Busy, busy, busy.....

I have been so preoccupied of late that I neglected to show you this wonderful gift of a block keeper I received from my Aunt.
My Aunt is very  talented in both embroidery and  patchwork, but mainly embroiders.  They visited in September and she sent me this gift as a thank you present, but it arrived while we were in Fiji.  Did you know that when you put your mail on hold with the PO (and pay them good money) that it doesn't count for parcels?  Yep that's right, the fun stuff still gets delivered, but the bills stay safe!  
 Lucky for us we have lovely neighbours who spotted more then one precious parcel lying in full view of the world by our front door (the other parcel contained fabric!) and they kept them safe.  So my block holder works well, keeping 2 UFOs safe while I ponder the realities of miniatures and my wonky less then perfect 1/4" seams that resulted in points being lost :(
On a positive note I made a quick dash to start another project from this years wish list...an autumn themed table runner.  Thought I would use up some of my home made charm squares, but this didn't make much of a dent in them.  Still once its pressed and quilted it will do nicely for the table.  Now back to finishing the binding on my Dresden Plate quilt before the calendar ticks over and we are in December!!
Happy quilting, Sue SA.
PS I received another tiny but cute pressie in the mail, but the camera keeps flashing and I cannot get a good picture this morning, but I promise one over the weekend!

Dresden Plate - back from the long arm quilters

I took delivery of my Dresden Plate from the long arm quilter this week, thank you Elaine! 
  I think I am in love!
And then I received some quilty love, from the Grade 1 class that I helped to make a quilt, isn't this the most gorgeous "quilt" card you have ever seen! 
The joy is in the giving, but its nice to receive such a heartfelt thank you :)
Happy quilting, Sue SA.

The good, the bad and the ugly of FMQ

I know Lego sewing machines don't have anything to do with FMQ, but I figured it was worth showing off!
 The modern quilt demanded my attention on Saturday, after I had fluffed the best part of the day away.  I promised myself that I would finish it before Christmas. That was unlikely to happen, but the newsagent sold me the new copy of an USA quilting magazine on Friday. 
 In the magazine they had a very similar looking "modern" quilt, with lots of blank canvas for FMQ.  But the best bit was this magazine includes diagrams on HOW to achieve that quilting pattern.  So I tried squiggles.
 And then I experimented with squiggles that go both directions.
 And I attempted waves.  The tricky bit was getting around the corner.
And I tried to fill in the blank spaces with square FMQ.  I must doddle in squares, cos all my previous attempts at FMQ fillers have ended in tears, but this pattern and I hit it off. 
Now I am not saying that I mastered FMQ, or that any of this is even good, but I managed to quilt most of the quilt, without killing anyone, harming small furry animals, resorting to alcohol or having a hissy fit.  There was unpicking involved, but I was fairly laid back about that as well...the Guild will not be recruiting me to teach or display my FMQ anytime soon, but I am one happy "nearly finished" modern quilter.  Happy quilting, Sue SA.

Retail frenzy at the Quilt show

I don't drink, smoke or gamble, but I do need to feed my fabric habit from time to time!  These are my purchases from the Quilt show last Friday.  However prior to going there I had a delightful morning in Norwood, having coffee, cake and chat with Shay (Quilting in my Pyjamas).  The noisy cafĂ© wasn't the place for patchwork show and tell, but hopefully we can do that next time! 
  I can assure you the red "jelly roll" (e.g. not a Moda pre cut) was NOT a bargain and I completely assign the blame to Stacy for that purchase!  Having said that, I have long desired a red jelly roll, so it was the perfect find.  Someone asked me what I was going to make with it...d'oh, who knows!  Hmm perhaps that Irish Chain quilt that I have always intended to make? The little light will be perfect for hand work and is cordless, so great for group meetings and camp.  The matching layer cake and charm squares are for a quilt pattern which hasn't been released (by a well known SA quilter who displayed the quilt in the show - noting that it was intended as a pattern release) so I guess they were "needed" but might be sitting in the cupboard for awhile yet! 
Obviously some of the wool felt was for making the pattern for the Santa's.  I like making one new Christmas decorations each year, but I really needed to do it in July!  I have enjoyed this hand project every evening for a week and now just have to work out how to "blanket stitch" them into three D shapes...that's the only instruction that alludes me!
This is Sunday's purchases.  Yes I went to the quilt show twice, as I had a "date" to meet Sue (Quilted Hugs).  Unfortunately we only had a short time, but viewed the quilts together and did a bit more
shopping.  I brought more wool felt, as I would like to make a autumn themed wall hanging and it was very cheap. The bundle of blades, new permanent pen (with fat nib for easy label writing) and oil "pen" I consider all essential tools of my trade!  Sue and I also brought these sewing machine needles that the sales man said were "superior" to anything else...if it helps my machine quilting, bring it on I say!  I also got some papers for 8 pointed stars, another pattern, a few fat quarters and some rick rack. 

To continue confessing my retail purchases I brought this beautiful layer cake from Ann (Periwinkle Patchwork) back in October, but the dark blue fabric and wadding are recent purchases, to finish the two kids tops I made recently.  
Phew, glad that is all over, now to get down to some serious sewing,
Happy quilting Sue SA.

Tidying up always results in...

a new project!  My mission last weekend was to reduce the two boxes and three bags of wadding scraps and left overs.  I sewed small wadding scraps together and cut out the parts for lots of Chook pot holders, ready for crazy piecing.  I cut larger pieces (e.g. the left over edges from large quilts professionally quilted) down into 11" and 9" squares ready for some more QAYG blocks.  These two projects are the sort that I pick up and start when I want to sew, but don't want to think too much...e.g. I am tired!  Also good for those 35+C degree days in late summer.
Having reduced the wadding stash by two bags only (!) I moved on to the novelty fabrics.  I was glad that I had previously cut up half of my novelty stash into set sizes.  And because I didn't need to sort or cut, I could decide on a whim to just start stitching!  I sewed the 5.5" squares of animal fabric into rows and before I knew it I had enough for a child's quilt. 
So then I had to find a border and luckily attached to the wadding leftovers of a big quilt was some blue fabric that worked well.  I like being able to use another couple of blocks in the corners when the border fabric is a bit short!
I then moved on to pre-cut 5" transport fabric squares, so made lots of four patches.  The leftovers from the Maisy quilt, are bright and worked perfectly as sashing.  Just needed cornerstones to match, so I dug around and found the scraps from my Bug in a Bottle quilt!  Hmm bugs and things that go!?
And this border is the leftovers from the backing of my Blue Twister quilt! Which I also used to cut binding for the leftover small twister blocks, which I turned into a table centre mat and a mug rug!
 So I quickly quilted these up and once the walking foot is on I couldn't stop!
I decided to finally bite the bullet and just quilt the reproduction hexagon table runner, even though I am not sure how to tackle the edges.  I suspect they might just get cut straight, but I have a bit of tidying up to do from my free motion quilting (e.g. unpicking) before I worry about that!
There was one appropriate backing in my stash for the kids quilt, but I am pretty much out of backings, so off to the Quilt show today to see if I can nab a bargain back for the other top. 
Happy quilting, Sue SA.

Mini basket quilt

 Before we went to Fiji I got decided to reward myself with a new project ; )
I had been debating about these mini basket blocks for quite some time (free pattern).  Once again I didn't read the pattern completely through, so it was only after I made the first one that I realised they were 2" finished!!!  Yeah I know, then I made another 8!
 
I was going great guns until #8, then had to do some unpicking, #9 was more unpicking the stitching.  Hence these will become a mini wall hanging, not the lap size quilt the pattern was for! Check out the Temecula Quilt Co blog....they have loads of great free patterns and eye candy from their latest quilt show - blue and white quilts, just to die for!
While we were in Fiji I stitched 95% of this stitchery, which was an undisclosed UFO  (sorry I didn't iron it).  Now I have fessed up it might have to stay a UFO as I cannot decide on a border colour...which do you prefer red, green or gold?
 I brought these two cute Christmas decorations at a market on Thursday....not sure why I have started to think about Christmas...it gets earlier and earlier every year!
And this cute fabric was purchased last weekend at that giant retailer that frustrates me with their appalling customer service.  DS2 has requested a pirate quilt (after seeing the fabric).  I brought fabric for a new quilt for DS1 months ago and it hasn't seen the light of day (nor have I decided on a pattern!) yet.  I think I need to make some quilts for my boys next year....in the meantime I am trying to clean up the sewing room, which is resulting in new projects!
Happy quilting, Sue SA.

Grade 1 Students make a Quilt

Just prior to our holiday I had a mad panic and realised I needed to start joining the QAYG blocks the Grade 1 kids made in Term 2 and 3.  I machine stitched as much as I could and then started hand sewing down the miles of binding.  The QAYG method was perfect to use with 6 and 7 year old kids, as they just had to sew straight lines....some were straighter then others!  I used applique glue to secure the backings to the wadding, so there were no pins.  I didn't fuss about thread colour but I did make the kids measure that the string was long enough to cover the block.
 I used the same print I had used for my son's QAYG rainbow quilt, as I thought the bright colours on a black background would help tie all together.  Now I am not sure it matters as the repeated use of the same scraps helps.  It was interesting to see the variety of colours and prints the kids were drawn to.  The girls were definitely mad for pink and purple....as the mother of two boys it was a miracle that I had sufficient!
 The kids voted on this setting, but I was a bit sad that I didn't have one extra block to make it a row wider rather then longer.  Each child got to pick a background of their choice and all the strings they used on the front.  All the wadding (great way to use up left overs) and fabric came out of my stash and string bag, except for the binding strips.  I showed it to the class yesterday and the kids and their teacher loved it! 
The teacher was especially excited when she realised that it was two sided quilt.  When I was joining the blocks I tried to make sure that the same fabrics were not touching, but I didn't worry about which way they faced.  I just have to add a label and its done.  The kids are voting on a charity to donate the quilt to, after it is shown at assembly and the schools Art show next weekend.

I don't think I would make a good quilt teacher of adults, but I would certainly be prepared to teach the kids again, it was fun.
Happy quilting Sue SA.

Red and Cream quilt at Christmas time, not for Christmas!

The lovely Ann from Periwinkle Patchwork gave me this book back in May.  I have read it several times and changed my mind about which quilt...