Monday, June 27, 2016

Purple and green quilt nearly done

We had typical winter weather this weekend with frequent showers. We did get to the Farmers Market on Saturday but there were definitely fewer people about and you had to have an umbrella. Sunday there were bursts of sunshine for which I am always grateful for.

The weekend saw some progress on the purple and green gridlock quilt. The quilting isn't perfect but it is done. Interesting how the quilting is always better near the end of the quilt compared to the beginning. Today should see some tidying up and the binding going on.

Nearly done.

Quilting in progress.

It will be so good to get this quilt done and ready to go to Australia. Deadlines can be a good thing especially when you are slotting extra projects in. I am looking forward to getting back to what I should be working on though, the pile has been growing while working on these gridlocks. 

The next show and share for the Top 5 is next week which will be the second one for the year and so far I have had nothing on my list completed. I had been working on them until I made the decision to make these gridlock quilts. Both of the ones that I have been working on need the quilting to be completed. I will try hard to get one as close to completion as I can by the club meeting next week.

My sewing machine is calling, I have some stitching to do. Until next time, happy stitching everyone.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Goodwill Quilt Coordinator

It is now official - I am the Goodwill Quilt Coordinator for our club. And what is that you may well ask, well it is the 'go to' person coordinating between members who are wishing to liberate orphan blocks, partly made quilts, scraps, fabrics, threads, batting, backings - that sort of thing, with members that have the inclination, time and energy to put some of these resources together for the benefit of others in our community that have a need.

Not being a person who likes waste, I do feel that fabric needs to be liberated from rubbish bins, skips around town, and the bottom of wardrobes and drawers as it isn't their fault that their owners don't like them anymore or don't have the time, patience or perseverance to let them see the light of day. There will be a 'Liberator bin' out at club meetings where the liberated fabric etc can be placed (in paper bags if necessary) or members can contact me for collection if required. 

There is a need within our community for such a programme as there are so many people who through no fault of their own, that could do with some help and would just love to be able to wrap themselves in the deliciousness of their own quilt made by us.

Opportunities for members to gather and sew on projects together will be organised and the first one will be in July at the UFO weekend, more information soon.

So ladies, before you drop those blocks or that piece of fabric into the bin, take a minute and put it aside for the Liberator Bin

Donated blocks assembled and ready for quilting.

Some blocks and fabric have been donated already with one quilt having been assembled and is now ready for quilting.

My 'Waste not want not' quilt is waiting for its borders and then it too will be ready for quilting, so we are off to a good start.

Waste not, want not.

Ladies don't hesitate to let me know how you can help. Any suggestions, ideas and donations will be welcomed and accepted.

Thank you and happy stitching everyone.

President's Challenge 2016

Our President, Denise asked me to assist her with the challenge this year and it has been an interesting opportunity and having never done anything like this before I have learnt so much.

This is the week that our Presidents Challenges need to be handed in and at club last night we had quite a few of them handed in and it is so exciting.

It is exciting seeing our members step outside of their comfort zones and enter this challenge especially if it is for the first time. I have only entered two challenges to date, both being here in Tauranga in the last couple of years and I totally understand about participating in something like this and the challenges that every entry entails in its creative process.

It is also very exciting seeing what everyone has done, the designs, the ideas, the inspiration behind all of the creations. Let me just say, that I am incredibly grateful that I am not judging them.

Friday is the last day for entries to be handed in and it will be here quick enough. In July we will have an evening where all the entries will be on display and the results will be announced. Hopefully all the entries will also be available for display again in October when our club has our open weekend.

While I can't show you any pics of the entries yet, here is a pic of my last challenge entry from 2015.

2015 challenge entry

It is definitely an inside kind of day here in Tauranga today and I have a sewing room that desperately needs some attention, so until next time, happy stitching everyone.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

My Rosemary Rush piece

On yesterdays post I didn't talk much about my piece from the Rosemary Rush class, so I thought I would talk about it more today.

It took me a lot longer to put together the applique pieces than I had anticipated and while I initially got a little frustrated about that, my quilt is more mine and I have a very clear idea of where I am going with this quilt - what I am trying to achieve, the stitching and then the quilting that will take place.

My quilt so far with triangles down bottom pinned on

Rosemary's sample
Change can be uncomfortable but stretching our comfort zones is very important. For me this class did exactly that and that is precisely what I wanted this class to do. I chose the design option that I knew would challenge me in every way from the actual design itself through to the choosing of colours.

While the information on the process that Rosemary uses, the needles, threads etc is extremely valuable, on reflection now I think the biggest thing that I got from this class is about the thinking process - from the conception through to the completion. Thinking through the choice of fabrics, colours, contrast, what is going to pop and how it is going to pop, what is going to recede. I think the best way I can describe it is that each piece that is placed on this quilt has a job to do and the challenge for me especially in the beginning of working on this quilt was working out exactly what that job was for each piece and how I was going to include thread, stitching and quilting in that process to fulfil that job.

Although I was a little disappointed at not getting much stitching in at the class I do feel that I concentrated on the areas where I needed the maximum growth and I am very happy with where I am at. The second big thing that I got from Rosemary is to slow down, not to go at breakneck speed but to stop and think through the options. I redid several pieces over the weekend, - retracing, applying vliseofix, cutting, auditioning again and again.

I need to remember that it is all a process and that I need to engage and enjoy each step of the process and not to be in so much of a hurry to get a finished product. I can see the difference this can make as I know where I am going and what my next step is because I have already thought it through and this is stopping me from getting to the next step and wondering 'what on earth am I going to do now' scenarios.

I am going to have to exercise some very good self discipline to put this project aside for now as the purple and green gridlock quilt needs to be quilted so it can be sent to Australia as it is a special gift.

It is winter solstice here in New Zealand which means we are having our shortest day of the year today and it is a grey and miserable drizzly kind of day, the perfect excuse (if you need one) to be inside and stitching and that is where I will be.

Take care and until next time, happy stitching everyone.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A class with Rosemary Rush

Wow, what an absolutely fantastic weekend we had with the incredibly talented Rosemary Rush. This two day class consisted of a machine applique design of our choice from the selection that Rosemary had on offer. A very relaxed class with everyone working at their pace, with Rosemary giving group talks where appropriate covering applique, needles, threads, stitching and quilting. There was a gentle busy hum through the room as everyone was concentrating on their own piece. 

The shared lunches both days were a hit with two different soups on offer along with hot savoury dishes, cheese and crackers and fruit.

Show and tell at the end of Sunday with everyones work. The same design in different colours is always very interesting, I also love the way we all make designs our own and mix it up.

Some of Rosemary's class samples.

Rosemary's quilts to show stitching and quilting techniques.

Back of quilt showing quilting lines.

Back of quilt showing quilting lines.
Rosemary is not only a very talented artist but is also a great tutor sharing her knowledge in a way that reinforces any prior knowledge while filling any gaps that you may have. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of Rosemary's classes I strongly suggest that you take it, you will be all the richer for it.

Until next time, happy stitching everyone.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

'Waste Not, Want Not' coming together

I  have had the four patches for this quilt sewn and assembled together for quite some time in a container with the fabric for the triangles waiting for its turn. 

On Sunday I decided to have a tidy up and cutting session to clear out bits and pieces of fabrics and to restock my strip bins. I came across the container with the bits for this quilt and thought that if I cut the triangles that are needed for this quilt then the fabrics can be put back into circulation. I had no idea that decision would change the course of my weekend. 

Yes, you guessed it. It didn't stop there, I found myself thinking okay I can quickly sew these triangles together. The addiction really took off at this point. The kitchen bench where I do my cutting was taken over completely for the rest of the weekend and we were reduced to using a small section of the kitchen for meal prep. 

The triangles got sewn together, then they got sewn to the four patches and they in turn got sewn together. Sunday night saw me up sewing long into the night after everyone had gone to bed as I needed to 'just get this step completed!'

Yesterday morning when I got up the blocks were sitting on the ironing board, pressed and ready. As I ate my breakfast I couldn't help but lay them out just to see what they look like. No, I didn't like that setting, fiddled a little bit, took a photo, looked at that for a bit. No definitely not that setting. More fiddling and rearranging, another photo, yes that one is better.

Now the blocks are all sewn together and waiting to be pressed and have a border or two attached. How did this go from just cutting triangles - to a complete quilt top? Is it a lack of self discipline or is it taking advantage of the energy and creativity that was released in the cutting of those triangles, the limitless possibilities of the colours, the feel of the fabric under the fingers, the sound of the sewing machine doing what it does best and the satisfaction of seeing something come together into a whole from bits and pieces.

I don't really care, my name is Donna-Maree and I am an addict.  I enjoy the smell and touch of fabric, I love cutting it up and sewing it back together and I love the end product and yes I will do it again and again and probably as long as my body will let me. My house has quilting paraphernalia in every room, I have threads on the floor, the ironing board is up permanently as it gets used every day (and not for ironing shirts) and there is a sewing machine in my living room and I am proud of it.

The decision that will be made today is do I sort borders for 'Waste not, want not' or do I return to the project that is waiting for quilting that needs to be completed to go to Australia as soon as possible? Maybe I can do some of both? Maybe, just maybe.....

Happy stitching everyone, 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Quiet productive time

Well I don't have the flu - I have sinus and ear infections and now that I have been to the doctor I have antibiotics and things are improving, slowly. 

Thankfully my mental capacity has been better today, so I have spent some time getting some projects sorted and planned.

Getting background squares sorted for 'That Town and Country Quilt' that I am doing through Gourmet Quilter designed by Susan-Claire Mayfield. 

I find the Fiskars ruler with attached cutter fantastic and makes quick work of getting the squares cut and saves my wrists. I am behind on this project but are okay with that as I have a plan and know that it will have its day.

This orchid is delighting us with flowers at the moment, it is very special as it was my poppa's orchid and I have fond memories of him looking after them in his shade house when I was a child. It is like having a little piece of him here with us, hopefully some of the other orchids of his in the garden will flower this season too.

Check back soon to check out what I get up to over the weekend. Happy stitching.


Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Sick and on the couch...

I am not a happy camper, I am not well and have no energy to do anything. I have been on a bit of a roll lately and so this slow phase isn't good.

We had our youngest daughter home for the weekend and I squeezed a little bit of stitching in but we generally just had family time over the weekend, it being Queens Birthday weekend here in New Zealand.

Mount Maunganui beach on Monday as we enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine.

Yesterday I did the last bit of quilting on the blue gridlock quilt and then managed to get the binding sewn on. My plan was to get the purple and green quilt ready for quilting today, but it just hasn't happened. 

It has been many years since I have had the flu and I am not nice to be around at the moment. I am grumpy, sore, frustrated and did I mention lethargic. I am hoping (as I am sure my hubby is too) that I recover quickly.

My pal has sat with me for part of the day and I do enjoy his company, he is a true treasure.

My pal, Frosty.

Today is also my motherinlaws birthday and I had intended to visit this morning with some flowers, but it will have to wait until I am better as I don't want to pass this on to anyone.

Take care everyone and stay healthy and well. See you back here soon, in the meantime happy stitching.


Friday, June 03, 2016

May update

Wow here we are in June and it is time for the May update. The temperatures have dropped considerably in the last week and especially the last couple of mornings have been very cool.

Frosty enjoying the morning sunshine streaming through the lounge window.

Reading back through the posts for May it doesn't appear that much has been happening, but that is so far from the truth as there has been a lot of sewing going on, I just haven't been blogging about it all yet.

Aotearoa Quilters had their Great New Zealand quilt show in Rotorua with a fantastic display of quilts including the Flight challenge and most of the past Symposia winners. Several of my friends had quilts in the show and it is always lovely seeing their work on display like that. 

Melanie Martin's quilt - Is it art?
Tauranga Patchwork and Quilters club had their retreat as well which was a complete blast. Saturday's class was very successful and some quilt tops have been completed since then.

Denise's quilt being assembled

Denise's quilt top complete
My quilt top - sorting the layout

and completed.

Blue version I have done also.

I love how all these quilts look completely different with the use of colour. Also to change them up you can choose to use different colours for the "T's" or the one colour like in the blue quilt. I quite like the 3D effect that using the one colour gives the quilt. Both the purple and blue quilts of mine are for special gifts and I am going to find it very hard to gift them as I love them both so much. I just may have to create one for myself.

May has been a busy behind the scenes kind of month but all will be revealed in good time. You might just have to check back to see what else I have been up to, until then happy stitching everyone.