Monday, 25 April 2016

Anzac Day 2016



I am not a badge of honour,
I am not a racist smear,
I am not a fashion statement,
to be worn but once a year,

I am not a glorification of conflict or of war,
I am not a paper ornament or a token, 
I am more.
I am a loving memory, of a father or a son,
A mother, a sister or daughter, each and every one

I am paper or enamel
I am old or shining new,
I am a way of saying thank you,
To every one of you.

I am a simple poppy, a reminder to you all,
That courage, faith and honour will stand where heroes fall.

Paul Hunter 2014

Monday, 18 April 2016

This was quite tidy

compared to what my workroom looked like on Saturday.  These photos were taken over a month ago and the lack of tidiness in my work room has just kept getting worse since then. Shortly after I took these photos I put the overlocker and the quilts away but everything else was relocated to the nearest clear space instead of putting it away.


 I had enough room on my work table to quilt because I started using the floor to put things on, you can fit a lot of things on the floor.  It finally came to a head last Friday when I nearly tripped over on a pile of boxes when I was attempting to wend my way through the mess.


So no quilting for the moment just channeling Marie Kondo while I get it sorted ...

Sunday, 3 April 2016

A good days work ...

I spent a fair bit of time in the sewing room today, and used up most of my Kaffe Fassett strings.  It didn't seem to take too long, I had cut the fan blades out the day before and chain pieced all the blocks.  They have had a quick haircut to make it a bit easier to place the smaller strips before stitching.  All going well I will finish these blocks off tomorrow or Tuesday.


I put a few of the finished blocks on the design wall to see how they look.  The blocks need to be handled carefully as there are some bias edges that I don't want to stretch so I have given them a good press and starch.

Now that I see these blocks on the wall, I can see that there is the possibility of making diagonal rows instead of making hexagons, which would reduce the number of Y seams.  I will have to think on this a bit, although I can't see any major problems in doing it this way other than keeping everything in order.



Friday, 1 April 2016

Lines

The quilting is proceeding slowly on the as yet unnamed Umbrella Prints Trimming Challenge quilt, (suggestions welcomed) I have done a small amount of hand quilting on a couple of areas, and will do a bit more as I progress with the machine quilting.


I generally start quilting in the middle of the quilt but this time I started on another area, not sure if this was a good idea or not, it shouldn't be too much of an issue as I have ditch stitched the quilt for stability, I guess I'll find out won't I?  I do like the way this part is evolving, I'm using a 28wt Aurifil (the colour is 2312 Ermine) and a blue G├╝termann silk thread (because I liked the colour) both of which I already had in my thread stash.


The back side is also looking quite good, some nice texture happening, I'm going to use the same bobbin thread  (Aurifil 50 wt 2600 Dove) throughout.


Some organic triangles near the quilt centre, quilted in the silk thread, I didn't measure these just eyeballed them as I quilted. 


Thursday, 31 March 2016

Spiderweb

I had a bit of a break from quilting today and played around with some strip piecing that I started some time ago.  Back in 2012 I saw a spiderweb hexagon quilt on Barbara Brackman's blog and had the fleeting thought that I could use my Kaffe Fassett scraps to make one.  A few days later I saw this post on Sujata's blog and thought about it some more and ended up draughting a diamond shape and foundation piecing a few diamonds which didn't quite work out so I put them aside for another day.


Last year I bought a 60° diamond ruler and thought I might have another attempt at these diamonds but this time I thought instead of foundation piecing I would start with the fan blade piece, then strip piece fabrics either side, then use the 60° diamond ruler to trim the block.  The fan blade template was made by the clever husband of a quilting friend.  I used my original strip pieced diamonds for the experimental block and ended up with this:


I like how it turned out but think I need to pay a bit more attention to the colour choice that goes next to the fan blades otherwise it could end up being a bit of a mess.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Slow Stitching




I last posted about the Museum Medallion in November last year and it is still slow stitching however, the pile of unstitched quarter circles is now very small and has reduced a little more since this photo was taken.  I had not realised how many had been completed until I piled them up next to the block pieces.


 Another view of the finished v unfinished pile


A circle block like this will be the final outcome of all those quarter circle blocks, I'm sure that the straight line stitching will go a lot faster than the curved stitching.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Listening


While I'm in my workroom I usually like to have a bit of background noise, normally from my ipod set to shuffle so I get a wide variety of music or I listen to podcasts which are kind of like a radio show but you listen to them on your computer or through the podcast app on your iPhone or iPad.


Some of my favourite quilty podcasts are:

Sandi Sawa Hazlewood who hosts the Crafty Planner podcast
Stephanie who hosts the Modern Sewciety podcast
Charlotte hosts The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady podcast
Tsoniki Crazy Bull hosts the  Me Being Crafty podcast
Mary and Marianne Fons who host the Quilt your Heart Out podcast and
I also enjoy Molly Wizenberg  (Orangette blog) and Matthew Amster-Burton with their food related Spilled Milk podcast
 

Monday, 28 March 2016

Random thoughts

I looked out the window a little while ago and saw this sky, although the colours are much more intense in real life, the birds were making their usual morning racket and it is another windy day today, which means a good day to stay inside.


We have a big urn in our front garden and over the years I've had varying success with different plants, this time I tried portulacas and I think they have been the most successful summer planting, they need very little water, are thriving on my neglect, they look gorgeous and they love the hot weather.  


Rachael from Blue Mountain Daisy recently had a blog post about her collection of swap cards, she showed us some of her favourites, there were some lovely ones, hop over and take a look.  Rachael emailed me a picture of a card that she had randomly picked out for me, I love the colours in it and thought they would make a great quilt.


Part of yesterday was spent piecing the backing for the Trimmings challenge quilt, then basting and finally ditch stitching it.  I listened to a podcast interview from Charlotte at The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady, which helps the boring ditch stitching go a lot faster, and today I plan to finish the ditch stitching and start on the quilting.




Sunday, 27 March 2016

Improv Log Cabin

The past couple of years I have bought a Trimmings pack from Umbrella Prints thinking that I would participate in their Trimmings Challenge, of course it never happened, although I did use my Trimmings pack last year when I made my Literal quilt.

This year in anticipation for the Umbrella Prints Trimming Challenge 2016  I bought two Trimmings packs - Pavement and Sandalwood. The amount of fabric in the Trimmings pack is about 25g and the pieces are all offcuts from their production runs, usually a mix of quilters cottons and mid weight hemp/cotton.  As you can see from the photo below (Sandalwood pack) the trimmings are well ... trimmings, but large enough to use to make something...
 

I opened up both packets and left them spread out on the table for a couple of days while I mulled over options, the Pavement pack seemed to speak to me and as luck would have it I had some leftover chambray linen sheeting so I decided to start an improv Log Cabin.


To help flesh it out, I added in light grey linen (thanks Mum) and blue shot cotton (I think the colour is Smoky) and for a bit of zing some Sangria Kona cotton.  It is now at a comfortable size (43" square approx)  so today I'm going to piece together a backing and then start the quilting which I think will be a mix of machine and hand quilting.






Sunday, 20 March 2016

No resting

but there has been plenty of idleness happening ...

Today I made Hot Cross buns from this recipe which is in Matthew Evan's book Real Food (I blogged about it here ) I managed to wait until they were barely warm before sampling one, it was delicious, so much so that I had to have another and then another,  it was lunchtime after all...

The recipe is an easy one and doesn't require anything special in the way of ingredients apart from the peel which I did not have so I just increased the sultana content to about 250g, I also added 1 tsp ginger to the spices. The recipe in the book has an additional 2 Tb (Australian)  of caster sugar added to the dough which is not mentioned in the ingredients list in the linked recipe (although it is mentioned in the method)  



I didn't have marzipan either but I did have the ingredients to make some:

Marzipan
 (this recipe makes quite a lot but it keeps well in the fridge and is quite edible (and delicious) by itself, that is, if you are not worried about the egg white being unpasteurised, the Mister and I are not.

250g Almond Meal
250g icing sugar
2 tsp almond extract (I used almond essence)
1 tsp rose water (this could be omitted as once the marzipan is baked you cannot taste it)
1 egg white

Mix all ingredients together well, knead briefly and then chill.

I used my food processor to mix it up, kneaded it a little bit by hand, then chilled the mixture. 

I rolled out the marzipan and cut thin strips to make the crosses, much easier than rolling thin logs of marzipan.  The marzipan tastes very nice combined with the spice in the buns although it has a tendence to fall off the buns once you cut them.

The recipe mentions glazing the buns, it makes them look nice but I never bother as I don't like getting my hands sticky while eating the buns.

I have actually been doing a bit of stitching, working on my Mandala challenge, still a way to go before it can be called finished, but it is getting there.