time table design fame) drove me so I could hand in the envelope to the mail centre and ask them kindly if they could make sure it got into the box today, since today was the final day for entries. The very kind lady at the post shop attached to the mail centre said "anything for a fellow sewer". She deserves a medal for great customer service. It was just as well Jo was driving because on the way back home I had a bit of a zzzz in the car. That would have been a bit dangerous if I had been driving :-) I have great friends (and a great son) and I appreciate every one of them - thanks, all of you, for your support and encouragement.

One cannot go to Wellington without visiting a few quilt shops on the way and, once again, I am poorer than I was. The weather today was perfect. The sea at Pukerua Bay was like glass and there were no waves at all. Magic. there was also a fantastic Italian restaurant cum Italian grocery supply place next to the mail centre and we had a very yummy brunch and coffee to fortify ourselves for further quilt shopping :-) Did I mention the very melt-in-the mouth almond croissant I had for afternoon tea at a french cafe in Cuba St, in the next block down from Minerva (the NZ Quilter magazine's bookshop.) Who said the 'd' word?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quilting with Juki

I want one of these:
This wonderful machine belongs to my very good quilting buddy, Janice. Usually it sits on a Swiftquilter frame in Janice's studio but she has very nobly allowed Juki to have a holiday at my olace - a working holiday of course! There is so much more room under the arm than my Elna. It is a great workhorse and having needle up/needle down makes it so much more useful than my old Singer which 'runs on' after taking your foot of the pedal. It is so much easier to control what I am stitching. Thank you Janice.

The basting method I used has proved to be very successful. I have NO puckers from the quilting. I have had some trouble with the basting thread catching in the needle threader as I move the quilt around, but that is probably due to a lack of willingness on my part to clip the basting threads in the area I am working on rather than a deficiency in the basting method itself :-) After I had quilted around each block centre I removed all the basting thread and that solved that problem.

I am so rusty with my quilting. I haven't done any for ages and I am not happy with some of the work I have done. I will be getting out the quick-un-pick to fix up some of the "oops" parts. I think the reason those commercial quilters are so good is that they are quilting regularly. The rest of us have to wait until we actually get a top finished before we can polish our quilting skills. That's maybe 3 or 4 times a year??

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Basting with Sharon Schamber

Just because I have plenty of time to get my quilt finished before the deadline (Yeah, right!) I thought I would try Sharon Schamber's method of basting a quilt sandwich using boards and the table. Sharon has a free video on her website that explains the method much better than I can, so go here to see her excellent demonstration.

The advantages I see are that:

1. I don't need to get down on the floor - this is a biggie reason if you are me :-)

2. I can check for stray threads as I roll up the quilt top and backing.

3 It doesn't add weight to the quilt, unlike safety pins.

4. I can baste a quilt on my own, on my table, without needing a large surface (although because this quilt is 2.3 metres square I did put 2 tables end to end.)

The disadvantage is that it takes a lot longer than pin basting would, although I could easily have used pins with Sharon's roll method.

Really, I guess, it is a bit like having a machine quilting frame, without the frame, if you see what I mean.

I haven't started the quilting yet so I am not sure how the thread will go but Sharon says to clip the area you are working on. I will let you know how it goes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The opposite of sewing is . . .

. . . rip it, rip it, rip it! I seem to have spent most of the day undoing sewing and re-sewing. I had the 4 corner blocks to make which, as you can see, are fairly simple. The first one behaved perfectly well and then the next three were very naughtly and didn't play together at all nicely. I had to unpick them, twice! I had also decided to change some of the fabric choices, not many - only about 4, so that some of the lighter star points were more defined. But it seemed to take me forever. All day, in fact.

The centre and border blocks are now all pieced, ready to join together:

I have to keep telling myself that when they are joined it will all look so much smaller. I'm planning on finishing the piecing tonight and it will be basting tomorrow and some quilting.

My very good friend Janice has agreed to loan me her Juki 98 which has more room under the arm. I am hoping that this will make the quilt easier to turn than it would be under the arm of my Elna. Really, why don't the manufacturers make all machines have a longer arm. Every body would be happy. Surely it can't be that expensive. I don't want a lot of embroidery stitches. I want a machine that sews basic stitches and has room under the arm to do sit-down table quilting. Not much to ask, it it?

I've done enough for a mallowpuff

It's one o'clock in the morning and, while I haven't got quite as far as I wanted today, I have done heaps and it is time to go to bed!

Here is how it is looking. Most of the border blocks are pieced. I need to finish the corners and sew everything together but it is quitting time for today.

There are a couple of fabric choices I am not happy with so I am going to sleep on it and see what it looks like in the day light.

PS. I'm being spammed (of the "cool blog, leave to me yur phone nmbr" type) so I have enabled comment moderation. Darn! It is such a pain but at least the word verifications are now easier to type, as in they are more like real words rather than a random jumble of letters.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Plan Develops

It is now half past eleven in the morning and I have been up since 6. I've done 2 loads of washing, drunk two coffees and eaten 1 piece of Christmas cake. I've also done heaps of sewing. This is what the quilt is looking like now:
Yegads! It's a bit of a mess, is it not? Is it working as a design? I'm in the "what on earth do I think I am doing' stage. I'm telling myself it will look much better from 10 metres away. Maybe the borders will help pull it together.

I still have all the borders to piece - and all the quilting to do (and the basting, and the binding, forgot about those bits) Am I mad? Well, maybe the jury's still out on that one but the chances are I am. I have to be to put myself on such a tight deadline. But I'm not giving up now (and I treasure every moment of my long summer holidays, thank you for asking.)

Back to the machine for me.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Moving Right Along

I've had a really quiet, quilty New Year (Thank goodness there were no loud stereos in the street. The noisy neighbours across the road seem to have quietened right down.) I have made good progress on my quilt. I sewed all yesterday and most of today. I can tick off the right number of days on the timetable. Yipee! I'm up to date and on track. So far, so good - and I've even tidied my piles of fabric - haven't vacummed the floor though :-)

Here is the plan of what I am doing:
The blocks are all different fabrics and I'm working out how the secondary star pattern works. Some will be dark and some will be medium and some light. (Thanks to Janice for that suggestion. My original fabric choices for sashing were way too overpowering.) I'm actually further on than this. I'll post another picture again tomorrow. I just have 3 more sashing strips to make and then I can piece the sashings to the blocks. Then I need to work out a new border. I might actually get this done!

I Might Get There

It is just as well that I don't have anyone in the house at the moment. I have spent the last 2 days doing nothing but quilting! The house is a complete mess. I am making progress and have almost half the blocks completed.

The rest should/could/will get done today. I still have the borders of course. The design of these is proving somewhat troublesome since my original plan made the quilt way too big for entry into the competition. But, I have a another plan!!

Here is one of the completed blocks: