Sunday, 31 July 2011

Jelly Roll - my version

My cough is back, and this model is just in time for the International Film Festival - botheration!  There is no way I can go to the cinema in this state so I have borrowed a dvd set from the local library and am watching "When the Boat Comes In" which was made in l975! wow!  I am really enjoying it but have to stop saying to myself how young all the actors look!

Please can someone help with a gardening question?  My skills are limited, I really would like to know what these two plants are :-
It was a cutting given to me by my friend, the late Flora MacDonald who had the most amazing prolific garden and was so generous.  The plant is threatening to take over the bed, has an unusual habit of growing low then putting up large flower heads on stalks with the delicate tiny flowers.  Also if anyone in the Wellington region would like cuttings, I am happy to pass it around.

This was taken a couple of years ago, and the plant I would like to buy again is the lime green one in the foreground.  I had some 'help' in the garden and she pruned the life out of it so it never recovered.  I love the colour and would so like to get more plants, I keep looking at the garden centres but haven't spotted it yet.

I made a rash promise in kiwiquilters that I would show the top I made using the Jelly Roll technique featured on YouTube..  Well I watched the video, thought it looked like fun - but I have sooooo much fabric there is no way I would buy more.  I was under the impression that a Jelly Roll had twenty different fabrics, so I went to the cupboard and took the top twenty pieces from the blue pile, I then washed them -

that's my sewing room behind the washing line - then I cut a strip off each and sewed them as the video showed.
My measurements must have been off, some of the pieces were probably the old 36" size so the top is a great deal smaller than the ones shown.  I am debating what to do  - use as is for the back of a quilt, or do a slash and insert either straight or on the diagonal   - whatever I do it is a lot of fun but next time I shall join on the straight.

I had my granddaughters to stay for a couple of days in their holidays, we enjoy having lunch -lots of places in Petone to chose from, and then a fossick in the Red Cross second hand clothing shop.  They are raffling a quilt and were happy for me to photograph it - oh dear, the pedant in me, I do prefer the old spelling!!

And here is a close up of the label -
the hand is that way up because I flipped the photo so you could read it!

Last month I went along to the exhibition at Pataka, most Saturdays two or three of us go to Kaizen for lunch after we have been teaching at the prison, and there is always something of interest at Pataka.  This time it was Coastal Quilters and the Gear House pottery group - a most happy combination.

The quilt challenge was so interesting, so many different ways to showcase the challenge fabric.  I have Sue Bracken's permission to show her clown, Mr. Happy -

So I finish tonight on a cheerful note.
Talk again soon

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Great to see the sun again!

Wow, who would have believed this beautiful morning after the last few bitterly cold, grey days.
These are the lemons we used as a centre piece on the table last week at our Deejays' meeting - they look like sunshine in a jacket!

They reminded me of a quilt I made yonks ago but which is still one of my favourites.  I made it under the tutelage of Joanne Johnson.  I deliberately chose the colours because a visiting tutor said that it was very difficult to use the colour yellow successfully in a quilt............
I love the sort of translucent look about the middle - and that is fading on the sides - I used this as a table cloth when I lived in Whitby  - with floor to ceiling windows in the dining room.
In the class we had some difficulties making up this pattern, we sewed the fabrics into rows then used our special ruler to cut at an angle - the only problem was the ruler had different seam allowances on the two sides.......
I chose to quilt the centre with a design I had seen in Canada, sort of double teardrop -  and flowers in the background.
The top quilting, also showing the binding of all the left over pieces
I'll let you into a secret - when it came to joining the two halves, no matter how I picked and unpicked, I couldn't get a good clean join - so
I hand appliqued a square over the centre, on point, and quilted through it!

My late husband was a very keen gardener and kept us supplied with vegetables all year, it came as a ghastly shock when I had to buy my own, especially carrots!  I have tried, half heartedly to grow a few veges but the broccoli ended up looking like beautiful lace, so I go to the farmers market in Tawa occasionally and finish up eating raw carrots on the way home.......
This time of year is perfect for vegetable soup, particularly as one of the Deejays is vegetarian and today I went back to a favourite recipe book, "More from the Cook's Garden" and produced Kumara chowder - which just means you don't put it in the Mouli!
It was as delicious as it looks -
Quote of the day :-
"Right now a moment of time is fleeting by!  Capture its reality.....become that moment" - Paul Cezanne

We will talk again soon

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Winter woollies & challenges

Good morning on this chilly day, great for sewing and blogging!
I think I said earlier that I swore off challenges, well looking through some old photos I came across a couple more!
The first one was for Wellington Guild, not sure which year and it was to make a small quilt to ecapsulate Women's role in society - sounds grand and I am sure there were many deeply thought out pieces, for mine I used every piece of conversation fabric I could find in my stash that showed what I thought a woman could be or do! The centre was a house, a pretty cottage type.
The sashing strip was the required fabric.

The next one - well I can't remember! except that I bought a kit when I was at the Hamilton Symposium and had made a mistake in what classes I had enrolled for and found myself classless one day - so off to the UFO room with my friend Yvonne to work on the kit because I loved the colours.

Later I finished it and called it "Making Jam" because it reminded me of the patterns you get when stirring the pot - there is a recognisable block in there somewhere, maybe the Ohio Star.....

And the third one was a paper bag challenge with Capital Quilters,  Have you ever done one?  You make a centre block to the proscribed rules, put it in the paper bag, mark the outside so you know it is yours but others don't, then next month you get someone else's and you put the next round on, again according to the rules.  I found it so hard as the ones I picked were usually pale pinks and blues, not my usual colours.  I made my centre block and was delighted with what others did with it
The block remains the property of the owner of the first round, but one of the women who worked on it liked it so much, I was happy to give it to her as she said it cheered her up.

One of these days I want to make a true Amish style quilt out of woollen fabric, but until then here is one woollen quilt I made using a pile of samples -
I backed it with a strong calico, tied it and then donated it to the City Mission.

This one was made using double knit jersey, it is backed with a similar material, bordered with velvet and tied - and is the quilt of choice to cuddle under on the couch when one is feeling poorly!

How do you choose the background for your quilts/blocks?  Do you know when you start? Is the quilt planned to that extent - well this last quilt was actually another swop!  We all made friendship stars and then I started auditioning various fabrics......
Do you see the top corner has a 'bite' out of it - I will explain another time!
And my final choice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        To get the splotchy green I cold dyed some very wishy washy pale blue fabric I had bought from Shaws which, when put into water became stiff!!  Therefore it wouldn't dye evenly but that is, I think, the making of the quilt!
I named it "Floribunda stellata" [my translation is many star like flowers]

I am off to the sewing room to make up some samples to take to the prison next week, we had such a productive time yesterday and I need to show various ways to join Quilt As You Go blocks.  I found a great video on YouTube and am about to see if I remember it properly.
Thank you for your comments
Take care and keep warm
June - I really must see about getting a decent signature!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Memo to self - take pictures!!!

No flowers today but aren't these apples great looking - and what do you think of the effect? - like an old scruffy photo - taken with the Hipstamatic App on my iPhone.  And I love the bowl, must get one that shows the inside; I bought it recently at Stonestead tearooms in Upper Hutt, pure retro with line drawings of fruit and vegetables.

It was another great Tuesday spent with my stitching friends and on the way there, there being Paraparaumu, Denise asked if we would mind making a detour to the Bernina shop in Raumati!  Would we mind?.....   She wanted to pin a quilt that morning and needed more pins so we forced ourselves!  It was the Knitting group morning and I had a chat with the ladies of that group, and so admired what they were doing.  Memo to self - take photos you nincompoop - remember, with a blog, a picture is worth a thousand words!!

So, pictures! here is the last item from the A&C Fair - and I have of course, saved the best for last.
I have looked this one up on the net and found one exactly the same up for auction in the states.  It is beautifully made, look at those inset hinges and the little fingerhold, and the dovetailed ends.
What a great quarter square triangle!

And the lid has a stamped cutout saying Patented February 19, 1888
The whole thing folds out to lie flat and is lined with purple.  I have downloaded a photo of the tools and parts that should be inside and will compare what I have amongst the bits and pieces in the bottom of the carton, then see if I can refill this lovely container.

Here are some of those bits -

The tin is an old one of mine.

Last week I renewed by subscription to the New Zealand Quilter for another three years and was delighted to receive a fat quarter of fabric, a lovely gesture I thought.
It will be no hardship to think up a use for these colours and shapes - this is a blatant advert for the magazine and no disclaimer because for those of you who have subscribed for a while, you might remember the earlier editions -

If you click on the picture you will see it is Number One and under Advertising there is my name!  I used to stitch with a group when I lived over in Wellington and Anne Scott belonged to that group.  When Pacific Quilts folded Anne told us she was going to produce a quilting magazine to replace it - I was keen to support this venture and as my husband and I travelled quite a lot, I was given the oh-so onerous job of visiting all the quilt shops for their advertising.  I had a ball and most reluctantly vacated the position when Anne's children were old enough for her to take over.

The magazine has gone from strength to strength and I make no bones about recommending it to quilters - what a showcase it is for the unique Kiwi style!!

Recently there was some talk about what inspires us to make a particular quilt - one of mine was because I saw a photo of a gorgeous antique quilt in black, white and that deep old lolly pink - I couldn't find that colour but did have lots of the red, black & white in various combinations.  My method was to put a big basket in the middle of my sewing room and  go through the cupboards, boxes etc. and pull out anything that seemed to be suitable.   It so happened that Anna Prussing was teaching her class for Pinestream so I took  my fabrics along to make one of her Churn Dash variations, when you team the CD block with another.  The 'spool' block was a happy accident when I turned to put my block onto the design wall and half square triangles matched up.

I had so much fabric sorted for this quilt, that when I had the top finished I decided to do another but a different design.  A friend said she had heard of a good idea, you take your 25 or so fabrics and cut all the pieces for a simple star block from each fabric, label some paper bags 1 to 5 [or however many pieces there are in the block] then give them a shake and take one piece from each bag and stitch the block!  So I have done that, and pieced one as a strippy quilt with a border print from my stash.
I find it fascinating how different the block looks depending where the various fabrics are - I still have the same number waiting - I had forgotten all about them!  any bright ideas of a setting for them?  they all have red in the corner squares as the ones in this top all have grey/black.......
I must have had some idea of putting dark green with them!
Nice talking with you, keep warm,


Thursday, 14 July 2011

Ancient and modern

Flowers are always cheerful and these match the glorious sunny day we have enjoyed today - but oh, that wind!  The first really icy blast this winter.

First I must thank Leeann for coming to my rescue and pointing me in the direction of my lost posts - then I thought I would show more of the old sewing tools I bought at the fair and then share with you my love of vintage fabrics.  I have some left over from when I sewed for the family and then I found I could buy more at school fairs, and from the Op shops - and friends gave me some - all this before others decided they were great to collect.  Not to worry I have quite a stash and I do enjoy using them. 
Here are the old tools, a button hole attachment with additional dies and a black tin with contents.
I'm not sure what goes in the other half of this tin, but there were lots and lots of pieces that might fit, I shall have to do some more research.

I rather liked the idea of raw edge applique, having made a cushion with needle turned applique I feel it is not exactly my thing!  This block appealed, the background is a square, then there are three circles, each one getting smaller sewn onto it - you cut away the excess from the back; then cut the whole thing in quarters and re-arrange as desired.

I played with them, and quite liked this arrangement, then tried another more conventional one
I didn't really like the sort of blobby look, so put some kisses into the mix!
For the spaces I found the perfect batik fabric -

And on the back I put the left overs - plus my first Kiss - far too big!

Is this how you work on your quilts? or do you know from the outset what you are going to do?
I have enjoyed listening to my music in the car - the rest of the technology is on hold though I have just printed out a photo of one of the quilts from a Shut-in Stitcher using proper photography paper on my own printer because I forgot to get one done at the Red Shed - woohoo, another skill learned!
Have a good weekend all,


Third time lucky!!

This is my third attempt to post a blog, both times I have lost everything before I have finished despite the little message at the foot telling me that the draft is saved - I wonder where it is saved to?  I can't find it............ So here goes.
I want to share a photo of a lovely little bouquet
This was looking so cheerful at our Tuesday stitching day, unlike the weather - however, the storms seem to have passed and it was good to see the sun today.

One of my friends commented that I hadn't told of my love affair with five inch fabric squares.  I checked with Hazel of Grandmother's Garden and she said it was about twenty five years ago that she put an advert in the then Radio Times offering 5" squares of each new fabric imported - imagine trying to keep up with that nowadays! 

Other shops did the same sort of thing with the sizes varying up to seven inches.  I soon had a large supply and when I moved house after the death of my husband, I downsized and to start with did not have a sewing room, so until my studio was built I had only my trusty Bernina machine, my fabric squares and strips - I put the strips onto safety pins and onto metal clothes hangers - all ready for log cabin etc.  The main fabric stash was in storage.

I saw a photo that appealed, and when I realised it was constructed in rows I decided my newly sorted fabric squares labelled Black and Insipid would be perfect.
The quilt that started it all
As you can see one rows is a half square triangle then a solid square and the other row is a four patch then a half square triangle - perfect for five inch squares.

The more I looked at blocks and patterns the more I realised many of them could be simplified and worked well starting with squares - much like these days, many quilts are made starting with a Jelly Roll.
One such block  - I don't think it had a name, was a Block of the Month at Wellington Quilters.  Sharon Perry - who is also very keen on 5" squares - showed her method and quilt - I just simplified it by sewing first and cutting afterwards when I decided several months later make a quilt.

You put the two squares right sides together, sew down the outside edges, then cut one and a quarter inch from the cut edges, then repeat for the piece left - or you can leave the last pair unsewn to use for a border.
You then have three pairs of strips and it is easier to sew the pairs together to make up the five inch square.
Sharon's quilt was large and set with the blocks alternately up and down.  When I decided to make a few samples I pulled the squares at random - I thought - and when I had a dozen or so ready I put them on the design wall - and once again, they wouldn't go up and down.  I realised this was to be a strippy quilt and I searched my stash and found the perfect fabric - it must have been in my subconscious because all the blocks I had made went with it!

Here are some close ups to show the fabric between the blocks, and the border and binding was a batik.
I wanted to show you the other side but blogger is playing up and I do not want to lose the whole post again!!
I want to show you some more of the antique tools but that will have to wait until next time - oh and I have the Jabra working in my car and can listen to my music again, the locator map thingy is in the car also, I am still getting to know the camera and this weekend I promise I will get the digital photo frame up and running!!
Thanks for visiting, take care

Friday, 8 July 2011

Ain't technology wonderful?

I am not a complete luddite, I did manage to figure out how to use the BluRay recorder I was given for my birthday - albeit with a little help from my granddaughter - but I feel I am being swamped.  The digital photo frame, another birthday present,  will be a doddle and I have the perfect spot to put it, just have to connect it to my Mac and put in the same photos that I have put on the iPad........

The GPS navigator for the car only needs to be actually put into the car, and there are diagrams with arrows so how hard can it be? then I simply find a satellite signal......

And a friend heard me complain that I can no longer play the music on my iPhone in the car because the tape player - yes, the car is that old! - is broken so he offered me a spare Jabra cruiser which doubles as a hands free; it will make a match pair with the GPS device..

Then I just had to buy a new camera; my old one has such a small screen it is difficult to compose photos and I saw this amazing Lumix with a huge touch screen - and it has an Intelligent Auto Mode - it looked so easy in the store but I think I need to print out the full instructions, make myself a cup of tea, and take things slowly.........

We can go back to an earlier time and enjoy looking at simpler things.
I have some more pictures of the tools I bought at the A&C Fair, a little wooden tube with needles in, a scissor sharpener - but I have my doubts about its efficiency - bottom left is a lovely little oil can and the odd shaped tool next to it is a needle threader!

There were also four boxes containing Zig-Zag attachments and two old tins full of odds and ends of bobbins etc.

And in the bottom of the box were two leaflets full of patterns on dressmaking.  The back page of one has a picture of Singer House in London.

Do you ever take part in swaps?  I haven't done so for a while; ages ago it was a good way, like doing the block of the month at club, to try other patterns and step out of one's comfort zone.
Those early swaps were all Half square triangles;  make twenty say and swap with a friend, or group of friends and prepared to be amazed at the different ways they were made up.  You know, why didn't I think of that? on a par with everyone else having nicer fabric than you in the class!!

I played with the squares on the floor and the black four just wanted to be together then all the other colours fell into place.  I had to resew the twenty squares from one friend, she thought she was still dressmaking and used  a large seam allowance!

Although I vowed once was enough, I did join in another time; again I followed the rainbow colours in the main part with the orange and red coming down the right side.  I love using Ikat plaids in my quilts, I used to scour the shops for them when I was travelling a lot.  Isn't this hidden stars? I like the way you get glimpses of stars.

Here is another quilt with Ikat fabric - when I lived in Whitby I quilted with some friends and we regularly issued ourselves a challenge, use this or that fabric and make this or that block etc.  This time it was the Contrary Wife block and you could use only three fabrics in each block and one had to be a plaid.  If you click on the picture you can see it slightly larger and it is easier to make out the pattern.
The three fabrics per block was a big challenge to me, so to use this Ikat was sort of cheating using my initiative as the colours moved over the fabric and it looked like dozens not just three.

This evening will be more hand quilting while I catch up on watching recorded programmes then an early night as I am feeling much better so I shall be off to the prison in the morning for more quilting!

Good talking with you, keep warm out there!
June  - shall have to see about getting a proper signature.......  more technology!