Thursday, May 26, 2011

...what I was doing last night

I was putting together the blocks for May in Bee {a little bit} Japanese!

This month Christine had asked for two block different to each other but that would be used to make a quilt for her nephew Zac. So we have each made a Cheaters 8 Pointed Star from this tutorial and a transport themed block of our choice.

I had actually been really looking forward to the star and it really did come together wonderfully. Because of the placement of the solids and prints all the HST were cut across the centre exposing the bias before sewing which didn't really phase me.

What I was both a little peeved and a little please with was the cutting directions allowing some extra to trim the units down before sewing the blocks together. And when I say a little I mean a lot. I think I cut about 1/4" to 3/8" off each side. And when you are thinking about a whole quilt that is a lot of extra fabric. If I was to make the block again (which I just might I would probably cut the larger squares to 4"-4.5" and I think this would still leave heaps of space to cut the HST units to to 3.5".

The other blocks of this type in the Flickr steam so far all seem to have a blue background so I am waiting patiently to see if my little yellow fella has a friend in the final quilt.

For the second block I could not go past the aeroplane I have made in the past based in a Badskirt tutorial. I mean what little boy doesn't love a plane?
The fabrics for this block (in a separate bag, Christine was so organized.. my hero) were most solids in primary colours and I thought a red plane was just perfect. The blue surrounds is a little sky-like and the white stripe I think makes is most surely racy!
And because the plane is for Zac surely the airline should be named after him, right?
I can't wait to see this quilt together - I think it will be a sure fire winner!

Monday, May 23, 2011

...what do you do?

I finished a project yesterday with this much thread left.

I am having a hard time thinking that I'll use that little but it seems wasteful to ditch it!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

... this hypothetical quilt may become reality.

Since I moved to Melbourne I have been thinking about taking a quilting class but have yet to find a curriculum that grabs me.

And as so often happens I stumbled across two things in close enough proximity that I thought...maybe?

Image from Ballarat Patchwork

This quilt is the content of a of a one day class at Ballarat Patchwork in August. Could a day trip to the country, maybe on the train be fun?

I love the idea of making it in a stack of colours a little like this, with the solid maybe being Bella Solids Feather?  
Image from Fabricworm
So I am wondering, have you ever taken a class? How was it? Did you learn anything? Was it fun? What is a train trip to Ballarat like? Any ideas about how I would get from the train station to the train and back again?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

...fixing it

Can you spot the difference?


Some time with the quick unpick, a 45 degree turn to the right and it sits flat!

One down, 11 more to go. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

...of basting.

Why is it that this part of quilting always seems so terrible I keep putting it of and the after I have moved the table and got down to it it never seems that bad after all?

Progress tonight then on the Bakeshop project. The weather forecast turn winter-y again soon. Perfect for the quilting stage...

Monday, May 16, 2011

...of the weekend

Lots of sewing and a little (unphotographed) sewing and baking.

Nothing finished though so no pretty and polished pictures to show. How about some unfinished and unpolished progress ones instead?
 At the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild Sit and Sew day the first of the cogs for Nik's Cogsmo Cog and Wheel Quilt that I cut out at the last SASD. It was all going well until I sewed on the background  and it all went out of shape. I think I may have got some of the 5 and 5R pieces around  the wrong way. I'll work it out after I've unpicked a few stitches...
And because I haven't got enough projects on the go I started sewing some strip sets for the Postage Stamp Quilt-Along hosted by Rachel I missed but bought the supplies for in January.
Fabric: Giddy by Sandy Gervis
And I cast on some socks, inspired by some on sale wool with a pattern on the band and out cold temperatures last week. I have got this far and it seems a bit beyond my limited knitting abilities so I am keeping this one to keep trying at and sending the other ball for the second pair to Mum to finish. When she visits in another couple of weeks she might get this one too :)
I have made some great progress on the bakery project. Ready for basting and quilting. I have plans for the latter that are a little different than other projects featured on that site.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fabric and this = a cool quilt

In the fast few weeks an uncomfortable realisation has dawned on me and taken hold in my brain, despite my fervent wishing that it wouldn't. That it simply wasn't true. But it is,  I know it is and there simply isn't anything I can do about it. 

I do feel a little silly lamenting on it in such dramatic fashion because there are so many other more serious things to worry about in the world but make me sad it does.

And this truth? I will never be able to make all the quilts I want to or design in my mind each day. I'll never try all the techniques and crafts that interest me and I will certainly never master even of the fraction of the ones I do. Not even if I learn to live forever and stop eating, sleeping, cooking, cleaning, working, talking to other people, living life basically.

None of which I am going to do by the way. And that is to say nothing about the cost of all that fabric and batting and thread (and that is just the one craft).

So I have put my mind to how I might reconcile myself with this truth. 

And this is what I have come up with. Every now and again, mostly when I have the pictures, time and inclination all at the same time I'll post a little inspiration, a virtual quilt. With a focus on published or publicly available patterns in case anyone has more time than I do and can turn it into a real quilt. 

Depending on the inspiration I might talk about the fabric, how I imagine I would quilt it and even the size or use I imagine for it. In short all the things I would do when making a real quilt except for the cutting and sewing. 

So without further ado my first virtual quilt. 

The Porthole

When I saw this pattern in Quilts Made Modern that I got on sale recently from Spotlight  

I could help but think of it made in this fabric from Robert Kaufman. 
Urban Zoologie by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman
image collated from Robert Kaufman
I would use the whales as the circles, a dark grey as the outlines and then different Poseidon Kona colour solids as the backgrounds from the colours in the whales. I would hand quilt it in perle cotton and echo each of the circles to reflect a ripple on the waters surface.  

I think it would make a great quilt for a young boy or girl or in the a summer holiday house on the bunk beds. A slightly different colourway for each of the brothers, sisters or cousins...

NB: I have spotted the fabric still available at The Oz Material Girls and Funky Fabrix in Australia.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I fell like I've disappeared...

....under a huge pile of projects that are all somewhere in the middle stages and not moving as I would like towards completion.

Do you ever get to that point in a project where you pick up the pace because you really like to see it finished? Or about two thirds of the way through a book where a chapter here and there is no longer sufficient and you take up residence on the couch (and depending on the weather) under a quilt and scowl at any who dare to interrupt you before the last page is read?

I do, but at the moment I am not quite at that stage with any of the many projects I am working on and so I keep jumping from one to another and don't seem to be making any real progress on any of them. And the frustration I'm feeling is entirely with myself and not with the projects themselves.

So in the interest of sorting out my own thoughts and sharing a process glimpse I thought I would make a list.

Swaps, Swaps, Swaps
I have three on the go at the moment all through different groups on Flickr. In no particular order

The Goodie Bag Swap
I'm really excited about this one. When I signed up I had just finished a whole bunch of quilts and was glad to have the excuse (not that I really needed one) to do something a little different. But I am having a really hard time choosing a design for my partner. I have a few ideas but am not really committed to any because I am not sure they are quite 'her' and I really don't feel I can pick the fabric until I have a design/pattern in mind.

The {pretty} little pouch swap
How could I not join this one when I was going to be sending (and getting) a bag? I know exactly what I want to do for this one but I am having A LOT of trouble trying to work out how to complete one of the elements (a lined hexagon-shaped zippered pouch with the zipper down the centre back. Anyone?). I have got it most of the way there but I need to get one more raw edge enclosed and work out the size a little better to make the pouch actually usable. If all else fails I could just do a square one and feature to other design element but the two together was my first idea and I think my partner will love it so I don't want to give up on it just yet.

Scrappy Mug Rug Swap - Round IV
Sign-up for this closed not long ago and the partner email went out over the weekend so I am starting to think up some ideas for this one. Part of what I think might turn out to be a good one came to me in the car today....I just need to flesh it out a little more but I think it might be a winner.

Busy Bees
On a side note when I go off into the sewing room Nik always asks if I will be busy bee-ing for a while. It doesn't matter how many times I point out not all my sewing is for bees but that is what he calls it!

Bee Seam Piecing Downunder
Only three months left in this bee and that makes it all a little sad I think. I have met some wonderful local ladies and some beautiful blocks. On this list from this bee?

I still have to make some block for Kelly from April. My long running frustration with Australia Post continues and means that the envelope was not redirected to me as it should have been. I even sent a postcard to my old address explaining to issue and asking for the new residents to post that article not to no avail. Kelly is kindly sending me a new package and I want to get these blocks sewn as soon as possible so Kelly can make her quilts, it is coming on for colder weather and they are to keep her and her husband warm in front of the heater over winter!

I also would really like to get my quilt from this month finished, as in sandwiched, quilted and bound, before the end of the bee.
I have decided not to add a border and I have a quilting plan and the binding all cut and sewed and rolled waiting to be sewn on. The hold-up you ask? The backing. I have two pieces of fabric to be sewn together to make most of the backing but one needs to be made a little longer. Easy I think, I'll put all the bees labels there.
I have been embroidering these over the last week or so but I fear they aren't going to quite cut it as in cover it so I have been going slow on that one. I'll have to keep my fingers crossed while also considering some other plans....

Bee a {little bit} Japanese
April was my month in this bee and the blocks have begun making their way home to me. I decided ages ago what these blocks were going to be and how this quilt will be constructed as I can't wait to get sewing when all the bits are back with me.

3x6 Bee (2nd Quarter 2011)
This is my second quarter in this bee, starting in April. I changed my colours from the last quarter as the blocks didn't come back quite as I had expected and won't look great in one quilt I don't think. I have made the decision to go with two colours this quarter and see how that goes.

I have been thinking this week about the blocks I will make for the other members in my hive. I have a few ideas and just need to sit down now and have a think about how each of the design will work with the requested colours of the other members to pick the best block for the job.

do. Good Stitches (a Charity Bee)
We are making string blocks this month with a feature fabric or two with a different texture in each block. One of the things I really love about this bee is finding out different peoples planning processes and seeing the quilts come together with the different fabrics and interpretations of the same theme from different people.

Sew Australia
I joined a new Australian bee just this morning with the first sewing month scheduled for June. I had seen it somewhere a few weeks ago and didn't join but could resist on the second pass. I think there are still a few places available if you are keen to join - follow the link above.

Quilt Alongs
Quilt Bloggers Block-a-Palooza
I finished the blocks for this ages ago - in line with the quilt-along schedule and then the final layout was posted. It wasn't my cup of tea at all (which i guess is a risk you take when joining a quilt-along when the final layout is kept a mystery).

Alternative layouts were also posted and I have chosen one but it will take a little cutting and sewing to get the top completed ready for sandwiching quilting and binding. I think I just need a weekend here where I don't feel something has a more immediate deadline.

No harm about running out of fabric for this one, I have a heap left over from the recommended purchasing amount.

The bakery
I've got a little something in the works for the Moda Bakeshop but I am being thwarted by the sun/clouds to get any decent pictures to post with the tutorial!

Sometimes there really are things beyond your control :)

The Double Wedding Ring quilt
This quilt continues....

It seems that I spend a big chunk of time on it for a little while and then take an extended break. Needless to say it was not completed for it's April delivery date to Perth although I did take the completed top with me and show Justin and Amy.

And I couldn't help but share with them the surprise to be featured on the back. Which is almost done by the way. I just need to sew about two seams. But I have to get it down from the shelf for that. I have also dreamed up another backing surprise which shall remain a you especially Amy and Justin.

Cogsmo Cog + Wheel Quilt for Nik
For Nik for his birthday last week. I cut it out...then bought him a different present. It wasn't going to be finished anywhere near his birthday (this year at least).

Maybe for Christmas?

I am still really excited about this but have decided I need to finished some of the other things first before I get going on the sewing for this one or I really will never finish anything.

Seasons quilt
At work I am about to start a new series of session with a group of children completing the program that inspired me to tackle this quilt. After the Doll Quilt I have discovered that I don't dislike hand applique as much as I thought I did but I seem to have a mental block about it when it comes to this quilt.

It might have something to do with the fact I am using monofillament thread for the applique because of all the different colours and it knots terribly and unexpectedly when sewing.

Desire to have this finished is at a high, motivation is not, sadly.

Little Explorer pants
Well what can I say, I cut these out in January. They will likely no longer fit the intended recipient. Oops. Surely I can find another Little Explorer for them. At any rate they make me feel a little guilty when I see the parts cut and sitting waiting patiently near the machine. So I need to move them on.

Well I'm obviously going to be a little busy for awhile :)

And because this all feels rather negative and such I thought I would finish on a happier note.
I made these PJ pants for myself on Sunday afternoon with two 1.5m cuts I got from textile Traders on my recent stopover in Perth. Because they were precut I have a little left from the end of each length that will make good textured patchwork pieces. And the PJ's themselves cut several sizes too big from Butterick 5153 to make for roomy pants are as warm and comfortable as good PJs should be!