Friday, 23 November 2012

It's been quiet here..

.. on my blog lately... heaps has been going on but not much blog-worthy:
I have been pottering along on the quilting for There's a square in There (5 more squares to quilt, then trim and bind) and the piecing of Firework (7 blocks so far - I was thinking of about 30) . My D4P has been suffering from neglect - still at 30 blocks (of about 90). I have completed another BOM block and decided on a purpose / recipient for it once it's finished. I have a few little projects in mind for Xmas prezzies (just another 4 weeks!). I haven't done anything for Sew It's Finished for this month, I have run out of steam for UFOs (and the few remaining UFOs require a bit of thought and effort, too!).
I did though have a reshuffle in my sewing room a weekend or two ago and have attacked my mending pile - well, to be honest, I just sorted it into 'mindless' and 'not so mindless' work and kept the former as a massive pile on the floor with the plan to attack one every other day (mainly rips in pants and the likes). So far they are all still sitting there (sigh...)

Maybe it's all to do with a lot of other stuff going on, oldest DS is finally and permanently on an insulin pump, works great during the day but night time is yet to be properly adjusted (at the moment he requires a blood test and usually a correction at 2am - which then needs to be checked at 4am - can you hear me yawn? I am obviously too old for broken nights...).
Work has been a bit of a worry, my part-time job at school finishes in December and so far no offer of anything from next year on. I should enjoy just working 3 days a week but that doesn't quite pay that oldest DS' school fees... On top of that we have just booked a holiday in Germany, taking our whole family back there for the first time in 12 years (that's the first time for the two younger boys and the oldest one only turned 1 while we were there last time). Not a cheap undertaking either!

So this weekend, while DH is on nightshifts and asleep during the day, I will try to have a go at our Patchwork Club's Exhibition Challenge: An A4 (portrait) size piece inspired by the first letter of our name. I will use my painted silk chiffon layer method I last employed for middle DS' portrait. This is my starting image:
What are you planning to get up to this weekend?

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

BOMs

I finally started on my BOMs from Sew It's Finished - here are the blocks from June and March:

Today was my 'day off' but somehow I ended up really really busy - here is some of what the kids and I made this afternoon for Pet & Show Day tomorrow:
Middle DS, youngest DS and niece :-)
Note to self for tomorrow: Remember to take children, gingerbread people and budgies - and don't forget to go to work lol!

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Heaps of lovely quilts and this and that

{Just a warning, this has turned out to be a looonng post so pour yourself another cuppa :D}

It's Sunday morning, the children are parked in front of the box, husband has gone to work. By the time "What Now" is over on telly, the sun will have disappeared I suppose, this seems to be our weather pattern at the moment, nice when you get up and then it turns grey and overcast and not very warm - it's (almost) enough to make you a global warming skeptic [not really, too much evidence here of the hole in the ozon layerwith skin cancers and the likes...]. We'll get one 'extra' (child) later on today but I am hopeful they will just entertain themselves (my experience is as long as you feed boys things are generally fine).
Suz and I had a lovely day on Friday - well, we agreed that even just leaving Okaihau without children feels like a holiday lol - took a leisurely drive to Auckland (250km from here) via Spotlight and No.1 Shoes. This was my first visit to the "Auckland Festival of Quilts" a far cry in size of venue and exhibition to our local guild's exhibition. What impressed me the most was the amount of classes and workshops the exhibiting quilters had taken as per the descriptions on their cards - well, their guild is slightly way bigger than our Patchwork Club :-). My main focus was 'wow' pieces and quilting, so here are some of the photos I took:
Wow!

After my DS' portraits I had to photograph this!

crooked photo, sorry!

Gustav Klimt's The Kiss - we have a whole calendar of his works at home, hmmm maybe I can try sth. with that....

Mum has been working on felting flowers for a wallhanging, I will have to show her this one!

On silk or satin (can't remember)

Another Wow!

A different kind of Wow!

More Wow!

The canopy of this Pohutukawa tree is made from NZ prints


Very wow!
Suz and I ended up with a bit of an overload in the end, I didn't even end up taken photos of their lovely colour challenge quilts at the entrance but please head over to Leeann's Quilt Whangarei blog to see them, they were stunning!
Next we headed over to Northart to catch up with Rona from Layer upon Layer for the opening of the Big Quilts Exhibition. I forgot to take a picture of us all three together sorry!!!!!! Wendy, the curator, had displayed the 17 quilts beautifully, it was really interesting to see them displayed against white walls with wonderful lighting. It is hard to photograph them all with people standing in front of them, but here are some of them:
Kaffe fasset fabrics (I think) are often to flowery for my taste but this was just stunning (and yes, you can see my To the Power of Four to the right of it)

I have seen a lot of modern quilting with freehand parallel lines today

Not fmq yet absolutely stunning with lots of NZ reference in it
And upon leaving we discovered that you can see this through the window

and what about this as a quilting or an applique pattern (on the fence right outside):
A few learnings from the gallery exhibition:
  • Professional looking photos are important to be selected (the curator mentioned to us that a lot of the submitted photos were of really poor quality and quilters in comparison to painters really needed to up their act; now I didn't dare ask if mine were good enough, I had made a real effort...)
  • The Gallery did not iron the quilts so mine still had some folds from transport - might have to investigate Leah Day's storing quilts suggestions. I hope the folds disappear over the next few weeks.
  • Displaying them against white, firm walls with good lighting really showed them off well.
  • Some of the quilts for sale their were more pricey than I expected - deservedly so, with all the material and time that goes into them on top of the creativity. If you imagine buying a painting of that size, you would expect to spend thousands also! (My quilt is marked NFS, I made it for our bed, some of the material is just Spotlight fabric and I don't think it's perfect enough to sell - and then our cats have left some now faint marks on it, too!)
So where - if anywhere - do I want to get with my quilting? I am getting a bit obsessed about it at the moment (or so I am told by my family!). I have three big (secret) quilts on the go, but my head is just overflowing with arty type ideas (they are going forth and multiplying, might have to investigate if there is any family planning advice for crazy ideas lol). Would I have enough time and money to make quilts to sell? (Like most of us I need to work to earn the money to make quilts which limits the time considerably lol). Well, for the moment there are two new challenges I have on my mind, let's see how I go with these...
If you are still with me, here are yet more pics for you from some of the stuff I did yesterday:
I am trying to make a chain link fence, zigzag stitching on wash-away stabiliser

Drying on a towel - one link didn't quite link but that wouldn't matter for the project I have in mind. It stretched, so will have to plan for this.
This is for a piece "Free" where I want to wind a creeper like morning glory around a chain link fence. I think this method could work, and I would stitch it to the backgound using tiny zigzag with invisible thread. I'm open to better suggestions though!
Here some different kind of 'paper piecing': I am working on the cartwheel pattern from Freshly Pieced but just the word paper piecing puts me off a bit so after contemplating and temporarily discarding stack and whack  I made myself some templates. I always struggle with how to cut triangle corners so my pieces will fit (despite Marti Mitchell's corner trimmer, but here you have got odd angles), so I worked with paper until I made it fit:

I have three blocks finished so far using Melka Dubrowsky's Stitch in Colour fqs and Kona steel, I am planning to set them in 5x6 rows with the steel as sashing, but I am intrigued by the secondary pattern you could get when you set them as below, so this pattern might get used again :-)
Working title 'Firework'
Well, an hour later and I haven't even put the dishes in the dishwasher - I hope you have a more productive Sunday morning!

Please don't forget to vote at the Blogger's Quilt Festival - #339 is my entry, the portrait of my lovely middle DS :D

Happy Sewing!







Friday, 2 November 2012

Soaked and Stoked

I have been lucky enough to have a very short working week so I turned my attention to my very neglected housework. You see, as many times as I joined FlyLady I have fallen off the wagon. However, for the last week or so I have been cleaning windows from the inside FlyLady style, on average one room / day, and now there's only my sewing room left! (apart from the garage but that's a different story) So yesterday I started on the outside with my big telescopic brush, hooked up to the hose... why does it have to be so hard??? Water squirting everywhere, I washed not only the windows but also the downpipes, gutter, soffit, fascia and walls (on purpose - but then I don't know how you couldn't with the weight of that brush wiggling all over the place)! No wonder I only do this once in a blue moon, I ended up drenched on an overcast day - and that was only a quarter of the way around! I'll have to do the FlyLady 'do a little bit at a time' method on this one, too!
I can feel my shoulders (old age...) but luckily it isn't too bad as Suz and I are off today to the big smoke completely childless (after we drop them off at school) to go to the Festival of Quilts and then Northart for the opening of the Big Quilts exhibition! The Festival of Quilts, formerly Calico Christmas, is the big Auckland Quilt Exhibition, on this weekend only. The Northart Exhibition runs 3-23 November.
I am absolutely stoked about the lovely comments I've been getting about my entry for the Blogger's Festival - voting is now open, so please go and have a look and vote for your favourites on
http://amyscreativeside.com/2012/10/26/bloggers-quilt-festival-fall-2012/
If you can't decide, 339 is mine :-)
I leave you with the first block of another secret project, working title 'firework' which (roughly) follows the carthwheel pattern from freshlypieced.
Happy Sewing!