Humbug bag how to...

The French General quilt came back from Elaine Kennedy my friend and long-arm quilter.  Then I had to buy a special shade of red  for the binding...then I had to find the time to stitch it, then ... the battery in the camera was dead!  It is now all finished and safely winging its way to its new home in Sydney.

 Unfortunately it was evening when I took these photos, so the colour is a bit off, but not as bad as it looked through the view finder at the time.  DH was putting kids to bed, so I didn't dare interrupt to ask for him to play quilt stand for me, so please excuse the clothes line!

I had a great day Saturday stitching with the After Dark Quilters, despite the heat - I think it made 39C. We have been blessed this summer as there have been fewer then usual days of scorching heat.  Having said that, the heat finished off five of my plants that were on their last legs.  I planted them in the new back garden last autumn, and they were carefully fertilized, mulched and on a watering system, so that is really disappointing.

I have had a few people ask me about the Hum bug bags, so I decided to do a quick tutorial.  This is a picture of the bags I finished Sunday.  We had a mini working bee on Saturday, but mostly we quilted the squares.  I had lots of help, Heather had cut out heaps of fabric and wadding, Kylie donated more, Julie and other members of our group helped with the quilting of the bags.

There are other tutorials available on the web but this is the method that I use, there are variations...and its not my original idea.  There is also a pattern you can buy if you care to Google Hum Bug bags.
 Cut out a square of backing fabric, wadding and top fabric, all the same size.  I cut mine at 13' square, but next time I am going to make them 15".  Pin (normal pins rather then safety) and quilt as desired....perfect for practising free motion quilting, as you can see from my example.  Trim back, to 12.5" (only because that's the size of the square I have) and zig zag around all four edges to stabilise.
 Add a zip down one side of the square.  The zip needs to be longer then the square.  Take your time, you are sewing through MORE layers then you would normally when inserting a zip. I like to top stitch the zip as well.
 Dont trim the zip yet! Now's the time to discover that you should have lined up the pattern more carefully!
Check out the different coloured zips that look equally good as contrasts...some of these zips were donated by Caroline from Goolwa, thank you on behalf of Peggy and Girl Guides South Australia.
TURN THE BAG INSIDE OUT.  Undo the zip half way, then stitch down the side seam at the TOP of the bag eg. Where the zip would sit when it is CLOSED. I like to do a straight stitch (back stitch at start and end) and follow up with a zig zag on the edge.  Drive carefully over the zip, nice and steady, no need to rush!
 NOW you can cut the end of the zip off...just the one end though!
 Then flatten out the other end of the bag (zip should still be half open) so the zip sits in the middle and sew that seam, again stitch carefully over the zip - otherwise you will break your needle!  Trim off the zip end.
Congratulations, one hum bug bag completed!  These bags are being donated to the "Girls on Track" program run by Girl Guides South Australia and Smith Family.  Each program has 15 girls attend and their ages vary between 7 - 11.  Several programs are run each term, so that's a LOT of hum bug bags required!  Lots of ladies quilted squares on Saturday and that enabled me to put zips in and finish off 15 Sunday,  ready to pass on to to Girl Guides.
I would like to post some pictures of what some of the After Dark girls got up to Saturday, but the photos  are on my phone...and I havent read the book yet to find out how to get them onto the computer!
Happy quilting, Sue.

Please don't be offended!

Please don't be offended if you read my blog, but I stop following yours!  Usually the number of blogs I follow reflects the amount of time I have.  Presently I need to cut back following the end of summer holidays.  Plus we have lots of issues with our Internet connection, which I thought might have been fixed by now...but alas no! Ah modern technology, don't you love it...but cannot live without it! 
 I cut these novelty transport squares out in January, after watching Bonnie Hunter start a star quilt ... I figured this project came under "kids quilt" on my wish list!  Please note Bonnie makes BIG quilts, but this pattern is for a cot quilt - well its 46" x 46".  I don't need any more cot quilts but figured I could make bigger for a friends son.   
  Sunday I made the star blocks.  So far this is all out of the stash, including the yellow checked background, which I thought I would NEVER use...but works OK there don't you think?  The reason I love Bonnie is that she combines all sorts of colours, patterns and gets it to this has been encouraging for me to step out of my comfort the need to use up some "ugly" fabric! Now all the flying geese are suppose to be scrappy, multi coloured points and backgrounds, but that was way WAY out of my comfort zone, especially when I had big enough scraps to make a few!   
Next step was to decide which fabric I will use for the sashing? I had decided on the black and white check  but the orange in the centre is looking better then I had thought...what do you think?  Oops just remembered I am making this quilt BIGGER, so better go back and make some more stars!  Or perhaps I could make a big border???

 A finish for February...a mug rug with a heart tea bag!  Thank you Lisa, who sent me the link to the blog Where the Orchids Grow for the free pattern.  Phew, I promise I did get it finished on Tuesday in time for St Valentines I made DH's favourite lamb roast for dinner and a chocolate ripple cake for dessert, which has probably added 2 kg to the scales, but boy it was good!

Happy quilting, Sue.

The other stuff I have started this year!

 Red and white stars, small and a bit fiddly but oh they make my heart sing!  I had the worst time trying to decide which fabrics to choose out of my stash, as they are small so I needed small prints. 
 This pattern was free and came from All People Quilt they call them Sawtooth stars, but I call them Ohio stars, especially as that is on my wish list!  I used a white print for the background, one of the few that I had in my stash, because I find it really really hard to buy white fabric.  In fact this had been relegated to the chuck out pile, until Bonnie Hunter suggested that you cut a big square, fold in half to make a triangle and then sew it into the corner of your quilt back, to use as a label...genius...only one folded edge to hand stitch down and uses up ugly fabric.  However I hadn't got around to doing that...luckily!  Besides I have a zillion pre printed quilt labels...most of them I don't like and I am beginning to see their new future on a trading table at some point.  So Bonnie's idea will come into use, but I HAVE to get over my fear of buying white fabric first! So back to the stars....they were flat until I decided to try steam in my iron....never again :-(   So they have been sitting in my sewing room for a few weeks, neglected.

 But they are red n white and therefore have the potential to fit the February theme (without hearts!) ....or I could start afresh and make this.....February block from Aprils Making Ends Meet blog.

What do you think?

 In the meantime I have cut out some squares (think they are 4.5") to make a kids quilt...well really a cot sized quilt....using a Bonnie Hunter free pattern....yet these blocks (centres of stars) are still sitting in my sewing room ignored and unloved as I mentally leap from one option to another, what to do next ! :-)

This is another project I started with enthusiasm in January.  The houses at the top are from the blog challenge Building houses from scraps which I was really excited about, until I made a few.  They are gorgeous, peoples interpretation of them are gorgeous, including the myriad of cute animals and people they put in windows...BUT...I cannot do scrap...I love scrap....BUT I couldn't bring myself to make all the sides and roof from different fabrics, they HAD to coordinate, which too time, which reduced the fun, so I stopped, rather then drive myself insane.  As you can see they are small, 3.5", so fiddly, perfect for scraps, perfect project for the year, to make a dent in my colour coordinated scrap boxes.    Perhaps if I have therapy first I MIGHT be able to cope?! LOL!

The houses at the bottom of the picture are also foundation pieced but from a pattern published in Australian Patchwork Quilting magazine, by Kerry Gadd.  They are also fiddly, because they are so small, but there was not pressure to make they multi coloured.  Still I was driving myself nuts because as you can see I couldn't think of colour ways that didn't involve, blue sky, red roof and green grass!

Then finally as a means of regaining some sanity I have been piecing wadding scraps and cutting fabric to make hum bug bags.  What's a hum bug bag you ask?  Well its basically a quilted purse with a zip, perfect for pencils, toiletries or small ones work for make up, coins or what ever you want really.  I want to make 15 as they are given to the girls who graduate from this amazing program...Girls on Track run by The Smith Family and Girl Guides Australia.  I am hoping to make my 15 before my next all day sewing day, so I can start a new lot, with the help of my fellow quilters!  As life is indeed serendipity we received three HUGE bags of fabric scraps at my charity group last week, with the instructions that we can do what we want with it...Elaine looked at me and I knew she was thinking....little stuff = hum bug bags.  Hmm there wasn't "much" little stuff (only about 1 large shopping bag!), but boy did we get some beautiful fat quarters... yes I will be scoring as many scraps as possible!  Oh and we got all her wadding scraps, bonus! :-) AND then another lady came and promised us her "old" machine, because she had brought a new one.  BONUS!  Given that we are using sewing machines that Elaine literally picked up from the curbside (hard rubbish), then  a sewing machine that has recently been loved, used, is working AND apparently has a quilting foot is a total DELIGHT..!
Happy quilting, Sue.

Two flimsy finishes and a cot quilt

I managed to spend most of the day in my sewing room on Sunday. I haven't been able to settle into sewing for any extended period for awhile now as domestic duties have been taking precedence. So I was really pleased to be able to sew the border on the French general lap quilt.  couldn't find any yardage of the French General at my local shop (and I was in a hurry) so I went with this lovely cream floral on latte brown.  I tried lots of reds, but they didn't work, but I think a red binding will really finish it off.  Now to just get it basted and quilted...any ideas about patterns?  I really want to avoid stitch in the ditch and straight lines, I need to get out of my comfort zone, this quilt deserves better!
Next, out came the  Pink n Yellow l'Twister cot quilt.  I really wanted to do some fancy free motion quilting , but everything I tried looked awful. In the end I went with stitch in the ditch, which is fine, but not as exciting as it could have been.  I also stitched 1/4 of an inch inside the pin-wheels on the borders and the odd one in the quilt...but that was as far as I got, too slow! As I want to make another of these quilts I will have to investigate some alternative quilting patterns on line, surely there is some way to get a bit of "movement" on this pattern, that will make it stand out...not that the yellow doesn't already scream "look at me"!  
Then after three days of terrible interruptions to our Internet connections I finally gave up hope of checking  blogs (or posting) and headed back to the sewing room to face up to the Celtic Quilt.  It only needed the last three blocks squaring up...but I had been avoiding doing this as I had borrowed a friends 18" square for the squaring of the other blocks.  But I managed it with my long and short ruler, taking a deep breath and not rushing.  So then it was simply a matter of sewing on the last two rows and the remaining corner triangles.  To think this quilt top is finally finished is a big relief to me, I was feeling guilty that I had missed my previous self imposed deadlines.

I just need to piece the backing and then its off to the long arm quilters.  My long arm quilter, Elaine is booked up at present, finishing a commissioned quilt...she has designed, pieced and is nearly ready to custom quilt it...and its king sized!  Hopefully the Celtic will be at the front of the line for quilting in early March.

 In the meantime I have been oohing and aahing over the quilts in this book, given to me by my friend Kylie.  I had never brought any of the pre cuts available until I brought two charm packs back in November.  And as you can see by the French General quilt, I was lacking in ideas as to what to do with one!  In a few weeks I have "all day quilting", 12 hours of stitching, eating, laughing and general quilty fun.  I am hoping to start something from this book and/or something off the wish list!

Already the pressure of one project a month - theme based on the season or month is weighing heavily on me!  I already have a heart cushion and mug rug, so I trying to find something to make (quickly!) that fits into the February theme that's not St Valentines day!  So I am signing off to go searching for pictorial stimulation and free patterns out there in blog land, happy quilting, Sue!

Kim Diehl star in a churn dash blocks

I was just popping in to read some of my favorite bloggers, after a six month absence!  Then I saw that there was this draft post, so figure...