Monday, November 30, 2015

November is moving on

I don't know where the last few weeks have gone. I have spent some time away with mum to get the results from some tests. We are just waiting now to hear when her treatment starts.

We spent some time with mums brother and his wife along with their grown daughters calling in to catch up with us too. It is really nice being so welcomed and having the support from extended family especially through these stressful times. My sister who lives in Australia was here for several days which was nice and my sister who lives in Auckland managed to get some time off which allowed us to spend an afternoon and evening all together with mum. It has been a very long time since mum has had her three daughters all together like that, special quality time. The time spent with mum, my sisters and my relatives made me appreciate anew the support of people who care about each other. 

I worked on my hexies a little while I was away and it was very special sitting with my Aunty Bev and us both working on our hexies together while visiting with each other. My hexie collection is growing, I will have to start sewing some together soon.

I have spent some time doing more organising in the sewing room and have now completed sorting all fabrics into bins by colour. This took longer than I thought it would and I now have better knowledge of my stash. I don't think it matters how large or small your stash is, I do think we all have more fabric than we remember and I do have more than I thought I did.

This afternoon I watched some videos on machine quilting by Leah Day and then had a bit of a practice session, trying out a couple of the design ideas I had seen on the videos. The first one was a meandering ribbon type design, this was more difficult than I thought it would be. The scale I was doing this on was a little small and I will try it again on a bigger scale. 

The second pattern I did was a curved line pattern which I really enjoyed doing and love how it looks. I think this one will appear on some quilts in the near future. 

The biggest thing that I got from watching the videos of Leah's today was to give myself permission to play and explore and that practice will develop my repertoire of designs while developing my self confidence in using them. Yes, I knew this already but sometimes it is good to have a reminder.

I also spent some time de boning some of my husbands shirts that were worn around the collar. The shirts were still in good condition other than the collars and will make a good contribution to my strip drawers and scrap bins.

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

Thursday, November 12, 2015

One of my Top Five

Today I decided that I needed to work on something that kept my mind occupied and had decided at the beginning of the week to set aside today for sorting out Home Coming Lane and getting the blocks spread out on my new design boards. It is blocks like these that I thought the boards would be absolutely perfect for and I was not wrong. 

I have been procrastinating about this quilt and always get it so far and then I have to pack it up again and until now I had not found a way to keep it all organised but still ready to work on until now with my new boards.

I spent yesterday afternoon working through what still needs to be done for each block. This pattern is a mix of piecing and appliqué and each block is at different stages. Having the boards means that everything for each block is laid out and all together and I can stack the boards.

Block one, nearly completed just vine below house to do.

Just about all of the appliqué pieces have now been attached to fabric, so the next step is cutting them all out and getting them attached to the backgrounds. This quilt was a kit and it is fun choosing the fabrics for each component. One of the reasons that the boards are really good is I like to have the whole quilt spread out at one time so I can check and see that the colours and fabrics are spread evenly throughout the quilt. I don't have the space for a design wall so these boards are the next best thing. 

Boards with everything laid out and organised.

I was really impressed with the how the cotton batting works holding the pieces in place with no movement, the other thing is I pressed directly on the board. My iron is very small and low wattage and while it gets hot it wasn't too hot for the board. 

Isn't this iron cute? Yes it is real and it does work.

Once I have all the appliqué pieces in place then these can be added to my 'to go' bag. I am really keen to get this one to completion and up on the wall. There are four blocks made up of both the appliqué and the piecing which I am intending to quilt as you go although I haven't thought through yet how I am going to deal with the borders.

Right, this one of the top five is calling me, so happy stitching everyone. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Group Open Weekend

This weekend 14 - 15 November Tauranga Patchworker and Quilters Group are having an open weekend.

The Open Weekend gives us an opportunity to promote our club and showcase the type of work that patchwork and quilters produce from traditional works to works of art.

On display we will have the Aotearoa Quilters "Green 12x12 Challenge" which is a series of 12x12 inch artworks that members have created.

We will also have the New Zealand Quilter "Suitcase" Exhibition which is a small number of invitation only quilts that are chosen to travel New Zealand in a suitcase.

On display will also be our club members Challenge Quilts from our recent exhibition along with our winning quilts.

Also on display will be club member Melanie Martin's award winning quilt 'Is it Art?' along with some of her other works.

We will also have quilting technique demonstrations taking place along with refreshments available and an espresso coffee cart on site.

Please if you are close enough to us, don't hesitate in coming down and checking us out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The hexies have begun

I am loving the look of my hexies all ready in a container  - they look quite different when looking from another perspective, this way you just see the colour leaving any design as secondary interest.

I haven't sewn any together yet as I needed a project quickly and didn't have time to sort what colours I wanted with each other so I decided to just start making hexies and make those decisions later.

I have decided to bite the bullet and do the insanity quilt, although mine is my 'sanity quilt'. My mum has recently been diagnosed with cancer and having this project to do helps keep me calm and keep my fingers busy especially when waiting at appointments etc. I find that when life gives me curve balls that I tend to become more creative or simply having to keep my fingers and mind as busy as I can. Sometimes the simple act of stitching can help me sort out in my head what is going on in my heart and accept the path we now find ourselves on.

I love the way that hexies are so transportable and I have removed the tacked hexies to the above container from my little bag, making room for more supplies.

A special friend made and gifted me this gorgeous little bag for my birthday last month and this is what I keep my 'to go' project in. It is small enough to go in my handbag and therefore I am never without something to do when I need it. 

I think I will continue to tack hexies and get a variety of colours before I start sewing some of them together. As I was tidying a little in the sewing room yesterday some fabrics were cut and put straight into the hexie bag. I was quite surprised at how far a piece of scrap fabric can go when converted to hexies. 

That is all for now, happy stitching everyone and hope to see you back here soon to check out what I am doing next.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

More little projects

Little projects can be so rewarding, they can be a good interlude to bigger projects and can be so much fun.

For Debbie I made a pair of oven mitts...

And I also made her a doorstop...

I love it when friends really like what I have made for them and I really enjoy seeing the items being used. I was a little concerned about the oven mitts as I only used one layer of insulbrite but Debbie tested them out and they work perfectly - no burnt hands.

These doorstops are very effective and look great in different colour ways and are filled with rice that has been frozen for 24 hours to stop insects eating it.

I was on a bit of a roll and also completed these folders that had been sitting around for a while. I am pleased with how they turned out and can't wait to make one for myself. These are going to be Christmas gifts, I will put some extra things inside as a surprise.

Until next time, happy stitching everyone.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Little Projects

Little projects often get squeezed into our busy schedules and amongst our other projects and I have recently squeezed in a few.

Over this last year we have been having projects at Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters Group and one of those was fabric baskets. So yesterday I made two fabric baskets as a baby gift for my hairdresser who has just had a gorgeous little boy.

Last weekend I made some portable design boards that I had seen on a blog which I thought would be beneficial to have in the sewing room or wherever I am sewing. They do make a good tray or work surface when sitting on the couch in the evenings with the family. 

I like how the boards can be stacked and because they are light they are easy to carry from one part of the house to the other. I usually do the cutting of fabric on the end of the kitchen bench - it works for me. Being able to spread the boards out on the dining table and place the components on each board and then transport them to the sewing room is definitely a bonus.

Lori has very good instructions on her blog for making these and you can check it out here. I chose to make my boards 16 x 20 inches so I can use them for different size blocks, as I have already mentioned this size also works as a lap top work surface.

I have several more projects to make and complete  today and they are gifts for a special friend that we are having quality time with this weekend who has moved into a brand new home. 

Check back to see what I made for our friend Debbie.

Happy stitching everyone

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Whangamata Quilt Show

Labour weekend saw Whangamata quilters have their quilt show and what a show it was. The Whangamata group have 20 members and hold their show every two years.

Here are some of the awesome quilts that were on display.

Star Burst by Sandy Briggs

Close up of some of the quilting.

Postcards from Paris by Marion Welsh

The detail is amazing.

The mitred corners make the most of this beautiful fabric.

Still of the Night by Sandy Briggs

Close up of detail

Close up of quilting detail.

There is more to come so check back soon and in the meantime happy stitching everyone.