Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Happy dreams and plans

Since I finished the latest Project Quilting challenge "Lily, The Christmas Tree Skirt" a couple of days ago, the adrenalin dropped, and there has been time for the heart rate to return to normal, and sleep to return at night instead of lying awake in bed with patterns, colours and ideas dancing in my head.

I spent a couple of days relaxing with the Red Brolley Christmas redwork.

One stitchery finished, and another started. I am feeling very keen to complete one entire block along with piecing while heading towards the feeling of a finish, just to keep me going.

The Christmas redwork quilt needs to be finished by the end of May for a 40th birthday gift. I need to power on with it before I become immersed in applique... which is definitely on its way .... I can feel it waiting to get out!

But, I won't be working on the Civil War Bride Quilt. The reproduction fabrics are too cosy. They just don't feel right up here in the subtropics. We only wear long sleeves for two weeks of the year. We don't need quilts for warmth. And so, our decorating is different here. Perhaps cushions, tablerunners, wallhangings, ornaments, stuffed toys and throws that never get used except for making cubbies or decorating. When I decide who The Bride will be for, I might get around to finishing it.

And now, my heart is pounding again, the sun is shining, and my face is smiling... one of the local quilt shops re-opened today, and I went in with Esther's new free BOM "Diamond Hill" pattern looking for fabrics in purple and turquoise to make a 70th birthday quilt for my MIL.

(The quilt shop has been taken over by another owner (a previous staff member), and has been renamed "Quilting Desires"!!)

I chose a medium-dark purple moda Grunge fabric for the background of the large applique blocks, and a batik stripe for the corner baskets.

Then instead of just 2 greens and 2 pinks, I chose lots and lots of fabrics for flowers and leaves. Mostly purple and turquoise, with a little bit of pinky-red-orange to add POP!

The fabrics are a mixture of grunge, batik, fairy frost and shimmer fabrics. I chose them all for a range of values, depth and a mixture of colour

I don't know what I will use where yet, elsewhere in the quilt. I bought small amounts of fabric and can audition the prints for pieced sections later. Although I am already liking the pearly shimmer for the light colour between some of the pieced squares in the outer border.

And then something for me. A quilt of mainly applique. This year I am celebrating 20 years of making quilts! I signed up for Esther's Mystery BOM Secret Garden. Today I bought a stack of mauve-grey fabrics from the $5 per metre discount box as the background. 
Pairing them up with some delicious new Kaffe Fasset Collective fat quarters and some 40s retro and 70s retro fabrics.

I don't even know what the fabric requirements are yet! But, it's going to be a bright, fresh
scrappy quilt!

There's a lot of quilty energy that needs to come out at the moment... after a few years break, all of these projects want to be made, and ideas want to be used just in case I stop again.

This leaves me with the main current projects of:

1. Christmas Redwork (need by end of May)
2. Diamond Hill
3. Secret Garden
4. The Goblin King QAL
5. 12 Days of Christmas Birds quilt
6. Little Pears decorations
7. more Project Quilting challenges to come (gifts to be made!)

I hope you are happily dreaming and creating too.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Lily- The Christmas Tree Skirt

"Hello, My name is Lily. I am a Christmas tree skirt."

The tree skirt is a result of Project Quilting Season 8, Challenge 2. Inspired by the Carolina Lily.

Rather than piece traditional Carolina Lily blocks, I used an applique block designed by Lori Smith of "From My Heart To Your Hands".

I had never made a tree skirt before, and learnt as I made it up. along with a little bit of frog stitching (rippit, rippit).

The individual log cabin blocks were designed to reflect the shape of the Carolina Lily keeping with the theme.

This tree skirt is a gift for my MIL. The colours were chosen to match her Christmas tree.

The back of the tree skirt before it has a label.

Created in subtropical Far North Queensland, Australia. Measuring 24in x 24in. Made from 100% cotton, bamboo batting and jacquard ribbon.

To read all posts related to the construction of the tree skirt click here.

To see all projects made for this challenge click here. You have one week to vote for your favourites.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

OMG! There's a hole in my quilt!


This morning I was ready to trim the quilted challenge piece for Project Quilting's second challenge of the year, and then cut a hole in it. I know. I know.... flipping heck!

I've never made a Christmas Tree Skirt before, so I kind of made it up as I went along.

A big slit, then a hole in the centre. I thought it might be easier to make it square rather than a circle.

Nope. Crikey!  Make a circle next time, and cut the binding on the bias.

I stitched all the bias on by machine before I remembered to insert the ribbon ties. 
Just a little bit of unpicking. 

Time to turn and hand stitch down before the final reveal tomorrow.

Last night I joined in the FNSI at Sugarlane Designs.

I stitched some of the Bronwyn Hayes Christmas redwork for my sister's 40th birthday quilt. Even though I am loving the tree skirt, it felt good to work on something different.

How to be an Aussie tutorial:
Use words like Crikey, Flippin' Heck, and G'day.

And keep a pair of scissors in the freezer with the Zooper Doopers in Summer. It stops everyone from using your sewing scissors.

Friday, 20 January 2017

A little bit of heaven

Love is... machine quilting while baby sleeps, his big brother is helping Daddy fix a car, and Miss 5 is sitting next to me happily singing "Hot Cross Buns" (what we sang as we ate them for breakfast) as she crafts away dreamily... Such a special moment to capture in a photo.
Love the view

Before the quilting was started on Project Quilting challenge 2 for the year, there was a bit of an oops  to unpick. I guess it's because the timeline is so strict, (binding day tomorrow, post on internet Sunday). There are a lot of vintage quilts that are just so unique because of a whoops, or they ran out of a particular fabric, and those are some of my favourite features of antique quilts. I always wondered how they could make such a mistake, but with little space for laying out all the blocks, it's no wonder there are perfectly imperfect quilts.

unpick to turn applique block

This is my favourite tool for marking straight lines of machine quilting. The Clover Hera marker. It's much faster than masking tape, works on any colour fabric and the crease irons or washes out. See the funny shape? It is based on a design traditionally made from a bone. Us vegetarians definitely prefer the plastic version. You can also use it to "finger press" seams so you are not getting up to the iron all the time.

Clover hera marker

Then a little bit of free-motion quilting around the applique.

It quilted like a dream, because I used a drill weight fabric for backing. The backing didn't want to bend or crease, and being a little bit stiff it kept the quilt flat. I originally bought it for Christmas tablecloths because it was marked down to $2 a metre, but because it worked so well on the back of a small spray-basted quilt, I will use it for small backings.
bargain backing fabric in a drill weight

Very excited to be on schedule, ready to trim and add binding tomorrow. And tonight's project? Contact some more school books ready for Monday. Nearly finished covering A4 exercise books.

Tonight I am linking up as I "Whoop! Whoop!" how happy I am to be on track with the challenge.

And linking up with a FNSI (Friday Night Sew In).

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Back to nature

It's my birthday month, and the children are back at school on Monday, so we have been trying to cram in as much special family time as possible.

Yesterday my sweetheart took us to a surprise destination that was new for all of us.

Crystal Creek

Crystal Creek. A cool, freshwater swimming place with waterfalls. Oh, it was so relaxing. Even though it has been very, very hot and humid at home, only 70km away in the mountains, it was cool. The water was cool. The trees were shady. We all swam. Ahhh....

It was such a strong contrast. We felt hot and tense on the way, and as we drove up the winding mountain I could feel us all become more calm. We felt so cool and relaxed.

Before we went home we all wanted to change clothes. That is how cool we felt. We had a little wander and a look around.

This tree particularly caught my eye. The lichen on its trunk is so beautiful. It might just inspire a little quilty art piece at some time. Getting back to nature is what we all needed. Thank you.

lichen tree trunk

and some huge berries, or native plums

And so, in the cool of the afternoon at home after a homeward stop for frosty home made gelato (I had cinnamon and ginger, both rich and with such depth in flavour), I drew up a log cabin block and a block arrangement on graph paper while cooking dinner.

This morning I cut the pieces for the blocks, and pieced them. It took over 4 hours, between breakfasting, cleaning kids rooms and supervising playing (but mostly, I just had time to sew, my sweetheart kept a keen eye for us all). Bub was awake and cranky at 5am (he's teething, little darling,  and eating a lot of frozen corn and frozen raspberries to numb his gums), so I started sewing early before it heated up too much for sewing in the kitchen.

individual block also looks a bit like a Carolina Lily

Just needs the four applique blocks trimmed down and added on. (Need to finish the last 2 blocks tonight).
wow. loving the arrangement. So Christmassy

Tomorrow is basting and quilting day. The next day is binding day.

There is a very tight schedule for the Project Quilting challenges of only one week from start to finish.

And lastly, a little treat I bought in Olive Branch while picking up the fusible bias tape. French General fabrics for a classy table runner. (At this stage it's for me, but I am not sure of my upcoming colour scheme in the dining room, so i will have to see.) I hope it's for me!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Inklingo- No go (for now)

Last night I was sitting up reading about Inklingo. I had downloaded the free shapes ready to prepare for piecing Carolina Lily blocks as part of Project Quilting's second challenge for the year. Then I saw that one block finished at 3.18 inches.

To make a quilt big enough to make into a Christmas Tree skirt I need it to be about 20 inches square. I would need to make 64 pieced blocks at that size, and still calculate the sashings and borders (how do you cut something that size with a regular ruler?) because the Inklingo pack for the next borders and sashing would be US$50. Er... no, I am not prepared to pay that just for this challenge.

So I went to bed last night, thinking of other things I could do, rather than hand or machine sewimg 64 Y seams.

I am pretty good at applique. I was thinking I could do some of that rather quickly (but it's only now at 10.16pm that I realise I could have machine appliqued the pieces I did today. ARGH!)

I found this pattern in my stash under the bed.
It's a Lori Smith pattern. This block is about 6.5 inches unfinished. Great. I have a plan.

I can make four of these applique blocks, and make some log cabin blocks to make a little quilt about 24 inches square before cutting it up to turn it into a Christmas tree skirt.

The day started in a wonderful way, with my Sweet Man taking the children out to town for an hour or so (I started to prepare the applique blocks, and sat down in the air con in a blissful state watching some old TV show called "Bones". Ah. Bliss for a Mother. Child free sewing time. Ahhhh. Can you feel it? *spoiled*

Then I realised I had run out of the applique bias adhesive. Dang it! I think the quilt shops are still closed! I phoned a shop on the way to town, and it was open! And Olive Branch Quilts had a few rolls in stock.

almost 2 blocks appliqued, and there is a hole in my finger!

After lunch we were all driving in to the museum. The children were all asleep in the car (woohoo!), so my sweetheart stopped off at the quilt shop for me to pick up the tape on the way while he stayed with them in the air conditioned car. Oh! Mummy time again! *spoiled*

Check this out. The old packet I had says $17.10 . The new packet I bought today says $6!! It only has half the tape in it, but it's still much cheaper than it used to be. It seems to have come down in price.  That kind of thing doesn't happen very often.

While I was in the shop I bought the fabric I need to finish the 12 Days of Christmas birds wallhanging. I had the feeling this was going to be the right shop for buying these fabric colours and brought the quilt top with me.

(I just LOVE that every quilt shop has its own feel, and you know that one will have brights, another will have Christmas, and another will have moda's French General. hee hee).

I found the perfect pear print for the binding - it's an Anni Downs print.

And a coral and an olive green for borders between the stitchery birds and the holly berries border.

These fabrics will be put away under the bed until  this busy challenge week is finished.

Such a blessed afternoon followed with a fantastic special dinosaur exhibit. It's on for another 6 months, and we realised we could book the birthday parties for our eldest two there this year. Woohoo! Sounds fantastic! Just turn up and everything is done!

It's my birthday month, and I am celebrating every day. You may have noticed there has been a lot of fabric shopping. That's enough shopping for now. The next thing I would like is lots and lots of Tula Pink fabrics. *happy drool* Maybe if I am very good this year, Santa??

The next challenge will be to make something using only stuff I already have. I think I am fully stocked.

In the 12 Days before Christmas sales I ordered some sale fabrics online with a view to using them for a quilt for my bed.

They have arrived, and they are more yellow than I first thought. I am visualising a French Braid with overlaying appliques in some beachy style for 15yo Harlee. Thoughts come while I applique for the challenge.

Tomorrow I am planning to draw up the log cabin parts for the Carolina Lily challenge, and hopefully stitch some together. In the evening work on one more applique block.

Then by the end of the next day (Thursday) I am hoping all blocks will be finished, giving me one day to sandwich and quilt it, and another day to cut it up and add binding, in time to post it online Sunday. Phew! Tight timeline.

Hope to see you round.

Monday, 16 January 2017

New Project!

Well, it's great news all round here!!

The Superhero Comics quilt top and Time For Love are both in the mail (registered post) to be quilted.

Esther Aliu's new free BOM for the year "Diamond Hill" is going to be absolutely perfect for my MIL's 70th birthday which is in two years. Good. Let's aim to finish it a year early so that she has an extra year to enjoy it. I would like her to love it, pat it, and hug it for as long as possible. She's in very good nick, so I think she will get at least 10 years out of it. This means I have more to add to my "wanting to do" list for this year.

I have printed the first part of the pattern, but will not even look at choosing fabric until I feel like I have finished something else. I kind of got into a routine for quite a few years, where I wouldn't let myself start something new until I finished something else. And that inspired me to rummage through some projects and gave me the oomph! needed to finish a project. (Maybe that's why I have decided so many of my quilts will be gifts, does it inspire me to finish them? I must confess, that is not the way. There's a Cathy Miller song called "It' Ain't Finished Yet" about the wedding quilt that was meant to be given away 2 years ago, where she's spent a small fortune on fabric and threads, she needs more of that fabric she bought in Tibet, but It Ain't Finished Yet. Yep, I think that's sometimes me)....

Project Quilting has issued the second challenge for the year, around the theme of "Carolina Lily".
I came across something new for me to try. It's Linda Franz's "Inklingo". Here is a link to the page that is inspiring me. 

The idea is to print the cutting and sewing lines for a shape directly onto the fabric, then hand sew or machine sew the pieces together. It happens in your ordinary inkjet printer (or 3 in 1 machine). There are some free shapes to try. You have to add them into the shopping cart, then log in to download them, but then they are on your computer.

Now, this is a fun challenging thing for me!

I want to make my MIL a Christmas tree skirt for her white faux tree, using the Inklingo technique to with Carolina Lily blocks.

I have chosen these fabrics.

While I don't usually prewash my fabrics it seems I need to for this printing thing. Let's give it a go. Stay tuned! It is a challenge after all! It's the first of 7 days, and all I have done is washed half of the fabric. Busy times tomorrow!