Sunday, 15 September 2019

A little bit of rain, a little bit of sun...

Back when the kids were little I used to take them to Mainly Music, and one of the songs was "It's a Rainbow" - perfect for this weekend (and last...). Officially spring has sprung, and while there's blossoms outside, it's still rather grey, cold and generally more miserable than I would like. Or maybe that has more to do with the cold I picked up?

"A little bit of rain, a little bit of sun, when they come together they make rainbow fun, it's a rainbow!":
Start with 5" and 6" 'solid' batik squares from my scrapthereapy-ed scraps...
... turn them into HSTs... the HSTs into colours and randomly spread them across a 61 1/2" long column...
...then piece the columns with 1 1/2" wide sashing
The result is a bit larger than I had expected, 47 1/2" by 61 1/2" is more a throw than I baby quilt, but that's just the way it ended up - I definitely won't add anything else to it :) Now to decide on a quilting design - somehow I'm not keen on my usual 'all-over'; any suggestions? At the moment I'm thinking about making the coloured triangles standout more against the background. Given baby is due late spring, I'll back it with cotton rather than flannel or minky.

My Pfaff machine is still in sewing machine hospital (but due to come back soon), so the lovely Diane at our local sewing shop All you Needle lent me a little Janome which coped very well with the batiks - win!

I had spent a bit of time online, looking for the more fabrics to go with the Me+You Indah Batik Fabric Challenge. It was quite a challenge in itself to source the extra fabrics to go with what was supplied, but my selection of FQs finally arrived yesterday:
The four supplied F8s on top, my five solid FQs below
Not quite more normal colour palette, we'll see what happens... Nothing in the T&Cs indicates you can't blog about your challenge entry, but I might keep it a secret just in case :)

As for my goals from the last post:

  • Bind, label & add hanging sleeve on Aotearoa: Nope, no progress yet (Mstr 14 asked me about it today actually...)
  • Quilt VQR on S16: Working on it
  • Continue quilting Metro Rings on S16: Trialled my new Surefoot with this, seems to work as the regular foot but at much less risk of the ruler slipping under the foot, exactly what I wanted yay :)
  • Prepare the next set of Rainbow at Sea blocks: Papers are all prepared, now I have to cut the fabrics
  • Continue on #Patchworkcity2018 blocks when my Pfaff has recovered: All pieces for the next block are prepared just need piecing.
Now to brave the weather and head into work to pack up the equipment I need for next week...

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Middle of winter weather...

... out there today, not very nice: Grey, persistent rain, cold - simply brrrr! However, it helped me make  a bit more progress against my goals from the last post:

Finish quilting Aotearoa from #scrappyappliquequiltalong - done :) I have even cut and pressed the binding (TG for an ancient random ombre green 1/2 metre in my stash), also ironed on some leftover collage pieces for the label. I will have to make a hanging sleeve, too - any favourite tutorials to recommend?
Last weekend - almost done
Today: Quilted & trimmed
Far North of New Zealand = home 
Yummy texture on aqua batik background
Finish piecing the remaining 4 blocks for #patchworkcity2018 - I came across a slight hiccup; since my machine came back from the service, I get random occasions of the machine turning off and on, like a mini power cut. I have the funny feeling it's pedal related, as it seems to happen when I deliberately push the pedal all the way down. I finally have to get in touch with the technician next week. This is the reason why I gave up today after just one of the three blocks that combine to a larger block:

Once Aotearoa is quilted, get back to quilting Metro Rings; well, that didn't quite go to plan. Karin from The Quilt Yarn has experimented with various rulers on her HQ Sweet Sixteen and recently invested in the Sure Foot. I am still waiting to hear back from the shop where I purchased my machine if they can supply the Sure Foot. So in the meantime I turned to my Vintage Quilt Revival top - remember that?

At approx. 108" x 93" too large to photograph in full
A generous stipple under way
After close to 2 years of procrastinating I decided that I would simply have to get it done. While the idea of custom quilting had crossed my mind, I would taken another 5 years to get this done, and similarly if I wanted to save up the money to get it done by a professional quilter. Despite its humangous size, my S16 setup makes it possible, so far I have approx. 6 of 42 blocks done. This quilt might even end up on my bed by the end of the year?

Plug away at blocks for Rainbow at Sea - and I have!

All five sets of this block have been pieced
I LOVE how the colours move across the top
The next set, six blocks, will mark the half-way point. Still a long way to go, but I still LOVE it, so it will get done eventually.

New goals:
  • Bind, label & add hanging sleeve on Aotearoa (luckily I have my Singer 201K to do this if necessary)
  • Quilt VQR on S16, and
  • Continue quilting Metro Rings on S16 (I made sure I picked the same threads for both quilts - no excuse not to work on both :D)
  • Prepare the next set of Rainbow at Sea blocks
  • Continue on #Patchworkcity2018 blocks when my Pfaff has recovered
I also need to make a decision on that baby quilt I want to have ready before November.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 4 August 2019

The time of year...

It's the time of year where it's just work-work-work... With our system of 10 weeks teaching, 2 weeks break you wouldn't think that one can get so bogged down but somehow it happens every year. Luckily I have been able to make space for a little play, too - and TG for our family holiday in the Islands, that was long overdue!

My goals from 3 June were:

  • Finish #scrappyappliquequiltalong (quilt, bind, hanging sleeve)
  • Piece more #patchworkcity2018 bonus blocks
  • Continue piecing Rainbow at Sea quilt
  • Continue quilting Metro Rings quilt

  • ... and there is not that much to show for - oops!

    Scrappy Applique Quilt Along
    Yes, still quilting this - or more truthfully I finally started back on it yesterday... Though I made a discovery regarding my HQ Sweet Sixteen: I though I had been oiling it regularly, but the machine started to feel rather rusty and noisy lately. Eventually I realised that not much oil had been coming out of the oil bottle at all which I have now rectified - and the machine just nicely purrs along again...

    I'm definitely over the half-way mark for the background now,
    so it's just a matter of plodding along and getting it done...
    Patchwork City blocks
    Early June I had 20 blocks, now there are 26, that's more progress than I had thought 😌

    Block 18

    Bonus Block 4 - I really like this one, esp. bottom left

    Bonus Block 5

    Bonus Block 6

    Bonus Block 7 - one of those 'not perfect, but done' blocks...

    Bonus Block 8 - River Path in mirror edge to the original design as I used fpp

    I did a mock up of the layout a few weeks back to see where I was at;
    I have made a few changes since and will post another picture when I get good light
    (it's winter here in New Zealand...)
    So overall this one is probably fine as far as progress goes. 4 more blocks to go, and as poor Joe Madl (@manhandledthreads) has been out of commission after an accident, they will probably all be 'bonus blocks' = blocks I choose. I brought up the idea of ghost blocks in a conversation with DH but he wasn't too thrilled 😂 so they will be pieced.

    Sadly there has been no progress on Rainbow at Sea or Metro Rings but with a little luck I might get to play with the Rainbow blocks today; I laid the completed blocks out last night, and the swerving rainbow colours just make my heart sing.

    Rather than IG rabbit holes, I fell into a couple of FB ones
    Members of the BMQG regularly create community quilts and collaborative projects. Here are a few blocks that have been sent off to Queensland:
    Butterfly girl in cast - the crazy things my brain makes me do when I run out of peach 😂

    After Suzanne (@suzjob1) asked me why I hadn't simply given Butterfly girls socks,
    I had to make a Pippy Longstocking, the heroine of my childhood 😍

    Crumb circles, using the scraps I have left after cutting my 'scraps' into more usable sizes
    There are so many things I would like to make and never enough time.... I just have to be realistic I suppose. I have a very cool job which takes up a lot of my time because I am adamant that I will do it extremely well (ok, some days is more like good enough really). My family are very important, and after our recent holiday the two teenagers still at home are keen to spend more quality time with us.

    So next on the horizon are, for the month of August:
    • Finish quilting Aotearoa from #scrappyappliquequiltalong
    • Finish piecing the remaining 4 blocks for #patchworkcity2018
    • Once Aotearoa is quilted, get back to quilting Metro Rings
    • Plug away at blocks for Rainbow at Sea
    I have a few other things that I could easily add to the above:
    • Baby quilt for a colleague due in November
    • Sandwich and then quilt an all-over (probably stipple) over Vintage Quilt Revival
    • Cut more scraps and continue piecing blocks for the Scraptherapy inspired Irish Chain top - I suppose that could be a sort of leaders & enders project? How do people do these (I might have to do some research)?
    • I have also signed up to the MQG 2020 Me+You Indah Batik Fabric Challenge - no idea what is involved with this but no doubt it will be fun

    I'm leaving you with a few snaps from our Rarotonga holiday - bound to get back there in the future :)

    Happy Sewing!

    Two of our teenagers at the beach - yes, they did swim :)

    View at lunchtime...



    The three boys I travelled with (our oldest son was in Sweden at that time)

    Monday, 3 June 2019

    #zenstudioqal - Finish #5

    Queen's Birthday weekend, winter has started - time for sewing! I'm glad I had posted those goals at the top of the last post, I almost forgot about them 😮. They were:

    Plans for the next six weeks or so:
    1. Finish #zenstudioqal in time for baby shower (date tbc)
    2. Continue piecing #patchworkcity2018 when blocks are posted
    3. Continue piecing Rainbow at Sea
    4. Finish #scrappyappliquequiltalong
    5. try to not fall into too many other rabbit holes!
    I'm happy to report that 1) #zenstudioqal is finished and will be handed over at the work baby shower this coming Friday :) (I'll be teaching at that time, but someone will hand it over on my behalf). I'm really happy with how it turned out, I just LOVE Malka Dubrawsky's Simple Marks of summer line 💕. It wasn't easy to document the quilting from the front, so there are a lot of photos from the back:

    I've posted this one before...
    ... and that one...
    Using the shapes created by the blocks as inspiration (thanks, Suzanne 😘)
    Straight-line quilting (ruler) in the 'negative' space
    Using the 60deg angle as inspiration for the quilting in the border:
    Again I'm using my rulers but keeping it varied to stay true to the nature of the fabric line.
    Seems overexposed (can you even do that with digital photography?!) but shows up the quilting nicely
    Finished: Texture in the winter afternoon sun...
    ... borders and faux-piping binding...
    ... and from the back :)
    2) #patchworkcity2018 on IG has been sitting at block 17 for a while, with my three bonus blocks my personal count is 20 (of 30 I hope to make). This is a little mockup I created on Pic Collage a few weeks back:

    The cream lines between the blocks have since been replaced with black sashing.
    To get back into the swing of things, I will make a list of the blocks in the book I have not used yet and start making more bonus blocks until Joe @manhandledthreads is ready to post more in the actual SAL.

    Yesterday I finally got back to my 3) Rainbow at Sea quilt, just quietly plugging along with sewing more FPP blocks to piece into the larger blocks. There is still lots of blocks to go on this project, but by breaking it down into the individual parts, the task seems a little less daunting.

    I also pulled my 4) #scrappyappliquequiltalong back out, added more swirls to the background quilting. It's been several weeks so I forgot what tension I had set for the invisible thread in the top. I ended up with a few small spots of funny tension that I ripped out but overall the aqua batik is quite forgiving to the invisible thread - grey bobbin combo.

    On the 5) don't fall into another IG rabbit hole: I have been tempted more than once, but so far work has been keeping me far too busy to seriously contemplate getting into anything else!

    So here are my next 6 week goals:

    1. Finish #scrappyappliquequiltalong (quilt, bind, hanging sleeve)
    2. Piece more #patchworkcity2018 bonus blocks
    3. Continue piecing Rainbow at Sea quilt
    4. Continue quilting Metro Rings quilt

    That gives me two goals for piecing and two for quilting, one of them 'finishable' and all the others likely to remain WIP for some time to come. I better don't go looking for rabbit holes on IG...

    Happy Sewing!

    Monday, 22 April 2019

    Taking stock

    While 18 (soon 19) posts for the year so far really aren't bad for me, it's been a month (!) since I last posted! As expected, work has been just go-go-go, and the weekends are filled with utter exhaustion - and housework :(

    [I had just written my goals at the bottom of the post, but that's where they get lost so I cut & paste them right here at the top, so there's no excuse lol]

    Plans for the next six weeks or so:
    1. Finish #zenstudioqal in time for baby shower (date tbc)
    2. Continue piecing #patchworkcity2018 when blocks are posted
    3. Continue piecing Rainbow at Sea
    4. Finish #scrappyappliquequiltalong
    5. try to not fall into too many other rabbit holes!

    This is what I've been working on lately:

    Firstly, Mstr 14 had requested a new cushion cover as the old 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' ones had disintegrated. He requested 'a sunset with elephant silhouette'. After some online research I drew up this:

    Seams just suck up material - I had to add a row and then some to make it fit across

    4th finish for 2019
    He says he likes it - the highest praise a mother can get from a 14y old 😏

    IG is for me like the rabbit hole for Alice, and I fell into yet another QAL:

    Shannon Brinkley runs the #ScrappyAppliqueQuiltAlong; I liked the idea of using my scraps for this...

    I bought her Globe pattern, but I didn't like the idea of NZ at the bottom right end of Globe 4 😮.

    I toyed with the idea of my own world map but decided to go a bit smaller for now:

    Aotearoa New Zealand, right here on my design wall :)

    Mistyfuse-backed green shapes cover the outline; not sure I would go for the same fluffy pellon again?

    Excuse the odd colours; Te Wai Pounamu (South Island) and Rakiura (Stewart Island) are fused to the background.

    Aotearoa all fused down

    Zigzag in variegated green to stitch the edges down; next time I might either try invisible thread or a full satin stitch.

    FMQ stipple for the land...

    A first, unsuccessful attempt at quilting the background - everything was wrong, colour, scale, shape...

    Feeling much better about this one - 

    - so I'm now fmquing the background all over, using a invisible (white) thread in the top with a grey 50wt Aurifil in the bobbin.
    My other IG QALs are also progressing:

    We have a completed flimsy for the #zenstudioqal!

    It's not that easy to match the vibrant colours with a different line of fabric, I bought a bubble minky in red for the back but it looks too pink with the way the light reflects off it, thankfully the lovely Suz parted with a warm red flannel so one of these days I will sandwich and quilt it. My go-to for baby quilts is an all-over pattern, after talking with Suz I am toying with the idea of treating different areas of the top differently but we will see how much time I get before that baby is due ;)

    The #patchworkcity2018 QAL is also still going, I have now completed 16 blocks plus 3 bonus blocks.
    The moment when you realise a minion is watching you from your design wall...

    Week 16

    The blocks for Week 17 have already been posted, I better get onto those soon :)

    I'm rather excited for a parcel I'm expecting, I ordered one of Judi Madsen's 'Celebrate' panels from Honest Fabrics when there was a sale recently, after watching it being moved between various Los Angeles shipping facilities for a fortnight it has finally arrived in and departed from Auckland, so with a bit of luck it should be in my hot little hands this week. While I'm still a bit ho-hum about the 'polyester blend', I want to use it to give my quilting rulers a work out.

    I have just updated my Quilt Planner:

    - and now I have moved my goals for the next six weeks to the top of the post where I simply CANNOT overlook them 😇

    Happy Sewing!