Welcome to my blog about my quilting journey! I started quilting in 2006 with a quilt of my own design which started as a cushion cover and ended up as a single bed sized quilt! Now I'm totally hooked. I'm not sure who else would be interested in reading my blog but here it is in any case!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

January UFO Complete!

Well I opted to take it a bit easy for January's UFO and finally get around to practicing quilting feathers. They were on my list of things to try last year but I never got to them so this time I promoted them to my actual UFO list and now I've done it!

In October I went to the Australian Machine Quilting Festival held here in Adelaide every two years and was lucky enough to do some classes with the fabulously talented Judi Madsen. They were only demonstration classes not hands on but I still learned plenty let me tell you!  Judi was absolutely lovely and very helpful and open in sharing her techniques.

Luckily I took plenty of notes as it took my four months to get around to actually trying to put some of what I learned into action.  I posted last week about my initial attempts which turned out pretty well.  As a reminder here are a couple of photos, along with my initial sketches for practice!  Please excuse the attractive combination (not!) of pink fabric with lime green thread, I wanted to be able to clearly see what I was stitching.

 I had some trouble keeping things even in long row of feathers!
Quite liked these feathers, might have to use them in something soon!

This week I tried to do some feather motifs inside squares and also more practice on quilting feathers around a border (which I have to say without Judi's class I would have never figured out on my own!).  I've decided I quite like doing border feathers!

 Here is the pencil sketch I started with!
and the quilted version:

Not sure I'm a fan of this particular design of Judi's but it looks great when she does it. Mine? Not so much!

I struggle with getting this one right, it turned out better than it felt when I was doing it but still not loving it. More practice necessary I think.

This one I took one of Judi's triangular shapes and made it into a square. I found it easier to quilt and I quite like the effect of it.
A close up of my border. Getting better at this, definitely going to use this on a quilt soon!

My constant companion at the sewing machine (and anywhere else I go, even to the loo!) had to be there helping too, if only for moral support! She's not as excited by the whole quilting thing, unless I happen to put some fabric or a quilt on the floor and then she's all over it!

Anyway, that's January's UFO ticked off! I have managed to do a little work on one of my others at the same time but no photos to share of that one as yet. Its turn will come this year!

Thanks for joining me today,

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

A Couple of New Toys and Some UFO Action

In November I went to the Quilt & Craft Fair here in Adelaide and one of the goodies I bought was a little light with a flexible neck to light up my quilting space.  I haven't done any quilting since then so haven't used it but as this month my UFO is to finally try quilting feathers I dug it out and gave it a go.
It uses one AAA battery which gives you up to 9 hours apparently. It was nice to have light where I need it without having to put my portable Ottlite in between me and the machine (as you can see in this photo).

 I can't count the number of times I've nearly knocked it over on to the floor!   Its not too bad and doesn't get in the way like my other light. It comes with two bases so you can use it on more than one machine too which is handy (if you have two machines which I don't!). Here is the packaging of the new light in case you're interested.

My other new toy is not related to quilting but is already one of my favourites! Now I'm not a great one for housework and tend to do the minimum I can get away with but when I do it I like it done properly. I've had a vacuum that has been driving me mad at its poor design and lack of real suction or ability to suck up golden retriever hair. To put the icing on the cake its wheels fell apart as well and it was a real pain to empty, putting dust all over me. After a bit of research and saving up I bought this little baby:

Never would I have said I enjoyed vacuuming before but now I do! The joy of using an efficient, well designed product and the horror of how much dirt is coming out of my carpets! Its the first time since we've had our dog that I can look at the lounge carpet and not see a dog hair anywhere except on the dog! I've always had problems with stooping over with my other cleaners but this one is the perfect height for me so my back loves it as well.

Anyway, back to quilting!  As I said above, my UFO project this month (No. 2 over at Marti's 52 Quilts) is to practice quilting feathers. I did a feathers class with Judi Madsen in October at the Australia Machine Quilting Festival here in Adelaide and have yet to put what I learned into use.  So I dug out my notes, my sketchpad, made some sandwiches (of the quilty type!), put some contrasting thread in the machine and had a crack at it.  I'll share my full practice photos at the end of the month but so far I'm pretty happy with my progress.  Here's a couple of shots so far:

Today I'm trying feathers in squares which is not going quite as well but with practice I'm sure it will improve. Still I think if I was stitching in white thread on white it would look much better than bright green on pale pink so I'm pretty happy. Might be ready to do some on a real quilt soon, although I don't think any of the tops I have ready to quilt are quite right for feathers.

Thanks for visiting today!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

What I've Been Up To Lately

What with all the hooha around Christmas I haven't had time (or inclination really) to share some of the things I've been working on over the last month or so.  Time to get up to date!

I decided to make some cushions for Serena (my hubby's granddaughter) to match the quilt I made her a couple of years ago. She and her Mum and Dad moved into a new house just before Christmas so I thought some pillows for her bed might be just the thing. I had some fun with the quilting on the heart pillow but thought the star pillow didn't need as much.

This is the quilt I made originally and I tried to use a lot of the bits and pieces I had left to make the cushions.

Last year I also helped Kristy at Quietplay test some paper pieced blocks, one of which was for an alphabet/numbers collection of patterns. I was allocated the number 4 and an apostrophe to test. I didn't quite know what to do with them and then remembered that my brother's lucky number is 4 so I put the two together and made him a little mug rug for work!

I also made some heat pads (to protect your table from hot dishes) as small additional gifts. I found this pattern when someone else shared a link on Quilt Club Australia and they are seriously easy to make!  I initially made my first two using 9 inch squares of fabric and two layers of batting but changed to 10 inch squares and used one layer of batting and one of insulbrite for the rest. They were a little easier to quilt at the corners that way and a better finished size.

This is what they look like from the back. Effective aren't they?

This one is my favourite, I'd like to make some like this one for myself if I ever get around to it!

I made a couple of others too but in the rush to get them in the mail I forgot to take a photo!

So that was my Christmas sewing. Before I start the UFO along I decided to spend my last couple of days before I go back to work working on finishing my Star Value blocks. They're on my UFO list and were last year too but got pushed to the side so I could finish my brother's quilt.

I had four done but have another 12 cut out ready to piece. I'll share more photos when I make some more progress.

Thought I'd finish with some random Xmas photos (mostly of our dog - fair warning!).
Livvie didn't want to wear the Christmas hat but she didn't want Brian to wear it either

Livvie also took it upon herself to recycle the Christmas wrapping paper by shredding it to reduce landfill!
 Mmmmm, my Christmas trifle!
 Livvie liked having her country cousin Kip to stay but wasn't always keen to have him share her bed!

Well, that's me up to date. Best go now, just heard from my sister-in-law that they are evacuating from their place due to bushfires currently burning in the Adelaide Hills and are heading here with their animals. We're well away from any bushfire danger being in the suburbs but do get a bit of smoke when the wind blows the wrong way.

Thinking of everyone affected in the hills today. Hopefully they can get it under control soon.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A Year in Review and Looking Forward

Well after I got my brother's quilt finished (Coastal Compass) it was suddenly time to get ready for Christmas so I've been missing from my blog for a while. I kind of felt I needed a break as well, you know? Anyway I'm back and thought I might wrap up the year by looking back to see how I went on tackling my UFOs for the year.
  1. Broken Herringbone Quilt - finish blocks and put top together  Done!
  2. Quilt 'And Sew On' Wallhanging made last year. (don't have a sewing room yet so it got pushed to the side to make way for finishing my Mariner's Compass quilt (No.2 project)! 
  3. Mariner's Compass Quilt for my brother Kym (I have ruler set I bought several years ago I want to test out!) Done!
  4. Complete and quilt QBSA swap star quilt. Have yet to resolve the corners on this one so in limbo for now!
  5. Make more blocks using crumb scraps I did four more of these on my retreat in March, now I have 8.
  6. Use my rainbow swap charms to make a quilt. Top is done and partly quilted so pretty well done!
  7. Complete Cot Quilt for my niece - this is my January challenge project and is underway! Done
  8. Make more Star Value scrappy blocks I have cut out all the pieces ready to stitch together, still working on these!
  9. Quilt Star Surround Lap Quilt Done - ready and gifted to new great niece in December!
  10. Make a Shadow Trapunto project from book by Geta Grama Done - cushion made!
  11. Use pinwheel blocks made at sewing getaway into a project - maybe placematsDone
  12. Christmas swap charms - use in a project - perhaps a table runner and/or pot holders? Done
  13. Castle Ceiling Quilt - continue handpiecing. Well on the way, 9 rows together (diagonal rows).
  14. Make handbags from patterns won last year.
  15. Project using mixed charms from swaps and scraps using pattern from book I have
  16. Make quilt top using Peter Rabbit fabric pieces - long term, don't need it but was given the fabric.
  17. Continue with QBSA block swap - have now decided to leave the swap as I was losing interest and would rather let someone else take my place
  18. I Spy project using swap blocks - very long term as I don't need this yet.
  19. Finish watching all my Craftsy workshops I've signed up for, particularly the Leah Day ones.
  20. Try quilting feathers this year!
Well I guess that's not too bad. The top 12 were my UFO projects I was doing as part of the UFO Quiltalong at 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks. If you're interested in taking part you can read the guidelines here (scroll down the page a little!). I can recommend it for keeping yourself on track and focussed (sort of!).

So, onto 2015. I pulled out everything I have either started, or want to start or have on the 'one day' plan and made a list. Not entirely sure that was a good idea as I have 26 items on the list! That was after combining a couple too. For the sake of keeping myself on track here they are. The first 12 will be my UFO projects for 2015 and the others will take their chances!

  1.            Finish quilting of Rainbow Charm Quilt; and write pattern/tutorial for Rainbow Charm Quilt
    2.       Practice quilting feathers
    3.       Christmas Presents for 2015:
    ·         Cube Bag
    ·         Placemats
    ·         Cushion using practice folded compass block
    4.       QBSA Star Quilt – needs corners finishing and quilting
    5.       Star Value scrap quilt – make more blocks
    6.       Make more rainbow string blocks/quilt and make more Crumb Blocks
    7.       Make donation quilts for Mary Potter Hospice – perhaps using layer cakes, scraps, orphan blocks
    8.       Make thread catcher bag for sewing machine using laminated fabric.
    9.       Make laptop bag
    10.   Make one or two cushions to match Kym’s Mariner’s Compass quilt for his birthday or Christmas.
    11.   Celestial Star – finish blocks
    12.   Make/design cushion using offcuts from Rainbow Charm Quilt

    Other Projects I’d Like to Make
    13.   Ironing travel bag/ironing pad (on sewing weekend – with Kerry).
    14.   Quilt the Rainbow Broken Herringbone quilt top.
    15.   Use orphan blocks/bits and pieces in pizza box and make into quilts/cushions
    16.   Leah Day designs – snip and save thumbnails and print for inspirations when quilting.
    17.   Try making a ‘One Fabric Quilt’
    18.   Make quilt using orange and blue panel and fabric, perhaps to donate
    19.   Use layer cakes (4)
    20.   Handbag from Patterns Won
    21.   Finish watching Craftsy Workshops
    22.   Quilt Sewing Themed Wallhanging
    23.   Finish Castle Ceiling quilt top
    24.   Make spool wallhanging won in 2014
    25.   Peter Rabbit Quilt (not urgent – one day project)
    26.   I Spy Quilt (not urgent – one day project)
Okay, so there we have it! The first number for 2015 is 2 so I will be practicing quilting feathers. Not before time too as I did a class in October with Judi Madsen and I haven't really had a chance to practice since. Shame on me! However its not January yet so until then I'm going to sew whatever takes my fancy - what a rebel! 

Best wishes for the new year to you all and thank you for reading my blog this year.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Birthday Celebrated and Quilt Delivered and Well Received

Today was my brother Kym's 60th birthday (and also my birthday but not my 60th!). He chose to have a relaxed get together at the Belair National Park and we were very lucky with the weather as it was a lovely cool 24 degrees celcius after Thursday's 39 degrees. Much better!

We had a lovely BBQ spread, played egg and spoon races and other games, chatted and generally had a great time.

All the time being watched carefully by some local kookaburras who 'laughed' at our attempts at some of the games!
There were actually three of us there having a birthday today: my brother's friend Mark (on the left), my brother (on the right) and me.
The birthday boy blowing out his candles in his frog cakes (an Adelaide icon, although best eaten only occasionally as they are quite sickly sweet!). By this time we were all clustered under the shelter as it had decided to rain, a rarity in Adelaide this year but welcome!
And of course receiving his birthday quilt. Its all bunched up as we wanted to keep it off the ground! It was much admired and he was pretty happy with it I think.

A good day was had by all! Tomorrow I'm off to the Craft & Quilt Fair with my girlfriend - its a busy weekend!