Friday, 30 June 2017

Suddenly switching projects

I've stopped working on a few projects abruptly to commence Christmas In July!!

Another small (6 inch) block from The Goblin King is finished, and another 6 are traced ready to stitch in August.

And Toby is started, and almost finished. He reminds me of my own son... walking.. blonde.. blue eyes... doesn't say much (well, not in words we can understand)... looks cute in a stripey onesie, runs around like a garden gnome/playful goblin.

That's the end of the thread I had stockpiled in that colour. Time to go buy another swag of threads.

Secret Garden month 6 has been released. It's four intense centre applique blocks that require deadly accuracy as there are interlocking circles. In August it will be back to embellishing the first 3 blocks, appliqueing block 4, and machine piecing 40 x four inch blocks. Crikey! That should be a good warm up to the very specific centre blocks.

Stay tuned for Christmas in July projects!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Head down...

Only a couple more days left this month, and I am excited to do as much as I can on Diamond Hill, Secret Garden and the Goblin King quilts before July starts.

And when July starts, I will be just as excited to start a new challenge project, and to make Christmas gifts and Christmas themed items during the entire month. Ooh! What a great idea to insert a (hopefully) whole lot of finished items onto the annual list (see the sidebar on the right) in the middle of the year, instead of adding them all at the end. Hee hee.

Some people make gifts all year - one project a month, they call it. I think I've been making gifts all year anyway. Hahahahahhaha. Just really big ones, that aren't all finished yet!

Progress? Well, this is an English Paper Pieced block for a Diamond Hill corner.
It's the first one. And these are quite tiny. They will be appliqued onto a 4 inch finished square.
And this is the back.

A little bit more machine piecing... two out of four chequerboards are finished for the next border on Diamond Hill, which is mainly applique.
And another 36 little diamonds (not all pictured here) for the other two chequerboards.

Soon, the last scraps of purple will be used up, and that piecing will have to wait until I pick the rest of the background fabric from layby.

Secret Garden pieced blocks are being cut more accurately with freezer paper patterns ironed onto the contrast fabric, then rotary cut.

Today I pieced about 10 of them. Only 30 to go, then leaves to be added to each block. Next set of instructions (month 6) will be released in 3 days, and I am still working on month 4 and 5. A month off may be all I need to get really stuck into the blocks again in August.

And another block for The Goblin King stitchalong.

I love that line!!  As the quilt is a tribute to the Labyrinth movie I wanted to include any particular lines that come to mind from the character.

Right! Now it's time to stitch the next EPP flower or another stitchery block!

Head down, bum up... see you in a few days!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching in a whirl

Well, I've really put the boot in today working on a long term project.

It takes about 2 hours to foundation piece 20 little diamond blocks, not counting trimming, pressing or cutting fabrics. I estimate 40 hours foundation piecing all the little diamonds in the Diamond Hill quilt - it's namesake.

I was all ready to join the last two sides this morning... and for some reason the strip of 23 diamonds was too long, by about 2 inches. Almost an entire block too long.

I measured. I remeasured. I measured another bit.

Well... it seems my 1/4 inch seams were too scant. Check it out! The block is 1/8 inch too big! Infact, they were all too big. So I had to restitch all the seams for two sides, and re-press them.

Ooh. Now they fit. Month 5 is almost finished. All I need to do is the English Paper piecing for each corner and the centre.

Oops, hard to reach high enough now to photograph the whole centre
(Mother in law made me this skirt, and I am making her this quilt!)

Also made another 12 diamonds.

And started to join some together to make part of month 6.
Need 4 blocks of 15 diamonds (3x5 arrangement)... but ran out... need to make more!

I will continue with the every last slither of purple background until it runs out. Then I will have to stop piecing them until I pick up the rest of the background fabric on layby....

Heaven knows I have plenty to go on with! I need to venture out to Officeworks to print out the next patterns for both Diamond Hill and Secret Garden - I need the templates. Then the 40 x  4inch blocks for Secret Garden will follow (machine piecing).

It is almost July. For all of July I plan to celebrate "Christmas in July" by making Christmas projects, and maybe some Christmas gifts.

Before Christmas In July starts I'd like to finish another Labyrinth block I am working on. I am keen to finish that quilt by the end of the year.

I also bought a mystery fabric pack to enter a challenge at Quilty Desires LQS.

I got these Australian artsy fabrics. 25cm of each (that's a metre of fabric) in the mystery pack for A$20. All I need to do is make something and email photos into the shop.

I am also putting these greens with it - 3 fat quarters. I have some more too if that's not enough.

Together these make a really fresh combo. I have plans for a table runner and cushion if there's enough fabric for both. I hope there is. As they will be Christmas gifts, I will work on them in July... which reminds me.... the photos need to be emailed to the shop that month too! I must remember the deadline.

Well, that's certainly a big step on the slow journey towards the finish of Diamond Hill. ... linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching. Now you know why it's called SSS, even if you get lots done in one day.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Sneaky stitches

It's so lovely to have my machine home...

Since I picked it up last Wednesday I've left Janome baby on the kitchen table and sneakily stitched (well... snuck a bit of stitching in at odd moments) up another 44 diamonds. Woohoo.
44 foundation pieced blocks to be trimmed

I MUST be half way by now...
Oi! What's this? Little man has been drawing on Mummy's sewing! Too bad I didn't see it until after I finished stitching the block. Such a little helper!
Ooh! He's a cheeky clogs! Dancing to "La Cucaracha" at the Mexican restaurant.
Mmm chipotle chicken and rice

And I tried out test blocks for Secret Garden part 5, some machine pieced blocks. I prefer the grey background with purple contrast cross.
Next for Secret Garden: make 40 blocks and applique leaves

I've realised that I need to cut the strips for the diagonals much more precisely, and pin to fit, to ensure the background is not stretching. Otherwise, if the lattice blocks are joined later in the quilt instructions (I don't know as it's a mystery), the seams will not match.

Ooh, a patworthy pile of fabric!

Maybe I'll get up to these next week!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Deja vu

Sometimes we just need a change of scene. It's been all about Diamond Hill and Secret Garden applique BOMs for the last 5 months.

I started joining in the Goblin King quiltalong at fandom in stitches. About 2 months ago I lost the bag with the stitcheries in progress. Perhaps it was stashed somewhere very special by Master 18 months!! I stopped stitching, hoping the blocks would turn up.

Um. No. I even had to buy a new embroidery hoop.

Now that some people have finished piecing the entire Labyrinth quilt top, and I am feeling inspired to stitch a block or two again.

Look! Here is the new Hoggle block all stitched out. Next I need to print out some more patterns. I only have the worm to work on.

Ooh deja vu. Have I already stitched this? I can't remember.

And so, I turned to the other stitchery project I started this year (also a big project) - The Wish Quilt by Red Brolley (Bronwyn Hayes). It's a free pattern too.

This little block has been stitched onto a piece of waffled red tea towel. I'm loving the contrast in thread colours.

Cheers to all our slow stitching projects... that are hopefully coming together by the end of the year!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

my Janome girl

Hurrah! I've picked up my sewing machine, and it is sewing like a dream. I can hardly believe how well it's working!

The thread cutter is working! It has never really worked properly for very long. There used to be a time when I would specify it when I put it in for a service, but it only worked for a short time afterwards, so I didn't bother.

Well, my baby has had the supreme service now. It even has a piece of felt in the base to cut down on the clunk clunk noise. How precious! And... the original bobbin winder motor had burnt out. Yes. I have machine quilted many a quilt on the Janome 6500. So many bobbins used, that the motor blew up a few years ago! hahahahah. That was replaced about 8 years ago, and the auto turn off on the bobbin winder hasn't worked since then. The previous mechanic told me that it wouldn't work.  Now... Janome baby even turns off on auto bobbin fill! Ooooooh. It certainly makes a difference where you get your machine serviced.

So here is what I got up to on Diamond Hill today at sewcial sewing group .... not too much as we celebrated a 70th birthday, and I had to leave early for the children's sports carnival.

Joined long strips of diamonds to make the other two sides, and now the two halves are joined into one whole piece. That is all ... in over 2 hours! Goodness! I'll have to keep the newly massaged Janome baby on the kitchen table to sneak a bit more stitching over the next week, or I will feel like I cannot keep up.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Revisiting block 2 of Secret Garden

The evenings are pleasantly spent... including an hour or so each night, embellishing Secret Garden blocks I thought were already finished. Ha!

Once one starts embellishing, where does one stop?

There is a need to be careful ... because if too much embellishment occurs, there is a risk the quilt will be seen as "too precious" to use. And this quilt is for me! Ha!

The extra embroidery is making a big difference, especially when tying the different colours in a block all together.

And so, I hereby pronounce this block, finished. I even handwashed it to remove all of the green Artline fineliner.

Memo to self: make sure to adjust brightness when snapping photos of these blocks. With the darker background, the phone camera seems to automatically overexpose the photos.

And aren't the cameras in phones sensational? In the early blogging days we would take a photo on our digital cameras, then run it through various programs to reduce the pixels so the photos would load on screens around the world in a timely fashion.

A couple of days ago I made another 42 twinkly diamonds for Diamond Hill. That is enough to finish the centre when my machine comes back from it's big checkup. The next instructions are on Esther's blog for Diamond Hill part 6. The instructions are in 7 parts - we are almost finished the quilt top! At the moment it's a free pattern. But only for another month or so, then it will be available for purchase. Get onto it now if you think you might want to do it.

So... when my machine comes in, it will be time to finish the centre of Diamond Hill (part 5 finished). Then it will be time for me to start part 5 of Secret Garden, which is also mostly machine piecing.

Just have to keep going and going....

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The F Quilt

Ta-da! The binding is stitched down, and the label is attached. The birthday quilt is officially finished!

Photos were taken in full sun, and are perhaps overexposed. But the quilt is now on its way to its new owner to be used and loved.

The F Quilt

Started in circa May 2005. This was an initial block swap with the SCQuilters. My intention was to finish it for my sister's 30th birthday in 2007. But that kinda didn't happen.

The quilt top was put together circa 2010. Then it sat and waited in Mum's studio for her to professionally quilt it for me. (Going around the beads etc is not her favourite thing to do).

Along with the quilt top and backing, there was a book with the quilt bits. The exercise book travelled around as each person signed their name, and wrote a message to me and my sister about their block. The book is still floating around her studio!!! Somewhere!

I am hoping that when the book is found I can add all the contributors information to this blog post, for posterity's sake.

The instructions were no pink, no frilly stuff, and no flowers please. I provided different colour fabrics for background.

And so, here are the blocks, with what I remember them being about...

I made the first block, F is for Feupie. That's the nickname I give my sister. She calls me Frainse. I wanted this block to set the tone for the rest of the quilt.

F is For Feupie by me

This block is the Feline Fleur De Lys.

Fraise (french for strawberry)
Friends- sisters by birth, friends by choice, dressed in French clothes
Friendly Frog

Feupie and Frainse
out of the Frying pan and into the Fire
Fall (Autumn)

I really love the detailed quilting Mum has done for me. There is water in the fish blocks, fire around the cooking block, rays of light and cross hatching...

The orange sashings have citrus halves quilted on, and the sea coloured border has seaweeds quilted in.... 

The finished result is exciting, and hardly pink or frilly.

I hope you love it Feupie. Happy 40th birthday from Me and my family. xoxoxo

Friday, 9 June 2017

Cheering myself on

I've been spending the last few nights hand stitching down binding, ready to post on Monday for my sister's 40th birthday which was 2 days ago.

 How is it possible to be late gifting a quilt I started 12 years ago? I first started it in a block swap planning to complete all the blocks in one year, then I would have a year to finish the quilt and gift it for her 30th birthday. Dear me.

My Mum has had it on a shelf in her studio to quilt for me on her longarm for 7 years. Hahahahahaha! I am not kidding! It has quite a bit of embellishment on it, so I guess she was putting it off, as it would be a pain to quilt.

But, I can't entirely blame her.... I've had it quilted, and the binding machined on since March! Three months and I still haven't finished it. Admittedly, I have been busy with the self imposed deadlines of keeping up with 3 BOMs (where ARE my Goblin King stitchery blocks???)....

Only one and a half sides left to hand stitch. And then add a label. Come on Rainey!! Go me!!

And so here is what I got up to at social sewing group this week....

Then I ran out of purple background.

I have more on layby, but I think I've already bought 3 metres now, and have another 2 on layby, but the foundation piecing wastes a bit. And I would like to put an extra 4 inch border around the outside... so I think I'll need to buy yet another metre! Gosh!

For now, I can keep making the diamonds as I have little bits of dark purple to use up, IF I have time.... Last night I was very busy at the Bunnings (hardware) Ladies Night making things and winning a lawnmower as a lucky door prize!!

we used an electric sander, we varnished and we screwed - to make a vase or herb sprig holder for the kitchen

we used Dulux waterbased enamel paint to create designs on a memo clipboard

we wrapped and glued rope, we used Seasol gel to repot herbs (this is thyme)

We ate, we listened, I patted the Dulux dog....

We went in the draw to win prizes!!

I won a victa lawn mower! Most toddlers have a plastic one, my lil boy is going to have a real one!

We went to bed late, without any stitching! heh heh

Tonight, it's back to the hand stitching of the binding. Hopefully tomorrow I can show you the finished birthday quilt!

Linking up to Whoop Whoop  and Esther's Blog.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Inspiration and achievements

Sometimes we are just stitching away, day after day... another 20 twinkly 2in blocks for Diamond Hill here,

another 42 there...

hand stitching away in the evenings on the Secret Garden blocks...

and suddenly! Wham! There is a big difference in the look of the quilt you are making! Yippee!

All four blocks now have the diamond border and baskets added around each one.

I've just been making twinkly blocks whenever I can.

Even with these block edges done, there are lots more to make - effectively two borders worth.

Then I found I had enough twinkly diamonds to make two edges around these.

At this point, I am pretty chuffed to see it all laying out.

There are strips of purple to go between the blocks as sashing, and around the outside of that.

And I am not quite through making half of the diamond for the entire quilt. It is certainly a fitting name "Diamond Hill".

And as I stitch away at the mystery BOM Secret Garden by hand in the evenings, I am now contemplating the next set of instructions for it, which are pieced blocks with applique. And I am thinking of doing something 3 dimensional. I have set my quilt in Wonderland after all.

Tomorrow at social sewing group, I am keen to sash this quilt centre, and maybe even make a start on machine piecing the Secret Garden blocks. It's a good idea to try out something new and different when I'm not running after my darling 20 month old treasure.

Ooh, and we dropped into one of our local Botanic Gardens, and enjoyed the divine inspiration.

Plants breathing fresh air into us, and fresh ideas into us.

Check out young man's cactus shirt and frondy hat...

Ahhh.... deep breath in... the serenity!