Wednesday, December 21, 2011

First Free Day

Today was my first free day of the holidays, if you don't count taking all three sons to their three respective jobs, at different starting times and at different locations.
So of course I had to visit my two favourite patchwork shops along the way.
Patchwork on Central Park were just unpacking bolts of Kaffe Fassett shot cottons. They have a huge range now. I love the shots. They are so much more interesting than the plains and seem to fit into a lot of the things I am working on like this:
This is not the final layout. I am just trying to make enough blocks to join together to fit the back of this tablecloth so it can be double sided.
I also visited Amitie to get some more perle cotton (they have every colour you can imagine there) because I finally decided how I was going to quilt this:

The fabric on the right is the backing I bought from Spotlight.
I guess I am very lucky to have so many places to go shopping when I need some fabric but after taking stock of what I have got going on at the moment I have realised that I have to stop spending, and start finishing so that is the plan for my holidays.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

End of Year Prezzies

School is over for the kids and I just have 3 official days left. These days have been filled for me with a Math's professional development day with my favourite guru Michael Ymer,  an anaphylaxis course and a full day first aid course. I am not sure when they expect me to clean out the classroom so I guess I will be working for a few extra days but it's all good because in my head I am already on holiday.
I made a few end of year presents for my co workers. We are not big on giving presents at school as we would have to buy so many but as I already had a few bits and pieces made, I thought I would.
I decorated t-towels with hexies.

Put together some little Pocket Purses made from scrappy strips.

The fabulous fasteners come from Nikki at You Sew Girl .
They are really easy to put in and super strong.
Lastly I made some Xmas decorations for our amazing secretary who works for a dragon (almost) and still finds a way to do everything and have a smile on her face.
She said her tree was going to be blue and silver this year. Apparently she changes the theme every year.
Today is Sunday but that did not stop my special order from Japan arriving this morning.
It's called All my thanks and Love to Quilts by Goke Keiko.
I first saw this book at Cathy's house and just had to get my own copy.
I know it's all in Japanese but the pictures are brilliant and I do have the advantage of having a son who speaks and reads Japanese but the book seems to be mainly photos.

My camera is not the best to show off these amazing quilts. They are embroidered and quilted and totally wild. I will try to borrow my son's camera to give you some better shots.
Lastly I have been experimenting with some shot cottons. I am building on all of these blocks and will rearrange them a 1000 times but I am enjoying this new project.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Disappearing Nine Patch

I think I just wanted a quick fix when I put this together because this design is so easy to make but in the end I was disappointed with the finish. I cut really big squares and made 5 giant 9 patches from some fat quarters I had bought earlier.
I then chopped them all in quarters and sewed them up again after rearranging the new squares.
I am working on so many long term projects at the moment, I haven't had the satisfaction of finishing anything.
One week to go and school for my students finish and then another week of cleaning, a first aid refresher and more cleaning and I am free for 6 whole weeks. Ah the wonder of it all. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Rainy Day with Bloggers

Melbourne put on some mighty rain today but undeterred I drove to Cathy's place about 1.5 hours away (because of the torrents falling from the sky) to meet up with some bloggers, have some show and tell, stitch and eat. I'm in red on the left and then there was:
 Miriam Cathy our fabulous hostess, Maree all the way from Queensland, Chris Meredithe Merran and Cathy in the front who is new to quilting but very very good at it.

We must have spent 2 hours just doing show and tell before we settled down to a cuppa and some sewing.

That pink star burst is so tiny, you can see it  in the quilt above

Some of Cathy's stash (envy)
I learned new stuff, met really lovely, new people, ate chocolate and saw lots of fabulous quilts and works in progress. Thanks Cathy, it was great fun.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I know I have been going on about this but it's finished now

I've finished my little crochet project. It was a bit like patchwork because I had to sew up all the squares and I put some lining in it. My husband said it was ugly and my son said, "It's very you Mum." My friend thought it was cool so I'll go with her comment! Anyway the weather has been really hot and although I have been craving the warm weather, it's been bad for my hands so I had a day of rest from sewing today.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quilt Show, Stitching and Crochet

I went to the local quilt show this weekend and spent a pleasant few hours wandering around but I can't say it was a great show. There were very few exhibitors and most of them showed the same old stuff. Nevertheless I was very excited to buy the last 2 packs of Moda's Malka Dubrawsky fabric. I have been following her blog for a while. She dyes her own fabric and Moda have copied her designs and are making it possible for us to buy these vibrant prints. I received one of her books for my birthday in April. I love how vibrant and energetic her stitching is.
I also bought a crochet book. It is written in US instructions but the illustrations are so good and they explain what the stitches are in both UK and US stitches.
My sister came over and this is the bag I am trying to copy.
I can see that my centres are larger than hers but they are close enough for me.
So what else have I been up to?
Some stitching.
Some binding.
And some elephants.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

More Crochet

I've been experimenting.

Once up a time my sister bought home a crazy crochet bag from Nepal. Apart from the fact that she should have bought more of them, the work in it is fabulous. I have envied and studied that bag for years now. It is old and shabby and yet she still wears it wherever she goes. It is made up of crochet squares.
I experimented with regular wool trying to get the basic pattern of the block. I am a very new crochet person so I really did not have a clue what I was doing. To make matters worse I have discovered that Americans and the English use different names for the same stitches. What a pain.
Anyway the regular wool just looked ordinary. The wool in her bag is made up of all sorts of blends of fibres.

I solved the wool problem in a dream. This is quite normal for me. I wake up and know what to do. About 30 years ago I studied how to do tapestry weaving. It's an awesome textile skill. I did about 3 short courses with the Australian Tapestry Workshop and still had, locked away somewhere, a fair amount of their reject wools that I just couldn't bear to part with. My loom is still hidden in my brother's cellar. I will have to rescue that one day.
Anyway, I found the wools and started making them into little 3 ply bundles and began making the crochet blocks. I have made enough blocks for the body of the bag. They are all sewn together  so now I need to stretch them as they are a bit lumpy. A wooden frame and some water spray should do the trick.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Stuff

I just had to get the fat quarter bundle of Paula Prass' Botanika range when Fabricworm went on sale. I saw it for $24 a mt locally but when this went out at $7.65 a yard I just had to get some backing as well. Love birds and butterflies.

I also bought some Piece O' Cake Designs Treasures and Tidbits backing and binding for the quilt on the right.
I have been so good using up old stuff from my stash but every now and again a little bit of shopping goes a long way. Work has been very, very stressful of late and I needed some cheering up. It helps!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Recycling and a Variegated Wool

It was Grand Final Weekend this weekend and that means chilling at home and enjoying all the hype around the game. I love footy, unlike most of my friends and I love it when my team wins and plays well.  I love sewing with the TV on, half concentrating on what is happening in the game while making things. 
On Thursday I was at my Mum's house and I found one of my Dad's old cashmere vests, hanging in the cupboard, full of moth holes. Mum doesn't throw out much. My son was rummaging through Dad's stuff too because these days his clothes are known as 'vintage'. It was a bit lean in the cupboard as my nephew had already raided Dad's stuff a few months earlier. Mum is thrilled to have her grandsons wearing Dad's clothes. I decided I wanted to wear something of his too so I took the old cashmere vest and cut it up, sewed some fabric on to it and made a scarf.
It is so beautiful and soft and took me about an hour to put together.

I am so besotted with granny squares but not into the changing of colours and sewing in loose ends. I bought a ball of variegated wool to avoid those annoyances. It is called Zauberwool and it is dreadfully expensive, as all wool seems to be these days. It makes the craziest squares and I am in love with the stuff.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finished Granny Squares and a New Quilt Top

Making the squares was fun. They are portable and can be easily picked up and put away but be warned, the sewing in of loose threads is a nightmare.
I think I will do some more crochet but I am searching for a less tedious finish.
I have been slowly building up my collection of Moda Happy Camper and Punctuation fabrics.
Yesterday I pulled them out and built this little quilt around a set of 5" squares I bought on sale.
As usual I went to Judy Hopkin's Book,"501 Rotary Cut Quilt Blocks," for a block that would fit.
It took me most of the weekend to get the top put together.

As usual the floor was a 'no go zone' which was a bit of bad luck because my husband was doing the vacuuming and the areas where I was sewing was in desperate need of cleaning.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Linen and Shot Cottons

I really liked this when I started.
It was all pretty and each block made a little story.
I used Kaffe shot cottons and Kokka's Heather Ross designs.
But when it came to putting it together it became a bit messy.

Overall, I guess it's okay.
Sons no1 & 3 said they liked it which is surprising because they really don't notice much except the TV and their food. They said it without me even asking! Maybe because it was on the dining room floor all day and they had to tread carefully around it to get from the TV to the kitchen.
It is really big. A full single bed I think. I might send it to be quilted because I didn't pin it or anything which means it probably won't stretch flat. The shot cotton and the linen is very mobile.
A happy few hours were spent sewing and that is just what I needed this weekend.