Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Simon's Cat in 'The Box'

Reminds me of a cat I know................... my special boy, Bailey.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Swap progress

I stopped procrastinating yesterday. I'm so very good at procrastinating, it's a pity there's nothing to show for it, lol.

Instead of working on Tiggly Winks, (I really don't love that quilt) and it's becoming a chore to finish, or cutting the binding for the Lily quilt (aka Floral Bouquet) I started on the two swaps I'm in.

Firstly the Name Game swap. My partner is very very very very very quiet, and there's not a lot to go on but I've come up with an idea that I hope she will like.

I started with this for inspiration. An Orla Kiely design.
Name Game Swap idea

Made the background. Very pale and beige but I wanted a quiet background for the applique details to stand out.

 and will add lots of these. Love that Baby Go Cutter.
I think these are the colours she likes. I'm crossing my fingers that she will like the design.

The other swap, Mouthy Stitches, I have a really good partner, probably too good, I had stage fright at the beginning and my mind went a total blank. Next, I couldn't settle on an idea or colours, using the scatter gun approach and thinking up all sorts of ideas, not many of which I think are particularly interesting/different or what I think my partner would love.  I had some really obvious ideas, but then I can see from her flickr account that she makes/made them and I'd like to do something that I think she likes but not what she has made.

Yesterday I cut into this for a test run.

To make these teeny tiny triangles. Yes I know, I cut into fat quarters to make these!!!!!

Then sewed them together.

Playing with an idea

I really like this and I'm going to make another one because these fabrics and colours are not what my partner likes, I knew that when I started. I made this one in the Lark to see whether I could do it and because I like the fabric. I thought I might as well do something I like for a trial run. I think I'm on the right track here, it's now a waiting game for the linen I ordered 10 days ago. I can't choose which colourway from the stacks below until that arrives. I might have to tweak the fabrics as some of the prints are too large.
orange and aqua

sherbet rainbow

Friday, January 27, 2012

Favourite Things Friday

I have a favourite place this week, it's my local quilting store. Cooroy Drapery. It's a lovely store and the owner, Margaret, is always happy and smiling and so helpful. She has a great name too!

If I need any sewing supplies I always pop in there first, hoping that she carries what I want, and most of the time I find exactly what I'm looking for. It's like an Aladdin's Cave in there. Zips, buttons, thread, yarn, crochet hooks, patterns, ribbons, fabric, etc.
It saves me having to drive a 100km round trip to Spotlight, and I much prefer having a nice chat with Margaret or her staff than going to Spotlight, a huge impersonal store and usually finding that they don't quite have what I want.

Today I was able to buy some zips, some Gutermann thread that matched perfectly with my fabric for raw edge applique, paper pieces for triangles that I want to try, and some pre-made binding.

I love that there is a good old fashioned store like this with great service only 10 minutes away.

Image borrowed from Cooroy Drapery

Linking up with Shay who has outed me this week!  Sad to say my reputation is sullied for all time.  I really thought I had got away with  convinced assured everyone I am a quiet, well behaved innocent angel.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Well that was interesting

I CAN make a pouch with a zipper.
My first zippered pouch
It took me awhile, and amazingly enough, not too much swearing, but it's finished.

I'm not 100% happy with it, but as a first it's ok.

I ordered some zips from Zipit on Etsy but they haven't arrived yet so I searched through my stuff to see if I had a zip. I found one that I've had for years.
Zippered Pouch
It was brown! Rather ironic with all the "no to brown" stuff happening with the Mouthy Stitches Swap.

So another ferret around in my stash to find some co-ordinating fabric that I could live with. I must say, I was tempted to make a really brown pouch and post it on Flickr as my pouch ready to go to my partner. I decided I should be nice, not naughty.

I found a solid to make the tabs at the end of the zips and an internal pocket. It was a waste of time making the tabs, as it turned out the zip was too long for the purse and so the tabs disappeared. Below, this is all that's left of one end.
Zippered pouch
I referred to Ayumi's tutorial to make a pocket for inside the pouch but I didn't use her tutorial for the actual pouch. The pocket worked well.
Zippered pouch

I'm going to try a different tutorial next time. I'm not going to tell you whose I did use this time.

Next time I'll be using either a shorter zip or making the pouch larger. The zip to pouch ratio was all wrong.

There was too much interfacing on this pouch too, so next time I'm going to only use one piece of interfacing on each side, not two on each side. It's made it really bulky at the seams, even though I've trimmed it.

If anyone from Mouthy Stitches is reading this and is very worried that I'll be making their zippered pouch, I'm going to make a few more before I work on THE one.

You can breathe a sigh of relief. I promise it won't be brown.

My first zippered pouch

Grey skies and sunshine

My first finish for 2012.
I'm thrilled with it.

I used the Cluck Cluck Sew Raw edge circle quilt tutorial for this quilt. I love this pattern, it's easy and gives a great result.

Despite the initial problems that I had pulling the fabrics, I think it has come together really well.

The backing is a flannel I bought online from Quilt Expressions, they were so quick to send it and it when it arrived, it matched perfectly. How often do you get a perfect match when you buy sight unseen, online?
The binding is from the Sweetwater Hometown range.Flannel backing and a peek at the quilting

I quilted the circles with a spiral and practiced a large meander on the background between the circles.

None of the fabric was pre washed. I'm not crazy, I made sure I used only quality fabric, but threw in 6 colour catchers when I washed it, they came out a pale beige colour and there's not a sign of bleeding or running.

Circle Quilt

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Another Wednesday and it's been two weeks since I joined in last time.  I was away last week and took lots of hand sewing with me.  I finished the binding on a quilt, worked on a Material Obsession BOM block and finished another three starflowers, not as much as I was hoping to achieve but not bad either.

Firstly, a finish. A housewarming gift for my wonderful friends. I can't believe I already have a finish for 2012, this is a good start for me and I hope it is a sign of things to come.

As usual, I took my camera and then completely forgot to take any photos of it at it's new home.
Flannel backing and a peek at the quilting
This was taken before it was washed and tumble dried.

And after, all crinkly. Fortunately I did remember to take photos once it was washed and dried but before I took it to it's new home. I'm so happy with this one, even though they are not my usual colours. All the stats on this quilt will be in my next post.
It looked great in the house, even if I do say so myself. It goes perfectly with their sofa and cushions.

I finished the piecing on the MO BOM block and was doing the happy dance as I didn't have to seam rip a single seam, it's flat and looks like it should, phew.
MO BOM block
Now I just need to applique it to the background.

Finally three more starflowers.
Three more starflowers

I've also been busy stalking partners in two swaps, Mouthy Stitches and the Name Game. That has been taking up a lot of my time this week.

The Lily quilt has come back from the longarmers today so I'm hoping I can work on the binding over the next couple of days and maybe even have it finished before the end of the month!

Worked On This Week
Circles Quilt
Material Obsession BOM

Sitting Patiently On The Sidelines
Lily Quilt
Tiggly Winks

Amitie Circle BOM

The Weeks Statistics
Finished - 1 YAY!!!!!
Worked On - 3
Ignored - 4
New - 0 - I think it's a record for me. It's been weeks since I started a new project.

Thanks again Lee for hosting the linky party.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tomorrow, Thursday, is Australia Day, we've had lots of rain and flooding here in south east Queensland again, fortunately nowhere near as bad as last year, but most of the planned official celebrations in this area have been cancelled. I hope everyone has a great day regardless!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Swaps, Moving and Navel Gazing

Here's the deal-
BP is moving to Brisbane. She applied for entrance into tertiary courses last year and found out a couple of weeks ago that she was accepted into her first preference.

I'm so proud of her and very happy for her too.

BUT, I'm going to miss her.....a lot!
It's been just the two of us for quite some time now, so it's going to be very very weird not having her around to annoy talk to me everyday. Fortunately we found a solution that fits us perfectly.

I have been contemplating moving back to Brisbane for quite some time now. With that in mind, I went house/apartment hunting in Brisbane, somewhere for BP to live while studying and somewhere that I could escape to every so often.  I found a fabulous place which stretched the budget somewhat, but is just perfect, a secure place for her and a great place very close to the city for me to get my city fix!

We have been slowly moving BP's stuff down to the apartment and setting it up. It's taken a fair chunk of my time. It's about an hour and a half drive away. Plus all the sorting of things that she needs down there. We spent last week there, finalising everything.  It's finally set up and she is about to move there permanently this week.

The only thing is, I love it so much I want to move there NOW, not eventually.  I'm already wondering how I can move BP out so I can move in permanently.
I've lived in the same house for 13 years. I bought it originally as a temporary place, somewhere to renovate and then sell after a couple of years. 13 years is not what I would call temporary.

The decision has been made, I WILL sell this house, probably not straight away as the real estate market is not fabulous right now, but I'm already doing a major de clutter and getting the house organised for when I'm ready to sell.

So that's where my head has been for the last couple of months, why blogging has been sporadic and why I haven't exactly been sewing up a storm.

Having said that, I'm trying to make sure I will be very very busy, too busy to constantly worry about BP or spend every spare minute in Brisbane, after all she does need her space.

So I've put my name down for two swaps so far. The first the Mouthy Stitches Swap. I've just found out who my partner will be and I'm very excited, I'm also crapping myself, because I hope I can make a zippered pouch that she will love. Heck I'm just hoping I can make a zippered pouch, having never made one before. I've been ordering in supplies, some zippers from Zippit on Etsy and some fabric. In the meantime I'll be practising zippered pouches this week.

The second swap I've signed up for is the Name Game Swap run by Anorina at Samelia's Mum. I've put up my mosaic and found out who my partner is. At least no zips in this one. I have a few ideas already for this and have put together some fabrics on flickr that I hope my partner will like.

1. mini quilt swap, 2. finished pouch, 3. For the Love of Solids Swap, 4. Oh, 5. custom order, 6. Entrance and hall, 7. Dining/sewing table, 8. Scrappy Pincushion Swap--Round 2, 9. Doll Quilt swap 10 Finished, 10. Gerberas, 11. Dining/living room, 12. Monday - washing day, 13. Pillow Swap Round 4 Pillow Finished, 14. MT swap sent, 15. For the Birds, 16. Better shot - Finished MMM bookshelf mini-quilt

I took some hand sewing to work on while I was in Brisbane and thanks to some intensive hours of sewing, now have a finished quilt, the first for 2012 and quite a bit of progress (for me) on some other projects. I'll share with you next time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Another week and I wish I had been able to finish something, but I've been spreading the love (very thinly) around and working on a few things, with not a lot to show for it, and spending way too much time procrastinating. It was too hard to make a decision, so I spent hours on the internet, finding inspiration for lots of new projects that I really shouldn't start until I finish a couple of my WIP's.

I worked on another starflower.

To add to these

I've finished 16 and have another 6 prepped and ready to sew when I find the time. I've also prepped lots more of the dotty diamonds. These will all be added to this

Hand quilting Tiggly Winks.
I'm not enjoying it. I started it, so I have to finish it, but I'm not happy with my stitching and just as I get into a rhythm I invariably have to stop and when I go back to it, the size of the stitches are all over the place.  I'm persevering with it though as I really want to be able to hand quilt in the future,  I'm treating this as my big learning curve. Sorry no photo this week.

The Material Obsession BOM block 2 is coming along, no photo until it's finished.  So far so good. The English Paper Piecing was fine for the inside circle. I'm going to try hand sewing the outer circle.

I bit the bullet and started quilting the circles quilt. I've quilted all the circles and was trying to think of how I wanted to quilt the background. This is where most of my indecision happened this week. Hopefully I'll have the quilting finished in the next couple of days. I really enjoyed playing around and practicing fmq beforehand. The machine has been a dream to use. Here's one of the circles. I created a loose spiral as I don't want this quilt to be heavily quilted.

I've signed up for a couple of small swaps, so I'll be able to have a play with something new in the next couple of weeks, the Mouthy Stitches Swap and the Name Game swap . I'm sticking with my plan - No new big quilts for 2012

Worked On This Week
Tiggly Winks
Material Obsession BOM
Circles Quilt

Sitting Patiently On The Sidelines
Lily Quilt aka Floral Bouquet - still at the quilters being quilted

Amitie  Circle Game BOM

Weeks Statistics
Finished - 0
Worked On - 4
Ignored - 3
New - 0 (It's driving me crazy.)

Thank you to Lee for holding the linky party and helping me get through my WIP's. There's no way I would have worked through these projects if it wasn't for this weekly show and tell.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, January 6, 2012

Favourite Things Friday

It's Friday and that can mean only one thing, Favourite Things Friday.

Yay. It's back!

For the first FTF for 2012, it has to be about the summer fruit that is in season now. One of my favourites at the moment, cherries. I love fresh cherries, not so much canned, or cherry flavoured things, but lovely fresh, dark, glistening, plump, juicy cherries, mmmmmmmmmmm. They are really hard to find during the rest of the year, but at the moment the local cherries are at their best. I can't get enough of them.

Image borrowed from here 

They are multi purpose too, when you find two attached together you can make earrings out of them. There's not many fruit that can do that!
Pop on over to Shay's new pad, (she's been redecorating over the Christmas break), and see lots more favourites for the first week of 2012.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Life seems almost back to normal, kind of, now that WIP Wednesday is back up and running. I've been a bit slack on working on my WIP's this week. Last week was a stellar week, typical, and no WIP Wednesday to brag about my stuff.
This week has been slow going, mainly because I'm hand quilting, FINALLY, the Tiggly Winks quilt.
Tiggly Winks pattern

Roughly 10 blocks down, another 20ish to go, so a third of the way there. If it wasn't for Rhonda at Quilter in the Gap and the FAL, it wouldn't be finished until late this year, at the earliest. Who am I kidding, it would never be finished. Now I've put it out there I have to finish it in the next couple of months. It will be nice to get this one behind me. I'm using it as a practice for hand quilting. That's why you only get to see that teeny tiny bit. I need to practice even stitch length.  I'm getting there. By the time I've finished this baby I should be a pro at hand quilting!

I've also been working on, not ignoring, the Material Obsession BOM. 
I finished the second block last week and I've started on the third block, Queen of the May.

Well when I say I've started, I've cut the fabric out. I'm trying something different on this one. I'm going to try it using English Paper Piecing.  

I see a couple of raised eyebrows. 

After the less than stellar results with the last two blocks here and here, I thought I'd try this one with a tried and true, and (hopefully failsafe) method. Time will tell. I spent ages making up templates for each piece, that took forever. I am not a particularly patient person. I think learning patience might be something good to try for this year.

So for week 1 of 2012, my WIP's are as follows:

Worked On This Week
Tiggly Winks
Material Obsession BOM

Sitting Patiently On The Sidelines
Lily Quilt aka Floral Bouquet - at the quilters being quilted

Amitie  Circle Game BOM

Some of my WIP's from last year are now officially going into the UFO pile, so say goodbye for now to:
Monochromatic Challenge Quilt 
Mystery Quilt - this will be resurrected eventually as I do wish to finish it, but for now, it's in the UFO pile.

Weeks Statistics
Finished - 0
Worked On - 2 
Ignored - 5
New - 0 (But my will power is wavering, I've been playing around with some fabric again.)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for another year of WIP's to whip my WIP pile into shape.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Finish-A-Long

Rhonda at Quilting in the Gap is holding a Finish-A-Long to help us finish up all those quilts/projects that are languishing in bags, cupboards etc.

There are a few UFO's I have sitting around, but I'm not going to commit to many finishes as my track record is, let's face it, not the best.

The first one that I want to finish is Tiggly Winks.  I started this back in early May 2011.
Close up of central applique block

It's not very big or complicated, but I couldn't decide how to quilt it.

Tiggly Winks pattern
Tiggly Winks
I've decided to hand quilt it, and started quilting it yesterday.

McFlurry was started as a  Christmas QAL  back in July. It didn't take me long at all to finish the top but I haven't touched it since.
I need to make the backing, before I can go any further with it.

Flurry Quilt
McFlurry - it really really needs pressing

Jacobean Flower is another quilt I'd like to finish. I made this in a weekend, but it's been sitting waiting for me to get up the courage to FMQ it since May last year.
Jacobean Flower
Needs to be quilted
I absolutely love this mini quilt, it was such fun to make and it's frustrating that I just can't get up the courage to quilt it. I'm hoping this FAL will be the push I need to get it done.

I'm also sneaking this one in. It's almost finished. I started this quilt in May 2011. It took me a month to make 4 blocks.
Blocks for Floral Bouquet
Lily Quilt
Floral bouquet blocks
Blocks finished
I finished the rest of the blocks in June, but didn't sew them together until late in the year. I finished the backing in December and it went off to the long arm quilters because I was too scared to quilt this one. It should be back soon so I will just need to do the binding to finish it.

I do have some others that need finishing but I'm not particularly confident that I'll finish them in the required time, as I also have other projects that I'm working on and want to make in the next couple of months, including a quilt that I started last month and needs to be finished by the end of January.

I'm having trouble adding the FAL button so if you click on Quilting at the Gap at the top of the post that will send you to the FAL.