Sewing machine pixies

This is what I wish my life consisted of; having cups of tea (and sewing) while the kids are in bed! I am missing my weekly sewing sessions with another Mum, however she is working more(eg paid work) and hence has less sewing time. On the other hand I should have more sewing time, as the kids are just that bit older and starting to play together/self entertain. However seem to being achieving very little at present.
I have spent some time sewing sheets, mattresses, pillows, pillow cases and quilt tops for the local occasional care centre's dolls corner. I just have to make one more pillow and quilt the quilt tops. I would like to say that they are cute doll quilts, but in reality my scrap bin produced two bright/loud quilts and one pastel. The staff assure me the kids will love them, we will see.
I have unpicked and resewn some of the $5 Court house steps, so it is one row thinner and 2 blocks longer. This makes the top a generous table runner / table cloth for my sideboard and will hopefully protect the french polished surface. I coupld have had this and one cot quilt and the 3 dolls bed tops pinned if I had remembered to buy wadding before I went to quilting last week! Oh well, perhaps next fortnight.
I am keen for some machine quilting lessons, but dont seem to be able to find a class. So decided I would try and get some practise in at home instead. However this effort has been thwarted. Despite sucessfully piecing yesterday the nasty sewing machine pixies have been playing with my machine and the tension is (#*$&#(*(!!! I was trying to quilt a nappy wallet (my own design), one of the occasional care staff put an order in for. However the top tension is out and I cannot seem to fix it, well I tried but my temper got the better of me and Mr20mths needed a nap. So posting a blog seemed like a better idea (and cuppa + TimTam). I might tackle this problem tommorow, we have a 2nd birthday party to attend to this afternoon and I think I had better do some housework to work off the TimTam and my bad temper before I socialise!
May your machine tension be perfect and your points all sharp, happy quilting, Sue!

Hot glue rocks

Just sneaking in a "finish". I dug the hot glue gun out and glued the hot pink braid around my applique roll, and it looks great. That set off a roll and I glued up the kids board books (broken spine), a magnet on a train and a broken tail off an aeroplane. These were all things that the cheap super glue had failed on. So then I got cheeky and tried to glue the cutter back onto my Sew Easy ruler with built in cutter, but it didnt work. So am I still disappointed about not being able to use this piece of equipment, especially as I was hoping to start cutting strips for a log cabin and this was to be my time saving tool. Guess its down to my very clever "try to fix anything, cos I'm a farmer" Dad! Now how to persued him to drive a 10 hour round trip, with glue in hand?

Shopping frenzy

Luckily I went to quilting on Wednesday night, after missing last fortnight, because someone reminded me that there was a quilters garage sale on Thursday - as you can see I brought a few bargin priced books ($15) and a small quilt top for the grand sum of $5!!!

I am not sure what I am going to do with the Court House Steps top, as it is only 31" x 45"; too big for a table runner, perhaps a small table cloth? Or I could add more blocks to square it up and make a lap quilt, what do you think? However I am going to be good and include it on my UFO list.. even though I didnt start it! It is made with really nice fabrics, totally my favorite country colours, however I doubt I have much fabric that would match, as most fabrics are repeated in each block. Perhaps a plain border and then a pieced border in similar colours? The possiblities are endless, the time factor remains to be seen!

So BEFORE I went to the bargin garage sale, I had been to the patchwork shop (three marine prints) and had a small splurge! In my defence I didnt have a good start to Wednesday... I had to fish a toy out of the toilet... so retail therapy was required. And then we had a mobile shop visit our group, selling fat quarters (Lynette from Quilters Quarters) which I couldnt resist, as she had some more novelty fabrics. When I made the animal I Spy I lacked cats, dogs and horses. So I have now added some to my stock, but that doesnt quite explain why the fish, turtles, polar bears or frogs (bright pink they are well hidden in this pic) had to come home with me. I think I might have to make another animal quilt to justify all these new purchases. And of course spots and stars dont require explinations, i think its just compulsory to have them in your stash. Luckily DH is very understanding and doesnt seem to notice the newly washed fabric on the clothes line.

HINTS for washing fabric: Lessa Siegele told me that a quick swish and dunk of fabric in hand hot water is sufficient to tell if the fabric is going to run or not. You can just spin them dry in your machine after that and hang then out to dry as normal. This method avoids tangling fat quarters with your undies and the 10,000 loose threads that develop on the edges, resulting in less fabric for sewing. Wouldnt you know it, it has only taken me 10 years to appreciate that this method (also favored by my mother!) is superior to throwing new purchased fat quarters into my weekly wash. It just goes to show you should listen to your mother!
If you live in Adelaide Lessa is running a second Quilters Garage Sale at the All Saints Church Hall, Bedford Square, Col Light Gardens on February 18th from 10am to 3pm. If it is going to be 36C plus then it will be postponed to March 18th at the same venue. There were plenty of books, heaps of patterns and fabric left after I had found my bargins. All proceeds are going toward their Bedford Fund raising event. Lessa and Faye also run a fantastic Mystery Quilt workshop, 13th or 27th March for more information see Quilt Guild SA website.

Luca's and Rail fence quilts finished

I started this rail fence quilt top about three years ago (pre sewing room), then late last year I finally completed the rest of the quilting (I had run out of hot pink thread). At Christmas time I took it away with me, intending to hand sew the binding down. Well I had one side left to do and I left it at my parents, as the car was packed to capacity. So on my last trip home I finally sewed down the last of the binding. I hadnt been in a hurry because nobody was having a baby, but now we have a few friends expecting again, so they are in luck - so long as they have a girl!

I forgot that I hadnt shown you a completed picture of Luca's Attic windows. Mum completed the last bit of stippling on it for me. I did all the borders and three of the "windows", plus stitched all the ditches, but ran out of complimentary threads. Plus I wanted a bit of a lesson on trying to get my stippling a bit looser and larger. I am still having issues with tension, but decided I will only resolve that with a class, so I am now on the look out for some close by.

So while we are on the subject of "finishes", this is a photo of the doll carrier and quilt. Do you think I can rate it a finish if I dont hand sew the underneath binding down?

A big thank you Karen, it was fun (despite the binding, my fault for using heavy duty interfacing!) and Mr3yr + Puppy and Peachy like it just fine! And now that I think about it, DH hasnt said one word about his son carting around a pink doll carrier with his bedtime soft toys in it! Even though they all ended up in our bed this afternoon, plus every quilt, pillow and cushion the darling boy could find... all to help Mummy have a nice "sleep"... the things I do in the name of motherhood! In fact I have gotten very good at pretending to sleep, wonder if it will ever count on my resume when I want to get a paying job?

I spy charity quilt

Not that long ago in the heat I cut out 2 x 6 1/2" squares from every bit of animal fabric in my stash. When I exhausted my stash I called on my fellow Wednesday night patchworkers and they donated me sufficient squares to make a single bed size quilt, seen pictured here. Well it was close, I did have to dip into the fat 1/8s I was saving for my son's bug in a bottle quilt (will make one day!). Anyrate I have tried to take a good picture of it at home, but I didnt have the space to lay it out. Luckily I had taken it to Mum's place (for show and tell), as she has rigged up (well Dad did) old flannel sheet, two cup hooks and a old curtain rail - to make a design wall in her sewing room. Ignore the bit of blue fabric on the side, that was being auditioned for one of Mum's quilts, which I forgot to take a photo of. Mum also kindly donated a large length of fabric, which I can use to piece a backing for this quilt. Last year a family member kindly donated some wadding, which came from his workplace - he assured me that it was the leftovers from a customer order. Anyway I gave half to Mum and gave the rest to my Thursday craft group, where I help a small team of ladies make quilts for charity. Our fearless leader has a long arm quilting machine which she uses to quilt up all the tops we make, for free! As we rely on donations of fabric the only thing we have to buy is wadding, so it went to a good cause. Didnt think anything more about it until Mum offered me back her share. "YEH!" I thought I could use it for my charity quilt, however Mum tells me that the wadding pill's badly and it is very loftly..thick or perhaps "fluffly" is a better description. Anyrate not having sewn with it before I was wondering if anyone in blog land could offer me some advice as the best way to quilt with this type of wadding on a domestic machine? I am hoping to give this quilt away to a child (going to let my Wed friends decide on a charity) so i want it to also survive regular machine washes.

Single bed quilts

I had a lovely time away, catching up with my family and also taking my UK farmer friend on a whistlestop tour of the family farm before he headed off north for the rest of his holiday.

Unfortunatly, or fortunately (depending which family member you ask) my mother is also a patchworker, infected by myself, she is now well and truely addicted. So my trips home always involve show and tell and sometimes we get some time to sew, in between entertaining small children and my lunching/catching up with friends. Mum is on a misson to finish three of four quilts she is displaying in her groups show in April. So I dont think it was really on her radar to finish these two quilts, but I couldnt help myself when I saw them! The red and teal quilt was all pieced but just needed the rows completing and sewing together. When I insisted we finish them, Mum completed this one. However she wasnt keen on tackling the other - the blue and green quilt had all the blocks completed but they were different sizes, hence she had stuck them back in the box and they had become a UFO. I trimmed the blocks all to the same size and them sewed the top up. They are flannel, so stretched a bit, but come together OK, given that nobody really know how the pattern was suppose to go! Just to make sure that they didnt go back in to the too hard basket, I also stitched up the left overs and added them to a piece of flannel that she had brought for backing, to make it wide enough. So hopefully next time I go home there are two quilted flannel single bed quilts...we will see!

I sewed the binding down on the attic windows quilt for Luca, and his grandfather came and picked it up. Luca lives in Canberra ACT, and will be visiting at Easter so he has to wait a few more months before he gets to lie on it. I have ticked this project off my to do list, but feeling frustrated it is only one thing given how much sewing I did do! I also handed over Phoebe's quilt top (already pinned) for Mum to quilt and post off to Sydney when its done. I did finish half the binding on the doll basket, but Mr 3yrold has already taken posession and isnt keen to give it back! Mind you I am not keen to have it back, I broke three needles trying to do the underneath binding and the machine still complained and jumped stitches, so it is not a solid seam. At this stage I dont think anyone is going to mind, but will try and reattempt one evening when I am not so tired and Mr3yr is in bed.

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...