Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sweet Peas back together again

It was so nice to get together with the Sweet Pea ladies again today after we had to cancel our last meeting.

Mary had offered to host this meeting and so we all gathered at her place - very nice.

Linda and I took a stack of quilt tops for show and tell.  Linda had 4 and I had 8.  I couldn't believe it when I came home and found I had still managed to leave 1 behind.  9 quilt tops would be an all time record for me for show and tell.

 There was show and tell from the others as well.

Top left - Margaret had recently taken classes at the Taupo Symposium.  This project fascinated me.  A landscape created around a mix of fabrics cut into tiny pieces.
Top middle - Andreena has successfully completed a chevron quilt top with a fish theme.  This is to be for her son's next birthday.
Top right - Trish shared this work in progress on a tulip quilt.  Debbie has been satin stitching the applique in place for her.
Bottom - Moira always surprises us with her excellent execution of her sewing projects.  These Santas made up a delightful table runner.

You can read about our gathering with a different perspective on Linda's blog.

Thank you, Mary, for hosting our get together.  It was very special.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's not all about making quilt tops

 It has been lovely to make all the quilt tops that have been happening in the past few weeks.

However, there are other considerations:-
  1. Making decisions about fabric for the back of the quilt;
  2. Preparing the binding;
  3. What batting might be used.
Many years ago I was given some autumn theme fabric and I had always thought I would like to incorporate it into my heart quilt.  It is possible I have had this autumn fabric in my stash for 15 years.

Having made the decision to sew my heart blocks together without using any other fabric it looked like my autumn fabric would be left out.
 In the end I have decided to use it to make magic binding for my heart quilt.

The little bit of autumn colours showing through will reflect nicely against the autumn theme of most of the blocks.

Still more of the fabric left and so I have combined it with some cream fabric for the back.

We have wool batting in hand and a double layer of that will make it a very cosy quilt for my bed.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Stash busting to the extreme?

Tidying up after completing the Belle Wave quilt yesterday I found quite a few scrap pieces as well as some left over orphan blocks.

I was going to add the orphan blocks to the others in hand but then decided that if I pulled them apart and harvested them down to 2.5 inch squares I could use them to make a series of 4 patch blocks.

There is more cream background fabric I can use, if necessary.

Who knows, I may have enough for another scrappy quilt top.

Stash busting to the extreme?

On another note, we are having the most wonderful weather at the moment.

Admittedly we are having frosts in the morning but beautiful days follow and the scenery continues to be breathtaking.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The scrappy challenge continues

Our stash busting challenge continues.

Amongst Linda's orphan blocks we found a collection of a range of fabrics.  Although they were irregular pieces they worked out to approximately 8 fat quarters.

We had a free internet pattern called Belle Wave which needed this amount of fabric along with sufficient for a plain background.

We had sufficient cream fabric in our stash for the so without having to buy more fabric I was able to construct this quilt top.

I was not so sure about whether I liked it during the process but now that it is done the fabrics have come together well and so not bad for another scrappy quilt top.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Another cat scan required

On the 17th July I wrote about Cici's need to scan some Trip Around The World blocks I was assembling for Linda.

I pieced the blocks together and then after some contemplation Linda completed the quilt with an inner and outer border in shades of blue.

She put the finished top on the floor in the same place where the blocks had been and within minutes Cici was back to check it out before giving approval to the project.  Apparently a second cat scan was required.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Healing Hearts

I belong to an Australasian Yahoo e-mail group called Southern Cross Quilters.

One of the lovely aspects of this group is that you can let them know of people who are going through difficulties and they send out a call to all members to send 6.5 inch blocks featuring 'healing hearts' in colours of the recipients choice.

Just over 10 years ago I had hip surgery and, unknown to me, my sister Linda let it be known that I needed healing hearts.  It was a delightful surprise, when, still in hospital, the heart blocks started flowing in.

At that time I received over 80 blocks from quilters in Australia and New Zealand.

I held on to them, waiting for inspiration as to how to piece them together.

Following the loss of our Mother in 2011 members of our local quilting group got together (again unknown to me) and members made heart blocks for both Linda and me. 

My blocks now totalled 112 and still I was waiting for inspiration.

Last week I looked lovingly at my collection once again and decided there as were so many and they were all so diverse that I would just go ahead and piece them together row by row.  I have made a quilt top 10 rows by 10 wide = 100 heart blocks.  I still have another 12 blocks which I plan to use as back art on the quilt.

It would be lovely to highlight all of the heart blocks but there are so many.

These are just a few - they evoke happy memories of people whose lives have come into contact with mine through quilting.

Some have names identifying them and some not but all very much treasured as the healing hearts that they are - thank you quilters one and all.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

It started with scraps

We are still stash busting and yesterday I contemplated what I might do with these half square triangle blocks from Linda's stash.

We really needed something as a go between to break down the solidness of the colours.

Linda thought she might have something in her stash that could do the trick.  This is what she came up with:-

It was just what we needed to add a contrast to the blocks.

Linda thought a star block might be a good use for the half square triangles so after so e time spent on the design board, this is what we came up with:-

Perhaps a little retro using these colours but soft and pretty nevertheless. 

To think it all started with a few orphan blocks.  They have now found a lovely home. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A visit from a blogger

The advent of internet communication has brought with it opportunities to meet with people we might otherwise never know.

Recently I wrote about making hexagon shaped mug rugs and Jenny left a comment about them.

We had an ensuing conversation and Jenny mentioned that she and her husband, Robin, would be in Taupo during the Taupo Symposium and I suggested they would be most welcome to visit.

This they did yesterday.  Just a quick visit but we covered quite a bit in that time and Jenny wrote about this on her blog.

You may like to read about us from a different perspective at Romany Quilter.

Thanks for visiting, Jenny.  We did enjoy meeting you and your husband.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Taupo Symposium - a bit more

The Taupo Symposium finished today.

I am sharing just a few of the images from quilts we saw yesterday.

This circular piece was quilt of the show.

Extremely intricate piecing impressed the judges enough to award the prize for this masterpiece.

This miniature quilt was a blue ribbon winner in its category.

Named 'Ken's Flower Garden' the piecing of these tiny, tiny hexagons had to be seen to be believed.

My personal favourite of the whole show.

Not quite sure what caught my eye about this one but I do love the amazing piecing.

The placement of the starry objects brings an unusual depth to the whole quilt.

These fantasy flowers I found very appealing.  It wasn't until I edited the image for publishing on my blog that I saw the cats, birds, butterfly and insects.  Makes me feel pleased I captured the image.

Linda has also written about the Symposium yesterday and today and has shared a different viewpoint which you may like to check out.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Taupo Symposium

I am sure if you were to listen carefully you would hear the sounds of happiness from 1,000 or more quilters who have gathered in Taupo for the Taupo Quilters Symposium.

Linda and I took time out to take a look at the quilt exhibition.

I took quite a few photos but just for today thought I would share the images I took of the quilts that resulted from the Hoffman fabric challenge.

Just from these three images you can see the wide range of ideas that evolved from one fabric, especially the red and blue flowers which featured in so many different ways across the whole of the challenge.

So nice to see and be inspired by the work that other quilters do with fabric.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

It all started in the middle

I am still working on ways to use orphan blocks.

The purple block in the middle is what got me going on this quilt top.

I have been adding to it over a few days and brought it to a conclusion today.

In the process I used a few orphan blocks, existing stash fabric but also stash busting fabric that I had purchased.

Having proved to myself that buying stash busting fabric really does help use up the stash maybe I now need to go out and buy more fabric?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fabric flower frenzy is alive and well

Last time I made fabric flowers I thought I had had enough.

Just when I think I have put them behind me something happens that makes me think I will give them yet another go.

This time I used them to make name tags for a patchwork class.

The concept was appreciated by participants.

 Now that I have made individual flowers like this the mind is working on the possibilities of what else can be done - oh dear, fabric flower frenzy is alive and well in my mind.

Friday, July 19, 2013

It's not all about quilting

 A walk in our garden in the middle of winter will tell you there are not many flowers blooming at the moment.

However, at our front door, Linda has put some plants in pots and these polyanthus are blooming large and pretty during the cold weather.

Pansies always aim to please and we have not got many of these either but the ones that are here are blooming very nicely, thank you.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Delightfully scrappy completed

It took a little bit longer than expected but this red, white and blue scrappy quilt is now complete.

Just another quilt top to join our queue for quilting, but I am not done yet with making quilt tops.

No shortage of ideas here for making more.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Oh, how nice...............

Linda has taken me up on my offer to put together some of her unfinished quilt projects.

Recently she made these scrappy trip around the world blocks and this morning got down on the floor to play with the layout so that I can proceed in sewing them together.

She left them on the floor to contemplate the best layout.

Within minutes Cici arrived and was found having a wonderful time 'playing' with the blocks.  Apparently she had her own ideas on layout.

Not to be outdone, Koko and Kaiser also had a turn at 'playing' with layout too.

The design board has now come into use and blocks are off the floor and 'playing' is now for human beings only.

Even here on the floor the blocks are looking pretty good and will make another delightful scrappy quilt.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Oriental Update

A few days ago I shared some oriental theme blocks up on our design board.

I have since been able to bring them together and finished this quilt top.

It will now have to join the queue to await machine quilting.

Linda has plans to use red silk thread as part of the quilting process and I will be putting a red flange into the binding.

Just something else in our storehouse worth waiting for.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Delightfully scrappy

I thoroughly enjoyed playing with our oriental theme orphan blocks and I said to Linda I would enjoy doing more of the same.

Not long after Linda produced a storage bin full of orphan blocks for me to play with.  I could be busy for a while.  Apparently there is a second bin with more if I have the inclination.

Amongst her treasures was a bag of pieced blocks that I thought I would like to play with and after a couple of efforts we decided on this layout.

I have already started piecing them and they look very sharp.

Linda had picked up these blocks at a trash and treasure table at a quilters gathering some years ago.  Finally they have found a home in this quilt top.

Once I have these pieced together, and I am already more than half way there, we will play with borders for a finish.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Back to hexagons

Finally, finally I have been able to take some photos of the hexagon quilt top I have been working on.

A totally enjoyable process, finding out how the hexagons were made and then following through on the piecing.

I don't buy quilting patterns very often.  I had a tab open on my laptop for this pattern for about a week before I hit the button for purchase.

The name of the quilt is Science Fair by Jaybird Quilts.

The pattern incorporates a template for the hexagons but I recommend that you buy the Hex N More ruler for this project if you can.

You can see an excellent tutorial for using the Hex N More ruler at Heirloom Creations.

If you are curious about the hexagons, they are made from 2 x 2.5 inch strips sewn together.  Press seams open and then cut 60 degree triangles across the width of the fabric.  A 40" width of fabric will yield enough to make 2 hexagons.  3 of the triangles are pieced together to make half a hexagon.

The layout of the quilt top is by vertical strips of half hexagons which are then pieced together to create the hexagons.  Confused?  It may be time to buy the pattern for yourself.  I have no regrets regarding buying the pattern or ruler.

The only other pattern I know of for this type of hexagon is Merry Go Round. A much more scrappy version, but in my opinion, just as nice.

I love the way some of the hexagons are floating off on their own in the Science Fair quilt layout.

Can't wait for this one to be machine quilted, but will have to be patient.  There are other tops ahead in the queue.

It will be like good wine, worth waiting for.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Meanwhile on the drawing board

Although I am still very keen to share images of the hexagon quilt top the weather has closed in and so a photo shoot was not possible.

In the meantime it is back to the drawing board.

Linda and I, over some time, have acquired a series of orphan blocks with an oriental theme.  We have often thought it would be nice to bring them together into a quilt top.

Today was the day for playing and working out the best options.

Looking at the blocks brought back memories of where they come from and some were even acquired in a quilters garage sale in Lewisville, Dallas.  They have finally found a home.

All going well the blocks should be pieced together tomorrow.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hexie Mug Rugs

Mug Rugs
Today I managed to complete my hexagon quilt top but due to poor light I was not been able to take a decent photo so I hope to be able to do that tomorrow, weather permitting.

In the meantime I had some hexagon blocks left over and decided to have a play with them.

They measure 8 inches across and so I felt they might make a different looking mug rug.

Not hard to complete with the blocks already to hand, a bit of cotton batting and, in no time at all, I had made two of them.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Love those hexies

I am really, really loving this hexagon project and fascinated with the process for putting it together.

Once again my ambitions were greater than my abilities.  I had thought that I would have completed by now but instead I am only half way there.

Maybe tomorrow I will be able to complete.................

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Grandma's Brag Book

My blog could easily become a Grandma's Brag Book but I will try not to let that happen.

My son, Aaron, posted this image of Anna-Clara today and she just happens to be lying on the quilt I made and sent for her before she was born.

It is always lovely to see something you have made for someone else being put to good use.

Thank you for sharing, Aaron.

Just for the record, this is the quilt that I sent.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Just because I can

Little Anna-Clara is now more than 6 weeks old and in this image I get the feeling that she is now learning to interact with the world around her.

She is in London, we are in New Zealand, so we treasure every image that comes our way.

Monday, July 08, 2013

From cutting table to design board

Stitching has been happening and so pieces have become hexagons.

Hexagons always bring back happy memories for me.  They were my introduction to patchwork as a teenager and I have pieced many of these by hand.

My days of hand piecing are over so it is lovely to think that there people out there who have put together new ways of doing hexagons by machine.

I am in love with the way these hexagons are turning out.  They are still very much on the design board and need to be reviewed before more stitching happens.

I will be back on this one.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Just for the record

Just for the record, Ricky's quilt arrived in London.

It did not make it for his birthday due to an error in the postcode (no naming and blaming) but at least it got there and he does look suitably impressed.

With it being mid summer in England I guess it will not be used much at this stage but I am sure it will be put to good use during the winter ahead.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

On the cutting board

Over this past week I have been having fun with a new (well, new to me) technique for making hexagons.

I have a stack of 26 of these to make up an a whole rainbow of colour combinations and am really enjoying the process.

Definitely have to report back later on this work in progress.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Super Sweet Pea Results

We never know when Sweet Peas meet what delights there might be by way of show and tell.

Andreena has been working on this handbag for some time and is more than pleased that it is finally complete.

Along the way she has learned how to learn a lot of features on her Pfaff machine and it is great to see the results.

I talked about the back of the bag before.

It was inspirational to Debbie who went home and made a cushion based on this design.

Cushion craze continues for Debbie and she had only just completed this one before coming to our meeting.

At our previous meeting Andreena shared an old patchwork book she had picked up at a book fair and Debbie was inspired by this star idea which results from folding fabric.

She has made the idea her own including the wide and bright ric rac trim.

Margaret came to visit our group and brought some of her show and tell including this amazing wall hanging.

The mountain scenery she overlaid with fabric paint.

The leaves and fisherman figure are 3D and are a real work of art.

Margaret rang today to say how much she enjoyed her time with us.  I think she will become a regular and very welcome too.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

4 Hens, 5 Months, 500 Eggs

We bought our hens at the end of January.

It was a few weeks before they settled into a regular laying pattern but just the other day we chalked up 500 eggs in less than 5 months.

Certainly makes us feel they are worth having around.

Maintenance is minimal for our rewards.

We let the hens out for a while each afternoon and they love to explore and excavate the land in their own way.

Between us and the neighbours we have an area of no man's land we call the secret gully.  In the past it has always been lush with growth and at times a problem to us.  Overgrown no more.  The hens love this spot and rush down there each day to rummage for whatever hens rummage for.

When the sun begins to set we call for them with wheat grains for a treat.  They happily (and innocently) answer the call and go home to their little house and wait another 24 hours to do the same thing all over again.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

On their way to Christchurch

Yesterday Linda packed our joint collection of hot water bottle covers.  They just fitted in the box, 32 in all.

A batch of covers has already been despatched and these will be included in the second lot that goes out on the 3rd July.

We were very pleased with the response from our Sweet Peas group and know that the covers will bring comfort to at least some of the children of Christchurch families who are still living in cold conditions less then desirable for another winter. 

Monday, July 01, 2013

Crisp and Clear

One of our Sweet Pea ladies saw a quilt top that I had made and wanted to make the same design using cupcake theme fabric.

I offered to cut out the pieces for her which I did today and then made up a sample block for her to follow.  The fabrics look crispy and clear and I think she will enjoy the easy piecing process.