Quilty 365: Day 244

Confession time:  I totally ignored my circles last month, so I’ve done a big catch-up over the last two days, and completed another 31 for August, bringing me up to 244:  only another 118 to go to complete my 366 for the year!

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I’ve also cut out quite a few more circles to use for September, so hopefully it won’t be a major exercise again at the end of the month.  While I was looking for some backing material for another quilt a week or so ago, I also came across some smaller pieces of fabric which I felt justified in treating as ‘scraps’ for the purpose of this project, to add a little more variety.  I’ve also started ‘making’ fabric by sewing smaller scraps together and then cutting circles out of that – all good fun!

Quilty 365Linking up with Audrey at Quilty Folk here – I always enjoy looking at how others are getting along 🙂

 

 

Quilty 365: Day 213

Unlike June, when I didn’t get a single circle made, July has ended with the full complement done for the month, bringing me up to 213 circles so far.  213!!  I’m actually quite surprised that I’ve made it this far 🙂  But I have, and I’m still enjoying the challenge.

Here’s a photo of July’s efforts:

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(The two interlocking circles (which I slightly reshaped as hearts) on the last square for the month are in memory of my lovely wedding day forty years ago today (31 July), when Bryan and I got married at home in my parents’ garden, in Zimbabwe.  He was one special man and I still miss him very much 🙂 )

Not only did I complete all the circles for July, but I was very diligent and also cut enough squares and circles for at least another month (possibly even two), so there’ll be no excuse for me missing the deadline!

Quilty 365  I’ll be joining Audrey’s link-up party at Quilty 365 just as soon as she’s ready for us 🙂

 

 

 

 

Quilty 365: Day 182

Quilty 365Having completely failed to complete a single circle in May, I feel I have slightly redeemed myself by managing to catch up with both May and June, and have completed 182 circles as at 30 June:  whew!!

I’m still enjoying the challenge, especially the opportunity to search through my stash (oh, the stroking and petting of fabric that goes with that!) for the whimsical or unusual fabric which says, “Look at me, pick me, use me, ME, ME! 🙂  I reckon having hung in this far I’m definitely going to be able to make it through the whole year – there may have to be one or two more catch-up sessions along the way, but this project is definitely lots of fun!

A couple of special circles in May and June:  the circle with the big ship in May (circle 10 – 2nd row, 3rd from the left) is a nod to my big brother K., whose birthday is on 10 May.  K. has this thing about sailing, and is always talking about buying his own boat – not one the size of the ocean liner in my circle, I hasten to add, but this was the closest thing to a boat I had on hand.  And then the last circle for June is to celebrate my son Simon’s birthday on 30 June:  like me, he is a cat lover, and I have him to thank for Henry Lee now living with me 🙂

So, here are May and June’s circles!

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Quilty 365: May’s circles

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Quilty 365: June’s circles

Linking up with Audrey’s Quilty Folk linky party here.

Quilty 365: Day 121

Although my main focus for this month has been my OMG 60-degree quilt project (see here), I’ve also been trying out a few new things with my circles, so April has been a month of discoveries and learning (not to mention a whole lot of fun! 🙂 ).  Along the way there have been some good experiences, such as exciting finds of Kaffe Fassett fabric in my stash … and some not so good, such as a brain fade when I carefully – oh, so carefully – ironed the Wonder Under to the incorrect side of ten circles of African fabric which I had just cut out … duh!!

Anyway, here’s a photo of my April circles all together:

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And here are highlights of some of the special ones for the month:

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1 April

1 April:  This one is in honour of my dad, who died on this day in 1994.  Pa was always a keen gardener, and in later life became an avid hibiscus grower, spending many hours trying to create new varieties by cross-pollinating from one hibiscus to another.  (At least, I think that’s what he was doing – my visits home by this time were few and far between, so I wasn’t always there to observe what he was doing, but I seem to remember it involved wrapping the flower heads in stockings once he’d done the deed … presumably to stop any other pollination from occurring – or maybe it was to collect any seed that resulted?)

 

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23 April

23 April:  This one is in honour of Mama, whose birthday was on this day, and who died in 1986. The little hearts were created by a heart-shaped paper punch, which failed dismally when I tried to cut just the fabric, but agreed to co-operate when I ironed on some Wonder Under and applied just a touch of force in the cutting process … 🙂

 

 

 

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28 April

 

28 April:  And this one is for my big sister J, who now lives in Wales, but who farmed next door to the folks in Zimbabwe for many years and was a champion dahlia grower and exhibitor:  happy (belated) birthday!  This circle is very similar to the one I made way back on 2 January for her daughter, my niece (also a J) – only this time, instead of attaching the circlet of flowers by sewing them on, I got really cunning and used fabric glue for the first time.  I was pleased with the result, although my spacing wasn’t quite as good as I would have liked. The flowers are attached to each other when you buy them, and I didn’t really want to cut each one out, so I kept the string of flowers intact and just glued and manoeuvred them into place one at a time; however, this did mean that by the time I got back to the beginning of the circle and realized my spacing was off, the ‘Undo’ option wasn’t really available as the glue had already set …  All part of the learning curve, I guess!  (The flower is, of course, a dahlia, which I printed onto fabric specially for the occasion 🙂 )

And finally, a few of the experimental ones for the month:

 

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The first two were a trial to see how easy it was to attach little strips of fabric with Wonder Under (this was before I remembered I had some fabric glue) – it was tricky, but doable.  The last two are photos of two of my Zentangles from previous posts (back in 2014, I think), which I printed onto fabric and then selected where I wanted to cut out the circle.  These were both printed onto exactly the same white fabric, with the difference in colour coming from the light at the time the photos were taken (from memory, the first was taken indoors at night, and the second outdoors on a sunny day – interesting to see the difference, isn’t it?).  I was quite chuffed with the way these turned out, so you should probably expect to see more of these as the year progresses 🙂

All in all, a good month! 🙂

Quilty 365

 

Linking up with Quilty 365, courtesy of Audrey of Quilty Folk – thanks, Audrey!

 

 

Progress, of one form or another

It’s been a great weekend weather-wise in this neck of the woods, with mild autumn temperatures and no rain (although there is some forecast for tomorrow).  I mowed my lawns this morning and also moved a supply of wood onto the verandah to be close at hand for the coming week – it’s been just a little bit nippy-skippy in the mornings and evenings in the last couple of weeks, and I’ve lit the fire (log burner) quite a few times at night to keep Henry Lee more comfortable inside … 🙂  Despite the coolness in the air, I think autumn is probably my favourite time of year:  I love the beautiful light in the mornings and evenings, which makes for great photos of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’ … 🙂

I’ve been making good progress on my April OMG, and am really enjoying this month’s project (yay!!).  On Friday I beavered away creating more triangles and filler rows, until I had this nice little supply ready by yesterday morning:

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Being the impatient are-we-nearly-there-yet sort of person that I am, I decided this was enough to at least make a start on construction of the first row … so I took the two largest triangles (as per the instructions posted here), and sewed them together:  ta-da!

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(Those of you who were paying attention to my last post will have noticed my use of some of the Kaffe Fassett fabric I discovered, I’m sure … 🙂 )

And after that there was no stopping me!  So by the time I went to bed last night I had two rows completed:

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(… not to mention a few neck and shoulder aches and twinges as well … 😦  But it was definitely worth it!)

So this morning I thought I’d ease up on the sewing and do some chores outside first of all (hence the lawn-mowing and wood-moving efforts), and then after lunch I settled down to make some more circles for my Quilty 365 project, as I have totally neglected them so far this month. It was fun using some more of the Kaffe Fassett fabric (I had specially put some aside from the strips, ‘cos I knew I’d get some great circles out of it), and I’ve now caught up to where I’m supposed to be with them – 108 circles on Day 108 🙂  I did have a bit of an issue with the fusible stuff I’m using now, though, with the fusible (ie, sticky) layer detaching from the paper while I was marking and cutting out the circles to iron on to my fabric circles … no idea why, maybe because I’ve had it sitting around for about a year?  It has no label with it nor any instructions, so I’ve just assumed it’s the same stuff and followed the procedure I used last month – it seems to be doing the job OK so far, and the circles will be sewn down in due course, so it shouldn’t be a problem.  How sad it is that I have to go to work again for the next four days, when it’s all going so well!  Never mind, next Monday is a holiday here in New Zealand (Anzac Day), so that’ll give me another good run at both projects 🙂

I’ve spoken before about how much I appreciate what the libraries in Christchurch provide for their readers – one of the things I enjoy is their various blog postings, eg about book recommendations, special interest items and library events, and their school holiday programmes (in the school holidays starting tomorrow, for example, they’re running sleepovers at the libraries for children’s toy animals, with photographs to be taken and posted of the shenanigans the toys get up to when they’re ‘left on their own’ at night – sounds like a lot of fun to me!).  They also post about important anniversaries, and one of their blogs last week caught my eye in particular.  It was headed up, “First National Council of Women, Christchurch 1896”, with this photograph (courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington):

National Council of Women, Christchurch 1896

It was a world first – a national meeting of women who could vote in parliamentary elections.   (Note that on 19 September 1893, after two decades of campaigning, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to grant the right to vote to all adult women – a number of prominent suffragettes of the time were members of the group in this photo.)

Their aim was to ‘unite all organised Societies of Women for mutual counsel and co-operation, and in the attainment of justice and freedom for women, and for all that makes for the good of humanity’.

Over the course of the six days of that first meeting they passed a number of resolutions, including:

  • the need for minimum wages
  • the conditions of divorce for man and women be made equal
  • the private ownership of large tracts of land, and these kept locked up by absentees, is a wrong inflicted on the people, and is detrimental to progress
  • the abolition of capital punishment
  • the continuation of the present system of free, compulsory, and secular education, and the expansion of technical education
  • that women be eligible to serve on all juries
  • a system of Old Age Pensions, or Annuities, should be established

Incredible to think how far ahead of their time these women were with these resolutions – and how much progress we have to thank them for.  I’d like to think that I would have been part of the suffragette movement had I been alive at that time – but I’m not sure I would have had the courage and determination to keep fighting in the way they did:  thank you, ladies! 🙂

 

 

Quilty 365: March circles

Thank goodness for this project, which helped me retain some sanity in March while I struggled with my OMG project (you can read about that here).  This circle thing is fun, serious fun, and I’m so glad I decided to be part of it 🙂

Here’s what I created for the mad month of March:

DSCF9531 cropped(Hmmm – lots of big (and little) yellow and orange circles there – trying to talk myself into a sunnier frame of mind to get over my funk with the OMG project, perhaps?)

There are a few circles I particularly want to highlight.  My younger sister has been in my ear about my lack of “African circles”.  (Given that we were both born and raised in Zimbabwe, and both of us have a great stash of African fabrics.  I have to say she’s done much better at using her African stash than I have – the majority of my African stash is still nestled pristinely in two large bags labelled “Possible Out of Africa Project 1” and “Possible Out of Africa Project 2” – you know what it’s like when you have this beautiful fabric that you just love so much you don’t want to cut it up?  That’s me …)

Anyway, this month I bit the bullet and made some “African circles” – here they are picked out, all in a row:

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And I love them!  I think the feet one is my favourite … so far, anyway – because I’m sure there will be more of these in the months ahead 🙂

And the other circle I wanted to highlight is the one I made for the last day of the month, 31 March:

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Isn’t she beautiful?  Jersey cows have featured in my life from way back when.  I think I’m right in saying that I was actually named after a Jersey cow (or was it a calf?) my parents used to have in the UK, before they emigrated to Southern Rhodesia in 1949; and at the age of 2 or 3, I featured on the front page of the daily Rhodesian newspaper with my older sister, as we got up close and personal with a Jersey cow at the Salisbury Show in the early 1950s – here we are:

Salisbury Show

With Father being a vet, and given that he used to do a lot of  “PD work” (standing for pregnancy diagnosis – I think?) for dairy farmers far and wide, it was fairly certain that each year when we went to the Salisbury Show, a visit to the dairy sheds was always part of our visit, and the Jerseys were always our favourites.  Many years later, my folks started their own Jersey herd, as did my sister (she of the picture above) and brother-in-law, who farmed next door:  and this circle from 31 March was specially made for that particular brother-in-law, who loved his Jerseys and whose birthday was yesterday – many happy returns, A! 🙂

I’d also like to add that this was another successful attempt at printing onto fabric on my home printer – love it that I can do this!  I had to laugh when I was searching via Google for a suitable photo of a Jersey cow, though – even though I specifically searched for “Jersey cow image”, I was also offered images of frogs, chickens, goats, Friesian, Ayrshire, Hereford and Highland cows, lions (what the heck???), dogs, a leopard, doves, teddy bears, a car, and a cowboy on a horse!  Didn’t quite get to the elephant stage, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if one had turned up sooner or later … 🙂

I’ll be linking to the March link-up party for Quilty 365 when it’s available – I think Audrey must still be working on completing her March circles … although to be fair, March might not actually be over yet in her neck of the woods … 🙂

Quilty 365

Update – here’s the link to the March link-up party! 🙂

 

 

Quilty 365 – March Linkup

Here are individual snaps for circles 46-60:

Plus a photo of all of February’s circles (I noticed I’ve turned some of them round to a different position in this photo, but the final decision on orientation will come much later in the piece!):

Quilty 365 - February 2016 circles

Quilty 365 – February 2016 circles

Linking up with Quilty 365 for the March Linkup 🙂

Quilty 365

 

 

Quilty 365: Week 6 (and other things)

Quilty 365I’ve had a bit of fun with some of this week’s circles 🙂

I love laying out all the blocks I’ve made so far – difficult to imagine what it’ll look like once I get all 366 done!  And as for trying to figure out how I’m going to sew them together – will it be three 4-month quilts, four 3-month quilts, two 6-month quilts, or one whole year’s quilt??  Yikes!  That would be one humongous quilt – and how the heck would I quilt it on my domestic machine??!  Think I’ll put those concerns away for now and just enjoy the process of the day-by-day creations 🙂

Having decided on my OMG goal for the month (see here), I haven’t done a single thing with it since getting the quilting sandwich pinned together last weekend 😦  It’s been sitting glaring at me all week, while I:

  1. Played with my circles;
  2. Worked some more on my half-square triangle project, sewing together all the half-square triangles into rows and then the rows together into a flimsy;
  3. Pretended to look for suitable binding fabric for the OMG quilt but ended up sorting out and gathering together possible fabrics for another yet-to-be-decided project (they all just went together so beautifully, I couldn’t put them away again …);
  4. Worked on a wonky block quilt (this sneaky project inveigled its way onto my sewing table a couple of weekends ago, and keeps waving at me!).

In other words, The Procrastination Bug bit me Big Time.  I think it’s deciding on how I’m going to quilt the OMG that’s holding me back:  I’d like to try something a little bit different, but I’m scared that it won’t go well and then I’ll have to spend hours unpicking it …  Maybe I should just go for something simple and get it done! 🙂

Lovely three-day working week last week, with Monday being a holiday (Waitangi Day observance – 6 February is the actual date of Waitangi Day, but they Mondayised it last year, so if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, we get the Monday to observe the holiday), and then my usual Friday off.  The first cricket test between Australia and our Black Caps started in Wellington on Friday, and I regret to say that the Aussies are on top at the moment 😦  However, there are another three days to go yet, and cricket can be a funny game sometimes! Last night I watched the NZ Breakers (basketball team) thrash Melbourne United in Auckland, with a rematch in Melbourne to come on Sunday.  After that we head into the semi-finals round, with one 3-game series between Melbourne United and the Breakers (finishing 1st and 4th in the preliminary round respectively); and a second 3-game series between the Perth Wildcats and the Illawarra Hawks (finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively).  The Breakers have won 4 of the last 5 Australian NBL championships, although they looked down and out until a couple of weeks ago, when they came off a 6-match losing streak and (finally!) started to play some great basketball.  Hopefully they can continue and pull it off for Win No. 6.

Anyway, time for me to bite the bullet and get to work on February’s OMG:  Procrastination, Get Thee Gone!

 

 

 

 

 

Quilty 365: Week 5 (sort of)

Quilty 365When I say ‘sort of’, it’s actually Days 32 – 38, ie part-way through Week 5 and part-way into Week 6; but then, who cares? 🙂

I kept the circles a little more ‘traditional’ this week, but sorted out some different scraps to use, and also used some charm squares that have been sitting around for a year or three at least – the fact that they’ve previously been passed over many times in the past when I’ve been choosing fabric for quilts means this is a good way to put them to use!  One of these days I will start to tackle some of the stitching to hold the circles, etc to finish them off – I’ve done very few so far.

(You’ll notice that I didn’t forget to include a cat one this week 🙂  Don’t worry, with all the different sorts of cat fabric I have in my stash, there’ll probably be a different cat block each week for the rest of the project!)

Just finished watching a very exciting cricket game, the third ODI (one-day international) between NZ and our cuzzies from across the ditch, Australia.  It was a 3-game series, and it was 1-1 going into today’s game, so the series was on the line, not to mention it being the last ODI for our inspirational captain, Brendon McCullum, who will be retiring from the NZ cricket team after the two test matches which will follow the ODI series.  Anyway, I’m delighted to report that NZ won!!  I think it would be fair to say it was probably against expectations – and there was also a little bit of controversy during the game with regard to one of the Australian wickets – but it was a really exciting game, and a very fitting farewell for a great captain.

I managed to make reasonable progress on my OMG project yesterday and today (today was actually a public holiday, so no work) – got the borders sewn on yesterday and the backing sorted and cut, and then today I cut the batting and pinned the three layers together.  I think I’ll baste them together as well before I tackle the quilting.  Haven’t quite settled on what sort of quilting (ie, big stitch or machine) or pattern – since the majority of the fabrics in the quilt are florals of one sort or another, it might be nice to have a simple orange peel or flower design, but I need to put some more thought into that and decide if I have the time to do it all before the end of the month deadline.  (Although it won’t be the end of the world if I don’t get it done in time – but it would be nice, all the same! 🙂 )

How sad that work has to interfere with all this creativity tomorrow … *sigh* 😦

 

 

 

Quilty 365: February linkup

I decided to hold off posting photos of Week 4’s circles, and just wait until the end of the month and then post for the the monthly linkup party.  It’s been so much fun looking at everyone else’s circles for the month, and wonderful to see how others have interpreted the challenge – there are some beautiful creations there!

Here’s my offering for the month, with a few additional comments on some of them (they’re arranged in a week-by-week pattern, left to right, starting with Week 1 at the top):

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A deeper rummage in the scraps supply turned up a few new fabrics to use both for backgrounds as well as circles, although I have also delved into the stash for a few of the later blocks 🙂

Week 4  didn’t actually feature a lot of creativity, now that I look back on it (I blame the Australian Tennis Open and some exciting cricket matches for the Black Caps for distracting me …) – although my stash raid did uncover the rather cute birdhouse fabric used mid-week on Day 25 🙂  Day 29 (bottom left) is in honour of my third brother, Nigel, who sadly passed away nearly nine years ago, but would have celebrated his 70th birthday that day.  And I realised when I got to Day 31 that – despite being a cat lover from way back – I didn’t have a single circle (or background) that was cat-related:  so I had to fix that in a hurry! 🙂

Linking up to the February Quilty 365 Linkup – you should check it out!

Quilty 365