2 April 2014

Updates!

My but I am a bad girl blogger!  Where does time go; it's already April and 6 weeks since my last blog post! 

I have finished a few smaller projects which I'd like to show.  First is a baby quilt for my nephew and his wife.  Unlike most parents-to-be these days, they have not wanted to know the sex of their second baby and while I quite like the idea of not knowing - after all we were not afforded this knowledge when we had our children - it makes it easier for colour choices for the quilter!  So now I have the task of finding yellows and greens from my stash of "stash packs".  Hmm a bit uninteresting and unfortunately I was very limited with my choices.  I made half square triangles with the 5 inch charms and a plain white fabric and this is what I came up with.



I quilted it with my favourite "Jester's Hat" pattern and little ducks in the border with their French Knots eyes! 


Jester's Hats quilting





Ducks in the border



Thanks for taking a peak.  More tomorrow....

Happy quilting,




19 February 2014

New Fabric!

How excited can one girl be!  Look at all this gorgeous fabric I have just received.  I have been ordering fabric on special offers for the past few months and having it delivered to a very dear friend who now lives in the States.  They have come back "home" for a few weeks and brought it out with them.


A bunch of deliciousness!


Christa, do you spot your ½ yard cuts on the right?!  It was like opening a lucky packet as I had mostly forgotten what I had ordered.  Gilly thank you so much for your kindness and it was lovely to see you again and to catch up on so much time....

I shall be disciplined and finish what I am busy with before beginning something new - well I will try anyway!

Thanks for having a peep.

Happy quilting,





5 February 2014

Renovations to Sewing Room

The weekend saw hubby in action making a few changes to my favourite room!  We removed the old shelves that held too much fabric of all sorts - dress material off-cuts as well as upholstery and curtaining fabric and cut the shelving into smaller pieces that would hold my quilting stash ONLY!


Shelving removed from wall on left



Adding the new shelves in the corner


Looking good!
 


The final clean-up!

How blessed I am to have such a handy husband who doesn't mind doing the dirty work as well.  Of course someone had to be in charge of the camera!!

Next we patched up the holes and moved the furniture back into place.   The rest was up to me to do the sorting out and putting in place.  The photo below shows part of my stash neatly folded on the shelves.  I made a curtain to hang over them to keep off the dust, of which there is plenty in the windy season on the farm, and I have also found that the light from the window is inclined to fade the fabric.  The drawers also contain charm packs, layer cakes and jelly rolls as well as threads and bits of lace etc.  The steel cupboard contains files with patterns, fancy quilting threads, quilt magazines and off-cuts of batting.   My aim was to have my sewing room completely clutter free in which to work and I think that I have achieved just that.


Curtain pulled aside to show fabric


Cupboard with files and quilting paraphanalia

The following are a few panoramas of the whole room put together.

 


Fabric postcards from swap on wall

 


When I am quilting a large quilt, I move the gate-legged table to the left of my sewing table onto which the bulk of the quilt will lie.

I am so thrilled with the layout now of my sewing room and sew much easier to work sew in!  Can you see my "work in progress" which lies on the top shelf of the chest of drawers.  It is waiting for its backing which will arrive tomorrow with Glenda from Amafu Fabrics.  Glenda is calling in at Harrismith on her way to Johannesburg/Pretoria where she will have a display of her lovely fabrics at one of the quilt guilds.  I can't wait to buy more of her Bottom Line threads and Superior needles.

Thank you for stopping by to see where I "do it"!!

Happy quilting,



12 January 2014

Strippy Table Runner

Wonky Piano Table Runner (37x15 inches)

Well it's a new year and to start it off I have joined in a group called "Project Quilting" where every week a challenge is set to be completed within a week!  My original thought was, "Wow this could prove a bit hectic", but then realizing that we are not necessarily thinking bed quilts but a smaller project that can be finished comfortably within the week.

This weeks' theme was "String Along With Me" with a suggestion to "think out of the box".  So okay, that rules out squares so I then decided to cut strips of newspaper about 4 inches wide and started adding strips of different widths and also making them "wonky".  After sewing and adding and sewing and adding until I thought the strip was long enough, I then started another and then another.


Cutting the strips different widths



Sewing them onto strips of newspaper


3 strippy sets


It occurred to me then that they looked like piano keys, but wonky ones so at least now with a goal in mind I continued with adding a thin strip of purple for the sashings.


Adding purple sashings


Now for the quilting....


Securing the 3 layers by stitching in the ditch

The first very necessary step is to secure all 3 layers by stitching in the ditch; I only did the lengthwise strips as it would have been too fiddly going across as well and seeing that it is quite a small project I did not bother.


Quilting the sashings


Seeing that I had visualized a wonky piano, I quilted a sort of Bass Cleff in the sashings (you have to use your imagination here) and trying to keep the music note theme I quilted Jesters' Hats over the keys.

 

Jesters' Hats

I love quilting this pattern learned from Ivory Spring.  I pictured Jesters dancing over the keys - Serendipity you understand!!!


Close-up of completed quilt

So here is my entry in this weeks' String Quilts challenge in Project Quilting run by Kim at Persimmon Dreams.  You can go here and read all about the year-long challenge and join in with us.

Thank you for visiting and happy quilting in 2014,





7 January 2014

Good bye Bernina!

Hello again everyone; so it's a new year and there are lots of patterns to design, fabric to buy (when I'm in a city) and quilts to make, my goal this year being a quilt for each of my 5 grandchildren.  Shucks, I wonder if I've bitten off more than I can chew?  But anyway, I think it's good to have a goal to work towards!

Well my new year got off to rather a sad start.  I decided that to have 3 sewing machines was a little over the top and really cluttered up my sewing space and heck, what good does it serve to have sewing machines packed away in a cupboard.  So a sweet lady from Botswana was the first to answer my advert.  I cleaned it up and gave it a good oiling in the hook - not that it wasn't cleaned and oiled regularly - but quilters know the fluff from batting that gets caught in the bobbin area, gave it a very loving stroke and sent it on it's way......  She (not it) has given me many years of happy sewing and helped me get back into quilting after a break of a few years.  I started off my passion of free motion quilting on her and produced I'm told, some very beautiful work.


Feather quilting for 2012 Free Motion Quilting Project




A quilt I made for my Mum

This was I think, the last quilt that I made on my Bernina.  It was for my old Mum for her 90th birthday.  She has it on her bed every day.

I know she will be loved by her new owner who will also have many happy hours of sewing.

I have another sewing machine - an Elna Automatic that I've had for 46 years, being a gift from hubby when we got engaged.  She still sews beautifully and I use her for piecing when my new machine is set up for free motion quilting.  She has been used by daughters and daughters-in-law but is now my precious stand-by in case of need.  She has great sentimental value as the first garment I made on her was my wedding dress!  Mmm I should actually take a photo of it (wedding dress); will have to find it!!

So goodbye faithful Bernina......





Thank you for visiting today.  Now to get started on fulfilling my set goal!

Happy quilting,
 


 

18 December 2013

Stupendous Stitching


 



The last class I did with Craftsy was Carol Ann Waugh's Stupendous stitching.  We all have those lovely decorative stitches on our sewing machines but when do we actually use them in our quilting.  Are you like me answering, "Well never".  In her class, Carol Ann shows how these stitches can be used in a very simple but very effective way to create something just a little different.  Here is the sample I made from watching her class.


Stupendous Stitching Sample


In this small sample I used different decorative stitches in a variety of colours as well as some hand embroidery using simple straight stitches and French Knots.

Hmm I then had the idea of using this method to make a new cover for the back of my hand mirror on my dressing table.  Hubs gave me this dressing table set probably 50+ years ago when I was still at school - wow imagine that - and all that is left of it is the hand mirror which I happen to use every single day even though the mirror was cracked across the top.  So I set to work cutting out a rough pattern the shape of the mirror and ironing on a piece of vilene which stabilizes the top fabric on which I will do the decorative stitching.




Then comes the embellishing and fancy stitching and finishing off with some hand embroidery.



I then added a piece of batting and quilted around the decorative stitching.


The next step was to pack the template behind the prepared piece and somehow come up with a way to keep its shape.  I crisscrossed some stitching at the back which seemed to do the trick!



I had a new piece of mirror cut to exactly the same shape as the metal frame but unfortunately the small glass factory in town in our local town could not bevel the edges.  What a disappointment as I then had to undo all the crisscross stitching at the back and cut the quilted top to exactly the same shape as the backing as the bulk of the mirror as well as my prized piece of stupendous stitching would not fit into the small groove of the mirror frame.  Oh well, it still worked after I glued the edge of the top onto the cardboard template which I then left intact and it fitted beautifully.

I polished up the very tarnished handle and frame, and wallah.....



My new hand mirror, well as good as new anyway!

Hand mirror and table topper to match!


So this was another use for some stupendous stitching and I'll surely come up with other things to make as well.

Thank you for stopping by and I wish all my followers a Blessed Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2014.

























3 December 2013

Tyla's Dress for Wedding

So here is Tyla's dress all ready for her cousin's wedding on Saturday.  Not a complicated pattern but oh the material was a real sod to sew.  The netting with glued on sequins was my problem.  My needle kept on getting gummed up with the glue and I had to stop every few inches to clean the needle which was very frustrating to say the least.  Never again please Vicky!!!!   In the meantime here is the finished dress and I will post a pic with it on her at a later stage.




Now to get back to some quilting.........



26 November 2013

Another BOM Finish

Hello after a very long absence!   I have finally finished my interpretation of the 2013 Block of the Month which is given by Craftsy.  Laura Nownes was the instructor this year.  Overall I felt that this was a course more suited to the more advanced quilter as opposed to last year where the beginner coped without too much trouble.  It was great learning new techniques for traditional blocks and I felt that Laura put her classes across very well and in just enough detail.

I did not take photos along the way throughout the year as I sewed my blocks in little bits of spare time I had during the day amongst my other sewing projects!  Here is the finished quilt.


2013 Block of the Month Sampler



I used fabric from my stash as well as a few bought fat quarters.  I chose autumn colours this time as opposed to the "brights" I used last year.   Note to self:  Please concentrate next time on the orientation of half square triangles when used in a border!  I had to unpick 2 of the borders as I had the dark half on the wrong side.  Those of you who have used HSTs in a border will know what I'm talking about.  Grrr!

I have recently watched Angela Walters' class on Dot to Dot Quilting and decided that it would work quite well on this quilt for the quilting.  Straight lines were the order of the day here with a few figure eights in the narrower strips.  Mmm sewing straight lines took a bit of practice but I must say that towards the end it was a piece of cake.  Haha!  Here are a few close-ups.


The Fan Block
 
Flower Basket
  
LeMoyne Star
 
Economy Block

I used left-over fabric for the binding which I sewed on by machine and hemmed by hand onto the back.  This was a fun project but I'm not sure if I will do another sampler next year, if there is one.

Thank you for stopping by.  My next project is a dress for Tyla, my granddaughter who is going to a family wedding next month.  I will post pics if she is agreeable!

Happy quilting,













31 October 2013

Home from cruise!

Hello folks after no action on my blog for some time.  We are back from our fabulous cruise of the Greek Islands on board the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship.  While trying to get my feet back on the ground and see to "home" things, I have written a blog about our fantastic holiday.  You are welcome to read about it here

I have a border from our Round Robin to complete and the October BOM with Craftsy to do, so without further ado let me catch up with my quilting.  Can't wait to get back to my sewing machine!



14 September 2013

Time out from Quilting and Blogging.

Well I haven't dropped off the edge or disappeared without trace, just been busy with holiday planning for our cruise around the Greek Islands on board the Queen Elizabeth.  Filling in dozens of required forms, applying for Schengen Visas (that is another story) but in short we were informed that all rules and requirements had been changed and added to in June 2013 hence us being sent from pillar to post to photo copy shops to internet cafes and finally to the local police station for certification stamps - all in the city of Durban where we found two-way streets having been changed to one-way etc etc etc.  What a nightmare it was but a huge surprise when we were informed exactly a week later that we could fetch our approved and completed visas!  Actually I think the Greek Consulate in Johannesburg were so tired of our phone calls that they wanted us out of their hair!!!  And of course updating the wardrobe has required many trips to the larger town of Bethlehem and Pietermaritzburg and on coming back home to Harrismith, I found that I could have got most of what I needed right here on our doorstep!  Oh well there's always an excuse to see if the grass is greener on the other side!

I haven't entirely ignored my sewing room though.  It is not quilt related but I have redone a little Dolly Varden dressing table which my Dad made for my elder daughter Kim when she was a little girl - dare I say about 35 years ago!!  I then redecorated it for my younger daughter Heather when Kim outgrew it and now it's had a new makeover for my youngest granddaughter Tyla for her sixth birthday on 9/11.  The only instruction was that it had to be pink!




So there we go.  Also 2 completed fabric postcards for September and October, both of which are in the post for recipients given to us for a postcard swap that I've been in this year.  Sorry can't show pics as they have not yet reached their destination in the USA!

Now back to planning our itinerary.  I will post a link to our cruise blog just before we leave on 2 October 2013 for those who might be interested in following our long awaited and exciting Mediterranean Cruise.  Thank you for stopping by for a brief update.

Happy quilting dear friends,