Friday, 22 August 2014

Stitching Thursday

Ever since we connected online in March 2011, Sheila and I have been getting together at least once a month for a Stitching Thursday.  We usually start with morning tea and a catch up,  a bit of sew and tell and then settle down to stitch and chat, other times we might visit a local quilt shop or an exhibition. This year our Stitching Thursday has expanded to include Chris and sometimes we are joined by Ali as well.  I really look forward to these days as we often bounce ideas around and they are a great incentive to make progress on or even finish a project, (something we all need help with sometimes.)

Our morning tea this time was  Pear Tart and we had Brown Onion soup with fresh bread for lunch, the Mister especially likes these days as he knows he will usually have a really nice morning tea, although this time he had gone out for the day so it was leftovers for him :)

Our most recent homework from our Sweet 16 group was a Feather project, I decided to do a Feather sampler, (still to be finished), I really love quilting on batik fabric but sadly the quilting doesn't always show to the best advantage,

the back of the sample really shows up the quilting and I can see the places where I need to improve. I used minimal marking on these feathers and let them develop as I quilted,

this feather had a elongated figure 8 marked in the centre and then I worked the feather out from that.

for this feather I marked the beginning curve and then worked along to the end.

for this feather, I marked the two large S shapes and then quilted the feather plumes off them.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Creating New Fabric

Back in June I attended a Guild workshop - Creating New Fabric with Suzanne Gummow, it was held over one day and was quite intense, Suzanne got us to work quite quickly with selecting our fabric choices for the background and before long everyone was at their machine stitching away.

By days end I had the background finished and the "flower" petals made ready to be stitched down.  The fabrics I used for this piece were all from my scrap bin (bonus) and I thoroughly enjoyed the fast pace we worked at.

This is my (nearly) finished piece, I need to put a facing on as I think a binding won't look quite right/

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Crunchy granola (with chocolate)

When I go to Central Market I usually pop into one of the shops that sell bulk products (there are actually three), to stock up on chickpeas, rolled oats etc.  This time I was browsing around the shelves to see if there was anything new and came across a Raw Cacao, Quinoa granola so I bought a small amount (it was an outrageous price) as I wanted to see if I could duplicate it.   There are plenty of similar recipes for this floating around the Internet, but these are the proportions I used and what I did. 

 1 cup of slivered almonds,
1 and a 1 /2 cups of coconut chips,
 1 and a 1/2 cups of buckwheat
 4 cups of puffed quinoa in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, put the following:

 1/2 cup coconut oil,
 1/2 cup cocoa*,
 1/2 cup rice malt syrup*,
 1 tsp vanilla extract, 
1/2 tsp salt
and cook over a gentle heat,
 stirring until it is well combined,
then pour over the dry ingredients.

 Mix well, it will take a little time
 but you want to make sure that the dry ingredients 
make an acquaintance with the cocoa mixture
Spread out in a large roasting pan, lined with baking paper
Bake at 175°C ( 350°F) for approximately 20 minutes
after 10 minutes you will need to take it out to give
it a bit of a stir.
Because of the dark colour it is hard to tell when
it is ready, but I've found 20 minutes is about right, 
check the almonds or coconut flakes for toastiness.

The granola I bought in the shop had raw, organic cacao powder, organic maple syrup, Himalayan rock salt and organic vanilla extract which no doubt boosted the price.

* You could substitute cacao powder instead of the cocoa, maple syrup makes a sweeter granola, you could probably try honey as well. 

I'm trying to cut back on our sugar intake so I tried rice malt syrup for the second batch instead of using the maple syrup, it was definitely less sweet but the Mister still gobbled it up happily.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Recently I posted this photo of my Flower Garden quilt on a Facebook group that I belong to, I thought I would share it here as well.  The idea was that we would share photos of our quilts actually being used, Cody (as usual) was only too happy to jump up and pose gracefully.

I have to say that our bedside tables are normally NEVER this tidy, there is usually a bottle of water, a tube of handcream etc lying there, but it is a bit distracting to see all of that stuff in a photo so I put it all in the top drawer, although the ever present veneer of dust has stayed :)

Monday, 18 August 2014

I succumbed to one of the crazes that is currently sweeping the quilting world - Brigitte Giblin's Trip Around the World Challenge - the first group have nearly finished their TATW quilts, I'm in the second group, we have until the end of August to complete 9 rounds, I've done 3 so far, at the moment it doesn't take too long to stitch a round, but as we get further along it will take longer as there are 4 extra squares each round.  It is entirely hand stitched, (yes, I have started another hand stitched project)

My other hand stitching project is coming along quite nicely, I've forgotten to take any photos but the next borders are on and I'm marking the blocks in preparation for stitching and it is taking me a while as it is boooorrrrriiiinnnngggg and there are a lot of pieces to mark up.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Alive and kicking ...

mutterings from across the Tasman have induced me out of my blogger's slump :)

I've been doing a bit of cooking, a lot of reading and a reasonable amount of quilting.  I finished the quilting and put the binding on my KGB quilt, it is now sitting folded up while I decide what to do with it.

I made a trapunto project as homework for the Sweet 16 class, this was something I enjoyed and I think I will be exploring the delights of trapunto further.

 the front of my project, I used batik for both front and back,

back view of project 
(I hadn't finished the quilting when this photo was taken)

and finally - we have two babies!!

This is the second clutch from the lorikeets that nested in the box in our backyard, the Mister climbed the tree and lifted the lid and took a few photos, they are still too young to do anything apart from creel for food and I can tell you they are quite noisy when they are hungry.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Seeing spots

The last blocks from the second block swap I took part in arrived today, so I quickly threw them up onto my design wall.  Looking at them really lifts the spirits as they are such bright and joyful colours, colour therapy in fabric.

I've decided there will be no extra sashing and I will just join them all together, perhaps add a small border to finish it off . I just need to play around with the placement of them and distribute the colours a bit better.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Tired and happy

I had a lovely time at the workshop today, if I had been thinking ahead I would have done a bit of preparation so I could have started using the Quick Curve ruler straight away, but it didn't take long to cut fabric strips, then cut the curved shapes and start piecing.  I had decided to make a runner which was the free pattern that came with the ruler, so I pulled some likely fabrics from the stash and used them.

I found the instructions quite easy to follow once I had observed our teacher cutting a couple of pieces.  Putting the blocks together was also quite simple, no pins are used for that part, so once you get used to holding the fabric and guiding the curves beneath the sewing machine foot it is quite quick.  It seemed to take nearly as long pressing the blocks as piecing them.

Morning and afternoon tea was provided, (and sewing table snacks) all we had to do was eat, drink and sew, there was a bit of chat but we were all quite busy concentrating on our sewing to do much talking.

I finished piecing my runner about 30 minutes before I went home so I was able to pack my equipment up at a leisurely pace.  Some more photos can be seen on Wideback's Facebook page here I thoroughly enjoyed my day and will be going back for a different workshop later in the year.

Friday, 13 June 2014


up my new basket in preparation for a workshop tomorrow.  I'll be spending the day at Widebacks learning how to use the Quick Curve ruler.  There are some gorgeous quilts being made using this ruler and I can see a weekend or two being spent planning out a quilt (or two). 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The interval

between my blog posts is getting longer and longer, although in my defence I haven't actually been doing much making lately, just practising on the Sweet 16.  I'm still mulling over whether to call "it" a name or not, I'm liking "the Beast" as when it is running it sounds quite grunty, but another name that was suggested to me (thanks Salley) was - David Butler maybe I could have the best of both and call it David Butler aka the Beast, it would be rather apt, as lately I've been referring to my workroom as "the pit"

However, I did manage to catch up on my Threads of Memory blocks.  When the block pictured above came up last month my heart sank a bit, all those inset seams were just something that I didn't feel like doing so I left it until this months block came up and made them both during the long weekend,
so now I'm all caught up and I've sashed them all as well, and made a whole heap of Flying Geese blocks for the sashing, although I still have to make quite a few more of them so that there will be enough to finish the quilt off.

This is how it is looking so far with seven more blocks to come, no doubt I will be moving the blocks around a bit to find the optimum layout before finishing it off next year.