Monday, 18 May 2015

Another round the world trip completed ...

on my Brigitte Giblin Trip Around the World quilt.  I'm now starting on Round 25 which is another red round, I'm nearly out of the original red spot that I started with so I'm adding in a red fabric which has little white chickens on it.

The whole quilt is getting a little large to go on the design wall now, so it will have to be floor shots from now on.  Once I get to Round 30 then the quilt will be 60" square (which is quite a nice size although not the queen size that the Mister wants)   and I may add another couple of rounds after that and finish it off, I'm still quite motivated to keep working on it which is a good thing as it is usually around this stage that I lose interest in a project and put it aside.

I think the main reason that I am still motivated is the slowness of the project, there is no need to rush and I can enjoy just sitting and stitching.

Friday, 15 May 2015

A sort of a finish* ...

At the beginning of the year the Handiquilter group I belong to was given a challenge by the group facilitator Heather.  The challenge was to make a big block quilt from the pattern provided, we could choose our own fabrics and quilt it however we liked. I started making this quilt with quite a lot of enthusiasm, I wanted to use thread I already had and fabrics from my stash and ran into problems immediately as I didn't have much yardage of the colours I would have preferred (the purple and turquoise).  I had plenty of white but thought that would be a bit blah, so decided to go with the grey and the pink (salmon???)  it didn't take too long to cut the fabric and stitch the quilt top together.

The quilting was another story, I decided to start with a star in the centre and then go from there, because I was using threads to match each colour I didn't want to change threads too often so I quilted the corner blocks as well.  By then I'd decided to make another star which was quilted with silver grey thread,  I used a ruler for both these stars, I then came to a grinding halt and the quilt sat there for a week or so until inspiration struck when I decided to try out a few different fill designs (I haven't finished the fill designs yet) with varying degrees of success.

The borders took a while longer to inspire me, in the end I decided to do lines and figure 8 with a bit of fill around the triangles. The grey border still needs to be finished, most likely with a figure 8 or ribbon candy pattern, I might get to that this weekend, then again I might not  :)

This is the back view, you can see where I will be doing more quilting.  I've had quite a lot of fun trying out different quilting patterns on this quilt, and I think this quilt will be good as a sort of sampler of the different designs I can do.  I used Aurifil and Glide thread on this quilt and wool batting.  Some of the other quilts in this challenge can be seen here (at least I hope so, it's a Facebook page so might not be viewable by everyone) everyone that made a quilt did a really good job and there were so many lovely variations, needless to say we are all very pleased with ourselves.

and look another pair of birds in the back yard, these ones are Eastern Rosellas, they make a nice patch of brightness on the green lawn.

* the quilt is bound  I just haven't finished quilting it yet.

Friday, 8 May 2015

A short video

of Cody for your entertainment, I'm not sure how well this will work, you might have to turn up the volume to hear him (and me)


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Some more birdies

My work room looks out onto our garden and I often see birds flitting around.  It can be quite the distraction some days, the one pictured below was hovering near my window and then darted off into the neighbour's bush to sip nectar from the flowers.

New Holland Honey Eater (click here for a video of one feeding)

The bird below is another project that I have been working on recently.  For a small donation I received a piece of hand dyed fabric with the outline of a bird screen printed onto it, you could then embellish, quilt, embroider, or applique  the piece of fabric.  I decided to applique some velvet and silk on my bird,  I also used some variegated thread to machine embroider the body, then I trapuntoed the bird, quilted it some more then quilted the background.  It is going to be part of our Guild display at our Festival of Quilts in November. 

A family of Kookaburras in the neighbour's gum tree (to hear a kookaburra calling click here you might need to turn the volume up a bit).  It was quite noisy that day as there were more kookaburras in the nearby trees and it seemed as if they were having a competition but in reality I think it was a territorial dispute.

Monday, 4 May 2015

There has been little of note happening here in the Rest is not idleness world, I recently joined a Facebook group called OMG quilts (Organic Modern Graphic quilts, a variation within the Modern Quilting Movement) and spent a few hours over the weekend making this little quilt to submit to the group. I found my inspiration for it while I was slicing some brussel sprouts, it is fairly small, just 15" x 20" and is raw edge applique.  I fused some Applifix (similar to Vliesofix) to the back of my fabrics and then used my rotary cutter to cut the shapes I had in my mind, once that was done, I played around with their positions, then fused them to the background and used my Sweet 16 to quilt them down before I started the fun quilting.

I acquired this fabric last week, I have no idea where it will be used although I think it would make a great bag to take along to sit and sews.  Hopefully you will be able to read the words (click on the picture and it will enlarge) and have a laugh or two.

Opal and Earl seem to be quite a funny couple

I wonder if the Mister and I will be like that in 20 years time

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Anzac Day 2015

Anzac Day this year is a special one in Australia and New Zealand. It's 100 years since the Anzac troops went ashore on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915, and a time to remember the many hardships they endured there. 

 Anzac Day occurs on 25 April.  It commemorates all the Australians and New Zealanders killed in war and also honours returned servicemen and women, past and present.  The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers - the Anzacs - on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.  The plan was to capture the Dardanelles, which was the gateway to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea.  By the end of the campaign, Gallipoli was still held by its Turkish defenders.  

Thousands lost their lives in the Gallipoli campaign: 87,000 Turks, 44,000 men from France and the British Empire, including 8,500 Australians, among the dead were more than 2,700 New Zealanders.

after the Anzac Day Dawn Service at the
South Australian National War Memorial

The Ode

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

Lawrence Binyon (1869-1943)

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Yesterday was a long day ...

and I am still quite tired, but it was worth it.  I travelled to the Australasian Quilting Convention on Saturday, leaving Adelaide before the sun rose and arriving back after it had set, it was a long day but so enjoyable.  It was a very overcast day when I arrived in Melbourne but the clouds slowly lifted and by the midday the sun was out and the day turned out to be quite pleasant, unlike Adelaide where it rained all day.

See how restrained I was,
2 scrap packets of prints from Maze and Vale,
2 fat quarters, 2 fat 1/8's and some vintage squares

I took a lot of photos on my ipad but they all appear quite misty looking (something to do with the light in the building I think) so I won't publish them,  but I can put up links to some of the quilts.  For instance this quilt  made by Lorena Uriarte was one I particularly liked, it was quilted quite simply with a spiral in each circle and straight line quilting on all the building blocks.  Depending on the angle you viewed the quilt you could see hexagons, or diamonds or building blocks and even stars and of course the circles were superimposed on top.  The blocks were machine pieced and the circles were appliqued by hand.

another BlocLoc ruler, a wee tin (looks like a cassette)
a cloth tape measure, a couple of badges
and a laboclip (magnifying viewing aid) to clip onto my glasses

Another quilt that I liked was the second one in this blog post called Subdivision made by Kathy Thorncraft,  it was made from a combination of two different but simple blocks and quilted quite simply with straight line quilting which started in a curve at one corner and was then echoed out about 1/4" each time.  I think this quilt appealed to me because you could create different patterns with it depending on how you arranged the blocks.  There is a pattern for this quilt in Make Modern digital magazine (issue 3).

Miss Midge blogged about AQC 2015 here ,Vireya wrote a post here and Michele wrote a lovely post about the AQC here.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

I didn't quite spend the whole long weekend sorting scraps in between times, I also made Chicken stock and Pancetta, white bean and Swiss chard pot pies from the Smitten Kitchen blog.  The chicken stock is easy to make as it is all done in the slow cooker, you just pile in chicken wings, chopped onion, salt and garlic, add water, turn the slow cooker on and leave it for 8 hours.

My chicken stock differed slightly from the Smitten Kitchen recipe - I used 2kg (on special - $5 for 2kg) of chicken wings (2kg is about 4 1/2 lbs) and used 3 cloves of garlic instead of one, 3 litres of water  (a little more than 3 quarts) and 1 tsp of salt.  I cooked it on high for about 8 hours which kept it bubbling away gently, then strained it into a big bowl, let it cool for 30 mins, then refrigerated overnight.  In the morning the stock was nicely jellied and I could lift the thin layer of fat off easily before spooning the stock into containers so I could freeze some.

For the pot pies I substituted smoked chicken for the Pancetta which meant I could omit the browning step as the diced chicken was added at the end, it was quite delicious, and there was enough mix to make six pot pies which pleased me immensely as I didn't need to think about "what to cook for dinner" although I think that three days in a row is our limit for eating the same dish.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Best intentions ...

I had originally planned to make improv blocks over the long weekend, but I ended up organising nearly ALL of my scraps and strings.  I had organised my strings a month or so ago so I thought it would just take a day to get everything else tidied up, but the scraps have obviously been breeding, who knew that I had three boxes of scraps (and I know there is yet another box lurking on the top shelf of a cupboard).

Once I had started I couldn't stop, I discovered that flat scraps take up a lot less room than scraps stuffed and crammed into boxes and if scraps are stored flat, they will be ready to use straight away.

There were piles upon piles of scraps, my iron was running hot all weekend, but I now have scraps that are easily accessed and organised by colour.

strings are clipped together with foldback clips 
and hung from hooks in the cupboard.

This afternoon I celebrated the finish of my scrap organisation by making an improv block from scraps,

the block was made from some of my leftover Farmer's Wife scraps, if I make it a wee bit larger then I can turn it into a quilt for Cody to lie on, I'm sure he will appreciate it.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

A bit of improv

I have been playing around with making new fabric from fabric scraps and had made a piece of low volume(ish) blue fabric which has been sitting on my design wall until further inspiration would strike.

Reading Cat & Vee's blog I came across Cat's Bust a kiss blogtorial  and thought "oh yes, I can try that with my made fabric, so I did and ended up with this block.  The making of it made for a pleasant morning sewing and there may be a few more of these blocks appearing sometime.

I also played around with a few of the (many) strips I have lurking in the work room and ended up with this block, it could have been better balanced value wise but I just pulled some strips out and sewed like a maniac.  I really enjoy doing improv piecing although I do tend to make a bit of a mess with all the fabric trimmings when I make these blocks.