6 September 2014

5 Finishes!

I always seem to begin a blog post with "it's been a long time" or apologizing one way or another about the lack of keeping up to date with blogging but it has been en extremely busy year for me having decided to make each of our grandchildren a quilt for Christmas and also having started teaching.  When I decide to do something or set myself a target (mainly for quilting) haha, I do tend to stick with it no matter how long it takes.  I have achieved my goal for the year having now completed my last quilt for the grandies.  In fact I made 6 (no not another one on the way or at least I hope not) and decided that one of them was not really suitable.  So it will sit in the cupboard - waiting!!!

I will give you just a little peak as it really wouldn't be right to have the big display until the children have received them; so here they are...


A quilt for each grandchild



This has been a labour of love and I have enjoyed every minute of making them and I'm sure they will be enjoyed by each one - 3 boys and 2 girls.  Guesses which are boys and which are girls!!

My teaching schedule began in about April of this year kicking off with the very basics ie straightening of fabric and rotary cutting and making very basic Disappearing 9 patch table toppers.  Paper piecing was a fun class and the ladies who completed their projects were really thrilled with how they turned out.  In another class I had to give one of the ladies a lesson on how to use her sewing machine first, so there is always a surprise starting a new class!

Fee motion quilting is my absolute passion as I have mentioned in earlier posts back in 2012 and these are the classes I most enjoy teaching.  It is so exciting to see someone who has never attempted fmq before becoming quite comfortable with moving her quilt sandwich around under the needle by the completion of the lesson.  But of course the bottom line being practice, practice, practice and more practice!

Well it's the first week in September and the children's quilts are done which gives me a bit of breathing space before starting on my next project.  Hmm I wonder what it will be as I have so many ideas and so many things on my bucket list that I can't wait to make.  But first I need to make a postcard, in fact two, for our fabric postcard swap group and also a birthday block, another group to which I belong.  See here for my tutorial on how to make a fabric postcard.

Thank you for stopping by and I will really try to post more regularly now.

As usual, happy quilting,














18 June 2014

My Favorite Quilt

                                                  Sew Mama Sew is hosting a month long series of



and without thinking twice about it, my favourite has to be the one I made for my Mom's 90th birthday.


Best of All

When was it made, what pattern did I use and what fabrics did I choose?

I made this quilt in 2012 for Mom's 90th birthday which we celebrated in the Drakensberg Mountains in Natal, South Africa.  She lives in her own little cottage in a retirement village in the leafy suburb of Kloof.   The block pattern I used is from McCalls Quilting and is called "Best of All".  I have always loved this block and here was just the occasion to make it into a quilt.  I made a small alteration in the placement of colours in each block which is not according to the pattern.  I used mostly fabrics from my stash for the blocks and purchased the fabrics for the sashing, cornerstones and borders.


Have I shown it in any shows?

No I have not.  I finished it on the eve of her birthday and gave it to her the next day.


What memories or people does it make me think of?

Obviously it makes me think of my Mom and I remember the anticipation I felt while making it as I knew that she would be so thrilled to receive it.  I think it also makes her feel proud of "her talented daughter" as she puts it!!!


What do I like best about it?

I think because it gave me the opportunity to make a pattern that I had had for so long and because free motion quilting is my absolute passion, it gave me a chance to do many different quilting designs on it.


How did I grow as a quilter while making it?

Oh without a doubt I found I had to be extremely accurate with my cutting and piecing as there are so many pieces in each block; more so than I had ever been and so, therefore, realizing how important accuracy and ¼ inch seams are.


If I made it again, what would I do differently (if anything)?

I would not change a thing, actually I probably wouldn't ever make it again!


Where is the quilt now?

It has pride of place on my Mom's bed.  At age 92 she takes it off every evening to get into bed and puts it on every morning when she remakes it.


I have so enjoyed recalling the making of this quilt and have loved seeing everyone elses' "Favorite Quilts".  Hop on over to Sew Mama Sew  to see some really gorgeous favourite quilts.

Happy quilting,







  

Addendum:  I was so excited to have won one of three $25 gift vouchers donated by Fabricworm for participating in "My Favorite Quilt"!
 




Stringing Along!

Well now after too long a break from blogging I've been scratching the surface of modern quilting, looking at peoples' work and generally searching the internet to see what is happening in the world of modern quilting.  Christa Watson's work has been a huge encouragement and eye-opener and I also watched Elizabeth Hartman's video "Inspired Modern Quilts" on Craftsy giving me a window into what I find to be quite exciting.  Oh goodness, after 26 years or so of traditional quilting it is going to be a completely different mind set to get around, but....  I think I'm going to be hooked!  Well I tried my hand at a string quilt which is not really "modern" as string quilts have been around for yonks, but definitely a move from the traditional. 


My first "modern" String Quilt


Being quite an "orderly" gal, I felt that I had to have some kind of uniformity by keeping the gold colour strips the same width and in the same place in all the blocks, while the rest of them were cut all different widths and sewn randomly onto the newsprint squares which were cut to finish at10 inches square.  It was a great opportunity to destash and I must say quite liberating to sew.  Yes, I could go for this!


String Quilt showing backing

I used a hand dyed backing fabric from Amafu Fabrics and as it was not quite wide enough at 150cm, I learned from Glenda how to do a diagonal seam to save fabric.  A great idea I must say!

Showing fmq design

I finished it off with an all-over design which I frequently use on my quilts and finally bound it with the same backing fabric.

I love how this single size bed quilt turned out and it will probably head off to a grandchild.

Thanks for visiting.  I have another modern quilt in the pipeline......

Happy quilting,














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.