Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Stash Report and Monthly Goal wrap up

I have had a few finishes this week, some big and some rather small

The big one is - I have completed the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I blogged every day in April. The challenge is to blog every day except Sundays, each day blogging about somethign that starts with the corresponding letter of the alphabet April 1st being A, 2nd B etc. I made it through. I got my blogs up in a timely fashion (8 AM on the day they were due) and tried hard to read 10 other blogs in the challenge and comment on them too (unless they were too far outside my comfort zone or were hard to find where to leave a comment)

Anyway - tis done.

My sewing related finishes consisted of making 2 plastic bag holders, one for our caravan (brand new, picked up on Tuesday) and one for our son The Beast, whom we have been visiting here in Melbourne. I have also made 4 hanging towels, 2 for the new van and 2 for the Beast. They didn't use much fabric - about a metre all up but it was lovely to have some finishes.

I have made 2 casserole carriers for Handmade With Love using African fabric I  was given for the purpose so I don't get to count them as finishes for my fabric count.

I also finished the piano key borders for "Onya Bike", the T Intersection quilt top I have been working on. The top is now completed. I will work on the back this trip too - I think although I may move onto some other projects since I am not going to have time to get it quilted for a while.

And I didn't add any fabric. So I'm still positive for the year... only just but still positive.

Stats from Weeks 18

                 Fabric used            0.93m
                 Fabric added          0.00m
Year to Date                 
                 Fabric used           35.94m                 

                 Fabric added       32.37m
Net Used                                  3.57m  

Linking up with Patchwork Times

My Monthly Goal wrap up.

  • work on handmade with love projects. Before we left to come on our trip I cut out 5 casserole covers using African fabric from the HML stock. I have completed two of them, apart from the labels (which I have lost) and the dowel that I won't get till we are home again.
  • sew left over hexies into strip for backing Done
  • cut fabric for Square within a square Done
  • cut fabric for T Intersection quilt Done. The top is now sewn (as detailed above and in previous WIPs and Sunday Stash Reports)
  • Complete A to Z blogging challenge Done. All the blog posts were completed on time (as detailed above)

So I had a very successful month completing all my goals.

May Goals - hmmm
  • Piece "My Cat likes to Hide in Boxes"
  • Sew Oriental 9 patch blocks for PnP swap
  • Buy and cut fabric for 6.5" squares and 2.5" strips for PnP swap
  • Sew gift for oriental gift swap at PnP
  • Work on casserole carriers
  • make ear bud carrier for car
  • Complete the rest of the casserole carriers for HML
  • make some Healing Hearts blocks 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for Zee End

I have struggled to find anything to write about for Z which relates to my blog or to  my quilting life. This month's challenge has been themed around those 2 things. The only thing that vaguely relates is Zippers and I did that last year here. (I made the decision I wouldn't repeat any topics) so ... I am busted. 

If I had made a Zoo themed quilt that would have qualified but I haven't. I have made some animal themed ones... Elephant Parade, 

and some other baby quilts which used a jungle themed panel. 

I have made some baby quilts that have featured Australian animals as well 

but have decided to steer away from them but instead will completely stretch the boundaries and write about


The last post in this challenge. I resisted the siren call of the A to Z Blogging Challenge this year. I went in it last year and admit I really enjoyed it. I got organised ahead of time as we were in Malaysia for 10 days (well Malaysia for 7 and travelling for 3). This year though I knew I was going to be away for all but 4 or 5 days in the month. 

We have had 2 weddings this month. One was only 3.5 hours from our home but I was chief bridesmaid there and went down at the start of the week to help the beautiful bride (my friend Suzy) get organised. Fixit Guy and I stayed on a couple of days afterwards to get the house put back to rights before we left. (What a let down to get home from your honeymoon and have to wash sheets from visitors and mop floors etc)

Then we went home for just a couple of nights before leaving for Brisbane for 6 nights (busy times buying a car and some other business) and then went on to Newcastle for another wedding - this time my niece.

 That was 4 nights all up (Including time in Sydney to catch up with my mum). Next it was off to Melbourne to visit with our son The Beast and his girlfriend Beauty.

Also we had to pick up our caravan - brand new New Age Mantaray. SOOOO a huge month.

But we have made it and I have managed to get my blogs up each day. I had largely pre written them although tried to check them the night before they were to go live in case I hadn't actually completed them - or not gotten around to adding the pictures.   Sometimes they have gone live and I have realised I have left stuff out so have had to go back in and edit them.( Case in point. Am now back here madly inserting a few photos after the post has gone live ooops)

The more difficult part of the challenge to keep up with as far as I have been concerned is keeping up with reading and commenting on other people's blogs. I could pre schedule my blogs but you can't preschedule reading other blogs. On our travelling days i have tried to hotspot off my phone and catch up then. I am blessed that I don't get car sick reading or writing in the car. My husband does so he happily does most of the driving unless he is tired and wants a rest.

And what have I learned? I have enjoyed reading other people's blogs... mostly... when their interests coincide with mine, when they are well written, and interesting. Have to admit I struggle with the deep and meaningful prose and poetry, the angst filled ones, and the totally weird ones. I got selective and pragmatic. If it was too much any of these I just went on to the next one. If the writer was too far behind (ie we were up to R and they were still back at L) then I skipped ahead to the next  one. I tried to leave comments but if it was too hard to work out where to do that or I had to jump through too many hoops to do it... I didn't bother. (Or if all I could think to say was rather negative and I wasn't in the mood for the bland "all the best with the A to Z challenge)

And I have learned that I want to do it again next year. I am already planning what I will do. I have decided to take a leaf out of my daughter Fangirl (who introduced me to the challenge in the first place) She has cross stitched figurines for her  blog challenge. I am going to (try) to make a quilt block for each day of the challenge - quilt blocks all have names so I shall find one for each letter of the alphabet. I have already started looking for them and putting the patterns into a file on my computer. This hasn't been as difficult as it might be as there is a great website that has a huge cache of patterns listed alphabetically. 

So how did you go with the challenge? Did you keep up? Did you enjoy it? Are you in again next year?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for Y seams

Y seams, are a particular "thing" that happen in certain quilt patterns where 3 seams come together on angles like a Y intersection. They are a bit trickier to put blocks with Y seams in them together and so many quilters will avoid them (me included). They are seen as being for more advanced patchworkers although to be honest they aren't THAT hard, just not as straight forward

Jinny Beyer, from Jinny explains it

Not all patchwork patterns can be assembled with continuous straight seams. Sometimes a piece has to be set in. The most important consideration when setting in pieces is that you must stop all stitching at the place where the seam allowances on the pieces cross, thus allowing an opening so the fabrics can be set in smoothly and without puckers.

She has an excellent video on the website too here I would insert it into the blog but I need permission to do that... and not sure I will get it in time or at all.

I have done very few items with Y seams in them.... I think I made some blocks in my first quilt that had the Y seams in it. And then I made a zipper bag with the tumbling blocks in it. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X is for X

This letter is proving a challenge to me as no doubt it has to many bloggers. Last year I wrote about x stitching ie cross stitching. I also wrote about seX which in quilting circles can stand for Stash Enhancing eXperience.

I am determined not to repeat myself this year. So instead I thought I might write about when X means a mistake when something goes wrong.

Something I learned early on in my quilting exploits is that the quick unpick/ seam ripper is my friend. Reverse sewing, unpicking or  frogging as it is sometimes called (cause you rip it... ribbit ribbit like a frog) is common in any sort of sewing. 

In quilting I was most likely to unpick

misaligned points - where seams that were supposed to meet up didn't
Fipped over seams 
Crooked seams - sometimes missing the the underneath fabric completely
Incorrect placement of a piece ie when a Section of a block (or sometimes the whole block)  sewn in the wrong way around

Sometimes in the scheme of things these mistakes don't matter and can be over looked (flipped over seams, points ot matching exactly) .... and sometimes they can't left and have to be fixed. Everyone has their own level of perfection (Even I knew that the above mistake had to be corrected)

Mistakes that can be fixed with an unpicker/seam ripper are pretty simple - they indicate that the mistake can be fixed by resewing a seam.

Some mistakes in quilting are not able to be fixed so easily... the saying measure twice cut once is so true in quilting. If you cut a piece too long then you can trim it back, and all will be well so long as you have extra fabric. However cutting something too short is no so easily fixed ... sometimes it can't be fixed and a whole new piece of fabric has to be cut and or purchased..

Image result for measure twice cut once Image result for measure twice cut once

When it comes to quilting a few mistakes I have made more than once are not sandwhiching the 3 layers of the quilt correctly and not having enough of one or both the bottom layers under the top. The bottom layers need to extend out past the top layer (by 2-4" generally but at least past it) If you realise this before you start pinning then you can move the layers till they are correctly positioned. If you realise it after you have pinned it... you can unpin it or make allowance for it and add a bit of extra fabric.... its tricky but do able. If you don't realise till you have quilted all or most of the quilt... its harder. It involves unpicking. How much depends on how particular you are. I generally try to unpick as little as possible and patch in a piece of extra batting and or backing fabric. (did I mention I don't make show quilts?)

Another mistake I have made is to have some of the excess backing fabric flip over under the the quilt and for me to quilt it in to the back. That has to be unpicked. You can't get around that one.

I have made these mistakes in the past but haven't worried about photographing them. I mean they are mistakes. They aren't pretty. Why photograph them? I didn't know I was going to write a blog post about them

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

WIP Wednesday

Just realised that I could have done my WIP Wednesday post for my W post this week as the days neatly coincided however I have already written and posted my W contribution so this is a bonus issue. If you are here for the A to Z blogging challenge post go back a post.... or stay and read this one instead.

We are on the road at the moment and its been difficult to find sewing time. Last week we were staying in Sydney with my oldest sister (a very young 70+ woman who runs rings around most of the rest in our family) We visited my mum (93 and in an aged care facility) and some other friends whilst we were there. We also caught up with 3 of my sister's grandchildren and some other special friends. No time to sew.

On Friday we drove north an hour or 2 to a place just north of Newcastle for the wedding of my niece Cristy. It was a beautiful wedding full of so many special moments - the most tear inducing one for me was when the groom made some special promises to his Step daughter (8 year old Charlie) as part of the ceremony and she announced that she was taking his name. 

Anyway it was a great afternoon and evening catching up with 6 of my 7 siblings and partners and a good few nieces and nephews as well. A great time was had by all.

The next day we drove for almost 12 hours (with stops) to get to Melbourne. We wanted to get here so as to be able to spend some of the weekend with our oldest son (The Beast). He works during the week.

Sunday he took us to the zoo which was a really fun day although the Melbourne families were out in force taking advantage of the beautiful weather and the long weekend. The zoo was crowded with heaps of prams too. There was one family group whom we kept encountering who had some very loud and boisterous children who were basically ignored by parents. Mostly though the kids were having fun and doing the right thing and people were polite and everyone was having a good time.

Monday was a public holiday in Australia for the Anzac Day - our national day or remembrance for all those who served in wars. At home we usually attend the local parade but we didn't feel like braving the crowds in the city for the big parade and didn't know where the community based parades were being held. Instead we went for a drive down to Frankston and enjoyed the sand sculptures there. It was the last day of the 4 month exhibition and a few of the sculptures were showing some wear but it was a great show called A Day At the Zoo

 My Yetti (The Beast) with the Sandscupture Yetti
The sand sculture Steam punk structure

A sculpture from The Petting Zoo

Tuesday we packed up our unit and drove across the city (after Fixit Guy had fixed the indicators that had stopped working) and..... we picked up our NEW CARAVAN (am I excited - you bet) The company we got it from did a very thorough induction into the caravan so we knew what we were getting and how it all works. Then we towed it to a van park and set it up.

Fixit Guy enjoying the bed upon which I had spread my "Jean's Jeans" quilt which I made during our last extended camping trip (October - December 2014)

I was itching to set up my sewing space. I unpacked the car and settled us in and then got my machine out and plugged in... and Fixit Guy suggested we go shopping to get some food and other bits and pieces. I reluctantly dragged myself away.

Tuesday was also Fixit Guy's birthday. He got a van from me. Pretty good present. Our son The Beast and his girlfriend Beauty came over to check out the van and then take us out to dinner. Beauty had given him a door mat for the van (It is a perfect fit) and the Beast gave him an electric jug and toaster for the van.

Home again for cake (baked by Beauty and decorated with crumbled Violet CrumbleBars (Honey comb... FGs favourite chocolate) and then they left and .... I didn't go to bed. I got that machine out and did a little bit of sewing. I had been missing it so much.

Today we have stayed home all day apart from another walk over to the supermarket for a few extra things and a coffee as the power went out at the van park for 2 hours (scheduled outage)

Apart from that time I have sewn. I have been working on the piano key border for Onya Bike, (T Intersection Quilt pattern by Missouri Star.) I have used up all the scraps from the blocks plus cut up more fabric. 

I am still a bit short having put it all together. Not very much - perhaps 15" over all. I have a 3 bike trees that I was thinking of using as corner stones.... but I am going to need 4... so maybe I won't use them as corner stones after all. I am still wondering what I shall do and that is why I have stopped sewing and am instead writing my blog.

I have been posting daily for the A to Z  Blogging Challenge all through April. It was W today so only have 3 more posts. Mostly I had them prewritten and scheduled their posting. I did have to go in and fix up a few and had Y and Z still to write this week but they are done. Part of the challenge is to visit other blogs on the challenge which has been very interesting (and time consuming) 

WIPs on Wednesday

W is for Weezy Works and Weddings

W is for Weezy Works, another podcast that I love to listen to. Tina is a multi faceted/ multi skilled crafter who talks about her life and her crafts on her podcast. As well as being a quilter and cross stitcher she also collects and restores vintage sewing machines. She shares her skills in all these areas on her blog and her podcast.


Weezy Work's podcast is available from iTunes and from Tina's website

Tina has a page on her blog about making quilts for other people - on commission. She sets out the many steps in making a quilt and the costs incurred. It is well worth looking at. I don't make quilts on commission.  If someone has ever given you a quilt it may surprise you as to just what is involved and the relative costs. It will help you realise just how generous a gift that quilt is.

I don't make quilts on commission because I doubt anyone would actually be prepared to pay me what it costs to make the quilt - especially not if they were going to pay me for my time and effort. The quilts I make are gifts for family and friends. For special occasions. Usually I make a quilt as a gift for a new baby. I have made one for all of my great nieces and nephews and for babies who have been born to close friends. My most recent one was for baby Theo, my close friend's grandson. I knew his mum when she was born too.

And at the beginning of this month I gave another close friend a quilt for a wedding present. Usually my husband makes the bride and groom a turned wood lamp but he had already made the bride, our former minister one when she moved to another church. We weren't expecting to make her one for a wedding present (she was 59 and single) but a year later she announced her engagement to another friend of ours. So... it was my turn to make the gift  - a quilt for their bed.

She loved it :)

The wedding party. I was chief bridal attendant

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V is for very sharp things.

Quilters use a number of things that are very sharp. - or at least need to be very sharp in order to work optimally.

Pins - sharp pins make piecing so much easier. They slide into the fabric easily which makes for less distortion.

Safety pins - when pin basting a quilt sharp pins makes the process so much less hassle - it is quicker, less painful (pushing on blunt pins makes for very tender finger tips) and there is less distortion once again

Machine needles - blunt needles cause the stitches to skip and not form properly. As soon as my machine stitching is playing up I change the needle. It isn't always the problem but often it is.

Scissors - sharp scissors are so important. 

Most quilters are very ferocious about protecting their scissors from other family members who might use them for inappropriate purposes.  
 Image result for scissors meme

Rotary Cutters - for the non patchworker who has never seen a rotary cutter they resemble pizza cutters but they are for cutting up fabric. The blade (which is circular) is replaceable. They are used in conjunction with a cutting mat and usually a ruler (special patchwork rulers not the ordinary kind used for ruling up pages) Again a sharp blade is important. It cuts through the fabric more easily and more accurately. The rotary cutter must be used correctly and with due care. They can be dangerous if they aren't. A blunt blade though can be more dangerous than a sharp one as then more force is applied meaning a slip is more likely and then... ouch. Blunt blades that are also being pressed down harder can score the cutting mat and damage it.

I tend to be economically minded so I always try to make my things last which means that I don't change my needle as frequently as recommended, nor my rotary blade. Oops. Still it means that when I do change them I really notice and enjoy the sharpness.

Do you have little economies that you make that in the end aren't economies at all.