Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WIP Wednesday

My main work in progress this week has been tidying my sewing area. I have been going through each of my cupboards and sorting things out. 

I had started this earlier in the month when I started going through the boxes of fabrics I have and refolding them, sorting them, pulling out the scrappy bits and putting them into my scrap basket to be cut into useful units. I blogged about this on my last WIP  Post. (2 weeks ago)

 I have 4 cupboards in our tv/sewing room for my sewing stuff, plus 4 sets of plastic drawers (17 drawers all up) and 3 drawers in my sewing table/desk. 

So far in my clean up I have gone through all the plastic drawers, 

3 of the cupboards and the plastic boxes and baskets that sit on top of the plastic drawers. All my plastic containers in the cupboards have been gone through, things have been reorganised, and I am very happy with my progress.

I still have to do the sewing table drawers and the cupboard that has the folders that contain the patterns I have torn out of magazines, sorted into various categories. 

The room is still quite a mess. (the photos were taken very strategically to hide most of it)

 My cutting table needs cleaning off and sorting out and on the floor are things that I have pulled out of the various cupboards that I no longer wish to store there. I have to work out what to do with them.

It has been very time consuming as I have also been dealing with the scraps of fabric I have generated - although now I have given up on that and they are once more going into the scrap basket. 

I also decided to deal with the half square triangles I had made when making the blocks for Sparkle quilts and flying geese. 

Rather than just trimming off the excess fabric I had sewn another row about 1/4" from the required sewing line and then trimmed the blocks between the two rows resulting in small half square triangles I had a great pile of these which I was determined to trim up and make useful. So... I pressed them open and then trimmed them to the largest squares I could. I ended up with piles of 2.5", 2.25", 2", 1.75", 1.5" and a very few 1.25" half square triangle blocks. I am not sure what I will use them for but they will come in handy for borders I am sure.

All the hst blocks are now trimmed. But it took hours and hours. (thank goodness for audio books)

I have been working on my En Provence quilt today. I now have all the units made for it. I finally finished the 144 quarter square triangles needed for the last 2 clues. Now - too trim them all up and put the blocks together. Not more trimming. Arghhhh

I got a large cushion for the dogs to sleep on in the sewing room finished during the week. Its stuffed with off cuts and trimmings. I am working on another one now. It has quite a few large bits of fabric in it as I got a bit ruthless with getting rid of some 2nd hand fabric I had been hanging on to and other bits and pieces (eg all the collars and strips of button holes for shirts cut up for a shirt challenge I took part in a few years ago) Not sure that the dogs will find them as comfortable but we will see. I nearly have enough for another pillow now.

The last thing I have been working on is a table runner/mini quilt I started making a few years ago using fabric I had bought in Norway in 2006 (or 2010) All I  have done so far is pull it out of it's plastic bag and put it up on the design board to try to work out what I can do next. I have found some reddish fabric with gold stars that I think goes pretty well with it. That is all I have done so far.

The red looks a lot pinker in this photo. Its not quite that pink!

Norway has been on my mind the last couple of days as we are going to be going back there in August for the wedding of our host son Joergen. He lived with our family in 2005. It is very exciting.

So time for me to go to bed. Its so hot here at the moment and last night I was up till after 1AM trimming those hst (and listening to my audiobook) Then when I went to bed I couldn't sleep. Its late again now so I will post this and then to bed.

Linking up with 

WIPs on Wednesday

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Stash Report - a new year

I love the start of a new year with my stash report... get to start anew and forget all the purchases I made last year and start digging into the stash afresh for the year... except when the new year starts off with a splurge of fabric buying and no finishes so it was going to be all negative. Too avert that from happening I did a rush finish on a project.

Lets start with the fun stuff... the splurge. My daughter Fangirl (from Fangirl stitches) suggested to me over Christmas that I might like to consider having a stall at one of the geek conventions that she herself attends as a stall holder. Rather than going in on my own she suggested I team up with Gamergirl (my daugher-in-law) and share a stall. GG is an artist. She has a degree in games design and her speciality area was the art work. It coincided with my own thoughts along the same line. I sew a lot for Handmade With Love, a group that raises money for a school in Zambia called Our Rainbow House. I had purchased a variety of geeky fabric mid year and the things I had made from it had proved quite popular at our stalls leading up to Christmas and also on line.

Anyway - GG and I talked it over and have decided to give it a go. The next convention is in April but we both felt that was a little soon to get stock ready, particularly for her as she will have to design a whole portfolio based around the popular characters out there in the Geekisphere. So we are aiming for September which is quite a ways off but gives us both lots of time to prepare. (she is also going to look into producing stickers and badges which are popular at conventions).

So I went shopping at Make It Sew, the fabric shop close to Fangirl's home in Brisbane which specialises in fabrics from tv/movies and games. I only bought a bit over 7 metres  but when you consider fabric in Australia costs $25 plus per metre, that was quite an outlay. 

The shop owner gave me a 10% discount since I was sewing for charity which was lovely of her... but it was still a lot of money. I chose to get .5m in 14 different fabrics for a start plus 2 pieces from the discount basket .9m each. Now I am cogitating what to sew it into. I am thinking of zipper bags and pouches of various sizes for the main and perhaps a few potmits and hanging towels as well. Mostly though... bags of all sorts are popular my daughter assures me. I haven't ever been to one of these shows before so thinking I might attend the next one I can just to get an idea of what its like. 9.05m

I have managed one finish since I got home from our trip to Brisbane. My first finish for the year and finished off today so I could record a finish for the year to go with my input. I finished off a large cushion for the dogs. 

We have started letting them come into the sewing room when I am in it. (they were strictly out door dogs allowed in very occassionally) However I enjoy their company and decided that they could come in. They are pretty well behaved most of the time. I say "they" as whilst we only own one dog (Jack - an 8 year old Jack Russell cross) we dogsit every school day (and full time most school holidays) for a friend so Digby is ours most of the time as well.

 I bought a cheap dog bed to go in the room so they had somewhere to sleep but it was too small for the both of them, and mostly they don't share. 

I decided to make a cushion for the other one and stuff it with scraps and off cuts of fabric and batting. Initially I just made an "outer" but then realised that really it needed an inner too. Basically whilst the stuffing is washable it would be difficult to dry. If I made an inner and an outer I could at least wash the outer occassionally. So today... I whipped up an "inner" and transferred the stuffing to it, sewed it shut and then put it into the outer and again sewed it shut. I could have put in a zipper but didn't have one big enough. I could have put on buttons but a) I have yet to learn how to make button holes and b) the dogs would chew the buttons off I could be pretty sure. So... when I have to wash it I will unpick it, wash and then resew it closed. 

Digby on the cushion a few weeks ago. It took me a month or 2  to collect up the scraps to stuff the cushion with. You can see the pins on the left hand side.

Tadah. It was done. The cushion is 76cm square, approximately. I made it out of a rubber backed curtain off cut. 

I am going to start to make another one straight away. It will give me somewhere to put my wadding off cuts and "too tiny even for me" scraps. 2.16m

So my first report for this year sees me in the red. Hopefully it won't last long.

Week 1 and 2
Fabric used        2.16
Fabric added      9.05
Net usage         -6.89

Year to Date     
Fabric used         2.16
Fabric Added       9.05
Net Usage         -6.89

Linking up with Patchwork Times

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Its been a white

I haven't written a blog post for a little while. I went away for a week and whilst I took my computer with me I didn't take the cord with me and so I couldn't charge it. In my defence I did look in the bag before I left and I thought it was in there but what I saw was actually the HDML cord and the car charging cord (part of which was missing). So once the computer went flat that was it! 

So... no blog updates whilst I was away. I did have my iPhone and iPad and in theory I could have used those but I find them difficult to work with so.... I didn't.

Now I am home again. The computer is charged up and here I am.

I haven't written a Fitness Friday for a while and that is probably because... I would have had to write an unfit Friday post. Hoping to turn it around this week so come back next week and hopefully I will be able to write something positive.

Stash report will have to start tomorrow. Sigh. I bought a heap of fabric this week from the geeky shop near Fangirl's house. I will have to add it all up and photograph it and put it on the spreadsheet for this year. I have at least got the spreadsheet up and ready to fill in... just can't face all the entries I will have to put in (not to mention really don't want to start off with a negative but that is what is going to happen.... sigh).

Since its middle of the month I am going to do a goal update whilst I am here.

1.Work on En Provence clues as they come out I am still working on these. I didn't take enough fabric with me to Patchwork when I was working on them and then despite my best efforts I didn't take enough with me when I went away either. What a dingbat I am. Still I am making the 2 lots of 1/4 square triangles that make up the last 2 clues. They aren't working out perfectly but they are getting done.

2. Set up Excel spreadsheet for fabric tracking 2017 I've done this... the spreadsheet is saved but nothing filled in yet.

3. Complete clue for Charlotte Hawks Mystery quilt "Surrounded By Scraps" Charlotte has released the first clue but as yet I haven't started to sew it. My fabrics are all cut ready to start though

4. Complete 8 blocks for my A to Z challenge this year (My OMG for January). Have chosen the 8 blocks but haven't started any stitching. Am still wondering about the colours I am going to use... whether I am going to do it totally scrappy or go with colours. I think its going scrappy.

5 Quilt one quilt on the long arm Nothing done here yet.

6. Tidy the craft cupboard I've started on this. In the process I have started going through the fabric boxes, refolding stuff and pulling out the scrappy bits and put it into scrap basket. It ended up overflowing once again.

I have since then managed to cut my way through the scrap basket and its empty once again. That was a big effort. Now to finish the cupboard.

7 Work on one project on my UFO list Not yet.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


Running a little late with my weekly WIP report. Not that I have a lot to report this week anyway.

In Australia it is the middle of summer and summer holidays. The schools are all having their big break... 6 weeks long. Many businesses shut down between Christmas and New Year as sole traders take a bit of a break. Many companies close for a bit longer (particularly manufacturing plants etc) and the work force has their annual leave. 

We had 2 of our children home with us for Christmas, which was lovely, but a little disruptive to the usual routine (delightfully so). As well as Christmas and New Year celebrations, we have had my brother call in overnight and also Boyo celebrated his birthday.  We have had a bit of extra entertaining, some board game playing, extra cooking and .... well not as much free sewing time as I usually get.

I have done a little bit of work on my En Provence quilt. Bonnie Hunter released the last 2 clues in pretty quick succession this week but a busy weekend and early part of the week meant I didn't get much sewing time. 

I also sabotaged myself somewhat. In my last WIP Wednesday report I somewhat gleefully reported I had an empty scrap basket. I had ironed and cut and sorted my way through all my scraps till I got to the bottom. 

WELLL then in the post Christmas euphoria I decided to tidy up my fabric storage cupboards and went through all my boxes of fabric (sorted by colour) refolding fabric and getting out the odd bits, and putting them into my scrap basket. I also did a major sort out of my picture fabrics, leftovers from when I used to do year quilts (see HERE for explanation of what they are). There were lots of little bits in there that went into my scrap basket and ... in just one day by scrap basket was back to its overflowing status.

I then was determined to get it back to its pristine state and spent ages each day it seems on my feet at my cutting table once more cutting and sorting the scraps. 

I didn't need to do my ironing as the fabric wasn't too badly scrunched. Despite my determined efforts in the time I had available I wasn't able to get the basket emptied. 

Another session and I think I would have gotten to the bottom but it will have to wait now.

Yesterday at Patchwork Group I was able to get a bit of preparation done on the next 2 units. They are 2 lots of quarter square triangles. I prefer to use the 4 at a time method rather than the ruler method Bonnie outlines in her clue. (I have some of the speciality rulers but ..... not the ones she demonstrates for making the units so I decided to stick with what I knew) I got the  squares all cut that I will need - lots of greens, some yellow, some neutrals and some light purples. I got all the lines drawn and the first lot of stitching done on the green and yellow ones. Still lots to do. Then I can start to put them together. I am NOT looking forward to that as I am not happy with some of my units. They ended up a bit small and I am not convinced my fudging skills will be enough. 

Now I am away from home for a week. Today we drove to Brisbane (a 10 hour trip) and we will be here for a week. I have bought my sewing machine with me and hope to get the next 2 units of En Provence done and hopefully some piecing of the blocks. 

As well as my En Provence project I have also bought some Australian prints with me to make a backing for a quilt for the daughter of our 2004 Japanese Host son. She is the nearest thing we have to a grand daughter so she deserves a special quilt. At first I thought I would make a quilt from scratch for her but I was working on  "Stingen Em Along", my String X quilt (another Bonnie Hunter pattern) shortly after we heard of her arrival. I really liked how the quilt turned out and want to give it to someone special. The backing will be a little bit of Australia for her.

How have you gone with your WIPs this week. Have you had time to work on them or has the holiday season proved as disruptive to your schedule as it has to mine.

Linking up with 

WIPs on Wednesday

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sunday Stash Report... end of year wrap up

I didn't do a stash report last Sunday - I was a bit busy celebrating Christmas with my family!

Today I will do a final report on the last 2 weeks and then a yearly wrap up

I offered to make a Christmas stocking for my hairdresser. She had asked about me making one for her stepson for next year but I said I would try to get it done before Christmas and I managed it. .37m

I also managed to finish off the Amy Gibson BOM I have been working on for a couple of years. 6.21m

The back of the quilt was pieced using lots of orphan blocks. I have had fun working out where they came from. Some I recall well and some I have absolutely no idea. 


I forgot to add the Doctor Who fabric that I was sent by my daughter to make the messenger bag I made for my friend Suzy. As well as the .5m TARDIS fabric, which I used up in the messenger bag she sent me .5m Darlek fabric. 1.03m

For Christmas my youngest son gave some fabric - 3 .5m lengths of geeky themed fabric (Doctor Who, Star Wars and Batman) 1.54m

My stats for week 52 and 53

Fabric used        6.58
Fabric added      2.57
Net usage          4.01

Over the year I  have completed 8 large quilts and 7 smaller  quilts plus numerous smaller items. My spread sheet had 45 lines with completed item entries. So that is an additional 30 smaller item lines, many of which were multiple items (ie 5 potholders, 3 zipper purses etc) I tried to add it up but I kept getting mixed up but it was over 200 smaller items. I was very pleased with my progress. 

Comparing it to last year.

2015                                  2016        (diff)

Fabric used     147.47          172.99     25.52       
Fabric Added     76.70           83.76       7.06
Net usage         70.77           89.23     18.46

So this year I have added more fabric than in the previous year I used even more. So I am making inroads into my stash. I still have a good bit there and in 2018 I would like to use even more and stick to buying only what I need. 

This year I am considering sewing more things for the geek market and perhaps joining my daughter at some of the craft conventions that she goes to, particularly those aimed at the "geeks". To do that I am going to have to buy the specific geek fabric so perhaps my aim to buy less won't work, hopefully though I will make these into items fairly quickly so there will be a quick turn about.

How have you gone this year? Have you too made inroads into your stash or are you still accumulating. 

Linking up with Patchwork Times

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Quilting Goals and Resolutions for 2017/January

Sandy, from
 Quilting...for the Rest of Us

has chosen the word Balance for us to work our resolutions around this year. She has suggested 2 ways of looking at it...

  • How can your quilty life bring more balance to your life?
  • Do you need to address some imbalance in your quilty life?
To be honest I feel I have it pretty well sorted. I get to sew as much as I like really. My children have all left home, my husband is retired and also very accommodating. He is happy for me to spend as much time as I want in my sewing room stitching away. (at least he doesn't complain) He is very competent in the house and as well as participating in our weekly house cleaning morning he makes lunch most days, tea quite often, does the washing regularly and the shopping. What a man. (No you can't have him.) My biggest imbalance might be that I neglect him and the family when they are home to sew.

I sew for my own pleasure mostly. I donate many of the items that I sew to a group I support "Handmade With Love" whose profits go to Our Rainbow House, a school for disadvantaged children in Zambia. Our group sponsors 2 children as well as supporting the school in other ways. I also sew quilts for special people in my life. All my great nieces and nephews get a quilt when they are born, as well as babies of close friends. I make a quilt for my siblings and their partners when they turn 70 (4 down, 9 to go ) And then there are quilts for random other reasons. (like I wanted to try the pattern).

My biggest lack of balance I suppose is my desire/willingness to try new things. Despite being a quilter of 15 plus years I am still pretty hit and miss with accuracy. Done is better than perfect is a motto I have probably taken too far at times. I have mastered a few new skills over the last couple of years... inserting zips is one and paper piecing another. Perhaps this year I will add button holes... and greater accuracy. I would also like to master the Longarm at our club and use the laser guide on it to do some pantographs. That might have to do me...

Balance out my skill base with 
  1. learning to do button holes
  2. increasing my accuracy
  3. increasing skills on Longarm.
Arghh - what have I done. I hope I can live up to these. I shall not say I will try to do them. I need to remember my word from the last year "DO" From Yoda... Do or Do not, there is no try.

Wish me luck.

Oops posted this without doing the January goals so editing it now

1. Work on En Provence clues as they come out

2. Set up Excel spreadsheet for fabric tracking 2017

3. Complete clue for Charlotte Hawks Mystery quilt "Surrounded By Scraps"

4. Complete 8 blocks for my A to Z challenge this year. (I plan to make a block starting with each letter of the alphabet. Since April is going to be busy and full of travel I need to start NOW) This is going to be my OMG goal

5 Quilt one quilt on the long arm

6. Tidy the craft cupboard

7 Work on one project on my UFO list

Review time... time to review my monthly and yearly goals

The last day of the month and the year. Tomorrow is a sparkly fresh new month and new year. A chance to set some new goals and to start with a fresh sheet of paper.

I started doing monthly goals a few years ago and it came from joining in Sandy from Quilting for the Rest of Us challenge to set some goals for the year. I joined in with very concrete goals and reported in on them regularly and after just a few months I had accomplished all of them so I started setting myself monthly goals and I was away. I have found it a wonderful way of keeping track of what I want to accomplish - by blogging about it I kept myself accountable.

Looking back at my annual goals set back last January I am somewhat ashamed to admit I lost track of these goals somewhat although by default I have accomplished them to a large degree. My goals were

1.Keep my scrap bin emptied/under control - work on doing that monthly Well that didn't happen - not on a monthly basis anyway. For a few months at least I did work on it but then it got away from me and for probably the last half of the year I didn't do it at all and as a result it grew to be a mammoth task. However I determined before Christmas that I would work on it and get it emptied by today and I accomplished that 2 days ago. The basket is empty and all the scraps cut into useful units and put away in the drawers I sort them into

2.Ensure my WIPs/UFOs list on my blog page is up to date. Release any that I am just not going to work on Hmmm well I have tried to do this ie keep them up to date but haven't always succeeded and I just couldn't let any go. I didn't really examine them properly and try. This is the list as of today

3. Continue monitoring my stash - purchasing fabric thoughtfully with purpose.... using an Excell Spreadsheet. I have monitored my purchases and usage all year on the spreadsheet and have regularly reported in on the Sunday Stash Report Linky at Patchwork Times  I mostly purchased "Thoughtfully with a purpose" but have to admit to having a massive blowout when my friend Jodie took me shopping on the Gold Coast in August and took me to 4 patchwork fabric shops several of which were having massive sales. I bought 23m I think it was BUT I have made great inroads into them with my sewing projects since. A lot were used in projects I made for Handmade With Love and the purples I couldn't resist came in so handy with my En Provence quilt.

So really I haven't done too badly.

My word for the year was Do, (From Yoda in Star Wars "Do or Do not, there is no try) It was a repeat from the year before. I have done pretty well this year, completing lots of projects.

As to my December goals

1. Work on En Provence Mystery quilt. I have kept up to date with each clue as it was released. New clue came out yesterday and so far I haven't started but the plan is to work on it this afternoon. I have blogged about each clue here here here and here 

2. Put Stringin 'Em Along together The quilt top is together including the borders. Next step is to make the backing and get it quilted.

3. Complete Potholder Commissions I made my friend Alison 2 more sets of Darlek potholders to give as gifts to friends. I haven't heard how they went down. She was expecting the recipients to be thrilled.

4. Complete secret commission for a friend. This secret commission was to make a bag to carry an ipad in, one that had a strap. I used a kids messenger bag pattern and TARDIS fabric (not all my friends are addicted to Doctor Who, a few of them are boring types. LOL) Her step daughter paid me to make it (well paid Handmade With Love) and gave it to her for Christmas. She was suitably delighted.

5. Make backing for Alison Gibson BOM quilt - quilt DONE. This project was a long time in the making. It was a couple of years from when I watched the Craftsy video till I started making the blocks and then the blocks themselves have sat completed for another year before I got them put together. However this month I pieced the backing and got it quilted and bound. Still have the thread tidying up and the label to go. I haven't come up with a name for it so no label quite yet.

6 Quilt Hexagon quilt. Great intentions came to nothing when the longarm at the club rooms played up. Its going again now so perhaps this next month I will get it done. Unfortunately in the course of dealing with this quilt this month I have come to realise that I don't like it. Its been a lot of work but... its too gaudy for me. Not sure what I am going to do with it now. Blogged about my feelings towards it here

7 Work on Handwork Heritage quilt. I got the borders pieced. Now to get them attached and work on the backing.

How have you gone with your challenges and goals this year? Did you make good progress? Did you abandon them completely? Whatever you achieved I hope it satisfied you and that you are inspired by the new year to go out and accomplish great things... or at least something?

Wishing all my readers all the best for the New Year. May it be a time of progress and satisfaction.