Saturday, May 2, 2015

Sunday Stash Report (on Saturday)

I'm off again tomorrow for about 10 days so I've written my blog early.

I haven't done a stash report at all in April. I was so busy with the Blogging A to Z Challenge that I didn't bother with my regular blogs very  much. I did do a few but figured that I was probably inundating my regular readers any way. Also to be honest I wasn't doing much sewing! Or shopping.

This week I have been back into my sewing routine (no exotic overseas trips, no full time work) I had medium finish and a small finish. I also completed a couple of blocks for different things. Since they are only blocks they don't actually count as finishes -  I can't put them in the finished projects sidebar but I can count them in my finishes as far as stash calculations.

My finishes for this month

Gretchen's Mug Rug - swap run by Sandi from Quilt Cabana Corner .18m

Star block for comfort Quilt - its not a completed project but it is all I am contributing so get to count it :) .07m

Test Pattern Zipper bag. I still can't reveal photos of this project but can say (again) that is so cute! .19m

Heart for Comfort Quilt .11m

Blue Pinwheel Quilt (most of the blocks in this were done by others but the fabric for the sashing and backing came from my stash) so I only counted the yardage I contributed  3.61m

Doctor Who Quotes wall hanging. The cross stitch in this wall hanging was completed by my daughter for a swap she was involved in on instagram. I made it into a wall hanging for her. For this one I only counted the yardage I used  .24m

Fabric Purchased

I bought the fabric for the backing of the club quilt 3.08m

Whilst in Malaysia I bought some batik fabric to use to make wall hangings from the batik paintings Fixit Guy, Fangirl and I made 1.10m

So my stats for this month (end of week 18)

Fabric Used                                4.39

Fabric Added                              4.11

Year to Date

Fabric Used                               53.72m

Fabric Added                             16.89m

Net Fabric used                         36.83m

Update on May's Goals

Yes its only day 2 of the month and I have already made inroads on my projects for this month. That Doctor Who wallhanging for Fangirl... yup that was one of my goals. Done.

Also - today I traced off some stitcheries to take with me so that is part of one of my goals done... he he. I haven't worked on any of them but they are traced off. Since they are part of another one of my goals I get to count them twice... they are for the ANZAC project for the show. Go me

Sunday update: I finished POD block 17 before heading to Melbourne. Yay

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Its a Goal!! April Goal Wrap up and setting my May Goals

April is over and I have to say... Success! Yes I accomplished ALL of my April Goals. I didn't think I would given how things were looking with a week to go but have made great strides this week. They are listed in my sidebar but to recap.

 Complete blocks 13-16 in the POD challenge. Done.

Mug Rug Swap item - done

Test Pattern project - Done

Scrapitude Clue 4- Done

Star Block done

Work on Judy's Bluebird Quilt -done. This month I have sashed all the blocks and put them together. Haven't started the borders yet.

Blogging A to Z Challenge. - done. I put up a blog post every day. I was able to relate all my posts to my patchwork in some way. It was lots of fun

Blue Pinwheel Quilt. I finished sewing the binding today. My finger is a bit sore as I forgot to take my thimble with me to our get together but its done

And now for MAY

New month coming up... a whole new slate on which to write. I am not going to write a blog post every day but hopefully I can get back into my regular blog writing. I'll make that a goal

  • Blog regularly - WIP Wednesday, Fitness Friday and Sunday Stash Report for a start with Monday Musing/Tuesday Museday thrown in. Throwback Thursday... maybe but going to have to go to topics other than quilts.
But on a quilting note

  • Well firstly there will be the POD blocks. Have to get them all done. There will be 5 of them (including the one that was released today. I DID NOT include that in my April Goals - I was being realistic) That's blocks 17- 21
  • Judy's Bluebird Quilt. I almost have the top together. I would love to get it finished for my sister to be able to take it back to Sydney with her after her towards the end of May. So Finish Bluebird Quilt
  • Scrapitude Charlotte will release the last clue in Scrapitude this month. That will be the putting together along with the borders and sashing. I hope that I can get the top put together this month... or at least do some work on it.
  • Sew 2 blocks from the 2012 Amy Gibson BOM Craftsty class.
  • Make Fangirl's Doctor Who Quote cross stitch into a wall hanging for her swap
  • ANZAC related entry for the show

I am going to be away for 10 days this month (at least) I leave on Sunday to fly to Melbourne to be with our oldest son,  Massage Man (whose name must change since he is no longer doing the massage course) He is having 4 wisdom teeth out next week and I'm going to look after him. Once he is on the road to recovery (hopefully by Sunday) I will fly to Sydney and have a couple of days with my mum and see my sisters before flying home again.  Then not long after I get back one of my sisters is coming to visit. She is also a crafter so sitting and stitching with her won't be a problem but in her 10 days here we are planning a couple of overnight trips... so that is going to cut into sewing time. To this end I am planning on a hand stitching project. Not sure quite which one yet. I have some Doctor Who ones and also a gorgeous pattern from my sister-in-law Christine concerning a sewing room. Might do both.

  • Hand Stitching project - trace off patterns and stitch them
Given I am going away I had better call it quits there or I will be putting myself under too much pressure! I might add though
  • Watch at least one Craftsy class right through. I have them all downloaded to my iPad now and with the travel and being away from home I may find some time to get some watching in

Z is for zippers and also Zee End

I never really like them. I had to insert one when making a pencil case in my needlework class in first year at high school. I didn't really get how I did it and it looked pretty lumpy and ugly as I recall. And it was stressful. And I didn't like it. AT ALL

I didn't do much sewing on machines after that class for many years. I enjoyed handwork... crotchet, embroidery and eventually cross stitch.

My first sewing machine was one my husband and I bought for $20 from a Lifeline shop in Sydney shortly after we were married. It was a treadle singer sewing machine He restored the machine, first smoothing off the wood then varnishing it. He painted the metal parts black and it became a beautiful piece of furniture Our small tv used to sit on it. I didn't sew with it. I think my husband used it more than I did. 

We've owned this machine now for over 30 years. The belt needs to be replaced for it to work again. Since restoring this machine wonderful Fixit Guy has also restored his mother's treadle sewing machine. She was going to throw it out. I said I'd have it. FG said why, and I said cause I love them. He ended up restoring it and giving it back to her. Its still in her home, after her death but the wider family know its mine! I have also now got my aunt's treadle sewing machine. no work has been done on it yet but I have high hopes for it. :) 

I hadn't realised what beautiful paint work the Singer had till getting it out to photograph for this post. Its beautiful... needs some attention (like a dust for starters)

The Christmas our second child turned 1 Fixit Guy bought me a Janome sewing machine. I don't know what prompted him to do it. I don't recall asking for it but perhaps I did. Shortly afterwards we moved to a new town. One of the first shops I went into was the Knitwit Shop... a specialty stretch fabric shop. It was owned by a friend of a friend and I had been asked to drop something off to her. On impulse I signed up for classes. I knew no one in town. I had no commitments. (Unlike where we had just moved from where I was super  busy with various things I was involved in) All I had to do was find some child care. 

I loved it. I loved being able to make things for myself and my kids. Sewing stretch was easy. No buttonholes. NO ZIPs. I was a regular at all the different classes they ran over the next few years till the shop closed. I kept making jumpers, pjs, track suits etc for the kids and myself till fashions changed and tracksuits were no longer considered designer gear (and I had 2 more kids to chase and no time or energy)

About 12 years after I became a Knit Wit  a friend took me along to a patchwork sewing class. I had no intention of becoming addicted to this form of sewing... but I did. I loved it. I loved the endless fabric choices and patterns and design choices. And again ... NO ZIPS. 

Last year I did a workshop with a tutor. Sue. We made Tumbling Blocks pattern and her suggestion was we turn my blocks into a Brick Bag... with a zip. I was nervous. She was persuasive. She stood by my side directing my every move. I sewed where she said. She pinned the next bit... I sewed as directed and... we ended up with a very nice Brick Bag. I was thrilled.

But... she left no written instructions and for the life of me I couldn't remember what we had done. Still I had made a very nice brick bag with a zipper. Clever me.

That was it. I thought.

Then at some point... some how... I came across this tutorial on YouTube from the Missouri Star Quilt Company for a little zipper pouch. I really like Jenny Doan. She explains things well. Simply. She shows you. She doens't pretend she's perfect and sometimes she has little errors and she shows you how to fix them. I loved this tutorial. I could do that I thought. So I did. I had a go. I played the video through. Again. I paused it. I did one step. I played a bit more and paused again. I sewed a bit more.

And lo and behold I had made another little zipper pouch. Cool. I made another one. I could watch the video again and off I went... I used up the zips I had. I had to order some more (Ebay is my friend)

Our quilt group went on a friendship visit to a neighbouring group and when they heard that I was part of a craft group sewing things for a charity they showed me all sorts of little things that they make to sell on stalls and at markets. Including a brick bag. So similar to the one I had made with Sue last year. Exactly the same. They explained how it was done and it all came back to me.

Back home again I sewed another brick bag. I had my other one there as a sample to help me step through the process.

And I did it. I made 2 more brick bags for the stall.

I found another pattern on Noodlehead's website that I really liked The Open Wide Zippered Pouch

Picture from Noodlehead website

I went a bit wrong with mine but I am keen to have another go. I had to wait for more zippers to come in. The ones I had ordered had all been on the small side ( 7" -9")

I ended up making 9 little zipper pouches for the Handmade With Love Stall at the Our Rainbow House afternoon tea plus the 2 brick bags. And there were 3 I kept for myself as well.

You can see my zipper pouches in the pile at the front of the stall. They sold well apparently

And you want to know something really funny? Someone one read my blog, saw my pictures of zipper pouch and other little things I had made on it and asked me to pattern test for a new book coming out in Fall 2016. I had my choice of patterns and I chose.... a cute bag with a zipper. I can't post pictures of it... but its super cute and I made it. So cool.

Can you believe it. I have bought 3 bundles of zippers.. the last one had 50 in them. Obviously I'm going to be making heaps of bags and zipper pouches. What a turn around

WIP Wednesday

Time for quilting has been a bit short over the last few weeks. Boyo was home over Easter and whilst I did some sewing whilst he was here it was more limited. Then we were packing and getting ready to go to Malaysia for a week at the same time I was working on getting my A to Z Blogging Challenge posts written before we left so that they could go up while we were away.

One way and another time was short.

Then we got home and I went back to work full time for a week. That was a bit of shock to the system when I haven't worked fulltime for a few years. Whilst I had some time to sew in the evenings I needed to get my sewing mojo back up and running again... and I didn't have the energy.

So... finally on the weekend I had the time to spend sewing. I was delighted to get  back to Clue 4 Scrapitude. This month's clue saw us putting the blocks together. They have turned out really well.

I was on a roll. On Sunday I tackled the Block 14 of the POD challenge and Monday Block 15 and Tuesday Block 16! All ready for Block 17 to come out Thursday.  

I then decided to have a go at quilting the Blue Pinwheel quilt that I have put together for our quilt group. I was really pleased that I got the whole top done Tuesday evening, and got the binding machined on. Now I have started hand stitching it down.

Today I was off to our quilt group for the morning and I was able to work on the Bluebird quilt I am making for my niece Judy. The embroideries were designed by my sister in law Christine and they were stitched by my sister Joy. Judy is her daughter. I got the blocks trimmed up and have started to stitch on the sashing so I'm making good progress.

Its great to be back into my sewing AND now I have almost finished ALL my April goals. All I have to do is get the rest of that binding stitched down and I will be done!. Yay. Go me

WIP Wednesday        WIPs on Wednesday

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Lovely Year of Finishes - APRIL

This is not my Blogging A to Z posting. That will be the one before or one after it

At the beginning of this month I knew I had a really busy time coming up so I chose a very simple project, a small one that I knew I had to complete, for my project for A Lovely Year of Finishes.

I chose the mug rug that I had to make for a swap as my project. I chose to cut into my very special Australian Wildflower fabrics for this since it was going overseas to a lovely Twilter. I fussy cut the cream background fabric to showcase 5 different Australian wildflowers.

The backing fabric featured gum leaves. I loved the fabric and so did the recipient (I can't find the photos I took so these are ones that Gretchen took and put on Twitter)

Now I have to decide what I am going to do for my ALYOF project for May

Y is for Year Quilts

Early on in my quilting journey I joined an online quilting group called Southern Cross Quilters. Through this group I learned about Year Quilts and I signed up to make one in 2003, my earliest opportunity. 

Making a year quilt involved two things. Firstly keeping a diary. I had never been very good at this but for the next few years when I participated in the year quilt I kept one. For each day, each diary entry the participant chose a piece of fabric to represent the day. A scrap of the fabric was glued into the diary next to the entry and the rest of it was incorporated into a quilt, which was the second part of the deal.

The quilt was pieced over the course of the year and at the end of the year you would have a complete quilt (or at least when ever you finished putting the quilt together you would have a quilt)

The above is example is from my first year quilt in 2003. The back of the quilt featured fabric my daughter bought me back from her year in Malaysia as an exchange student along with the signature blocks that fellow year quilters exchanged that year.

Selection of the fabric could be made on whatever basis you wanted so long as you justified it in your journal. Special days were often much easier than ordinary days and sometimes the connections were very tenuous or forced. I admit that at times I would go and do something on a day just so I could use a particular fabric I had, or to at least have something that I could use. Days I sewed were always good as I could use a piece of the fabric I had been working with. Easy.

We had a special email group online, a subgroup from SCQ, to talk about how we were going and especially to swap fabrics. Once a month we had a special swap. Participants would send it up to 6 pieces (6.5" square) of 5 different fabrics and we would get back 30 different pieces of fabric. The fabric was always picture fabric, sometimes known as conversation  or eye-spy fabric. This way we could build up a stash of fabric from which to choose.

Over the years that I participated I chose several different designs for my quilts. The first year I made calendar blocks, set out just like that years calendar.

Another year I made a jar quilt design with each jar being a week and the different fabrics layered into the jar.  At the moment I can't find the quilt and it seems I didn't take a photo of it which is both surprising and disappointing. I hope it turns up. Must be hiding in a cupboard somewhere.

2006 we were going overseas for 7 weeks so I wanted a hand project so did quilt as you go (QAYG) hexagons.

2007 was my final year. I started doing very small pieces to make a wall hanging as I felt I had enough big quilts. I never finished it. The design went crooked and my heart wasn't in it and I stopped writing the diary and it all fell apart. I still have the couple of months worth of pieces I had stitched in my UFO pile. I hope to incorporate it into a quilt backing one day

A legacy from my year quilts includes 3 sliding drawers full of picture fabrics. I used to sort the squares into categories to make it easier to select what I wanted for each day. These fabrics have formed the basis of many eye spy quilts that I have made over the years since then.

I might try making another year quilt one day if there is a special year coming up. Till then I'll continue to raid my stash of picture fabric for other quilts.

Hope you all are having a good year

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X as in x(cross) Stitching

I bet I am not alone is struggling with X for this blog. Often in this Blogging challenge the challenge for me has been choosing between any one of a number or equally excellent topics to write about for a particular letter. But for today's X, its been coming up with anything!

I am going to cheat and I bet I'm not alone in that! And in cheating I have two choices. (Well perhaps not cheat, but certainly stretch a point!)

The first is X stitching... ie cross stitching. I am not totally cheating with that use as I once belonged to an online group that used to used that short form in their name and we referred to ourselves as Xers (interestingly, since it was written I would pronounce that as Exers whilst others, when we had a meet up in person called us Crossers). I can't find it or any reference to it on line now so its probably folded long since. 

Anyway... I used to do a lot of cross stitching. I was a cross stitcher way before I got into patchwork. I taught or at least encouraged my daughter (known as Fangirl on this blog) in her cross stitching. I know that whilst she was learning and for a few years there after (a good few years thereafter) she had free reign over my cross stitching stash.I ended up giving it all to her in the finish as I had stopped doing it and she was forging ahead.

 Now she is the cross stitcher in the family and completes amazing projects. She designs and sell her own patterns. Check out her blog and her Etsy shop (there is a link in my side bar) I don't do much cross stitching any more. Anything I need I ask Fangirl to do (as they say Why have a dog and bark yourself). I do a bit of needlework occasionally, mainly to incorporate into my patchwork designs but cross stitching is a bit fine for me.
My last major cross stitch pattern completed in 2002

The other X is in SEX
Don't get excited. Or shocked if you are one of my regular readers who didn't think I was that sort of person to talk about sex on my blog. In quilting circles it can have a whole different meaning

SEX = Stash Enhancing eXperience (or eXcursion)  Definition from Slikstitchers

Patchwork groups sometimes arrange Sex tours when they are on a retreat or at a conference or national gathering. Its when the group tours a number of local quilting and patchwork shops. Sometimes there are special deals or discounts offered. Sometimes morning or afternoon tea is organised to happen at the shop. Sometimes there is a mini class or tutorial organised. It totally depends on the organisers and local shops as to what they come up with. I have never been on one fo these organised tours as such so can't really comment too much. 

I have been on some private seX tours.... when we took our oldest son to Brisbane for university Fixit Guy and I stayed on for a week whilst he settled in. I was still pretty new to quilting then and had looked up a number of Local Quilt Shops (LQS) and worked out how to get from one to another. Fixit Guy patiently drove me from one to another whilst I had a little browse in each one.

Trouble is - I really prefer shopping when there is something I want or need. I have never been overly good at buying things for the sake of getting something but when we had gone to all the trouble to visit a place it seemed a wasted opportunity not to buy something. Ideally if I ever get the opportunity to go on a private or organised seX tour I think I would enjoy it more if I were to have a project picked out - or else buy a pattern at the first stop and then look for something to use in that pattern at each stop. Or else have a list of things I need/want and again look for that at each shop.

When Fixit Guy and I had a 3 week tour of NSW back in 2013 after I got back from my trip to the UK I had such a pattern. I had bought the pattern in the UK just before this trip and when visiting patchwork shops in Canberra, Wagga and Coonabarabran I was looking for fabric to use in the quilt. You can read about the quilt that I made then in Teashop Open for Business