Monday, 30 December 2013

December Round Up

Once again it has been too long between posts.

Since my last post in November I have completed more bee blocks for the online bee group I am in.

I made some cushions for Christmas presents.

Completed steps 1 - 5 of the Bonnie Hunter 2013 mystery quilt.

And made some random blocks with the left overs to use on the back of the quilt.

Finished the December blocks for the JUQ BOM.

There is only one block, corner blocks and sashing to go.  This is not the actual layout, just me playing but I am loving the scrappiness of it.  Bottom right block is an extra I made by mistake so it will disappear and be replaced by the next block released.

And I have prepared some Japanese x & + blocks for my online bee group.  These blocks are for me and I have written a tutorial on how to prepare them for my bee group.  I will post that mid January ready for February.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these blocks and cannot believe I missed all of the hysteria and hype when this Japanese x & + pattern went viral 2 years ago.  I can see several quilts in different colourways in my future.

In amongst all of that I have quilted a couple of quilt tops for Aussie Quilts With Love.  I didn't take any photos of the quilts but you can see them online here.

And lastly I finished a quilt for a co-worker who is having a baby early in the new year.  Unfortunately I cannot share pictures of that as I have to keep it under wraps until it is gifted.  I will post pictures next year.

So as 2013 ends I feel proud of my achievements.  I do not want to make any resolutions for 2014 as I never seem to be able to keep them and just feel disappointed when I don't.  Instead I promise to keep doing what I love and to enjoy the process, no matter where it leads and no matter how prolific or slowly I may go.  It's all about the journey.

Until next time.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Plodding Along

I haven't blogged the last few weeks but I have been busy.

I finished my paper piecing blocks for the November Queen of the bee group I am in.

I love the colours the Queen chose.  This combination is so striking and will make a gorgeous quilt.

My fabrics are ready for the upcoming Bonnie Hunter mystery.

I am making this quilt with someone in mind and I think these colours will be just right for her.

And out of the blue I got the most incredible urge to make a low volume quilt.
Has that ever happened to you?  All of a sudden you just HAVE to make something right here, right now?
"Low Volume" is the new buzz word going around and I love the quilts I am seeing.  So I put everything aside and dug into my stash pulling anything and everything I thought would pass as low volume.  Admittedly there are some fabrics in my blocks that are probably a bit too 'voluminous' but I really didn't want to buy more fabric.  I think they are soft enough to blend with the overall serenity of the quilt so I am going with it.

I followed the pattern from Cheryl Arkison and Amanda Jean Nyberg's book Sunday Morning Quilts. This has to be one of my all time favourite quilting books and I plan to make every quilt in it, I just love them all.
I have moved some of the blocks around to get a better overall balance since taking this picture and if all goes well I will have this top together by the end of today.

And finally, I have been practicing free motion quilting on my Express Your Love quilt. I am WAAAAY behind on this project but with a month of holidays coming up it is on the top of my to do list.

This week I finished quilting the sun's 'rays' and the goddess body.
I apologise in advance for the terrible quality pictures. I took them at night which normally isn't too much of a problem as I usually enhance the pictures when editing them but for some reason my computer program would not let me increase the brightness this time.  I will get better pics when I complete the  next section.

I am disappointed that the light gold came out so much brighter than the medium and dark golds I used. When I lined the spools up next to each other I thought the 3 colours blended well but after quilting, well  not so much.  Hopefully when the whole thing is quilted it will blend a little better.

Here are a couple of close ups:

Far from perfect but it's all practice and I can see improvement so that is all I can ask of myself.

Until next time.


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Elation and Heartbreak

I catered my niece's 21st birthday party last week and it was a big hit.  Everything went off without a hitch and a great night was had by all.  Ms S loved the quilt I made her so that was the icing on the cake. After a big night I caught her laying on the couch wrapped up in her quilt so I snapped a quick picture.

I finished a quilt that has been 4 years in the making.  Blue Ridge Beauty is a Bonnie Hunter pattern and this quilt was my leader and ender project for 3 years.  I love this pattern and I am really happy with the finished quilt.

The quilt top has been finished for over a year but I wasn't sure how to quilt it.  Once I decided on an orange peel design it was all systems go and after about 10 days of free motion (far from perfect) quilting it was finally complete.

I was so eager to get this onto my bed that I threw it in the washing machine forgetting to add Colour Catchers and yep, you guessed it, the navy blues ran and bled throughout the quilt.  I was so angry at myself for messing up so bad.  To compound the problem, I didn't notice the runs until after I had put the quilt through the dryer which effectively set the stains.  Now, although the colours ran it wasn't diabolical - it just meant that some of the neutrals had a blue tinge to them. Disappointing yes, but not the end of the world.

So why couldn't I just leave it at that?  For reasons I still do not know and cannot explain, I decided to soak the quilt in a stain removal solution to remove some of the colour runs.  BIG MISTAKE...all I managed to achieve was an even worse colour run that has pretty much ruined the quilt.

This was the problem after the initial wash.

Slight colour runs and discoloration to some of the neutral fabrics.
And this is what happened after I soaked the quilt.

What was I thinking???    I guess the only consolation is that the worst of the runs are on the back of the quilt meaning I can still use it on my bed and hide this mess.

The funny thing is that I do actually pre wash all of my fabric.  I blogged about my decision to pre wash here after my last minor colour run fiasco.  It's just that this quilt was pieced before the transition and in my eagerness I simply didn't think before I put it in the machine.  A heartbreakingly hard lesson learned.

But I am determined to finish this post on a positive note.  I made a cushion for my girlfriend who has just moved into a new home and she absolutely loved it.  In fact, she texts me everyday reminding me just how much she loves it.  So despite said colour run heartbreak, I am going out on a high. Elation.

Until next time.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Its A Wrap

I am happy to say that I finished my nieces 21st quilt ahead of schedule.

Actually it's not really complete.  I have one more thing to do - a label.  I haven't settled on a name for the quilt so I will continue to ponder for a few days and make the label when I have settled on a name.

I settled on a large scale meander for the quilting.  That and the binding (by hand) have consumed most of my week.

In between though I put my MSBHQAL top together ready for basting.

I had some trouble with the bias edges of the blocks stretching (lesson learned) so there is a bit a waving.  I hope that I can quilt this out.

And I also managed to complete a paper pieced star block for the Queen Bee of an online Bee Group I am in.

I may have to rethink this block.   The Queen wanted pretty spring colours so these might be a bit too bright for the brief.  I will probably make another one and use this as a backup.

And finally I made a make up bag and a brush roll for another niece.

So, there it is - another productive week for me.  Sadly there will be no time for any sewing in the coming week as I am catering my niece's 21st birthday party.  I will be consumed with planning and preparation for the big event.  Thankfully it is not a huge party but 75 mouths to feed and keep happy is a little daunting.

Wish me luck.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Kicking Goals Against The Breeze

My husband has a favourite saying "kicking goals against the breeze without a footy" which translates to mean you can do no wrong or that everything is going better than well which aptly sums up my week.

I managed to complete everything on my list which for me is a rarity so it was a great feeling.

I pieced my niece's 21st quilt top, did the backing, sandwiched and basted it ready for quilting.

I'm not loving the back but I am not changing it either.  I made a sandwich from left over fabric and batting to try a few different quilting designs.  After a bit of play I decided to go with good old stipple quilting.  I think it will complement the quilt and it is pretty quick to do.  So this week is quilting week which then gives me a week to put the binding on before it is gifted.

I also completed some 9 patch variation blocks for Aussie Quilts With Love.  You can read more about this charity HERE.

I managed to complete my Broken Herringbone Blocks for the MSBHQAL  I am up to date with this project but I am undecided on the colours.  I think it needs a bit of brightening up so I may remove the dark or light grey block and replace it with another green block
Once finished I plan to gift this to a co-worker who is expecting her second baby in a few months.

And lastly I finished my practice block for an online paper pieced Star Bee I am in.  I have to make 2 different blocks in the Queen's chosen colour way by the end of October so this will be my next priority.

All in all a productive week. They don't come my way too often so I am basking in my efforts.  But only for a day, got to get the yet to be named 21st quilt finished before I can breath a sigh of relief. And then I absolutely have to catch up on the very neglected household and gardening chores.

Till next time.