Thursday, March 31, 2011

Paisley Seas


I finished this quilt last week , just in time for my dad's birthday. I started it way back in, oh, I thought I started it last year but just checked and I started it in January, woo hoo, I'm not as slow as I thought.


This pattern was from Elizabeth Hartman's book The Practical Guide to Patchwork. I used Martinique,  part of a jelly roll and layer cake and the solid (from memory) is from a Robyn Pandolph range. It was beautifully quilted by Fiona The Quilting Fairy.


The backing, paisley from the Martinique range.

Binding is Luna Notte.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday ? and it's a bit late - and tails

It's been a very busy week at Chez Sunshine. Including, my dad's birthday on Friday,  partying on the Gold Coast, meeting people I haven't seen in f.o.r.e.v.e.r., meeting up with people I first met in Singapore 20+ years ago,  moving everything out of all the wardrobes, new wardrobes, trying to put everything back into the new wardrobes, going to Brisbane, and a teensy bit of craftiness.
The only craft oriented activities that happened in the last week, were finishing the binding on my dad's quilt in time for his birthday, I'll show pics in another post, and a couple of crocheted carrots. I spent a lot of time finding lots of inspiration (that I don't need) on the net. I already have way too many projects lined up without needing to add any more.

My list of things to finish:

  • Disappearing nine patch quilt - backing/basting/quilting (this is going to end up a UFO)
  • Spice Boxes - quilting
  • Not Karma's quilt - backing/basting/quilting
  • Bitchypoo's quilt - backing/basting/quilting
  • Summer In Paris quilt - backing/basting/quilting
  • Lily's quilt quilt along - everything!!!!!!
  • Charley Harper quilt along - pretty much everything
  • Brown block for Monochromatic challenge - it's almost the end of the month and I still have the embroidery to finish.
  • French Roses quilt - 21 blocks to go
  • Start the Sarcastic Quilter quilt along
  • Crochet throw, crochet more squares and sew ends in.

I'm sure I've missed things in that lot too.  Gosh that's a little daunting, did you notice how many backs, and quilting need to be done? I think that tells you something doesn't it, I like making the tops but not the rest of the quilt!!!

Sunset photos from this week.



A lovely photo of Karma, taken by Bitchypoo.

Poor boy, how embarrassing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Crochet Carrot Pattern

Here's the pattern for the crochet carrot I promised in my post last week.


WARNING: Before I start I want to let you know that if you are a novice crocheter I definitely wouldn't try this. It is quite fiddly at the beginning and difficult to see the stitches.  If you do try it I think you'll use not very nice words and call me all sorts of names and never touch crochet again. For anyone who is fairly proficient at crochet it should be relatively easy, I hope. The first few rounds are not easy but after that it's a breeze.
* I am using the English terminology here dc = sc for U.S. readers.*

You will need:

  • orange 8ply (DK) yarn
  • green 8ply (DK) yarn
  • 4.00mm hook
  • fibrefill
  • something to use as a marker, as this is worked in rounds and you need to mark the first stitch of each round. I just use a roughly 6 to 8 inch scrap of yarn that is a different colour to what I'm using to crochet.

Using the orange yarn, make 2 chain, making sure you leave a few inches tail of yarn at the beginning.
Round 1. Make 5 dc in the first chain ( the second one from the hook).
Round 2. Place marker and then dc into each of the next 2 stitches, inc in next stitch by making 2dc, then dc into each of the last 2 stitches. (6 stitches)
Round 3. Place marker and remember to do this at the beginning of each round. dc into each dc.
Round 4. same as round 3.
Round 5. dc into each of first 3 stitches then inc in next 2 stitches (by making 2dc in each stitch) then dc in last stitch. (8 stitches)
Round 6. dc into each dc.
Round 7 - 10 repeat round 6.
Round 11. dc into first dc then inc in next stitch, dc into the last 6 stitches. (9 stitches)
Round 12. dc in each dc.
Round 13. dc into first dc, inc in next dc, dc into last 7 stitches. (10 stitches)
Round 14. dc in each dc.
Round 15. dc in each dc.
Round 16. dc in first 8 stitches, inc in next dc, dc in last stitch. (11 stitches)
Round 17. dc in each dc.
Round 18 - 22 dc in each dc.
Round 23. dc in first dc, inc in next two dc, dc in last 8 stitches. (13 stitches)
Round 24. dc in each dc.
Round 25. dc in first dc, inc in next two dc, dc in last 10 stitches. (15 stitches)
Round 26. dc in each dc
Round 27. dc in first dc, inc in next dc, dc in last 13 stitches. (16 stitches)
Round 28- 29. dc in each dc.
Round 30. Decrease by making a dc into every second dc. (8 stitches)
Take the loop off the hook and pull to make it big, so that id doesn't unravel during the next step.
Now fill carrot with fibrefill, do not fill it tight, as the filling will stretch the crochet and you will see it through the stitching. Learn by my mistake!
See how the fibrefill is much more obvious.

Now to finish the carrot. Place the loop back on the hook.
Round 31. Decrease by making a dc in every second dc. ( 4 stitches)
Fasten off leaving a long end.

Using the green yarn make 11 chain.
Slip stitch into the second chain from the hook and into every chain back to the beginning. (10 stitches)
Do not cut yarn, make another 11 chain, slip stitch into second chain from hook and in every chain to the beginning. (10 stitches). Repeat this until you have 5 lengths of chain. Tie off leaving a long thread.

Attach the leaves to the carrot, sewing in loose ends.  You can leave the long end of yarn at the thin end of the carrot if you wish.

On the carrot on the right, the leaves were made the same way but instead of slip stitching, a dc was made in each of the chain, I think the slip stitch is more delicate.
If you have any trouble or you find any mistakes, please let me know.  You can make the carrots bigger or smaller by adjusting how many times you increase and how many rows you decide to do.

Good luck.

Crochet Carrot

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

French Roses

On Monday I spent the day at Patchwork Angel doing a class on the quilt pattern "French Roses" by Heather French.

The class was run by the lovely and very patient Jenny. She showed us how to make it as a quilt as you go quilt.  We had a great time, there were only 4 of us in the class which was good, as we all spread out, some of us more than others (not me of course, ahem cough cough). It certainly made me see how messy I am when I'm playing around with fabrics and auditioning them. I also kept on losing my freezer paper templates. I had to cut out the leaves twice. My cut flower pieces kept on hiding on me too. I really created a great impression.

I took along a fat quarter bundle and a couple of half yard pieces of Flower Sugar 2 and some extra yardage for the background and backing. I originally decided to have the background as off white and the backing in a Flower Sugar print, but when I was putting it together, Jenny and I decided to go a little bit out there and swap the backing and background around. 

This is the result. We only made 4 blocks on the day. They won't be staying in this order, but it was just enough to get a feel for making them. Because I swapped the background, the print I'd chosen to use as the binding didn't look good so we searched the shop for an alternative and came up with the pre made bias in blue and white. It doesn't show in the photos, but it brings out the blue in the floral prints, and I think it ties it all together. I think it's going to have a shabby chic feel. 

One thing I've learned from this experience, I think I've had enough of using all the one fabric line in a project. It looks pretty, but I was dying to add in other fabrics.  I ended up getting a couple of pieces of co-ordinating prints from other designers, as again, with swapping the background it meant I needed a couple more green and red prints.
The only other issue I had was as I used the plain off white for the backing, it was very very very very obvious if my batting wasn't placed absolutely perfectly, and of course it wasn't, so I am going to have to re-think the fabric I'm using for the backing. 
OK so it doesn't look quite so obvious in this photo, but believe me, it looks pretty awful in real life.

This will mean I'll have to purchase some more fabric as I don't have enough yardage of anything that will look good with this in my stash, lol!  As I've already made 4 blocks and there are 25 blocks in this quilt. I think I'll make one more block with the off white so I'll have one row with off white backing. For the rest I'll use a multi coloured backing. Then I'm going to try to do something really amazing and wonderful with the 5 off white blocks to try and hide the "gaps". I have no idea what amazing and wonderful entails but I'll keep you posted. 

Here are pics of what everyone else made on the day, I love the way they are all very different.
Therese used Flower Sugar 2 as well, but also added some other prints and went with the white backing and yellow binding for a very pretty result.

Christine used lovely muted colours including some Martinique, and this is her first ever quilt!

Bev chose 30's repros, don't they look good in this design.

This was a finished quilt that was on display.
I loved the use of scraps in the last one and the colour scheme was gorgeous, I just wish I had taken a couple more photos.

Now I have another WIP to add to my growing pile. I'm going to have to put this one aside for the time being while I try to catch up with all the other projects and the crochet tutorial.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday ?

I need a change, I think ADD is kicking in again, I'm over Tuesday Tidbits. Umm........ no I'm not over the idea of Tuesday Tidbits, I'm just over the title. I've been thinking on and off for a few weeks to change the title but can't come up with anything that sounds interesting and possibly slightly flaky, because we all know I don't take myself at all seriously.
I really like having a post each week where I can post about lots of little things happening at Chez Sunshine that don't necessarily need a whole post to themselves. So if anyone out there can come up with an interesting and of course extremely witty title, please feel free to help me out. Sorry no give aways in it for you.  I did say feel free!  :P

This week has been busy at Chez Sunshine. To cut a long story short, I'm having the wardrobes in my bedroom and Bitchypoo's bedroom re-vamped.  I was told that they wouldn't be able to fit them until the end of this week, possibly next week. We had a phone call Friday to say that they would be able to come on Tues and Wed, that's today and tomorrow. Panic ensued at Chez Sunshine as we realised the enormity of having to remove 12 years of accumulated crap in our wardrobes.  Saturday was already booked up and Bitchypoo works Saturdays so Sunday we spent taking everything out of our wardrobes and putting them into piles - rubbish, give away, and keep.  It was a very cathartic experience as I do tend to hoard. I keep lots of stuff  - just in case. Hopefully I will never get bad enough to star on an episode of The Hoarders.
While I was on a roll, throwing things out, I made inroads into the linen cupboard as well. The above pic is what came out of there, (not what my house looks like normally with piles of crap everywhere, I'm not quite that bad yet.)

This is a before shot of my wardrobe, well technically it's a before the wardrobe was revamped shot, as it's definitely NOT before I took most of my crap out of there.

On to far more exciting things.

Yesterday I had a lovely day at Patchwork Angel. Jenny was running a class on a quilt "French Roses".
I'll post pics of that in my next post.

Last night I made myself sew on the binding to dad's quilt. Today I'm I was going to start the hand sewing to finish the binding, but it's stinking hot here, it's possibly one of the warmest days we've had this year. I just checked the thermometer out on the verandah and it's showing 36C (97F), so much for being Autumn. 

Trying to think about Autumn in this heat, here's the fabrics I've gathered so far for the Autumn in Paris quilt. I find that my fabric choice changes as I progress on the quilt, I like to see how it's going and sometimes I add more and sometimes I take some away as they just don't look quite right.  That's what I find exciting when using lots of different designs and fabric ranges from my stash rather than sticking with the one range. If you have any trouble in trying to pick what "goes" together it's always safe to use fabrics from the same range as the designer has already done the hard work for you, but if you like to try to choose your own, the fabulously brilliant Kerry from VeryKerryBerry has guest posted on Lily's Quilts on how to choose fabric.

P.S. Still haven't heard from George, yet.

Monday, March 21, 2011

One Hot Rabbit

You all know how I've loved George Clooney from afar. Lake Como is just way too far to go to stalk him sit on his doorstep.

Unfortunately even though I've bought a Nespresso coffee machine in the hopes of wooing him, he hasn't shown the slightest bit of interest.

BUT when I saw Kirsty's photo of George I knew that I had been going about it all the wrong way.

I needed a plan.

Thank you very much Kirsty for sending me the photo.

I needed something more than just a Nespresso machine, after all, they are everywhere.

What Chaud Lapin (Hot Rabbit) could resist one of these?

Even the cat couldn't resist, so I think I'm on a winner here.

George Clooney come on down!!!!

P.S. I have a back up plan too, if he's not particularly partial to crochet, I can sew some up too.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Friday Night Sew In

Fridat night I stayed home instead of going out partying/clubbing, lol.  Pj's were on, ready for my second ever Friday Night Sew In.

I had been sewing all day to finish this quilt top, so even though I got myself organised (pj's on),  by the evening I had run out of steam.

Paris in Summer

I had grand plans to attach the binding on this quilt,
Dad's quilt front

but I hadn't trimmed the quilt to size and I wasn't in the mood to get it out and move everything off my large cutting mat.

Instead I pieced a block for the Monochromatic Challenge.


That didn't take long and I was going to join in on the great carrot sew along party, but by then I'd had enough of sewing so I made this instead.


The cat seems to like it.


Then I cut a few of these for the Lily's Quilts Quilt Along.
Blades for Lily's Quilts QAL

Not quite as productive an evening as I had planned, but at least I've pieced the block ready to embroider, and I started on cutting out the Dresden blades, so not so many to do today. I caught up with google reader and flickr.  Oh and I started on developing a prototype for a crochet carrot. Hopefully I'll be able to post a crochet carrot tutorial soon.

Friday Night Sew In is over at Handmade By Heidi, so check out all the other (and probably far more productive) posts from everyone else.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Summer In Paris

A tah dah moment.
I finished this quilt top yesterday.


It's my own design and I'm ecstatic with the way it turned out. I wanted to make a quilt that captured memories of Paris and the beautiful gardens throughout the city.

The idea developed from this fabric.
Photo from Fabricworm
Paris Map by Yoko Okomato at Fabricworm.

Then I started auditioning fabric,
some from my stash, the top three and the sixth one from the right I found at Hawthorne Threads and Lucky Kaeru Fabric. Some others I found at my local store, Patchwork Angel.

My original idea was to use a Kaffe Fassett pattern.

I liked the idea of the central large square for the map of Paris, but I decided the overall pattern was just a little too regimented for what I wanted.

Then I saw this pattern at Carolina Patchworks. I loved the more random look of this, although by now I wanted to convey the idea of city blocks and a central block where all the blocks radiated from it, so this pattern was a little too random.
That's when I thought I should try to design my own pattern.

A little bit of math was involved to work out what size block was needed to be able to divide into halves, quarters etc, to have sashing between each piece, and to make every block the same size.

Quite a bit of fussy cutting.


As I was making it I was worried that it was looking fabulous in my head, good drawn out in my notebook and not so great when finished.



I'm very very happy with the way it turned out and I'm already planning on making Autumn, Spring and Winter in Paris quilts.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Favourite Things Friday

This week my favourite thing is my Pfaff sewing machine.  It came back from being revived after  having a few problems.  Now it's working better than it ever did before.  
The best thing too, was that all the work was done under warranty so it didn't cost me anything. 

For lots more lovely and interesting Friday Favourites check out the splendiferous Shay of Quilting In My Pyjamas to see what's happening this week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday tidbits

The last few months have seen natural disasters one after the other, in the last week the scenes of devastation in Japan have been heart wrenching. My thoughts go out to all of the people both in Christchurch and Japan who have suffered from such terrible destruction and the end of life as they knew it.  I am hoping the future will bring hope and renewal for them.

I'd like to let you all know I am still in one piece and have had no further injuries despite going back to aquarobics, twice.  Unless you count getting water in my ear and having a little discomfort with that last night. Keep your fingers crossed that I survive for a few more weeks!

This is where I go to aquarobics.  We use the pool at the back of the photo. They're replacing the sails on the children's pool in the foreground so there is a lot of construction happening at the moment.  I'll take photos when it's all finished.
This isn't a pic of me or any of the people that I know.

Now for some mail that arrived.
Make Life by Sweetwater from Quilt This.

Lots of books from the Book Depository.
Not that I'm going to be making anything from any of these any time soon as I have a list of projects a mile long, but these are great for inspiration, and learning new techniques. Good bed time reading!

Finally this gorgeous picture on the front of the New Zealand Quilter magazine,  It's a great photo, the sky, the dress, the colours in the quilt and the car.