Thursday, 27 October 2011

Mary's Block and mind changing!

But first my death-defying balancing cat!

I mean to say, check the centre of gravity on the little old push chair [don't you just love that plastic fringed sun shade?] how on earth is it staying upright?  Floyd is no lightweight.

This is in the corner of the spare room - actually my granddaughter's bedroom and judging by the toys, it is time we had another clean out.

I'm sure you know of Mary's Block, even if not by that name, it is so versatile and fun to do.  It is one I include in my class for five inch squares, I cut and joined the pieces 3.5 inches by five and 2.5 inches by 5, then slice down the centre -

as on the left.  Reverse one of the cut pieces and resew.  Put a 4.5 by 5 rectangle right sides together and mark the stitching line on the back -

If you use a bias square to mark the stitching line, each will go from a corner, touch the end of the square and off the side.  Sew on these lines and cut between them -

Then I started playing with the little blocks -

I first considered a nine patch, top left of the picture, but it was a bit clunky, so then I tried halving the centre side patches which I liked better, then I decided on something different - but what borders?

The first border was too wide, so I halved it and took out the bright plain.

But that wasn't right, so

I tried another border

So eventually, this is the top - 

Which I altered again before I sewed it up - but not yet quilted!

It looks quite subdued, so the real colour is probably half way between the photos!

If you are into Op Shopping, then Petone is the place to visit!  We already have St Vincent de Paul, the Sallies and the Red Cross and now I see the SPCA is to open a shop.

Sadly though The Children's Bookshop is closing today; I believe Malcolm wants to retire and no-one was prepared to take it on; understandable in this economic climate.  Over the years I have bought many books there for my granddaughters and I valued his advice, so have a good retirement Malcolm, you will be missed.

Remember the yellow and green quilt I was working on?  Well, more changes, it went from this

 To maybe this

And this is where I am at

But don't hold your breath!!

It's been such a busy week with office work,  an evening club meeting, a surprise invitation out to dinner - and I never turn down one of those and helping a friend re-organise after she had some house alterations done and tomorrow morning it's off to the prison, so this evening I am into the sewing room..

That is not exactly a promise - I have just read today's thought - "A promise is a sacred thing".

Nice talking with you, thanks for stopping by


Saturday, 22 October 2011

She Who Dares, Wins

That is the name of a quilt and it is not an allusion to a certain game with the odd shaped ball that is being held tonight - thought come to think about it, please oh please, whatever gods may be, let the ABs win!!

This is the quilt in question -

It was made some good long time ago when Lorraine Moran was in the country and taught this class.  The title refers to the choice of fabrics, we were told to bring our boldest and brightest - though nowadays they look a trifle tame!

The quilt is also rather faded because I use it as a curtain over the back door, it used to be for warmth but since I had the old double doors taken out and a new double glazed one installed, it is more for privacy - and a place to hang another quilt!   The background as seen in the top left corner is nearest to the original colour.

I hand quilted it according the the fabric pattern.

I just love that whacky pink

Maybe they are meant to be pomegranates.

My grand daughters came over yesterday and stayed the night, they both had some mending that needed doing - and these days we just get the Work Box down, I took advantage of the opportunity to tidy it up -

What a hoot, thread to darn stockings no less, called Darneze!!  Lots of gizmos in the lid of the box, including a button hook my mother gave.  The big wooden darning mushroom was made by my son at school and the little black one that looks a bit like some maracas, I bought on my visit to Canada - of which I have spoken before!

They seemed to enjoy their mending session and then later cleaned the windows in the front of the house and helped with more pruning in the garden; they are lovely girls.

Do you ever start gathering fabric for a quilt and then sort of lose your way?  that's just what I did recently.  See what I mean - 

I had lots of vintage florals out for the Floribunda, so started cutting strips - actually three and  a half and I meant them to be two and a half!

I decided as I have lots of pale yellow to use that as the alternate fabric - making the whole thing a sort of Square in a Square -

More or less?  I love the centre fabric.....

I think I know where this is going....... so with a bit of luck, I can get into the sewing room for the day tomorrow and stop waffling!!

Oh dear, wouldn't you know - our thought for today is "Be modest in victory and cheerful in defeat."

Blogger is driving me nuts, so I'll say cheerio, thanks for visiting

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Mile a Minute, Boldly I Went and birds

One day I decided to tidy my scraps - by colour - I had a lovely time and finished up with several baskets holding my idea of colour sorting.  Country, bright, autumn, pastel, jewel and at the end I was one basket short.  The pile was of black and insipid as opposed to pastel, so I made a Mile-a-Minute quilt.

Other people call them Crumb quilts, or Bloke's blankets but to me the Mile-a-Minute is so apt remembering the weed that was the bane of my husband's life.

I have no idea what the proper name of the weed was but it grew everywhere on our hillside section and resisted our efforts to contain it.

Here is a detail

I've made several quilts as a result of tidying the sewing room, I'll look them out to share - just today I was putting a top and its pieced backing onto the pile of similar objects when I happened to notice a piece of fabric that is just crying out for me to design a quilt around it - what do you think?

Maybe something along the lines of my Something to Crow about quilt?  Maybe I could adapt the house blocks and/or tree blocks; I think I'll leave the horses to speak for themselves.

The main quilt I want to share with you is called, "Boldly I went" - if you remember Star Trek on TV in the old days you will remember the voice boldly go.......well, I have remarked before that I am something of a pedant, and I could hear my English teacher [language teacher as opposed to literature] dinning it into our heads that you did not split the infinitive!  One of my sons remembers this tirade well, said he had no idea what an infinitive was but he would make sure he didn't split it or he would have his mother after him! However, he will be happy to know that I have finally let this go now that I have read a marvellous book, "Woe is I" by Patricia T O'Conner.

Anyway, that's how my title came about!  I seem to remember several of my friends were making log cabin quilts, I decided on a black and bright block and started chain piecing.  After only a dozen or so I realised I didn't want to make them all the same size, so I did some simple math and ended up with this.

Blocks of different sizes that I liked the look of, I had the earth and some unknown planets,  so I made several more and put them together like this.

I like the red planet

Just to the left is the nova, and you can see the great quilting done by Bary Scott when he used to live up the coast at Te Horo.  I told him the story of the name and he suggested spaceships and stars in the black using a variegated thread and each planet had a different design.

I had this marvellous shoe fabric just waiting for the right place, I couldn't cut it, now could I? so it made a great back

No flowers on my blog today, but I thought I would share these with you, late this afternoon I heard a bird singing and there, on top of the demolished kowhai was this bird -

The thrush was singing his little heart out - it was glorious!  I listened for ages and then got my camera, he was still there.

As I turned to go back into the house I glanced up at my neighbour's roof, there was a starling sitting on the television aerial, as they often do, but he/she was belting the daylights out of this large twig - I have never seen this before

See the next photo shows it is much smaller -

I wondered if it was because the starlings nest under the roof of this house and perhaps this piece was too big to get under the guttering??

It must be spring!!

Here's another pompous thought for the day, "Progress must be well ordered to endure."  I suppose it is true but it does sound a bit preachy.......

Nice talking with you

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Shopping bags, the Mall and Antique Quilt

The young kowhai is looking pretty good, the Tuis have left it alone.  The probably feel it is too near the ground and wouldn't take their weight.  I am cutting back the shrubs behind to give it room.

Underneath are three clivia, one was given to me by a friend and two I bought; her plant flowered straight away and one of mine is too.  You can just see it nearest the trunk of the kowhai.  There is also a geranium, gosh I love the way they take - I just poke cuttings in the ground - my kind of gardening.  There is also a healthy looking plant that I don't recognise, so it is probably a weed.

I brought my granddaughters over for the day on Friday. We had lunch at Go Bang so I could buy some more of the delicious Pic's peanut butter and then home to tackle the garden.

They both worked so hard; we weeded, huge clumps of couch grass and the bindweed that's showing itself again after the winter,  we pruned and swept.  Amy was able to cut back the orange monsters, alias Leanardis something or other, she cut them back by a third which will give plenty of room for them to grow and flower at their usual 2m x 2m - you probably realise I didn't read the label when I bought them......

Perhaps it would be better if I didn't try to do six months gardening in one day, I do know I ached all over afterwards!

Here's the shopping bag I told you I had knitted from the same Indian cotton fabric I made my first Quilt as you go.

As you can see, there is plenty of room for celery and a leek, plus the apples, bananas etc.  It is not exactly elegant but very fit for its purpose!

Here's another bag I made recently from some of my vintage fabric samples.  The pattern uses french seams and the handles are most secure.  I just love that fabric!

It is great for library books or dvds.

Another day in the week I picked up my granddaughter Molly and one of her friends and delivered them to the Mall.   I shall spare you my usual rant about Malls - we arranged a meeting place and time, so I headed for the nearest coffee bar and sat down to play patience on my iPad while I drank a cup of warm, frothy milk...... ugh.  Anyway, I received a tap on my arm and a very nice lady commented on the iPad - and we were away chatting like long lost friends and suddenly it was time to pick up the girls!

I did notice an area where flax weaving and painting were being taught, I asked permission to take a photograph - the children were entranced, such a happy group.

Now that's what I consider a good use of a Mall!

I mentioned that I bought an antique quilt while I was in Canada.  I was staying with my friend in Toronto and we went to A Celebration of Quilts which according to my diary, just blew me away.  We met many friendly quilters one of whom recommended a particular antique shop and there it was!

It is hand pieced and hand quilted and bound with the same little print of the alternate blocks.  Some blocks had more than the usual two fabrics.

I just love this black and white.

Here it is again

Even a gingham

And a plaid - the bottom piece is the right size, it is only the angle of the photo but she did cut off the point of the triangle - but wait until you see my Amish churn dash - later!

I draped the quilt over the back of the couch to show the quilting design, an all over Baptist Fan.

I spent the afternoon piecing a back for the Puss in the Corner class sample, using a selection of large fabric for children while I sort of watched/listened to series three of Auf Wiedersehen Pet, filmed fifteen years after the first two series.  Most enjoyable.   This week I plan to put the sandwich together to start machine quilting.

Thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comments and emails.

The thought for today is "Well begun is half done."  You mean I have to spend another back breaking day in the garden?


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Nine patch and pressed tin

Aren't these tulips gorgeous?  If I could grow flowers like this I would be so happy - but that's about as daft as wanting to make a prize winning Baltimore Quilt - it takes dedication and hard work, neither of which appeal when the end result is a garden.  A scrap quilt however is a different matter!

These delicately coloured tulips were growing in Henderson's Garden Centre at Peka Peka.

It was stitching day with the Deejays and I am making good progress with my Wonky Log Cabin.

The quilt I want to share with you was pieced some time ago, before I started teaching the five inch squares class and I think I saw a similar nine patch in an old magazine, and I very nearly made it pastel.  I loved the idea of white with the colours and using only four coloured patches in each block.  It seemed logical to fill the triangles with more scraps and then the border just the reverse of a half block; no complicated maths required!

I showed the top one evening at Wellington Guild and afterwards Esther Woolaston came up to me and said she would like to quilt it for me!!  I was thrilled and couldn't accept fast enough!

Esther used a simple grid which sits so well with the design.  Scraps of course, the light blue smudgy one is my dressing gown and I was so pleased with the squares in the border, that one fabric had so many colours it just finished the quilt nicely.....

Do you ever see designs - you know, using your quilter's eyes - and just have to photograph them?

A couple of years ago I was in Featherston with a friend to see the end of a marathon, or some such energetic running event, we were in the RSA hall and it is a total gem.  The walls are pressed tin -

It must have been four years ago, my how time flies -

Something very clean and simple about the lines - could be a quilting pattern?

One of the Shut-in Stitchers is making a quilt for her young son, using the nine patch plus plain square, like the Moonlit Garden quilt I did with Kaffe Fassett.  We are running short of suitable fabric, it is red and white - but, no flowers and so much patchwork fabric has flowers; she also equates light red with pink and that's out too.  So I had a fossick through some of my fabric and have sorted out a few; I shall take them in and help her cut out a couple of blocks of each - those that pass the test of course!

It must be the electric light, they are not as orange as this.

On Saturday after lunch we went along to Pete's Emporium, I wanted an egg poacher gizmo as I just can't master this stirring the pot and lowering in the egg - mine ends up as strings.......  and while we were there I saw this -

Photographed very artistically on the window cill of my sewing room - look at that mock orange! it is smothered with flowers and the perfume is heady!

Anyway, this square I saw advertised on an American blog site, priced at $US39, but this is $32 NZ, no dearer than the ordinary ones.  Will it do what it says?  Time will tell!  I will give it a trial and let you know what I think.

I must charge up my iPad tonight - tomorrow I am taking my ten year old granddaughter and a couple of her friends to the local mall - not my favourite place at the best of times - I shall have a couple of coffees and see if I can get to the next level with Angry Birds while they explore......

Here's another worthy saying from my old diary - "It is easier to offer objections than to get busy".
Someone has been peeking at me finding reasons not to do the weeding........

Nice talking with you, thanks for stopping by