Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Work In Progress Wednesday

WIP Wednesday
Two projects have kept me busy this past week or so.
Wednesday at our Patchwork Group sewing days (we have them weekly. We are blessed to have our own club rooms supplied by our local council) I have been working on a blue version of the Disappearing Pinwheel. Made good progress on it. I have all the 10" blocks sewn together cut and have started to make the pinwheels. I have also made the units to make the pinwheels for the border.

some of the fabric for my Blue Disappearing pinwheel quilt

At home I have been working on a quilt I have called "The Shirt off My Back"
Last year at the quilt retreat I go to called Patch n Peace, I entered a men's shirt swap. We all took along a certain number of 2nd hand 100% cotton men's shirt which we cut into 4 pieces ( 2 front pieces and the back cut in two) and swapped among the groups we were put into, keeping one piece for ourselves and swapping the other 3. The challenge is that we have to bring back a quilt this year using the fabric. We are supposed to have at least one piece of each shirt in the finished product and we can use some other back ground fabrics. Actually we are going to be pretty easy on the rules. We all wanted to end up with a quilt that we liked and would use.

I found inspiration for my quilt on a Facebook group I am a member of but I can't remember which of the several groups that it was on so can't find the post that so can't give credit there. It was based on 9 patches with sashing on two sides arranged in such a way that whilst the blocks are all sashed the sashing lines aren't in a continuous straight line but each one is offset.

Firstly I had to cut the shirting into strips. I chose 2". I ended up with quite a pile which I had to iron nice and straight.

 Then I sewed 3 strips together, trying to match lengths of the strips but not worrying about the colour combinations

The seams were all pressed flat, going the same way and then sub cut into 2" units and the resulting 3 patch units were sewn into 9 patches. As far as possible no colours were repeated but some repeats slipped in but so long as two units the same colour weren't next to each other I tended to let it go. My original aim had been to make 120 units. The 9 patches measured 5" square. With 2" sashing on two sides they would end up 6.5". A quilt 10 x 12 units would measure 60" x 72" plus borders and would suit my purpose. I didn't realise that the amount of shirting I had would eventually make 350 of these units! I just kept sewing till all the strips were used up and then kept sewing units till they were all done

Each pile had 10 9-patches in it. I had more piled on the ironing boar
I wanted to keep the recycling theme going with the sashing fabric so I looked among my 2nd hand fabric and found some nice blue stuff that I was able to re-purpose. This was going to determine how big my final quilt would be. It turned out that I had enough to sash 123 9- patches so I can either make it 10x12 as I'd originally planned or 11x11 if I chose to. Haven't decided yet

"The Shirt off my Back" quilt laid on on my floor
That's as far as I have gone with it. I am really thrilled with how it is looking

I've added this to a blog linky sponsored by Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stash Report

Stash Report

I finished "Into the Rainforest" which was begun in 2007 at a workshop our Patchwork Group ran. It involved painting the background and some of the fabric that we used for water and tree trunks. Then we cut out and machine appliqued (raw edge) various leaves and plants onto the picture. I pulled up about there and for 6 years it was in my ufo pile. I finally dragged it out and decided that I was never going to applique more to it and to call it done and finish it off. I sewed on borders and then started to hand quilt it. It languished for a while longer but going away to Sydney was the impetus I needed and I got lots of hand stitching done whilst sitting with my mum in her room or at her craft group and also whilst travelling. I have a lovely picture of me and mum stitching together but the program keeps turning it sideways so gave up trying to post it. Came home and did the binding and a meeting the week I got back meant I was able to finish the hand stitching on the binding and the hanging sleeve. Now it is hanging proudly inside my front door. I would have been better with more leaves added to it but ultimately done is better than not done and I really like it anyway.

Into the Rainforest begun July 2007 at a Gloria Loughman workshop. Completed Feb2014

Last Sunday was the baptism of a good friends little girl who is a month old. I wanted to get her quilt done to give to them then. But I also wanted to give another friend a quilt for their baby who is 10 months old. I knew they would be at the baptism so the race was on to get both these quilts done in time. And I made it! Yay me. Both quilts were presented to their recipients on Sunday and both sets of parents were very pleased with the gift - which is lovely. It is so rewarding to give a quilt when it is appreciated.

Miss G on her quilt Jungle Jive. Photo sent to me by her lovely mum

She was fascinated by the pictures. Apparently the Hippo has been a favourite

Miss L's quilt Pretty Stars from a Kimberley Einmo pattern

So stash report

Into the Rainforest 1.19m fabric used
Jungle Jive 3.16 m used
Pretty Stars 5.6m used.
Total 9.95m

No purchases since last report

So that makes it net usage for the year of 18.25 m

Very excited to report that I have run 5 kms three times this month. I ran it first whilst in Sydney, running on an oval near my sister's place. I took about 42mins 30 secs. Then I ran 5 km when I got home on the road but was a bit slower - about 43 mins. Then last Monday I ran again and I broke 40 mins. I was very excited and very exhausted too. I have been trying to run 3 times a week but the other two days I am trying to do interval running using the C25K program but running as hard as I can for the run parts and then jogging or walking the rest parts. I walk on the days I don't run... unless its raining or I'm feeling lazy. Today I ran 6 kms. I didn't run fast just kept on going. I am very excited and think that one day I might even make 10 kms. I have a Rainbow Run coming up at the end of March. That's 5kms. Then in May I plan to take part in the Mothers' Day Classic which will be a 7km run

Weight wise its coming down slowly. I've lost over 9 kgs since the middle of the year but have at least 10 to go according to the charts. I am no longer obese but merely overweight! This morning after my big run I was under 91kgs which was very exciting.

Sorry to have been so irregular in my postings. I am hoping to get more reliable. I am also going to have to sort out my photo hassles. And improve my photography. Sigh.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Stash Report

Stash report
This is my first stash report. Ever since Pam on Hip to Be a Square started talking about her stash report I thought it would be really cool to track my stash usage. I decided to wait till the beginning of the new year to start tracking and I have to confess I cheated a little bit... I did that so that any stash I got for Christmas wouldn't be counted. I also deliberately well semi deliberately saved up two big finishes till the new year so that I could count them. To be honest I didn't really have time to finish them in all the rush up to Christmas and having a houseful of family for a couple of weeks. Once Christmas was over then I happily settled in and got those two quilts finished off.. and wow it was the New Year and I got to count them.

So for January I got to count as finishes
1. My cousin Syd's tie quilt... Family Ties: The Ties that Bind. It was 204cm square (being Australian our purchases are always in metres/centimetres so even though quilt patterns are all in inches its going to have to be converted to cms so as to be able to track the purchases against the usage) a total of 9.52 m of fabric
2. My sister Beth's quilt Forest Pinwheels 184 cm Square total of 7.79m
3 Great nephew Lucas's baby quilt Jungle Fever  123cm sq total of 3.60m

January monthly total 20.91 m fabric used and zero purchases.

February isn't looking quite so healthy. Shopping in Sydney and Brisbane whilst on holidays saw me add a total of 9.61m fabric and my daughter Fangirl's things she sent back by sea for the UK arrived and she was able to give me my Christmas gift from her... 3 m of fabric. Really cute picture fabric... some Kombi van fabric, some vintage toys and vintage seaside. I'll take some photos and add them soon... phone flat and camera in the room with DH who is asleep.

Net usage to date 11.30m

I've been working on several quilts but no finishes yet.
1. Disappearing Pinwheels the top is finished, binding made but still to make the backing and then pin and quilt.
2 Into the Rainforest picture quilt has the binding machined on but still have to handstitch it down. Meeting tomorrow night will see that done
3. Grace's Jungle quilt top is finished and the back made but have to make the Frankenbatting (Pam's from HTBAS word for batting that is made by patching pieces together)
4 Kimberley Einmo's mystery quilt from Craftsy class has been pinned awaiting quilting for a while. Really need to get stuck into that. So with a concerted effort I should bounce my numbers quite substantially.

This blog post is really boring... no photos. Sorry about that. Will try to pretty it up when I am not so tired.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Family Reunion

Family Reunion
This weekend we had a family reunion to celebrate amongst other things my sister Beth  and my cousin Syds' 70th birthdays. The invitation specified no gifts but I had made both of them a quilt. (I never could do what I was told) Actually I had embarked on the making of both quilts before the invitations to the party were issued but my story makes me out to be more of a rebel.

For my cousin I had made a tie quilt based initially on 14 ties that had belonged to his dad (who died in 1970) which were found in his mothers things when she died last year (aged 99 and 9 months) I gathered up ties from other family members, friends and from second hand shops. It was quite a mammoth undertaking but I really enjoyed the whole process. Firstly I washed the ties and then pressed them. I used iron on interfacing to stabilize the ties and stop them stretching out of shape. Ties are cut on the bias and so stretching can be a real issue. Then I made 25 crazy patchwork blocks using the blue and red ties from the 60 plus ties that i]I had amassed. I cut a 5 sided shape from the widest end of the tie  and attached it to the centre of a 14" sq piece of white fabric  (from an old sheet) I used a bit of fabric glue to do this. Then I built up the block with strips of the ties working my way around the shape till all the white fabric was covered. I trimmed the block to 13" square. I sashed the blocks with navy blue fabric and then put on a plain red border around the centre. Next I put on a piano key border using left over ties, red fabric scraps and fabric from my uncles old pajamas. I paper pieced the corner blocks so that the piano keys went around the corner.

I thought that my cousin knew I was making the quilt for him but apparently not. He was stunned by it when I gave it to him and very appreciative. Lots of my extended family are on facebook so had been following the quilts progress as i had posted lots of progress pictures on Facebook and so they were delighted to see the quilt in reality. Their interest was most heartwarming.

Syd and I with his quilt "Family Ties: The Ties that Bind"

The quilt I made my sister was a surprise to her. I made it using a variety of half square triangles from knitnitblogspot in green and brown fabrics. There were 16 blocks each from a different green fabric with a plain brown in the half square triangles. My sister was delighted with it. I stayed on with her after the reunion weekend and we looked at it in detail and i explained the half square triangle concept to her. She and her husband were fascinated by the variety of blocks that could be made from the one unit. Whilst my cousin's quilt (which I called  Family Ties:The ties that bind) featured heavily on Facebook my sister's quilt didn't get shown at all because she is my friend on Facebook.

The front of my sister's quilt. It also featured a piano key border but no pieced corners this time

The back of the quilt. it took as long to put together as the front I swear!

 My sister and I were discussing why I chose green and brown for her quilt. They are not her colours and don't feature in her current decor but they were the ones I was strongly drawn to when choosing the fabrics for the quilt. In discussion we remembered that 35 years ago, at the end of the 70s when I was living in Sydney attending teachers college and regularly visiting their home their kitchen chairs were lime green and the family room had a lot of brown trim in it. This was the period that I would have spent most time with them - visiting regularly, babysitting my niece and nephew, getting some family time. So we decided it came from then. She has already used it to snuggle under for a nanna nap whilst I have been staying here with her.
Beth and I with her quilt

I also bought with me the quilt for my newest great nephew Lucas. He wasn't at the reunion but I was able to give it to his grandma, my sister J.