Sunday, November 02, 2014

Sewing weekend ....

I have been lucky enough to have special sewing time with a friend this weekend. Leeann and I live in different cities now but that hasn't affected our friendship.

These are the last two Easy Street blocks laid out and ready for sewing together. 

Yippee. The end is in sight.

Leeann and I have been busy sewing away together, chatting and encouraging each other, making suggestions about each other's blocks, and discussing possible future projects. It has been a while since I have sewn with a friend like this, and I certainly make the most of the opportunity when it presents itself. It has been like a mini retreat and as we said goodbye, we have caught up on things that have been going on in our lives, eaten some good food and definitely made progress on what we have been working on. Both of our projects have the finish line in sight and the weekend was definitely a big success.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Progress on Easy Street

Progress is happening on Easy Street, bit by bit, one step at a time. Last night I completed the last of the block units that I need if my counting is correct. 

I then started putting the blocks together and boy do they start coming together quite quickly. I have been working on two at a time, webbing them like Bonnie Hunter does. I am definitely converted to this method, it keeps me straight and true and once you get used to it, I am pretty sure it is quicker as I am not spending time laying my block out again and again checking I have everything where it is supposed to be and that everything is going in the right direction. I will keep chipping away at these and I am sure I will have a flimsy before we know it.

Will keep you posted of my progress.

Happy stitching

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Four Patches

I have been making units to top up the ones that my friend gifted me for Easy Street and I made these four patches yesterday. This morning I have pressed and snipped them while counting out as I go. Alas some of my nesting wasn't as good as it should be and the above photo is my pile of rejects. 

When making four patches I don't pin preferring to nest them, however clearly I didn't nest some very well. I suspect these were some of the early ones I did and I could feel they weren't nested properly and I changed the way that I thread them through the machine and that helped heaps.
How fussy are you when it comes to your four patches? Let me know in the comments section below.


Friday, September 05, 2014

Oops ....

I am converting to webbing my blocks together like Bonne Hunter does and this is why...

The turquoise block pieces on the right are correct the ones on the left aren't. Somehow I always seem to turn my blocks if I just pick up the block units and sew them. 

Using Bonnies system, I find I have much less unpicking. Last night I was thinking about something else when I was sewing and wasn't paying enough attention and so today I have some reverse sewing to do before I can move on. I will definitely be using the webbing system to complete the rest of the blocks.

I'm off to do some unpicking and resew these units. Although I am currently working on another quilt (the one I took to retreat last weekend) I was gifted these units for Easy Street from a friend and I thought that I would just make one of each block to see what I think of them.

Happy stitching everyone, until next time 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Progress so far...

I thought that I would lay out the blocks for Orange Crush, a mystery from Bonnie Hunter that has been sitting as a UFO which I worked on last weekend while on retreat.

Looking good so far, what do you think? Let me know in comments below.

Cheers Donna-Maree

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Results from Retreat

I am very pleased with what I got done at retreat this last weekend. 

This is everything that got completed. I know some of you might be disappointed that this is all to show for my time away, however I am thrilled. This UFO is Orange Crush a Bonnie Hunter Mystery that I started in 2011 and it has been sitting until now awaiting its turn to come out of the cupboard.

There are 20 blocks here on the left, I made the little corner units for these and put them all together this weekend. On the right are 30 of the border blocks that are required, not many to go and the units in front are for the rest. Feeling great about getting this flimsy much closer to the completion mark.

Now for anyone that hasn't been convinced about Bonnie's Leaders and Enders, check this out

These piles are what was sewn together as Leaders and Enders by my friend and myself over the weekend. They were twin units waiting to be sewn into four patches, which they are now. They aren't for anything specific at this stage, I just grabbed them as they were sitting ready it go. My girlfriend didn't have anything and was sewing onto a scrap and of course I had something better, so we shared them.

I will save my other photos for a later post, so until then - happy stitching everyone.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Packed and all ready to go!

Here is my sewing stuff all packed and assembled, ready to be loaded into the car.

Those two containers at the front are my projects, the main one in the bottom container and the top one, just in case as you do.

I hope I have remembered everything I need. Taking a cushion in case the chairs are too hard, it makes a difference when you are sitting for a while. 

How much stuff do you take when you are retreating and how many projects do you take just in case?
Let me know in the comments.

Happy stitching everyone.

Yeehah! Today I am off to a retreat...

Yes off to retreat!  A very special time to catch up with some special friends and get some serious sewing done. Can't wait to hit the road.

Here is my main project for the weekend all cut and ready to roll. I wonder how much I can get done.
Watch this space to find out - will update when I can.

Happy stitching everyone.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Orphan block update.

Progress is going slowly but steadily on the orphan blocks. They have been sewn together with sashings and corner stones. However after three episodes of reverse stitching due to my quilting attempts I am on a road that I like in terms of the quilting on these.

I haven't quilted much in the last six years - heaps of piecing as time allowed but definitely not much quilting. I have to admit I was very hesitant about quilting this table runner for many reasons. The first was indecision as to what I wanted to do, secondly I had lost my confidence about quilting it and I kept over thinking it and talking myself out of doing anything. I even attempted hand quilting - and I seriously can not hand quilt.

Coincidentialy at our quilting club one of the ladies has recently given a class on free motion machine quilting and has been talking us through the processes as to how she works and what works for her. I already knew most of what she said, as you do, but it was a very powerful reminder and motivating experience for me. I decided one day without too much thinking to just pick up the table runner and start quilting in the ditch. When this was all done I knew what I wanted to do next and that has continued as I have worked through quilting each element.

This table runner is a good piece to practice on as it isn't precious to me in the same way that something which is intended as a gift would be. This table runner is to be a utilitarian piece to give some protection to the main part of the dining table on a daily basis when we don't have a full table cloth on there.

I am still working on this but you can see some of the quilting that has been done already.

Here is the back which probably shows the quilting a little better.

Well this quilting activity is very addictive. I am worried that I will get carried away and over quilt it, however because it will be table runner I am not too concerned about that and the resulting stiffness as that might be an advantage on the table. Still have some to do .... So hang around and check out the final product. Let me know what you think of what I have done so far, would love to hear your thoughts.

See you then, happy stitching everyone

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Some precious stitching time

I had a need to do some mindless stitching and have sewn some string blocks using my scraps. 

Our son moved back in with us for a month and was staying in my sewing room, so when he moved out I set up my machine and grabbed the first things I saw, some squares of paper and some string scraps and I sewed for several hours - such a tonic.

 I love the way your mind can wander when sewing strings as the only things you have to worry about is whether the scrap is going to cover the paper where you want and the contrast between what is on the paper already and what you are adding. I often watch Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville Quiltcam while I am sewing or something from TV on demand. If you haven't caught up with Bonnie yet you should give it a try, it is great sewing along with somebody else - technology is just wonderful isn't it?

At this stage I don't know what I will use the squares for, I have a couple of ideas forming but will wait until I have made a few more before I decide.

I have also made some cushions for our window seat and I am quite pleased with them.

That corner is such a lovely place to sit with the sun streaming through the windows, my son nearly fell asleep the other day when he was visiting. It is a favourite place to sit and read awhile or just to think.

What has been under your needle? Leave a comment as I love getting feedback.

Until next time, happy stitching everyone.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Yahoo ...... Classes booklet for Symposium 2015 has arrived!!!

Look what arrived in the post this afternoon .... the classes booklet for Quilt Symposium Manawatu 
16-21 January 2015. Haven't looked inside yet - but have had a sneak preview on the website.

Catch you soon,

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Stitching on the stitchery - done!

Wow - what an amazing feeling having put the last stitch into the stitchery last night. I have to say that I felt a little sad to be coming to the end, I have really enjoyed working on this stitchery. There are others that I like just as much and if I do decide to do more, I thought that eventually they could all hang together. The stitchery is 'Christmas Angels' from The Birdhouse.

With the stitching done, now I have to decide how I am going to border it. Whether I am going to do a simple plain border or a pieced one?

What do you think? Let me know - I love getting feedback.

Happy stitching everyone,

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Keeping busy

I am waiting at the hospital today and have my trusty 'to go' bag. My motherinlaw is having surgery and while she is in theatre I thought it was a good opportunity to get some more stitches in. Not many more stitches are needed before this is done, such a good feeling. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bandana bib style

When my daughter Kelsey and granddaughter Scarlett were down visiting I had a go at making some bandana bibs. Kelsey chose some fabrics from my stash that she liked and away we went. They turned out quite well and seem to be doing the trick.

Hearts a plenty...

Boy time flies by when you aren't looking.

We have been lucky enough to have our daughter and granddaughter visit several times in the last few months. I do believe that grandchildren are indeed gifts from God and I relish the times that we have together and try to spend as much quality time with them both as possible while we are together. These special times really make my heart sing.

I have been doing some stitching although I don't have much to show in this post. I have tonight however, downloaded an app on the ipad which will enable me to update the blog much easier than having to go into the office and use the laptop which also involves downloading photos etc, most of the photos these days are on the ipad anyway so it makes more sense this way. Time will tell whether I post more regularly than I have been more recently.

Anyway, unfortunately my Aunt passed away at the beginning of June. Aunty Kaye was my fathers only sister and she has always had a special place in my heart. I wanted to do something special for her and so I decided to make a heart to put on her coffin instead of a flower. I loved having the opportunity when I was working on the heart to sift through my memories of her and our times together as I worked. It was lovely catching up with my cousins and extended family at the funeral and being able to celebrate her life with them all.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Is this the beginning of a collection?

I have never really had any desire to own any vintage machines although I do confess that I do think feather weights are cute and could be useful machines to own, due to their size and capabilities and have at certain times thought that owning one could be neat. I do like treadles and I did for a time look after my aunties one while she was living in another city. I do have a treadle base that I want to put a top on and use as a table and that is sitting in the shed waiting for its turn for attention.

Often when I am sewing or ironing I listen/watch Bonnie Hunter and her quiltcam and Bonnie just loves the older machines and clearly her attitudes are rubbing off. One day at work I was bored in my break and decided to check out trade me and just have a look to see what was available, particularly in our area. I was surprised to find a Singer crankhandle machine not far from us. I put it on my watch list and thought nothing more about it. Following the auction I got a fixed price offer which I found myself accepting. So I am the very proud owner of 1922 Singer crank handle which I have called Cranky. She sews like a dream. We collected her on the Friday night and over that weekend I put together a quick quilt top using bonus squares from a previous quilt. I thought it would be a good project to check Cranky out, plus use up some scraps. When we collected the machine they told us that they were selling the machine for his mother who purchased it second hand and the machine came out to New Zealand in 1965 with the family.

I was so impressed with the experience with Cranky that I thought I would check out what else was available and being sold. I was quite surprised with the amount of machines that were available and the condition that some if them were in. I put several on my watch list and got notifications when the auctions were due to close, as you do. For one particular machine the bidding was very low and the auction was due to close in the next 30 minutes - so I put a bid on and expected to get out bided. I waited and waited and the auction closed and I had purchased another machine. There wasn't a lot of information on the auction about this machine and only two photos but the machine did look to be in reasonable condition. Because I didn't think I would buy the machine I hadn't asked any questions clarifying the condition and parts etc, so I purchased this machine blind so to speak, with the attitude that the purchase price was good  and I could absorb any costs getting this girl up and running.

According to the serial number she was made in 1950 but the badge on the front says 1851 - 1951. She does have a motor (no belt at this stage) she has a light, her cord is a little frayed and needing some rewiring and she has a knee control. She has some attachments but has quite a few missing, no manual and is missing the model number badge on the front (I am assuming she had one) and no key for the case. At this stage I am not totally sure what her model number is. She was very stiff but I have oiled her and she has freed up a lot. Until I know her model number I can't ascertain what she should or shouldn't have and what she needs. At this stage I have not plugged her in and tested the motor. We collected her from Havelock North in the Hawkes Bay and the previous owner is relocating to Christchurch and I only had one day available to collect her. Not a lot of information was given when we picked her up so I know nothing of her history.

She is currently unnamed and is still sitting on the end of the dining table waiting for me to have more time to sort things for her. To be honest one of the reasons is that she is so heavy and I am not sure where to put her where I can still fiddle with her, so until then on the dining table she stays.

Now what can I name her ....

I will ponder on that - until next time happy stitching everyone.


Friday, April 04, 2014

Orphan blocks progress ...

Hi everyone

I thought that I would let you know how I got on sorting the orphan blocks. Well here is the progress to date.

I had a look in my scrap 2" strip drawer and found snap lock bags full of goodies, things that I had forgotten about. Then I saw some bonus blocks left over from another project that I had trimmed (before realising it was going to take forever to trim them all and stopped) and thanks to the Bonnie Hunter way of thinking - I decided to use what I have and that if my star block was going to be different from the rest, that it will be quite different at least when you look up close. 

On closer inspection there is a bag there with 300 x 4 patches - labelled and ready to go - clearly they are for a project, but I have no recollection which one. Will have to give it some thought.

I will put these aside until I can remember what they are destined for. But it is a reminder for me to label things with more details.

So here is a collection of block parts that I have chosen to use to create the block bearing in mind the colours and contrast that has been used in the original blocks. I think it is going to look okay. 

I love this tray and use it to lay out block pieces - it was going to the secondhand shop when my mother in law was moving recently - I immediately saw its potential.

I used Bonnie Hunters webbing method of joining the block. It has taken a bit of effort to break my original habit of joining blocks but it has been worth the effort - Bonnie's way does definitely makes it easier and more streamlined and a bonus is that the block pieces are always in the right place reducing the need for frogging or reverse sewing.

Here it is all sewn together - when sewing blocks together like this I don't press until the block is put together, as then I can work out which way I am going to press the seams after I have sewn everything together. This is dependent on which way the seams are going and that decision I make as I am sewing.

Here it is amongst the others - can you spot it? Bottom third from the left.

I am trying to sort out what size to make the tramming and the four patches and am leaning towards 2" strips. This is the smallest that I have pre cut stored ready to go, so would prefer to use these.

Right then I need to go and make some decisions - see you soon.


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Orphan blocks getting sorted...

I do not know where I got these orphan blocks but when I was tidying up the other day I found them and instantly knew what I wanted to do with them. Five of them were joined together with the background blocks that you can see on the left hand side. I unpicked these last night watching tv and I didn't think of taking a photo to show you a before shot. 

However for some reason I thought that there were ten blocks so you can imagine my surprise this morning when I counted them out and there were only nine.

This is how I am wanting to set them with tramming and four patches in between - this is destined to be a central table runner for the dining table. They need the tramming as they are not all created equal and some fudging will be needing to happen. So I guess another square needs to be created - even though the fabrics will be totally different to the other blocks I think they will be okay and I will put the block in the middle so it doesn't stand out too much. Thank goodness for Bonnie Hunter and her sensible attitude about scraps that rubs off on many of us.

Come back soon to see how this project has got on...

Happy stitching everyone and please leave a comment if you have time.


Tripping Around ...

I took this picture of one of the many mosaics in the footpath yesterday when in Cambridge, they are pretty cool. Here is what it says on the Cambridge website regarding these mosaics.  Check it out for yourself HERE.

Walks of fame

If you fancy a gentle stroll, check out Cambridge's tribute to our equine and sporting heroes. Wander along Duke St to find 25 plaques honouring the achievements of local stars in the town's Sporting Walk of Fame, and as you turn into Victoria Street, look for 18 mosaics set into the footpath of prominent local horses. On the wall beside the ANZ in Victoria St, you'll find a special collection of plaques honouring our 13 (and counting) Melbourne Cup winners.

It isn't often that I get the opportunity to have a day out when hubby is on the road, but I grab them when I can. I was disappointed to find the quilt shop I was planning to visit in Cambridge had closed down at Christmas. Having planned on visiting the shop I had some time to spare once I had done enough window shopping, so I sat on a benchseat under a tree on the main road and did some stitching. The cafe across the road had an entertainer playing outside their premise and the ambience was just fantastic. The thing that always surprises me when I am stitching somewhere is the amount of people who stop to look and chat - it is definitely an ice breaker.

While window shopping I was really impressed with this little shop - MYstyleNZ check out their website HERE. They are in the process of redoing their website so make sure to check back soon. They have some seriously gorgeous fabrics, bags, all sorts of things - it definitely put a smile on my face. They will send anything out to you. The thing that really impressed me was their friendliness and positive welcoming attitude. It might be a little shop but it is a treasure trove. The other thing that I noticed in Cambridge is that a lot of the window fronts are looking very royal - I wonder why ... Some special visitors maybe?

After spending the morning in Cambridge we went on to Hamilton. I have lived in Hamilton a lot through my life, on and off and I am always keen to have a look around and check out what has changed since the last time.

Here is the Hamilton Lake or Lake Rotoroa - in all the years that I have lived in Hamilton I have never seen the lake water level so low. In fact I couldn't believe just how dry the Waikato is and how brown the grass is.

This photo is looking up to the cafe at the lake which has been there forever although it is definitely looking different since the last time I was here.

I called into The Base Shopping Centre - I had never been before although I did see them start to build it. This was a little freaky for me as our family lived there at one stage when it was an RNZAF Base. The school got relocated and all the buildings gone - all the memories of those times got challenged yesterday sitting in the mall, knowing that everything had gone and this replaced it. It somehow feels like those times never existed at all apart from in my mind.

Check back soon to see what I am up to next and please leave a comment - I enjoy reading them. Until next time...

Happy stitching everyone.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What is on the needles?

Look what is on my needles...

Knitting for our first granddaughter - Scarlett. 

Yes I am indeed a Nana. Our beautiful granddaughter was born 4 days before her due date at 6.34am, 6lb 11oz and 51cm long, following a very short labour. Mum, dad and baby are doing very well. Scarlett Valentina - The little darling is filling out very quickly and has steadily gained weight never loosing the weight that newborns usually do.

Back to the knitting - I haven't really done any knitting for a while and I have really enjoyed (well most of the time anyway) knitting for my granddaughter knowing that these garments will help keep her nice and warm and every stitch is stitched with love and promise.

I have knitted two garments for her, well one is complete and just waiting for the sewing together part, as you can see below. 

The second one - I can see the finish line. They are visiting this weekend and I am wanting to give them to my daughter, so the pressure is on. The pattern on the second matinee jacket is more complicated than that on the first and there was a fair amount on unknitting and re knitting going on and because this little number is knitted as one to the armholes there were a lot of stitches involved in this process. I found it very hard not to get frustrated, however I am really glad that I persevered as the finished result is just lovely.

What helped with this was the opportunity to start the pattern off in the morning instead of after dinner when I was too tired to concentrate and see properly. I am pretty sure that I know the pattern off by heart now and can tell just by looking where I was up to. Onto the moss stitch now, so that shouldn't take too long.

I enjoy knitting for this age group as it doesn't take too long and you can use some of the designs that older babies and children don't really want.

That is all for today - so until next time happy stitching everyone.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

My entries for the Tauranga Quilt Show

Hi there,

Just trying to do a little bit of a catch up with things that I have been doing around life ...

Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Group had a quilt exhibition just after I became a member, September 2013. This was the inspiration I needed to make a commitment to get a few things completed. And here are some of my entries -

These are the tiles that I started in Michele Hill's class at Quilt Symposium at Taupo, 2013. If you look back to previous posts when I was doing the applique for these, you can see how mounting them on canvas really transforms them.

This is a Ngaire Williams design from The Apple Basket. I purchased this as a kit - excluding the canvas. I am very pleased with the result and found the process very rewarding. These get mounted on the wall with 3M velcro strips.

Hannah's Moonshine Quilt - a Monica Poole / Moonshine Design, using the Quilt as you go technique. This quilt was made as a 21st present and again I am pleased with the result. The best part about it all was that you are working with more manageable sizes of the quilt and it is only when putting the larger pieces together that you are dealing with the entire bulk.

Here is another Ngaire Williams design and again this was purchased as a kit. I absolutely love the result and this also gets attached to the wall with 3m velcro strips.

It has definitely been good seeing some projects getting completed. Since then I have been working a lot and haven't been doing much sewing. I am trying to get the sewing room sorted so that I can start chipping away at a few more things.

Check back soon to see what else I have been up to and meanwhile happy sewing everyone.

Cheers Donna-Maree

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Welcome to 2014...

Wow, I can't believe it has been so long since I last posted and so much has happened since then as you can imagine.

I am not going to update you with everything that has been going on in this post, but will gradually over the next few posts. I will say that I started work in October and worked very long hours six days a week right up to Christmas, hence the no posts.

At the moment I am sorting the house from Christmas and getting ready for our first grandchild that is due on Valentines Day - February 14th.

Here is what I have been working on for our daughter - she asked me to make a liner for the pram and another one for the car seat. I went to Whangarei and was making these at her house while visiting with her, but alas I had trouble with my machine doing the buttonhole stitch around where the straps are going to go. Hence I didn't get them completed and brought them home to finish them, which I have nearly done. I also need to have another look at the machine and work out exactly what is going on there and whether I can sort it or if it needs to go to see the sewing machine fix-it man.

Until next time, happy stitching everyone.