Two more finishes for August …

I mentioned in an earlier post that August had been a productive month, and that I would tell you about it later – and that ‘later’ has now arrived 🙂

Project No. 1

When I had the wee stutter on my August OMG project because I didn’t have the right thread for quilting it, I was so in the sewing zone that I just didn’t want to stop … so I delved into my UFOs/WIPs and pulled out some string blocks which I had made up about two years ago, and sewed them together into a small lap quilt.  I found a piece of fabric in my stash which was just the right size for the backing, did some very simple diagonal quilting, and then bound it with some lovely blue striped fabric which I’d recently purchased as backing for another project (see more about that in Project No. 2 below).

The front ...

The front …

 

... and the back

… and the back

Project No. 2

This was another one I fished out the UFOs/WIPs box – an OBW (One Block Wonder), also started two years ago.  At that time I had just started learning about OBWs and this was my first attempt – now I know a little bit more about what kind of patterned fabric works best for this type of project, I can see that this fabric isn’t really suitable.  (Good lesson – part of my learning curve 🙂 )  Despite this, I’m still quite pleased with the end result, which this time was quilted with some simple wavy lines (getting adventurous … 🙂 )

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The front …

 

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… and the back

Both of these will probably end up as donation quilts.

I was definitely on a roll in August – OMG achieved plus two more finishes! 🙂

 

The sequel.

Or Take 2.  Or Plan C.  Or Epilogue.  Or whatever you want to call it …

You may recall this fabric:

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Which I posted about here yesterday, recounting the difficulties I was having with using it for my Plan A project, which was an OBW.  When that didn’t work, Plan B was a 4-patch instead.  Well, we’re now up to Plan C, and I think (hope) this one is going to work.

I was still keen to achieve a sort of kaleidoscope / repeat pattern effect if I could, so I decided to use some 5″ batik charm squares I had on hand, combine these with the original fabric in half-square triangles, and then see what I could come up with.  Here’s what I had designed by earlier this afternoon:

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OK, so it’s not the whizz bang OBW I originally planned, but on the whole, I’m actually quite pleased with my retrieval of this project.

(I really wanted to punish that fabric, you know, for being such an awkward, reluctant, misbehaving, unco-operative child – I just wanted to stamp on it and cut it all up into lots of little bits and throw it in the fire and say, “There now, see what you made me do?!  It’s all your fault!”  …  Thank goodness I resisted that temptation! 🙂 )

It’ll probably end up a smaller quilt than I originally planned, due mainly to the fact that I’ve used up all the batik squares I had (managed to get another two rows done to add to the three in the photo, so it’s currently five rows of four blocks).  I’ll add a border or two, possibly even using some of the original fabric as one of the borders; but as a rescue job, it’s not too shabby, yes?  (This jury here thinks so, anyway.)

As the saying goes, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.   Cheers!   🙂

 

 

 

 

The build up. And the let down.

Don’t you just hate it when you get all excited about a quilting project, and then things don’t pan out the way you thought they could / would / should?  I’ve just gone through that:  the build up, the let down … the vision, the reality … *sigh* 😦

Step 1:  It all started with this fabric.

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Bright.  Cheerful.  Full of intriguing possibilities.  I hummed and hahed for a whole two days before I succumbed and took home four metres of it.

Step 2:  Ran it through the online OBW (One Block Wonder) Design Helper and got even more excited about it.  (Excuse the washed out colours, this is a scan of a print out.)

OBW design 2017-07-09

Look at all those wondrous hexagons!  Oh, this IS going to be fun! 🙂

Step 3:  Put aside current project (July OMG – only have the binding to finish off now, so fairly safe bet that I will still be able to get it finished before the end of the month).

Step 4:  Lay out new fabric (stroke, pet, admire).  Work out pattern repeat on fabric, work out where to cut strips, cut first six strips, layer one on top of the other, start to pin together in order to cut six-layered triangles for hexagon construction.  Hmmm.  Pattern repeat seems to be a smidgin off in a couple of strips.  Coax gently persuade force fabric to line up.  Nope.  Not gonna work. Wonder why … wait a minute – how come these two strips aren’t the same width from selvage to selvage???

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What the ….???? *sigh*  No wonder I’m having trouble lining up the design repeat!!

Step 5:  Put the kettle on for a cuppa, I need some time out.

Step 6:  Decide to put aside the idea of using the fabric for an OBW.  Think about alternatives.

Step 7:  Plan B.  What about … a 4-patch??

Step 8:  Layer four strips together – seems to line up better than six strips – start cutting squares for 4-patch blocks.   Hmmmmmm (again).   Design does not appear to have been printed consistently throughout fabric.  If I cut on lines of design, blocks differ in width from one selvage to the other.  If I cut blocks the same width from selvage to selvage, design lines are not straight.  *sigh* 

Step 9:  Put the kettle on for another cuppa, I need more time out.

Step 10:  The jury’s still out on this one.  I’ll get back to you when the verdict’s in.

*sigh*

 

 

 

Most Glorious Autumn Day!

It sure has been a Most Glorious Autumn Day here today 🙂  And, even better, I got to enjoy it at home 🙂 🙂  Stepped outside onto the verandah this morning, and couldn’t resist taking a few photos of my confused clematis, half of which seems to know it’s autumn, while the other half seems to think it’s spring …

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(D’ya like the spider web? 🙂 )

 

 

 

 

 

So, apart from taking those photos this morning, I’ve been working on my April OMG – the 60-degree triangle scrap quilt – and having lots of fun putting it together.  I’ve realized I’m going to need more triangles than I thought, but that’s OK, it’s not as if there’s a shortage of scraps around here 🙂  Luckily Monday is a public holiday (25 April is Anzac Day in New Zealand and Australia), so I’m going to get a four-day weekend to work on it rather than my usual three, which is good news given that the end of the month (and therefore the OMG deadline) draws nigh …  I also have to make a few more circle blocks for the Quilty 365 project – I’m a bit behind on that one again as well.

So, you’d think with all that ‘work’ to do, I wouldn’t have wasted any time getting on with it … but I did:   I’ve just spent the last hour or so playing on the computer!  It was quilt-related playing, however, so I think I can be forgiven, yes? 🙂  A member of the Facebook One Block Wonder group to which I belong posted a week or so ago about a website which shows you how your fabric might look as a one block wonder design – so this afternoon I thought I’d check it out, and oh, I did have fun!  I used some scans of fabric in my stash and ‘created’ OBW designs using the programme, and then saved the designs as snapshots, together with the scan of my original fabric – here are a few examples to show you what I mean (original fabric at the top, OBW design below):

Possible OBW 1 Possible OBW 2 Possible OBW 3 Possible OBW 4 Possible OBW 5 Possible OBW 6

Interestingly, some beautiful Australian fabric with lovely aboriginal designs which I bought in Brisbane last year,  and which I trialed with my special mirrors at the time and was sure would make a fantastic OBW, turns out sort of … meh … but you may not agree …

Aboriginal fabric OBW

I’ve previously used my Kaleidoscope Kreator programme to get an idea of what some fabrics will look like as OBW designs, but I think this programme is easier and better, especially the option of being able to save your design as a snapshot together with the original fabric.  I can see a few more hours being wasted put to good use with this one! 🙂

And with that, it’s time to prepare my evening meal and then settle back into some more sewing – progress photos will follow at some stage over the weekend 🙂  Have a good evening, everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of goodies!

What with my recent month’s holiday in Brisbane, sales at Spotlight back home in Christchurch, and special online offers from Grandmother’s Garden Patchwork & Quilting in Hamilton, there have been quite a lot of fabric purchases in my life recently (and quite a lot of money going out of my pocket … but then I think to myself that in less than a year I will be retired, and I will need all that fabric for all the quilts I’m going to be working on in all that time I’m going to have on my hands! 🙂 )

Actually it hasn’t all been fabric purchases:  there have been other useful things as well, such as tools to help me practise and master free motion quilting; books to help me learn diamond chain quilting, and building block quilts, and dazzling patchwork quilts Sassaman style; and books to start me off on colouring for mindfulness, and to help me get back into tangling, and coloured pencils to help me do it.  And some of these have been gifts as well, so it hasn’t all been purchases, either 🙂

So, are you ready for a quick show and tell? 🙂

Fabric first.  My younger sister in Brisbane had discovered two new quilting stores since I was there last year, and since our older sister from Wales was with us for the month as well and she also sews (although she’s not into quilting (not yet!), the 3 of us took the opportunity to visit said stores, and yes, I bought fabric …

And we also visited a lovely quilt shop in Maleny, where I was delighted to find this:

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Which I took along with me on a visit to another quilting shop, where it proved very useful in helping me make up my mind about the suitability of this gorgeous Australian fabric for a one block wonder (OBW) quilt:

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(How could I resist that fabric when it’s going to give me such exciting hexagons???!)

And then when I got back home to Christchurch in mid-October, there was Spotlight with 40% off their quilting fabrics; and Grandmother’s Garden Patchwork & Quilting emailing me about their clear-out specials to make room for new fabrics, so, yes, I bought some more …

And then there were the quilting books and the tools:

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And the colouring and tangling books and pencils:

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One thing I can say for sure – in the next year, if I use or tackle even half of the fabric and projects pictured above, I’ll be doing well:  but wait, oh, just wait until I retire this time next year, and then see what I get up to! 🙂

For those who live in or near the Brisbane area, the quilting shops we visited were:

East Coast Fabrics, 14 Paisley Drive, Lawnton, Q4051 (website http://eastcoastfabrics.com.au/) – their fabrics are quite a bit cheaper than most other stores, good quality and a good selection of all types of fabric, ie not just quilting.  (They also have branches at Burleigh, Maroochydore and Springwood.)

Spotlight – I’m sure most of you in Australia or New Zealand will already be familiar with this chain of stores, where I’ve never had any trouble finding fabric to my liking!  And their prices are reasonable, too, although the quality is sometimes a little lacking – quite a bit of their quilting fabric is imported from India, Pakistan or Korea, and I find the quality not as good as the fabric I buy online from the USA, for example.  (They have stores in a number of cities.)

The Quilters’ Store/The Embroiderers’ Store, Shop 4, 286 Evans Road, Salisbury, Q4107 (website https://www.quiltersstore.com.au/) – don’t be put off by the exterior of this very ordinary looking store, it’s an absolute treasure trove inside!!  Over 9,000 bolts of fabric, it goes back and back and back once you’re inside – truly amazing!  This is where I got the Australian fabric, and there were several others in that range that tempted me as well – but I resisted – with great difficulty! 🙂

Maleny Magic Patchwork and Quilts, 924 Maleny-Montville Road (website http://www.malenymagicpatchworks.com/) – this is where I bought the fussy cut mirror, and they have a lovely range of fabrics and notions.  It’s on the Sunshine Coast about an hour’s drive north of Brisbane, so a little far to go unless you combine it with something else, which we did – a lovely visit to Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World (website http://www.malenybotanicgardens.com.au/), which was fabulous and well worth the drive! 🙂

Make It Hobby and Craft, 70 Rostrevor Rd, Boondall (website http://www.makeithobbyncraft.com.au/) – nice range of batik and other fabric and very pleasant staff.

In the meantime, it’s back to my November ALYoF project, which is going well – but I do keep taking breaks to look at my books, and stroke the new fabrics, and think about what my next project might be … 🙂

 

 

 

 

Yay, another project done and dusted!

ALYOF logoI felt quite pleased with myself last Thursday, as I managed to get my April project for ALYoF (A Lovely Year of Finishes) fully completed by the end of the month, rather than just to the flimsy stage which I had set as my original goal.  Having a 4-day weekend over Easter, as well as a 3-day weekend towards the end of the month for Anzac Day observance certainly helped. 🙂

It was a good learning curve, this project, and at the end I probably felt about 60% happy with how it finished up.  I definitely need to work on matching my seams better, and need to take a little more care with the cutting process as well, but it was still a fun project to work on 🙂  I ended up doing some big stitch quilting to tie it all together, using a variegated thread which created a pattern of its own on the reverse side which I found quite pleasing.

First up, a photo of the finished quilt:

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Next, a photo of the reverse – you can see the sort of ‘improv’ effect of the variegated thread 😉

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And finally, a close-up of the big stitch quilting on the front and back:

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As I mentioned in a previous post, there’s a Facebook page for OBW fans (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1435295876732150/), and I’m really enjoying seeing some of the projects people are working on.  I’ve already decided on my May ALYoF project (coming up in a separate post), but have been sorely tempted to change my mind and try another OBW after seeing some of the beautiful projects being created …  However, since my intention in taking part in ALYoF is actually to finish off some of my UFOs, I’m going to be strong and resist the temptation!

It’s been a lovely weekend weather-wise here in Christchurch – actually, the forecast looked pretty good for the whole of the country – unlike Brisbane on Friday night, when the Anzac rugby league test between the Kiwis and the Australian Kangaroos had to be postponed due to torrential rain and a waterlogged pitch.  The match was rescheduled for this evening and is due to start in about 20 minutes – our record in these matches has been horrible, but that doesn’t stop me saying, Go, Kiwis! 🙂

 

 

 

This and that … and the other

Last night I plucked up the courage to attend my first quilting meeting, of the Christchurch Quilters group, and it was fun!  The evening included a short meeting, discussion on upcoming workshops and classes, show and tell, supper break, and a guest speaker, who thoroughly entertained everyone by telling us how we could all afford to buy oodles more fabric simply by reducing our electricity usage, thereby saving money to spend on fat quarters!  It’s amazing just how much electricity all those little stand-by lights consume over a year – you should have seen the pile of fabric it would be possible to buy if we unplugged our TVs, DVDs, video machines and computers, installed eco bulbs, wrapped our hot water cylinders and turned off lights when we left a room!  I actually do a lot of that anyway, but still picked up a few tips and tricks to reduce my power usage even further – not that I actually need to buy any more fabric, but, you know, saving the planet and all that … 🙂  Anyway, I really enjoyed myself and will definitely be going back for more (they have a wonderful library of books and magazines as well, which I shall examine more closely next time).

Thanks to the 4-day break over Easter I’ve made very good progress on my OBW (one block wonder) quilt, and have now sewn all the rows of blocks together and added 2 borders, the second of which is the original fabric.  Here’s a photo of what it looks like so far:

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Yesterday I purchased the backing fabric, so I’m ready now to make the sandwich and decide on how to quilt it …  I’ve seen one example online that has hand-stitching repeating the triangle shape inside each of the triangles in the hexagons, which looked really neat but would be quite a lot of work; however, I do have another 22 days of the month left before the ALYoF deadline for April, so maybe it’s possible …?

 

In the meantime I have discovered, through a WordPress post by fellow-blogger and OBW fanatic Oneblockwonderwoman (thanks, OBW²!), that there is a Facebook group called One Block Wonder Quilt Forum – imagine that, a special group just for obsessed people like me! 🙂 🙂  I’ve already learned a thing or two from the group which I shall try in my next OBW – because there definitely will be a next one 🙂

Over the Easter weekend I also managed – finally – to move and stack (and cover) the remainder of my firewood that was delivered at the end of February, so now I’m all set for the winter weather.  It’s been amazingly mild still, we even got up to 26°C over the weekend, which is pretty darn good for the beginning of April.  There are some lovely colours in the trees now, and beautiful light at the beginning and end of each day (when the weather is fine, of course); we went off daylight saving time over the weekend, so definitely heading into autumn.

Anyway, enough blogging for now:  there’s an OBW calling out to me to be finished! 🙂

PS You’d be right if you were thinking my OBW is a little bigger than “small quilt/wall hanging” size – somehow it just grew like Topsy, and is now about 4-foot square, so closer to a lap quilt than a wall hanging … *sigh* I did get a bit carried away …

My April ALYoF project

ALYOF logoGiven how I posted lately (see here) about my fascination with kaleidoscope quilts or one block wonders (OBWs), I thought I’d attempt one of these quilts as my April project for A Lovely Year of Finishes (ALYoF).

As I mentioned in my previous post, I already have two OBWs cut out, so logically I should have chosen between one of them … but I didn’t.  I have now cut out a third OBW, and will work on this one and the second one during April, with the aim of getting one of them completed to at least the flimsy stage by the end of the month deadline.

Here’s a photo of the two fabrics I’ll be using to make the OBW hexagons:

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The top fabric is a recent purchase – beautiful, old-fashioned floral print, I just love it.

The second fabric was a purchase several years ago from Trade Me (for those of you outside New Zealand, this is our local equivalent of E-Bay) – it was a package of several strips of material (26 metres in total) left over from sheet making, and over the years I’ve used it in several scrap and strip quilts, so it’s nice for a change to be able to use it as the sole fabric in a project.

Both of these will be small quilts, perhaps wall hanging size – unless I get really carried away … 🙂

I’ve made a start on sewing the hexagons together, and have discovered it’s a lot more pernickety than I expected, so thank goodness for the 4-day break over Easter, which should give me a good start! 🙂

One more, just one more game!

Over the last six months or so I have become rather smitten infatuated besotted obsessed intrigued by kaleidoscope or one block wonder (OBW) quilts.  I am fascinated by the look of the intricate patterns that can evolve from judicious cutting and re-piecing of fabric slices or wedges.  Take this example which I discovered while blog surfing the other day at http://melinful.blogspot.co.nz/2015/03/one-block-wonder.html

Jim's OBW

And this beautiful one at http://www.thistlethicketstudio.com/2015/03/dance-of-water-lilies.html caught my eye as well:

Dance of the Water Lilies

(The border fabric in each of the above examples is what the fabric actually looks like before it’s cut up and reassembled into hexagonal or octagonal shapes – isn’t it amazing how different it looks?)

Anyway, I now have two of my own OBWs under way, one started while I was holidaying in Brisbane last October, and the other started last weekend.  (I know, I know, I’m supposed to be finishing off my March ALYoF project, but sometimes the creative spirit just takes off on its own little adventure, you know?)  And so today, when I stopped in to Lincraft to pick up some quilting tape and thread (so I can work on that ALYoF project this weekend), and saw that they had 50% off their craft fabrics, well, how could I resist??  Quite right, I couldn’t!  So there will be another two OBWs in the works at some stage, and in due course I will share photos of my progress on all of them 🙂

In the meantime, though, the March ALYoF project is progressing well, and I’ve actually achieved more than my stated aim (to get it to flimsy top stage) at the beginning of the month:  the quilt is now ready for quilting, which I will start this weekend.  Whether I manage to get it completed over the next four days is a little doubtful, but you never know – I say doubtful because there’s a bit of a stumbling block in the way come Sunday, when there’s a rather important cricket match on  …  Yes, the NZ Black Caps managed to beat South Africa in a thrilling semi-final match on Tuesday (oh, what a game it was!), and last night Australia beat India in the other semi-final, which means that we get to play Australia in Melbourne this Sunday, to see who will win the 2015 Cricket World Cup.  Australia have already won the World Cup on four previous occasions, while this is New Zealand’s first time in the finals, so the odds are a little stacked against us.  However, given the way the Black Caps have played in the tournament so far (8 wins from 8 matches, including a win over Australia in the pool play leading up to the finals), I am nervously hopeful of a victory for us.  My sister in Brisbane, of course, is hoping for an Australian win:  however, we have promised that we will still talk to each other at the end of the game 🙂  Go, Black Caps, you can do it!