Friday, December 16, 2011

60 Degree Diamonds Quilt Top

Years ago a friend gave me some French Souleiado fabric offcuts that were left over from curtains she had made.  I collected other fabrics over the years that I thought would play nicely with the offcuts.  I've finally done something with them...

I'm now in the process of stitching all the rows together, carefully pinning, then machine basting to make sure all the points line up, then finally sewing them together.  I hope to have this finished in the next day or so.

Meanwhile, my youngest son (11 yrs) has finished school for the year which was a mixture of sadness and joy.   He is starting at a new school next year and leaving the most wonderful teacher and great friends.  He will still see his best friends, just not every day.

Back to pinning and sewing.

Happy stitching,

Friday, December 9, 2011

My First Quilt

Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville had a post recently asking quilters to post a link to her blog of their first quilt.  Well I missed that event but I thought I'd still post a picture of my first quilt here anyway.  It was from a pattern in a patchwork quilt book put out by a craft magazine.  I cut it out with scissors after marking the fabric using cardboard templates, the first couple of applique hearts were sewn on using whip stitch until the owner of my local fabric shop showed me how to do a proper invisible applique stitch.  I wasn't too careful with the seam allowance and ended up having to cut the blocks down so they were all the same size so it went from a single bed quilt to a large cot quilt, lol.  I made it 18 years ago.  My daughter still loves it, bless her.

I did hand quilt this but never quilted the border.  I finally put a label on it a few years ago.

Thankfully I've learnt a lot since then.

Happy stitching,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Civil War Blocks Catch Up

I spent some time over the weekend catching up my Civil War blocks.  My momentum stumbled on Block 40 Order Number 11 where I had to applique.  I have learnt to really enjoy applique over the past few years but I ended up fudging and fiddling with the size of the pieces of this block and I wasn't really happy with it so I kept putting it off.  I finally bit the bullet, got on with it and so thankfully broke the stalemate.  So here are the blocks I have recently completed.

Block 40 Order Number 11 (the beastly block that finished up satisfactorily)

Block 42 H Is For Hospital

Block 44 Union  

Block 45 Port and Starboard front of block 

Block 45 back of block with seams pressed open.  I've been doing this quite a bit lately with blocks that contain a larger number of pieces hoping to avoid lumpy seam intersections causing problems when machine quilting.

Block 46 Apple Tree

Block 47 Dixie Tea

Block 49 Yankee Puzzle.... totally messed up here.  
I think it was when I realised I was going to have to unpick this for the fourth time I thought I'd better put it away for the night!  I will sort this out but I'm posting it as is, to say it's done....sort of. 

I'm really not half witted!!  Let me say in my defence (this is a really simple block after all) I only had my computer for a few minutes to get the measurements of the block pieces because my 11 yr old, who has recently discovered the joys of online chatting to his friends, was using it and was making it nearly impossible to take uber quick peeks at the instructions.  He did ask what all the cursing was in aid of and did apologize for hogging the computer later on. 

So, now I have only one block to do to be completely caught up.

I have also made a couple more of the Rosette blocks in the gorgeous Luna Notte range, love that fabric, mmmm.

As the Civil War quilt along is coming to a close in the near future I am considering a couple of projects that have been occupying quilters in blogland (Wild Geese from earlier on this year).
Farmer's Wife Sampler
Wild Geese quilt along

Like all quilters I have a collection of patterns and projects I plan to make "one day" and of course I'll continue to be tempted by all the eye-candy on quilter's blogs, in magazines and quilting books.  What joy!!

Happy stitching,

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Luna Notte Blocks

I've had a Jelly Roll and various yardage from 3 Sisters Luna Notte range for quite some time now.  I just fell in love with this collection the first time I saw it.  I did have a quilt in mind that I was going to make with what I had.  Then yesterday I was looking through one of my Quilt Mania magazines and this pretty quilt by Fig Tree Quilts caught my eye.

This afternoon I had another look and couldn't make myself be sensible and finish off my French Bouquet quilt top that's on the design wall .  No, I was transported to that wonderful place where fabric and colour and inspiration all take hold and I was cutting pieces and sewing them together, having a lovely time!  I am so happy with the results.  Here's the first block I completed.

Here's another, not quite finished but I had to stop sewing, time for dinner : (

I think the finished quilt will be so lovely.  Here's a messy, delicious bundle of the fabrics (taken without a flash  hence the yellow tone).

And here's a picture of my quilting companion, Bruiser, I inherited him from one of my sons when he moved to a house where he couldn't have dogs.  I've had him for nearly 10 years.  He's a Pit Bull cross and the sweetest, funniest dog and devoted to me.  My Mum jokes that he'd marry me if he could!!  He is my shadow and pines for me if I'm away from home for too long.  Just between us, I love this dog to bits!  Funny how things turn out, I would never have chosen a dog like him in a million years, but there you go.

Happy Thanksgiving for everyone in the US.

Happy stitching,

Monday, November 21, 2011

French Bouquet Quilt Top

Just a quick progress report on this quilt top made largely from Rural Jardin fabrics by French General, so pretty.  I spent a while yesterday finishing all the little sashing stars and getting it ready to put it all together, nearly there.

I really would love a full size, proper, design wall but for now I make do with a piece of poly batting pinned over my wardrobe door.  It's better than laying everything out on my bed, which is what I used to do : )

My 11 yr old leaves for a school camp at the beach at 5.45am tomorrow morning, he'll be away for 4 days.  I'm looking forward to sleeping in a little and getting the above quilt put together and maybe even get it on my quilting machine!

Happy stitching,

Monday, November 14, 2011

More Civil War Blocks and a Customer Quilt

I've neglected my Civil War blocks lately so I thought I'd better make a start on catching up.  The star block was a bit of a fiddle, I would never make one like that again!

Block 41

Block 39, Hovering Hawks went together easily.

Block 43 Right Hand of Friendship was another fairly simple construction.  I've been jumping around a bit with these blocks. 

I've also been quilting this for a customer, Sylvia.  She had me quilt a similar quilt a couple of months ago.  I did this all freehand.  Always a pleasure to quilt for her.

Here are photos of the back where you can see the quilting a lot more clearly.

 The fabrics are some of the prettiest native Australian flora prints I've seen.  The backing is flannel and will make this a cosy,  lovely gift.  I believe it's off to the UK.

I hope to get one of my own quilt tops on my quilting machine this week and finish the applique Civil War block.

Summer seems to be approaching fast in my part of the world.  The kids have jumped in our pool a couple of times, still too chilly for me, but it won't be long.  It seems odd thinking of snow falling on the other side of the world.

Better get off the computer and go do something about helping my son with of the advantages of having a chef in the house is dinner is often cooked by him, yay!

Happy stitching,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Quilting That Took Forever

Some months ago a customer quilt came to me via a LQS.  I was in the process of selling my present quilting machine and buying a bigger,better one.  So as to give the customer the best result I waited for my new machine to arrive and be set up before I made a start.

Nearly every quilt that comes to me to be quilted speaks to me pretty quickly with an overall idea of how I will approach it design wise.  This quilt was not one of those : (   I stood and stared, I scoured quilting books and magazines and then the internet for something to spark my creative flame. I even sort out the generous help of an online machine quilters site.  I finally devised a plan and onto the machine the quilt top and backing went.

Right about this time my son, Ben, who had a spinal injury, took a severe turn for worse with his back pain and required much more help and attention.  So while all this was going on I grabbed whatever little bits of time I could to get this quilt done.  Then Ben's surgery finally was done and he needed more support while he recovered.  So after far too many interruptions and delays I have finished the quilting and passed it on to a very patient customer, I must say I am so pleased it's done.  Here are some not so brilliant photos of said quilt.

The customer requested feathers so I tried to follow that brief while complementing the fabrics, there are feathers in the busy border fabric that can't be obviously seen but give a nice texture.

I now have a quite small but pretty quilt on the frame belonging to Sylvia.  It's to be a gift to someone special in the UK.  This will be a nice, straight forward job, most welcome.

Only a little applique to finish on the quilt from my last post and then it will all go together, yay.

Happy stitching,

Monday, September 26, 2011

French Bouquet Quilt Progress

I spent quite a few hours pottering and fiddling with this quilt in progress yesterday.  Ages ago I posted an occasional update picture of the centre block applique and the star blocks when I began making them.  Some time ago I decided to make a start on stitching the star blocks and sashing strips with little stars together but put it away a little frustrated.  So I finally taped up a design wall of sorts and tackled the beast.  I don't want to be churlish, I love this quilt design, but the pattern instructions leave a lot to be desired.  I'm not mathematically minded or gifted with the ability to see the most logical and practical way to attack some there was some unpicking and a few rude words before I finally got it together.  Of course once I got it right it looked so obvious and simple!  I'm talking about the top left corner blocks, only four of them!  If the instructions had been....well instructions... it would have taken much less time out of my afternoon and dinner wouldn't have been a thrown together pasta (so I could get outa the kitchen and back to the sewing machine).  Just saying.

So here it is thus far.

It looks so straight forward, I know!

This is how the finished quilt should look.

I plan to have it looking like this in the not too distant future, lol.  Truly.

Hope life is good for you, it's a happy place at my house with Ben getting stronger and better every day.

Happy stitching,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Civil War Blocks 33-38 and Ben's Surgery a Success

Firstly, thank you to all of you who sent prayers and positive thoughts for my son, Ben (24 yrs), who went in for spinal surgery a week ago.  After nearly 20 months of agony and the last 2 months barely able to walk or move he had the surgery last week and it has been a wonderful success.  For the first time in all these months he is pain free apart from the normal soreness from having surgery but he tells me that's nothing!  He is now walking, standing straight and tall and has a smile and genuine happiness about him, does my heart good!
Thank God for modern medicine!

On the quilting front I spent yesterday catching up on my Civil War blocks from Barbara Brackman's weekly quilt-along.  I've completed blocks 33 - 38.  Here they are.

Block 33 Indiana Puzzle

Block 34 Rosebud

Block 35 Star of the West

Block 36 Kentucky Crossroads

Block 37 Confederate Rose

Block 38 Ohio Star

I'm off to make some more of the Kona Cotton solids stars I was working on last post.  Spring weather has been lovely though the nights are still quite cool.

Happy stitching,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Quick Star Blocks

Some months back (November 2010...I didn't think it was that far back ;) ....) I was the lucky winner of a Jelly Roll of Robert Kaufman Kona Cottons in lovely muted shades.  I always knew I would make a quilt with a black background with these fabrics.  I was skipping through Youtube looking at quilting videos and came across a Missouri Star Quilt Company video on star blocks from 2 1/2" strips, I was convinced these would be ideal for my Kona Jelly Roll.  So over the weekend I made these.

The cornerstones are a rich purple unfortunately washed out by the flash.  I'll use black for the sashing.

The blocks are 12" as they are now.  I have enough for a double bed quilt.  These blocks go together so quickly and easily it will take no time at all.  If you are interested the video on Youtube is well worth a look, click on the link you tube Jelly Star To see a whole quilt made up, check out this video you tube Jelly Star quilt
I think this is a great pattern if you need to satisfy your "instant gratification" 21st century gene, lol.

I don't have any civil war blocks as I'm a little behind but fully intend getting them done in the next few days.

The following is not quilting related, just a warning....

I've been preoccupied as my beautiful son  (24 yrs) is going in for spinal surgery in a week. He has two ruptured discs in his lower back (L4 and L5) and for nearly 2 yrs he has been in the most intolerable pain.  Standing by while your brave son has tears running down his cheeks and is moaning in agony, it is so hard not being able to do anything to help.  Last Monday we spent the entire day at the hospital ( Royal North Shore for those in NSW, Australia) to have all the pre-op tests, scans and X-rays done. I had to drop my son at the hospital at 6am Tuesday ready for surgery at 8am (to remove the part of the discs pressing on the sciatic nerve and free up the nerve path).  We had spent a terrible night because his local Doctor has miscalculated his pain meds so he had run out on Monday, not a night either of us would ever want to repeat.  There had been emergencies and he hadn't gone in for his op until 12 o'clock.  I rang at 1pm to see how the op had gone, while I was on hold our call waiting started to beep, I usually ignore it but for some reason I answered, it was my son telling me they couldn't do the surgery. On Monday 10 - 12 hospital professionals had missed the fact that he hadn't had the most important scan, the MRI, which the neuro-surgeon has to have to do the surgery!  He was in utter depair the poor boy, they discovered the lack of MRI at the operating theatre doors!!!  I had to get in the car and drive back to Sydney and bring him home.  We managed to get an emergency appointment for an MRI scan and the hospital has given him another surgery date, 13th September 2011 because they admit the dropped the ball, hah! dropped the ball alright.  Poor Ben was such a mess, he has lived with such appalling pain for so long, his life has been on hold while we waited 12 months for the surgery date.  He spends his life lying on the sofa propped with pillows and hot water bottles and taking pain medication that barely makes it tolerable. Sorry to moan , but I must say I feel so much better getting that off my chest, lol.  Say a prayer or send positive thoughts for his operation on the 13th September, he sure needs all the positivity he can get, the poor little sod, it's been quite a nightmare.

Loving the warm weather that has been creeping up on us, 1st September being the first day of Spring for us hanging off the bottom of the world.

Happy stitching,

Monday, August 22, 2011

Civil War Blocks 29,30,31,32, Doll Quilt in progress and Quilt Labels

I've been a bit lazy with my blog but I finally have some things to post about.

First, these are the Civil War blocks I've completed recently.
29 Railroad Crossing

30 Peterson's Stars and Stripes.  
I'm sure getting these applique stars we need any more?

31 Empty Spools.  
I had a bit of a fiddle with the set-in seams but pre-stitched with a large stitch first to make sure everything was where it should be (easier to unpick if they aren't).

32 Carolina Lily.  
I really am pleased with this one but I wasn't sure if it would look OK with the other fabrics I've used in the previous blocks but when I laid them all out it looks fine.

After I had finished making the Carolina Lily block I still felt like playing with fabric so I cut some small rectangles from a  pile of mixed 5" repro squares I bought a while ago.  Then sewed them into these strips.
Then I had a play around with some background fabrics.

I wasn't satisfied with that so I went to my LQS, The Home Patch and had a bit more of a play.

Maybe green?  I'm still fiddling but I think I like the green.  I bought these 2 green fabrics.

I have finally stitched the binding on this quilt for one of my sons.

I transferred a label (from a book I have), coloured it with Derwent Ink Pencils then painted Textile Medium over the pencil which will be permanent now I've heat set it with a hot, dry iron. All this accomplished I have now sewn it onto the quilt back.  Finished at last!

Here's the label and washing instructions.

This is another pretty label I recently did (from the same book).

This has been sewn onto a quilt I made from a FigTree pattern, Jelly Roses. 

I have a quilt on the longarm that has had me procrastinating for a few weeks, I think I finally have an idea nailed down so I've made a tentative start..... I've had all the ditch work done for a while and am feeling quite pressured to get it done.  Better get at it!!

Happy stitching,