Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A couple of finishes!!!

Lately I've been trying to reduce the number of UFO's I have had piled away for several years!!!  This is going back to 2005! 

Before I became enamoured with small quilts I made large bed size quilts.  I used to hand-baste them on the tile floor which always took at least a couple of days, then machine quilted them on my trusty Janome 4800.

It was a slow a laborious task, so a pile started to form and somehow they just became a memory - well,  since then long-arm quilters have become the norm and their services now more accessible.
What would we do without their magical transformation of our flimsys!!!!!

In my last post I featured a couple of flimsys that were screaming out for release, their cry was heard and now they are proud quilts......

This is a reminder of the first one.

It is a 'Scrap Mania' design by Kaye England.  She had made two, one using African and the other Batik fabrics.
I decided to use Australian Aboriginal fabrics. 

The layout is not a straight set, but varied according to the different sized blocks, 6", 8", 10" and 12".

This sketch will give you some idea.

These are the blocks.

Most photos really don't do justice to some quite busy quilts, and  Indigenous Aboriginal artwork is busy and colourful.   The fabrics are rich in colour, vibrant and have a lot of movement.  Here are some of the individual blocks!

These little insects are sugar ants, and a popular and delicious find out in the bush!

As you can see they are traditional blocks but take on a life of their own with such wonderful traditional designs.

Here is the quilt out on my front lawn.

This is the pieced back.

Not the best photos, the morning sun is filtering through the tree in the background.  But you get the idea. 
I really went out of my comfort zone working with these fabrics, but I did learn a lot about colour and how to get a scrappy look without driving myself nuts trying to match things up and be too contrived.

My next completion is a little more within my comfort range, it does however contain lots of different fabrics, they range from scraps of Japanese, Aboriginal, Civil War, Contemporary Floral, and a few other odds and bits, there's even a small yellow William Morris print in there too!! 

I made the flimsy early 2007, and just recently had it long-arm quilted and sewed on the binding!!!!

Here are a couple of close-ups!

Despite the wide range of scraps, I am really happy with the overall look, love the close quilting design, and this time used a 60% wool/40% poly blend batting.  It's the first time I've opted to use this as a batt, as I usually stick with 100% cotton.  This is now on my bed for the next few cold months of winter!!!!  The finished size of this quilt is 84" x 84".

The last of the gentle warm days of Autumn are still with us but not for long.  I got home late one afternoon a couple of days ago, took the dogs for a walk and really took in the beauty around me, it was very still and my Liquid Amber tree is proudly sharing its gorgeous change of colour!!

Looks a little odd, this tree shedding it's leaves not far from the Alexander Palm trees and the rather huge gum on the other side.   But winter does visit the sub-tropics too!!

There was a koala visiting in my trees last week, but it was getting too dark at the time to get a photo, I'll keep a look out for him and try to get a pic.

On the other side of the road a lovely view from my driveway of the surrounding hills, so still in the late afternoon light.

Today it is quite miserable, overcaste and rainy, it's also a day off, so have spent it leisurely inside.  Still working on getting some of those large UFO's completed.

Thankyou to all of you who have left comments on my blog, I find I don't post as often as I would like, but appreciate my followers nonetheless. 

Soon it will be time to chose an alternative to Google Reader to follow my favourite blogs, and I have been doing a bit of research today, looks as though it's going to be a toss between Bloglovin and Feedly!!!  What a pain LOL!, I loathe change especially when it comes to technology, it really does do my head in..........

Take care all, and thoughts go out to all those poor people who lost loved ones and homes in Oklahoma this week.....we've had quite a bit of coverage on the news here, so sad.......

Take it easy,

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Revisiting UFO's etc

As many of you who follow my blog know, I belong to Kathy Tracy's 'Small Quilt Talk' online group.
Each month she offers members a challenge, I'm usually so far behind but this month I actually managed to get the current challenge completed!

Kathy gave us a Contrary Wife block and asked us to create anything we wanted using this block.
I have a love of solids and lots of left over scraps, mostly small pieces, so had a play and came up with this! 

I suppose you could call it a mug-rug, it's finished size is 6 1/2" x 6 1/2", and each square is 1" x 1".
It's handquilted quite simply with four rounds following the square shape!!!  Some of those tiny pieces I've had squirrelled away for over ten years!!

Here is what Tracy gave us:

Because I quite liked this block I decided to make some larger ones as well!  I gathered up some more solids and prepared to make some 9" x 9" blocks. 

These are not colours I would normally go for, but decided to get out of my comfort zone and try a slightly different look!!!!  I'm taking the flimsy to the longarm quilter, so all will be revealed soon!!!  The jury is still out on the colours, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, even if the dog gets to sleep on it LOL!!!!!

I have lots of UFO's, what quilter hasn't!!!!  Before I got into making small quilts I used to make large bedsize quilts, some have been quilted, others have languished for a very long time!!!!
I've decided to bring some of them out of hibernation and set them free - to see the light of day and get used !!!!

Back in 2005, I attended a four day Quilt Retreat with Kaye England.  It was organised by a quilt shop in north Queensland, to be held at the Gympie Conference Centre nestled among tropical rainforest.
I had a wonderful time, there were about 40 or so ladies and I learned so much from Kaye.  Learned to throw out my 'everything must match' thinking and get a little more liberated with fabric!!!

This was her new publication at the time.

The quilt featured on the front cover is what she thought would get us all out of our 'funk' with trying to be so 'ordered' and 'matchy'.  It sure was a learning curve for me!  I made several blocks at the retreat, and when I returned home became quite obsessed and sewed like a crazy woman for a week getting the other blocks completed and the quilt top sewn.

I had a large collection of Aboriginal fabrics set aside for this quilt which contained wild colours and patterns!!!  Some of the other ladies used batiks as Kaye had also done, others used African prints.

This is Kaye with her batik quilt!  A group shot at the top and the Conference Centre at the bottom.

My flimsy has been waiting patiently for me to notice it again, so a couple of weeks ago I decided to get it quilted!!

Told you it was pretty wild!!!  And this is the binding, all prepared and ready to go!!

This quilt is huge!!!!! over 2 metres square!!!! 

This has now started a commitment of wanting to tidy up the UFO pile!!! 

This is a sneak peak of another scrappy - lots of left overs - nine-patch!!!  This must be around 7 years old!! and about the same size, just over 2 metres sq.

My tastes have certainly changed over the past several years, but also fabric availability, and that is a good thing, means we are not stuck and happy to embrace something completely different!!!  I also find it quite a challenge to manoeuvre metres and metres of fabric just for one quilt after getting used to much smaller quilts.  I'm figuring out my sewing room needs to be twice the size - well it used to be! - before I started filling it with extra tables and wardrobes for my ever growing stash and family of sewing machines LOL!!!!

One of my American followers mentioned whenever she heard about ANZAC Day and more especially ANZAC biscuits she always thought of me!   They are very easy to make, but I'm not really a biscuit (cookie) maker myself and buy them at the supermarket instead!

I have started to nibble my way through this packet, great with a cup of coffee!!!!

My last flowering 'hangers on' in the garden, poor little marigolds, before the winter sets in!!  and behind them a beautiful cascade of  basil!!!

I also received two new books, full of inspiration and loveliness!!!

I read 'Lizzie's Legacy' in one sitting, a lovely read and some gorgeous quilts in that book!!!!
Have a safe and productive weekend,

Take it easy,

Thursday, April 25, 2013

ANZAC Day 2013

Lest we forget!!!!

Remembering three young soldiers from my family who never came home from the first World War.....


Friday, April 12, 2013

Little Bit of This 'n That

The trend of all things romantic and sweet is kind of following me around at the moment!!!
I forgot to add a sneak peak of another vintage romantic style quilt I was completing in my last post, anyway it is now finished and making itself at home on the back of one of my lounge chairs!

I was given a charm pack of Butterscotch and Roses quite some time ago, I wasn't sure what to do with them, but decided to just sew them together fairly randomly.  I then went in search of two fabrics to get some yardage, for a border and binding.  I was lucky enough to find the fabrics I had chosen, although I would have been grateful to have used any of the others, as the line had been out for a while, and sometimes what you are looking for is not always available.

Again, not a line of fabric I would have chosen, but sometimes it is good to get out of your comfort zone, and make the best of a thoughtful gift!

I actually made a boo-boo when cutting out the borders, (I cut the top and bottom pieces just a tad too short) so had to get creative and make a cornstone block and included some of the binding fabric!  I think I got away with it alright!!!!!

It's called an Economy Block, which I found on EQ.

My local longarm quilter did a great job as always!!

The quilt measures 38" x 41 1/2".

As most of you who read my blog know I belong to Kathy Tracy's online SmallQuiltTalk yahoo group.
Kathy designs small quilt patterns which you can find here:
I recently purchased a few of her patterns and they came in the mail last week.

There was one in particular that really caught my imagination!  The Scrappy Hourglass quilt.  Kathy added a few pieces of reproduction farbic to the pattern, I then scoured through my scraps to add to them and spent two wonderful sewing sessions putting it together!!

Just loved putting those little hourglass blocks together, transforming scraps into something pretty!!!

Love the mosiac effect!
I used an old Jo Morton for the outer border after searching for just the right brown for the inner border!

I'm really happy with the way this turned out!   Still to decide on the fabric for the binding after I get it quilted!!!

I usually always have a cup of tea with me in the sewing room as I listen to classical music and sew, and shamefully have used a piece of cardboard as a coaster for my hot cup.  How disgraceful for a sewer with a room full of fabric LOL!! So I decided to make up a small coaster/mugrug using some of my smaller scraps, and Insul-Bright as the wadding!! 

It mesures 3 1/2" x 3 1/2".

Much better don't you think!!!

The beginning of another month means of course another Block from Barbara Brackman's Dixie Diary quilt project!  I'm still trying to get my head around such large pieces of fabric for one block after working with tiny pieces most of the time. 

These blocks look a bit bare, but I've yet to applique hearts/stars onto them until I work out my layout for the quilt once all the blocks are completed.  I still love the fabric line here, they are quite sumptuious!!!

This months' BOM is called 'Asylum'.

We're definitely into Autumn now, which is quite a lovely time of year, with cooler days and evenings, it means that I can now snuggle under my feather doona at night, it also means that most of my flowering plants have offered their last sprays of colour and fragrance for the year. 

I have a wonderful large bushy shrub with Orange scented flowers just outside my kitchen, it flowered a couple of times just recently, but this was the final spray it offered before it rests for the winter months.

Their fragrance is really gentle and orangey, not too sweet, I planted it several years ago and it never disappoints.  The photo is taken from my back verandah and looks down onto the garden, it is a little wild and carefree, but I like it that way,  magic happens in a slightly wild garden I always think.......

Thankyou for dropping by, hope where ever you are, life is treating you well, and that you can make time to sew!!

Take it easy,

Monday, March 25, 2013

A little Vintage Romance

It's always good to have a few finishes, especially if they are projects that have taken a while to complete.

I don't have a tendency toward chabby chic as such, although somewhere in the back of my girl brain there is something soothing about roses and pretty prints.  Something I know my grandmother would have loved!!!!

A few years ago on my Small Quilt Talk group Kathy put it to us to create a romantic themed quilt using a small star block.  We could do whatever we wanted, be it small quilt, table-runner, candle mat etc. Here is a link to Kathy's online group 

I scanned the fabrics at my old LQS and there were lots of lovely dreamy romantic fabrics that I never really noticed before - this time they just jumped off the shelf and I brought home a small collection to make a small romantic quilt!! 

This was back in July 2010.   I designed a small quilt using the star block Kathy had given us and made the top......then it just lay among the forgotten unfinished flimsys - well, a couple of weeks ago I dug it out and decided to get it quilted.

I found some backing fabric, discovered I still had enough of the pink print I used in the sashing to make up the binding and hooray!!  all done.......
The blocks in this quilt finish at 5"x 5", and the overall size is 24 1/2"x 24 1/2".
I've called this quilt "Vintage Romance".

I wanted a sweet romantic quilting design too!!!  These little hearts were just perfect!!!!!

I am really quite pleased with how this turned out, just love the romance of it.......

Another finish that has been long in the making is my 'Abundance' doll quilt. An inspiration from Lori's blog.   It is hand quilted, washed and crinkled just right!!!  This has a touch of romance about it too!!!!!

Here is a close-up of the handquiting!!!  I just played around with stright lines and a few curves!!!  The finished size of this is 12"x 12".

In my last post I showed a sneak peak of a small sampler quilt I was working on, the Schoolgirl Sampler Quilt.  It is another of Kathy Tracy's designs from her book "Prairie Children and their Quilts". Mainly handquilted, I also used a few plaids, which I have very little of in my stash.

Here are a couple of close-ups:

The blocks in this quilt finish at 4"x 4".

These were fun projects, and seemed to take ages as my leisure time is definitely at a premium, but I love the results, it all gets done in the end!!!!!

Hope you all get time to finish you projects despite a busy life!  Thankyou all for visiting and we'll catch up soon.

Take it easy,