Saturday, September 13, 2014

Small projects

After a week away when I touched neither needle nor sewing machine I was ready to make something.  And as too often happens when enthusiasm runs away with me I am brought back to reality ... my sewing machine foot control began to race under its own violation.  This happened a few years ago and the remedy was to buy another foot control.  An email to a Janome dealer followed by debit card details ensured the control pedal was in my possession within three days ... that is wonderful as Australia Post isn't always as quick as that.
But two days sitting twiddling my thumbs wasn't on.  I began the second last block of Red Brolly's Le Jardin quilt that I will confess has taken a while to stitch; mainly because other projects captured my attention, and because I had to concentrate learning the new stitches involved.  Only one more block to go! 
The background fabric is actually cream ... in hindsight the photo session should have been earlier in the day.
The machine decided to go to its own race meeting as I was sewing a quilt for a doll's bed, in readiness for Christmas 2015.  The HGTV Board asks members to make these little quilts as part of a Christmas surprise for children who need extra loving.  Cradles are donated by a band of woodworkers and it is a privilege to be part of this giving.
Tonight 'my football team' plays a most important match.  I am not sure I can sit and listen to the game and stitch ... although I have several projects waiting on the sideline.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stump work

Always in the back of my mind are projects I would like to try, new methods I would love to learn, but too often lack of time, or opportunity pushes those wishes to the end of the queue.  Recently our local news-sheet offered several courses over a weekend.  One immediately caught my eye and imagination ... stump work.  Somewhere, sometime I had gazed at photos of gorgeous stump work and marvelled, and wondered, how the effect was created.  I enrolled!
Last Sunday I paid my dues, found a chair at the stump work table and my lesson began.  Before that I had given thought to looking on-line for tips, but decided that it would be wiser to go with a completely blank mind; hopefully to soak up the lesson.
The tutor was wonderful.  She was organised; had samples of each step along with typed out instructions.  All that was left to the 'students' was to begin stitching.
She had decided we make a butterfly ... so we began.  Moments before the end of the course I completed a butterfly, not perfect, but still a butterfly.  Best of all I have the main method installed in my brain [I hope!]. 
Yesterday I found another stump work pattern, and once I have purchased the essentials [that I do not have, such as wire] I will find out just how much did stick in the brain!   

Monday, August 11, 2014

A busy few days

I love winter especially for the fact that with cooler weather it is much easier to sit and sew, something I find a tad difficult when perspiring profusely.
I haven't wasted these cooler days; the sewing machine has been whirring busily.
A little mug rug where I could practise my Paper Piecing.  I find mug rugs excellent to improve skills as they are not big enough to completely ruin, and are small enough to finish relatively quickly which adds to confidence.
The Mug rug was for a swap, and of course I added a small extra ... a little Christmas tree decoration.
Recently I had my attention drawn to instructions for a purse based on the cover of a book.  This captured my imagination, and while the 'readable' part of the book had to be cut out, I have kept it ... fortunately this book came with an extra cardboard cover. 
At first the instructions appeared difficult, but as so often happens if one starts at the beginning and follows the instructions to the end all is well.
Yes, there were moments when I wondered what to do next, but with the use of glue several times meant I had time to sit and think the instructions through while the glue dried.  Over all I am pleased with the result ... in fact I have eyed up another book to lose its middle!
The book is sitting on a small Snowball quilt that didn't take very long at all to construct.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Star in a Star

When one has a cupboard almost overflowing with fabrics what can one do?  Make a quilt of course!
A recent purchase of fabric had me searching for a suitable pattern, one that wouldn't take forever to assemble, and one that wouldn't cause too much stress.  Something simple and hopefully effective.
I found McCall's 'Star in a Star' block and went from there.  The finished effect was in my imagination ... and having a relatively over active imagination the complete quilt was easy to envisage.  In fact this quilt didn't take much time, no more than one month which to me is quick.  I named this quilt ... Twelve Star ... no great imagination in that title!  [sorry about the little extra light that sneaked into the top left corner ... it came uninvited.]
Once again I used the quilt as you go method dividing the quilt in half and quilting one half, then the other, before joining them up and quilting along the join.  I do not have a long arm quilting machine, just an everyday Janome and am happy to have almost mastered this QAYG method.  Today the final stitch was put into the binding, and a few tie knots [more for decoration that use] were added ... now what's next on the agenda?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Towels and other things

After admiring these little useful projects at last I have managed to make a kitchen hand towel or two, or three.  June sped away from me, and July is promising to do the same. 

The impetus to actually make some handtowels came once I entered a swap.  And ... after owing my Janome sewing machine for over six and a half years and at least three tries at using the buttonholer [to no avail] I finally solved my problem ... there is a little lever that I hadn't previously pulled down.  Once I found that oh how simple it is to make a buttonhole!!  It could [accurately] be said that I made more towels than needed at this moment [the extra are in the 'gift box'] just to practise the execution of button holes.

First attempt ...

Swap items that included a dish cloth and a recipe ...
Towel and plastic bag holder, and hat ... for a birthday gift ...

The hat was an after-thought but with this being winter and the fact that I have an over-abundance of wool; hence the multi-colours.  I don't think it would be a mistake to say there will be more of these towels made before the end of the year!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Another quilt

At the beginning of 2013 I began a BOM in Our Craft Forum using blocks from but by the time I was half way through the blocks I decided I wasn't all that keen on my colour-way.  However I persevered ... one mustn't waste good fabric! 
With my daughter coming for a few days I decided now would be the perfect time to complete this quilt.  Dark two-toned gray fabric and a cream colour combined to make sashings that complement the blocks and add a certain elegance ... well that is my thought anyway!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Table topper and cushions

When one hears of giant alterations to a home what does one think?  I decided to make some cushions and a table topper to complement a new colour scheme.
Magazines were perused and quickly I made up my mind; the fabric was purchased and last week the gift was posted away.
The table topper with cushions in front
Cushion 1

 Cushion 2
Cushion 3
Hopefully the parcel will arrive sometime this week, and fingers crossed, the colours I chose do add to the overall effect to the newly renovated living area.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A bear that I named Brenda

Another challenge over at HGTV Board, and being one who thrives on a challenge, had to enter.
This time we forwarded payment for half a yard of 'ugly' fabric which featured where the wild things are.  Evidently this is a book, one of which I have no knowledge but by all accounts it is quite a favourite.
In due course the fabric arrived; already I had chosen a pattern, that of a bear that appeared in a recent magazine.  I had thought of making a quilt, but in all honesty just could not see who I could present a quilt that incorporated this fabric. 
Although the bear in the pattern had another name; to me she was Brenda.  I was in the 'also rans' and Brenda was the only entry that wasn't a quilt, all of which showed great imagination and talent. 
Don't you just love that face?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sentimental Journey

At the beginning of 2012 I made a start on the Sentimental Journey BOM making excellent progress on the twelve main blocks.  I placed them carefully in a large zip top plastic bag intending to complete the quilt the following year.  Several times I pulled those blocks out, read the instructions, and after realising just how large this quilt would be and the difficulty I would have in quilting it on my Janome QC6260 popped them back into the bag for later.

One day while surfing the 'net I came across a U-tube on 'Quilt as you go'.  Aha!  Perhaps this was the answer!  In the meantime I made another quilt that I divided into three parts and did use this particular method to put the quilt together.  But ... that method used strips to join each section; not exactly what the Sentimental Journey quilt required.  So back into the bag it went.
Earlier this year another U-tube showed yet another method ... a light bulb moment.  Over the last several weeks I have joined blocks, quilted them row by row and joined them together.  The borders were completed and this morning I put the final stitches into the quilt!!  Yay!  A project completed and a satisfied person who now can almost claim the title of "a quilter".

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Easter chook

Easter is on the horizon and while thoughts stray to chocolate and chocolate let us also remember the reason for Easter.
Youngest grandson tends to become hyped up when over-indulged in sugary treats, and this includes chocolate.  This year I have stitched Red Brolly's hen, and with the purchase of a couple of fluffy chickens and a small supply of eggs in the nest hopefully we will avoid too much hyper activity.
This chook, called La Verne in the tutorial is a wonderful addition to Easter decorations; she is easy on the eye, with the additional plus of not increasing the waist line. 
My chook, a plainer version, is a speckled hen has the bonus of being able to be stored from one year to the other.  Heather has tartan wings in keeping with her Scottish heritage.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Music and the last fish

Although my blogging has been slack my sewing has occupied a lot of time.  I didn't make any new year's resolutions as they are easily broken, but have promised myself to spend less time 'researching' and more time stitching.
Youngest son has a birthday next month and as he is a lover of music I decided on a cushion ... the first one I made was not his colour-way!! He does use it because it is comfortable.  Mother took the hint, searched the 'Net for more musical fabric that arrived from overseas at the end of last week.   I began with the cushion and to use up much of the fabric added a table topper. 
Earlier in the month I completed Stanley, the last of the fish BOM ... I do have all the where-with-all to complete this quilt but as yet have no idea where/who it will end up with. 
In 2012 I made all the blocks for the Sentimental Journey quilt.  Since then it has sat ... stored.   My Janome machine does not have a wide throat and the thought of quilting a large quilt sent shivers down my spine.  Another search of the 'Net gave me a way out!  Quilt as you go ... QAYG.  Two rows are completed ... the anxiety the maker of headaches, but now I have had a break with the cushion and table topper the old 'lets get into it' is beginning to surge through the blood stream.  There are borders to be added ... maybe a completion date by Easter?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Going Fishing!

Four more fish from
with one left to go.  I was late in starting this BOM and had to catch up with the first three.  Needless to say I am keen to download the instructions for the final block on 1st March, and have all the necessary fabrics to complete the quilt, though must admit it won't be exactly like that pictured on the above link. 
I have had fun naming these fish, and introduce Number 14, Leila, along with Numbers 1 [Spike], 2 Dougal, and 3 Yolande.  As I stitch the fish my mind turns over suitable names, and before the block is finished a name has sprung to mind, not that a name is essential. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Quilts for dolls

Every so often a challenge arises.  Recently I put my hand up to make some quilts for doll's beds for the Mrs Claus project and over the weekend completed the last of five.
It was fun to sort fabrics suitable for these mini quilts;  I did some 'quilt maths' resizing from a book of Quilting blocks but to save myself too much maths I did make sure the blocks I chose could use the same sizes.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lets go fishing

The Fish BOM is nearing its conclusion.  Fish number 13 is completed.  An elderly lady fish I have named Constance has entered the ocean to reign supreme over her younger relatives. 
Not long now until I can put this quilt together!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

January sewing

Today is Australia Day; today is the day my daughter has become an Australian citizen.  In recognition of that fact I made a wall hanging for her ... it is in the post!  This project took a lot of time, hence my lack of postings. 
I did manage a few small projects as relief from plugging away at the wall-hanging.  A girl needs a diversion every so often.
A mug rug where the theme was cats or dogs had me practising my foundation piecing, and to be honest I found it hard to part with the cool cat.  Foundation piecing is fun, though I am not sure I would care to tackle a large project!  The cat, dressed in his 'night prowling' clothes didn't take long;  there were no signs of incomprehension as may have happened this time last year.  Pushing oneself to not only tackle a new method, but to keep at until it becomes less stressful and more normal.
The Quilter's Cache offers patchwork blocks, some simple, some difficult.  This year I am attempting to complete two quilt tops using blocks from this site.  Both these quilts are BOM's; one block, the House that Jack Built, is completed.   
This was the year when I intended to complete unfinished projects, but already I have a mental list of new projects that I fear will take up much of the time I had mentally set aside as 'finishing time'.  Oh well, 'tis just as well I never made that a New Year's resolution!!