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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Horse Quilt Number 2

The dice has been rolled this week and it has brought up number 2 – which is horse quilt number 2 for want of a better name.  You may remember that last year I completed a large horse quilt for equine lover and horse owner Emma, my elder grand-daughter.  So now it’s the turn of her equally horse besotted younger sister Megan to have her own horse quilt – eventually.  As any quilter knows, these things take time!

I had stitched so many black and grey nine patch blocks for Emma’s quilt last year that I still have a large assortment left over.  And that’s after making both girls a large squishy bed cushion for Christmas last year.  It would be sensible to use these blocks in Megan’s quilt, I feel.

P1020244
Two cushions stitched up with extra 9 patch blocks for Christmas

So I guess the first thing to do is count all the nine patch blocks I have tucked away and just see how many I have, and lay them out so I can get a good look at them.  I’m be making a similar quilt for Megan but with different horsey accents – that’s the plan, anyway

P1050195
How many blocks are there?

And I still have quite a selection of black and grey prints to make more blocks, if required.

P1050200
Extra fabric

I had originally planned to make something really clever for the centre of the quilt, but that has been more difficult than expected and hasn’t happened yet.  But I’ll persevere a bit longer, although I may have to go with Plan B instead.  Let’s just wait and see what happens.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

He talks quilt talk

The conversation went like this:
Him – you’ve got lots of strips on the bed – what are you making?
Her – that’s a new quilt for us, and those are my leader and ender strips.
Him – I know what leader and enders are, you talk about them often enough!
Isn’t that sweet – he can talk quilt talk!

And the strips in question are these, all stitched as leaders and enders, as DH knows. 

P1050139
Something I prepared earlier – as the TV cooks say

This week I’m working on stitching a few more Soul Searching blocks together.  Although I’m sewing straight seams, there are a lot of pieces.  I like to lay them out on top of the bed to make sure I have them in the correct order, using a completed block for reference.  Then I pin them in pairs, sew them up, pin some more and make sure I have the strips right side up and not back to front.  Yes, I have done that previously, and had to unpick.

With some dedicated sewing time slotted in this week, I’m pleased that I’ve got three more blocks stitched together.  I’ve done lilac, pale pink, and bright pink blocks.  These are quite big blocks at 29in square.  So far, that’s six blocks stitched, and six more to go.

P1050182
Three more Soul Searching blocks completed

It was nice to use some more of the pale pink fabrics which part of my daughter’s 50th Birthday quilt a couple of years ago.  But as for those lilacs, that’s a whole different story.  I cut these strips from a (yet another) long forgotten UFO which I started umpteen years ago, put it away, and forgot all about it.  And rediscovered when I was looking for more lilac fabrics.  Maybe one day it will get a chance to get worked on again when it finally ends up on my List of Six.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Town and Country Quilters June Club Night

We braved the cold for our quilt club evening on Wednesday – but it could have been worse, at least it wasn’t raining.  Our speaker for the evening was Glynn Singleton, the Managing Director of Bernina NZ.  He related the history of the family owned Bernina brand, and asked how many in the hall own a Bernina sewing machine.  Many of us, as it turned out.  Glynn touched on several of the problems with home sewers  which can occur from time to time.  Tension is a biggy – different threads and different fabrics can mean that the tension needs to be altered.  Don’t be afraid to turn the dial, he said, it wouldn’t be there if we weren’t meant to tinker with it.  (I've always been a bit hesitant to touch the dial.)   Needles – change them regularly and only buy reputable brands.  And keep the needle race free of lint, and lightly oil.  These small things will keep your sewing machine running sweeter for longer.  And don’t forget the regular maintenance, especially for patch workers who use their machines so much more than the average home sewer.  I take mine along for an annual session with sewing machine guru Barrie – who works his magic with all brands, but he particularly likes the Bernina brand, he told me.

P1050145
Glynn, from Bernina NZ

Show and Tell is always interesting.  Griet showed us her Chicken quilt, made with many fabrics she found in the Op Shop.  This is such a bright and cheery fun quilt.

P1050146
Griet’s Chicken quilt

Didn’t catch the names of the next sewers, but the teddy panel is destined to make a sick child very happy at Ronald McDonald House, and the square in a square quilt is going to the maker’s grand-daughter.  And I’m sure a horse lover will appreciate the attic window quilt.

P1050147P1050148

P1050150
Three more at Show and Tell

Our club recently had tutor Anna Williams take a class on her very popular Celtic Circles.  Anna has now retired from tutoring so the club is very pleased that we had secured her expertise for several recent classes.

P1050151
Club members with their Celtic Circles

It was a very chilly night, so as soon as I had sipped a nice hot cuppa, I slipped away a little early.  There’s nothing like your own home on a cold winter’s night, is there.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A new UFO this week

The “roll of the dice” has been done this week – and it landed on number 4.  Which is a new project on my List of 6, “Soul Searching, designed by Kathy Doughty.  I’m doing my blocks with a little more contrast than shown in the book.

P1050138

The design is similar to a Log Cabin, and this has truly been a “leader and ender” project.  The strips had been cut and pinned, and fed under the needle as I was sewing other things, just one small seam on each strip.  And it’s amazing how quickly these little strips mount up.  This project hasn’t been touched for quite some time so I’m rather pleased it has made it’s way onto my list.  This is what I rediscovered when I unwrapped my bundle, it was all rolled up and tied with a selvedge strip to keep it tidy.

P1050139
Strip sets, waiting to be assembled

There’s already three blocks assembled, so I’d made a good start before it all got rolled up and put away.

P1050137
Green, burgundy and black blocks all done

As I’ve decided to make twelve blocks, instead of the nine in the book, I’ve still got quite a lot of stitching to do.  Today I started off working on a lilac set – with all straight seams, how hard can it be?  Harder than I thought, as I got my trusty unpicker out to rip out a couple of seams.  I had picked up two strips, pinned them together, but got them upended so they were pinned and stitched on the wrong side, – if you know what I mean.  More haste – less speed, double check what I'm doing, and I was soon on the right track. 

We are out and about all day tomorrow, but I should be able to squeeze a few hours sewing time on Friday.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Wet and windy Sew Wot Tuesday

The weather wasn’t at all for nice for today's Sew Wot get-together.  But as it was my turn to be hostess, I stayed at home where it was warm and cozy, ready to welcome them as they got blown through the door.  Medical appointments kept our numbers a little lower once again – just a sign of getting older, I guess.

So what was everyone doing?  Heather E was working with her beloved hexagons.  She loves handwork but I’m sure I would find those itty bitty hexagons much too fiddly for my fat fingers.  Carol was stitching chickens, to be made into a cushion for a family member who has chooks at home
Heather B was making a stained glass table runner.  Love the colours, it’s going to be stunning.  I remember doing something with black bias strips myself many years ago.

P1050134
Heather B’s stained glass table runner

Mary asked “Want to see my jacket?”  Of course I did and I was expecting her to pull a quilted jacket out of her bag.  But this appeared instead – a lovely white lacy 4ply baby’s jacket made especially for the baby to wear to church with the proud parents.  So sweet.  And check out this detail – the pretty flowers were embroidered on after the sleeves were knitted.

P1050135

P1050136
Mary’s baby jacket

That reminds me – I really must get on with my knitting too.  It’s not at all fancy, I’m knitting myself a winter weight cream cardigan, and I’m up to the back.  Never mind, I’ll get there sooner or later.  Heather B asked to see my just completed Animal ABC top, so that got passed around the ladies to be admired.

P1050129 
My Animal ABC quilt top

As usual, we had plenty to talk about, magazines to flick through, and morning tea to eat.  Plus some knitting and stitching was achieved – I managed to do a little more on one of my Christmas ABC corner blocks.  Another lovely Sew Wot morning.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Weekend at Home

As much as I enjoy travelling far and wide towing our caravan behind us, it does cut into my sewing time.  So it’s nice to have a weekend at home, like this weekend.  This means I had extra time to continue with my UFO of the week, number 1, my Animal ABC quilt.  You may remember that most of the top is assembled, but I had a problem with the letter Z.  So I got busy with my unpicker, and carefully removed the machine button hole stitches holding things in place.

P1050013

I had seen an idea that I wanted to try, so started sewing beige, cream and pale yellow strips together.  Mindless sewing really, for this part of the block.

P1050111

These strips formed the base of the African savannah, and then I added blue sky and hills away in the distance.  Next I stitched my letter Z back in place.  Then it looked like this.

P1050123
Letter Z has progressed to this

Add a herd of zebra plus a young cheetah spying on them behind a bush, and this is the result.

P1050128
African savannah

This last row was attached to the rest of the blocks, and then the borders attached.  And the top is now done – I’m rather pleased with it too.

P1050131
Finished Animal ABC top

I have to admit that the Z panel was not my original idea – I had seen a picture of something similar in an older magazine and thought it looked great.  The original design had a strip pieced sunset sky, but I decided to go with the blue and white cloudy fabric I had tucked away.  The backing will be pieced from some of my left over animal prints, I’ve decided, then I’ll have to consider how I’m going to quilt it.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Dice Rolls 1

Monday was a public holiday so there was no “rolling the dice” on my usual day.  So it’s no surprise that we were away for the weekend in our caravan, enjoying the cool winter sunshine, and catching up with our caravan club friends.  But now we are home again, I’m a little late this week to finally roll the dice to see which number comes up.  It’s number 1, my Animal ABC quilt, so that’s what I’ll be sewing this week.  So what stage did I leave this project in last time I worked on it?

P1040394
Animals A to O

That’s right, I had assembled the top three rows, so that was a good start.  So there was more cutting sashing strips that needed to be done, and then I sashed the last couple of rows together.

P1050106
Animals P to Y

One more seam, followed by some pressing under the iron, and the project now looks like this.  It’s coming along well, if I do say so myself.

P1050121

But what happened to the letter Z, you may be wondering.  I wasn’t quite happy with what I had done,  so got my unpicker out to pull it to pieces.   You will have to be patient and wait till next time to see what I’ve planned for Z.