Welcome to tales of my stitching life, home, family and friends.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday Sewing

I’ve been making the most of a lazy Sunday at home, assembling my candle-wick blocks. It’s been a matter of getting up and down and walking from the sewing machine, to the ironing board, to the cutting board, and back again.   All this exercise must count for something, I hope.  I admit that I started the blocks for this UFO way back in 1999 (gulp, I’ll just say that quickly).  But now this project has made it to number four on my List of Six UFOs, things are moving nice along.

Although the blocks had been hidden away for such a long time,  I didn’t choose the sashing fabrics till early this year.  I wanted a bit of colour between the plain cream blocks, and this is what I purchased.

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Sashing fabrics

So far I’ve cut to my blocks to size, and that certainly had me busy with the tape measure and scratching my head for a wee while.  But my measurements all seemed to work out so I’ve now added two blocks to the top and bottom of the centre panel.  Next step is to assemble four blocks and attach them to each side.  If I keep at it tonight, I just might get one side on shortly.

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Centre blocks

Leader and ender sewing has been taking place too, I’m pleased to say, and look at this lovely little bunch of strip pieced neutral blocks I’ve made during the week.  These are for another project waiting in the  wings, but every little bit helps, I feel.

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String pieced leader and ender sewing

It's Monday tomorrow – so you know what that means.  I get to roll the dice again and see what the new week brings.  Hope everyone had a productive weekend too.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A little Stitching then a little ripping out

Many stitchers have dabbled in candle-wick stitching in the dim, dark past it seems.  As I did, many years ago, before my blocks got packed away in the wardrobe.   It is nice, easy stitching, and can get as creative as one likes.  I never mastered any of the more creative stitches, such as satin or feather stitch, so my blocks are very simply sewn indeed.  My designs came from two books I have by Alma Schwabe, and I chose romantic designs featuring hearts, flowers, birds and the occasional butterfly.

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Then I stitched a pre-printed mini “Ribbons and Lace” with my candle-wicking thread.  The idea was to use this as the centre of my quilt, and arrange my other twelve blocks around the outside.

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Ribbons and Lace panel for the middle

And that’s where my candle-wick project has reached a bit of a stand still.  I added a couple of borders around the centre panel, and decided that one has been cut too wide.  So I’m going to sit on my comfy chair, stitch ripper in hand, and remove them, while the torrential rain is beating on the roof.  Unpicking is not much fun, so I’ll probably need a coffee too.  But it is no use continuing if I’m not happy with how this project looks, is it?  Hopefully, I’ll have more to show for my efforts tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Candle-Wick Blocks

This week the roll of the dice brought up number four, my candle-wick blocks from long ago.  How long ago, you may well ask?  Way, way back in the distant past, these were started in 1999!  We were planning a three month trip to England, and I wanted to take a little something to do.  After driving around places of interest all day, walking through castles, and admiring stone circles, the idea was that I could relax in the B&Bs each night with a little hand stitching.  So I traced some some designs onto plain homespun, packed needles and threads to take with me.

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There is nothing fancy about my stitching, and I can only do back stitch and knots, but I’m happy with that.  I love the simplicity of this sort of stitching, and I managed to stitch my way through quite a few of my blocks while were were travelling around the UK on our wonderful holiday.  Some nights I stitched, and some nights I was too tired, but it didn’t really matter – the blocks were there if I wanted to work on them.

I continued my stitching when we returned home and then everything got packed away and forgotten.  Then finally, my candle-wick blocks were taken out of oblivion, and added to The List of Six UFOs.  At long last they have their chance to finally become more than just a pile of lonely little blocks.

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The first job to do of course was to wash them in hot water, dry and press the blocks – already done now.  Then I will need to cut them all to size and decide how I want to assemble them all.  I think I’ll do that step tomorrow.  How exciting, this is almost classed as a new project, and it is certainly time to start working on these blocks again, after all that time!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Have I caught up yet?

I’ve been trying very hard to catch up with things, and I’ve done quite well over the weekend.  With a flurry of finishes lately, (sorry, couldn’t resist a little brag), I’ve finally written each project up, printed them out and filed away in my quilt documentation folder.  I like to add snippets of the fabrics used in each project too, and it is so nice to look back through my books.  It’s so easy to let this step slide – a bit like not getting a label on your quilt.  And I’ve already mentioned to Robin that if I end up as a confused old lady in a rest home, my quilt folders must come with me!  If I happen to lose my short term memory, surely looking through my folders will help me remember happy quilting times.

With two new quilts on hand, it was time to ring the changes.  International Maples is now hanging over one of the couches in the lounge, and looking good, I must say.

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International Maples

And as my grown-up granddaughters have assured me that they won’t having babies anytime soon, the Little Letters quilt I made for the next generation is now hanging up in my sewing room.  I may as well enjoy the bright colours myself for a while as I’m waiting to become a great-grandmother.  So down came my hand stitched pink and green angel quilt to be replaced with the ABCs.  It certainly adds a splash of colour to the room.

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Hanging in my sewing room

Another bit of catching up was dealing with long overdue letters to my quilty overseas penfriends.  Sadly, I’ve been so caught up with my medical woes over the last few months that I’ve missed birthdays and neglected my penfriends appallingly.  That’s six letters written, and ready to post, so I’ve caught up on that job.  Not everyone emails, and I feel it is so nice to get a real letter in the mail box.

The weekend weather hasn’t been at all nice, so I had a pot of soup bubbling away on the stove.  Something a little different, cauliflower and potatoe, flavoured with cooked bacon and grated cheese.  Robin gets to use the wand in the soup pot to blend it all nice and smooth, as I can’t be trusted not to lift it out while it is still going – I’ve been known to get soup splattered everywhere!

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Tasty soup for lunch on a cold day

So that’s what I’ve been doing this weekend, looks like I’ve caught up with things quite well.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Almost there with the Horse Quilt

I’m really pleased with how the horse quilt I’m making as a surprise gift for my grand-daughter Emma is coming along.  The last rows of blocks have been stitched together and added to the top and bottom  of the quilt – two rows at each end.  And I can’t believe it – I’ve got a pile of nine patch blocks over!  Probably because I sewed and sewed like a quilter possessed when I started this project.  Guess I was afraid that I wouldn’t have enough.

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Two rows of blocks added to top and bottom

There is lots of variety in the black and grey fabrics used in this quilt top.  Some lovely batiks, which are always so nice to work with.  Fabrics with writing, dots, spots and swirls, and I used up some pieces of a few older fabrics which got thrown in to the mix as well.  And I like the way that the raspberry sashing gives the sombre palette a bit of a lift. 

As I’ve used plain black homespun as the centre square of each nine patch block, I’ve decided to use this fabric to border the quilt.  So I will have to carefully measure the width and length to make sure the border fabric fits correctly.  Not sure if I will get this last step finished this weekend though.

We had a busy day out on Friday, had shopping and chores to do, driving around all over the place.  Then later in the day, when all the items were finally ticked off our long list, we stopped at Butlers Chocolate CafĂ© for a hot drink.  I chose a delicious cup of hot chocolate, of course, while Robin wanted coffee.  The attendant told me that each hot drink came with a complimentary chocolate and which ones would I like?  What a thing to ask me – someone who has trouble making a decision – procrastination should be my middle name!  After dithering around I finally made my choice.  Yes, could we have two double chocolate ones please.  Those little morsels were just divine, and a lovely finish to our busy day out.

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Get your chocolate fix here

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sew Wots meet again

Our Sew Wot ladies met on Tuesday and the morning started with birthday gifts for Moira.  Small gifts came thick and fast, and she had a lovely time opening the parcels.  Moira actually celebrated her birthday a couple of weeks ago, but a few of us, myself included, couldn’t attend the previous get-together. 

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Happy Birthday to Moira

Everyone must have been very busy as there was Show and Tell coming from all directions.  That’s my Maple Leaf quilt in the background, and Heather E was proudly displaying her hexagon quilt on the carpet.

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The ladies admiring recently finished quilts

Moira’s mystery quilt had just come back from being commercially quilted, and Luchelle had done a wonderful job.  Using different Kaffe Fasset fabrics around the border is a lovely touch to this design.

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Moira’s mystery quilt

The knitters had been busy too.  Carol had made several tiny sets of beanies and matching booties for premmie babies at Neo Natal.  And Rae has now knitted two cosy woollen beanies for Pam’s son Peter.

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Carol and Rae with their knitting

What quilter wouldn’t love to have this?  Heather E had a panel of quilty sayings tucked away, so combined them with lots of colourful squares to make this beauty.

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Made by Heather E

And our hostess, Heather B, had been really busy too.  She has called her pastel quilt “UFOs United”, as she combined lots of different blocks to make this pretty quilt.  And the striking circles on the dark background is being made for her grand-son’s 21st birthday.

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Two quite different quilts by hostess Heather B

Heather B’s grand-daughter Naomi was staying for the school holidays and proudly showed us the winter nightgown she has just made.  That will keep her toasty warm at night.  With her Gran being a quilter, I’m sure there was plenty of help on hand if she got stuck. 

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Naomi and her winter nightgown

Naomi had helped prepare the morning tea, including icing and decorating the banana cake.  No wonder one of the hubbies says we should be called “The Eat-Alots” instead of “The Sew Wots”.

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Morning tea is served

The black cat of the household wasn’t worried about a houseful of ladies noisily chatting away, he was happily curled up in his basket by the fire.  He earns his keep, Heather told us, and recently brought home a rabbit!

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It was another lovely morning meeting up with the Sew Wots, good company, lots of Show and Tell, and a delicious morning tea.  And most of us even managed to do a little stitching.  What could be nicer?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hello again, Horses

It is nice to say hello again to the horses and UFO number 5, which I am making for my grand-daughter Emma, and  came up on the dice roll today.  It’s been a wee while since this quilt surfaced, and I’m pleased the number rolled around again.

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There are different horse breeds featured on this quilt

The middle portion had been previously sewn together over the last few months, so now I just need to add a couple of extra rows to the top and bottom of the quilt.  So today I pinned, sewed then pressed two rows.  Next I need to add a line of sashing strips at the bottom of each row of blocks before attaching them at the top of the quilt.

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Stitching another two rows together

As an avid “leader and ender” fan, I’m also using a pile of half square triangles (from another project which hasn’t made the UFO list yet) at the beginning and end of my stitching.  But it really doesn’t matter how long I’ve been doing this quilting business, I still make mistakes.  Can you see what I’ve done?

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Spot the mistake

After carefully drawing a line across the squares, I then sewed along the line on the top four squares – I had stitched along the cutting line.  Instead, of course, each side of the drawn line, as I’ve done on the bottom squares.    Luckily there are only four small blocks to unpick and re-stitch.  That’s why I’ll never be an award winning quilter!