Sewing weekend at Bordertown

I had a fantastic fun long weekend away sewing with my Mum and two friends.  I managed to start and finish piecing two miniature quilts/wall hangings, which I am thrilled about.
This pattern is called Sugar and Spice by Rhonda McCray and was published in the Special Winter 2013 issue of Quilt Mania and is 12" x 16".  I need to applique the gingerbread men in a bowl (in wool) in the bottom right hand corner, hence the different layout of the log cabins.  The logs are cut at 1" and the pattern would never have worked if Vicki hadn't pointed out that my quarter inch seam (I was whinging about it) was a tad too wide and I could rectify it by moving my needle position.  SEW glad she told me that as it solved all my sewing problems and provided a huge "ohhh, duh!" moment!
This pattern is called Rolling Stones and was designed by Ann Hermes and was published in the February 2008 issue of BHG American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.  However I have recently seen it advertised on their website, so you could possibly get it for free online.  It is 14" square.  This was a lot more work then the log cabin, but that was just because of the cutting.  I think I am still sold on making miniatures as they are so quick!
These basket quilts were NOT quick!  I thought that I had the required number of baskets made and would just be sashing them and fiddling with a few handles and the appliqued fruit.  But alas due to my inaccurate seam allowance the blocks were all 1/4" too small.  I unpicked more then I would care to share.  Then I discovered it was quicker to just make new ones, especially those with triangles, which stretched when I unpicked and resewed them.  I did manage to redeem a few that  I had unpicked though, so I decided to sash all the blocks that were correct.  That way at least I felt like I had made some progress.  The benefit of sewing in a group is to get everyones ideas.  So I am going with a layout quite different to the pattern, which I am really pleased about.  Lots more to do, but very happy all the boring unpicking was done in the good company of friends!  
Happy quilting, Sue SA.
PS also had a teeth grinding moment of terror, which Mum and Vicki rescued me from, when I managed to jam my needle down in the machine.  Due to some long thread ends getting sucked down and caught up inside.  At a later date I ran over these pins.  
I plan to be much nicer to my machine in future, as this bent pin going into the inner working of my machine would have been very very ugly and expensive!  

Sewing road trip

My bags are packed, the car is full and I am off for a sewing weekend with my mother and two friends. 

 We are meeting at The Sanctuary in Bordertown (half way) for lots of quilty fun.  Hopefully I will have some project progress to report on Sunday night, or even a completed quilt...if I am not too tired to blog!
Happy quilting, Sue SA.
PS I have packed far too many things (two new projects and three UFO's), does anyone else do that?

Hand quilted evidence

I cannot believe it, but here is the evidence...I hand quilted something and finished it!  The quilt police will be out to inspect and fine me, but I don't care!  Part way through freely quilting a pattern (four orange peels) in the red squares I remembered your suppose to mark the pattern!  But they turned out OK and if they didn't it was no bother to pull them out and re do.  I finished the quilting while we were away in the caravan, but it took me all week to pick the binding and sew it on.  I like the black binding, but definitely a first for me!
This little basket quilt was a free pattern from Temecula Quilt Co and she made 113 of these cake stand blocks (link to pattern is HERE) ...big deal you say, well they are 2.5" square, so yes they were FIDDLY and making nine was enough for me!  I laid my 6 x 12" ruler behind it to give you some idea of the scale.  I am disappointed that I cut some of the points off, but I am hoping one day to learn some secrets to accurate piecing of miniatures.  Secrets that probably apply to normal quilting, eg fine tune your quarter inch!
 I dragged out my box containing my blocks and fabric, set aside for the Farm House Kitchen quilt this weekend.  This quilt had been in progress so long its now a UFO.  I started with a great deal of enthusiasm and was stumped when I got to the applique bit.  I use to be a reasonably good at needle turn (with freezer paper) applique.   But somewhere in the middle of raising two babies I ditched hand work for quick machine piecing and lost my skills and my confidence.
 There is another UFO that involves applique in my cupboard - the shapes are fiddly.  And I found that a few hours in front of the TV this weekend with some simple shapes has restored my memory, skills and confidence.  Mind you those cherries are a bit ordinary, but once I find my Perfect Circles (already pulled the house upside down) I will be able to rectify that.  I also had to make these four pieced baskets.  That involved a bit of fiddly as the blocks are different and not on point like the rest of them (about 15 in total).  I didn't want my fruit to be lying sideways.  So I re engineered the pattern to suit myself.
These blocks are next, to be filled with plums and apples, plus some handles.  I have sewn the centre seam with a very long stitch on my machine, so it is easy to unpick and continue my hand work beyond the seam line.  I will go back later and stitch it properly.  Not sure if this is the standard way of doing things, just my preference, I am worried about stretching the bias edge of the triangle if its not joined.  Now I just have to keep up the enthusiasm, as this quilt was planned to be my "summer" bed quilt, so I have eight months to get it finished!
Happy quilting, Sue SA.

Pink and White Chevron quilt

I sewed the last binding stitches down this week, after the Pink and White Chevron (57" x 83") came back from the long arm quilter the week before. 
 I had a hard time decided which quilting pattern to use.  With such a strong pattern I didn't want to overwhelm it with a fancy quilting design.  Of course custom quilted feathers would have been grand, but outside the budget and over the top for the primary school aged girl, who will own this quilt.
We settled on this simple daisy design in a variegated thread.  Which matches the pink daisy design on the backing fabric.  Hot pink is not usually my colour but it is growing on me, especially with crisp white!
There was a large gathering of African animals at our house (again) this week, as they eagerly anticipated watching the great race...with a water feature!
I missed the starters gun, but found the winners and losers all lined up with their prizes allocated - after two boys had gone to bed.  Apparently Cheetahs and Lions cannot run fast over LONG distances (duh Mum?!) and hence the Wildebeest won, closely followed by the Zebra.  Third was undecided.  I am just surprised that nobody got eaten at the start line!  
Happy quilting, Sue SA
PS Did I ever mention that we go through a lot of sticky tape in our house?

Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry bags

You have seen this quilt before.  But I didn't tell you that I decided to donate this quilt to Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry bags, to a serving member of the Australian Defence Forces.  It is now in transit overseas and hopefully when it reaches its its owner they will know that I appreciate their service, keeps them warm and is a reminder of the hard job they did and the sacrifice their families make while they are away.
 It is accompanied by a matching laundry bag.  Matching only because I had some of the left over backing fabric, which ironically has army jeeps on it and has been in my stash for a long time.  I originally brought this fabric because it was navy blue and on has been a great backing.border for several boys charity quilts.  It was only fitting that the last of it went into a quilt and laundry bag for a soldier.  
Through this donation I have met a whole bunch of new quilting friends and yesterday four of us got together in Adelaide to sew.  I had not had time to prepare anything, so I found the scrap 2.5" block box and started making more four patches.  A little pile had grown into a big pile by the end of the day.
 During the day Mary (who hosted the day at her lovely home) gifted me this block so I could work out how to make one at home.  I love scrap quilts, but never thought to use blue and green together, this is now my new favorite combo!  This block is 12" so perfect for scrappy charity quilts.

 When I got home I couldn't resist trying out the method she showed me to make the two coloured wedge bit out of scrap 2.5"strips I had sitting by my sewing table.  
 But the real temptation was to find a suitable background fabric for my scrappy four patches so I could keep sewing. I wasn't sure what size to cut the triangles, but cut a 10" square, cut twice to make four triangles, still too big, so I cut them in half and they were perfect!  Sew a new quilt is underway!

This is the loot I purchased from The Quilt Basket at Victor Harbour last weekend.  Some Aussie novelty fabrics, which I want to use in a Aussie Hero quilt, one lovely reproduction, giraffes cos they are my favorite (and the kids are still made keen on African animals) and the birds just because.  
These matching panels were irresistible, they will make a good boys quilt one day for that budding astronaut!  My first "real" job was with DSTO (Defence Science Technology Organisation) the research arm for Defence and I have long standing joke with friends about my time working with the "rocket scientists".  
Perhaps these are going "straight to the pool room"!
Happy quilting, Sue SA.

Tedding sleeping bags

 I keep forgetting to include my March block from my BOM in a post. Unfortunately it is too small and I will have to unpick it and work out where I went wrong.  I paper pieced the long triangles, so I really hope its not them!
A friend mentioned her two youngest son's liked putting their teddies to bed, so I offered to make them teddy sleeping bags.  This was the perfect exercise for using up wadding scraps and some cute novelty prints from my stash.  
And when you don't do a good job of the quilting, you just add a bit of Velcro and make a little pillow to hide that bit!  I machine stitched the binding both sides, which  I never do it on quilts, but it was super quick and worked well.  And as another bonus I was able to use some scrap binding!
We enjoyed this Adelaide Cup long weekend at the beach, playing tourist in our own state.  We saw some interesting sights, including driving past this quirky house I saw featured on TV...I am a big fan of Grand Designs, but this takes the cake for building head aches I think!   The weather was suitably warm to ensure lots of fun was had dodging the waves at the beach.  
I even fitted in some hand quilting, not at the beach mind you!  I haven't taken a progress shot, but hopefully it will be finished in time for my next post, 
happy quilting, Sue SA.

March = Autumn

On last years wish list I was going to make Spring and Autumn themed table runners.  It didn't happen so I amended the list to just a autumn wall hanging.  Now over the last few weeks I have become addicted to Pinterest and I started looking for autumn table runner of course!  I collected a lot of pictures and decided that I had to make pumpkins!
The original pattern came from Diary of a quilter which was a  Halloween look pumpkin table runner.   I ditched the Halloween aspect, shorted the runner to fit my table and started stitching.  It just needs binding and the thread ends tidied up. I enjoyed the FMQ on this, as it was so quick and those curved lines give the pumpkins a nice rounded shape.  
I made another red and white house. I have recently realise that one has an mistake in it, but at this point I am not unpicking - I used a tiny stitch, because they were foundation pieced on paper, unpicking is next to impossible!  
Today I found this winter edition of Quilt Mania magazine while filling in time with a coffee, as the car was being fitted for brand new tyres.  So there is hope that I might get a winter wall hanging instead!
This Christmas wall hanging caught my eye.... log cabins and gingerbread men, what a cute combo! I think if I skip the holly leaves it will be perfect for winter. And I have the perfect charm pack to make it with!  So this is on my "to do" list now.. I might get around to starting it sooner rather then tackling those red houses!
I have also finished sewing the binding on my Under the Milky Way quilt.  Ta dah!  Yeah, a finish for March!
Happy quilting, Sue SA.

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...