Thursday, March 5, 2015

Blogging from A to Z April 2015 challenge

I've just signed up for the Blogging A to Z challenge for 2015. No sooner had I signed up than I remembered we are off to Malaysia for a week in the middle of April so that is going to be a bit challenging.

If you want to learn more about this challenge then go to this link and see for yourself what it is all about.

It seems like a fun thing to do and is certainly going to be challenging for me. I need to get organised and write the posts up ahead of time and all that... yeah... just gotta do it.

If you care to join me head on over to the page and sign up. There are over 800 signed up already

A to Z Challenge [Letter Schedule] [2015]

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Thursday Thoughts - a lovely year of finishes.

At last I have remembered in time to link up to A Lovely Year of Finishes. To qualify you have to link to them in the first week of each month. I manage to remember into the 2nd week but not this time. I was awake enough to do it this time. Well to try

To qualify you have to select a project to finish that month - one and only one. I could have just linked to my monthly goals but since that details a number of projects that I want to complete this month I figured I had better write a new post.

This month I want to get Tea Shop Quilt finished. I started this quilt back in .. well 2013 I think it was. That is when I bought the pattern and started collecting the fabrics. Then... I lost the pattern. It was by Gail Penberry design. 
 It was so frustrating. I found it on line and was able to order it, eventually from the UK (along with several others at the same time as I recall) Then of course - just after it arrived I found the original pattern I had bought. Grrr so frustrating. 

Never mind.

I traced off the applique blocks and got them all prepped to take with us on our trip at the end of last year. We travelled for 9 weeks, camping in lots of interesting places in our camper trailer. We travelled down the East Coast of Australia from Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast around to Adelaide and then inland to the Flinders Ranges and then home to Central Queensland via the inland route. We did venture off the coast a number of times en route to Adelaide but its simpler to say it that way! I completed all the appliques whilst we travelled and even made myself a few more. I worked out a design for my blocks although to be honest when I put it together I changed it all completely.

I got the top completed last month and have made the backing for it and cut the batting as well. Now I have to pin baste it, quilt it and bind it. I want to have it finished (with a hanging sleeve as well) to hang at an afternoon tea to raise funds for a school in Zambia called Our Rainbow House. 

Wish me luck!!

WIP Wednesday

As usual it has been a busy and varied week of sewing.

My Sister in Law Christine (from the blog Bluebirds and Bumblebees) designed a block of the month set of embroideries several years ago. I have spoken about them before.  (She is now putting them one month at a time on Etsy).  My mother completed several sets of them including 2 for me. One I made into a quilt for my daughter Fangirl and one I made into a quilt for myself.

 My sister Joy also completed a set of the blocks but never did anything with them. Earlier this year she offered them to me  and of course I said "Yes please". I decided to make them into a quilt for my niece, Joy's daughter. I was sure she would really appreciate them and enjoy having something special with links not just to her mum but 2 of her aunties as well.

This week I got them out and trimmed them back. I meant to trim them to 8.5" so they would be 8" finished but somewhere along the line I had a brain explosion and trimmed them to 8" instead. Ho hum. I then calculated the size of the triangles I would need to make (I used this tutorial from Pieceful Living  to work out the size) I'd asked my niece what colours she liked and if she liked brights or pastels. She said blues and brights :) If I only used the 12 blocks themselves the quilt would have been rather small, unless I put a huge border on them so I decided instead to alternate other blocks with the embroidered blocks. I cut 8" squares from a variety of blue picture fabrics. The triangles for all the blocks I cut from a variety of mostly bright blues. All the triangles have now been attached. I am still tweaking the arrangement of these blcks but hope to settle on something suitable soon.

Next I have to trim the blocks to a uniform size before I stitch them together. Then I will work on the border. I could just do a simple border but knowing me I will probably end up making flying geese.... or checker board.... or piano key... cause I love scrappy borders so much. We will see.

I made another banner for church this week. Its another banner for lent so its lots of purples. It was inspired by a banner I saw on pinterest whilst looking for banner ideas. Its from PlayfulStitching

My banner was substantially different in the end but this was my initial inspiration.

I made it basically as big as I could with the fabric I had. I used scraps I had already cut in my scrap stash. Some I had to cut down to 2.5" as they were wider than that. I did cut a few strips from my yardage but only a very few... maybe 3.
For the backing I used some fairly thick fabric... not sure what it was exactly or where it came from. I suspect from fabric I inherited from my elderly aunt. She died a little over 2 years ago at 99yrs and 9 months. I didn't use any wadding in it but did quilt it.

 I echo quilted around the cross and then went out from it about 1" for 10 rows then went to 1.5" then 2" then 2.5" and finally 3". I have declared it finished although am thinking of doing a little trapunto type work on it and stuffing the cross to give it a 3 dimensional look. We shall see. If I do that I will have to go back and stitch another row on the cross as at the moment the first row of stitching is 1/4" outside the cross.

At Patchwork this week I continued to work on the blue block donation quilt that our group is putting together.  Its all random - asymmetrical and its challenging to me cause I keep wanting to make things all matchy matchy. I got 2 sides just about put together. I might have to take off the sashing from the previous border as its a bit wavy. I have been trying to ignore it but.... its annoying me so might as well give in and redo it.

I have completed the week 8 block for POD . I followed the lead of some of the other participants in this challenge and chose some more adventurous fabrics for the book's spines. A new one was released today so hope to make a move on it soon.

 I am one week behind with the Elephant Parade blocks but I have got eyes on the frog block

The fabric is all cut for the next two blocks I have to make - the turtle and the bird. Hopefully I will get them both done this weekend too.

Fixit Guy is going away this weekend so I will have a clear run at my sewing. Not that he ever stops me sewing but sometimes he does suggest alternate activities like going for walks or doing other jobs. In fact he is a great enabler getting me lunch and delivering it to the sewing room if I don't emerge and often cooking tea etc. I really need to get stuck into some small projects for the sewing stall Hand Made love is having at the Afternoon tea on the 28th March. I haven't made anything for a couple of weeks now. Better get some of those pouches sewn.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday, WIPs on Wednesday and Lets Bee Social.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

March Goals

Its the first day of autumn here in Australia but no one has told the weather that. Today is hot and steamy.

Time to set some new goals for this month. What do I wish to accomplish

  1. complete blocks for Elephant Parade (weekly)             Elephant Parade QAL
  2. complete all blocks for the POD challenge - 4 weeks, 4 blocks    The Project of Doom 2015 Quilt Along on Fandom In Stitches photo PoD2015ComingSoon_zpsf2dd6a6c.jpg
  3. complete March step in Scrapitude 2015 - Scrap in a Box
  4. make birthday miniature quilt
  5. make another Lenten banner
  6. start work on Joy's Bluebird quilt
  7. complete Teashop Quilt in time to hang at the afternoon tea for Our Rainbow House (28th March)
  8. do one block from 2012 BOM on Craftsy
  9. complete the blue quilt top for Patchwork
  10. continue to work on yearly goals
  11. make more bags for Hand Made
If I can get all that done I will be very pleased

Stash Report Sunday

Busy week meant I had a couple of moderate sized finishes this week.

I started a quilt last Sunday afternoon. I had decided on the design during church and came home and laid it out. It was a new banner for our church for lent. I got the top put together that day and was able to finish it off on Tuesday. Its hanging in our church today. I based it on a design I found on the Fat Quarter Shop. It was 80cm square (approx 31.5") and used 1.6m of fabric

As reported in yesterday's post The Tale (not tail) of Annie's Quilt I got it finished in time to give it to a friend whose house has been deemed uninhabitable after Cyclone Marcia. I forgot to measure it before I gave it to her however I could work it out from the size of the blocks and calculate its size. It was approximately 182cm  x 162 cm (72" x 64") using 6.82m of fabric

We have hosted 5 guests this weekend who were in town for an Emmaus training day. They each bought us a thank you gift and one friend (whom we've known for years) bought me two bundles of fat quarters - 10 of them all together.  He said he had a fabric intensive as he shopped in Spotlight learning about jelly rolls and charm packs and fat quarter bundles.

One bundle was called Traveller and another was of greys. Such a thoughtful gift. That was a total of 2.45m in

There isn't going to be much movement for a while now. For a few weeks now I've had the silent thrill of knowing I had 2 big finishes just waiting in the wings, with just a little bit more work to be done on them and then BAM there would be a big jump in fabric usage. I do have the Teashop Quilt top done now so getting it pin basted and quilted will be another moderate finish but there is nothing big planned. I am going to have to get stuck into little things to sell at the Our Rainbow House stall at the afternoon tea at the end of the month so that will take up a fair bit of my stitching time. They will all be small projects and not account for much stash usage. It will be good to get it done though.

So this weeks stats

This Week

Fabric Used                               8.42m

Fabric Added                              2.43m

Year to Date

Fabric Used                               37.68m

Fabric Added                             12.78m

Net Fabric used                         24.90m

Friday, February 27, 2015

End of the month Check in

Its the last day of February. Do you ever get tricked by February being a short month... thinking something ages off cause it isn't even March yet... only half way through the 20s of the month and BAM its the 28th and there is no more February. March is only a day away (which in my case is Yay cause that is birthday month for me)

Time to check in on how I have gone with my goals for February. My goals were

1) Complete the POD paper pieced blocks as they come up each week. There should be 4 for February
These are all done. I completed week 8 block a day or two ago. These aren't quite in order but they are the 4 blocks from this month


2) Complete Annie's Quilt ie quilt, bind and label it

I finished this this morning. I blogged about it here

3) Complete Vanishing Hours ie trim, bind and label it

Completed this last week. Its now on our bed :) I blogged about it here

4) Make 4 zipper pouches for Handmade Love (craft group raising money for Our Rainbow House, a school in Zambia)

I haven't made any more zipper pouches. I have made 4 denim bags and a messenger bag. I hope to make some zipper pouches very soon... but not this month

5) Finish watching Carol Doak's Craftsy class and complete some projects
I have watched all of the class and have instituted a few of the techniques. I bought 2 add a quarter inch rulers as per her recommendations. I do intend to complete the projects she shows but haven't yet

6) make some placemats.

I made Fangirl a set of 6 placemats for her birthday early in the month

7) Locate all UFOs, write list, put on blog

I have been through my cupboards and written up a list of them and they are on the blog (well the ones that have been started. I also have a list of ones that I have purchased fabric for or patterns but haven't put them on the blog as they are still nebulous and subject to change

8) Make some progress on Tea Shop Quilt

The Tea Shop Quilt top is finished. I have made a backing for it and have cut the wadding. Hopefully I will get it pinned this coming week at patchwork

So - of these 8 goals I have fully completed 6 of them and the other 2 I made progress on or at least alternate progress. I think that was pretty good.

 I also wanted to make progress on my yearly goals

  1. continue to track my fabric use and purchases with an aim to having a bigger net usage this year than last. I have been doing this and it is lots of fun. Not sure I will make my aim of using more this year than last as many of my projects this year have been fairly small 
  2. purchase fabric for usage not stashing ie having a purpose for fabric bought have been sticking to this. I was given some fabric today and offered some more but that doesn't count :) well it counts on my tracking spreadsheet but its not me buying it
  3. make mini quilts for Anzac Day, Australia Day, Easter, Mothers' Day and Birthday haven't done anything concrete towards this apart from find a paper pieced pattern for a birthday cake banner 
  4. complete quilts for donation as required - aim for 25% I have made one quilt to give away this month (just completed) but have also made bags and hand towels for Our Rainbow House stalls
  5. List Crafts classes and work on watching them. Do BOM one from 2012 I haven't written out the list but I have watched one class this month. I didn't do any blocks from the BOM one though :(
  6. continue to blog regularly I have blogged several times a week Yay me. 
My word for this year has been Do and I have been doing!!! My quilting goal has been to master paper piecing and I have been making progress on this one too.

The Tale (not tail) of Annie's Quilt

Annie's Quilt - a special quilt, made up from orphan blocks from various projects collected over the years. Its name came from orphan block quilt - Little Orphan Annie blocks quilt - Annie's quilt. The name was special too because of our gorgeous dog Annie who died last year. We loved her very much. ( go here to read about her last days) 

My grandma was also Annie but the dog was NOT named after her. 
    Annie Hayward

These are some photos of my Grandam Annie aged 16, 24 and about 55

Grandma was Annie Mabel (set the table) and Annie was properly Annabelle, named by my youngest son (known on this blog as Boyo). He doesn't know where the name came from (mind you our other dog Daisy WAS named after my other grandmother... cause our neighbour had a dog Bessie and that is my mother's name. I asked what their mothers names were - Vera and Annette... nope they weren't dogs names. So I named her after my grandma... yeah long story and not that funny in the retelling... maybe you had to be there) 

I digress!

I started working on Annie's quilt last year. It was to be a quick project - using up some of these orphan blocks I'd collected. To be a donation quilt - no biggie. But in putting together the blocks I needed to make some fillers - I had some mini pinwheels - I made some more. 

I made some checker boards.


 I had some flying geese but needed more (ended up making enough for borders - yeah so I made 130 or so... just a few more) 

I had so much fun but it was a lot of work and I really loved it. There were so many bits to it - so many stories in the quilts that the blocks came from. So many bits of fabrics from so many other projects as well. I really didn't want to give it away - at least not to someone I didn't know. It was special and I wanted it to go to someone special

And that made me feel guilty. Do people who have fallen on hard times for what ever reason need less than our best? Why did I think that only people I knew and loved deserved a quilt from me?

I think this dilemma apart from having other projects on the go made me push the finished quilt top out of my priority list. I finished the top sometime before we left on our big trip last year (9 weeks driving through Southern parts of Australia) but didn't get a backing done for it. After we got home we were busy with Christmas and visitors and other things and so the top waited. I had a piece of backing big enough for it and so in late January I got the quilt pin basted at patchwork. Then the quilt sat, folded up near my machine waiting for me to get around to quilting it.

Thursday I finally  decided that it was time I got Annie's quilt finished. It had waited long enough. I still wasn't sure who it was for but I knew that the time had come to get it done. I thought I could give it to our former minister Suzy who is now living in a town that was badly affected by Cyclone Marcia last Friday. She would know someone who would appreciate it.

 It wasn't long before I was muttering crankily under my breath. Two lovely ladies from my patchwork group had helped me pin baste it a few weeks ago and my friend Lindi got a bit enthusiastic with how many pins she put in!! We had both laughed about it at the time... but as I had to stop start my quilting so frequently I didn't find it quite as amusing. I muttered "Thanks Lindi" a number of times as I stopped and sewed and stopped again.

I chose to use a gorgeous multicoloured King Tut thread which I've had it for a number of years. Its  colours vary from yellow through orange to pink - just beautiful. I had never come up with a project to use it on but it suited this project perfectly. 

I chose to do a simple stipple design - I love stippling but I'm not perfect at it and unfortunately there is a bit of eye lashing on the back. I love the rhythm of it - sort of dancing with my hands. That's why the pins were aggravating me till I decide to go a bit bigger and dance around them.

I was able to finish the quilting off Friday afternoon after work and on a roll I made the binding - I chose orange - and got it on machining it on front and back. I chose a wavy line decorative stitch for the front. I didn't think that the thread I used for the stippling would be enough to do the decorative stitch on the binding so I chose a variegated orange Aurifil instead (from Tula Pink collection). It worked well but I wish I'd had enough of the other as I loved it. I have a bit left over of the King Tut, not enough to quilt anything but a moderate wall hanging but I will eventually find a project for it.

As I quilted I wondered about who my quilt would go to and then I had a wonderful thought. My friend Liz's house was badly damaged in the cyclone. Liz and I had met through the Emmaus movement. I was the assistant table leader on her table the year she did her walk. This weekend it is the Emmaus training weekend for this year's Central Queensland walk and it (the training weekend) was being held here in our town. We were billeting 5 of the team members in our home including Deb, this year's lay director of the women's walk Deb had been the table leader to my assistant table leading and therefore Liz's table leader. I had a feeling that Liz was on team this year. Would she come to the training weekend with her home having been wrecked only the week before. 

It was fairly late last night when our billets arrived at our place. Over breakfast this morning I checked with Deb. Was Liz on team? Yes! Had she been able to make the training weekend? Yes! Another of our billets Mary (another lady I have known for many years who is the mother of a dear friend from our days in Moranbah) had been her prayer partner that evening and Liz had shared some of her story.

It was confirmed who my quilt was for. The colours in the quilt and bright and cheerful - the colours of the rainbow. The rainbow is the symbol for Emmaus. 

Liz put this status on fb recently

Thank you butterfly for flying up to me as I sit outside my wrecked house and landing on my arm. you showed me that we're fine and life goes on and we're never alone. There is still beauty and wonders to be seen if we stop and look.
As it happens there are a number of butterfly prints throughout the quilt! 

I gave the quilt to Deb to give to Liz at a time that she thinks is suitable. I can trust Deb to find the right time - that God will show her the right time just as he has shown me the right person to give this quilt to. 
Our current only dog Jack decided he should be in this picture too... how could I say no

Des Colores (The Colours)

Update. Deb gave Liz her quilt on Saturday evening and she was thrilled with it. I am so grateful to God that he guided me in the making and the gifting of this quilt.

Linking up with Tgiff and Can I get a Whoop Whoop