OMG: January project done!

OMG buttonI actually finished this project last weekend, but hadn’t got round to taking photos of it until today.

I changed my mind about the backing I originally had in mind, and instead used leftover fabric from a hexagon quilt WIP, which then meant I also had to change the binding; but it all came together nicely in the end, and I actually think the second choice backing suits the batiks better.  I just did some very simple diagonal quilting to finish it off, which was relatively painless and doesn’t distract from the beautiful colours of the fabrics.  (I always tend to incline to the side of ‘less is more’ with my quilting anyway, as a personal preference – that and the fact that I don’t have a longarm machine, and am too mean to pay someone to do it for me! 🙂 )

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I love making Disappearing Nine Patch quilts – they’re so easy to construct, and yet you can end up with so many varied designs just by changing the way you re-construct the quartered nine-patch blocks.  I have another one from last year finished to the flimsy stage, which I might use as my February OMG project – unless something else waves its hand at me first, which is quite possible 🙂   Funny how some projects just seem to sneak in under the radar and before you know it, there they are, taking up residence on the sewing table … I’ve been attacked by one of those this weekend! But that can wait for another post; and I’ll also hold off posting a Quilty 365 weekly update, since there are only a few days left in January, and then I can show you the whole month’s work in the linky party in early February.

Other than that my weekend has been spent watching a whole lot of sport on TV (basketball, cricket and tennis – man, there have been some great matches in the Australian Open – don’t often watch the women’s final, but thoroughly enjoyed this year’s epic battle between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber, and I was chuffed to see Kerber pull it off!); reading; and sleeping (someone seems to have installed an automatic sleep mode in my La-Z-Boy, which makes me nod off whenever I sit down in it … 🙂 )

Hope your weekend has been as productive or lazy as you wanted it to be = sometimes being lazy is just what your body and mind need … that’s my story, anyway!

 

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Quilty 365 – Week 3

Quilty 365

Another week into the Quilty 365 project and so far, so good 🙂
I have to confess to changing my MO slightly, now that work is interfering with my quilting schedule (tch!), and I now tend to make three or four blocks on the weekend, just to get a little bit ahead, and then the remaining blocks between then and the end of the week – it’s working well for me doing it this way.

 

Here are this week’s creations:

Day 15 incorporates scraps from previous and current projects; Day 16’s circle is one of my flower photos manipulated in the Kaleidoscope Kreator software programme and then printed onto fabric here at home; Day 17 uses some scrap curtaining fabric for the background; and Day 18’s circle is from last year’s surface design workshop.  Day 19’s circle is fabric from last year’s OBW, on background fabric created at the surface design workshop; Day 20’s circle is from a beautiful piece of butterfly fabric which I’ve had for years and am reluctant to use because it IS so beautiful (how daft is that?!); and Day 21’s background is also fabric I’ve had for many years but which I actually don’t like, and tend to hide away at the bottom of the scraps box 🙂

And here’s a photo of all three weeks so far – it’s fun seeing them all together!

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Yesterday I also managed to finish off my OMG:  One Monthly Goal project, but I’ll hold off on photos of that until the link-up at the end of the month.  I need to put some thought now into what to choose for my February project … shall I start a new project, or shall I be good and delve into the UFO/WIPs collection … decisions, decisions! 🙂

DSCF9246We had a very warm summer’s day yesterday, after several days of rain (which we needed) earlier in the week.  Just out of curiosity, I put my little desktop weather station/clock/alarm outside in the sun just before 4pm, and after about 10 minutes it had shot up from the indoors temperature of 25°C, to 45°C outside!  I had it sitting on the edge of a plant tub about eight inches above the ground, so I guess it was picking up some reflected heat from that, but still, 45°C??!!  Warm enough for me to be very glad I was able to work inside (in the relative cool with the fan going) – and even nod off in the La-Z-Boy for a spell, too … 🙂

I enjoyed watching the NZ Black Caps take out the third T20 cricket match against Pakistan yesterday evening, giving us a 2-1 series win; and am looking forward to the three ODI matches against them which follow over the next week or so.  After that it’s time to take on our old trans-Tasman foes, Australia, in three ODIs and two tests, at the end of which our inspirational captain, Brendon McCullum, will retire from international cricket 😦  (Although I think he has one final contract to play in the Indian Premier League cricket, but that’s playing for one of the participating teams, and not for New Zealand.)  I think he’s been a fantastic captain and role model, and it’s sad to think we won’t have the pleasure of watching his entertaining style of play after the series against Australia.

I’ve also been enjoying watching the Australian Tennis Open, on in Melbourne at present – my favourite player is Roger Federer, who’s going well so far, along with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.  I’m also keeping an eye on Kei Nishikori, John Isner and Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga, but have to say I have no time at all for the young Australian player, Nick Kyrgios, and was delighted to see him beaten last night by a very cool, calm and collected Tomas Berdych – just what was needed!  There aren’t many of the female tennis players who impress me – can’t stand the screamers like Sharapova, and don’t have much time for Serena Williams, although I admire what she has achieved over the years; I am enjoying watching Madison Keys (USA) and Shuai Zhang (China), but other than that there’s not really anyone else.

Settling back into work has been hard after my wonderful 17-day break over Christmas and New Year – I keep thinking of all the lovely quilting I could be doing at home instead!  Just have to keep in mind that come the end of September, my days will at last be my own to spend however I wish … 🙂 🙂

Hope your year is going well so far!

Quilty 365 – Week 2

Quilty 365

Despite having to return to work this week, thereby reducing my leisure sewing/quilting hours considerably, I’ve managed to keep up with making a circle a day for the second week of this challenge with a little bit of forethought and pre-planning. 🙂  I’ve already posted about Day 8 here, so below are Days 9-14:

For Day 9’s circle, I used some of the fabric I decorated at last year’s surface design workshop, and for Day 10, the ‘petals’ (leaves?) are some of the offcuts from a circle cutting session with my Fabi cutter.  Day 11 celebrates my arrival in New Zealand 42 years ago, using a scan of an iris folding card I made a couple of years ago, printed onto fabric and set it on some appropriate ‘sea looking’ fabric for the background square.  The flower on Day 12’s circle was made using one of those daisy wheel contraptions; Day 13 incorporates more scraps from a few earlier projects; and Day 14’s circle celebrates all the lovely summer flowers out at present (although not in my garden – too much quilting going on at present for any serious gardening around here! 🙂 )

I have also finished quilting my OMG project (just some simple diagonal lines – I didn’t want to draw attention away from the beautiful batik fabrics), and will be ready to start on the binding after I have finished burying all the loose threads and trimmed and squared it up.  Barring any major hiccups between now and the end of the month, I shouldn’t have any problem completing this as my January OMG project, which will be a good start to the year. 🙂

Did I mention previously that I was lucky enough to win another Fat Quarter Shop gift voucher in the December ALYoF finale?  So I went shopping online yesterday, and found a lovely bundle of solid colour fat quarters on special – it’s not very often I purchase plain, unpatterned fabric, but I can definitely see some of them being used as background fabric in my Quilty 365 squares, so I’m looking forward to the parcel arriving in the mail!

It’s wet and cold today, ideal weather for a day inside sewing and playing with fabric without having to feel guilty – Henry Lee has been tucked up on the La-Z-Boy for most of the day and I have to confess I did join him for a snooze at one stage … but now it’s time to get back to the sewing table and on with the work in hand!

 

Happy Little Hermit!

I’ve been on leave for the last 17 days, and have become such a happy little hermit at home! 🙂 I love the solitude and peace and quiet out here; the ability to set my own rhythm for each day as I feel so inclined, whether it be reading, catching up on the computer, sitting at the sewing machine or relaxing nodding off in the La-Z-Boy in the afternoons (oh, I am going to miss those siestas!).  While the summer weather has been a bit patchy, and not as warm as some would like, it’s been comfortable enough for me and I love the long evenings at this time of year, with beautiful sunsets such as this one a week or so ago:

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Sadly, tomorrow sees a return to work 😦  However, looking on the bright side of things, I’m going to be retiring in another 37-and-a-bit weeks, when this relaxed lifestyle will become my usual way of living:  bring it on! 🙂

I have ventured into Christchurch only twice, once to return library books, and once to purchase a new fridge (my old one having decided that after 30-plus years of service, it was time to shuffle off its mortal coil …); and once into Darfield.  The rest of my time has been spent chilling out with Henry Lee (I think he’s enjoyed having me at home 🙂 ).  I had a list of things I wanted to achieve during this break, but most of them have gone by the board as the quilting bug moved in and took over 🙂  You will have seen my previous posts about Quilty 365 (here) and OMG:  One Monthly Goal (here); I also have three other projects on the go which I thought I’d share photos of today.

DSCF9108 croppedThe first is a hexagon quilt, inspired by one of the patterns in The New Hexagon by Katja Marek.  This went swimmingly well at first, as I sewed my strips together, cut out the hexagon wedges and then sewed them together, carefully matching seams where I needed to – it was pretty similar to what I’d done with the One Block Wonder (OBW) quilt I made last year (see here), and I felt quite comfortable with that part of the technique.  However, when it came to sewing the whole hexagons together (rather than rows of half-hexagons as I did with the OBW), the whole seam matching at an angle, to ensure the bands of colour flowed smoothly from hexagon to hexagon, suddenly became all too much for me …  So I changed the design and went with Plan B instead, which involved adding a single colour strip to each of the six hexagon sides, thereby avoiding any difficult seam matching … the only stress now is getting the Y-seams correct where the hexagons meet, and I’ve actually managed that quite well (big tick in the learning column for that if nothing else!).  So, all the hexies are now sewn together, and I’m about to work out what to do about the top, bottom and side borders, plus decide on backing and binding fabric.

DSCF9160 croppedAfter two full days of working on the hexie quilt my mind needed a break and the chance to indulge in some mindless sewing, so I grabbed the bag of 4.5″ squares which I had cut last October with the Fabi cutter, and starting making some half-square triangles (HSTs).  These will be sewn up into a simple quilt as and when my brain says, “Give me a break already!” . I’m sure it’ll make the OMG list at some stage during the year! 🙂

 

DSCF9105 croppedAs well as these two projects, I also started a Ricky Tims’ Kool Kaleidoscope quilt (bought myself his book for Christmas 🙂 ). Wedges 1, 2 and 3 went together very well; Wedge 4 I wasn’t so happy with, and the fabric strips I sewed together for Wedge 5 have also fallen out of favour, so this is how it looks on the design wall at present:

I’ll get back to this once I’ve completed my January OMG project (I’ve just started the quilting on that), and made some decisions on the next steps for the hexagon quilt – at present I don’t need the design wall for anything else, so it can sit there quite happily until I’m ready to tackle it 🙂

So, my holiday has been both relaxing and productive, full of creativity and play and fun:  is it any wonder I’m not in a hurry to go back to work???!!!

 

 

 

Quilty 365 – Day 8

Did you hear that whoop I let out this morning??  I was SO pleased with myself, there was even a fist pump or two along with the whoop! Let me explain …  Quilty 365

Strand 1 of the story:  For today’s Quilty 365 circle, I wanted to pay homage in some way to my beloved aunt, who sadly passed away many years ago, but whose birthday it is today.  She was born in Scotland, but spent over half her life in Zimbabwe, living off and on with our family (she was my mother’s sister) and was a very important part of my life.

Strand 2 of the story:  Ever since I attended a workshop on printing onto fabric at the Brisbane Quilt Show two years ago, I’ve wanted to try it out, but have had great difficulty finding the necessary supply of paper-backed fabric at a price I felt comfortable paying.  (The fact that I haven’t actually had a working printer for the last two years was also a small spanner in the works, but I rectified this just prior to Christmas when I got a great half-price deal – with an additional cash-back offer – on an Epson printer, so that solved that problem!)  Anyway, yesterday I did some serious Googling on the matter, and found this wonderful article on printing onto fabric using freezer paper; tried it out this morning, and it worked like a dream!

So without further ado, here is today’s circle, dedicated to a very special lady – this one’s for you, Miss Lyall 🙂

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Quilty 365 – January link-up

Quilty 365Although I came across the Quilty 365 project (challenge?) last year, I only decided to join in on 1 January, so I’m now up to Day 7, and I’m having such fun!

I do have one concern, though:  at the moment I’m on holiday, and therefore spending hours playing with fabric and circles and embellishments is no problem – but what’s going to happen when I have to go back to work next Monday?  Where am I going to find the hours to play then???!  Drat!

Anyway, in the meantime, here are photos of my first seven circles, which I’ll be linking to the January Quilty 365 link-up (where there’s a wonderful selection of circle interpretations to look at).

Day 3’s circle uses little cut-off pieces (waste not, want not, my Scottish mother taught me) from a hexagon quilt I’m working on; Day 5 was an idea I came across in a book I recently had out from the library (and I see others in the link-up have used a similar design); the words in the corner fabric in Day 6 fitted very well with my Word for 2016 (Learn), and some of the thoughts expressed by Elizabeth Gilbert in her book, Big Magic (which I really recommend if you haven’t already read it); and Day 7’s background fabric was created at the surface design workshop I did back in November.  I haven’t yet decided what sort of stitching or edging to do on Days 3-7 – all the shapes/circles have been fused to the background squares, but I will need to sew them on as well to make sure they don’t come adrift in the rough and tumble of constructing the final quilt.

I’m really enjoying this project so far – I love playing with colours and shapes and designs and decorations, and it’ll be interesting to look back each month and track my journey through the year!

 

 

OMG: One Monthly Goal

OMG buttonThank goodness and three cheers for Red Letter Quilts, who has stepped up with an alternative to A Lovely Year of Finishes – it’s called OMG:  One Monthly Goal 🙂

And I’m ready, willing and able to commit to my January OMG, which is to take this batik Disappearing Nine Patch (sort of similar to this one which was my November ALYoF) from its present flimsy stage to a fully completed quilt by the end of the month.  I have the backing fabric chosen, the border fabric chosen, all I need to settle on is the binding fabric, and then it’s all go 🙂

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