Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Slow learner...

I just had a major revelation tonight. Lately I have had issues with tension and missing stitches while fmq with my Pfaff spring fmq foot (that's actually the only one I am using nowadays). It had started at the end of summer while working on "Frei" and in the end I even took the machine to get looked at but it magically disappeared.
I returned to work on my DP4 now called Summer all year long and had lots of trouble - put it down to wrong thread weight, got more of the original thread weight but it wasn't resolved. I played around with thread tension - better but not perfect. I changed to a metallic needle hm not really different. Tonight I rumaged through my various boxes on my (very dirty!) windowsill and found some more Universal needles. I put a new 70/10 in and voila things just worked!!! I managed to fmq another oven mitt without missing stitches, then moved over to the D4P - barely skipped any stitches!
Of course I have read many times to change your needles but I have never paid much attention. I usually change a needle when it's bent or breaks - not any more!!! But is there a reliable way to tell when the needle needs changing? Please let me know!!!

Below some quick snap shots - close ups of DP4 feathers with and without issues and the oven mitt. Please excuse the quality, just some quick shots on the iPad, I couldn't wait to reveal my new revelation (and with that my being a slow learner lol) to the world!!!

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

MiA from Blogland

I feel like that a bit, there has been so much on lately that I just haven't had time to post!
Work has been really good-crazily busy if you know what I mean, I have been on the road heaps but I feel I am making progress (if you like to know, this year I am working as e-Learning Facilitator, that means I work with currently 6 primary schools in Northland, New Zealand, about implementing a blend of traditional and digital learning in their classrooms for increased student engagement and achievement - big words I know, but great fun!). Still I got quite a bit done on the sewing front, so here are some photos:

 The Sewing Circle Tote is done and I am very pleased about it!
It is large and heavy - about 1100g empty lol
Lots of pockets inside - 3 zipped pockets and 5 with elastic, plus 4 pockets outside
The smaller elastic pockets easily fit an iPad Mini lol
See my feature fabric peeking out? Not my usual choice but I love it!

This comes in very handy because the Kerikeri Patchwork Club have decided to run a monthly Stitch and Chat every 3rd Saturday, 11am - 4pm at Cherry Park House. We had great fun last month, so if you are in the area, bring your sewing and lunch and join in ($1 contribution towards the room hire). There were oldies and newbies, and I am sad I won't be able to make the next two but I will definitely be back. But as you could see from one of the above pics, this bag might come in very handy in my work also to take some of my tech geeky stuff to my schools :-)

Next we have...
Mended Heart, my contribution towards the Red Challenge of the Aotearoa Quilters at this years Quilt Symposium in Taupo. The lovely Ms Lottie had been experimenting with a few different projects for this and as usual she got me into mischief she inspired me to get going, too (between Suz and her I have gotten my a into g a few times!). I wanted to play with quilting with contrasting thread following a piece Rona made a few years ago. It consists of a layer of dropcloth, then two slightly differently painted pieces of silk chiffon behind a piece of red batik, using reverse applique method. The cut out shape is a broken heart, and I wanted to show how after a heart was broken it might never quite be the same, but it grows, stronger, bigger, maybe slightly out of shape but nevertheless the heart and therefore we are still there. Is this ok to send in I wonder??

Then there was...

another oven mitt to take with us to Germany - 5 completed now (I have cut out one more and fabric for two after that. I am getting a bit over them, though!)

Out of the blue...

I decided to make a rag quilt from some gorgeous flannels I bought from Ngaire at The Apple Basket. I didn't really look at any instructions so I have batting coming out right to the ends of the squares which made the piecing a bit challenging...

With some of the joints needing a bit of hiding, in good scrapbooking tradition I put a button over them :-)

and as middle DS just got a new sofa in his room, this will probably live there! Need to measure it first, but from recollection its about 40x55" and there are some leftovers to make a cushion cover eventually.

Last but not least, DP4 has a name: "(I wish it was) Summer all year long". I have pulled it out again and have completed just under half of the feathers. I got pickier with the shapes, though, so I have started unpicking some of the wonky ones - after all it's meant to be a present! - and I will continue working on this for a while still:

I hope you have a lovely weekend and a productive week whatever you might be up to!
Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

General update

Third post today - whoot-whoot! Well, I had sort of saved them up, but I better get off here soon before DH returns from work and finds the house just as messy as he left it this morning (probably worse...). I have not been completely useless today though, this morning I made the discovery how to combine my Craftsy classes and exercise: Take iPad mini with Craftsy app and with the help of a book prop it up where the exercycle display thingy-ma-bob is and you can watch your Cratsy class while exercising. Clever, aye?

What have I been up to? The "Seasons of" quilt safely out the way I had to get my head back to other UFOs:

I attempted to work on the D4P but found that the 40wt white Aurifil did not want to play with the 50wt. Signature in the bobbin so I have just order some more 50wt Aurifil as earlier this year they had worked together just fine. For now I just rolled it into a big ball and returned it to it's place on top of the filing cabinet :-)

Tokyo Subway Map: I had not gotten around to April's blocks (16 and 17), so I have now laid them out ready to piece. Suz, what blocks are we going to do for May? Lucky Todd already has put his top together!

Birthday Love Stash: It has been raining and even thundering when I got up, so no use in thinking about doing a tidy in the garden or the washing... just an excuse I know, but any excuse will do! Today I just wanted to get something small done so I made these two oven mitts to take with us to Germany this winter. I have 6 more to do, better start a production line on them...

one from the front, one from the back and yes, the right one is smaller, it's coincidence, that fq must have been smaller

I used 3 fqs - one for each of the mitts and one for both the pockets. Not much left over :-)
These are following the same idea as the ones I made last year, for example here. I quilted the left one with all over feathers, the right one with Angela Walter spirals.

What's the plans for May?
  • Finish the Sewing Circle Tote
  • Complete the remaining 6 ovenmitts
  • Complete the quilting on the D4P (and finally come up with a name!!!)
  • Start working on Firework again (due in August - but might have to make that 2014??)
I better get that vacuum cleaner out first though :-)

Happy Sewing!

Linking up to Leah Day's FMQ Friday 

Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne April 2013

(Get a cuppa first, there are HEAPS of photos!)

Who would have thought back in ??November?? when I first heard about the challenge that I would end up going to Melbourne? I have sort of recovered by now, my theory is that the human body is not really made for flying around so it usually takes me a while to get over the exhaustion (flying down to Auckland on Monday morning, back on Tuesday night - sigh...).

After two days work in Auckland I flew to Melbourne on Friday night two weeks ago and was picked up by Kiwi friends who I stayed with for the weekend. Melbourne is currently 2h behind NZ time, so jetlag did not happen really. On Saturday morning my friend Sandy and her Kiwi friend Angela took me into the city by train. I took a considerable amount of photographs but I seem to have the special skill to take very bad pictures even with my little camera that does everything for me! I will put in a selection and link to some on the AQC website which are of a much better quality.

Melbourne itself was interesting, 4 Mio. people - this is almost all people in NZ in one city! The public transport is great, trains, trams, buses etc. The buildings are an interesting mixture out of historic and modern - reminds me a lot of the big cities in Europe. The only other state in AUS I have ever visited was Queensland, and there I spent next to no time in cities, maybe all AUS cities are like that? The weather unfortunately had turned from high temperatures to a cold biting wind. People wore coats and scarves and long pants and socks - the kind of stuff this former German now Northland girl had long since donated to the Children's dressups lol.

tower, an old lead pipe & shot factory, and dome are now part of the Melbourne Central Station

I think this is the library

one of the university buildings

we weren't sure, but the girls thought it was the old jail

Post Office

Flinders Street Station

Royal Arcade - some of the arcades still have the original mosaic floors, very pretty - though too expensive for shopping for me!

I just had to take a picture of this for my boys at home!

Federation Square

Yarra River with high rises
Once we got to the Carlton Gardens, we had brunch at the cafe in the museum opposite for energy and in we ventured! Lots of stalls, more than I had ever seen before, and the prices even after considering the exchange rate AUS to NZ$ considerably cheaper than at home.
Royal Exhibition Building
can you see the wind driving the water to the left? we went around the right :-)
the actual entrance was around the corner
 Here are some of the quilts from the Best of Australia section, each and every single one of them were stunning:

The shading in the snow all achieved through using different shades of thread!

I can't remember which section this was under, but I like the quilting in the negative space!
This was probably my favourite Australian quilt: Not only did it look like what I think of "Australia", the detail was amazing: The dress looked like it was nuno felted, with parts of the silk bubbling out around the midsection of the dress, and then a row of feathers and of course the skirt itself coming out of the quilt (hard to describe, I hope you understand what I mean!). The gum tree leaves were also 3D!

Aptly named Milky Way (I seem to recall)
An incredibly poor photograph of the quilt that won the National Quilt Award: Golden Ivory by Rachelle Denneny
 And here some 'famous pieces':

The Colour Play Collection of the 12 by 12 Artists was stunning but right under windows where the sun shone in hence the sunstroke in the pics

Susan Brubaker Knapp

Judy Coates Perez - I went to her and told her how much I admire her work :-)

Gloria Loughman - I am signed up to her Craftsy course but yet to have a look at it :-)
The Free Challenge! The best pictures of the 27 entries you can find here with their artists' statements. I feel the quilts who were judged first and second thoroughly deserved it, and while the viewer's choice was not my first choice, I feel it was an honour to be selected as part of this exhibition:

Look at the work that has gone into this, the small pieces in the background! From memory the tree was appliqued, but here it now looks like it's painted. Add the felted leaves, the echo quilting, beads etc.

detail of the first prize winner - simply stunning!!! And all that quilting, even using metallic thread!

detail of the viewer's choice :-)

Little triangles fused down and fmq over the top - this was the background to the quilt with the horse, very effective (add to the to try list!). The quilt itself was less impressive in person than on the website, I felt the binding let it down.

detail from the cheeky quilt at the nudist beach. Can you see how the people really look like they are in the water?

This would have been my viewers choice - if I would have found the voting box!!!

And here is is - Frei - with Sandy, Angela and I! I have to admit I was not impressed by the creases on it, and I emailed the organisers to say that they were welcome to steam it but this does not seem to be their policy. Hmm, we're learning from this to use fabrics in a challenge quilt that are more crease resistant??

Almost done now, I leave you with a few shots of a different kind of art:

 Thanks for hanging in there with me through all these pictures!

Happy Sewing!