Spring weather in August

Its a beautiful day and I want to spend it in the garden. My sewing room looks like a bomb hit it and the rest of the house needs cleaning, but I would prefer to be outside gardening. I am not much of a gardener but I do enjoy the physical activity and the end results = flowers. We brought this house two and half years ago and have really been anti gardeners in that time eg. we have cut down trees and let plants die. Not that it was our intention to be such brown thumbs but the garden had become reliant on regular/heavy watering, not something we could keep up with water restrictions and me being heavily pregnant. Also the beautiful big trees had been planted too close to the house and boundary for their size. So in that time I have been creating little pockets that were time friendly, low water users and inexpensive = succulants.
Now that the boys are older and can "help", we are finally spending more time in the garden together. The aim is to put in alot of native plants that flower, cope with our long hot and dry summers and help feed our birdlife, who sadly have had to move else where after we reluctantly destroyed some of their homes. We have put in two water tanks with the plan for a third so we can water outside of summer bucket only restrictions. A friend (thanks Granny Marg) gave me some purple/blue iris's, and this is the first to flower. I would love to have it inside as a cut flower but there are about six other buds on the stem, so I will have to enjoy it, for an extended period in the garden, instead.
This is a close up of the Art to Heart Harvest Table runner that I freehand machine quilted last weekend. All I can say is that "its all good practise!"

I now need to trim the edges and bind the table runner. But after I do that I do have a few pieces that still need finishing as they sit over the top of the binding - can you see the spring onion on the bottom?

Happy quilting Sue SA.

Quilting the quilt

Another productive weekend, helped along by attending "all day sewing" on Saturday with my patchwork group. I had not given much time to thinking about what I would work on until Friday night, then it was a case of panic! But because I had finished so much lately I decided to stick to my guns and complete some more pesky UFOs.

This attic windows animal quilt I had previously pinned, started quilting and then got distracted. I have just added this quilt, its mate and my new project (hexagons) into my WIP list, not sure why it wasnt up there already. I had left over window frame pieces from previous attic windows quilts, so this animal verison and another transport top were created.

So on Saturday I/we pinned three table runners (two were mine), one attic windows (transport) cot quilt and one large lap quilt (fellow quilters first quilt). I felt really good about this, but alas no pictures as yet. So fest your eyes on this, "one I prepared earlier"! I am only sorry I dont have a close up picture of the quilting.
I had neglected to mention that I had finished this Tumbling Blocks cot quilt some months back, during my blogging black hole period. I completed the top in a class with Lessa Siegele in May (?2008 -I wrote the date on my class notes but not the year!) but never got around to quilting it. Following my quilting lessons earlier in the year with Lorraine Cocker I was all fired up and needed something to let loose on!
Important HINT and "note to self", never neglect to attach a label IMMEDIATELY once the quilting is completed. Because when I went to write the label for this quilt I realised that I couldnt remember what type of batting I had used. I am hoping I can tell when I unpick a corner of the binding. If you are asking "why?" this is so important = the type of wadding used is important in how I wash my quilts. And because its a cot quilt and will be washed alot, I dont want it to shrink/felt/fall apart all because I put the wrong washing instructions on it.

For the rest of Saturday I did some free motion quilting around the animals on attic windows cot quilt, some of which I unpicked today. However Sunday I managed to get the rest of the quilting done and the binding cut out, which went on today. I also quilted the Art to Heart Harvest Table runner but it still needs some attention. In the pattern some of the applique goes over the top of the binding - a good idea if you follow the pattern and do raw edge machine applique, not great if you decide to needle turn! I started this table runner while I was on maternity leave waiting for my eldest son to be born and he was late! I thought that I was smart by picking a small project, especially as it was hand work, but ever since I have delayed completing it, fooling myself into thinking I would hand quilt it one day! I am so never ever going to hand quilt anything now I have the hang of free motion quilting. Not that I am very good, but practise makes perfect, so I am going to be practising on all my UFOs!
Happy quilting Sue SA.

More completed projects

Because I have been off air for so long I was really scratching my head trying to remember what I had been working on, then I found an old "to do" list and this "homework" was on it!

Which became this! I had been hanging out waiting for this class, with Heather ran for our group. It is called the Quilters Carry Bag and is a pattern by Heather Ford. For those of you in Adelaide, Heather is a local teacher and runs a class for this pattern. Mind you it took most of the day to make, so I was VERY glad I wasn't trying to tackle it on my own at home - and did I mention that we had to do homework before we came to class! Still it was very worthwhile project as I now have a lovely big bag to safely transport my rulers and board as well as for storing them at home.

I went to our Guilds meeting last week, the first time for the year and I think only my third or fourth visit since I joined about two years ago. The kids and sleep previously prevented me venturing out on Thursday night, but I am so glad I went because I won these!
I had completely forgotten but the Guild give a prize (donated by the shop in attendance) to one person who brings up their work for show and tell. Well I had two quilts with me (Toms I spy and the Kinder raffle I spy quilt) because I was handing them over for valuation, and thought I would put them in show and tell while I was at it. I WAS THE ONLY PERSON in show and tell! So I won the Presidents Encouragement Award, sounds grand doesn't it? Ssssh don't tell anyone that the odds were in my favour! I was very chuffed to win these beautiful scissors plus I have a new scissors holder that is just perfect for them!
The scissors holder on the left came in my gift bag one year at Green Triangle day (an annual quilters get together in South West Victoria and SE South Australia) and I made the one on the right at patchwork camp this year from a pattern someone gave me. I am planning to make a version based on a variation of the two, but think I might keep the new scissors in their special velvet box.
I brought this cut little light at the patchwork shop at Murray Bridge (when I was at patchwork camp), I forget the name of the shop, but it was a terrific set up, with a "$2" type shop at the front, good for finding bargains in and then Aladdin's cave of fabrics and notions down the back. It is the perfect little light for extra shine when quilting, especially in winter as my sewing room faces south. However the long neck makes it a bit top heavy and it didnt stand up very well. I came with a sticky bit so you could attach it to something (your machine?) but I wasnt too keen on that idea. So my very clever Dad turned me a wooden base AND added three dowels for holding cotton reels. We measured it up so that I can put the matching bobbin on top of the reel, when you are swapping colours but know your going back to that combination. AND he was thoughtful enough to make it all out of the wood (a type of sheoak) that we saved for him when we had a tree cut down in our backyard. So I feel very blessed to have such a talented (and kind) Dad, especially as he just whipped it up in a day!
Happy quilting, Sue SA.

Techno phobia (updated) now overcome!

Apologies that I have been missing in action for two months now. I did intend to blog, despite the digital camera dying, but in the end the idea of a photo less post seemed like a waste of time. Yet here I am! So we do have a very nice new digital camera and in fact a new computer, thanks to DH boss (DH works from home) but what we dont have is a techno savy mother patchwork! So I am patiently waiting for DH to show me how the download connection works, not to mention what to do with the software once I get the photos onto the pc. Very frustrating, particulary as he is happily pruning (green bin day on Monday), cleaning out gutters that overflowed when it rained last week and digging trenches for the new/extended watering system. So while I want him to do the outside jobs, there are some inside ones thats need attention also! Three hours later and a bit of mucking around I think I have overcome my technical issues. Golden rule of thumb I will now being living by; READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!

OK so NOW with pictures I am going to try and tell you what I have been doing for the past two months. We celebrated two birthdays, DS1 turned 4 and DS2 turned 2. Turning two = no naps, so I thought that I was going to get less sewing time, however turning 4 = kinder three mornings a week so it works out about even. Kids birthdays = visits from grandparents and organising birthday parties which reduced sewing time a bit, but increased fabric purchases as my mother is a patchworker too. We have also had a lovely trip to Victoria to help my grandmother celebrate her 95th birthday, plus catch up with both sides of the family.

On the sewing front, I have made some bunting (or flags if you prefer) to hang up for birthday decorations. (opps no pictures of these to show!) While I have been keen to make some for awhile it wasnt until I visited Hetties Patch and one of the staff told me that she likes to make bunting as a baby gift, with the child's name on it, that I got motivated. I roughly followed her directions, as I had forgotten half the verbal instructions by the time I got home!

I also finished Tom's Animal I spy quilt (left with green borders) in time for his 2nd birthday. After completing the binding on Tom's quilt, I then received back from the long arm quilter, Vicki Jenkins, the Animal I spy quilt I made as a raffle quilt for DS1's kinder. Vicki did a great job and I was very pleased with it, but after sewing on the binding of Tom's quilt I had decided that I needed to review my binding technique before I tackled the raffle quilt. After some discussions with fellow quilter Heather Ford, I decided to use her prefered method of 1/2" binding, which you cut 3 1/4" wide. This worked really well, as my machine has a 1/2" wide walking foot, so it was easier to sew the binding on accurately and then it felt fuller when I hand sewed it down. I have had both quilts valued by the SA guild this week and so wish that I had the time to fix the binding on Tom's quilt prior, but resolve that I will do it anyway, otherwise it will always bug me. (below: Animal I spy quilt for Kinder raffle)

So with those two quilts completed I pulled a really old UFO out of the cupboard - Greg's pinwheel. Greg is my younger brother and never asked for a quilt, but I found some fabric that looked "like him" (well it had wheat on it and he is a farmer) I am ashamed to admit in but either in 2003 or 2004! I brought the fabric in Geelong at a shop that has now closed down, so that is part of the reason it became a UFO. The Horsham patchwork quilters use to (probably still do) run a monthly sit and sew Sunday session and one of the members, Kay Hoffman showed us how to make the block which is a pinwheel in a pinwheel. Now without a picture I am sure that doesnt mean much, but I think the other name for the block was Waterwheel. Either way I pieced all the blocks on the machine I owned at the time, but forgot to amend the needle position so the seam allowance was more then 1/4". Then when I made the blocks I lay half the wrong way when I was cutting them, so half the pin wheels ran the other way. So I didnt want to make more blocks because a) lack of fabric b)seam allowance was out so they would be different sizes c)I couldnt figure out what to do with the ones I had! Of course the minute I pulled them out of the UFO pile I remembered all this angst, but fellow quilter, friend and angel, Heather Ford helped me to do the math so I could use every last inch of a contrasting colour to sash the blocks, thus it didnt matter which way the wheels turned. And of course I trimmed them all back first, so they were the same size and the end result was great! Even better was the fact that I was able to use the pre cut left overs to make a border, which I can only describe as piano keys (? extended rail fence?) to make the quilt a large lap size. My brother loved the quilt but admitted that he was pleased he didnt know he waited six years to get it! Oh and my other good friend and fellow quilter, Elaine Kennedy quilted it for me, (in a day!) just so that I could hand deliver it on our recent trip to Victoria.

I have also been doing alot of hand work in the afternoons, while soothing my back with a heat bag (well that has been the excuse anyway). I went to patchwork camp in June with a friend and a bunch of other ladies I had never met, in Mannum. I hadnt been to Mannum before but I had a great time and completed heaps of projects, including the final border of Greg's quilt. There was a trading table and I picked up some digger/truck fabric and a calico preprinted Christine Book stitchery. Not only did I start and finish the stitchery in a week, but I also dragged out my box of pre cut strips, and used them to make a one patch border and turn it into a cushion! Ironic that I would start and finish someone elses UFO so quickly!

So that fired me up to pull out another old UFO, a embroidery wall hanging that I think I brought in 2004. I remember buying the pattern at the Horsham patchwork show from Stitch in Time, when she still had the shop in Narracorte - which Rosemary told me was more then five years ago, as she celebrated five years in Adelaide in February this year before closing/going on line. So I have now finished the work on all nine stitcheries, but yet to find some fabric to sash them (in a log cabin style). The shop sample was done in 1930's fabric, which is too pastel for me and at the time I brought some fat 1/8's from Threadbare (quilt shop in Castlemaine) that were reproductions and more my colours (dark, country). However surprise, surprise they dont suit the compled stitcheries so I have gone mad and STARTED A NEW project with those fabrics. I brought some hexagon papers last year at the Adelaide quilt show, so decided they would look good in reproductions, so 100 hexagon's later I am out of papers but have lots of fat 1/8's of fabric left over! Partially this is because my darling mother has brought me more reproduction fat 1/8's at the Melbourne quilt show, which added to the others that I had brought from my friend Ann at Periwinkle Patchwork, Warrnambool!

Then this afternoon I pulled out another UFO, the Bedford Mystry Quilt from 2008. I have the BEST excuse ever for not completing this quilt, as I was very pregnant with DS2 when Lessa ran the class at Colonial Light Gardens - so pregnant that I had Tom two weeks later! What I had forgotten was that I had nearly finished! So all I had to do this afternoon was add one strip to each block and then sew the blocks together, which make it a small lap size. Of course it needs a border (not included in the pack), but at least its now in one large piece! Now I am a fuss pot when it comes to matching fabric, so I did struggle with the concept of using fabrics just on the basis of their colour value. For those of you not from Adelaide, the Bedford Mystry quilt is run every two years (2008 was the first year) and you pay a fee to attend, which includes ALL your fabric, food and ALL the help you need, eg they provide ironing and unpicking ladies! It is a fabulous day out, and all the money goes to a good cause (Bedford provide disability services). However all the fabric is donated, so the lovely volunteers pre cut packs of fabric (you can buy a pack to do on your own if you dont live in Adelaide) so you just sew on the day, but it is a complete mix of colours, themes and tones. And I really struggle with the true concept of "scrap", but I am very happy with the result so far, as the light and darks were sorted very well and you can really see the pattern - I think its called Puss in the Corner.

Anyway I think thats way too much information for a post without any pictures. Hopefully I can fix that soon, in the meantime, Happy quilting! Hope the later addition of photos makes this a more interesting post, 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...