Thursday, August 22, 2013

Stitchery update...

I have traced all of the stitcheries needed for the project that I am doing and I have stabilised them all on the back by tacking the stabiliser on. I have chipped away at these when I have had time and it has served as a reminder to me of how much you can get done with a plan and a simple goal.

I never worked like this in the past as I would start a project and continue until it was completed or ended up in the UFO pile. I have been doing some more sorting and have realised just how many things I have in that UFO or WIP pile and I need to get this sorted!

I think I need to take my simple plan and goal idea and apply it to the very large pile of things waiting for my attention. So my goal for this week is to sort a plan ... of how I am going to achieve this. 

I do think that I have subconsciously been pondering on this. Yesterday I collected all of the batting that was in various places around the house and centralised their location. I do have a very bad memory which my family will testify to and I can never remember where I have put things i.e. it took 18 months to find the spare key to the car because I put it in a safe place! Remembering where the safe place was did become the more immediate problem.

So I am ahead in that I have realised that to keep track of things that I need systems - hence the centralising of the like things together. I have now realised that I will NOT need to purchase any batting for some time to come!

Not only have I filled a very large suitcase with batting with a very large piece left over, but I had already organised previously most of the flimsy's together with their backing, batting and binding and they are also labelled ready to be quilted.

So what I need right now ... is to start on that plan.

Until next time, happy stitching everyone. 

Friday, August 09, 2013


Some of my friends will get a very good laugh out of this story today...

Yesterday I went to the Thursday afternoon stitching group that I have been attending since we moved here and was busy tracing away on some stitcheries while catching up with everyone. When I had completed tracing four designs, I thought that I would iron on the stabiliser that I use on the back of the stitcheries as I am wanting to get these organised so they can be my 'pick up and go' project. I turned the iron on and was about to iron on the stabiliser when I realised that I had used a pilot Frixion pen ....... drgh!!!!!!!

If I carried on and ironed on the stabiliser all of the tracing would disappear .... lucky I caught myself in time. But then I had to work out how I was going to attach the stabliser if I wasn't going to use heat. Thanks to the lovely ladies who attended the group yesterday we discussed the options and I tacked the stabliser to the back.

So now I am ready to go - and as you can see I have indeed started.

Happy Stitching everyone

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Wow - I did it!

I completed the machine stitching on the table runner today, 

Close up.

Next will be the layering and quilting of this, but wait there is more.....

I have got all of the pieces attached to my tile backgrounds and they are all ready for stitching. I am so excited about how they are looking. I cannot wait until I get them completed and on the wall. I am so inspired at the moment.

This gives an indication of what they will look like when placed close together on the wall - no they wont have the large piece of background fabric around the sides. 

I am really pleased with the result and cant wait to get the stitching done on these now.


Class Two - Taupo Symposium 2013

The second two day class I did, was again with Michele Hill (wasn't I really lucky) - Tile Play in Fabric.

I love Mediterranean colours and therefore used colours very similar to Michele's sample but could see how other colours would work for different applications. 

Here are the colours I chose to use.

I found the fact that I had already done a class with Michele an advantage as once we got through introductions and initial instructions I could work at my own pace with the knowledge of machine appliqué techniques I had already gained from Michele in the previous class.

I am really thrilled with the fact that I got all of the machine stitching on my tile block done by the end of the class. I have never ever achieved this much in a class before. Seeing everyone's tiles at the end of the class was great. The variety of colours used and background fabrics was interesting and it was lovely seeing more contemporary colours being used. 

My completed tile block.

Class photo of us all.

Michele gave us a quick mini class on creating our own designs and this is definitely an area that I would like to do more exploration in and I have some ideas already. Michele has definitely inspired me to give it a go.

Watch this space!


Catch up....

I forgot to mention in the last post that one of the ladies in the class had previously done a class with Michele and had brought a quilt to show us. We were very lucky to have it adorn the walls as we worked, I was especially lucky as it was hanging beside where I was working and I could get to really appreciate everything about the quilt up close. Anne has done an absolutely fabulous job.

The photo doesn't do this quilt justice.

Better look at centre block and the detail.

Up close.

Sunday was my class free day and several of us went around the exhibitions. What a treat - seriously I really needed to go back again, but alas we ran out of time.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Class one at Taupo Symposium 2013

My first class was Royal Exhibition (machine applique) with Michele Hill. Seriously I have never laughed as much in a class - ever, as I did in Michele's class. Boy is that lady funny and so down to earth, it truly was a pleasure to be in her class. I have never enjoyed a class so much. The designs are from Australia's only World Heritage listed building - Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building.

For this class we had a choice of making a cushion or a table runner. As most of you know we have recently moved cities and are living in a new house, hence I thought a new table runner for the dining room table might be a good idea.

I had chosen different colours for my table runner compared to others in the class. I love purple and thought I would use the colours that I love especially bearing in mind the amount of work involved with these labours of love. The opportunity to practice my machine applique made this choice of class an easy one. 

The fabric for my table runner.

I was not disappointed. There was definitely improvement in my machine applique throughout this class, although a did a bit of tracing on the second morning due to an ill timed headache. Luckily by lunchtime the medication had kicked in and I could get back to stitching.

Michele and I at end of class, day two.

It was fantastic seeing everyone's projects at the end of the class. Below is a photo of mine at the end of the class.

I now have all the design pieces attached to the background fabric and are slowly getting it all machine appliqued. Yesterday I decided to set up my machine as it was still packed from Symposium and the front room was freezing compared to the living room, so I thought that I would set up on the dining room table. Alas the machine bounced as I sewed, so I had no choice but to set up my sew-ezi table in the living room.

So I am going to keep chipping away at this until I get it completed. As I mentioned before I have seen improvement in my stitching and the tips that Michele gave us has really helped. I took my machine to Symposium as I wanted to use the machine that I would always be using for machine applique. I have previously hired machines at Symposium which has worked well for me for what I needed them for. As you can see from the photo I have a Janome and they have a 5 stitch blanket stitch as opposed to the Bernina which has a 3 stitch blanket stitch. This means that where I stop the machine before pivoting is different - this understanding is definitely helping - although more practice is needed still. I have got the outer curves sorted but need to focus more on the inner curves.

Anyway I will show you close ups once I have it out from under the machine.
Had better get back to the machine - break time is over for now!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Wow .... Hello there

Well it is Monday of term three and I am enjoying the peace and tranquility of having the house to myself once again. I have to say that it is nice being home as I haven't been here much with several trips to Whangarei and Symposium in Taupo. The cats really appreciate me being home too.

Aren't they cute all curled up like that.

What a fantastic time we had in Taupo. I caught up with friends from Whangarei and also made new friends too. A group of us from Whangarei rented a house together which was lovely as there were always interesting things to discuss, exhibitions and lectures to share plus generally spending quality time together sharing what we love best - Quilting!

Here is a sample of the view enjoyed from where we were staying.

This is the third Symposium I have been to and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was very busy as I was lucky enough to get two x two day classes, plus I wanted to attend lectures. I love the lectures and seeing the tutors strut their stuff. Their personalities really do come through and I feel that the lectures are very good value for money. This was the first time that I have attended two day classes and I really enjoyed them. I felt that there was less pressure and the convenience of being able to leave everything in the classroom until the next day was awesome. The extra bonus was that I actually got something completed .... but more on that soon.

Cheers until next time

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The unpacking continues ...

Hi everyone,

Wow, doesn't time fly when you aren't looking! I don't know where the time has gone since my last post but I can say I have been very busy.

We did indeed move during the school holidays and I find it hard to believe we have been in Tauranga several weeks already. The cats are settling in as you can see from the photo, although they are sticking very close to the house.

Frosty on window seat in new house.

Everything went very smoothly and the biggest drama through everything was I stuffed the battery in my car. It was my fault and I can't blame anyone else ... but a new battery later and we are off again. I don't ever recall having to replace a battery in any of the cars that I have owned, so I think I have done very well through the years to have to replace one now.

Our daughter has started school at her new college last week and was quick to tell me all about her new friends when I picked her up later that day. It is good seeing her having the confidence to move on with things though, as the move has been tough for her as she was too little to remember us moving to Whangarei twelve years ago.

I have to confess that I have not done much in terms of anything quilty since the last post, with moving and everything. Not only have we downsized the property but the house as well, and I do not have a separate space for my sewing like I did in Whangarei but are sharing the guest room.

My sewing space in the corner of the guest room. There is a lovely view out to the street from the front window - nothing like watching the comings and goings of the neighbourhood.

I visited a local quilt shop here in Tauranga that has a stitching group on Thursdays, I went along last week and are looking forward to returning this week. However, I digress. I need to get a move on with the triptych for my Whangarei group, as I haven't done anything on this project since before leaving Whangarei.

We have had class confirmations for Symposium 2013 in Taupo. I have got into two of Michele Hills classes, I am absolutely rapt. I need to get myself organised and start getting things together. Maybe the visits to the local quilt shop can help here.

Well that is all for now, come back soon to see how I have got on with everything.

Until then happy stitching everyone,
Cheers Donna-Maree

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

And the ideas began ...

Well I went to Tauranga with hubby and spent four days looking at houses and re looking at houses. It was a very difficult decision but we have a result and we are moving in the school holidays, when exactly we don't know yet but should do in about a week.

We had stitching group here at our place last Monday night. What a fun evening we had. With show and tell by all, we also discussed our project for 2013.

We are doing triptychs, any size we like. Several ladies discussed their ideas and one even had her drawings done already. I have had trouble settling on one idea for the triptych as I have had a lot of ideas and couldn't choose.

After the ladies had left at the end of the evening as I flicked through a book I had borrowed from club I instantly knew what I wanted to do for my triptychs. Well at least two of them anyway. No, they aren't any of my original ideas.

On the left will be one panel and the design on the right will be another. I haven't thought too much past there yet.

These designs are from Material Obsession Two by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke. There are some awesome designs in this book. I just love the fabrics too.

Any ideas or feedback, please leave a comment as I would love to hear from you.

Until next time, happy stitching everyone,

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Progress ...

Don't you just love it when life is just chugging along and then suddenly the gear changes and things go up a notch. That is me at the moment, I have just been cruising along here in Whangarei looking after the house, daughter and cats. Suddenly there is a house to look at in Tauranga and time is of the essence here, but next week is getting kind of busy. I am not sure how I am going to fit everything in, but I will try. 

As I mentioned in the last post I emailed for the corrections for the wonky stars. I have had a reply from Cheryl asking for my mailing address, I have responded to this - so the instructions for the wonky stars should be on their way soon.

In the meantime I have made the alterations to a couple of blocks - it was a colour placement thing - I didn't like the greens or lights right next door to each other.

I am happy with this block now. This is bock one and it is ready for the next step, which will probably be being sandwiched ready for quilting.

The next thing I am going to work on, is getting the applique ready for blanket stitch. I think I will do this by hand. Soccer practice starts tonight for the season and there is going to be two practices per week - a lot of sitting around time for me while I am waiting for our daughter - awesome stitching time.

Will let you know how I am getting on ...

Happy stitching everyone

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

House Sampler Update

When I was checking out the website for Country Quilts in Canada, where this quilt originally came from, I saw a corrections tab and clicked on it. There are three corrections for the original pattern of this quilt. What a fantastic idea, having a place where corrections to early patterns can be found. 

Anyway I am deflecting - I found that there is a correction for the wonky stars. I have emailed for the corrections and when I get them, I should be able to remake my wonky stars which is great.

I love the wonky stars idea but I didn't love mine! I am checking out the other corrections and making sure that they are noted on my pattern pieces for future reference.

Here are my wonky stars and if you look closely you can see that they are not true rectangles but are some funny shape!

I need to see if I have some fabrics similar to these so I can make some more wonky stars.

Check back soon to see what I am doing next.


And the decision is ...

The quilt that I am going to focus on is ... House Sampler BOM Quilt

I was working on this quilt a long time ago. In fact it was the first BOM that I purchased. I saw it at Calico Christmas and instantly fell in love with it. It was on The Quilters Cabin stand and I signed up immediately. The pattern is from Country Quilts in Canada by Cheryl Wall HERE is the link to the website.

Yesterday I had my friend Leeann over and we were talking about it and I grabbed it off the shelf and laid it out on the floor. I knew that I had nearly completed the top but didn't realise how close to finishing it was. Leeann and I discussed what needed to be completed and some changes that I would like made.

Here is the quilt laid out on the floor, and looking at it from this perspective I really like it, up close though the houses are BIG! There is some applique still to be done, although most of the piecing has been done.

Did I mention that I started this a long long time ago. I still like the quilt but now have the confidence to make changes to suit myself. I have done some unpicking of a few things that I want moved around. My wonky stars are looking really sad, they didn't work too well. Trying to figure out what I am going to do to fix them.

Instead of packing it up, I left it on the floor overnight but unfortunately had to pick it up as land agents where coming through the house this morning. 

Leeann and I discussed the quilting of the quilt and I think that I will do QAYG (quilt as you go). Quilting portions of the quilt and then joining them together as a whole. I am feeling motivated to get this completed. I would love to see this quilt on the wall before we move - wouldn't that be amazing!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Which project? ...

Hi everyone,

Since writing the last post I have given considerable thought as to which project I should work on and have chosen two: "Home Coming Lane" and "Christmas Star Chain".

My thinking with this was that I could sort out Home Coming Lane, as there is a lot of applique to do on this quilt and once I have it organised and all cut out and ironed I can have the blocks bagged up and ready to sew when I can.

Just for a reminder here is a photo of Block One that I did when on retreat with my friends (I have done more than this since then, but haven't got it out for a photo).

I decided that before I get this one out and sorted that I would pull Christmas Star Chain out and get my head around what needs to be done on this quilt. This quilt has a bit of a story already and it isn't even finished!

My hubby bought me the kit for this quilt for my 40th birthday (a few years ago). I saw the quilt at the Otamatea Quilt Show that year on The Apple Basket stand and instantly fell in love with it. Being a very new quilter I never gave a thought to the making of the quilt and the skills required, lol.

Christmas Star Chain is a quilt designed by Darlene Zimmerman and Joy Hoffman using the TRI-RECS tools which came with the quilt kit along with the book.

Isn't it just lovely. I started making this quilt when my sewing area was down in the rumpus room probably about 2004 and I got 5 minutes notice one day that hubby was going to tear the ceiling out of the rumpus room. Argh! I didn't have much time to pack up as you can imagine and just gathered everything the best that I could. I have not touched the quilt since. The work on the house grew from replacing the ceiling to full-on renovations that have lasted for quite a few years and we have only just totally finished to put the house on the market for the move, as you do. 

So my thinking was that I would pull this little darling out and work on it while hubby was away and get it completed.

Here is everything laid out on the dining room table as I get my head around what needs to be done and what has been done. But see that little pile on the bottom left: that is 20 RECS triangles and I need 192, but the thing is I am pretty sure that I had cut all that I needed and they were sitting in a meat tray in my sewing room on the shelf where they have been for a long time. But now that I want them - they are not there. I can't find them! I have had a massive clean up for the marketing photos for the house and have a vague recollection of putting them somewhere else BUT I can't remember where. I have looked through just about everything in my sewing room and cannot find them ... anywhere. I have found just about everything else but NOT those triangles.

So I have decided after spending the best part of two days looking and sorting as I go, that I am going to put this away for now as clearly now is not the time to be working on this quilt and hence its story continues.

I just have to decide what to work on instead. I will ponder that today while at the hairdressers. One thing I have realised through this experience is that I work very differently now to how I did all those years ago. I rewrite instructions onto card with symbols that I instantly recognise without having to read through heaps of words. I also organise things differently now as well - this may have something to do with the fact that I have more projects on the go at one time compared to back then. Don't know if this is a good thing or not.

So on that note I will head off and get myself sorted and put these pieces away before hubby returns tonight as it is still all spread out on the dining room table. I will carry on while hoping that the missing pieces will resurface in time.

Cheers for now and happy stitching 

Monday, March 04, 2013

Wow .... look what I got .....

Hi everyone,

Last week our stitching group met for the first time this year. There are a few changes taking place as the night we are meeting is changing as well as the week of the month - so instead of meeting at the end of the week at the beginning of the month, we are meeting at the beginning of the week at the end of the month. This will take some getting used to, but I am sure that we will get there.

It was lovely catching up with everyone and hearing what we had all been up to. There was quite a bit of show and tell but I was so blown away that I didn't get any photos. But look at what the girls presented me with ...

Isn't the cover on the book just lovely. I think someone knows that I really, really like blue and look at that fabric - Inthia how did you know? The stitchery is awesome too. I feel very honoured!

This book was created with information and photos of our group over the last 12 years which is how long I have been involved with these lovely ladies. It truly is an amazing record of meals we have shared, projects we have worked on, our history. It is truly a very special gift - one that I will treasure. 

We have been working really hard getting the house ready for the market and we are now there. The house is looking really good thanks to all of the good hard work that hubby has put in over the past few months, years actually. The house has been listed and hubby has gone to Tauranga to start in his new role. Our youngest daughter and I are remaining here at the moment with the cats, and things will be reassessed in due course. 

While I am still here I am attending all of the normal quilty things that I am involved in, which is rather nice and a true gift. I haven't had much time do any stitching in the past few weeks but I am intending to squeeze some stitching in during the next few weeks. I am trying to decide what I want or should work on first. There is definitely enough to choose from.

I found it interesting tidying up the house and sorting through things, especially the places that I found some things. I know that my memory isn't that great but goodness I am pretty sure I never put things where I found them. I also found some items that I had totally forgotten about. I will pull them out and share them with you in future posts.

So on that note, come back soon to see what I decide to stitch first, and what I found in my sorting out. Oh and we should be hearing about our classes for symposium soon - very exciting and I can't wait.

Until next time, happy stitching everyone.
Cheers Donna-Maree

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hello 2013

Hello everyone and hello to 2013. January has been and gone and we are now well into February! How did that happen? 

I was just reading through my last post, which was the end of December and I can't believe what has happened since then.

Kelsey and Jay have returned to Australia and are back into their routines. It was awesome getting to spend some time with them and catching up. I found it a little easier to say goodbye this time although we have no idea yet when we will see them again.

A lot is still up in the air at the moment in regards to our move, which I sometimes find a little unsettling but are coping with most of the time.

We took some time out and went to Oakura Beach on New Years Day as it was hubby's birthday and it was an awesome day.

Here I am having my first cuddle with my great nephew. Isn't he just tiny!

He is such a wee poppet.

In terms of what I have done sewing wise - I have made 3 sets of drapes for our room and completed the drapes for what was our sons room. (He isn't moving with us to Tauranga and moved out a few weekends ago in preparation for our departure.) I might still have drapes for one room to make yet. I have been tidying in my sewing room but haven't quite finished yet.

It has been very hot with temperatures getting very high very early in the day. This doesn't make it easy to get the jobs done for the big move.

I want to get this published, as it has been sitting in the draft folder for too long and I have more things to share with you very soon, promise.

Check back soon - you never know what is going on around here.

PS: Please feel free to leave a comment, I love hearing from you.